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Magu: I’m Glad Senate Didn’t Confirm My Appointment |The Republican News

EFCC Boss, Ibrahim Magu

Oluwatosin Omojuyigbe

 

The acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, said on Thursday that he was glad the Senate refused to confirm him as the substantive chairman of the anti-graft agency.

Magu said if the Senate had confirmed him, perhaps he would not have been able to perform as much as he had done.

The acting chairman said this before the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja where he was testifying in a libel suit he filed against The Sun Newspaper.

Magu had sued publishers of the Sun Newspaper for a series of publications which he described as libellous and injurious to his character.

The EFCC boss who sued the publishers before Justice Doris Okuwobi claimed N5bn damages and also demanded that The Sun Newspapers should publish an apology and retract the alleged libellous publications.

Magu, under cross-examination by the respondent’s counsel, Charles Enwelunta, said he was not worried that he had been rejected by the Senate twice.

He said, “I have been rejected by the Senate twice and it does not worry me that I’m not confirmed; I’m not bothered. It’s good that they did not confirm me, I may not be able to work very well as we have been able to get over 700 convictions.”

He claimed before the court that he had only one house in the Karo area of Abuja as against the publication of The Sun Newspaper alleging that two houses were traced to his wife by the Department of State Services.

Magu dismissed as false The Sun Newspaper’s publication of March 25, 2017, titled ‘Magu under fresh probe,’ which claimed that two houses located in a highbrow area in Maitama, Abuja were traced to his wife and that he was under discreet investigation by the DSS.

He said, “Since I came to the EFCC, nobody has investigated me. I am not under any probe, the publication is totally false. Even if I have the money, I wouldn’t buy houses in Maitama.

“My wife is a civil servant. We only have one house sold to us in Karo, Abuja. The publication is completely untrue.

“I want to tell you the damage it has done to me. It was not done to me alone, it has gone down my lineage, the entire family, and it has done so much wrong. It has done so much damage.”

Justice Okuwobi adjourned the matter till February 28, 2019 for further proceedings. (Punch)

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Uproar In Senate As Buhari Excludes South-South, South-East From EFCC Board |RN

Olalekan Adetayo, with agency report

There was a rowdy session in the  Senate on Tuesday over the four members of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The senators were divided as the lawmakers from the South-East and the South-South protested the exclusion of the two geopolitical zones by the President in his nominations.

But the senators from the North, particularly the All Progressives Congress members, argued that the Senate should proceed with the confirmation of the nominees.

The division led to a resolution to suspend the confirmation for more legislative input.

The nominees whose names were submitted to the Senate for confirmation are Ndasule Moses (North-Central), Lawan Mamman (North-East), Galadanci Imam Najip (North-West) and Adeleke Adebayo Rafiu (South-West).

The Senate Committee on Anti-Corruption and Financial Crimes led by Chukwuka Utazi had presented a report on the nominees to the plenary.

The committee recommended their confirmation on the basis of their “qualification, experience and suitability” for the job.

However, Utazi said the committee noted that the nominations did not reflect the Federal Character principle as the South-East and South-South geopolitical zones were excluded.

He stated, “The committee observed that three out of the four nominees were from the North-Central, North-East and North-West geopolitical zones, with only one nominee from the southern part of the country, that is South-West.

“The committee notes that this is not in strict compliance with the Federal Character Principle as provided for in section 14 (3) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The committee makes this observation to guide the Executive in future nominations,” Utazi said.

The News Agency of Nigeria reported that after the committee had presented its report,   senators Rabiu Kwankwaso (PDP Kano Central) and Barau Jibrin (APC-Kano North) supported its recommendation  that the nominees should be confirmed based on their “experience and competence.”

However, trouble began when Senator Victor Umeh (APGA-Anambra Central), rose to oppose the nominations because they would send more wrong signals about the fight against corruption.

The senator noted that “while the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, is from the North-East, the recently confirmed Secretary of the commission, Olanipkekun Olukoyede, is from the South-West and two of the nominees are from the North.”

