An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Friday reserved judgment in the case involving two men: Ogbor Eliot, and Kelvin Chris, charged with attempted N1.8bn oil fraud for Sept.13. Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo adjourned the case following the adoption of the final written address of the counsel.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the defendants are standing trial, alongside a company, Danium Energy Services Ltd., on a five-count charge bordering on conspiracy, forgery and obtaining by false pretence.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
At Friday’s proceedings, in adopting the final written addresses, counsel to the defendants, unanimously prayed the court to discharge and acquit their respective clients.
They urged the court to hold that the prosecution had not proven the case against their clients beyond any reasonable doubt.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, in adopting his final written address, urged the court to dismiss the arguments of the defence counsel, arguing that they lacked merits and prayed the court to convict the defendants as charged.
“The case against the defendants before your lordship is such that it is visible to the blind and audible to the deaf.
“I urge the court to take into cognisance, the fact that the defendants created an impression that Total Nigeria Plc, issued to the defendants local purchase order, Ref. Nos 330 and 33, for the supply of Automotive Gas Oil (AGO).
“These two local purchase orders gave the impression that Total Nigeria Plc contracted the third defendant to supply to it, 10,000 metric tonnes per each of those LPOs for a particular sum.
“And so, the third defendant, armed with these LPOs, contracted Sterling Bank Plc to finance the purported documents emanating from Total Nigeria Pl “The prosecution has shown to my lord, that the LPOs were forged, and the original of the documents which Total said that the referenced documents in contention, were not issued to the third defendant, ” he said.
EFCC had alleged that the defendants and the company had attempted to fraudulently deceive Sterling Bank Plc into lending them money through a fraudulent scheme.
This was on the pretext to finance Local Purchase Orders (LPO) for 20,000 metric tonnes of AGO, to be supplied to Total Nigeria Plc. The prosecution submitted that the defendants and the company had sometime in February 2016 in Lagos, with intent to defraud, conspired amongst themselves to obtain the sum of N1.8 billion by false pretence from Sterling Bank Plc. EFCC also alleged that the defendants, with intent to defraud, induced Sterling Bank Plc to deliver to Danium Energy Services Ltd., the total sum of N1.8 billion.
It added that it was under the false pretence that Total Nigeria Plc vide Purchase Orders (PO), with Ref. No. 0216330 and 02331 dated Feb.3 2016, contracted Danium Energy Services Ltd to supply 20,000 metric tonnes of AGO in two tranches of 10,000 metric tonnes, each valued at the aggregate sum of N2.3 billion.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The prosecution said that the alleged offences contravened Section 1(1) (a) (b) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006.
An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Thursday sentenced a fake Army General Bolarinwa Abiodun, whose real name is Hassan Ayinde to seven years in prison for impersonation and N266.5 million fraud.
The convict also disguised as the Chief Of Army Staff (COAS) to carry out the N266.5 million fraud.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Abiodun pleaded guilty to an amendment 13-count charge bordering on obtaining money under false pretences and forgery,after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) re-arraigned him on Thursday.
Delivering judgment, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo , sentenced Abiodun without an option of fine, following his guilty plea.
“The defendant portrayed himself to be an Army General who forged the signature of the former President Olusegun Obasanjo and current President Muhammadu Buhari in defrauding and obtaining by false pretenses to the victim.
“He so perfected the scam by the level of his education, that one wonders whether such individual should be allowed to work scot free. It is so sad that people like this have given our dear country a bad name.
“I hereby sentence you Bolarinwa Abiodun to seven years imprisonment without an option of fine.
“The convict should pay the victim the N20 million to the victim and his First Bank Account with number 3050622693 used in carrying out the fraud be closed.
“He is to also forfeit building at No.1 Joke Ayo St., Alagbado.
“His four vehicles, Blank Range Rover, Black BMW car, Black Toyota Land Cruiser, and White Toyota Hilux with reg no Lagos KTU 985 ET which were recovered from him be forfeited,” the judge said.
The EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, submitted that he forged the signature of Obasanjo and the signature of President Muhammadu Buhari in defrauding his victim of N266.5 million.
