Dasukigate: EFCC Released Buhari’s Friend…

An associate of President Muhammadu Buhari, Jafaru Isa, has absolved himself of any wrong doing in relations to the funds meant for arms allegedly misappropriated by former National Security Adviser, NSA, Col Sambo Dasuki (rtd).

Isa, a retired general was arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in January 2016 for allegedly benefitting from the arms fund.

The former member of the Buhari’s 2015 transition committee was however released after he was alleged to have returned part of the money he received.

But speaking on his arrest, Isa claimed the anti-graft agency released him because it found nothing incriminating on him.

Describing the allegation that he benfitted from the slush fund as baseless, the former military administrator of Kaduna state, said the transactions he had with Dasuki had nothing to do with arms purchase.

According to Isa, “This issue is now behind me. What happened was that in January 2016, I was invited by the EFCC over a financial transaction between me and the office of the former NSA.

“They wanted to know what took place. And I explained to them. When the insurgency was on, Kano was one of the targets and I think the first attack on Kano was on 20th January, 2012. And after that, the tempo of the attacks on Kano kept on increasing. Of course, it was an area of concern for anyone who was there, and for government especially.

“What was really happening was that, at every attack, they kill the indigenes and the go away like that, no arrests were made. And this raised a lot of concern.

“So, the then NSA now felt that there was a need for him to have what is called a Safe House. A safe house is a security quarters where you have informants that give you information and you also have security operatives working there as well.

“You have to understand the modus of operation of the enemies. We found one, and the pictures were sent by the office of the NSA, for purchase. The picture was given to someone to come and check to see if it was quite okay for them. After the initial deposit, there was no money. Again we gave another deposit. And there was no money again, so, that time lapsed. And when we couldn’t continue, he now had to sell the property.

“But the attacks on Kano continued. And because of the concern, the need to have a safe house was necessary to collate information and as well as to minimise the ferocity of the attack. To have a better intelligence collation, we felt we should get the accommodation but there was no money. The NSA now decided that once there was money he would be sending the money in trenches so that we would be able to purchase the property. We were doing that but we couldn’t find such property.

“Two, this kind of purchase is not done directly, it has to be through a third party, because once the cover is blown that it is a security establishment then it is of no use, so it has to be through a third party. And as a Kano indigene myself, I was being concerned about the attack. So, I offered to do it without anything coming to me in the arrangement.

“We were looking for it, we were saving money. But we couldn’t until a after the election was won. Even at that, it was agreed that the search should continue because as at that time, insurgency was still on. It was only of recent that we stated having these successes.”

“When I was invited, I told them we were looking for a place. There were documents and receipts on these, and I showed it to them. And they told me I could go, and that was it.

“But recently, one of the national dailies published a story; this was over a year after, that gave an impression as if this has just happened. So, I now decided to contact the commission to find out what was happening and they said it was not from them.

“I also wrote them formally for them to clear me since there was no case for me to answer. They confirmed to me that it was not from them. It must have been from another source which they don’t know. It could be from a third party that may want to malign me. One foreign radio contacted the chairman of the commission on the matter and he told them the story is not from them, that I have no case to answer. And this has been done. I have no issue with the commission. Nothing was found against me.

“The move to procure the house started in September 2012; that was the period we got the first house that met our requirement but because of paucity of fund. We were not able to procure it. Otherwise, it would have been a different story. The house would have been on ground. But like I said, there was no fund.

“The issue of the arms deal started in in January 2015. And this money that came, it came in seven times, in trenches; N5m, N10m, N20m, that was all. It was in naira. And I believe the arms deal money was in dollars, right from the Central Bank, from what we heard.

“The first house was offered to us at N150m and the person that bought it, who is the present owner bought it at that same N150m. So, there was no cutting corner there. It was just a service that I was rendering. There is no meeting point between the two.”

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Fresh Troubles For Deziani, EFCC Uncovers New Evidence

Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, never seems to get out of trouble, for just at a time things appear quiet on her, a new flank of troubles open and begin pouring in again.

Barely two weeks after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC got an interim court order to seize over $153 million allegedly linked to her in four Nigerian banks, the anti-graft agency last week submitted to the UK authorities several bank and court documents, photographs and audio visuals linking Diezani to multi-billion naira estates in Nigeria.

ADELOVE gathered that in the last four weeks, EFCC operatives were able to uncover multi-billion naira estates allegedly linked to the former super minister in Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Rivers and Yenagoa, Bayelsa.

