Wednesday, 17 January 2018
Items filtered by date: August 2016

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission will on Wednesday (today) arraign Mr. Abiodun Agbele, an ally of Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State, on charges of fraud involving N1.2bn belonging to the Federal Government.

The said sum was alleged to be part of the N4.7bn that was mysteriously transferred from the imprest account of the Office of the National Security Adviser to the bank account of Sylvan McNamara, a company allegedly owned by the sons of a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro.

Obanikoro allegedly took N1.2bn from the N4.7bn and flew it to Akure during the build-up to the governorship election in Ekiti State and handed the sum to Agbele for onward transfer to Fayose.

It was learnt on Tuesday that the EFCC filed the charges against Agbele before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday.

The EFCC had arrested Agbele in Lagos on June 28 and kept him in its custody pending investigations.

The EFCC said the amount was part of the proceeds of economic and financial crime in which Agbele “was found to have allegedly assisted in receiving and concealing in conspiracy with the former Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, and the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose.”

Justice Olukayode Adeniyi of a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama, had on July 21 ordered the EFCC to release Agbele from its custody.

Justice Adeniyi in a ruling on the suspect’s bail application declared the continued detention of the suspect without being charged to court and without the backing of any competent remand order amounted to a “gross violation” of his right.

The judge awarded N5m against the EFCC as compensation to Agbele for his unlawful detention by the anti-graft agency.

Justice Adeniyi in another ruling on Tuesday, dismissed an application by the EFCC seeking an order of stay of execution of the court’s July 21 order.

The anti-graft agency had filed the motion for stay of execution along with its notice of appeal challenging the court’s ruling.

But the judge in dismissing the application for stay of execution, held on Tuesday that there was no special circumstances to warrant the stopping the enforcement of the order granting bail to the accused.

One of our correspondents confirmed from court officials on Tuesday that Agbele had now been charged before Justice Dimgba of the Federal High Court and his arraignment slated for Wednesday.

In a related development, the EFCC has quizzed Agbele’s account officer, Rita Balogun, over the suspicious payments made into his company account domiciled in Diamond Bank.

Balogun, who works at the Business Banking Unit of the Ibadan West directorate of Diamond Bank, said in her statement of oath that Agbele received over N60m from the Ekiti State local governments funds.

The funds were allegedly paid into his company account, BYKD Consult, with number 0059177132, between February 18 and March 30, 2015. The money was then wired to Affordable Motors.

Agbele allegedly got the funds under the pretext that he was given a contract by Fayose. Investigators are, however, of the opinion that there was no evidence of any contractual agreement.

Balogun in her statement of oath, said, “On February 18, 2015, he received N18,159,050 from MDG-CGS-LG. On the same day, he received N15,319,850 from the same account. On the same day, he also received N11,238,500 from the same account.

“On February 19, 2015, he debited the account with N40m and transferred it to Affordable/Toyota. On the next day, he transferred N15m to Affordable/Toyota. On March 30, he received N15,704,325 from MDG-CGS-LG.

“On April 1, he transferred N3,195,000 to Fini Insurance Brokers. On April 29, he transferred N5m to his personal account titled Abiodun Agbele. On April 30, he transferred another N5m to his personal account while N2m was on May 15, transferred to his personal account.”

She noted that the account had since been frozen by the EFCC.

Meanwhile, workers at the Abuja headquarters of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation expressed worry over reported plans by the EFCC to probe about 50 employees of the national oil firm for an alleged N15bn retail outlets fraud.

This is coming as the corporation declared that the EFCC was not right to state that one of its former group managing directors had absconded without stating the particular GMD or the period which the affected official served at the NNPC.

When contacted, the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, NNPC, Mr. Mohammed Garba-Deen, stated that the report had done great injustice to the past GMDs of the corporation.