NAN reports that the prosecution submitted that the defendant forged a letter of appointment as Chief Of Army Staff, dated May 20, 2020 and purportedly said the document emanated from The Presidency.
He also said that the defendant forged a Nigerian Army Identity Card with serial number 387140.
The defendant was also said to have been in possession of a forged certificate of confirmation, dated Nov. 7, 2018, purporting same to have emanated from the Nigerian Army Headquarters.
The prosecution said the offence contravened the provisions of Sections 1(3) and 6 of Advanced Fee Fraud and other Related Offenses, 2006 and 363 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2011
A Compliance Officer with First Bank of Nigeria Plc., Mr Chris Ekpe, on Wednesday narrated how an alleged fake army general, Bolarinwa Oluwasegun, changed his bank account name to perpetrate a N266 million fraud.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Ekpe testified before an Ikeja Special Offences Court.
He was led in evidence by counsel to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Rotimi Oyedepo.
The witness testified that First Bank received a notary publication dated Dec. 20, 2016, with a letter of change of account name from the defendant on Feb. 2, 2017.
“The defendant’s name was Hassan Kareem Ayinde.
“The bank changed his name from Hassan Kareem Ayinde to Olusegun Abiodun Bolarinwa, upon receiving the change of name documents,” he said.
The witness told the court that the balance in the defendant’s bank account at the time of the change of account name was N 1.3 million.
The compliance officer further testified that huge sums then started coming into the defendant’s account.
According to him, the sums were mainly sent from the complainant’s account.
He added that the sums were utilised on boutiques and other personal needs, adding that there were cash withdrawals through Automated Teller Machines.
The EFCC counsel tendered before the court a letter of request sent to the bank, a certificate of compliance and identification, the bank’s response letter, and the defendant’s bank account records.
The documents were admitted in evidence as exhibits, following absence of opposition from defence counsel.
NAN reports that defence counsel, Mr Kayode Lawal, did not cross-examine the witness.
Lawal said that there was no ambiguity in the testimony of the witness, adding that it was based on documents.
Oyedepo thereafter led in evidence, the third prosecution witness, a United Bank of Africa Relationship Manager, Mr Emmanuel Emaikwo, who told the court that there were transactions between the defendant and the complainant.
Emaikwo also tendered documents to support his oral testimony.
Oyedepo then sought an adjournment to enable EFCC to bring the investigating officer and a representative of the Nigeria Army to give testimonies before the court.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo adjourned the case until May 6 for continuation of trial.
NAN reports that the defendant pleaded not guilty to a 13-count charge bordering on obtaining money under false pretences, forgery of documents and possession of documents containing false pretences.
The EFCC alleged that the defendant impersonated an army general and defrauded two companies of N266 million in 2020.
The commission also alleged that the defendant forged a Nigerian Army identity card with serial number 387140.
It added that the defendant possessed a forged certificate of confirmation of appointment dated Nov. 7, 2018, purporting same to have emanated from the Nigerian Army Headquarters.
The EFCC said that the alleged offences contravened the provisions of Sections 1(3) and 6 of Advanced Fee Fraud and other Related Offences, 2006, and Section 363 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Monday dismissed the bail application of a self-styled army general, Bolarinwa Abiodun, charged with defrauding two companies of N266 million.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Abiodun pleaded not guilty to the 13-count charge levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The charge bordered on obtaining money under false pretence, forgery of documents and possession of documents containing false pretences.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, in her ruling on Monday, denied the defendant bail application and also granted him accelerated hearing of the case.
“The defendant did not challenge the averment of the counter-affidavit and the further affidavit of the prosecution.
“I am, therefore, in agreement with the prosecution that the defendant constitutes a flight risk.
“Although the offences against the defendant are bailable offences, I am inclined to refuse the application for bail and order accelerated hearing.
“Thus the application for bail is refused and the defendant is to remain in prison custody and accelerated hearing is hereby ordered,” she ruled.
The defence counsel, Mr Kayode Lawal, had on April 11 prayed the court to grant his client a bail, adding that the defendant had earlier produced a surety, as requested by the EFCC.
