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False Anti-Corruption Supporters In Government Frustrating US, Says EFCC

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                                                              Ibrahim Magu

Eniola Akinkuotu and Chukwudi Akasike

The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu, says there are many people in authority claiming to be supporting the war against corruption but are doing the opposite.

He also slammed those calling on the EFCC not to put too much focus on punishment of politically-exposed persons.

Incidentally, Senate President Bukola Saraki had at the public presentation of Senator Dino Melaye’s book titled, ‘Antidotes to Corruption,’ asked anti-corruption agencies to concentrate on prevention of corruption rather than punishment of corrupt persons.

Magu, while addressing a crowd during the EFCC stakeholders’ walk against corruption in Abuja on Tuesday, said the anti-corruption war was being frustrated by those who should ordinarily protect the poor masses.

He said, “It is time to weep for those who believe they can perpetually hold down Nigeria as a cow and milk her to death. It is time to weep for supposed men and women of honour who pose as corruption fighters but when they think we are not looking, they plot and fund the collapse of the anti-corruption war.”

Magu added, “While most of us who feel the pains of corruption are asking for more vigour in the fight, the cabal profiting from corruption would want the campaign watered down. While many Nigerians are calling for stiffer punishment for the corrupt, the patrons of corruption now tell us that it does not pay to punish the corrupt.”

The EFCC boss urged Nigerians to join the corruption war by embracing the whistle-blower policy of the Federal Government.

The walk, which lasted three hours, started from the EFCC head office in Wuse 2 through the Unity Fountain, Maitama and the Federal Secretariat.

The walk also took place in all the EFCC zonal offices located across the six geo-political zones.

In Lagos, the President of Women Arise for Change Initiative, Joe Okei-Odumakin, called on Nigerians to continue to expose corruption, saying it is necessary to preserve the future of the country.

Okei-Odumakin, a leading female rights activist, also described corruption as “cancerous.’’

In his address, the Chairman of Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, Mr Debo Adeniran, said the walk was an expression of sheer determination to wipe out corruption from Nigeria.

Adeniran, who said Nigeria stood a chance of reclaiming her lost image through the current anti-graft crusade, further urged Nigerians to support the efforts of Magu to rid Nigeria of corruption.

Also, the Leader of Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, Inibehe Effiong, said the current decadence in Nigeria could only be eradicated through a sustained war against corruption.

In a similar event in Rivers State,  Magu said he was not afraid of anybody in the ongoing fight against corruption.

Magu, who declared that he had no fear in his DNA, said he would not succumb to pressure no matter how highly placed those involved in corrupt practices might be.

The acting EFCC chairman, who spoke through the Zonal Head of the commission, South-South, Mr Ishaq Salihu, during a walk against corruption in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, maintained that everybody was equal before the law.  (Punchng.com)

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FG Wants Masked Witnesses Against Dasuki To Testify Behind Screen

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                    Immediate past National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.)

Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

The Federal Government, on Thursday, urged the Federal High Court in Abuja to allow its prosecution witnesses to testify behind the screen in the trial of a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.).

Justice Ahmed Mohammed said he would, on June 15, rule on the application which was opposed by Dasuki’s lawyer, Mr. Ahmed Raji (SAN).

The lead prosecuting lawyer, Mr. Dipo Okpeseyi (SAN), while addressing the court on Thursday, stated that there was possible threat to the witnesses’ lives by virtue of Dasuki’s current and previous positions.

Dasuki’s lawyer, Raji, however, urged the court to consider the alleged threat as a mere “speculation” without any evidence supporting it.

But the prosecutor, in his further argument, insisted that the threat was real, alluding to an alleged inexplicable accident which he said had virtually incapacitated the principal prosecution witness in the case.

Okpeseyi added, “The principal witness in this case can no longer appear in court due to an accident he was involved in.

“The circumstances surrounding his accident are still unknown. He was just saved by God. He sustained multiple fractures from his head to his leg.

“So, life must be protected before it is lost.”

The prosecution had, on April 6, 2017, re-arraigned Dasuki on amended charges of money laundering, stealing of prohibited firearms and illegal possession of firearms.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to all the seven counts instituted against him.

At the hearing of the prosecution’s application for witness protection on Thursday, Okpeseyi argued that there was a need to shield the identities of the prosecution witnesses from the public.

He said this was because the witnesses were operatives of the Department of State Services “carrying out covert operations on behalf of the Federal Government in various parts of the country and even beyond.”

