A Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of a company, Olumuyiwa Williams, on Monday appeared in an Ikeja Special Offences Court, for allegedly stealing N165. 2 million from an oil company, Equitorial Energy Company Ltd.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), charged Williams and his company, Manhattan Corporate Essentials Ltd, with three counts bordering on conspiracy and stealing.
He however denied the charges.
EFCC counsel, Mr Anselm Ozioko, told the court that the defendant and his company committed the offence in 2017 alongside five accomplices who are now at large.
Ozioko alleged that the defendants alongside Rotimi Ogundairo, Capt. Edward Williams, Olayinka Iduda, Atlantic Finaplux Ltd and Jodaf Investment Ltd (all at large), in January 2017 conspired and stole money belonging to Equitorial Energy Company Ltd.
Between Jan. 9 and Feb. 9, 2017,he alleged that the defendants and their accomplices with a dishonest intent, stole another cumulative sum of N41.2 million belonging to the complainant.
He also alleged that between Jan. 26 and Feb. 10, 2017, the defendants and their accomplices stole a cumulative sum of N125million belonging to the oil company,” he said.
Ozioko said the offence, contravened the provisions of Sections 285(1)and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2011.
Following his plea, Mr Tunde Busari, the defendant’s counsel in an application dated Feb. 6 asked the court to grant his client bail in the most liberal terms noting the defendant medical challenges which require urgent intensive medical check-up.
The EFFC, however, objected to Busari’s submission, noting that the CEO was a flight risk and that he should be remanded in prison custody.
Justice Olusola Williams in a ruling said based on evidence before her, the defendant will not pose as a flight risk.
“I am satisfied that the defendant is not a flight risk, he should be admitted to bail for many practical reasons, one of which is the decongestion of prisons.
“He is admitted to N10 million bail with three sureties in like sum, the defendant should provide details of his residential address within jurisdiction and enter an undertaking that he would not change addresses without notifying the court.
“The defendant shall be remanded in EFCC custody for up to seven days till the perfection of his bail and if he fails to do so within that time, he shall be moved to the Ikoyi Prisons,” the judge said.
Justice Williams adjourned the case until March 25 and April 30 for trial. (NNN)
edited by Sadiya Hamza
EFCC arrest Benue vigilante commandant over alleged N449.5m fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested Mr George Mbessey, the Commandant, Benue State Vigilante Group (BSVG), following a petition over alleged conspiracy, abuse of office and diversion of N449.5 million public funds.
The EFCC Makurdi Zonal Office Head of Media and Publicity, Mr Dele Oyewale said in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeira on Friday in Makurdi.
According to Oyewale, Mbessey was arrested by operatives of the EFCC on Wednesday in Makurdi.
”The petitioners state that the BSVG receives its official funding of N20 million monthly directly from the Bureau of Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs through official account.
“Between October 2018 and May 2020, the suspect allegedly collected funds meant for the group to the tune of N449.5 million, using personal account.
”An act they claim did not follow due process, hence, the petition to the EFCC,” the commission spokesperson said.
He further disclosed that the suspect has already volunteered useful information to the commission and would be arraigned in court as soon as investigation was concluded.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
Alleged N570m fraud: Absence of EFCC’s counsel stalls Oyo-Ita’s trial
The trial of the immediate past Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, was on Wednesday stalled due to the absence of the lawyer to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mohammed Abubakar.
Those arraigned alongside the former HOS were Frontline Ace Global Services Limited; Asanaya Projects Limited; Garba Umar and his companies: Slopes International Limited; Good Deal Investments Limited; Ubong Okon Effiok and his own company, U & U Global Services Limited and Prince Mega Logistics Limited.
The defendants were accused of fraud in relation to duty tour allowances (DTA); estacode; conference fees fraud and receiving kickbacks on contracts.
According to the anti-corruption agency, investigations revealed that Oyo-Ita, in her roles in the civil service as director, permanent secretary and head of service, used her companies as well as Effiok’s and Umar’s companies as fronts to receive kickbacks from contractors of various ministries and parastatal agencies she worked.
However, at the resumed hearing on Wednesday, Abubakar, the prosecution counsel, was not in court.
Oyo-Ita’s Counsel, Paul Erokoro, told Justice Taiwo Taiwo he did not know the reason for Abubakar’s absence.
Erokoro then urged the court to grant an adjournment.
“Since we do not know why they are not here, we ask for a fairly long adjournment to give the prosecution time subject to the court’s convenience.
“We also ask that they be issued hearing notices,” he said.
Lawyers, who represented the other defendants, aligned themselves with the submissions of Erokoro and did not object to the application for an adjournment.
Justice Taiwo, in his ruling, said he took judicial notice of the prosecutor’s absence.
He also agreed to grant a long adjournment since the matter “is not classified urgent and time bound” and to give the prosecutor time to make himself available.
