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Posts tagged ‘Fraud’

Suspended CBN governor Sanusi hits back as FG moves to probe him.


 

STRONG indications emerged yesterday that President Goodluck Jonathan may soon commence a probe into the tenure of immediate past governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mallam Lamido Sanusi Lamido.

This comes as ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Olisa Metuh, yesterday, called for a detailed forensic audit of all the accounts and financial activities of the Central Bank of Nigeria from 2009 till date, stressing that in carrying out the probe, the audit must establish and publish all movement of monies from the CBN accounts, such as contract sums, donations and other extra budgetary spending under the suspended CBN governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

The party, reiterated by alleging that a fraudulent N48 billion contract was awarded to a leader of the APC, while N5 billion was further paid to another stalwart of the party as consultancy fee.
But the suspended Central Bank governor weekend reacted to  the 35 allegations levelled against him by the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, FRCN, saying he saw the FRCN Briefing Note for the first time when it was attached to his suspension letter.

It will be recalled that following the suspension of Sanusi as CBN governor last month, the Presidency  explained that his suspension  was not related to witch hunt, but alleged cases of impunity, incompetence, non-challance , fraud, wastefulness, and gross abuse of and non-compliance with provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2007.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, had in a statement   explained that  Sanusi’s sack by President Goodluck Jonathan was also not  a deviation from the anti-corruption drive of the present administration.

He added that the issues that culminated in the suspension of the CBN governor dated back to April 2013, following the submission of the CBN audited accounts for the year that ended on December 31, 2012, and which was submitted to the President by the apex bank.

PDP calls for forensic audit
The PDP, while calling for Sanusi’s probe, said:  “Facts available to it, some of which have already been published by the Financial Reporting Council, show that within the period, the apex bank engaged in reckless award of inflated contracts through which over N680 billion CBN money was frittered away.”

“The audit must expose the true beneficiaries of over N150 billion doled out as developmental donations especially as some of the institutions listed as beneficiaries such as the Bayero University Kano, BUK, have denied receiving the sums recorded against their names by the CBN. It noted that BUK was widely reported to have announced that it received only N1billion as against the N4 billion claimed by the apex bank.

Meanwhile, Sanusi further stated that each of the allegations was false, unfounded, malicious and fabricated to mislead the President, adding that if the CBN had received the FRCN Briefing Note prepared in June 2013, all misconceptions, misrepresentations, erroneous inferences would have been cleared.

Sanusi, also called on President Goodluck  Jonathan to revisit and redress his suspension, urging the President to apply same rationale and rigour to other agencies of government with serious allegations and queries against them.

The suspended CBN governor called on the President to ask other agencies that had been queried of financial impropriety to provide responses and explanation with the same level of clarity and transparency as he had done.

In his defense, according to the report made available to Vanguard, Sanisi said:   “ Indeed, it will be impossible for me to review almost five years of revolutionary change made possible by the work of thousands of employees in the CBN, in collaboration with other regulators, banks and other financial institutions and government ministries in this press statement. However, I will mention a few of the key highlights.

“The highlight include : improvement of the institutional framework for policy-making,  local currency and maintenance of stability;  Establishment of Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria , AMCON; monetary policy amongst others.”

On Briefing Note Allegation that there is weak corporate governance at the CBN on account of the fact that the office of the governor is fused with that of the Chairman of CBN’s Board of Directors, Sanusi said the allegation ignored the fact that global best practice was that the governor of the central bank is the chairman of the Board of Directors of the central bank.

On alleged fraudulent activities; that the CBN’s breakdown of “Currency Issue Expenses” for 2011 and 2012 indicated that it paid the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc, NSPMP, N38.233 billion in 2011 for printing of banknotes, whereas the entire turnover of NSPMP was N29.370 million, Sanusi said the expense item of N38.233 billion to NSPMP was made up of N28.738 billion payment to NSPMP in 2011; N6.587 billion accrued liability in 2011 but paid in 2012 when deliveries were received; and  N2.829Billion audit adjustment journal entry into the account at the end of 2011 in respect of prepayments to NSPMP.
He said the difference between the numbers in the financial statements of CBN and NSPMP was a simple reflection of timing differences between recognition of expenses by the CBN and income recognition by the NSPMP, with both entities applying conservative accounting policies.

