The federal high court in Lagos has sentenced the former governor of Abia Stae Senator Orji Uzor Kalu to 12 years imprisonment after being found guilty on all the 39-count charges brought against him.
He was convicted of N7.65billion fraud perpetuated when he was Abia State governor between 1999 and 2007.
Kalu was convicted alongside his firm, Slok Nigeria Limited and his former Abia State director of finance, Ude Udeogu.
The court also ordered forfeiture of all assets of his company to the federal government.
Justice Mohammed Idris, who delivered the sentence, had earlier declared him guilty of the charge in the case that had been on for 12 years.
In an amended 39-counts-charge, they were accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of conspiring and diverting over N7 billion from the coffers of the state.
In one of the counts, the EFCC alleged that Kalu “did procure Slok Nigeria Limited – a company solely owned by you and members of your family – to retain in its account, domiciled with the then Inland Bank Plc, Apapa branch, Lagos, an aggregate sum of N7,197,871,208.7 on your behalf.”
The prosecution claimed that the N7.1 billion “formed part of the funds illegally derived from the treasury of the Abia State Government and which was converted into several bank drafts before they were paid into the said company’s account.”
The prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, said the ex-governor violated Section 17(c) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004, and was liable to be punished under Section 16 of the same Act.
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Justice Mohammed Idris of a Federal High Court in Lagos has convicted a former governor of Abia state, Orji Uzor Kalu and his company Slok Nigeria Ltd, of 39 Counts charge of Fraud and Money Laundering.
The court found the second convict, his former commissioner of Finance Jonnes Udeogo guilty of 34 counts.
The court will soon proceed to sentence.
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Former Super Eagle player, Austin Jay Jay Okocha has been dragged to Court in Aberdeen, for money laundering. Okocha was seen at court wearing white trainers with smart black trousers, a white shirt and suit jacket on top of a puffer jacket.
He faces one charge in relation to the alleged acquisition, use and possession of the criminal property, and another relating to allegedly concealing, disguising, converting and transferring criminal property. It is understood the appearance relates to incidents alleged to have happened in the north-east in 2015.
The Former PSG and Bolton Wanderers star made no plea during the hearing. (ElombahNews)
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An American identified as Ara Dolaria, has been arrested by the United States government over an illegal arms deal with the Nigerian government. The 58-year-old man who was arrested on May 15 and also stands accused of money laundering, and conspiracy, allegedly accepted approximately $8.3 million from Nigeria and SEI. A statement released by the U.S. attorney’s office on Monday, May 20, 2019, revealed that his Fresno-based arms brokering company, Dolarian Capital Inc. (DCI), had been denied licenses to broker international arms deals by the U.S. Department of State beginning in 2013 and continuing through 2014.
However he went on to execute sales contracts with Societe D’Equipments Internationaux (SEI), a French arms brokering company acting on behalf of Nigeria, for the purchase and transfer of high‑explosive bombs, rockets, military-grade firearms, and aircraft-mounted cannons worth more than $8.5 million. It was gathered that the Nigerian government funneled the funds, in part, through a purported furniture company in Hong Kong and then routed them through numerous shell accounts held by Dolarian and others.
Below is the tweet from the United States Department of Justice with regards to this case against the accused, Mr Ara Dolaria.
Former Fresno man allegedly attempted to broker sales of bombs, rockets, military firearms, and aircraft-mounted cannons from Eastern Europe and South Africa to Nigeria https://t.co/ioyCpIPRiA— EDCAnews (@EDCAnews) 20 May 2019
While the US government seized over $6 million that remained in Dolarian’s account with civil forfeiture proceedings related to that seizure currently pending, it was learnt that he used the funds to pay off personal expenses such as federal and state tax debts, and the purchase of a BMW SUV. The American who was arrested for $8.5m illegal arms deal with Nigerian government, had also tried to broker illegal arms deals with the Cameroonian government as well as Paul Malong, a South Sudanese warlord in Kenya. (Culled from unclesuru, US Department of Justice)
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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has revealed a grand plot by some elements to foist a Fulani and Islamic agenda on Nigeria and other West African countries, just as he called for global action against terrorism and other organised crimes.
Obasanjo, a one-time military Head of State and two-term civilian president expected to be privy to local and global intelligence on terrorism, said lack of education and employment for the youths could no longer be advanced as the reason Boko Haram insurgency still festered.
