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ICPC Freezes 1,233 Bank Accounts, Ex-gov May Lose 29 Duplexes

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission has seized no fewer than 97 property from different individuals in the past four years.

The list of seized assets include 33 buildings, plots of land and a factory forfeited to the Federal Government by a former accountant with the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, Dr Jimoh Olatunde.

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The anti-graft agency disclosed these to The PUNCH in response to a Freedom of Information request.

Olatunde is the prosecution witness in a case of official corruption and abuse of office brought against Prof Dibu Ojerinde, a former head of the National Examination Council and later JAMB registrar.

The ex-JAMB accountant was believed to have acted as proxy for Ojerinde.

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READ ALSO: ICPC Shuts 62 Illegal Degree-awarding Institutions, Fake NYSC Camp

The ICPC in an 18-count accused Ojerinde of diverting public funds estimated at about N5.2bn while he was the head of NECO and JAMB.

Olatunde, who was also the Deputy Director and Head of Treasury, NECO, revealed how Ojerinde allegedly diverted N341.9m from the examination body to set up a personal printing press, school and buildings.

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The witness, who testified before the High Court of Niger State, Minna, told the trial judge, Justice Abdullahi Mikailu, that N216,297,443 was deceitfully withdrawn from NECO account for payment for 17 fictitious printing contracts, which were used for establishing the printing press.

Also, no fewer than 1,233 bank accounts have been frozen by the anti-graft commission between 2019 and now.

However, 60 of the accounts belonging to 15 persons, who were investigated for corruption, have been finally forfeited to the Federal Government.

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The accounts contained N547.7m and $669,248.89 in total.

A former governor of Zamfara State, Abdulazeez Yari, lost $669,248.89 and N24,289,910.89 to the Federal Government.

The money was lodged in Yari’s two personal accounts and the accounts operated by his companies, BT Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited and Kayatawa Nigeria Limited.

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READ ALSO : ICPC Identifies Greatest Obstacle To Nigeria’s Anti-corruption Fight

The sums of N217,388,040 and $311,872 found in a bank account belonging to BT Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited and another N11,159,674.80 and $301,319.99 kept in an account belonging to Kayatawa Nigeria Limited were also forfeited to the government.

Also, the ICPC has placed under interim forfeiture 29 duplexes in different estates in Jabi, Maitama, Kaduna, Zamfara and Abuja allegedly belonging to the ex-governor, who is currently on trial for corruption.

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The ICPC had accused Yari, a two-term governor, of not being truthful in his assets declaration.

It accused him of diverting Zamfara State’s funds, using some companies, including Kayatawa Nigeria Limited and B T Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited.

It alleged that on June 18, 2015, BT Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited received a transfer of N150m from the Nigeria Governors’ Forum through Yari, who was then the chairman of the forum.

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Justice Taiwo Taiwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja, subsequently granted a motion by the ICPC seeking permanent forfeiture of the funds.

It could not be ascertained if Yari had appealed the forfeiture order as his lawyer, Mahmoud Magaji, could not be reached for comments on Saturday. He did not respond to calls and he had yet to reply to an SMS sent to his mobile telephone.

The ICPC stated that its motivation for seeking the orders was because “the victim of the alleged crime is the Zamfara State Government and by extension the Federal Government of Nigeria and innocent taxpayers, which include judges of courts across Nigeria.”

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Other individuals whose property were also forfeited include a Ministry of Niger Delta worker, Daniel Obah, who had plots of land in different parts of Abuja and Rivers State; an officer of the Nigeria Security and Civil, Edike Akpan; Joseph Udoh, a retired Federal High Court official; and Adedeji Taofi, who forfeited a school.

A businessman, Lukumanu Waziri, similarly lost an unregistered Pontiac car, Peugeot 406, Range Rover Evoque and an unregistered Lexus, as well as bungalow, land, shoe and other personal items to the government.

One Adenike Bintu forfeited two plots of land along Airport Road, Abuja, while Okroghene Akpore lost parcels of land and a duplex.

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Kabiru Poloma equally forfeited several plots of land in Gombe State, a multipurpose complex and two hotels – Donkay Hotel and Suites and Snamai Suites.

Also on the list is Adam Yusuf, who forfeited residential buildings in Idu, Abuja, while one Babangida Aliyu also lost a Mercedes Benz car to the government.

The commission in the accompanying letter to the FoI request dated September 27, 2022 and signed by the Director, Legal Services, Henry Emore, stated, “Funds in the 60 accounts operated by different banks have been finally forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria and the funds transferred to the ICPC Recovery Account domiciled in the Central Bank of Nigeria for onward transmission to the Consolidated Revenue Fund since the victim in these cases is the Federal Government.”

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Commenting on the development, the Executive Director, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, Auwal Rafsanjani, said the seizures proved that corruption was still alive in Nigeria.

“This further proves that there is still corruption in Nigeria as against what politicians say. They always dismiss the fact that there is still corruption in Nigeria. The ICPC has only exposed the nitty gritty of what is going on in the country,” Rafsanjani stated.

He, however, commended the anti-graft agencies for their continued fight against corruption, noting, “The ICPC is doing a great job in fighting corruption without political antics and we must commend what they are doing. They are one of the agencies doing their job quietly and we enjoin other security agencies to do the same. They do the work and we are seeing the results.” But a legal practitioner, Nanfwang Ayuba, said fighting corruption must be supported by ordinary Nigerians, noting that nobody should be seen to be above the law.

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Ayuba said, “If we are able to show that nobody is above the law and everybody is equal before the law, then we can say we are winning the war against corruption. However, if there is a perception that the fight is selective or cosmetic, then we are not going to win the war. Corruption should be fought holistically.

“Justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be manifestly done. Until we get there, I will say that the ICPC and other anti-corruption agencies are just making attempts in fighting corruption.”

READ ALSO: Project Tracking: ICPC Recovers N2.8 bn Assets, Compels 450 Contractors Back To Sites – Commissioner

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Another legal practitioner, Sani Rabiu, however, said the anti-corruption agencies were carrying out selective justice, which should be improved upon.

Calling for improvement in anti-corruption strategies, he said, “We need a lot of improvement in the fight against corruption because it appears that the agencies that are charged with such responsibilities are not carrying out their jobs as expected.

“Ordinarily, if there is an allegation of corruption against any Nigerian regardless of that person’s political party or location, they should be investigated fairly and justly.

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“But it appears that that is not what they are doing. They are still carrying out selective justice. We cannot score them zero, but as a matter of fact, they need to reorganise their mode of operation.”
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Akwa Ibom YPP Guber Candidate Bags 42 Years In Prison Over Corruption

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The senator representing Uyo Senatorial District, Bassey Akpan has been sentenced to 42 years in prison without an option of fine for corruption.

Akpan, the governorship candidate of the Young Progressives Party, (YPP), Akwa Ibom State, was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commissíon (EFCC).

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Delivering her judgement at the Federal High Court, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Thursday, the presiding judge, Justice Agatha Okeke found Senator Akpan guilty on a six-count charge bordering on money laundering and receipt of exotic cars worth two hundred and four million naira (N204m).

During the court proceeding, Defense Counsel Solomon Umoh (SAN) pleaded with the Court for leniency as the convict has a young wife and children to cater for.

He also pleaded that the court should temper justice with mercy by including an option of fine. But that was opposed by EFCC, citing legal authority to convince the court not to give fine as an option, particularly in the light of the fact that the court has not opted for the maximum sentence.

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Akpan was arraigned by the anti-graft agency on June 24, 2019, at the Federal High Court, Uyo for corruption charges.

He was accused of receiving from Jide Omokore, a BMW X5 (bulletproof) worth N50 million in December 2012 and another Infinity QX 56 (bulletproof) worth N45 million from the same source.

In November 2013, he also received a Toyota Landcruiser V8( bulletproof) valued at N40 million and in March 2014, he received a Range Rover, valued at N40 million. Also in September 2014, another Toyota Hiace High Roof bus valued at N27 million was received from the businessman.

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READ ALSO: Lawyer, Two Others Arraigned In Kogi Over Alleged N2.4m Fraud

Additionally, he was prosecuted for receiving at different times between 2012-2014, Toyota Hiace High Roof buses valued at N16 million and six units of Toyota Hilux vehicles valued at N36 million.

The EFCC which was investigating money used for the 2015 elections, spotlighted Jide Omokore, who was suspected as a conduit through which illegal funds were used for elections. While interrogating the businessman, he mentioned his numerous transactions with Obong Bassey Albert, who was a commissioner in the state and now a senator.

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Meanwhile, the senator has been taken to the Correctional Centre, Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, where he is expected to serve his jail term.

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How Lagos RCCG Pastor Was Killed –Brother

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A prosecution witness, Omoniyi Dada, in the ongoing trial of two teenage boys, Farouk Mohammed, and Kasali Jamiu, who allegedly killed a Redeemed Christian Church of God’s pastor, Babatunde, has told the court how he found out about his brother’s death.

Omoniyi, who is the first prosecution witness, told a Lagos State High Court sitting at Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos State that he got to know that his brother was killed in the church when he received a phone call from his younger sister.

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Justice Sherifat Sonaike remanded Mohammed and Jamiu on October 20, following their arraignment over the murder of the 46-year-old pastor.

At the commencement of trial, Omoniyi, who was led in evidence by the Director of Public Prosecution, Dr Babajide Martins, told justice Sonaike that before he got to the church, his sister informed him that the pastor’s corpse had been taken to the Navy Town Hospital.

The witness said, “According to my sister, Oluwakemi, on that fateful day, my deceased brother told her and the other laundry workers that he was going to the bank and that he would be back.

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“She said when he returned, he went upstairs in the church to rest, and she was now thinking of why her brother had not come down after resting for quite some time.”

One of the laundry workers went up to pick a cloth to wash, on getting there, he screamed.

“The worker screamed and called the rest; they all met the pastor in a pool of blood and he was coughing out blood. They noticed that the two strange boys, Farouk and Jamiu, were not there.”

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READ ALSO: Teenage Artistes Stab RCCG Pastor To Death During Robbery

During cross-examination, the counsel for the first defendant, Oyekanmi Isijola, asked the witness how he got to know about the incident.

The witness confirmed that the whole incident was related to him by his sister, as he didn’t witness it.

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The court could not proceed with the second witness, Inspector Daniel Olumuyiwa, because his name was not listed on the list of witnesses.

 

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JUST IN: Appeal Court Upholds Conviction Of Maina’s Son

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The Appellate Court in Abuja has upheld the conviction of Faisal, the son of Abdulrasheed Maina, for conspiracy and money laundering.

Maina, the former chairman of the defunct Pension Reform Taskforce Team, is serving an eight-year jail term at Kuje Prison in Abuja for pension fraud to the tune of N2 billion and his son has been named an accomplice.

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Meanwhile, in a judgment on Thursday, November 24, 2022, a three-member panel of the appeal court reduced the term of imprisonment from 14 years to seven years on the grounds that he (Faisal) is a first-time offender.

READ ALSO: Govs Reject Sale Of Power Plants, Sue FG

In the judgement by Justice Ugochukwu Anthony Ogakwu, the court held that Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court, Abuja was right to have convicted Faisal.

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“But as a first-time offender, the trial court ought not to have handed the convict the maximum punishment under the law,” Ogakwu added.

Details later…

 

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