Tag Archives: fraud

The long list of corruption cases hanging on Diezani

Nigeria’s ex-oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, battles slew of graft cases

Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke

Nigeria ’ s former oil minister faces charges only at home but her name crops up in a growing number of international cases that lift the lid on the scale of alleged corruption in the country’ s oil sector.

Since leaving office in 2015 , Diezani Alison – Madueke has been implicated in bribery , fraud, misuse of public funds , and money laundering cases in Nigeria , Britain , Italy and the United States .

The first female president of the global oil cartel OPEC — who was one of Africa ’ s most prominent politicians — has always denied the allegations , which involve billions of dollars syphoned from oil deals and state coffers .

But former US State Department Nigeria specialist Matthew Page suggested that a US civil forfeiture case to seize $ 144 million ( 124 million euros ) of assets from allegedly ill -gotten crude contracts may just be the start of Alison – Madueke ’ s legal troubles .

“ Although this is the first attempt by US law enforcement to go after assets allegedly stolen by Diezani and her henchmen , it almost certainly will not be the last , ” he told AFP .

Nigeria ’ s President Muhammadu Buhari , elected in 2015 on a promise to eliminate graft , has said that “ mind- boggling ” sums of public money were stolen by previous administrations .

Officials in Abuja say they are talking with US prosecutors about repatriating the money if the civil forfeiture claim is successful .

– String of cases –

Alison – Madueke served under president Goodluck Jonathan from 2010 to 2015 and was Nigeria ’ s first female minister of petroleum resources . But her tenure was dogged by scandal.

On her watch , the former central bank governor Lamido Sanusi was sacked for claiming the state – run Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation ( NNPC) had failed to remit $ 20 billion .

In one case heard in Nigeria in February, Alison – Madueke was accused of diverting some $ 153 million from the NNPC coffers .

In another ongoing trial , some 23 billion naira ($ 73 million ) of NNPC money is alleged to have been used to influence the 2015 presidential election to keep Jonathan in power .

Prosecutors in Lagos this week began proceedings to recover $ 1 . 76 billion of assets owned by Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore , whose companies were awarded oil contracts by Alison -Madueke .

A similar asset recovery case was filed last week in Houston , Texas , seeking the seizure of luxury property , including a New York apartment and superyacht , bought by the businessmen .

On Wednesday , another judge ordered the forfeiture of Alison – Madueke ’ s $ 37 . 5 million luxury Lagos property , saying it was purchased with ill – gotten funds .

Meanwhile , Italian prosecutors allege that she and Jonathan received kickbacks from oil majors ENI and Shell as part of a $ 1 . 3 – billion deal for an offshore oil block in Nigeria .

Charges relating to the same oil block deal have also been filed against the oil majors and some senior Nigerian politicians .

Jonathan and Alison – Madueke are not named in the suit but the former president is under pressure from Parliament to answer questions about the so – called Malabu deal .

Finally , Diezani – Madueke was arrested in London in October 2015 in connection with a British probe into international corruption and money laundering , but she was freed on bail.

– ‘ Morale booster ’ –

As the international cases pile up , anti – graft campaigners hope the growing body of evidence will boost current President Muhammadu Buhari ’ s faltering war on corruption .

Several high – profile figures in Jonathan ’ s government have been charged with corruption since Buhari came to power , however so far there have been no major convictions .

Still, some activists believe the overseas cases will serve as a powerful example of justice.

Debo Adeniran , of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders lobby group , said the latest cases involving Alison -Madueke , Aluko and Omokore could be a “ morale booster ” .

“ Once a conviction is got abroad , the right signal will be sent to all looters that the judgment day has come , ” he said .

“ The fight against corruption will receive a boost . At last , the chickens are coming home to roost. ”

Dolapo Oni , an oil analyst with Ecobank , said that in contrast to Nigeria ’ s sluggish courts , the overseas corruption cases may be concluded faster .

But whatever positive impact that may have , fears remain that with Buhari on indefinite medical leave , his anti -corruption war is losing momentum.

Leading Nigerian lawyer Festus Keyamo said the cases demonstrated the need fundamentally to overhaul the NNPC — and to investigate just how far up corruption went in the ruling elite .

“ The big unanswered questions : is it possible one Minister allegedly stole so much without the knowledge , connivance & approval of the C- in – C ( commander – in – chief )?”, he tweeted.