Umeh said, “Mr President, we have continued to say this that there is a need to accommodate all parts of Nigeria in activities of government, particularly in appointing people into agencies of government.

“That has been the practice in this chamber, and on this issue of fight against corruption, the EFCC is a very important commission because the fight involves all parts of Nigeria.

“People are investigated in all parts of Nigeria and the commission cannot fight corruption to the satisfaction of all Nigerians if some parts of the country are not represented in it.”

He added, “This makes a total of four people from the North. The South-East and South-South are not accommodated in this commission.

“It is important that we include all regions in governing roles and in the fight against corruption, as it involves us all. All geopolitical zones should be included in this commission.”

He urged the Senate to be “bold enough” to step down consideration of the report and return the nomination to the Presidency.

Senator Matthew Urighide (PDP-Edo-South) supported Umeh, saying the exclusion of the South-South and the South-East would paint a bad picture.

Urighide also called on the Senate to step down consideration of the report until federal character was reflected in the nomination.

He stated, “Let us delegate people to look at the distribution of these appointments. I suggest that this matter be stood down while it is looked into.”

Eyinnaya Abaribe from Abia State also argued that the confirmation should be stepped down and nominees be returned to the President for reconsideration.

Asked by the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, to give more information on the composition of the EFCC board membership, Utazi said there were six positions, including the chairman and secretary.

He noted that the positions could go round the six geopolitical zones of the country, and give everyone a sense of justice, describing the “lopsidedness” as unfair to the excluded zones.

The Senate Leader, Ahmed Lawan (APC-Yobe North), however, said as far as the nominations were concerned, no law was breached.

He said that they did not breach the EFCC Act which, he argued, was silent on the zones from which the members should be appointed.

Senator Ali Ndume also said the issue should not have been raised on the floor of the Senate since the chairman of the committee who is from the South-East did not raise the issue.

The chamber was thrown into pandemonium as the senators rose from their seats and yelled at each other, while the rowdiness lasted.

Efforts by Saraki to calm the angry lawmakers were unsuccessful. This prompted the lawmakers to go into a closed-door session, which lasted for 25 minutes.

It was at the session held behind closed doors that they agreed the confirmation be suspended for further legislative input.  (Punch)

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We Will Get Diezani, Says Magu |The Republican News

Says $300m loot stuck in UK

The EFCC needs less than 72 hours to comply with Tuesday’s court order mandating it and other security agencies to produce Diezani.

Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja

 

Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, has vowed that the anti crime agency will get former minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, to answer to allegations of graft leveled against her.

Magu, who made the disclosure in Abuja, yesterday, said the EFCC needs less than 72 hours to comply with Tuesday’s court order mandating it and other security agencies to produce Diezani.

In the event that the EFCC cannot, Magus said he would inform the court of their constraint as the former minister does not live in Nigeria, presently.

Magu, however, said the EFCC has already commenced legal process towards bringing her back, to face corruption trial.

He disclosed these at a session with newsmen and social media influencers at the Commission’s headquarters in Jabi, Abuja, yesterday.

Justice Valentine Ashi of the Federal Capital Territory High Court, sitting in Apo, Abuja, had, on Tuesday, ordered EFCC, the Nigeria Police Force, the Department of State Service and other security agencies to arrest and produce the former minister within 72 hours.

The order followed a motion ex parte filed by EFCC’s counsel, Msuur Denga, praying for a warrant of arrest against Alison-Madueke to enable the Commission arraign her for alleged financial crimes in Nigeria.

The former minister has been residing in London since 2015.

Magu also said Nigeria’s looted $300 million remains stuck in the United Kingdom.

He also revealed the commission is collaborating with the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies and others, to stop vote buying in 2019.

The EFCC boss also lamented that a lot of Nigeria’s monies stashed abroad by some Nigerians are yet to be released, despite several promises by authorities of the countries where the funds are.

He added that the looted funds outside Nigeria were massive.

In a statement by the acting EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade, yesterday, Magus said: “We will comply with the court order. In fact, it is in our character to do so. If we won’t comply with the court order, that means we have reasons to appeal against the court decision.