He said with respect to Associated Air Limited, the CBN did in fact pay a total of N1.025 billion to Associated Airlines Limited but noted that the CBN was not responsible for how the company reported its turnover.

On Akingbola’s petition and the N40bn loan waiver;
Sanusi said Akingbola was a man found by a final judgment of the Courts in England to have been liable for financial improprieties in the management of the affairs of ICB.
He said:  “In his self-serving petition, Mr. Akingbola alleged that the CBN, on my watch, wrote-off a loan in favour of Dr. Bukola Saraki. This is untrue.  The CBN was at no time involved in the decision of ICB (or any other bank for that matter) to write-off its loans.

“The CBN never gave prior approval to the Management and Board of ICB to write-off any particular loan.  It is important to state up-front that all the non-executive directors on the Board of ICB were appointed by its shareholders, while Akingbola was CEO and they were the majority on the Board that approved the write-offs.”

In his conclusion to the response, Sanusi  stated:  “ It is now clear that each of the allegations made by the FRCN in the briefing note could easily have been resolved upon a simple request to the CBN for clarification or a little more careful review.

“There is no doubt that if the CBN had received the briefing note, which was prepared in June 2013, all the misconceptions, misrepresentations and erroneous inferences contained therein would have been cleared, and the misleading of His Excellency would have been avoided.

“It is now my sincere hope that, having painstakingly provided detailed explanations, backed by verifiable documents, His Excellency, Mr President will find the response satisfactory, and in line with his adherence to fairness and justice, revisit and redress the issue of my suspension.

“Furthermore, it is my wish that His Excellency, Mr President, will apply the same rationale and rigour to other agencies of the Federal Government that have had serious allegations and queries levied against them, and presume upon them to provide responses and explanations with the same level of clarity and transparency.
“In closing, I would like to place on record the dogged professionalism and patriotism of the staff of the CBN. They have, over the years, served this country creditably, loyally and diligently.”

Source: Radio Biafra.
BY HENRY UMORU & PETER EGWUATU

EFCC Press Release: N8.9m Scam: Court Jails Ex-Banker 115 Years.


 

By Wilson Uwujaren

A Lagos High court sitting in Igbosere, presided over by Justice Adebisi Akinlade on Monday February 17, 2014 sentenced Jamiu Seun Odunayo, a former banker, to One Hundred and Fifteen Years (115) imprisonment with no option of fine over an offence which borders on fraud. Stealing, and obtaining money by false pretence.

The convict was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on 39-count amended charge for fraudulently obtaining money by false pretences, stealing and suppression of funds to the tune of Eight Million Eight Hundred and Twenty Nine Thousand, Six Hundred and Fifty Naira, (N8, 829,650) belonging to a customer and diverted it for personal use.

One of the counts reads: “Seun Jamiu Odunayo sometime on the 7th day of March 2011 in Lagos within the Ikeja Judicial Division whilst being a staff of Skye Bank Plc stole N848,690.00 (Eight Hundred and Forty Eight Thousand, Six Hundred and Ninety Naira) property of Skye Bank Plc”.

The convict had earlier pleaded not guilty to the 39-count charge that was preferred against him but later changed his plea following a plea bargain.
However Justice Akinlade, in her ruling on Monday, sentenced the defendant to one Hundred and Fifteen Years imprisonment, (115) – three years on each of the 39 -count charge. They are to run concurrently. The sentence is to start from the date of his arrest.

The journey to prison began on May 19, 2011, when the commission received a petition from a bank, alleging that one of its staff who was a Cash Pick up Officer to one of its customers, did not credit the customer’s account. The customer alerted the bank, when she discovered that the sum of Eight Million Eight Hundred and Twenty Nine Thousand Six Hundred and Fifty Naira, N8, 829,650 was not credited into her account. The convict consequently absconded from his duty post to evade arrest.

However, Odunayo in his statement stated that, he started stealing from the customer’s account in November 2010, due to delay in payment of his salary. He started with N50, 000 (Fifty Thousand Naira) and later increased it till it reached the sum of N848, 690.00.

The convicts confessed that he used part of the money for his wedding; built a 4-bedroom bungalow in Mowe, Ogun state; bought a car, and used the rest for clubbing.

Wilson Uwujaren
Head, Media & Publicity
17th February, 2014

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

ICPC Seizes 372 International Passports.


By Folu Olamiti

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has in its custody 372 international passports recovered from several persons and agents.