AFP

​How MTN employees, bankers ‘fleeced’ customers of N150m

How MTN employees, bankers ‘fleeced’ customers of N150m

By Odita Sunday | 

• They are distribution partner workers, says firm

Operatives of the Police’ Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) Ikoyi, Lagos State, have arrested two employees of telecommunications firm, MTN, three bankers and six others for allegedly defrauding subscribers of over N150 million.

Chukwunonso Ifeanyi, 30, and Okpetu John, 29, who both confirmed they were MTN employees, were paraded alongside the bankers, Oyelade Shola, 32; Osuolale Hammid, 40; and Akeem Adesina, 33 by the spokesman for the SFU, ASP Lawal Audu.

Others include an ICT specialist, Salako Abdulsalam, 30; a pastor, James Idagu, 56; Sarumi Abubakar; Ismaeel Salami, 49; Akinola Oghuan, 34; and Sunday Okeke, 33.

The suspects were arrested in Lagos, Oyo and Kwara states with several Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards belonging to unsuspecting Nigerians, whose accounts were used to divert money belonging to those they defrauded, recovered from them.

According to the police, the suspects belonged to a syndicate that specialized in defrauding bank customers, who do not do Internet banking.

It was gathered that while the bankers supplied the details of customers with funded accounts to the gang, the MTN workers ensured that the victims’ mobile numbers, as well as those of people they had their ATMs were swapped for the duration of the crime.

According to Audu, blocking the numbers enabled the syndicate to fleece their victims, diverting the money into accounts they had ATM cards/pin, thereby preventing computer-generated text messages of transaction from being delivered to account owners.

He said: “The suspects transferred the money siphoned into about 40 other accounts with ATM in different banks. They usually carry out their operations at weekends and public holidays to avoid being detected by the bank monitoring mechanisms or the owners of targeted funded accounts.

“The effort of the police team eventually paid off when the same group was holding their final meeting at Domino Pizza eatery along Bode Thomas Street, Surulere, on the plan to unleash another monumental fraud on unsuspecting customers.

“Their plan was to defraud some bank customers between May 26 and 29. Detectives stormed the venue during which one of the major kingpin, Alhaji Ismaeel Salami, and four members of the syndicate were arrested.”

Ifeanyi, who said he suspected engineers at MTN headquarters as those behind the fraud, disclosed it was the fourth time it has happened in his branch.

He said: “I have no hand in that fraud. Someone used my access to do it and it was the fourth time it happened within a month. The first time, they used my Manager’s access, within two weeks, it was the Assistant Manager’s. The next person was a colleague before mine was used.

“All the times it happened, we were told to change our passwords, which we did. I suspect the engineers at the headquarters because they are the ones who usually gave us access to the systems.”

However, MTN PR Manager, Funso Aina, told The Guardian when contacted that those paraded at the SFU were not MTN workers. “Rather, they are employees of a distribution partner who runs a Connect Store.”
Source: The Guardian

Arms funds deals: EFCC confiscates N4bn estate from former Chief of Army Staff

Arms deals: EFCC seizes ex-Chief of Army Staff’s N4bn estate

By Yusuf ALLI, 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has seized an estate, allegedly valued at over N4 billion from a former Chief of Army Staff.

The estate, which has been placed under Interim Asset Forfeiture, was confiscated on account of the ongoing probe of the ex-Army Chief over $2.1 billion arms deals.

Prior to the seizure, the Presidential Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment Procurement (CADEP) had traced about N2 billion meant for the purchase of vehicles for the Nigerian Army, to the accounts of five children of the former Army chief.

There were indications that the said accounts were yet to be de-frozen at press time.

The Presidential Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment, headed by AVM JON Ode, had submitted its third interim report to President Muhammadu Buhari, leading to the shortlisting of the 54 people to be probed.

Apart from two ex-Army Chiefs, others recommended for probe are 16 other retired and serving Army officers, 12 serving and retired public officers and 24 Chief Executive Officers of companies involved in the procurement of equipment.

According to findings made by our correspondent, the EFCC decided to invoke Interim Asset Forfeiture Clause pending the outcome of the ongoing investigation.

A search by our correspondent revealed that the estate is sited between Jabi and Life Camp.

When our correspondent visited the site at 11am on Friday, the EFCC’s ‘Keep Off’ sign was already pasted on the estate.

The anti-graft agency also indicated that the estate was “under investigation.”

The estate contains more than 30 duplexes built to taste.