“We have been told by the commission to produce a surety and we have complied.
“We made several attempts to make the defendant get administrative bail.
“This is the only option for the defendant to ensure his fundamental, constitutional rights are not breached, my Lord,” Lawal said.
The EFCC Prosecution Counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, however, opposed the bail application and submitted that situation warranted the court to exercise judicial discretion against the defendant.
He argued that the defendant did not counter the point raised by the prosecution.
Oyedepo urged the court to refuse the bail application bail.
“The issue is that where there is no reply to a counter-affidavit, the facts therein deposed are deemed admitted and conceded by the other party.
“Looking at the disposition of the person seeking your lordship’s discretion, is it safe for our witnesses? Is it safe for us to say the man in whose custody we have found multiple ammunition and gun be released?
“We cannot put our lives in jeopardy. We will not wait until the tragedy happens and we do not want to jeopardise the life of the complainant. He is not safe, my lord.
“This matter is everywhere. Even for his own safety, he should have a place that is safe for him. He should be in a safe custody.
“We, therefore, urge your lordship with due respect to refuse the application and to order accelerated hearing as we are ready to expeditiously prosecute this case and we assure my lordship there will not be any delay.” Oyedepo submitted.
NAN reports that the prosecution submitted that the defendant allegedly forged a letter of appointment as Chief Of Army Staff, dated May 20, 2020 and purportedly said the document emanated from The Presidency.
He also alleged that the defendant forged a Nigerian Army Identity Card with serial number 387140.
The defendant was also alleged to have been in possession of a forged certificate of confirmation, dated Nov. 7, 2018, purporting same to have emanated from the Nigerian Army Headquarters.
The prosecution said the alleged offences contravened the provisions of Sections 1(3) and 6 of Advanced Fee Fraud and other Related Offenses, 2006 and 363 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 201.
The prosecution on Friday closed its case in the N32.9 billion money laundering trial of an internet celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha (alias Mompha) before a Federal High Court in Lagos.
The prosecution – the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) –
closed its case after calling its 10th witness.
Mustapha is charged by the EFCC on 14 counts bordering on fraud, money laundering and running a foreign exchange business without the authorisation of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He was arraigned alongside a firm, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charge, and was granted bail in the sum of N100 million with one surety in like sum.
The EFCC accused Mustapha of procuring Ismalob Global Investment Ltd. and illegally retaining in its account, an aggregate sum of N32.9 billion from 2015 to 2018.
When the trial resumed on Friday, EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, called the 10th witness, Alhaji Amodu Mohammed.
The witness, who spoke partly in pidgin English, told the court that the defendant was a director of the company Ismalob.
He testified that the company had three directors including himself and one Danjuma Mohammed.
He told the court that the company also maintained an account to which Mustapha was a signatory.
According to the witness, Ismalob is a Bureau de change (BDC) company which started business in December 2015.
On whether Ismalob is a licenced BDC, he told the court that it was not licenced by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Prosecution then referred the witness to Exhibit B62 to B101, and asked him what he knew about a transaction involving one Peter Calis.
Prosecution also asked the witness how he (Peter Calis) got the account of Ismalob (second defendant)
The witness replied that he transacted with the said Peter Calis in cash following instructions from the first defendant, Mustapha.
He also told the court that he never reported any of the said cash inflows by Peter Calis to the EFCC.
Under cross-examination by defence counsel, Mr Gboyega Oyewole (SAN), the witness told the court that he was Mustapha’s uncle.
According to him, Mustaphaa’s late father was his brother.
He testified that Mustapha’s late father was the Founder of Mompha BDC, which, he said, was a licenced outfit.
He said that until his death, Mustapha’s father was a successful and wealthy man, adding that Mustapha inherited and ran his father’s business outfits, even those in Dubai, until date.
The witness answered most of the questions put to him by the defence in the affirmative, by saying: “Yes my Lord”
He told the court that most customers of Mompha dealt with him (witness) through the first defendant because it was he (first defendant) they knew through his late father.
