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Defence/Security

EFCC boss task youths on integrity for corruption-free society

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EFCC boss task youths on integrity for corruption-free society

Youths

Abuja, March 11, 2019 Mr Ibrahim Magu, the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has urged youths to uphold the tenets of integrity and high morals in their dealings with one another for a corruption-free society.

Magu gave this advice at the inauguration ceremony of  Anti-Corruption Club of students of Government Secondary School, Enugu,

The club was inaugurated by the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC).

Mr Tony Orilade, the EFCC Spokesman, said in a statement issued to the newsmen in Abuja, that Magu was represented by Bethel Ede of the Public Affairs Unit of the agency in the zone.

“Integrity results in dignity and respect; as future leaders, do not get involved in corruption at any level.

“These include examination malpractice, truancy, cultism, drug abuse and all other social vices common with secondary school students.

“In all you do, always remember that a good name is better than silver and gold.

“Do not indulge in corrupt practices that will ruin you, your future, and rob you of a good name in future,” Magu said.

Mr Ozi Agualize, the Head of Education Department of ICPC in South-East Zone, also charged youths to be diligent and concentrate on their academics.

“We all know what corruption has done in our country and it hurts me because the youth suffer the effects of corruption more, and so I charge you to be role models to other students,” he said.

Mr Paul Chukwu, the NYSC Enugu North CDS Coordinator,  commended the initiative of the Anti-Corruption Club.

He said that the club should impart knowledge to students and help them come up with projects that would constantly remind them to be of good conducts.

General news

EFCC destroys 681 bags of adulterated fertiliser in Gombe

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The Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Gombe, on Thursday,  destroyed 681 bags of adulterated fertiliser in the state.

Mr Ibrahim Shazali, the new Northeast Zonal Head of the commission, told newsmen in Gombe that the exercise was in compliance with a court order.

Shazali said fertiliser adulteration was an act of economic sabotage, which hampered the efforts of the federal government toward ensuring food security in the country.

He stated that such acts if allowed to continue would affect incomes of peasant farmers who might unknowingly buy the adulterated fertilisers and end up not getting the desired result during harvest.

“The worst of it is that some bags of the adulterated fertilisers have inscriptions of  presidential fertiliser initiative to make people think the fertiliser is from the federal government.

“They (convicts) print the bags, bring small part of fertiliser and bring in some limestone gotten from Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State, creating an impression that this is coming from the federal government.

“This is exactly where the sabotage comes from. So, even if the fertilisers have federal government tag on them, there is need for farmers to make proper enquiries to ascertain their source,” the EFCC zonal boss said.

He warned those adulterating fertiliser, saying  the commission would apprehend anyone involved as surveillance had been strengthened to ensure they were put out of business, adding, “we are still extending our investigations to Kano and Katsina states.

While calling for more information from the public, he cautioned farmers to always engage relevant agencies like Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) before buying fertilisers from the markets.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Defence/Security

Interpol extends specialised platform to EFCC 

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The International Police (Interpol) has extended its globalised information platform to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The Spokesperson of the commission, Mr Dele Oyewale, in a statement on Wednesday in Abuja
, said that the platform, codenamed 1P-247, was extended to the EFCC at a brief ceremony attended by the acting Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu.
“The IP-24/7
is a global police communications system that connects law enforcement agencies in all the 194 member- countries.
“It enables users share sensitive and urgent police information with their counterparts around the globe, 24 hours a day and 365 days a year.
With the extension of IP-247 to the EFCC, the commission now has direct and quick access to 18 databases through which information about criminal activities across the world can be accessed,” he said.
Oyewale also quoted the Head of the INTERPOL National Central Bureau (NCB) in Abuja, Garba Umar, as congratulating Magu on the new milestone achieved by the commission.
Garba said that the extension of the platform was made possible by the EFCC chairman’s passion and determination in the fight against financial crimes in Nigeria.
He
described the platform as a great breakthrough in criminal investigations.
According to him, with access to the platform, the EFCC can now manage the 18 databases itself without going through the Interpol secretariat in Lyon, France.
Responding, Magu thanked the Interpol for extending IP-247
to the EFCC and its role in facilitating arrests and investigations of many high profile corrupt individuals.
“Things get done when you work with Interpol. We have been planning this since 2018 and I thank God it is happening today,” he said.
Magu also expressed delight that the platform would energise every enforcement initiative of the EFCC, stressing that “enforcement is the greatest deterrent to corruption.”
The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the EFCC had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Interpol on Nov. 29, 2018, as part of its collaborative efforts, aimed at tackling the menace of corruption in Nigeria.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq

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Oil & Gas

Alleged oil theft : DPR hands over 9 vessels to Navy, EFCC

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The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) said nine vessels allegedly involved in oil theft had been handed over to the Nigerian Navy and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Mr Sarki Auwalu, Director, DPR,  made the disclosure on Wednesday during an online interactive session with the media on topical issues in the oil and gas industry.

Auwalu said the DPR had initiated Crude Oil and Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Tracking (COLT) to track vessels coming in or going out of the country in order to curb oil theft.

“We have had a remarkable result with COLT. As I am speaking to you today, we have handed nine vessels to the Nigerian Navy and the EFCC.

“They are under the Western Naval Command. We have arrested several vessels and some of the vessels are for oil thieves.

“We are working with the Nigerian Navy and we quickly alert the Navy whenever we see any suspicious vessel during surveillance,” he said.

Auwalu said that other measures were being implemented by the regulatory agency to improve accountability in the oil and gas sector, which  include the National Production Monitoring System (NPMS) that focuses on data gathering.

“We have been able to track online/real time data of what our productions are and so we are now in the position to say what is the production done by this country.

“All our fields are largely tracked online now. So, it is not true that Nigeria cannot account for what it is producing, be it crude oil or gas, ” he said.


Edited By: Debo Oshundun/Oluwole Sogunle (NAN)

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Defence/Security

EFCC arrest Benue vigilante commandant over alleged N449.5m fraud

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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)

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Judiciary

Alleged N570m fraud: Absence of EFCC’s counsel stalls Oyo-Ita’s trial

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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.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the EFCC had, on March 23, charged Oyo-Ita and eight with 18-counts of money laundering to the tune of N570 million.

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)

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Health

FG to submit list of school feeding vendors to EFCC – Minister

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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.

Farouq, speaking on the recently-launched NHGSFP Intervention in the FCT, acknowledged the role of the United Nations World Food Programme in Nigeria in providing  technical support.

“We are not spending N679 million per day as reported by the media. That figure is inaccurate.

“The take-home rations are worth N4,200 per household, and are planned as a monthly COVID-19 intervention, for 3.1 million households in the participating states.

“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.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the PTF on COVID-19, Boss Mustapha, said the CACOVID account was not under the Federal Government control.

“They are funds sourced for by the business community; they are the sole managers of the fund,” he said.

Mustapha, while explaining how private donations toward the pandemic were being managed in the country, said that the second source of funding was from the NNPC and its partners.

“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)

 

 

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Judiciary

Alleged N544.1mfraud: Judge advises EFCC to put its house in order

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Justice Jude Okeke of an FCT High Court on Thursday urged  the EFCC to put its house in order in the trial of former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babacir Lawal.

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.

Justice Okeke gave the advice after the EFCC Counsel, Mr Ofem Uket, informed the court that although the matter was slated for continuation of trial none of the EFCC witnesses were in court.

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. ”

Counsel to Lawal, Chief Akin Olujinmi, SAN, told the court that EFCC counsel  had informed him of the predicament he was in, concerning the witnesses.

Olujimi did not object to the EFCC request for an adjournment.

Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

 

 

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General news

Bribery: Gov. Matawalle extols EFCC, pleads for return of money

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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.

Two of the Chinese nationals, representing the company allegedly approached the EFCC zonal officer with a bribe of N100 million.

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)

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Defence/Security

EFCC probes oil smugglers in Rivers

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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 EFCC official said that the latest seizure added to many other cases that the anti-graft agency had received from the Navy following collaboration by both security outfits.

”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.

Davis said that activities of criminals on the nation’s maritime environment was capable of destroying the nation’s economy if left unchecked.

”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.

”Similarly, NNS Pathfinder patrol team on April 22, also intercepted three other barges, namely, MV Rock 1, MV Julianah and another unnamed barge at the AIP waterfront.

”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)

 

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