A reliable source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The ex-Army Chief was referred to the EFCC based on the report of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Defence Equipment, headed by AVM JON Ode.

“We are still investigating the ex-Army Chief and he will soon be interrogated. But in line with our modus operandi, we have been able to trace his suspicious assets which we have attached under Interim Asset Forfeiture.

“In this case of the ex-Chief of Army Staff, his children and friends were used as fronts for money laundering.

“We have traced many suspicious accounts linked with the ex-Army boss. Most of these accounts have been frozen.

“Some of our operatives have been working on documents in the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) on evidence relating to these scandalous procurement deals.”

Responding to a question, the source said: “The estate under forfeiture is so massive and valued at about N4 billion.”

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 organisation 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.”

The Presidential Committee had established that the ex-Chief of Army Staff has a case to answer.

The report of the panel said in part: “The Committee further established that between March 2011 and December 2013, two companies exclusively procured various types of Toyota and Mitsubishi vehicles worth over N2, 000,000,000.00 for the Nigerian Army without any competitive bidding.

“Most of the contracts awarded to the companies were also split, awarded on the same date or within a short space of time at costs and mobilization higher than the prescribed thresholds.

“For instance, on 15 Feb 13, the 2 companies were awarded contracts worth N260, 000.000.00 and N315, 000,000.00 respectively for supplies of various vehicles. The Nigerian Army could not justify the exclusive selection of these vendors against other renowned distributors of same brands of vehicles procured.

“More seriously, the Committee found no credible evidence of delivery of the vehicles by the 2 companies as there were no receipt vouchers but only unauthenticated delivery notes, invoices and waybills that were purportedly used for the deliveries.

“Nevertheless, the vendors were fully paid based on job completion certificate authenticated by the then Chief of Logistics. The payments were also made without deduction of Withholding Tax (WHT). Furthermore, analyses of the various banks accounts of the two companies showed transfers to individuals.

The report said the individuals were five children of the ex-Chief of Army Staff and one other front.

“Thus, the Committee recommends further investigation to determine delivery of the vehicles and relationship of funds beneficiaries with the former COAS and the two companies,” the report added.

The panel also discovered that “between May 2014 and March 2015, the ONSA mandated CBN to release various sums totaling $386,954,000.00 to three companies for ‘procurement of technical equipment’, without tying the money to particular items of procurement.

“Thus, the allotment of the fund was left at the discretion of the vendor without input or consultation with ONSA or the Nigerian Army.

“Furthermore, some of the funds transferred preceded the formalization of contracts with the Nigerian Army. There was also no evidence of any contract to justify the payments made by ONSA to the companies. Consequently, it had been difficult for the ONSA, the Nigerian Army and the companies to reconcile the accounts vis-a-vis the equipment delivered.”

The panel also discovered that 42 units of Armoured Personnel Carrier (APC) which were rejected by Iraq were later sold to Nigeria to fight Boko Haram insurgents.

It claimed that some of the APCs were either expired or unsuitable, leading to loss of lives.

It added: “The Committee observed that one of the new equipment procured for the Nigerian Army from Ukraine was BTR-4E APC. However, according to the Ukraine’s State Enterprise Lviv Armour Repair Plant, the designers of the equipment, ‘some of the products sold to Nigeria in 2014 were actually among 42 units designed for Iraq which subsequently rejected them due to poor performance rating.’

“The Nigerian Army did not also undertake the mandatory pre-shipment inspections provided for in the contract agreements. Instead, the NA deployed an Infantry officer, who lacked the technical knowledge to assess the capabilities and shortcomings of the equipment, to oversee the shipment of the items for the Nigerian Army from Ukraine.

“Additionally, the 2 weeks training availed the technicians and operators was inadequate for them to comprehend the technical workings of the newly introduced equipment.

“The Committee’s interactions with the field operators revealed that although the platforms and ammunition procured were deployed for the NE operations, some of them were aged or expired, lacked spares and prone to breakdown without immediate recovery equipment.

“Therefore, failure to carry out pre-shipment inspection and inadequate training resulted in procurement of some unreliable equipment that reduced the capacity of the Nigerian Army in the North East Operations and resulted in the loss of lives and equipment.”
Source: The Nation

Students left stranded as Principals embezzle NECO exams fees

Two school principals embezzle NECO fees in Nasarawa

From Linus Oota, Lafia

Nasarawa State Commandant of the Nigerian Securities and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC), Alhaji Lawan Bashir has revealed that principals of two secondary schools in the state diverted NECO registration fees paid by students.