The judge, therefore, adjourned the case until July 8 and ordered that a hearing notice should be served on the prosecution.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
FG to submit list of school feeding vendors to EFCC – Minister
The Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development says the list of all participating vendors in the modified School Feeding Programme will be submitted to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Humanitarian Affairs Minister, Sadiya Farouq, who said this at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 daily news briefing on Friday in Abuja, noted that it was for the purpose of transparency and accountability.
She said the modified school feeding programme was being funded by the Federal Government, implemented by states and facilitated by the ministry.
The minister said it was targeted at heads of households, guardians and caregivers of the pupils, already benefiting from the National Home Grown School Feeding Programme (NHGSFP).
She noted that the vendors had been on the programme since inception and that they were not new.
She said that the ministry had also invited Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) to help with monitoring of events.
“We are not spending N679 million per day as reported by the media. That figure is inaccurate.
“To reach the households, we are using the various school registers, which contain addresses of all the pupils, we are also using SUBEB databases.
“Also, since schools are community-based, it is easy for children to be identified/verified in the various communities,” she said.
Meanwhile, she said payment of Npower Nigeria Volunteers’ outstanding stipends was in the final stages of processing and by next week, the beneficiaries would get their payments.
“They are funds sourced for by the business community; they are the sole managers of the fund,” he said.
“They are not even collecting cash. The total pledge was about N21billion, and part of their contributions was the ThisDay Dome,” he said.
Earlier, the Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire said the ministry was able to persuade Mrs Susan Idoko-Okpe, now popularly known as the “Benue Lady”, to allow a test sample to be taken to the laboratory for testing on Thursday.
Ehanire said the result was being awaited and would be given to her in person.
“Please note that, while some patients may disclose their result by themselves, the FMoH cannot do so, except with the permission of the person concerned,” he said.
Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/ Felix Ajide (NAN)
Alleged N544.1mfraud: Judge advises EFCC to put its house in order
The EFCC charged Lawal alongside six others with alleged N544.1 million contract fraud.
Also charged are the former SGF, his brother, Hamidu, who is a director of Rholavision Engineering Limited; an employee of the company, Sulaiman Abubakar and the Managing Director of Josmon Technologies Limited, Apeh John Monday.
The judge then fixed June 10 and June 16 for continuation of hearing and “to enable EFCC put its house in order”.
Earlier, Uket apologised over the development adding that it was not in his character to stall trial the way it happened.
Although Babachir Lawal and five other defendants were present in court, he pleaded with the court to give him another opportunity to enable him reach out to the witnesses.
“It is regrettable that non of my witnesses is in court for this trial, I wish to apologise for this and I humbly urge this honourable court to give me another adjournment. ”
Olujimi did not object to the EFCC request for an adjournment.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
Bribery: Gov. Matawalle extols EFCC, pleads for return of money
Gov. Bello Matawalle of Zamfara has commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for exposing Chinese nationals who tried to block investigations against their alleged shoddy contract in the state.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that officials of the anti-graft agency at its Sokoto zonal office are currently investigating a multi-billion naira contract by a Chinese company, which was awarded by the immediate past administration in the state.
Consequently, the officer asked the culprits to bring the money and on bringing half of it (N50 million), the Chinese men were arrested with the amount as exhibit.
Reacting to the development Matawalle in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Public Enlightenment, Media and Communications, Mr Zailani Bappa, in Gusau on Thursday, said the attempted bribery further confirmed his earlier accusation that the company only collected the contract sum without executing the project.
He was quoted as saying: “I want to specifically commend the leadership of Ibrahim Magu and his able Zonal Head in Sokoto, Alhaji Lawal Abdullahi, for moving this case to a significant stage by this arrest and further proving to the world our cries against the atrocities perpetrated by the immediate past administration in the state.’’
He said the arrest by the EFCC of Messrs Meng Wei Kun and Xu Koi of China Zhanghao for an attempt to bribe the Head of its Sokoto Zonal Office in order to quash investigation into the multi-billion naira contract fraud in Zamfara cannot simply pass unnoticed.
“Sometimes back, I cancelled the unexecuted multi-billion naira contract awarded to this same Chinese company and called for the refund of the money.
“I still call on Mr President to assist the state government to fast track the retrieval of this money and repatriate it to the state so that we can actually provide the water and electricity to the rural areas,” Matawalle appealed.
“It is pertinent here to call on President Muhammadu Buhari to further endorse his confidence on Mr Ibrahim Magu and his team as it is becoming obvious by the day that those calling for his removal actually have skeletons hiding in their wardrobes,” the governor said.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
EFCC probes oil smugglers in Rivers
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has launched an investigation into identifying owners of four massive barges allegedly transporting stolen crude oil in Rivers, an official said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports the four barges laden with adulterated diesel worth millions of naira were seized by a naval patrol gunboat recently.
Mr Ani Davis, EFCC Principal Detective Superintendent in Port Harcourt, disclosed this to newsmen on Tuesday in Onne, after receiving the four barges and petroleum product from the Nigerian Navy.
”The Nigerian Navy has continued to demonstrate to us its readiness to end maritime crimes with the recent seizure of four barges laden with huge quantity of petroleum product.