He said, “This is because no name was mentioned, rather what it said was a former GMD was linked to the alleged fraud. By so doing it has cast aspersions on the integrity and character of the past GMDs of the NNPC and this is unprofessional. If you cannot mention the name of the former GMD being referred to, why go ahead to publish the sorry?

Published in Business and Economy

Former Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations, Abdulmumin Jibrin, on Monday, made true his threat to submit a petition against Speaker Yakubu Dogara and three principal officers of the House to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Jibrin was sighted at the Yellow House headquarters of the EFCC this afternoon in Abuja to formally deliver his petition against his colleagues for allegedly padding the 2016 budget with as much as N40b.

The lawmaker had earlier stated on his twitter handle that he would be visiting some anti-graft agencies in a bid to substantiate his allegation of budget padding against the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara and other principal officers of the House.

Jibrin had recently accused the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lasun, Chief Whip, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, and the Minority Leader, Leo Ogor, of attempting to pad N40bn into the 2016 budget.

Jibrin said his aim of visiting the various anti-corruption agencies is to ensure that Dogara and the other principal officers are brought to justice.

According to the former Chairman, he will fully cooperate with investigators to enable them understand the depth of budget fraud and abuse of office by the Speaker.

“We will be at the ICPC 10am, DSS 12noon, EFCC 2pm and Police HQ 4pm. The law will surely catch up with the corrupt Speaker Dogara and others.

“My lawyers have confirmed my appointments for today with security and anti corruption agencies to personally provide insight on my petition.”

Jibrin, while giving an insight into his petition, said his case against the Speaker and others include, “corrupt enrichment, abuse of office and public trust, living above means, massive movement of funds in the budget.

“Our petition to the EFCC and ICPC against Speaker Dogara, Lasun, Doguwa, Ogor and eight other members have been dispatched yesterday,” he added.

Published in Headliners
Tuesday, 02 August 2016 03:52

Police quiz priest over banker’s death

The police in Lagos have interrogated the Parish Priest of Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church following the death of a bank manager, Olisa Nwakobi, 44.

Nwakobi, a manager with the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) was said to have shot himself last Friday following alleged bad loans running into hundreds of millions he approved.

It was gathered that prior to his committing suicide, the deceased visited the Priest and allegedly left a message for his wife, urging her to cater for their child.

As a result of that, it was gathered that the police invited the priest for questioning as primary witness, hoping to get more information from him.

It was learnt that the police commenced investigation into the case following a refusal from the bank on the allegation that the deceased was pressured into recovering or paying the bad loan.

The bank, it was gathered, claimed that the deceased incurred huge debts from personal commitments and was about losing everything.

He was said to have been depressed and frustrated, as his world was crumbling before him.

A source close to the deceased confirmed he was disturbed by his debt burden, adding that Nwakobi was unassuming, hardworking and generous.

“He was very worried when he came to me to narrate his debt burden. I was shocked to hear that he had killed himself despite all the assurances I gave him. This is the most heartbreaking moment of my life,” he said.

Published in News & Stories
Tuesday, 02 August 2016 03:42

EFCC, Interpol smash gang over $60m scam

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the International Police (INTERPOL) yesterday in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital, smashed a global network online swindle syndicate and arrested its ringleader.

The syndicate was said to have duped victims of $60 million.

The suspect,  Mike Onyenwe, may face trial with another 38-year old suspect, who has also been picked up.

Out of the cash, a victim was duped of $15.4million in an operation

The 40-year old suspect had been coordinating a network of at least 40 individuals across Nigeria, Malaysia and South Africa.

The 41-man syndicate had conned unsuspecting victims in Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, Romania, South Africa, Thailand and the United States.

The group was said to have specialised in what is called ‘CEO fraud’.

A joint statement by the EFCC and INTERPOL in Abuja said the ringleader was arrested in Port Harcourt.