“It is no longer an issue of lack of education and lack of employment for our youths in Nigeria which it began as.
“It is now West African Fulanisation, African Islamisation and global organised crimes of human trafficking, money laundering, drug trafficking, gun trafficking, illegal mining and regime change,” he said.
The former president made the revelation on Saturday while speaking on the topic Mobilising Nigeria’s Human and Natural Resources for National Development and Stability, at the second session of the Synod of the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, held at the Cathedral of Saint Paul’s Anglican Church, Oleh in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State.
He knocked the Federal Government for allowing the Boko Haram and herdsmen’s attacks to fester by treating the matter with kid gloves, urging President Muhamamdu Buhari to rally local and global stakeholders in seeking solution to the fight against terrorism.
The former president tasked Buhari to take the issue of insecurity seriously at all levels and address it at once “without favouritism or cuddling.”
“Both Boko Haram and herdsmen’s acts of violence were not treated as they should at the beginning. They have both incubated and developed beyond what Nigeria can handle alone. They are now combined and internationalised with ISIS in control.
“Yet, we could have dealt with both earlier and nip them in the bud, but Boko Haram boys were seen as rascals not requiring serious attention in administering holistic measures of stick and carrot.
“And when we woke up to the reality, it was turned to industry for all and sundry to supply materials and equipment that were already outdated and that were not fit for active military purpose.
“Soldiers were poorly trained for the unusual mission, poorly equipped, poorly motivated, poorly led and made to engage in propaganda rather than achieving results.
“Intelligence was poor and governments embarked on games of denials while paying ransoms which strengthened the insurgents and yet governments denied payments of ransoms.
“Today, the insecurity issue has gone beyond the wit and capacity of Nigerian government or even West African governments.
“Government must appreciate where we are, summon each group that should make contributions one by one and subsequently collectively seek the way forward for all hands on deck and with the holistic approach of stick and carrot.
“There should be no sacred cow. Some of the groups that I will suggest to be contacted are: Traditional rulers, past heads of Service Chiefs (no matter how competent or incompetent they have been and how much they have contributed to the mess we are in), past heads of paramilitary or organisations, private sector and civil society.
“Others are community leaders particularly in the most affected areas, present and past governors, present and past local government leaders, religious leaders, past Heads of States, past Intelligence Chiefs, past heads of Civil Service and relevant current and retired diplomats, members of the opposition and nay groups that may be deemed relevant,” he said.
On the poor state of the economy, Obasanjo advised the Buhari-led government to wriggle itself out of the temptation of excessive borrowing and the attendant devaluation trap.
“What have we gained from moving Nigerian currency value from one naira to almost two dollar to N360 to one dollar in one generation’s impoverishment?” he asked.
Meanwhile, speaking on the theme for the Synod Work, Night Comes taken from John chapter 9 verses 4 and 5, the Bishop of Ughelli Diocese, Right Reverend John Aruakpo, urged the congregation to serve God while they’re still alive, stressing that, “no one knows where, how and when death will meet him/her.”
The cleric, who acknowledged the presence of dignitaries, commended former President Obasanjo for honouring the church’s invitation to attend the 2019 synod. (Tribune)
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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested the Accountant-General of Imo State, Uzoho Casmir, for allegedly helping Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, to launder N1.05bn for the governorship and assembly elections on Saturday.
The allegations were contained in an EFCC situation report which was obtained by The PUNCH on Friday.
Okorocha, who is a member of the All Progressives Congress, is supporting his son-in-law, Nwosu of the Action Alliance against the governorship candidate of the APC, Senator Hope Uzodinma.
The act earned Okorocha a suspension from the party last week.
The EFCC report read in part, “The, EFCC, Enugu Zonal Office, Thursday, March 8, 2019 arrested the Acting Accountant General of Imo State, Mr. Uzoho Casmir, on suspicion of laundering the sum of N1.050bn through a new generation bank for the governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha.
“Uzoho’s arrest followed intelligence report that the governor intended to use the money for vote buying in favour of a particular candidate in tomorrow’s gubernatorial election. Intelligence further revealed that Mr Casmir withdrew the amount in three tranches between Tuesday and Thursday this week in the following order; N200m on Tuesday, N500m on Wednesday and N350m on Thursday.