The commandant told newsmen in lafia that students of the affected schools are Shekkina International School in Agyaragu area of Obi LGA and GSS Wakama in Nasarawa eggon LGA.

He said the students did not realise that their fees had been diverted until the commencement of the examination.

According to the NSCDC boss, “it was after the examinations started that the candidates realised that they had not been registered, their parents promptly reported the matter to the area inspectorate office of education in the affected locations, which brought the matter to us”

He said that the affected principals were then invited to our office “we employed alternative conflict resolution mechanism and it yielded results, all the parties have agreed to the terms for the repayment of the fees to the affected candidates

“The principal of Shekkina International School has refunded more than N400,000 to 67 candidates while his GSS Wakama counterpart has agreed to pay the money before the end of June. We involved the candidates and their parents in the negotiations so as to resolve the matter without any violence that appeared imminent before we came in” he said Bashir advised members of the public to take advantage of the alternative conflict resolution mechanism of the command to report cases instead of taking laws into their hands.

He also explained that the command would deployed over 300 of their men across the state to ensure that the threats issued by Arewa youths over Igbo quits did not affect the state, adding that the command had been in touch with the various tribal associations in the state to ensure the security of all the south easterners in the state.

The NSCDC boss in the state explained that the political discourse in the state was tailored towards unity and warned the youths not to take the threats as advantage to cause trouble in the state, noting that the command is monitoring all the activities to ensure law and order is maintained.

On the incessant vandalism of streets lights and transformers in the state, the commandant explained that the command was on top of the situation as a number of youths have being arrested and would soon be charged to court.
Source: The Sun

Conman!  How dismissed LASG worker forged bank statements, alerts to obtain millions in loan 

EVIL GENIUS
How dismissed Lagos civil servant used fake bank statements, alerts to secure multi-million loans

By CHIOMA IGBOKWE

Call him evil genius, you’ll not be wrong. And this is why operatives of the Rapid Response Squad (RRS), Lagos State Police Command are grilling him to unravel his web of criminal exploits. Olaogun Babatunde Amos aged 31 is now cooling his heels behind bars for allegedly using fake statement of account and bank alerts to defraud unsuspecting victims.

He is said to have used these forged documents to take millions of naira from several Microfinance banks in Lagos State.

He was picked up when his latest victim, a computer dealer alerted the police that Amos took goods worth millions of naira from him with no plans of paying back. According to the police, as soon the news about his arrest broke, other victims besieged the station alleging that he defrauded them through fake bank statements and alerts.

Debts led me into crime

At the police station, Amos who has no property or investment in his name told Saturday Sun that he is indebted to the tune of N20million most of which he got from banks.

“I am not a criminal; I was just finding a way out to pay my debts. I owe about N20million and it was my quest to offset this debt that landed me in trouble. My trouble could be traced back to 2013, when I had an opportunity to supply furniture worth millions of naira. Out of desperation, I gave a quotation that was below the cost price, so I got the contract. My calculation was to gain their trust with the hope that I will cover up when more contracts come my way. It did not work as planned and the bank that I borrowed from came after me.

“It cost me my job as a staff at the Government House, Alausa because I was taking advantage of any opportunity I get in the office to raise money. To meet up, I started borrowing money again. On my own, I discovered a method that I could use to collect loans from microfinance banks.

“My plan was to collect loans, invest and make money which I will gradually use to service all my debts. It was the money that I got that I used to open a lounge on Awolowo Road in Ikeja. It was the same method that I used to convince one importer of computers to give me goods worth millions. I took the goods and sold them less than the cost price to mop up cash. I was hoping to make some money somehow, before they discovered that I was worth nothing,” he said.

On how he managed to create bank statements, Amos said that he studied the online statements that banks normally send and discovered that they can be edited. “They used Microsoft excel to create the bank statement. All I did was to edit it and expand the amount of money in the account. What people normally do is just to check the balance without confirming the content. I only edit the first page and print it out. It was the statement of account that I presented to all the microfinance banks and they granted me loans.”

“On the bank alerts, I also know how to edit it to look as if it originated from the bank. Give me a computer and I will do the magic for you,” he boasted.

He identified some of the microfinance banks as Addosa where he collected N4million. Others are Page, Credit Ville, Empire Trust and Omnibus Foundation. “I still owe those banks. I took the money with the hope that I will invest and make much gain. The lounge which was supposed to be a money spinning business also failed me. The more I try to settle my debts, the more I slip into more debts.”