The recovery is part of an ongoing clampdown on corruption-prone processes in the acquisition of visas.

The Commission has directed owners of the recovered passports to appear at its headquarters, located at Plot 802 Constitution Avenue, Zone A9, Central Business District Area, Abuja between 19th and 28th February 2014 from 10am to 3pm each day, excluding weekends.

The  affected persons are  to come along with proof of ownership and the travel documents supporting their visa applications to respective embassies to collect their passports.

It will be recalled that ICPC operatives, had in October 2013, arrested 18 suspects in Abuja and Lagos. Three of them were allegedly involved in the production of fake documents to satisfy visa requirements, while one was in possession of suspicious travel documents. The rest were either arrested with forged public documents or for allegedly colluding  with someone in India to procure a fake invitation letters from an Indian Hospital. Culpable ones have since been arraigned in courts.

ICPC had initiated several arrests after receiving an ever increasing number of petitions from prospective students seeking educational placement and patients seeking medical attention abroad who were duped by some agents.

It will be recalled that ICPC had issued a “Visa Scam Press Advisory” last year warning intending travelers of the consequences of patronising and using dubious travel agents and touts to obtain visas through corrupt practices.

Travelers were further advised to use verifiable documents and only deal with official and registered travel and appropriate government Agencies.

ICPC is delighted that these investigations and arrests have led to significant changes in visa administration by respective government departments, Travel Agencies, embassies and travelers.

Folu Olamiti
Resident Consultant

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

The B-R-E-A-K-I-N-G News!!! Sanusi Lamido, MTN , Stanbic IBTC, in $8b Money Laundering Scam.


 

Sanusi-Lamido-Sanusi

How can the Naira be worth anything when Nigeria is a 419 made in a 419 and the main business is 419’ing while working people suffer in modern day slavery!!!!

The Biggest Corporate Fraud Fraud In Nigeria Exposed.

**the sum of $31,057,339.23 remitted on their behalf to Barclays Private Bank, Hans Crescent, London.
**sum of USD 936,017,265.89 to the Cayman Island, British Virgin Island and Mauritius.
**shareholder names are used to transfer Millions of dollars overseas without their knowledge.
**Sanusi using his owning Bureau De Change to defraud Nigerians and killing Naira value.

TELECOMS giant MTN Nigeria has been exposed of engaging in large scale money laundering which has helped in not only depleting Nigeria’s Foreign Exchange

(Forex) reserves but also has negatively affected the country’s economy over the last five years, National Daily can authoritatively reveal.

An anonymous petition sent to President Goodluck Jonathan by interest group who claims to be in the know of the transactions, had triggered what they described as a special investigation into humongous economic sabotage activities embarked upon by the actors.
Accordingly, the telecoms company has allegedly since February 7, 2008 engaged in practices that clearly constitute economic sabotage against the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Our sources highlighted that all the transactions were done in collusion with top officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria and that petitions sent to the Central Bank Governor over this fraudulent transfer of funds from Nigeria to safe havens abroad were ignored by the Governor because he has interest to protect.

In the said petition a copy of which National Daily obtained with supporting documents that exposed the monumental act of money laundering, it was noted that MTN Nigeria in concert with Standard Chartered Bank and Stanbic IBTC Bank illegally remitted the sum of USD 936,017,265.89 to the Cayman Island, British Virgin Island and Mauritius. He also explained how MTN fraudulently used 20 copies of forged Certificates of Capital Importation allegedly used by a foreign investors who brought in foreign capital investment on February 7,2008 through Standard Chartered Bank and on February 8,2008 the said Capital had yielded proceeds that were repatriated to the tune of USD936,017,265.89.

The petitioner carefully itemized all the transactions starting with the one made on behalf of N-Cell Limited with office address at Geneva Water Front Drive, British Virgin Islands. This company had the sum of $31,057,339.23 remitted on their behalf to Barclays Private Bank, Hans Crescent, London (account number withheld). The second remittance was made on behalf of SASPV limited located at Port Louis, Mauritius (account number withheld), domiciled at the same Barclays Private Bank London. The next transfer was the sum of $590,574,488.17 made on behalf Of MTN International Mauritius Limited with office address at Suite 525 Barley Wharf, Port Louis Mauritius. Our sources equally provided evidence with account numbers , names of banks and transaction details of other similar numerous transactions made on behalf of MTN Nigeria by Stanbic IBTC and Standard Chartered Bank.

