Anti-Graft War: EFCC Recovers N794bn In 3 Years, Says Magu

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has announced that it has recovered N794 billion from looters of the nation’s treasury.

Also, the anti-graft agency said over $261 million,  8.1 millions euros and 1.1 million Pound Sterling had been  recovered from corrupt Nigerians.

Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu,  disclosed this, on Wednesday,  when he spoke  at a corruption symposium organised by the Rivers Unity House, in Port Harcourt,  Rivers State.

Magu, who was represented by the  Commission’s Head of Operations, Usman Muktar,  informed that the anti-graft czar had secured 703 conviction.

According to him, the feat was recorded between 2015 till date  when the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government came on board.

Magu said, “It is on record that about 90 percent of all the recovery in Nigeria is through the EFCC.

“Between November 2015 till date, we have recovered over N794 billion; we have recovered over 261 million dollars.

“The pounds sterling recovered stand 1,115, 930 million. Euros recovered within the period under review is 8,168,871.13?.

He added that hundreds of property such as filing stations, petroleum products, landed property, jewelries,  automobiles, and  many others,  have been recovered from corrupt Nigerians.

Speaking further, he said, “The EFCC added that 407 mansions were also seized by the Commission and 126 were forfeited finally to the Federal Government, while 281 are under forfeiture.

“We have been able to secure conviction between 2015 and 2018. We have been able to secure 703 convictions.

“The breakdown is as follows: in 2015, we have 103 convictions; in 2016, we have 194 convictions; in 2017, 189 convictions.”

SUN

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N1.4bn Fraud: Court Fixes December 10 For Trial Of NBA President

Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court in Abuja, has fixed December 10 for the trial of Nigeria Bar Association (NBA) President Paul Usoro (SAN), over an alleged N1.4 billion fraud.

This is coming just as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in a charge marked FHC/418c/18, alleged that Usoro, from Akwa Ibom, converted and laundered the money in connivance with Governor Udom Emmanuel.

The charge sheet, signed by EFCC Counsel Rotimi Oyedepo, did not list Emmanuel as a defendant.

The EFCC indicated that he is “currently constitutionally immuned against criminal prosecution”.

It did, however, mention four other defendants.

They are: Nsikan Nkan, described as commissioner for Finance, Akwa Ibom State; Mfon Udomah, described as the accountant-general of Akwa Ibom State; Uwemedimo Nwoko, described as the Akwa Ibom State attorney-general and commissioner for Justice; and Margaret Ukpe, all of whom are said to be at large.

The commission alleged that Usoro, in connivance with the others , conspired to commit the offence “sometime in 2015 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court.”

The anti-graft agency claimed that the N1.4 billion belonged to the Akwa Ibom State government.

According to Oyedepo, the offences were contrary to Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

 

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EFCC Debunks Premium Times Report, Says Magu Didn’t Attend Buhari Re-Election Gathering

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has said that its attention has been drawn an online publication, Premium Times, of 5thDecember, 2018, with a bold headline: “EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, attends Buhari re-election gathering”, saying the story is not only misleading but very mischievous.

According to the story authored by Samuel Ogundipe, he said  that Magu was at the gathering to strategise on the re-election campaign of President Muhammadu Buhari. “The event, which held on Tuesday at Nicon Luxury Hotel in Abuja, was exclusively billed as a consultative forum for politicians of the ruling All Progress Congress. It was put together by the National Committee of Buhari Support Groups, a political action committee loyal to President Buhari”, the report further said.

A statement signed by the head of the media and publicity unit of the commission, Tony Orilade, said: “The fact is that Mr. Ibrahim Magu never attended any Buhari re-election gathering at Nicon Luxury Hotel, Abuja.

“At exactly 8:59am on Tuesday, December 4th, 2018, the EFCC boss was already at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja en route Lagos where he had engagement with Media Executives.

“Before the trip to Lagos, Magu visited a family relative who lodged at the hotel, Nicon Luxury. He went straight to the room where his relative was lodged and met with him very briefly before departing for Lagos where he met with newspaper editors. These facts were laid bare when Ogundipe called to confirm his story.

“Magu is not omnipresent to have been in Lagos and also in Abuja at the same time. For Ogundipe to still come up with such a screaming headline after confirming from the Commission only shows that his mind was made up to do the hatchet job which he has exhibited by his write up.

“We want to make categorically clear that EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Mustafa Magu is neither a card carrying member of any political party nor is he a sympathiser of the ruling APC. He is only carrying on his job professionally and remains a public officer who is apolitical and determined to see a new Nigeria where corruption would be brought to its knees.

