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Goje denies N25 billion corruption charge

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Sen. Danjuma Goje, the senator representing Gombe Central at the National Assembly has said that at no time did he faced corruption charge totaling N25 billion. Goje disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday in a statement made available to newsmen.

The statement signed by Mr. Paul Erokoro, lawyer to the senator said the claim was “inaccurate and untrue.”

Erokoro was reacting to recent reports in the media that corruption charge being faced by the senator were withdrawn following his decision to step down from the Senate president race in June.

He insisted that the actual amount mentioned in the charge was N9 billion.

“The so-called “N25b fraud” that has been bandied about in the media, never featured in the case.

“The sum total of all the monies mentioned in the charge was about N8b.

“Of that total, N5billion was a loan taken from Access Bank for completion of infrastructural projects such as the Gombe airport, waterworks, numerous roads, Gombe Jewel Hotels, schools, hospitals, and rural electrification.

“The bank testified in Court that the money was properly utilized for the projects. The EFCC investigators also confirmed to the Court that the projects were all completed.”

On the N1 billion agricultural loan, he said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had testified in court that the loan was utilized in full compliance with the bank’s loan conditions.

“Other witnesses told the court that the governor never awarded any contract for the supply of food to Government House and Government Guest Houses during his tenure for the N1 billion alleged in the charge or for any other sum.

“On the N1.6 billion for the supply of English Dictionaries for primary and secondary schools, the Court was told that Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) gave its approval and that the contract was advertised in two newspapers and that reputable book publishers and suppliers tendered and that State Universal Basic Education Board awarded the contract to the lowest bidder.”

He said all the 19 counts of the charge around the above monetary issues collapsed during the trial.

He said because the prosecution witnesses completely exonerated the defendants was why the 19 counts were all dismissed by the court, on the ground of No Case submission.

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EFCC

Oyo-Ita in fresh trouble

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Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa of the Federal High Court, Abuja on Thursday ordered the permanent forfeiture of some assets said to have been returned by a suspect allegedly linked to the suspended Head of Service of the Federation, Mrs. Winifred Oyo-Ita.

The order was a sequel to an application for permanent forfeiture by counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) M. S. Abubakar.
Oyo-Ita is currently under indefinite suspension pending the outcome of the investigation of allegations against her

At Thursday’s proceedings, Abubakar informed the court that between the last adjournment on June 28, 2019, when the court granted an ex parte application for the interim forfeiture of the assets and till date, no party had come forward to lay claim to the funds.

He added that the unnamed suspect who was served with the order of interim forfeiture did not respond.

According to Abubakar, the funds were voluntarily returned to the commission as proceeds of crime.

Following the failure of any claimant to the funds, the anti-graft agency’s lawyer, therefore, prayed the court to make the order permanent, adding that the money had been paid into an account with the Central Bank of Nigeria immediately it was returned by the suspect.

In a short ruling, Justice Ogunbanjo-Giwa subsequently granted the request of the Commission and ordered for the permanent forfeiture of the said assets.

It should be noted that details of the case were not read out in the open court when the judge made the order of final forfeiture of the monetary assets to the Federal Government.

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EFCC

FBI Indictment: EFCC Arrests 28, Recovers N468m

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The joint operation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on internet fraud has led to the arrest of 28 suspected internet fraudsters and the recovery of N486 million.

The EFCC said yesterday that 80 cases were under investigation in the joint operation, which started in 2018.
The acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, said collaboration between the commission and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has led to the recovery of the sums of $314,000 and N373,000,000.00, respectively from perpetrators of computer-related fraud.
Magu said the money was traced to various commercial banks by the Lagos Zonal office of the commission.
He also disclosed that the recent joint operations coordinated by the commission had yielded 28 arrests, adding that 14 suspects had been charged and convicted.

The EFCC chairman further stated that “nine of the suspects are currently undergoing trial, while five are still under investigations. Over 80 cases are still under investigation from the EFCC-FBI joint operations.”

Speaking through the Lagos Zonal Head of the EFCC, Mohammed Rabo, Magu added that the Lagos zone of the commission, prior to the collaborative efforts with the FBI, had independently launched a sustained operation on perpetrators of various computer-related frauds.

“From 2018 to date, the EFCC had launched a sustained operation on perpetrators of various computer-related frauds, which resulted in over 200 arrests, 130 convictions, and recovery of a large number of exotic cars and properties suspected to have been acquired through the proceeds of crime.

“We had independently launched intensive investigative actions against the infamous Yahoo yahoo boys culminating in various strategic raids and onslaught on their hideouts”, he said, while noting that the “efforts in this regard have recorded tremendous successes leading to a number of arrests, prosecutions, and convictions.”

Magu also called on the media to continue to lend its voice to the fight against corruption and economic and financial crimes, saying that “no one has the monopoly of knowledge of how the fight should be fought and won”.

“All the critical stakeholders, particularly the media, must continue to collaborate and cooperate with us to make the fight a success.
“I urge you to continue to help us sensitize, mobilize and educate all the critical stakeholders to continue to support the fight against economic and financial crimes. We must collectively strive to achieve the Nigeria of our dream”, he said.