The highlighted that these transactions were funds generated in Nigeria from MTN operations in Nigeria and the sum of $314,420,108.60 being proceeds generated from Nigeria through private placements of MTN shares.
On the role played by both Standard Chartered Bank and Stanbic IBTC in all these, our sources noted that it is disturbing that Stanbic IBTC which facilitated all these illegal transfers had between October, 1, 2007 and May 31, 2009 carried out similar questionable capital repatriation through its invincible transactions for the sum of $7,705,890,581.13 out of Nigeria.

This fraudulent transaction was made known to both Central Bank and Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) examiners when they visited Stanbic IBTC in 2009 and 2010 but they did nothing about this huge infringement.
Standard Chartered Bank according to the petition that is said to be giving President Jonathan sleepless nights had in its MTR202 for the period ended May 2009, understated the balance in its Capital Importation Inflows for which Certificate were used to the tune of $314,420,108.60 representing acquisition of MTNs link units by Nigerians for which the Bank issued CCIs. The said inflows were classified as over the counter transactions by IBTC.

The investors and beneficiaries of the CCIs were all nonresident in Nigeria and resides in the following countries, Mauritius, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Island, thus the need for Nigeria Investment Promotion Council registration certificates. These certificates were not provided by IBTC on request. There was no evidence that the CCI’s were transferred to IBTC by Standard Chartered Bank. Stanbic IBTC did not obtain any indemnity from Standard Chattered Bank before transferring the said proceeds to private placements. Stanbic IBTC did not indemnify CBN before embarking on the forex transfer as requested by the forex manual. Moreso, the beneficiaries of these capital repatriation proceeds communicated their bank account details to Stanbic IBTC, same day their respective CCI’s were issued which was on February 7, 2008.

It was discovered that MTN Nigeria had transferred various sums to its shareholders both individuals and organisations, who bought MTN shares through its private offer. Investigation revealed that these sums in some cases represent the actual investments into the telecom giant by these individuals and organisations numbering about 35.
They include but not limited to the Oba of Lagos, HRM Oba Rilwan Akiolu (203,500 units of shares for which $5m was illegally transferred to an offshore account for him), Mr. Reginald Ihejiahi of Fidelity Bank (203,500 units of shares for which $5m was illegally transferred to an offshore account for him), Governor-elect of Anambra State Chief Willie Obiano (203,583 units of shares for which $5m was illegally transferred to an offshore account for him), Mrs Olufunke Osibodu (203,500 units of shares for which $5m was illegally transferred to an offshore account for her) and Cherroots Nigeria Ltd (2,035,830 units of shares for which $50m was illegally transferred to an offshore account for it).

FUSL Nominees Ltd got $30m for its 1,221,498 units, Mr. Olusola Adeeyo got $10m for his 407,000 units of shares, Tele SPV Ltd got $20.5m for its 834,690 units, Yoram Ltd ((407,166 units of shares for which $10m was illegally transferred to an offshore account for it), Sterling asset Mgt and Trust Ltd for its 407,166 units got $9,995,920.00, Mr Bismarck J. Rewane for his 203,583 units got $5m, Mr Adebayo Olawale Edun for his 610,500 shares got $15m among others.

It was gathered from some the named shareholders that the said amounts actually represent the value of the shares as at the time of investment but deny receiving such funds in their accounts as payment from MTN.
According to some of them, they have received between 10 to 15 per cent dividends from MTN in the last four to five years but denied that it amounted to the amount captured against their names. This is one of the many puzzles that the investigators will need to answer – how did these figures come up against the supposed beneficiaries when in actual fact most of them are not aware of such transfers. Who did these transfers eventually get to?

“It is however believed that between MTN, Stanbic IBTC and CBN, these particulars were simply used to provide for these funds to shipped by the telecom giant out of Nigeria. If this is true, then it means that the funds invested by these individuals and organisations were immediately laundered out of Nigeria, and that without their knowledge. Therefore, MTN Nigeria has been using funds generated from its Nigerian operations to both run the network and pay dividends to supposed shareholders who are not even aware that their funds were never used for the company but laundered abroad,” one of our sources added.