Okpeseyi also noted that Dasuki’s status as a former senior military officer, an ex-Aide-de-Camp to a sitting President, a former NSA and a crown prince (of Sokoto Caliphate), collectively conferred on the defendant large followers.

He stated, “What we seek is for them to give evidence behind a screen to be provided by the court.

“The defendant was once their boss and the defendant had been a senior military officer, a former Aide-de-Camp to a sitting President, a former NSA and a crown prince, who has large followers.

“It is for these reasons that, even without his (Dasuki’s) knowing, harm may come the way of the witnesses.”

He also distinguished between the application and the one earlier filed by the prosecution and dismissed by the former trial judge, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, from whom the entire case was transferred to the current trial judge.

Okpeseyi said Section 232(b) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act provides for “screening” or “masking” as the options for witness protection which the prosecution could seek for its witnesses.

He added that the screen, if allowed by the court, would not take away the right of the defence to cross-examine the witnesses or prevent the defence lawyers as well as the defendant from seeing the prosecution witnesses behind the screen.

But in response, Raji insisted that the alleged threat to the prosecution witnesses’ lives was speculative as no harm had been done to any of the prosecution witnesses who had been testifying without a screen in the two criminal cases pending against Dasuki in the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Maitama, Abuja.

He also argued that a similar application had been dismissed by the former trial judge, adding that if the court granted the application, it would amount to Justice Mohammed sitting as an appeal court over the previous ruling.

He argued that Section 232 of ACJA was applicable to the trial as some of the offences instituted against the defendant fell under economic and financial crimes as provided under section 232(4)(c) of the Act.

Justice Mohammed fixed June 15 for ruling.      (Punchng.com)

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$1.3bn Malabu Scam: EFCC Raided My Brother’s Home, Says Adoke (ex AGF)

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Mohammed Adoke (SAN)

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

The immediate past Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke (SAN), says operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission raided the home of his younger brother, Bashir, in Kogi State during the wee hours of Sunday.

The raid, it was learnt, was part of investigations into the $1.3bn oil deal involving Malabu Oil and Gas Limited and oil giant, Shell, which was brokered by Adoke in 2011 when he was the AGF.

Adoke said this in a statement by his spokesman, Victor Akhidenor.

The former AGF, however, stated that nothing was found during the raid which he described as illegal.

The senior advocate said the operatives of the anti-graft agency assaulted some occupants of the house when they did not find any money in the building.

The statement read in part, “The men who arrived Mr. Bello’s house at about 12 midnight in a Hilux van were dressed in black uniform. They did not present any search warrant and when the security man sought to know their mission, they stated that they were in search of money particularly dollars that have been hidden by Mohammed Bello Adoke.

“When the security guard insisted that the house was not occupied and that no such monies were kept there; they not only brutalised him, but proceeded to hack down the door, tore the place apart and searched virtually every nook and cranny of the house, destroying the furniture, the ceiling, wardrobes, water tank, etc.

“At the end, they left the premises infuriated that they did not find the dollars they were informed was hidden in the house.”

Operatives of the EFCC had last month raided the Kano home of Adoke but were said not to have recovered any money

Adoke, who has been in The Netherlands since 2015, said members of his family were being harassed by the EFCC.

He added, “This will be the second time that security personnel would be invading Mr. Adoke’s home. Last month, officials of the EFCC invaded Mr. Adoke’s family home in Kano in search of documents ostensibly to use to prosecute him.

“There appears to be no end to the level of harassment, intimidation, and persecution that Adoke and his family will face at the hands of law enforcement personnel determined to unearth incriminating evidence against him.

“Adoke is apprehensive about his personal safety as well as that of his immediate family and calls on law enforcement personnel to guarantee the safety of his family especially now that he has become a target and subject of harassment, intimidation, and persecution from powerful families and aggrieved individuals bent on settling scores with him on account of his refusal to allow his office as a minister in the government of the federation to be used to serve their personal interests.”

All attempts to speak with the EFCC spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, on Sunday proved abortive as his phone indicated that it was switched off.    (Punchng.com)

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Suspended NIA Boss’ Wife Bought Ikoyi Flat With $1.6m Cash, Says EFCC

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DG National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ayo Oke


Ramon Oladimeji

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Friday named Mrs. Folashade Oke as the owner of Flat 7B, No. 13, Osborne Road, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos, where the sums of $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23, 218,000 were recently recovered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Comission.

Mrs. Oke is the wife of the suspended Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Amb. Ayo Oke, whose agency had laid claim to the money.

According to the EFCC, Mrs. Oke made a cash payment of $1.658m for the purchase of the flat between August 25 and September 3, 2015.