He pleaded for more time to pay off his debts insisting that he is not a criminal. “It was all those debts that landed me in trouble. I am not a criminal; I just devised a smart way to convince people to give me money.”

Victims lament

At the police station, some of the victims were seen telling their tales of woes in the hands of Amos. One of such persons is Chidinma who lost N750,000. “We were friends in the past and when I came back to Lagos, I hooked up with him. He invited me to his lounge and we relaxed and talked about life generally. I knew he was married so I felt that he is responsible at this stage in his life.

“I told him that I needed to buy a car but I do not have enough money. As my ex-boyfriend, I wasn’t surprised when he agreed to add up the balance and buy me a car. He gave me an account number, which he said belongs to the car dealer and I paid in N750, 000 sometime in August 2016. He also took me to the car stand where I selected the type of car I wanted. The car dealer told me that the one I saw had already been sold to another person, that, mine will be ready the following week.

“I agreed and left. Since last year till date, it has been one story or another. I could not trace the car dealer and he made me believe that the man had disappeared with our money.

I was happy when RRS men called to inform me that they were investigating him for fraud”, she said.

Yet another victim, Seun who is also his ex-girlfriend, parted with N500, 000 which she gave him to help her buy a Nigerian used car. “When I discovered that he was wasting my time, I demanded my money. I went to his office and demanded my money. He said he had transferred the money but I did not get an alert. I checked my account balance but it showed that the money is not there. He showed me the alert he got which showed that he has transferred the money to my account. It also showed that he has millions of naira in the account. He took me to Keystone Bank and we met a staff of the bank outside, he told me that they had network problem and it will take time before it will be rectified. I was still waiting when RRS operatives invited me to the police station after his arrest for fraud”, she explained.
Source : The Sun

Shocking discovery! 400 ghost workers found on payroll of Ondo football agency

​400 ghost workers discovered in Ondo football agency
PETER DADA

About 400 ghost workers have been discovered on the payroll of the Ondo State Football Agency .

The discovery was made by a three-man Interim Management Committee set up by the state government to look into the administration of the agency and find a solution to its unimpressive performance of the state- owned football team.

The ODSFA is in charge of Sunshine Stars Football Club and the Sunshine Queen Football, Akure .

Speaking in Akure , the state capital , the chairman of the committee , Gbenga Elegbeleye , said 620 names were on the payroll of the agency .

He said , “ On assumption of office , we asked for a list of all the staff in the agency in the employ of the ODSFA and what we saw was surprising . A list of over 600 persons was submitted but when we did a headcount of the staff few days later , we discovered that the agency had over 200 workers .

“ The most annoying thing is that , there are no criteria to determine who earns more or less . We noticed that some (secondary ) school certificate holders were earning more than BSc holders . ”

According to him , corrupt practices going on in the agency is responsible for the inability of the ODSFA to pay salaries of players and officials of the Sunshine Stars .
Source: The Punch

Supreme Court Justice Ngwuta appears before CCT, trial resumes July 12

BREAKING: Justice Ngwuta arraigned before CCT, gets bail on self-recognisance
Ade Adesomoju , Abuja

The Federal Government on Thursday arraigned a Justice of the Supreme Court , Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, on mostly charges of false asset declaration before the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja.

He pleaded not guilty to the amended eight counts preferred against him by the Office of the Attorney- General of the Federation .

Shortly after the defendant took his plea, his lawyer , Chief Kanu Agabi ( SAN ) , applied orally that the Justice of the apex court be granted bail in self – recognisance.

The request was not opposed by the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr . Umar Muhammed , who is the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation .

The tribunal headed by its Chairman , Danladi Umar , granted the bail application and fixed July 12 for commencement of trial .

Ngwuta is currently undergoing separate trial for money laundering and passport fraud charges preferred against him by the Office of the Attorney- General of the Federation before a Federal High Court in Abuja .

While Justice Ngwuta’ s trial was going on before a Federal High Court , the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation had on February 8 , 2017 preferred separate sets of charges bordering on breaches of code of conduct for public officers and asset declaration asset breaches against him and another judge of the Federal High Court , Justice Adeniyi Ademola.

But no date has been fixed for Justice Ademola’ s arraignment on the two counts preferred against him .

Ngwuta was initially charged with 10 counts now amended to eight counts before the CCT.
Source: The Punch