The statement reads: “The head of an international criminal network behind thousands of online frauds has been arrested in a joint operation by INTERPOL and the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

“The 40-year-old Nigerian national, known as ‘Mike’, is believed to be behind scams totaling more than $60 million involving hundreds of victims worldwide. In one case a target was conned into paying out $15.4 million.

“The network compromised email accounts of small to medium businesses around the world including Australia, Canada, India, Malaysia, Romania, South Africa, Thailand and the US, with the financial victims mainly other companies dealing with these compromised accounts.

“Heading a network of at least 40 individuals across Nigeria, Malaysia and South Africa which both provided malware and carried out the frauds, the alleged mastermind also had money laundering contacts in China, Europe and the US who provided bank account details for the illicit cash flow.

“Following his arrest in Port Harcourt, a forensic examination of devices seized by the EFCC showed he had been involved in a range of criminal activities including Business E-mail Compromise (BEC) and romance scams.

“The main two types of scam run by the 40-year-old targeted businesses were payment diversion fraud – where a supplier’s email would be compromised and fake messages would then be sent to the buyer with instructions for payment to a bank account under the criminal’s control – and ‘CEO fraud’.

“In CEO fraud, the email account of a high-level executive is compromised and a request for a wire transfer is sent to another employee who has been identified as responsible for handling these requests. The money is then paid into a designated bank account held by the criminal.”

The statement gave insights into how the EFCC and INTERPOL had been on the trail of ‘Mike’.

“Mike first came onto the law enforcement radar through a report provided to INTERPOL by Trend Micro, one of its strategic partners at the INTERPOL Global Complex for Innovation (IGCI) in Singapore.

“This, combined with actionable analysis and intelligence from Fortinet Fortiguard Labs in 2015, enabled specialists at the INTERPOL Digital Crime Centre, including experts from Cyber Defense Institute based at the IGCI, and the EFCC to locate the suspect in Nigeria, resulting in his arrest in June.

“Abdul Chukkol, Head of the EFCC’s Cybercrime Section said the transnational nature of business e-mail compromise made it complex to crack.

He said the arrest “sent a clear signal that Nigeria could not be considered a safe haven for criminals.”

He added: “For a long time we have said in order to be effective, the fight against cybercrime must rely on public-private partnerships and international cooperation.

“The success of this operation is the result of close cooperation between INTERPOL and the EFCC, whose understanding of the Nigerian environment made it possible to disrupt the criminal organization’s network traversing many countries, targeting individuals and companies”

The Executive Director of the IGC, Noboru Nakatani, warned that BEC poses a significant and growing threat, with tens of thousands of companies victimized in recent years.

Nakatani said: “The public, and especially businesses, need to be alert to this type of cyber-enabled fraud,”

“Basic security protocols such as two-factor authentication and verification by other means before making a money transfer are essential to reduce the risk of falling victim to these scams.

“It is exactly through this type of public and private sector cooperation that INTERPOL will continue to help member countries in bringing cybercriminals to justice no matter where they are.”

The statement said” the 40-year-old, along with a 38-year-old also arrested by Nigerian authorities, faces charges including hacking, conspiracy and obtaining money under false pretences.

“Both are currently on administrative bail as the investigation continues.”

Published in News & Stories

 An estimated 50,000 children are facing death by starvation in northern Nigeria this summer as a result of the Nigerian government’s faltering campaign to defeat Boko HaramIslamist militants, aid agencies are warning.

Aid experts say the humanitarian crisis caused by the seven-year conflict between the Nigerian military and Boko Haram militants has left an estimated 500,000 people homeless in northern Nigeria, the majority of whom are in urgent need of food, shelter and medical care.

Of these, 244,000 are children, and the French charity Doctors Without Borders, which has set up a network of emergency camps in the region, warns that one in five will die in the coming weeks if they do not receive urgent treatment and food supplies.