“We need less than 72 hours to produce Diezani. But she is being prosecuted by other law enforcement agencies outside this country. This is our predicament.”

Talking about the challenge in getting her, he said, “Another law enforcement agency is in the matter. You know she is in the United Kingdom. And we are making preparations to get her. We have already gone to the court, in fact that was our request for extradition that compelled the court to issue a warrant of arrest against her. I need just less than an hour. If she is here, I will get her immediately and take her before the court. Our problem is that she is another man’s country.”

On looted funds still hanging outside the country, Magu said: “More than 80 percent of the loot recovery outside this country is still hanging. Ask them why is it hanging? Why is it so difficult to repatriate this money, when you have established that this only came from Nigeria and you know that this person does not own this money? There is no justification. It’s not small money. We have over $300 million hanging in the United Kingdom.”

On the commission’s plans for next year’s elections, Magu disclosed EFCC is on the trail of politicians to ensure that they do not have the opportunity to sell ill-gotten properties to finance campaigns.   (The Sun)

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EFCC Officials Escape Death As Fire Guts Office |The Republican News

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

At least two persons escaped death while equipment worth millions of naira was damaged after a fire incident at the  old head office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in the Wuse 2 area of Abuja on Monday.

Although the cause of the fire could not be ascertained as of press time, it was learnt that the fire started from the ICT department which formerly served as the newsroom.

The EFCC said in a statement by its acting spokesman, Mr. Tony Orilade, that the damage would have been worse if not for the timely arrival of men of the Federal Fire Service.

The firefighters led by the Sector Commander, Melone Onyekachi, arrived at the scene when the service was alerted to  the fire by the Incident Duty Officer of the commission, Kayode Oyetunde,  at 7pm .

The statement read in part, “The fire started at the former newsroom, which now serves as storage for ICT equipment that were retrieved from the commission’s former offices scattered across Abuja.

“The former newsroom is  in the Costa Hall,  which was inaugurated by Dr. Antonio Costa in 2007. The building currently houses the Data Centre and the Combined Inter Agency Task Force.”

When asked what could have caused  the fire, Onyekachi said, “Our duty is to put out  fire; that we have successfully done. There is another department that will come and ascertain the cause of the fire.”

According to the statement, two officers attached to the Combined Inter-Agency Task Force who were trapped on the second floor of the building were  rescued before the fire was eventually subdued. The extent of the damage would be ascertained after stock-taking.

The Commission’s Chief Security Officer, Nasir Abdullahi, immediately after the fire was stopped, went to the Maitama Police Station to report.   (Punch)

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EFCC Vows To Arrest Innoson Chief, Chukwuma |The Republican News

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has vowed to arrest the Chairman, Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited, Innocent Chukwuma, in order to face fraud charges in court.

The EFCC spokesman, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, said this in a statement on Wednesday shortly after Justice Olusola Williams of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, struck out the case of fraud it instituted against Chukwuma.

The court struck out the case after the anti-graft agency failed to produce Chukwuma in court to face trial.

Chukwuma and his company, Innoson Motors Nigeria Limited, were to be arraigned on four counts of conspiracy to obtain by false pretences, obtaining by false pretences, stealing and forgery.

The defendants allegedly committed the offences between 2009 and July 2011 in Lagos.

The defendants were alleged to have conspired to obtain, by false pretences, containers of motorcycles, spare parts and raw materials, the property of Guaranty Trust Bank, from Mitsui OSK Lines Limited, Apapa, Lagos.

They were also alleged to have fraudulently induced staff of Mitsui OSK and Maersk Line to deliver to them, via their clearing agents, the goods that were imported from China in the name of GTB by pretending that they were authorised by the bank to clear the goods.

The defendants were said to have forged a bill of lading numbered 598286020 of Maersk Line Limited and 11007950841 of Mussui O.S.K. Line by knowingly putting a false GTB stamp and signature of the bank employee.

However, since the suit was instituted, first before Justice Mojisola Dada of the same court, the defendant had refused to appear in court to face his trial.

In a short ruling on Wednesday, Justice Williams held that it was the responsibility of the EFCC to produce him in court.