“In the meantime, we have contacted our lawyers and they are taking a cursory look at the controversial publication.”

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N3.5bn Fraud: Court Fixes Jan 10 For Trial Of Saraki’s Aide

The scheduled trial of Mr. Gbenga Makanjuola, a Deputy Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, over alleged N3.5 billion Paris Clubs loan scam before a Federal High Court, Lagos, has been adjourned till January 10, 2019.

Makanjuola is on trial alongside Mr. Obiora Amobi and Kolawole Shittu, a cashier in the Senate President’s office and a company, Melrose General Services Limited, said to have been used as conduit-pipe in the alleged scam.

When the matter came up yesterday, both the prosecution, represented by Mr. Ekene Iheanacho and defence team, led by Mr. Paul Erokoro (SAN), were informed that the court would not sit due to an ongoing workshop for the judges in Abuja.

Consequently, at the agreement of both parties, January 10, 2019, was picked for the trial.

The EFCC had on October 7, 2018 arraigned the defendants on charges bordering on conspiracy and payment of some monies without going through financial institutions.

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Court Grants EFCC Leave To Arraign Alison-Madueke

An FCT High Court, Apo on Monday, granted the  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) leave to arraign former petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, and a former Chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling company, Olajide Omokore, on February  25.

Alison-Madueke and Omokore, are to be arraigned on five counts bordering on conspiracy and illegal act of accepting and giving gratifications.

Trial judge, Justice Valentine Ashi, granted the EFCC leave, after the prosecution counsel, Faruk Abdullahi  told the court that while investigations were on going, the former minister left the country and is currently in the United Kingdom.

He alleged that Alison–Madueke, refused to honour an invitation by the EFCC to appear at the commission.

The suspects are to be arraigned for allegedly accepting and giving gift  of properties described as penthouse 22,Block B, Admiralty Estate, Ikoyi, and penthouse 21, building 5, block C, Banana Island, Lagos.

The EFCC said the alleged offence,  contravened the provisions of Sections 26(1) and 17 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences  Act, 2000.

The prosecutor told the court that while investigations were on going,  the former minister left the country and is currently in the United Kingdom.

He  also said that on invitation by the EFCC, Mrs Madueke refused to honour the invitation but all process are set in place to ensure she comes back to face trial.

The counsel for the second defendant, Tayo Adeniyo (SAN), told the court that his client was not served with the charges and his client was read to clear his name.

 

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Ex-Plateau Gov Jonah Jang Denies Ownership Of Kaduna Property

Former governor of Plateau State and lawmaker representing Plateau North senatorial district, Jonah Jang, has denied ownership of the property uncovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) officials in Kaduna State.

Senator Jang, in a statement by his media consultant, Clinton Garuba, said: “The property located at No. 8 and 9 Gobarau Road, Unguwan Rimi GRA, Kaduna State does not belong to Senator Jang,” the statement said.

“The property formerly belonging to Northern Nigerian Development Company, Kaduna, was allocated to the senator while he was the executive governor of Plateau State but eventually lost interest and did not continue with the acquisition.”

The lawmaker insisted that the EFCC was aware of this development and knew the real owners of the said property.

He accused the anti-graft agency of ‘deliberately’ engaging in such action to harass him and tarnish his name and reputation.

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2019: EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu Vows To Monitor Campaign Funds

Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr. Ibrahim Magu has disclosed that the anti-graft agency would monitor campaign funds donated to political parties for the 2019 elections as well as donors’ identities.

Magu stated this on Wednesday while presenting a paper at a one-day retreat for the 36 state governors and key election stakeholders.

Represented by Olanipekun Olukoyede, his chief of staff, the EFCC chairman said the agency would not allow public funds to be diverted to fund political campaigns. He said politicians are required to keep proper records of all donations received by them, including the identities of the donors and be ready to show relevant security agencies at the end of the election.

“We shall keenly monitor the financial affairs of political parties to ensure that the use of public funds to finance political parties and prosecute campaigns at all levels of government is checked.

“To minimise corruption and the use of public funds to fund political parties and finance elections, there is need for greater effectiveness in enforcing the provisions of the various electoral laws in Nigeria, especially as it relates to penalties upon breach of their provisions.

“Political parties should be required to keep proper records of all incomes, contributions and expenditure, and to open their books for inspection by relevant security agencies after every electioneering cycle.