She was said to have purchased the property in the name of a company, Chobe Ventures Limited, to which she and her son, Master Ayodele Oke Junior, were directors.

Payment for the purchase of the flat was said to have been made to one Fine and Country Limited.

The EFCC stated that Mrs. Oke made the cash payment in tranches of $700,000, $650,000 and $353,700 to a Bureau de Change company, Sulah Petroleum and Gas Limited, which later converted the sums into N360,000,000 and subsequently paid it to Fine and Country Limited for the purchase of the property.

The EFCC on Friday tendered the receipt issued by Fine and Country Limited to Chobe Ventures Limited as an exhibit before the Federal High Court in Lagos, where it is seeking an order of final forfeiture of the recovered money to the Federal Government.

“The circumstances leading to the discovery of the huge sums stockpiled in Flat 7B, Osborne Towers leaves no one in doubt that the act was pursuant to an unlawful activity.

“The very act of making cash payment of $1.6m without going through any financial institution by Mrs. Folashade Oke for the acquisition of Flat 7B, Osborne Towers, is a criminal act punishable by the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Amendment Act. I refer My Lord to sections 1(a), 16(d) and 16(2)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Amendment Act,” a counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court on Friday.

In an affidavit filed before the court, a Detective Inspector with the EFCC, Mohammed Chiroma, stated that “Chobe Ventures Limited is not into any business but was merely incorporated to retain proceeds of suspected unlawful activities of Mrs. Folashade Oke.”

While urging the presiding judge, Justice Muslim Hassan, to order the permanent forfeiture of the funds to the Federal Government, Oyedepo argued that the fact that Flat 7B, Osborne Towers was purchased in a criminal manner, made the N13bn recovered therein “extremely suspicious to be proceeds of unlawful acts.”

The lawyer noted that despite the newspaper advertisement of the initial order of April 13, 2017 temporarily forfeiting the money to the Federal Government, no one showed up in court on Friday to show cause why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.                              (Punchng.com)

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Suspended SGF, Babachir Lawal, Face Prison, As Senate Makes Disturbing Revelation

 

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The Nigerian Senate Committee report, on Wednesday, has revealed how the suspended SGF, Babachir Lawal, racked in billions of Naira through shady deals, in the Presidential Initiative for the North-East, PINE.

The Committee report revealed that after receiving payments from PINE, at least five companies separately paid about N450 million to the Eco Bank account (182001809) of Rholavision Engineering Limited, owned by Mr. Lawal, according to CAC and self-admission, as well as his private account (0003004417) with Diamond Bank, bank statements showed.

Related: Kickback: SGF’s Company Allegedly Recieved N200m In 20 Instalments |The Republican News

According to a Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, confirmation attached to the report, Lawal was still the signatory to the account of Rholavision, until February 15, 2017, which shares the same Bank Verification Number with his personal account, and 13 other accounts in commercial banks.

Here are the companies and transactions details:

1. Between March 29, 2016 and April 20, 2016, Josmon Technologies Limited transferred N317 million to Rholavision after receiving two “grass-cutting” contracts worth N530.6 million for the removal of invasive plant species in Yobe State.

The transfers were made in tranches, mostly N10 million per transaction, and N47 million on the last day.

2. For the “grass-cutting” contract, Lawal’s Rholavision was awarded the consultancy contract on March 8, 2016, while the owner was in the service of the government as federal cabinet secretary, in breach of Nigeria’s code of conduct for public officers and the Public Procurement Act.

But apart from that contract which formed the basis of the call by the Senate that  Lawal be removed and prosecuted by President Muhammadu Buhari last December, the suspended SGF was also into other fraudulent deals with companies using PINE as conduit pipe.

3. For instance, on August 8, 2016, JMT Global Technologies Ltd transferred N30 million from its Zenith Bank account 114357188 to Rholavision. Then, JMT had just got eight contracts for “rehabilitations/renovations in Adamawa” State for the sum of N199.4 million.

4. Also Messrs Adamawa Boreholes and Drilling Companies Ltd transferred N18 million to Mr. Lawal’s company, after clinching N54.8 million contract to renovate seven classrooms at Yeskule Girls Secondary School, Michika Adamawa State.

5. Similarly, Barde Brothers Multi-Services Limited which was also awarded seven contracts to renovate classrooms in Adamawa State for N145 million returned N71 million to Mr. Lawal’s company account on October 10, 2016, and another N13 million between July 7, 2016 and September 9, 2016 to his private account.               (Post-Nigeria)

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Nigeria Still Unable To Prosecute High-profile Corrupt People, Says Obasanjo

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Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo

Olaleye Aluko, Abuja

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said a major challenge with the anti-corruption drive of the Federal Government is the lack of successful prosecution of high-profile corruption cases involving ‘Politically-Exposed Persons’.