It was gathered that photographs and visuals of the estates were compiled for the acting Chairman of the Commission, Mr Ibrahim Magu to take to London last week, where he had meetings with detectives at the International Corruption Unit, ICU, of the United Kingdom National Crime Agency, UK NCA, which in 2015 arrested and has since then been investigating Diezani. Magu has since returned to Abuja.

ADELOVE further gathered that with the cooperation received so far from the Magu-led EFCC on the case, the former oil minister who is currently holed in London due to her battle with cancer and her investigation, the NCA may soon file formal corruption charges against her in a London court. “Some of the documents received from the EFCC will help in the prosecution of the case against her”, an official of the agency not willing to be named because of the high profile nature of the case told Saturday Sun on Thursday.

Apart from mansions already placed under investigation and temporary forfeiture in Abuja and Yenagoa, Saturday Sun further gathered that more multi-billion naira estates allegedly linked to her were also recently discovered on Omerelu street, GRA Phase 1 Port Harcourt, Rivers State where she allegedly has two other mansion as well as others in Ikoyi and Lekki areas of Lagos. Pictures of some of the mansions were obtained exclusively by the press.

EFCC arrests Councillor, 4 others for selling IDPs’ Food

A Supervisory Councillor for Agriculture in Mafa Local Government Area of Borno State, Umar Ibrahim, and four others have been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, Maiduguri Zonal office, for allegedly diverting 300 bags of rice.

The rice was donated by Danish Refugee Council, DRC, a Non-Governmental Organization and meant for Internally Displayed Persons, IDPs, in the council. The arrest was made following intelligence report gathered by operatives of the antigraft agency.

Others arrested along with the councillor are Bulama Zangebe, Modu Bulama, Halilu Abdullahi, and Abacha Ali.

According to some of the suspects, the Caretaker Chairman of Mafa Local Government, Shettima Maina, allegedly instructed the sale of the rice to the duo of Lawan Ibrahim of Bolori Stores and Umar Salisu at the rate of N8,500 per bag.

Mr. Maina and two other suspects are still at large.

Lawyer Drags EFCC Boss, Ibrahim Magu To Court

Lawyer and rights activist, Ebun-Olu Adegboruwa, has petitioned the Lagos State Division of the Federal High Court to restrain Ibrahim Magu, from  further parading himself as acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Adegboruwa, in the suit filed before the court, also joined the Senate, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Shehu Malami, the EFCC and  Magu, as respondents.

The rights activist is also asking the court to direct Senate not to entertain any further request for Magu’s confirmation since “he has so far defied and rubbished an earlier decision of the Senate of December 15, 2016, wherein the Senate declined to confirm his nomination as chairman of EFCC.”

The suit was supported with a 39-paragraph affidavit he deposed to where he  traced the appointment of Magu back to November 9, 2015, and contended that he has been functioning in an acting capacity as EFCC chairman, beyond the six months allowed by law.

He also contended in the suit that, since Senate has rejected Magu as substantive EFCC chairman, he should not, thereafter, function as acting chairman and cited section 2 (3) of the EFCC Act, which stipulates confirmation by the Senate as a condition precedent to the appointment of the EFCC chairman

Adegboruwa noted that since President Muhammadu Buhari activated section 2 (3) of the EFCC Act by forwarding Magu’s nomination to the Senate, he cannot defy the decision of the Senate which rejected him for the substantive appointment and subsequently attached the chamber’s Votes and Proceedings of December 15, 2016 as evidence.

The Lagos-based lawyer stated that notwithstanding the clear decision of the Senate not to confirm Magu, he has continued to parade himself in office as EFCC chairman such as when he met with representatives of the United States Embassy on January 6, 2017, clearly defying the decision of the Senate.

He prayed the court to restrain the federal government, the EFCC and all other authorities, from recognising, treating or in any other manner dealing with Magu as EFCC Chairman, either in acting or substantive capacity.

Besides, he also sought for a declaration that Magu is not a fit and proper person to function in office as EFCC chairman. Consequently, Adegboruwa asked the court to give an order forthwith, directing Magu to vacate and relinquish his office as EFCC chairman, whether in acting or substantive capacity.

The lawyer also contends in the suit that all actions taken by the EFCC under the illegal tenure of Magu, especially charges and information filed in court, are illegal, null and void.

No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit, which was filed at the Ikoyi Registry of the Federal High Court on Monday, January 16, 2017.

EFCC finds N632.2m in former Chief Judge’s account

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) discovered N632.2 million in the account of former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Innocent Azubuike Umezulike, reiterating it as the reason for his involuntary retirement.

The agency also found that the lodgements of funds came from lawyers, businessmen, politicians and litigants.