National Daily can also authoritatively reveal that the Presidency will also look into the role of Bureau de Change registered by Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as they were part of this scam. The petitioner expressed assurance that if this issues raised are adequately investigated, Nigerians will be shocked as to the level of rot in the system, especially how those employed to watch over the nations resources are also colluding with foreign interests to defraud this country by engaging in acts of economic sabotage.
Finance Minister, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was in dark, has already distanced her ministry from the transactions as there are no corresponding records to date.

Efforts to get an official reaction from the CBN, MTN and Stanbic IBTC proved abortive. Calls text messages to CBN Governor Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, Mr. Ugo Okoroafor Director of CBN Corporate Communications, were not returned.
After series of calls and text messages to MTN Senior officials, one of them responded with a call and asked that we sent a mail to the relevant head of corporate communications for an official response, which we promptly did. But as at the time of going to the press no response was received.

Presidency sources told this newspaper that a thorough investigation has been ordered into the allegations. It therefore remains to be seen how the already embattled CBN Governor, Stanbic IBTC and MTN will exonerate themselves from this allegations of monumental fraudulent depletion of Nigeria’s External Reserves in the light of the available documented evidences.
According to the whistle blower, our sources revealed, Nigerians are in for a grave shock by the time this investigation is concluded and details made public.

Source: Radio Biafra.

Ayotte: Why Was $29M Army Recruiting Fraud Not Spotted Earlier?.


Image: Ayotte: Why Was $29M Army Recruiting Fraud Not Spotted Earlier?

By Todd Beamon

Sen. Kelly Ayotte pressed Army officials on Tuesday on why a massive scheme involving a National Guard recruiting program that has been estimated to cost taxpayers at least $29 million was not spotted earlier.

“Where was the oversight of this?” the New Hampshire Republican asked at meeting of a Senate Homeland Security oversight subcommittee charged with investigating the scandal. “How were we … conducting oversight of these contractors?”

The top Army officials disclosed the massive fraud to legislators on Tuesday. Hundreds of soldiers and civilians are under criminal investigation in the scheme, which involved taking fraudulent payments and kickbacks from a National Guard recruiting program.

The fraud cost the U.S. at least $29 million and possibly tens of millions dollars more, the officials said.

The investigation involves as many as 200 officers, including two two-star generals and 18 colonels, who are suspected of participating in schemes to take advantage of the Army National Guard’s Recruiting Assistance Program, a referral program that paid out cash bonuses of $2,000 to $7,500 per recruit.

None of those top National Guard officers has been been imprisoned, lost benefits or resigned for fraud, said Maj. Gen. David Quantock, head of the Army’s Criminal Investigation and Corrections commands. So far, however, 16 people have been convicted and jailed in the scandal.

Overall, more than 1,200 people — including civilians with military ties and men and women in uniform — are being examined by at least 60 full-time investigators. The program began in 2005 to boost flagging enlistment during the Iraq War.

Only nine cases were investigated from 2007 to 2009, Quantock said. It wasn’t until 2010, when 10 cases indicated “that we have a major problem here,” USA Today reports.

“That’s a long time when you’ve got fraud going on,” Ayotte said.

Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri, the subcommittee’s Democratic chairwoman, called the inquiry “one of the largest that the Army has ever conducted, both in terms of the sheer volume of fraud and the number of participants.”

“These are criminals that have dishonored the uniform we are all so proud of,” she said.

Lt. Gen. William Grisoli, director of Army Staff, told the panel of a “fundamental breakdown” in establishing and executing the program, which had relied on contractors.

Officials told legislators that the fraud was believed to be so widespread that they may not complete their inquiry until as late as 2016 because of the number of potential cases.

The Recruiting Assistance Program was created to increase enlistment when wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had left the military below recruitment goals, the officials told the subcommittee. The program offered cash bonuses to civilian recruiting assistants for referrals.

Uniformed recruiters were supposedly prohibited from receiving the cash payments. But investigators have since found recruiters worked around that prohibition by myriad means, and for several years did so virtually undetected.

In addition, some recruiting assistants eligible for the payments were coerced into splitting their bonuses with military recruiters. Other military recruiters did not inform civilian assistants about the bonuses but registered them for the program.

The military recruiters would then substitute their own bank information for that of the civilian assistants.

In one case alone, Quantock told legislators,  five people split about $1 million.  Investigators have clearly identified $29 million in fraudulent bonus payments and were investigating another $66 million in potential cases.

Officials said the program brought in more recruits, so much so, that they were furious when allegations of fraud threatened that success.