”We have taken over the case and we want to assure the public that the EFCC will conduct thorough investigation, with intent to prosecute anyone linked to the barges.
”So, investigation will be speedily conducted to unravel the identity of the fleeing owners of the barges for trial in court, irrespective of their status in the society.
”If found culpable in illegal bunkering, the barges and petroleum product will be forfeited to the Federal Government,” he assured.
He said that the anti-graft agency had successfully convicted hundreds of cases handed to it by the Navy.
Capt. Adegoke Ebo, Executive Officer, NNS Pathfinder, Port Harcourt, said the barges were intercepted during routine patrol of naval gunboats in the creeks of Rivers.
”We intercepted the first barge, which is not named, at NAFCON creek, on April 2 on suspicion of illegal bunkering activities.
”The barges at the time of seizure were laden with unspecified quantity of petroleum products suspected to be illegally refined diesel,” he said.
Ebo said that naval operatives were unable to make any arrest on board the barges, as the operators abandoned them on sighting the navy gunboats.
The officer said the barges were later towed to the naval holding bay in Onne, for safekeep and preliminary investigation.
”On conclusion of our preliminary investigation, we are directed to hand over the four barges and products to the EFCC for further investigation and possible prosecution,” he added.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu/Wale Ojetimi (NAN)
Gov. Ortom’s aide denies arrest by EFCC
Special Adviser to Benue Gov. Samuel Ortom, on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Mr Jerome Torshimbe, has debunked reports that he was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The aide told journalists during an interaction with them on Tuesday in Makurdi, blamed the wide circulation of such news on owners of social media handles.
He described “such lies” against him as the handiwork of social media propagandists.
The Adviser said he had never been invited to the EFCC for fraud, let alone spend the night in their custody.
“No such thing ever happened. I have never been interrogated by EFCC at all; and I have not even been delayed there.
“I superintend over 23 local government areas; so I must be called upon to clarify any issues or petitions against any of them or their staff.
“The invitation of the councils or their staff to EFCC must pass through my office.
“It was purely borne out of mischief.
“The conventional media should find a way of doing away with the social media. It is polluting the sector, Torshimbe concluded.
Edited By: Philip Dzeremo/Nyisom Fiyigon Dore (NAN)
EFCC set for retrial Orji Kalu, others – Spokesman
2020) The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is set for the immediate retrial of the former governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor-Kalu, whose trial and conviction processes were voided on Friday by the apex court.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports 9that the Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision by a seven-man panel of Justices led by Justice Amina Augie, ordered that Kalu and others be retried because the Federal High Court in Lagos acted without jurisdiction when it convicted Kalu and other defendants.
It held that the trial by Justice Mohammed Idris, who was no longer a judge of the Federal High Court as at the time he sat and delivered the judgment that convicted the defendants for allegedly stealing about N7.1 billion from Abia state treasury, was null and void.
The apex court said that for the judge to have returned to the lower court to deliver the judgment was illegal.
Kalu, his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited, and Jones Udeogu, a former Director of Finance and Account of Abia State, were in December sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for alleged N7.2 billion fraud and money laundering.
Reacting to the judgment in a statement, EFCC’s Spokesman, Mr Dele Oyewale, on Friday said the commission expressed sadness over the nullification of Kalu’s conviction by the Supreme Court.
Oyewale stated that the apex court based its verdict on the grounds that Justice Mohammed Idris, who convicted Kalu and others, had been elevated to the Court of Appeal before the judgment.
“The EFCC considers the judgment of the apex court as quite unfortunate. It is a technical ambush against the trial of the former governor.
“ The Commission is prepared for a fresh and immediate retrial of the case because its evidences against Kalu and others are overwhelming.
“The corruption charges against Kalu still subsist because the Supreme Court did not acquit him of them.
“The entire prosecutorial machinery of the EFCC will be launched in a fresh trial where justice is bound to be served in due course,” he said.
Edited By: Joe Idika/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)
EFCC arraigns ex-minister,Turaki over alleged fraud
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) on Monday arraigned a former Minister of special duties and Inter-governmental affairs, Kabiru Turaki over alleged fraud in a Federal High Court, Abuja.
Turaki was arraigned before Justice Inyang Ekwo alongside his former Special Assistant, Sampson Okpetu, and two firms – Samtee Essentials Limited and Pasco Investment Limited – on a 16-count charge.
The ex-Minister, according to the EFCC, allegedly used the two companies belonging to his aide, to illegally siphon funds.
He pleaded not guilty.
In ruling on Turaki’s bail application, Justice Ekwo adopted all the terms and conditions in the administrative bail that was earlier granted to him by the EFCC.
The anti-graft agency was directed to transfer the terms of the bail to the court’s registry.
The bail conditions include that the defendants should not to travel outside the country without permission from the court.
The judge adjourned the matter until June 22 for trial.
He also served as the Supervising Minister of Labour from 2014 to 2015.
Edited By: Edwin Nwachukwu/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
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