Former Chief Judge Umezulike was believed to have operated the account without a Bank Verification Number (BVN) as at June 2016..

The former Chief Judge has been invited by EFCC for interrogation on January 17 on some of the shocking lodgments.

The National Judicial Council (NJC) said on September 29, 2016, it recommended, that former Chief Judge Umezulike to Governor Justice Lawrence Ugwuanyi of Enugu State for compulsory retirement for:

“Delivering judgment in a case 126 days after final addresses were adopted by parties, and for other instances of abuse of office”.

The council also found Justice Umezulike guilty of allegedly “receiving a donation of N10m from a businessman, Prince Arthur Eze, during his book launch while two cases in which Prince Eze was said to have had “vested interest”, were in the judge’s court.”

It was learnt that the ongoing probe of the judge followed petitions against him, including some sent to the National Judicial Council (NJC).

A source, said:

“From the probe of the salary account of the judge with the main branch of First Bank Plc in Enugu, our team discovered that he was operating it without a BVN as at June 2016.

“Further verification showed that he was earning N701, 726. 28 per month but he did not make any single withdrawal for 11 months.

“When we analysed an account linked to the judge, the turnover was about N396, 544.034.73 with a closing balance of N632.223.47 as at 15th of June 2016.”

“We were able to identify how lodgments were made into the account linked to Justice Umezulike. The depositors included Justice Umezulike, legal practitioners, businessmen, politicians and litigants. The judge invested most of the cash in Treasury Bills.”There were indications that some assets identified with the judge might be seized by the EFCC, pending the conclusion of its investigation.

According to EFCC:

“Our detectives uncovered three properties allocated to the ex-CJ by the Enugu State Government. These are:

Plot H/136 Golf Phase II, Enugu allocated in 2000 but sold to Mr. J.I. Chime in 2007 who subsequently sold it to Cosmas Offia in 2008;

Block B2 Flat 16 Maryland Estate, Enugu allocated in 2012 Sold to Igwe Goddy Moore; and

Plot H/88 Gold Estate Phase I, GRA Enugu allocated in 2015 which is still in the judge’s possession.

When EFCC detectives couldn’t find the Assets Declaration Form of the ex-CJ from the Code of Conduct Bureau, they decided that the properties may end up being seized.

“We may however place the properties located so far under temporary asset forfeiture.”

EFCC Arraigns Former Katsina Governor On 22-Count Charge

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) EFCC) has arraigned former Governor of Katsina State, Ibrahim Shema.

Shema was charged alongside three others before Justice Ibrahim Maikaita Bako of Katsina High Court on Tuesday. The former governor and other accused persons arrived at the court premises at exactly 8.45a.m. under the protective custody of the operatives of the anti-graft agency.

They were arraigned on a 22-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of public funds.

In his submission at the court, Shema’s counsel, Mr. J. B Dawodu (SAN), challenged the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case. The agency’s counsel, Jibrin Samuel, urged the court to revoke an administrative bail earlier given to Shema for showing some “signs of not reporting to the commission” as agreed.

He demanded that Shema be remanded in prison so that there could be access to him at will. But Justice Bako ruled that it was premature for the EFCC counsel to pray for the detention of the ex-governor. He advised both sides to take the case slowly in order to have a decent trial, and adjourned the case till February 7 for mention.

Speaking with journalists after the court session, counsel to the accused, Dawodu, said: “The case has been adjourned to February 7 for arguments whether the court has the jurisdiction. “We are challenging the jurisdiction of the court because this court has no jurisdiction over this case and we will continue to challenge its jurisdiction.

Reports revealed that the court session ended after a heated debate for over two hours. It was also observed that security was beefed up within and outside the court premises, while soldiers were stationed few metres before the court along Daura Road in Katsina.

EFCC Boss, Ibrahim Magu in London over Mrs. Diezani’s Loot (PHOTO)

As we reported earlier today, the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu has left Nigeria for London in connection with the investigation of the ex-minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke and some upscale properties traced to her at home and abroad.

The amount of money and properties being traced to Madam Diezanie are mind-boggling.

For now Diezani is on restricted movement in the UK pending the commencement of her trial.

EFCC Discovers Sprawling Estate Belonging To Deziani, As Magu Flies To The U.K

A sprawling estate in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State has been discovered by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)  in the course of their investigation of public funds allegedly stolen by the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The investigators  conducted a search on some of the  houses on the estate.

Acting Chairman of the EFCC , Mr. Ibrahim Magu has already left Nigeria for London in connection with the investigation of the ex-minister and some upscale properties traced to her at home and abroad.