He said that Ismalob did not deal on jewelleries, cars or any luxury goods, but was only a facilitator of BDC.
After cross-examination, defence counsel told the court that he would file a no-case submission on behalf of the defendant in response to the charge.
He also informed the court of an application seeking an order for release of property of the defendant from the custody of the EFCC.
The court has fixed July 24 for parties in the suit to address it on whether the EFCC has cause to keep holding the property of the defendant without an order of the court.
The court adjourned the trial until Oct. 14 for defence to open its case.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the EFCC alleged that Mustapha laundered N32.9 billion through Ismalob Global Investment Ltd. from 2015 to 2018.
It alleged that both defendants
negotiated foreign exchange transactions in various sums such as N9.4 million, N20 million, N10.4 million, N2.4 million, N100 million, N61 million, N40.7 million and N42 million.
The anti-graft agency added that Mustapha aided Ismalob to illegally retain an aggregate sum of N14 billion in its account, which was procured from Pitacalize Ltd.
The alleged offences contravene the provisions of sections 15(2) and 18(3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act of 2011 as amended.
Edited By: Ijeoma Popoola (NAN)
Justice Chukwujeku Aneke of a Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday, ordered the interim forfeiture of N827 million recovered from a businessman, Matthew Edevbie, to the Federal Government.
Justice Aneke gave the order, following an ex parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Aneke directed the EFCC to publish the order in any national daily for any interested party to appear before the court within 14 days and show cause why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal government.
The court fixed June 29 for parties to show cause.
According to the commission, the sum is ‘reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud related offences Act, 2006 and Section 44(2)b of the 1999 Constitution.
EFCC said that if the application ‘was not heard and determined expeditiously, the monies housed in the said bank account sought to be temporarily forfeited will be dissipated.’
The commission tendered an affidavit of urgency in support of the motion ex parte sworn to by an EFCC Investigating Officer, Mr Chidi Nweke.
He said: ‘The said intelligence was investigated, traced to and recovered from Edevbie, who is the owner of Flank Power Resources.
A Federal High Court on Wednesday ordered that four men in a Federal High Court Lagos, over alleged 3,911 metric tonnes of illicit oil deal.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged Ukwuoma Ahamefula, Nelson Omeogor, Evans Efemuaya, Jude Eghreriniovo and a ship, MV Tim Begele with three counts of conspiracy, unlawful deal and attempt to unlawfully export petroleum products .
Justice Mohammed Liman, who ordered that the defendants be remanded, pending hearing in bail application.
Liman adjourned the case until April 1.
The EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, in the charge alleged that the defendants committed the offence on Dec. 3, 2019.
The anti-graft agency alleged that the defendants conspired and attempted to export 3,911 metric tonnes products of petroleum without authorisation.
The offence, he said, contravened the provisions of sections 1, 1 (17) , and 1 (19) of the Miscellaneous offences Act Cap M17 Laws of the Federation 2004.
The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.
After their pleas, defence counsel, Mr Peter Atabor, informed the court that he only got to know about the charges when he got to court.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday, re-arraigned social media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha, alias Mompha, in a Federal High Court Lagos, for alleged N32.9billion fraud.
Mompha was first arraigned by the commission on 14 counts bordering on fraud, money laundering and running a foreign exchange business without the authorisation of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
He was arraigned alongside his firm, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd.
The EFCC Counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, informed the court of a second amended charge against the defendant and urged the court to allow a fresh plea by the defendant.
The amended 22 count charges was read over to the defendant and he pleaded not guilty.
After his plea, defence counsel Mr Gboyega Oyewole,SAN, urged the court to grant a short adjournment to enable him study the new charge.
He told the court that he had only seen the new charge few minutes ago before the court commenced sitting and consequently, urged the court to allow him study same.
Justice Mohammed Liman, ordered that the defendant’s bail of
N100 million continues.
Following agreement of parties, the court adjourned the case untill March 18 for continuation of trial.
So far in the trial, the commission had called witnesses from commercial banks, CBN as well as the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML),
In the charge EFCC accused the defendant of procuring Ismalob Global Investment Ltd and retaining in its account, an aggregate sum of N32.9billion between 2015 and 2018.