Auditors shut down the program in 2012 after watchdogs found evidence of widespread abuse.

In all, the Army National Guard paid upward of $300 million for roughly 130,000 enlistments, the officials said.

Besides Grisoli and Quantock, Ayotte also questioned Joseph Bentz, the Army’s chief auditor, as to why the fraud was not detected sooner.

“When the money starts going out the door a lot faster, how was it within the command structure that we didn’t pick up on that as a raw indicator, right there, that something wasn’t quite right — as oversight within the system?” she asked, according to a transcript provided by her office.

Bentz acknowledged that “oversight of the contract was insufficient.”

“The contracting officers’ representatives that were responsible for that oversight — they believed that the contractor was responsible for the oversight and control of the program,” he added.

“They thought the contractor [was responsible for oversight and] they didn’t realize that … we had to oversee the program?” Ayotte asked.

“Correct,” Bentz responded.

Grisoli, in his written remarks to the subcommittee, acknowledged that, “funds were lost due to systematic weaknesses, a general breakdown in sound business processes and wrongdoing.”

Ayotte then asked: “How can we have confidence that the Army doesn’t have similar problems in other programs when we’re talking about systematic problems?”

He noted that the Army was investigating whether similar problems existed in other programs.

“The way we prevent something like this happening in the future is we have what we call program management reviews,” Grisoli said. “We had our procurement executive do a program management review on the overall contracting system of the National Guard Bureau.

“We are working very closely with them to implement that now,” he added. “They’ve provided us a corrective action plan. We have accepted that plan and now they are implementing that plan.”

The senator then returned to questioning Quantock about the lax oversight.

“Why is it [that] … when the money started going out the door on a faster rate and that wasn’t flagged … , why wasn’t it that somebody before it got to you all asked the question, ‘Well, why is this money going out the door so much faster than we thought it would last us?'”

He acknowledged that the internal controls regarding the program “and properly providing that oversight to track that … that was another weak area.”

“So, someone just wasn’t tracking that … or was it not flagged?” Ayotte asked.

Quantock said that the Army’s contracting officer’s representative examined the “burn rates” — meaning how quickly the funds were being paid out — but that “they just did not call flags based on what they saw … on the burn rates.”

“That didn’t flag for them?” Ayotte asked.

“That didn’t flag,” Quantock responded.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Grimm’s Re-election in Doubt as Federal Probe Continues.


Image: Grimm's Re-election in Doubt as Federal Probe Continues

 

By John Gizzi

The profane outburst at a TV reporter Tuesday by Republican Rep. Michael Grimm of New York has focused new attention on the recent indictment of one of his top fundraisers for campaign finance violations which, along with an ongoing federal investigation, has raised questions about the congressman’s re-election this year.

Were Grimm’s sole problem this lone outburst, his political problems would be minimal.

But what prompted the question from NY1 cable news reporter Michael Scotto following the State of the Union address concerned the investigation resulting in the Jan. 13 indictment of his longtime fundraiser Diana Durand of Houston on charges she tried to evade federal limits on campaign donations.

And looming large in the background is an FBI probe into whether Grimm accepted illegal donations — including large amounts of cash from foreigners in his first race for Congress in 2010.

The case involves Israeli Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto, who has congregations in Israel and Manhattan, and who has agreed to testify for the FBI.

Durand, frequently referred to in press reports as a former girlfriend of Grimm’s, is charged with reimbursing two co-workers for donations to someone the FBI complaint refers to as “Congressman A” — and who The New York Times identifies as Grimm.

According to the complaint, Durand, who had already given the legal limit of $4,800 to Grimm, wrote both of the co-workers by email, saying, “I still have to make the deposit but I can write you both a check, or I can get your account numbers and do a transfer, whatever works for you.”

The Durand case is currently being handled by the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. Asked by Newsmax if Grimm was a target of any investigation, spokesman Robert Nardoza of the U.S. Attorney’s office said, “I can’t say, and I won’t confirm or deny that.”

The FBI probe involving Grimm and Pinto is more complex and potentially more devastating to the only Republican member of Congress from New York City.

Ofer Biton, a former top aide to Pinto, is alleged to have raised more than $500,000 for Grimm in 2010 from wealthy members of the rabbi’s congregation, including amounts of cash over the legal limit as well as donations from foreigners, which is illegal in federal races in the United States.

