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Warri Chief Docked, Remanded In Edo Prison

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The police in Edo on Tuesday arraigned 54-year-old Chief Johnson Asteruleghe the Iyesere of Warri, before a Benin High Court, over alleged assault, malicious damage in Ologbo Dukedom, Ikpoba Okha Local Government Area of Edo State.

The defendant, Johnson Asteruleghe, the Iyatsere of Warri, is being tried on a seven -count charge of assault and malicious damage with charge No:B/Co 126/22

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Police Prosecutor, DPP, Okunbor Orobosa Esq. told the court that the defendant committed the offence on the 2nd day of February, 2022, at Ologbo in the Benin Judicial Division.

According to him, “You did conspire amongst yourselves to carry on warlike undertaking malicious damage, punishable under section 517 of the Criminal Code, cap.48.vol.11. laws of the defunct Bendel State of Nigeria, 1976 as applicable in Edo state.”

READ ALSO: Insecurity: Warri, Benin Lawyers Worried Over Abduction Of Three Colleagues, Driver

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Okunbor urged the court not to grant the defendant bail, maintaining that he is fond of fermenting trouble when granted bail, citing previous criminal cases of murder against the defendant in which he was granted bail before he committed these offences.

The defendant’s Counsel, Eghedosa Imhandegbelo (SAN) in his oral bail application urged the court to grant the defendant bail.

The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against him.

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The presiding judge, Justice Efe Ikponmwonba adjourned the case to 27th of June 2022 for hearing of application for bail.

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EFCC Recovers Another 1.4bn Naira For NHIS

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MThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, said it has recovered an additional sum of one billion, four hundred million naira (N1.4 Billion) for the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS.

In a statement via its official Twitter handle, the money, according to the commission, was part of the funds which some commercial banks ‘fraudulently’ refused to transmit to the Treasury Single Account, TSA, since 2015.

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The statement further said the money had been released to the NHIS since August 5, 2022.

READ ALSO: Salami Panel Reveals How Ex-EFCC Boss Abandoned N118bn Fraud Cases, Failed To Remit N48bn Loot

It also revealed that the Commission had in similar fashion on February 10, 2022, released a sum of N1.5bn to the scheme.

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Salami Panel Reveals How Ex-EFCC Boss Abandoned N118bn Fraud Cases, Failed To Remit N48bn Loot

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The presidential panel that probed former acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu said that 14 fraud cases involving N118 billion and $309 million were abandoned by Magu.

In the final report submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2020, the EFCC, under Magu’s watch, was also accused of not remitting another N48 billion loot recovered in foreign and local currencies, TheCable report.

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The panel headed by former President of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ayo Salami (retd), was set up to probe the EFCC from May 2015 to May 2020 when Magu was in charge of the agency.

TheCable understands that the report has now been submitted to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.

READ ALSO: Ex-convict Loots Shops, Steals Goods Worth N34m

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A panel to produce the white paper will soon be set up, presidency sources informed TheCable.

The former EFCC boss was alleged to have mishandled the recovered loot and sold seized assets to his associates.

Wahab Shittu, Magu’s lawyer, declined to comment on the report when contacted by TheCable “because I cannot talk on a report I have not seen”.

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The report reviewed both written and oral testimonies of over 100 witnesses, having overtaken nationwide physical verification of recovered forfeited assets, comprising real estate, automobiles, vessels and other non-cash as well as cash assets.

The review of the report of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets, PCARA, appeared to show that the anti-graft commission gave contradictory figures on the total number of recovered real estate.

The report reads in part: “The EFCC under the watch of the suspended Ag. Chairman in its submission to PCARA reported N46,038,882,509.87 as being the foreign currency equivalent recovered by the commission between May 29, 2015, and November 22, 2018.

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“The EFCC, however, only produced evidence of lodgements of N37,533,764,195.66, leaving a shortfall of N8,505,118,314.21.

“The EFCC reported to PCARA a total naira recovery of N504,154,184,744.04; the actual bank lodgement of the naira recoveries was, however, N543,511.792,863.47.

“That EFCC failed to produce before PCARA the evidence/record of the difference of N39,357,608,119.43.

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“The EFCC, in its returns on non-cash assets, made to the president on April 7, 2017, declared 836 as the total number of recovered real estates, while in its first and second returns to PCARA, it rendered contradictory figures of 339 on 13/12/2017, leaving a difference of 497 and 504 on 9/3/2018, with a difference of 332.

“Between 2016 and 2019, fourteen (14) procurement fraud cases involving N117,972,209,035 and $309,151,419 were abandoned under Mr Ibrahim Magu’s watch.”

The commission observed from its findings that prosecutorial decisions by Ibrahim Magu on case files were based on his personal whims, as against the law and facts. The commission also notes the prevalence of widespread corruption, abuse of power and pervasive impunity in the running of the EFCC.”

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The panel also said records of forfeited assets were poorly kept by the commission.

“In 2016, Magu halted the process of disposing of two finally forfeited vessels, MT Good Success with 1,459 metric tons of PMS; and MT Askaris with 3,423,097 metric tons of crude…the cargoes eventually sank…Magu also asked the navy to release two vessels conveying illegally refined AGO to their owners,” the panel said.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Debt To World Bank Rises By $660m

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“Thirteen water vehicles (vessels) handed over to the EFCC by the Nigerian Navy, out of a total number of 154 vessels, have submerged (sunk) with tons of contents.

“The submissions made by the EFCC before the commission shows that, from inception to date, the total number of non-cash assets recovered under final forfeiture was 3133. The analysis of the recoveries shows that some of the assets were disposed of, forfeited to a third party or negligently lost. The commission conducted physical verification of recovered assets across the country from 1st-27th October 2020.

“The outcome of the exercise was revealing as some of the forfeited assets have been lost, deteriorated, physically possessed by the suspects, or could not be traced and in some instances remain in occupation years after their final forfeiture.

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“The EFCC reported disposal of 275 real estate, the judicial commission only confirmed 76 disposal”, the report added.

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EFCC, Army Arrest 120 Suspected Oil Thieves In Port Harcourt

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested 120 citizens for alleged illegal oil theft.

The anti-graft agency carried out a joint operation with personnel of the 6 Division Garrison, Nigerian Army in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

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The suspects were accused of illegally refining stolen petroleum products and economic sabotage.

They were caught after offloading oil into vehicles at the waterfront for distribution within and outside Rivers State.

READ ALSO: Top Officials In Some Banks Gambled, Stole Billions – EFCC

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The EFCC said their arrest followed intelligence on alleged illegal oil bunkering activities in the locality.

The spokesman Wilson Uwujaren disclosed that a number of vehicles and pumping machines were recovered.

“The suspects will be charged to court as soon as the investigation is concluded,” the statement by the spokesman added.

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