The Prosecution alleged that Mompha laundered the sum through Ismalob Global Investment Ltd.
Both defendants, were alleged to have negotiated foreign exchange transactions in various sums like N9.4million, N20 million, N10.4 million, N2.4million, N100million, N61million, N40.7million, N42million among others.
Mompha was alleged to have aided the Ismalob to retain an aggregate sum of N 14billion in its account, which was procured from Pitacalize Ltd.
He said the offences contravened the provisions of Sections 15 (2) and 18 (3) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.2011 as amended.
Edited By: Kevin Okunzuwa/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
Nigerian musician, Azeez Fashola (a.k.a Naira Marley) on Monday pleaded not guilty to an 11-count charge bordering on conspiracy, possession of counterfeit credit cards and fraud.
However, his bail request was not heard as he was ordered to be remanded in prison till 30 May.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) charged the musician before a Federal High Court in Lagos.
Also mentioned in the charge is one Yad Isril, who is said to be at large.
Following the not-guilty plea, EFCC counsel, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, requested the court to give a date for commencement of the musician’s trial.
Meanwhile, defence counsel, Mr Olalekan Ojo (SAN), informed the court that he filed a bail application on behalf of the defendant.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo adjourned the case until May 30 for hearing of the bail application.
The court, however, ordered that the defendant should be kept in prison pending the outcome of the bail application.
According to the EFCC, the defendant committed the offences on different dates including Nov. 26, 2018, Dec. 11, 2018, and May 10.
The commission alleged that the musician conspired with other persons to use different Access cards to defraud some people.
The EFCC said that he used Access Card number 5264711020433662 issued to other persons to obtain fraudulent financial gains.
It added that the defendant possessed counterfeit credit cards with the intent to defraud and steal.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the alleged offences contravene Section 1 23 (1) (b), 27 (1), 33, 33(9) Cyber Crime (Prohibition, Prevention) Act, 2015.
The absence of Justice Adedayo Akintoye of an Igbosere High Court in Lagos, on Monday, stalled the trial of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Rickey Tarfa (SAN), on allegation of alleged perversion of the course of justice.Akintoye was away on official duty. The court consequently adjourned the hearing until March 19.Tarfa is standing trial on a 26-count charge bordering on offering monetary gratification to two judges of the Federal High Court – Justices Hyeladzira Nganjiwa and Mohammed Yunusa, respectively.EFCC in its charge alleged that Tarfa had between June 27, 2012, and Jan. 8, 2016, Tarfa paid a total of N5.3 million in several tranches into Justice Nganjiwa’s account.The anti-graft agency also accused the defendant of paying into Justice Yunusa’s account, a total of N800,000 in three tranches between Feb. 9 and Nov. 30, 2015.The agency further accused the defendant of age falsification.Upon his arraignment on March 9, 2016 and subsequent re-arraignment on Nov. 16, 2016, Tarfa pleaded not guilty to the charge and was granted bail on self recognizance.Though EFCC has closed its case, the court dismissed Tarfa’s no case-submission application.NNN also reports that Tarfa’s first witness, Deputy Chief Registrar (DCR)of the Federal High Court in Lagos, Mr Bello Okandeji, is yet to finish his cross-examination.NNN reports that the trial on the last adjourned date, Jan. 21, suffered a set back because of the absence of the defendant, Tarfa.Tarfa’s counsel, Mr Jelili Owonikoko, had told the court that his client traveled outside the country for medical treatment.Owonikoko, who informed the court that Tarfa would be away for three months, said his failing health condition urgently needed medical attention abroad.Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, counsel for the EFCC , affirmed receipt of a medical report and a letter from the defendant in which he had requested for adjournment date.He, however, said that the defendant should have come to court to apply for leave to travel before embarking on such a trip.Justice Akintoye, however, who granted the request, had asked the defence counsel to ensure his client appeared in court on the next adjourned date.At the resumed hearing on Monday, the court did not sit apparently because of the ongoing Judges’ conference.