“This court is not an investigator or a prosecutor. This court cannot waste precious judicial time prosecuting a matter that is going nowhere.

“This is a criminal matter that can be instituted anytime the prosecution is ready.  The court hereby strikes out the matter,” the judge held.  (Punch)

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EFCC Asks Nigeria Customs To Watch Out For Fayose Being Smuggled Out Of The Country

Ayodele-Fayose-New

Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose

“@officialEFCC putting my name on watch list after notification of my coming is petty. I’m not among those who are afraid to face tomorrow. Nobody is God.”

• Customs orders governor’s arrest at border

• ‘Where were you when Adeosun left Nigeria?’

Ismail Omipidan

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has asked the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) to place outgoing Ekiti State governor Ayodele Fayose on its watch list.

Fayose, whose tenure ends on October 16, is being investigated by the EFCC for alleged abuse of office, money laundering, among other offences.

In a letter, dated September 12, addressed to the Comptroller General of Customs Service, Hameed Ali, the EFCC said Fayose may be planning to flee the country.

“There is a reasonable suspicion suggesting that he (Fayose) may likely leave the country either through the land borders, airports or seaports in order to evade investigation. Hence, you are kindly requested to watch list him and arrest him,” the EFCC, in a letter personally signed by Ibrahim Magu, acting chairman said.

In its response, the NCS instructed all zonal coordinators, area commanders and comptrollers to monitor Fayose, through the provided contact details if sighted, the NCS stated in its letter of September 14.

Reacting to the development through his personal Twitter handle, Ekiti State governor, Ayo Fayose, noted that to put his name on the watch list after he had formally written to the anti-graft agency to inform it of his willingness to report to it next month, is an indication that the EFCC was playing politics with the matter.

“@officialEFCC putting my name on watch list after notification of my coming is not only political but petty. I’m not among those who are afraid to face tomorrow. Nobody is God. They should expect me on October 16, 2018. I will remain in PDP not minding their intimidation,” Fayose declared.

Also reacting, Fayose’s Special Adviser on Communication and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said: “That would be irresponsible of the EFCC and of the APC-led Federal Government. This is the same APC-led Federal Government that allowed Kemi Adeosun who forged her NYSC certificate to resign and leave the country immediately, but it is now placing alert on customs against Fayose. What happened to the alert that should have been placed on Kemi Adeosun?

“Governor Fayose has written to the EFCC that he would appear at their office by 1pm on October 16. They should wait for him, he is not afraid and not a coward like them who are afraid of just anything. And we want to say that they should not waste their time and also not use the hushed up alert to customs to steal from the Federal Government coffers. Their case is like that of cow thieves running after fowl thieves.

“Governor Fayose is not afraid of any of them; he will appear as promised on October 16. They wrote a letter to the governor that he should appear on September 20 but by section 308 of the constitution, Governor Fayose still enjoys immunity against criminal prosecution until October 16, and when that garment of immunity is removed, Governor Fayose will present himself as promised on October 16 at 1pm,”the governor’s aide said.

Daily Sun recalls that Fayose’s party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lost the July 2018 governorship election in Ekiti State, to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Kayode Fayemi. He defeated PDP’s candidate and outgoing deputy governor, Olusola Kolapo, to win the race.

Barely 24 hours after the election was won and lost, the EFCC, had in a tweet noted that with Fayose’s tenure ending in less than three months, he should be preparing to visit the Commission.

The Commission intimated that investigation into Fayose’s alleged N1.3 billion poultry project during his first term would be reopened so as to continue the prosecution.

“The parri (party) is over; the cloak of immunity torn apart and the staff broken. Ekiti Integrated Poultry Project/Biological concepts Limited N1.3bn fraud case file dusted off the shelves. See you soon,” the EFCC had tweeted.