Obasanjo added that despite the efforts of successive governments, corruption still posed a challenge to the progress and development of Nigeria.

The former President said this while delivering an inaugural lecture organised by the National Open University of Nigeria, in Abuja, on Tuesday.

The lecture was titled, “Leadership, Governance, and the Challenges of Development in Nigeria: The Way forward.”

Obasanjo, who admitted that Nigeria’s poverty and seeming lack of direction was caused by leadership, said the institutions in the country needed to be strengthened to ensure transparency and accountability.

He said, “Nigeria’s poverty, insecurity, lack of unity and cohesion, youth restiveness and seeming directionless are conscious and unconscious choices made by Nigerian leaders. The impact of corruption on the Nigerian society and economy has been devastating. It continues to affect the government’s ability to provide basic services and has negatively impacted on the wellbeing of the population.

“The lack of successful prosecution of high-profile corruption cases involving some Politically-Exposed Persons is giving a serious cause for concern both for Nigerians and the international community. We must take away the proceeds of illicit enrichment and remove negative role models in our society.”

Obasanjo noted that the government needed serious investments in the areas of human security and development of infrastructure.

“We must invest in areas that can improve human security including food, education, and health. Our budget must reflect a genuine commitment for the development of infrastructure such as roads, rails, power, ports and housing. When we spend 70 to 80 per cent of our revenue on recurrent expenditure, we have very little left for capital and infrastructural development. We should move to 50 per cent of our revenue being spent on capital development,” the former president added.    (Punchng.com)

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I Am Not Harassing Your Family, Buhari Tells Jonathan |The Republican News

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Muhammadu Buhari and Goodluck Jonathan

Olalekan Adetayo and Godwin Isenyo

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, said he was not harassing the family of former President Goodluck Jonathan or any other persons in the current administration’s ongoing fight against corruption as claimed by Jonathan.

He said anybody, who did not have skeleton in his or her cupboard, had nothing to fear about the ongoing anti-graft war.

Buhari said this in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, while reacting to an allegation credited to Jonathan in a book, ‘Against the Run of Play’, written by the Chairman of ThisDay Editorial Board, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, that his family was being harassed by the present government.

The former President was also quoted to have disagreed with the style being used by the present administration in its anti-graft fight.

But Buhari said given the scale of revelations and recovery of funds so far by the anti-corruption agencies, it was obvious that corruption had “an uninhibited course during our recent past.”

While stating that he was resolute in the fight, the President said time would give the verdict on whose style of fighting corruption ultimately yielded the most dividends.

He said his belief was that national interest must always be placed above personal interest, no matter who was involved.

The statement read in part, “We make bold to state unequivocally that President Buhari harasses nobody; he merely allows the law to take its course.

“For the umpteenth time, we say that anybody, without skeleton in his or her cupboard, has nothing to fear about the bared fangs of the anti-corruption initiative. Fear belongs only to those who have abused trust while in office.

“Anybody who feels aggrieved is free to approach the courts to seek redress or justice. President Buhari believes in the rule of law and that is why his campaign against corruption is anchored on that plank.

“With regard to President Buhari’s anti-graft style, which the former President deprecates, given the scale of revelations and recoveries so far by the anti-corruption agencies, it is obvious that corruption had an uninhibited course during our recent past.”

Meanwhile, Senator Abubakar Girei said Jonathan should not blame anybody for his electoral defeat in the 2015 presidential election.

Girei said the former President was the architect of his failure in the election which ushered in Buhari as President in 2015.

Girei represented Adamawa Central Senatorial zone between 1999 and 2003 on the platform of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party.

The former Senator, who is now a member of the All Progressives Congress, said in a statement in Kaduna on Tuesday, that the former President was defeated because “he imposed Boko Haram insurgency, Niger Delta militancy, armed banditry and all forms of insecurity to remain in power.”

According to him, it is uncharitable for Jonathan to blame his defeat on local and international leaders and the former Independent National Electoral Commission chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega.

He also berated a former Military Governor of Kaduna State, Col. Abubakar Umar, for saying the Federal Government disrespected the former President.

Gerei added, “The likes of Col. Dangiwa Umar and their paymasters cannot save him (Jonathan) and his cohort from paying for their sins sooner than later.”            (Punchng.com)

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