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EFCC Arrests Two Lagos Based Activists For Demanding N50m Bribe From Company To Withdraw Petition

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Two human rights activists have been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for allegedly demanding a bribe from Wahum Nigeria Limited, The PUNCH is reporting.

According to the newspaper, the President of the Path of Peace Initiatives, Dandy Eze, and one Solomon Johnson are the accused in the case.

Eze and Johnson was said to have sometime in 2018 approached Wahum Nigeria Limited to ask for N50 million to help facilitate the withdrawal of a petition written against the company, which they claimed was being investigated by the EFCC.

The PUNCH gathered that when the letter allegedly written by the activists was investigated by the EFCC, it was discovered that the suspects had solicited a bribe from Wahum Nigeria Limited.

The newspaper learnt that N1 million had already been collected by the duo as part payment through a First Bank account number 3081329952 operated by Johnson.

They were arraigned before a Lagos State Special Offences Court on four counts bordering on conspiracy to commit felony and acceptance of bribe to the tune of N50 million.

The charges read in part: “That you, Dandy Eze, being the President of the Path of Peace Initiatives, and Solomon Johnson, on or about November 23, 2018, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, solicited the sum of N50m only as bribe in order to facilitate the withdrawal of a petition written against Wahum Nigeria Limited from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

“That you, Dandy Eze, being the President of the Path of Peace Initiatives, and Solomon Johnson, on or about November 26, 2018, in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did accept the sum of N1m as bribe through the First Bank account number 3081329952 operated by Solomon Johnson from Wahum Nigeria Limited in order to facilitate the withdrawal of a petition written against Wahum Nigeria Limited from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.”

They defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges.

In view of their plea, the prosecuting counsel, George Chia-Yakua, asked the court for a trial date and also prayed that the defendants be remanded in prison custody.

However, the counsel for the defendants, Terry Adeniji, told the court that he had just been briefed about the case.

Adeniji, therefore, asked the court for a short date to enable him to file a proper bail application.

He also prayed the court to remand the defendants in the EFCC custody.

In his response, Chia-Yakua urged the court to refuse the prayer of the defence counsel to remand the defendants in the EFCC custody.

The presiding judge, Justice Mojisola Dada, adjourned the matter till February 14 and 15, 2019 for the hearing of the bail application and commencement of trial.

Dada, thereafter, remanded the suspects in prison custody.

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BIG STORY

JUST IN: Ebonyi Governor Tests Positive For COVID-19

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Ebonyi State Governor, Dave Umahi, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus disease.

This was contained in a statement personally signed by him on Saturday.

Details later…




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BIG STORY

Heritage Bank Shuts Branch For Disinfection Over Suspected Coronavirus Case

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Heritage Bank Plc said it has closed down an Experience Centre- EC (branch) at Allen Avenue; Ikeja over the “unconfirmed case” of Coronavirus for deep hygiene clean up after an employee took ill last week.

The bank in a statement made available to the press and customers noted: “in line with our emergency response plan and following regulatory practices, we have taken immediate steps to close down Allen Avenue, Ikeja Experience Centers- EC (branch) for thorough disinfection of the affected location.”

Contrary to rumour, the bank disclosed that whilst the suspected staff awaits her medical test from the Covid-19 Test Centre in Yaba, she had not exhibited any symptoms related to the virus.

“Neither of the suspected person or others in the EC had exhibited any symptoms,” the bank said in the statement.

Specifically, the bank stated that staff were advised to self-isolate for 14days forthwith which was in consonance with Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).

The bank stated that the EC will undergo “thorough disinfection,” further affirmed, “Customers and staff safety remains paramount; hence we will recommence business with a new set of relief employees, as the current staff self-isolate.”

In the interim, the bank advised customers, “please visit other ECs or branches in Ikeja where you can conduct your daily transactions. Otherwise, you can use our alternate e-channels for seamless service deliveries.

“Heritage Bank remains resolute to continually serve you seamlessly despite prohibitions imposed on physical contact through our bouquet of electronic products which have been made available on notable mobile stores and our website (www.hbng.com).”

The bank noted that it would continue to intensify ongoing efforts via its intranet and other channels to keep staff and customers up-to-date with the latest COVID-19 information and provide clear direction and guidance expected of workers and customers.

“We have set up a COVID-19 Support Centre to offer COVID-19 safety tips to all our customers during this period, in support of the efforts of the Government and relevant bodies. Please send any information relating to the COVID-19 pandemic via these channels: E-mail: [email protected] and contact number: 01-2369099,” the bank stated.




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Hushpuppi Conspired To Defraud Premier League Club Of $124 Million

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United States authorities on Friday said an English Premier League club was among the victims the suspected Nigerian fraudster Igbalode Ramoni Abbas, also known as Hushpuppi, conspired to defraud.

US Department of Justice said Hushpuppi will face criminal charges, alleging he conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from business email compromise (BEC) frauds and other scams, including schemes targeting a U.S. law firm, a foreign bank and an unnamed English Premier League soccer club.

“Abbas and others further conspired to launder hundreds of millions of dollars from other fraudulent schemes and computer intrusions, including one scheme to steal £100 million (approximately $124 million) from an English Premier League soccer club, the complaint alleges,” the Department of Justice said in a statement on Friday.

Abbas, popularly known as Huspuppi was arrested earlier in June along with Olalekan Jacob Ponle, also known as Woodberry and 10 others.

The 12 suspects were arrested in six simultaneous raids carried out by the e-police unit of the Dubai Police.

The gang was responsible for Dh1.6 billion (about N169 billion) fraud involving over 1.9 million victims. Items worth N15.845 billion (Dh 150 million) were also seized.

13 luxury cars worth N2. 640 billion (Dh 25 million), 21 laptops, 47 smartphones, 15 memory storage devices, 5 external hard drives, and 800, 000 emails of potential victims were also recovered from the gang.

Their arrest in an operation codenamed Fox Hunt 2 came after about four months of painstaking investigations into their activities., during which their social media activities were monitored by the highly trained police unit.

The video posted by the Dubai Media Office said their police were able to track the locations of the suspected fraudsters using their social media activities.

The Dubai Police said the Hushpuppi and his gang specialized in hacking corporate emails and then send fictitious messages to the clients of the companies whose email accounts they have hacked to redirect financial transactions and bank details to their own accounts.

“This was a challenging case, one that spanned international boundaries, traditional financial systems and the digital sphere,” said Jesse Baker, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service, Los Angles Field Office.

The DoJ affidavit alleges that Abbas and others committed a BEC scheme that defrauded a client of a New York-based law firm out of approximately $922,857 in October 2019.

DoJ said Abbas and co-conspirators allegedly tricked one of the law firm’s paralegals into wiring money intended for the client’s real estate refinancing to a bank account that was controlled by Abbas and the co-conspirators.

The Dubai Police said he and Woodberry were extradited to the United States this week to face charges of money laundering. If convicted, Hushpuppi would face a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison.




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