Soldiers from the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army on the back of a vehicle in Damboa, Borno State Soldiers from the 7th Division of the Nigerian Army on the back of a vehicle in Damboa, Borno State  CREDIT: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Western aid officials have also raised concerns about the Nigerian government’s handling of the crisis, with accusations that President Muhammadu Buhari, the country’s Muslim president, is not doing enough to confront the threat posed by Boko Haram’s Islamist militants.

Britain’s Department for International Development contributes an estimated £870 million to Nigeria to support the government’s ability to fight Boko Haram, which has been responsible for a number of terrorist outrages, including the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls.

But Western officials are worried that Mr Buhari is using some of the aid to persecute Christian political rivals instead of tackling Islamist militants.

A girl walks behind boys and young men in the Muna informal settlement, in the outskirts of Maiduguri capital of Borno StateA girl walks behind boys and young men in the Muna informal settlement, in the outskirts of Maiduguri capital of Borno State CREDIT: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Mr Buhari was involved in an embarrassing diplomatic row with Downing Street earlier this year after David Cameron was overheard remarking to the Queen that Nigeria was one “of the most corrupt countries in the world” ahead of an anti-corruption summit in London.

But while Mr Buhari denied his government was involved in corruption, aid officials are becoming increasingly concerned about his handling of the campaign against Boko Haram, which could now create Nigeria’s worst humanitarian disaster since the Biafra conflict in the 1960s.

The latest refugee crisis is centred on Borno state is north-eastern Nigeria, and aid officials say around 244,000 children are suffering from acute malnutrition. “Some 134 children on average will die every day from causes linked to acute malnutrition,” said a spokesman for the children’s charity Unicef.

Last month aid workers reported that more than 1,200 people had died from starvation and illness at one refugee camp in northeast Nigeria - of these 480 were children.

A malnourished boy walking towards his mother at one of the Unicef nutrition clinic in NigeriaA malnourished boy walking towards his mother at one of the Unicef nutrition clinic in Nigeria CREDIT: AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Yesterday (Friday) the UN said it was suspending aid to dangerous areas of Borno state after Boko Haram ambushed a humanitarian convoy on Thursday.  

But while Western governments are keen for Nigeria to continue the military campaign against Boko Haram, which claims to have close links with Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (Isil), there are growing concerns that Mr Buhari’s determination to crush his political opponents is diverting vital resources away from the military effort.

In recent months Mr Buhari, a former military dictator, has intensified his efforts to give key government appointments to Muslim political allies at the expense of Christian officials. This has resulted in increased tensions between the government and southern Nigeria, which is predominantly Christian, where in May the military killed 15 people during a peaceful Biafran protest.

But while Mr Buhari has been concentrating his efforts on tackling political unrest in southern Nigeria, U.S. military officials involved in the campaign against Boko Haram report there has been a sharp increase in terrorist attacks carried out by the group in recent weeks.

“One of the reasons we have this humanitarian crisis in northern Nigeria is that Mr Buhari is diverting vital resources away from the campaign to pursue his own political agenda,” explained a senior Western official. “The Nigerian government, which is receiving significant amounts of foreign aid, needs to understand that its main priority is to deal with Boko Haram, and also to make sure Nigeria does not suffer the worst humanitarian disaster in its history.”

Culled from The Telegraph

Published in Business and Economy
Tuesday, 02 August 2016 01:26

Buhari sacks JAMB registrar, 16 others

President Muhammadu Buhari’s led Federal Government has sacked chief executives of 17 parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Education, including the Registrar, Joint Admissions and Matriculations Board (JAMB), Prof Dibu Ojerinde.

A statement issued on Monday in Abuja, North Central Nigeria by the Deputy Director of Press and Public Relations in the Education Ministry, Ben Bem Goong said 17 top executives in the Education ministry had been relieved of their appointments.

According to the statement, four Chief Executives whose tenures were yet to elapse were retained, while others were sacked.

The affected top echelons had been replaced with immediate effect, according to the statement.