At the same time, Biton is also accused of embezzling millions of dollars from Pinto’s congregation, and last August pleaded guilty to visa fraud.

Rabbi Pinto is also alleged to have attempted to bribe Ephraim Bracha, a senior police official in Israel, who promptly reported the matter to superiors.

The Israeli news outlet Arutz Sheva reported this month that “Rabbi Pinto has reportedly leveled his own charges against Grimm, claiming that Grimm’s associates attempted to blackmail him if he did not encourage his followers to donate to Grimm’s campaign.” The nature of the blackmail has not been disclosed publicly.

Grimm, a former FBI agent, has denied any knowledge of the financial schemes. But the recent indictment of Durand suggests that the feds may be tightening a noose around Grimm.

No leaders of either the Republican Party or the New York Conservative Party, whose ballot line the congressman carried in his two winning races, would speak on the record to Newsmax about Grimm facing further trouble or the possibility of a primary challenge.

Privately, however, there is growing concern among both GOP and Conservative chieftains in the Empire State that if there is more controversy ahead for Grimm, opposition might emerge out of fear that the 43-year-old congressman could be defeated.

Two years ago, Grimm defeated Democrat Mark Murphy — an aide to then-public advocate and now mayor, Bill de Blasio — with about 53 percent of the vote.

This year, the Democratic nominee is expected to be former City Councilman Domenic Recchia of Brooklyn.

The New York press has speculated that the former popular conservative Republican congressman from Staten Island, Vito Fossella, may challenge Grimm. Fossella has denied such plans, but an online poll conducted by the Staten Island Advance had more than 80 percent of respondents encouraging him to make a bid.

King County (Brooklyn) Conservative Party Chairman Jerry Kassar told Newsmax that a committee met with Grimm and “we discussed his case. He may not like talking about it with reporters but he had no problems taking questions from us about it. He said he anticipates a conclusion of his discussions with federal government officials and nothing new will come up.”

As to whether Grimm is having political problems in New York’s 11th District, which includes Staten Island and a sliver of Brooklyn, Kassar said, “Any time some clouds appear, there is always a chance of a storm. But so far, this seems a case of guilt by association. We have confronted him directly about this and he has adequately responded to our questions.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

EFCC Press Release: Ajudua To Face Trial For Defrauding Ex- Army Chief Of $8.39m.


By Wilson Uwujaren

Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, on Monday, December 16, 2013 postponed a fresh bid by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to arraign Mr. Fred Ajudua for an $8.39m scam. Ajudua will now be arraigned on February 12, 2014 on a fresh 13-count charge that borders on conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretence.

EFCC counsel, Seidu Atteh, told the court that Ajudua, (alongside others who are still at large) defrauded a former Chief of Army Staff, Lieutenant General Ishaya Bamaiyi (retd) of about $8.395 million while in detention at the Kirikiri Maximum Prison, Lagos between November 2004 and June 2005.

Other suspects involved in the scam and who are on the run are Alumile Adedeji(a.k.a Ade Bendel), Princess Hamabon William and one Mr. Kenneth.
Ajudua and Charles Orie are already facing trial at the Lagos High Court for allegedly defrauding two Dutch businessmen, Remy Cina and Pierre Vijgen of $1.69million.

Atteh told the court that Ajudua and his accomplices, fraudulently collected the money from Bamaiyi in installments, claiming that the payments represented the professional fees charged by Chief Afe Babalola, SAN, to handle Bamaiyi’s case in court and facilitate his release from prison.

Besides, Ajudua claimed that $1million out of the money collected from Bamaiyi would be used to assist Justice Olubunmi Oyewole offset the payment of the hospital bill of his father who, Ajudua falsely claimed, was on admission at the Saint Nicholas Hospital in Lagos, for an undisclosed ailment.

Justice Oyewole was presiding over Bamaiyi’s case in court at the time.
Ajudua’s counsel, Richard Ahoharuogba told the court that his client only became aware of the matter on Saturday and could not attend the court session because “he is still seriously ill”. He then sought an adjournment to enable Ajudua appear in court.

Justice Ipaye adjourned the matter till February 12, 2014 for arraignment and ordered that a warrant of production be served on the prison authority where Ajudua is being detained to enable him appear at the next adjourned date.

Wilson Uwujaren
Head, Media and Publicity
16th December, 2013

Source: SAHARA REPORTERS.

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