“In addition, politicians prosecuting campaigns must be required to keep proper records of all donations received by them, including the identities of the donors; and to turn their books over to relevant security agencies, and to INEC for inspection after every electioneering cycle, including the costs of litigations arising from the elections and the source of funding for the litigations.

“We do not have the manpower and other resources to confront this hydra headed monster alone. I implore fellow Nigerians to share credible intelligence with the commission on the activities of criminal politicians, so that our tasks can be made easier,” he said.

Magu said anytime money is diverted by an administration to fund an election campaign, it is money being appropriated for health, security, education, road construction, personnel costs and other amenities for the citizens.

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EFCC Seizes Houses, Radio Station Allegedly Owned By Fayose

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday stormed Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital and seized some choice properties allegedly owned by former Governor Ayo Fayose.

Some of the properties allegedly owned by Fayose and sealed by EFCC operatives include a hotel and event centre at Fajuyi area, two houses located at government Reservation Area (GRA) and a radio station People’s 104.1 FM and a two-storey building in Okesa area of the town.

The EFCC officials decked in their red jackets were seen at about 10.35 am placing a sealing order on the properties at Okesa/Fajuyi area.

The official seal pasted on the said properties read: “Order from EFCC: This structure is under investigation, keep off”.

It will be recalled that two houses allegedly belonging to Fayose were sealed about one month ago by the state Ministry of Urban and Physical Planning for not having approved plan.

Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Society also staged a public protest against Fayose at the weekend accusing him of illegally acquiring a parcel of land belonging to the group to build a filling station for his son.

Fayose is presently standing trial before a Federal High Court in Lagos where he is facing a charge of money laundering on the alleged receipt of about N2 billion from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

The cash was allegedly received from the former NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) to finance Fayose’s 2014 governorship campaign.

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EFCC To Push For Diezani’s Extradition

Former Petroleum Resources Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke is to be extradited from Britain, The Nation learnt yesterday.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is to approach Attorney-General of the Federation Abubakar Malami( SAN) this week with a request to file charges against Mrs Alison-Madueke based on its findings.

As part of its investigation, the EFCC has traced N47.2 billion and $487.5million to the ex-minister, it was gathered.

Besides, about N23,446,300,000 and $5milion (about N1.5billion) have been located in various Nigerian banks.

But only about $37.5million Banana Island property  has been finally forfeited by the ex-minister.

Justice Chuka Obiozor of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, ordered the final forfeiture of the property.

According to a fact-sheet The Nation stumbled on, the EFCC has concluded the investigation of the allegations against Mrs Alison-Madueke.

More than 50 suspects in some of the cases linked with her have been arraigned in court, especially the alleged N23.29billion 2015 poll bribe.

The EFCC review team felt it will be “in the interest of justice to extradite the ex-minister to Nigeria for trial”. She is believed to be in Britain.

Some of the investigated allegations against the ex-Minister, with substantial evidence, include the following:

  • release of $1.3b NNPC cash to the Office of the national Security Adviser (ONSA) in 2014 to fight kidnapping in Niger Delta;
  • whereabouts of $18.5billion earnings by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC);
  • $15.8billion NLNG dividends  between 2000 and 2014( especially about $9b component between 2010 and 2015);
  • $1.7billion oil contracts involving Mrs Alison-Madueke and two business associates;
  • N23.29b 2015 poll bribery scam;
  • $37.5m property on Banana Island; and
  • acquisition of many properties at home, in Britain, and in the UAE

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The EFCC has reached a convenient bend to request for the extradition of Diezani from the UK. Most of the cases against her have reached maturity level for her trial at home.

“The commission will formally approach the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mallam Abubakar Malami( SAN) to assist it to invoke the extradition treaty between Nigeria and the UK against Diezani.

“Through the office of the AGF, appropriate charges will be filed in court to commence the process for the extradition of the ex-Minister.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “The extradition process is without prejudice to the ongoing investigation of Diezani in the UK.

“The US end of Diezani probe has been done. The EFCC has also hauled evidence to the UK to assist the authorities. Some detectives from the UK have visited this country too.

“For the Nigerian flank of the probe, it is necessary to extradite Diezani to answer allegations against her.”

The source, however, added that the AGF has the final say on whether or not to initiate the extradition process. He stressed that all the allegations against the former minister are within the extradition treaty between Nigeria and the UK.