About five bank chiefs are likely to  face trial over the $153million allegedly  withdrawn by the ex-minister from the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation( NNPC) in December 2014.

The Nation gathered that the EFCC team,acting  on intelligence,uncovered the  sprawling estate which is coded as BGIS/OK/02/16/310.

It is located on Diepreye Alamieyeseigha Street, off Goodluck Jonathan Road in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

A source familiar with the investigation  said: “Following our  obtaining a court order to recover some assets belonging to Diezani, we were able to gather intelligence which led to the location of the hidden estate in question in Bayelsa State.

“Our operatives also conducted searches in some  houses on the estate based on tip off on the  ex-minister.

“We will follow due process in invoking the relevant laws on asset forfeiture on all the mansions in the estate.”

Section 7 of the EFCC Act says: “The commission has power to (a) cause any investigations to be conducted as to whether any person, corporate body or organization has committed any offence under this Act or other law relating to economic and financial crimes.

“(b) Cause investigations to be conducted into the properties of any person if it appears to the commission that the person’s lifestyle and extent of the properties are not justified by his source of income.”

Sections 26 and 29 of the EFCC Act read in part:  “Any property subject to forfeiture under this Act may be seized by the commission in the following circumstances- (a) the seizure is incidental to an arrest or search; or (b) in the case of property liable to forfeiture upon process issued by the Court following an application made by the Commission in accordance with the prescribed rules

“Whenever property is seized under any of the provisions of this Act, the Commission may-(a) place the property under seal; or (b) remove the property to a place designated by the Commission.

“Properties taken or detained under this section shall be deemed to be in custody of the Commission, subject only to an order of a Court.”

Sections 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004 empower the anti-graft agency to invoke Interim Assets Forfeiture Clause.

“Section 28 of the EFCC Act reads: ‘Where a person is arrested for an offence under this Act, the Commission shall immediately trace and attach all the assets and properties of the person acquired as a result of such economic or financial crime and shall thereafter cause to be obtained an interim attachment order from the Court.’

Section 13 of the Federal High Court Act reads in part : “The Court may grant an injunction or appoint a receiver by an interlocutory order in all cases in which it appears to the Court to be just or convenient so to do.

(2) “Any such order may be made either unconditionally or on such terms and conditions as the Court thinks just.”

On the EFCC boss, Magu’s trip to   London,a second source said: “We are getting closer to the biggest fraud trial in the UK. The Acting EFCC chairman has left Abuja for London to compare notes with his colleagues.

“The EFCC is collaborating with prosecutors in the United Kingdom by providing incontrovertible evidence against the ex-minister.

“Some of the UK investigators visited Nigeria in 2016. A few of our crack detectives have been in and out of the UK too.

“Magu’s trip is part of the crystallization and consolidation of evidence against Diezani.”

It was also gathered yesterday that about five bank chiefs may face trial in connection with looted funds traced to ex-Minister Diezani.

“Although we are presently preoccupied with the recovery of looted public funds by the ex-minister, we cannot rule out the prosecution of some people at the end of the day,” a source told The Nation yesterday.

“Some bank chiefs, maybe about five, may face trial but we are not making this a priority now. We want to retrieve every dollar stolen from NNPC accounts.

“Some of these bank chiefs are pleading that we should allow them to refund the funds credited to them without prosecution. But the weight of evidence will determine our position at the end of the day.

“The truth is that many bank chiefs were engaged by the ex-minister to perpetrate fraud.

“So far, all the banks implicated are cooperating with the EFCC. We hope that in two weeks’ time, the $153million would have been forfeited to the Federal Government.

Four banks have been fingered in how Diezani laundered $153,310,000.

The EFCC told a Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday that the huge cash was wired from NNPC accounts to Fidelity Bank before it was given to Sterling Bank , Access Bank Plc, First Bank Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc for safe keeping.

EFCC said the banks “aided and abetted the massive fraud perpetrated by the minister.”

Access Bank is holding $5million out of the total sum.

The breakdown of how the loot was hidden is as follows: Access Bank ($5million); Sterling Bank (N23, 446, 300,000); and First Bank (N9,080,000,000).

EFCC discovers new evidence against ex first lady’s Cousin

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has unmasked new evidence against alleged front and cousin of Dame Patience Jonathan identified as Esther Oba

Oba who was under investigation when she was identified as one of the owners of N9bn accounts bearing the signatures of Patience.

According to report, Oba, whom the EFCC has put on its watch list, allegedly possessed two valid Nigerian passports which bear two different signatures.

A source in the EFCC said, “After we froze Patience Jonathan’s accounts a few months ago, we continued to investigate the former First Lady. We then stumbled on some accounts, which did not bear her name but had her signature.