The 17 agencies affected in the mass sack and the new Chief Executives appointed included the National Universities Commission, Prof Abubakar Adamu Rasheed; Nigerian Institute for Education Planning and Administration, Prof, Mrs. Lilian Salami; Universal Basic Education, Dr. Hameed Bobboyi and National Library of Nigeria, Prof. Lanre Aina.

The Secretary-General, Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs in Nigeria, Prof Ishaq Oloyede has been named Registrar/Chief Executive of JAMB, while the National Institute of Nigerian Languages has Prof Chinyere Ohiri-Aniche as its Chief Executive Officer, CEO.

To head the National Business and Technical Examinations Board is Prof Isioma Isiugo-Abanihe; Teachers Registration Council of Nigeria, Prof Sunday Josiah Ajiboye; Computer Registration Council of Nigeria, Afolabi Aderinto and National Commission for Colleges of Education, Prof Bappah Aliyu.

Others are: National Examinations Council, Prof Charles Uwakwe; National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education, Prof Abba Aladu and Nomadic Education Commission, Prof Bashir Usman.

There also Dr. Abdullahi Bichi Baffa who heads the Tertiary Education Trust Fund; National Teachers Institute, Prof Garba Dahuwa Azare; Librarian Registration Council of Nigeria, Prof Michael Afolabi; and National Mathematical Centre, Prof Steven Ejugwu Onah.

Those retained, included the Nigeria Educational Research and Development Council, Prof. Samaila Junaidu; Nigerian French Language C\Village, Prof Rauf Adebisi; National Board for Technical Education, Dr. Mas’ud Kazaure and National Arabic Language Village, Prof. Muhammad Mu’az.

Published in Headliners

First City Monument Bank Plc says its official, Olisa Nwakoby, who committed suicide on Friday in front of Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Lekki, Lagos State, had personal challenges and became frustrated.

The bank, however, noted that neither the management nor colleagues of the deceased were aware of the challenges, adding that it was working with Nwakoby’s family and the police to unravel the nature of the challenges.

Forty-four-year-old Nwakoby, said to be the manager of the bank’s branch in Lekki, shot himself in the head over a bad debt estimated at N350m on Friday. 

The deceased was said to have given out the sum as loan to a bank customer, who allegedly failed to service the loan.

He was reportedly under pressure from the bank’s management to repay the loan and became frustrated as he could not meet the demand.

But the Acting Group Head, Communications and Brand Management of the FCMB, Lola Egboh, who spoke with our correspondent on the telephone on Sunday, said the suicide had nothing to do with the bank, adding that she did not have the knowledge of any loan.

Egboh, who described Nwakoby’s death as shocking, said the bank would have come to his aid if it was aware that he had emotional challenges.

She said, “It is rather unfortunate that the incident happened. Mr. Nwakoby was a member of staff of the FCMB. We are not aware that he was facing personal challenges, which led to the incident. As a bank that caters to the well-being of its workers, we have counsellors who could have helped him. This came as a surprise to us as it was to the public. It is such a trying time for the family; we have been in touch with them. There is a lot of speculations going on at the moment, a lot of them unfounded.

“We are working closely with security operatives and his family to understand what could have led to the personal challenges. I am not aware of any loan. I can’t comment on speculations.”

Efforts to speak with the family proved abortive as of press time. But a source close to the family said, “They were too distraught to speak to the press now.”

The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, said a pistol and live cartridges were recovered from the scene, adding that Nwakoby  corpse had been deposited at the Lagos Island Hospital’s morgue.

She said, “At about 9.45am on Friday, one Olisa (Nwakoby) allegedly shot himself in the head with a pistol in front of Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church on Northern Foresore Estate, Lekki.

“A team of policemen attached to the Ilasan division visited, examined and photographed the scene. The exhibit, a silver America pistol with five rounds of unexpended ammunition, was recovered to the station while the corpse was removed and deposited at a morgue for autopsy. Investigation is ongoing.”

Published in News & Stories
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