The laws guiding extradition in Nigeria include:

  • The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) with extradition matter within the purview of  the Federal High Court.
  • The Extradition Act, Cap E 25, Laws of the Federation, 2010
  • The Immigration Act, Cap 11, Laws of the Federation, 2010
  • Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
  • The Evidence Act, Cap E14, Laws of the Federation, 2010.

Twice, the embattled former minister has defended some of the allegations against her.

On the N23.29m poll bribery cash, she said: “In the face of the obvious falsification of facts and misinformation, it is only right and proper that the EFCC should publish the details of the $153.3million lodgements, the bank account numbers and the account beneficiaries, showing proof of my link to them.

“Having also alleged that the said $153.3million was ‘wired’ from NNPC, the EFCC should also publish details of the NNPC accounts from where the said $153.3 million was taken, with proof that I authorised such a transaction/transactions, acting either in my private capacity or as The Honourable Minister of Petroleum.

“Let me state for the record that as Minister of Petroleum, the operation and management of NNPC finances were outside my purview as outlined in both the Petroleum Act and the NNPC Act.

“The only involvement I had in NNPC finances was in terms of statutory matters, where the Petroleum Act prescribes that as minister, there were certain duties or actions which I had to perform or take in relation to NNPC.”

The ex-Minister said also that she acted on the instructions of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan in directing the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to release $1.3billion to the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA).

She said it was not within the power or discretion of any minister to question or disregard the written directive of a president.

Although about $1.4billion was requested by the ONSA via three memos, for “Intervention for Urgent National Security Projects,” about $1.3billion was released from NNPC accounts.

But it was unclear what became of the $100million balance.

Documents revealed that ONSA had requested for $1.4billion between March 27, 2014 and May 5, 2014 when approval was given and cash backed.

About three memos were sent to ex-President Jonathan on March 27, 2014, 31st March 2014 and May 5, 2014.

But Diezani insisted that she could not be held liable for carrying out a presidential directive.

The statement said: “The attention of Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, the former Minister of Petroleum, has been drawn to a story in The Nation Newspaper of Monday 22nd January, 2018 as well as other print and online media titled “Diezani in trouble again over withdrawal of $1.3b from NNPC accounts”.

“Under Section 5 of the Constitution, all executive powers are vested in the President who may exercise it directly or through the Vice President or Ministers of the Federation. As Minister for Petroleum Resources Mrs. Alison-Madueke was an appointee and delegate of the President.

“Consequently, the Minister of Petroleum Resources acted on the basis of the written approvals and directives given by the President, which approvals were given after written requests from the relevant security agencies were made to the President.

“At such instances, as in fact the article clearly shows, a Service Chief or Intelligence Chief makes a written request/appeal to Mr. President outlining whatever urgent and critical security needs of the nation they consider imminently paramount, at any given point in time.

“If such a request received the approval of the President, the President may direct that the requested funds be drawn from a Security Budget maintained by NNPC, or that the funds be sourced from elsewhere.

“Where the President directs the Minister of Petroleum Resources, in writing, to make the payment from the NNPC, the Minister in turn, directs the GMD NNPC in writing to execute the directive of the President. NNPC then wires the funds from one of its major foreign bank accounts, or from the CBN, directly to the stipulated account of the particular branch of the armed services, or intelligence unit, or department, that initiated the request.

“It is not within the power or discretion of any serving minister to question or disregard the written directive of a president including that of the incumbent President

“The former Minister of Petroleum Resources in the statement stated that at no time, did she, or could she, as the Minister of Petroleum Resources, interfere with this process.”

The ex-Minister said since the disbursement of $1.3billion can be traceable, it was wrong to assume that it was diverted.

“It is, therefore, impossible and implausible, for any monies under such presidential directives to be diverted during the process, at least from the standpoint of the Minister.

“Any and all amounts approved and directed by Mr. President to be paid, were executed exclusively by NNPC, directly from NNPC’s foreign and or, Central Bank of Nigeria accounts, to the stated recipients.

“Therefore, let it be very clear, that all funds disbursed by these banking institutions on behalf of NNPC are easily and openly traceable, and the process cannot and should not be utilized for the distortion of facts.”

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EFCC Files Criminal Charges Against Fayose

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has filed fresh charges of fraud against the immediate past Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.

Fayose, whose trial is set to commence on Monday at the Federal High Court in Lagos, was detained by the EFCC in connection with N1.299 billion and $5.3 million allegedly allocated to him by the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) from N4.65 billion slush fund allegedly shared by ONSA.

The Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the filing of charges against Fayose.