“Meanwhile, the EFCC has blocked the traced accounts, while the arrested Accountant General has been providing useful information to the commission. Mr Casmir was before his appointment, a Director of Finance in Okorocha’s government and was in 2016 fingered in N2bn bailout fund scam, which was then given to the state by the Federal Government for the payment of salary arrears of civil servants.” (Punch)
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The Federal Government yesterday increased to 32 from 19, the counts in a money laundering charge filed against a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (rtd) and four others before an Abuja High Court.
In the amended charge, the Federal Government alleged that the National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus; former Chairman Board of Trustee PDP, Chief Tony Anenih; former PDP Spokesperson, Chief Olisa Metuh; Publisher of Thisday, Nduka Obaigbena, Senator Iyorchia Ayu; Chairman of AIT, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, Mouftah Baba-Ahmed, Bello Abba Mohammed, Dr. Bello Mohammed, AVM M. N Umar and Otunba Jonah Ogunniyi are among the beneficiaries of the said money.
Apart from individuals, corporate organisations were also named as beneficiaries in the new charge and they include AMP Solar Service, Afro-Arab Investment, Bam Project and Projectiles Limited, Bob Oshodin Organisation Limited, Wehsac Farms Limited, Wehsac Limited, Dimaris Mode Coolture Limited, First Aralac Global Limited, Stellavera Development Limited, Jawaz Multi-purpose Venture Limited, Little Italy Global Services Limited, Belsha Nigeria Ltd and Syvan McNamara Limited, among others.
The Federal Government had first arraigned Dasuki, alongside a former Director of Finance and Administration, Office of National Security Adviser, Shuaibu Salisu; former General Manager, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Aminu Baba-Kusa, and two firms- Acacia Holdings and Reliance Referral Hospital in November, 2015 on a 19-count, bordering on breach of trust and money laundering to the tune of N13.5billion.
In the new charge, the Federal Government dropped the name Salisu Shuaib, who was a former Director of Finance and Supply in the ONSA under Dasuki.
At the resumed trial yesterday, Prosecuting Counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN, informed the court that they have amended the charge against the defendants from 19 to 32.
He added that the amendment charges excluded the second defendant, Shuaibu Salisu, and urged the court to accept the amendment and also asked for a date for re-arraignment.
Responding, Dasuki’s counsel, Ahmed Raji, (SAN) informed the court that they were served on April 30, and it was only on May 1, that it was brought to his notice.
“I have no privilege of discussing with the first defendant and the counts are almost doubled. Consequently, we will be asking for an adjournment.’’
Counsel to Baba Kusa, Solomon Umoh, SAN, and other counsel in the matter, aligned with Raji for adjournment.
The trial judge, Justice Hussein Baba-Yusuf, accepted the prosecution’s amendment and adjourned till May 17 for re-arraignment.
The Federal Government did not, however, give any reason why the former Director of Finance in ONSA, who served along with Dasuki, was dropped from the trial having been arraigned together since 2015.
However, lead counsel to Dasuki, Raji, said that he did not know the deal Shuaib had with the Federal Government and EFCC that could have warranted the dropping of his name from the charge.
Raji, however, said that subsequent event in the trial would reveal to the defendants and their counsel all the circumstances leading to the dropping of the core accused, adding that “till then, we will keep our fingers crossed.”
Dasuki and the other four defendants were first arraigned in 2015 and pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.
They were subsequently admitted to bail.
Dasuki was later re-arrested after perfecting the bail conditions on December 29, 2015, and had been in the custody of the Department of State Services, DSS till date. (New Telegraph)
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday urged Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo of a Federal High Court in Lagos not to unfreeze a Unity Bank account with a balance of N1, 902,673,399.93 belonging to a businesswoman, Hajiya Bola Shagaya.
In a counter affidavit filed against Shagaya’s motion seeking to unfreeze the account, the anti-graft agency, through one of its operatives, Musbahu Yahaya Abubakar, argued that the money was the balance of a total of N3,305,150,000, which she received as “founder fees” on behalf of an organization, “Women for Change” being spearheaded by a former First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan.
The EFCC claimed that the N3.3 billion was realised through Shagaya’s “fraudulent activities in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC),” where she allegedly “influenced the fraudulent allocation of Dual Purpose Kerosene to Index Petrolube Africa Ltd., with the aid of Mrs Jonathan.”