“We realised that one Esther Oba, who we believe is Patience’s cousin, had been operating some accounts for her. The accounts had Oba’s BVN but carried Patience’s signature. So we began investigating Oba.

“We found out that Oba used two different passports in operating some of the accounts. The two passports are valid but carry different signatures. We immediately wrote a letter to the Nigeria Immigration Service to seek clarification.

“Immigration confirmed that the two passports are indeed valid. They bear the same name, picture and details but different signatures. So, they have also launched an investigation into the matter. Obviously this is a case of fraud.” All attempts to locate Oba had proved abortive.

He added that the EFCC had already hired some forensic experts to study the signatures.

He said, “Oba’s signature and that of Patience look exactly alike. But in order to build a solid case, we are hiring some forensic experts to study the signatures and give us a report which we would be able to present in court.”

He added that due to the existence of Bank Verification Number, it had become difficult for politically-exposed persons to keep huge sums of money in their accounts.

The detective explained that such people opened accounts with other people’s identities but used their own signatures on the accounts so that only “the sponsors” would have access to the accounts.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun-Ishola had recently granted an order freezing the bank accounts allegedly belonging to Patience with over N9bn lodged in them.

While one of the former President’s wife’s accounts, domiciled in Skye Bank Plc, has a balance of $5,316.66, five other company accounts and one belonging to Oba were also frozen.

While the companies’ accounts in six commercial banks are said to have a balance amounting to N7.4bn, Oba’s account is said to have $429,381.87 (N135,255,289.05).

The companies are Finchley Top Homes Limited, Aribawa Aruera Reachout Foundation, Magel Resort Limited, AM-PM Global Network Limited, Pansy Oil and Gas Limited.

Apart from the recently frozen accounts, the EFCC had, in July, frozen four company accounts with a balance of $15m.

Patience had informed a Federal High Court in Lagos that the money in the accounts belonged to her even though the accounts did not carry her name or BVN.

Some of the accounts were said to be operated by some domestic servants in the employ of a former Special Adviser to ex-President Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Waripamowei Dudafa.

The companies are Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited, Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Limited, Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited and Globus Integrated Service Limited.

The companies had, on September 15, 2016, pleaded guilty to money laundering when they were arraigned before Justice Babs Kewumi of a Federal High Court in Lagos.

EFCC denies removal of Magu

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has debunked rumours that its Acting Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, has been removed from office.

A national newspaper, the Guardian, on Saturday reported that President Muhammadu Buhari removed Magu.

“Not true”, spokesman of the commission, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, said in response to an SMS enquiry by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Saturday morning.

The rumour of Magu’s removal has also hit the social media and some traditional media websites in the early hours of Saturday.

Quoting anonymous sources, The Guardian said that Ibrahim Magu, may have finally been removed from office.

It said a source said Magu’s redeployment back to Nigerian Police Force (NPF) was to pave way for a fresh person to be presented by President Muhammadu Buhari as the nominee to head the anti-graft agency before the Senate.

It said it gathered that to make the situation look like a routine exercise, some senior Police officers would be re-deployed by the Police hierarchy to resume as conventional Police officers.

It was equally reliably gathered yesterday that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has already issued a leter to Magu on the development and directed that he hands over to the Director of Operations in the Commission.

Magu’s nomination was recently rejected by the Senate following allegation of graft levelled against him by the Department of State Security Service (DSS).

The Senate had rejected the nomination of Mr Ibrahim Magu as Substantive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The Chairman of Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Sen. Sabi Abdullahi, disclosed this to journalists in Abuja.

Abdullahi said that the rejection of Magu’s nomination was based on security reports available to the senate.

According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari will be communicated accordingly.

“The Senate wishes to inform the general public that based on security reports available to the senate, it cannot proceed and confirm the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as the Executive Chairman of EFCC.

“Accordingly, the Senate hereby rejects the said nomination and has returned it to Mr President for further action,’’ he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that nomination of other members of the commission sent for confirmation was also not confirmed at plenary.

The committee chairman declined further comments on the screening of the nominees.

The Senate had at the resumption of plenary gone into a two hour executive session with Magu but the meeting ended in a deadlock.

NAN recalls that the Presidency had in July written the Senate, seeking the screening and confirmation of Magu as Substantive Chairman of EFCC.

Buhari appointed Magu Acting Chairman of the commission after the removal of Mr Ibrahim Lamorde on Nov. 9, 2015.

Before his appointment as the acting chairman, Magu was the Head of Economic Governance Unit of the commission (NAN).