He said: “Fayose has been served with charges alongside his company, Spotless.”

The Nation newspaper quoted a source to have said: “We have preferred charges against Fayose at a Federal High Court in Lagos.

“He will be prosecuted for receiving N1.299 billion and $5.3 million from ONSA through a former minister, Musiliu Obanikoro.

“Although the illicit cash was released for the 2014 governorship campaign of Fayose, it was diverted to acquiring properties.

“The minister flew N1.299 billion in cash in two flights to Akure Airport for Fayose, and it was Agbele who received the slush funds from Obanikoro.

“While Fayose admitted knowing Obanikoro, he told his interrogators that he did not collect $5.3 million from the ex-minister.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “The EFCC will relocate Fayose from Abuja to Lagos either on Saturday or Sunday for the trial.”

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Fayose: EFCC Discredits ‘Death’ Audio

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has discredited an audio circulating in the social media in which the Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, purportedly made comments to the effect that, nothing will happen if former governor Ayo Fayose, dies in custody.

In a tweet, the commission maintained that the recording was fake as the comments did not emanate from the Chairman of the EFCC, adding that, “Purveyors of this fake news especially a former spokesperson of a leading political party are warned to desist”.

The commission had on Wednesday said it has dug deeper into graft accusation against the ex-governor Fayose and released photos of properties he allegedly procured through illegal means.

The Spokesman for the Commission, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, released the pictures.

He alleged that Mr Fayose purchased the property with money he purportedly received from the office of the former National Security Adviser, Retired Colonel Sambo Dasuki.

“In the course of investigating corruption allegations against ex-governor Ayodele Fayose, especially the N1.3billion which he collected from the office of the National Security Adviser, Col Sambo Dasuki, the Commission unearthed evidence that he laundered the funds into the acquisition of properties in choice locations in Abuja and Lagos,” Mr Wilson alleged.

The EFCC released the pictures a day after the former governor arrived at its head office in Abuja, in company with Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, and a former minister, Mr Femi Fani-Kayode, among other well-wishers.

Fayose had in September promised to report at the anti-corruption agency’soffice after handing over government to his successor, Governor Kayode Fayemi.

Mr. Lere Olayinka, the media aide to Fayose, said his boss has since denied the allegations and insisted that he should be charged to court.

“Today is his second day in EFCC custody and I can say that his spirit is high, and his will remains very strong,” he said on Wednesday.

 

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EFCC To Arraign NFF Director Over N3.4bn Fraud

A Federal Capital Territory High Court has fixed October 18 for the arraignment of Christopher Andekin, the Nigeria Football Federation Director of Finance, and two other officials who were accused of diverting the sum of $9.5 million (N3.4 billion).

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, said in a statement by its spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, that Andekin, as well as Rajan Zaka, the cashier, and Jafaru Mamza, the Head, Finance and Accounts, were supposed to have been arraigned on Monday on five counts of fraud.

However, the arraignment could not hold because their counsel said he had just been served with the charge sheet and therefore asked for more time to study the charges.

The three accused, in 2015, allegedly diverted money to the tune of $9,535,923.87 belonging to the federation to personal use. The money was a grant given by the Federation of International Football Associations, FIFA, for the development of football in Nigeria.

It is also alleged that Andekin fraudulently diverted N1, 353,407.22 from the domiciliary account of the NFF domiciled in one of the new generation banks, without due process.

Particulars of one of the counts read: “That you, Christopher Andekin, being the Director of Admin and Finance of the Nigeria Football Federation on or about 8th day of January to 26th day of January 2015 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja while being entrusted with dominion over money meant for the development of football in Nigeria, a grant from the Federation of International Football Association to NFF fraudulently, diverted the sum of N1,353,407.22 from the NFF domiciliary account No. 5070407456 with the Zenith Bank into your personal use and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 311 of the Penal Code Cap 532 LFN 1990 and punishable under Section 312 of the same Code.”

Another count read: “That you, Rajan Zaka, being a cashier with the Nigeria Football Federation in Abuja within the jurisdiction of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja while being entrusted with dominion over money meant for the development of football in Nigeria, a grant from the Federation of International Football Association to NFF fraudulently, diverted the sum of $6,490,900.48 from the NFF domiciliary account No. 5070407456 with the Zenith Bank into your personal use and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 311 of the Penal Code Cap 532 LFN 1990 and punishable under Section 312 of the same Code.”

Justice Affem asked the parties to come on October 18 for the arraignment.

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