Since 2007, Fayose has been having a running battle with the anti-graft agency. A new twist was however introduced to it in 2016, following the discovery that the governor, had allegedly benefitted from the alleged arms deal scandal, amounting to N1.3bn, which he was alleged to have received from the then minister of state for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro to prosecute his election in 2014. Obanikoro has since joined the APC. (The Sun)

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Buhari’s Government, HSBC Engagment In Fight Gets Uglier |The Republican News

Buhari-Muhammadu

“We ask them (HSBC) to heed President Buhari’s constant refrain: return our stolen assets, then see how well we will do.”

• As EFCC allegedly traces $33.6m to 3 Nigerians’ accounts with bank

• You’re hypocrite, Atiku slams govt

Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja

The Federal Government appears not to be taking lightly the alarm raised by the British multinational bank (HSBC), which predicted that re-electing President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 could further worsen Nigeria’s present economic situation.

Barely 48 hours after the presidency issued a statement, accusing the bank of aiding the collapse of Nigeria’s economy in the past by conniving with past Nigeria’s leaders to loot the country’s resources blind, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, took a swipe at the bank, accusing it of engaging in money laundering.

But former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, came hard on the government for attacking the bank, just because it gave a verdict that Buhari’s re-election for another term would spell doom for the country’s economy.

The EFCC in a statement it posted on its Instagram page noted that the international bank “is one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in the world. HSBC’s international network comprises around 7,500 offices in over 80 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa.

“Since inception, HSBC is synonymous with money laundering and has paid billions of US Dollars in fines across the world. In Nigeria, the bank laundered more than $100 million for the late dictator, Gen Sani Abacha in Jersey, Paris, London, Switzerland and Geneva. The bank is also involved with laundering proceeds of corruption for over 50 Nigerians including a Nigerian serving Senator.

“Part of Abacha Assets yet to be recovered are: $12 million in HSBC Fund Admin Ltd with account number S-104460 in Jersey; $20 million in HSBC Life (Europe) with account number 37060762 in U.K and $1. 6 million in HSBC Bank plc with account number 38175076 in U. K.”

The presidency had in a statement signed by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, last week alleged that one of the things that helped to destroy Nigeria’s economy in the past was the connivance of HSBC with some Nigerians to loot Nigeria’s money, adding that “rather, we ask them (HSBC) to heed President Buhari’s constant refrain: return our stolen assets, then see how well we will do.”

 

Reacting to the government’s outburst, Atiku, whose position was conveyed by his Presidential Campaign Organisation, yesterday, said he was amused when he read the statement that emanated from the presidency.

He added that, “It is at once comical and pathetic that the Buhari government’s statement called HSBC corrupt. It seems they are unaware that some of the record 12 trillion worth of debt which the Buhari administration has saddled Nigeria with is actually funded from HSBC, which is the world’s largest bank.

“When they were taking their money, the ever begging Buhari administration did not know that HSBC was corrupt. It was after the HSBC told the truth about the Buhari government that they knew that the HSBC is keeping looted funds.

 

“In their statement, the presidency called HSBC ‘a bank that soiled its hand with millions of US dollars yet-to-be-recovered Abacha loot.’ They forgot that their principal, Muhammadu Buhari said ‘Abacha did not steal.’ So if Abacha did not steal, how could HSBC keep recovered Abacha loot? When you tell so many lies, you begin to contradict yourself,” Atiku said.

He reminded the All Progressives Congress-led administration that the British Prime minister, Theresa May and other international organisations have condemned Nigeria under Buhari’s leadership as one that is being regarded as the world’s centre for “extreme poverty.”

He also called on the government to put on its thinking cap so as to change the negative narrative about Nigeria.

“The fact remains that Nigeria under Buhari has been adjudged as the world headquarters for extreme poverty by the World Economic Forum and the World Poverty Clock as well as the British Prime Minister, Theresa May. Are these people also corrupt?

“Only last month, the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that our second quarter GDP growth rate was lower than our first quarter GDP growth. Another quarter of negative growth and Nigeria will enter a second recession under the Buhari administration. The same NBS published in December 2017 that 7.9 million Nigerians lost their jobs in 21 months under Buhari’s watch.

“These are the things that the government should be focused on and not to haul infantile insults at the world’s largest bank,” Atiku added.  (The Sun)

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