Magu said: “It is very critical for you to understand that you owe the youth that social responsibility of awakening their consciousness to the importance of a noble life devoid of crimes.”
He also reiterated that the commission would leave no stone unturned towards stamping out corruption and economic and financial crimes from our society.

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EFCC

Internet Scam: FBI clamps down on over 70 Nigerians in Cyber Fraud saga

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Just after Nigerians woke up to the news that America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Invictus Group’s Obinwanne Okeke over alleged fraud, more bad news followed earlier today as the names of 80 more Nigerians were released by the anti-crime agency. The suspects have been accused of conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to launder money, aggravated identity theft, and other serious financial crimes perpetrated through Business Email Compromise scams.


The FBI is reportedly working with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to nab the now-at-large suspects. A 252-count federal grand jury indictment was unsealed charging 80 defendants, most of whom are Nigerian nationals, with participating in a massive conspiracy to steal millions of dollars through a variety of fraud schemes and launder the funds through a Los Angeles-based money laundering network.
The indictment was unsealed after law enforcement authorities arrested 14 defendants across the United States, with 11 of those arrests taking place in the Los Angeles region. Two defendants were already in federal custody on other charges, and one was arrested earlier this week. The remaining defendants are believed to be abroad, with most them located in Nigeria.
The indictment alleges that the 80 defendants and others used various online fraud schemes – including business email compromise (BEC) frauds, romance scams, and schemes targeting the elderly – to defraud victims out of millions of dollars.
According to a criminal complaint , co-conspirators based in Nigeria, the United States and other countries contacted the lead defendants in the indictment – Valentine Iro, 31, of Carson, and Chukwudi Christogunus Igbokwe, 38, of Gardena, both Nigerian citizens – for bank and money-service accounts that could receive funds fraudulently obtained from victims. Once members of the conspiracy convinced victims to send money under false pretenses, Iro and Igbokwe coordinated the receipt of funds and oversaw an extensive money-laundering network, according to the 145-page indictment.
The indictment and criminal complaint allege that Iro and Igbokwe, who were among those arrested this morning, were involved in schemes resulting in the fraudulent transfer of at least $6 million in fraudulently-obtained funds – and the overall conspiracy was responsible for the attempted theft of at least an additional $40 million.

“This case is part of our ongoing efforts to protect Americans from fraudulent online schemes and to bring to justice those who prey upon American citizens and businesses,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “Today, we have taken a major step to disrupt criminal networks that use BEC schemes, romance scams and other frauds to fleece victims. This indictment sends a message that we will identify perpetrators – no matter where they reside – and we will cut off the flow of ill-gotten gains.”
“Today’s announcement highlights the extensive efforts that organized criminal groups will engage in to perpetrate BEC schemes that target American citizens and their hard-earned assets,” said Assistant Director in Charge Paul Delacourt of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office. “Billions of dollars are lost annually, and we urge citizens to be aware of these sophisticated financial schemes to protect themselves or their businesses from becoming unsuspecting victims. The FBI is committed to working with our partner agencies worldwide to continue to identify these cybercriminals and to dismantle their networks.”

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EFCC

Diezani drags EFCC to court over jewelries

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A former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, has urged the court to order the return of her 2,149 pieces of jewellery and a customised gold iPhone, valued at $40million, which were seized by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Diezani, who is currently in the United Kingdom, accused the EFCC of entering her apartment illegally and taking the items without any court order.
She said the anti-graft agency violated her fundamental “right to own property and to appropriate them at her discretion,” under sections 43 and 44 of the Constitution.

She urged the court to reject the prayer by the EFCC to permanently forfeit the jewellery and the gold iPhone to the federal government.

These were contained in an application filed on her behalf by Prof. Awa Kalu (SAN), before the Federal High Court in Lagos.

The EFCC had, on July 5, 2019, secured an order of the court temporarily forfeiting the jewellery and the gold iPhone to the Federal Government.

The anti-graft agency told the court that it found and recovered the jewellery and the customised gold iPhone “on the premises of the respondent;” adding that it reasonably suspected that the former minister acquired them with “proceeds of unlawful activities.”

According to the schedule attached to the application, the jewellery, categorised into 33 sets, include “419 expensive bangles; 315 expensive rings; 304 expensive earrings; 267 expensive necklaces; 189 expensive wristwatches; 174 expensive necklaces and earrings; 78 expensive bracelets; 77 expensive brooches; and 74 expensive pendants.”

The EFCC asserted “the respondent’s known and provable lawful income is far less than the property sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

After granting the interim forfeiture order on July 5, the court adjourned till August 19 (yesterday) for Diezani or anyone interested in the jewellery and gold iPhone to appear before it to give reasons why the items should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

But in the application filed on her behalf by Kalu (SAN), Diezani contended that the court lacked jurisdiction to have granted the interim forfeiture order in the first place, as she had not been charged with any crime or served with any summons by the EFCC.

She stressed that the entry into her apartment by EFCC operatives was illegal as it was without a court order.

The lawyer added that the temporary forfeiture order was prejudicial to Diezani because she was denied fair hearing.

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