The N3.3 billion was said to have been paid by Index Petrolube Africa Ltd. and its sister company, Autodex Nigeria Limited. The EFCC, while revealing that the two companies are owned by one Honourable Ezeani ThankGod, also posited that the reason behind the N3.3 billion payments was to “fraudulently facilitate Dual Purpose Kerosene to ThankGod’s company, Index Petrolube Africa Ltd.”
The anti-graft agency further claimed that out of the N3.3 billion, Shagaya had “paid a cumulative sum of N1,212,000,000 to the former first lady, through her account, ‘Women for Change Initiative’ account domiciled in Diamond Bank, to which she is the sole signatory.”
It added that after paying N1.2 billion to Jonathan, Shagaya kept the balance of N1.9 billion to herself by “warehousing” same in her personal bank account in Unity Bank. The commission further claimed that it was on this basis that it secured an order of Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court in Lagos on December 29, 2016, to freeze the account.
However, the businesswoman, through her lawyer, Napoleon Emeaso- Nwachukwu, is contending that she was not given a fair hearing before Justice Muslim Hassan made the freezing order.
She urged Justice Oguntoyinbo to set aside the order by declaring it unconstitutional, null and void. She claimed it violates her right to own movable property as guaranteed by Section 44 (1) (k) of the Constitution.
In a 19-paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Sulaiman Aliu, the businesswoman said she is worried that the ex parte May 17. Meanwhile, the anti-graft agency yesterday interrogated Senator Stella Oduah, over an alleged N9.4 billion fraud in respect of security installations at some airports.
Highly placed sources, who informed New Telegraph about the development, said the senator representing Anambra North arrived the commission’s headquarters at about 11a.m.
She was still being interrogated as at last night. One of the sources, who spoke in confidence with this newspaper, said: “Senator Stella Oduah finally honoured EFCC invitation today (Monday). She arrived the headquarters of the agency in Abuja at about 11a.m. and was still being grilled by a team of investigators by 6p.m. “She was invited over allegations bordering on abuse of office and money laundering. “One of the allegations concerns fraud in the N9.4 billion ISEC contract for security installations in some airports.” (New Telegraph)
An operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Usman Zakari, yesterday, narrated before the Federal High Court, Lagos, how former Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, laundered $115 million, through three oil companies and two individuals.
Zakari was the EFCC second witness in the ongoing trial of former Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate in Kwara State, Mr. Mohammed Dele Belgore and former Minister for National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Sulaiman, who are standing trial in the alleged N450 million fraud.
Belgore and Sulaiman are being re-arraigned before Justice Rilwan Aikawa on an amended five counts, wherein the name of the former Petroleum minister was mentioned in the charge.
According to the amended charge, on or about March 27, 2015, Alison-Madueke was accused of conspiring with Belgore and Sulaiman to directly take possession of N450 million, which they reasonably ought to have known forms part of proceeds of unlawful act.
The two defendants were equally said to have taken the said funds in cash, which exceeded the amount authorised by law, without going through any financial institution.
They were also accused of paying N50 million to one Sheriff Shagaya, without going through financial institutions. (The Sun)
Former Niger State Governor, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu
Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday arraigned the immediate past Governor of Niger State, Babangida Aliyu, before a Federal High Court in Abuja, on charges of money laundering.
The anti-graft agency arraigned Aliyu alongside the 2015 governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party and a former Niger State Commissioner for Environment, Parks, Gardens and Forest Resources, Umar Nasko.
Both men pleaded not guilty to the eight counts in which they were accused of conspiring and diverting over N1bn ecological funds which the state was said to have received from the Federal Government in 2014.
They allegedly paid the money into the account of a private company, D-Sabrin International Limited, through the Niger State Ministry of Environment.
Some of the counts preferred against them in the case marked FHC/ABJ/CR/71/2017, read, “That you, Dr Muazu Babangida Aliyu (whilst being the Executive Governor of Niger State) and Umar Muhammed Nasko (whilst being the Commissioner for Environment, Parks, Gardens and Forest Resources in Niger State) sometime in 2014, at Minna, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did conspire between yourselves to commit an offence to wit; money laundering of ecological funds released by the Federal Government to the Niger State Government and, thereby, committed an offence contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.”
Shortly after the defendants took their pleas, their lawyer, Mr. Mamman Usman (SAN), moved their bail applications.
The lawyer added that the EFCC had earlier granted them an administrative bail.
EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Ben Ikani, did not oppose the bail application but urged the court to impose conditions that would make the defendants to attend their trial. (Punchng.com)