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REVEALED: How U.S Kept Close Tabs On Air Peace Boss Allen Onyema’s Financial Transactions For 9yrs

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A 36-page indictment filed on November 19, 2019, at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, has shown that the U.S has been on the trail of Chairman of Air Peace, Allen Onyema’s financial transactions for a long time, leading to his indictment for money laundering and fraud.

In an indictment filed on November 19, 2019, at the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, Onyema and Air Peace Chief of Administration and Finance, Ejiroghene Eghagha, were indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, three counts of bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit credit application fraud, and three counts of credit application fraud.

In addition, Onyema was charged with 27 counts of money laundering, and Eghagha was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft.

Onyema has however denied all the allegations leveled against him and has expressed his intention to vigorously defend himself in the court.

The Justice Department has also stated that the “indictment only contains charges” and “the defendants are presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.”

The investigation involving Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, Federal Aviation Administration, Department of Commerce, and Department of Treasury, showed that the US kept close tabs on Onyema’s financial transactions, including his business and personal spendings, from as far back as 2010.

An earlier statement by the US Department of Justice, Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Georgia, said the prosecution was brought as a part of the Department of Justice’s Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Forces (OCDETF), “which enables agents from different agencies to collaborate on intelligence-driven, multi-jurisdictional operations against a continuum of priority targets and their affiliate illicit financial networks.”

Detailing his financial transactions from around 2010, the indictment revealed that Onyema began frequently traveling to Atlanta, Georgia and from 2010 and continuing through 2017, he traveled back and forth between Nigeria and Atlanta, Georgia to conduct various financial transactions.

It read: “On or about April 2, 2010, Onyema opened a checking account ending in. 8086 in the name of Allen I. Onyema at a Bank of America branch in Atlanta, Georgia (“BOA 8086”). Onyema was the sole authorized signatory on the account. In or around August 2011, Onyema added his wife as a joint member to BOA 8086.

“Between April 2010 and January 2016, Onyema transferred millions of dollars into his BOA 8086 account from Nigerian and other foreign bank accounts, including hundreds of thousands of dollars transferred directly from accounts for Foundation for Ethnic Harmony, International Center for Non-Violence and Peace Development, All-Time Peace Media Communications Limited, and Every Child Limited.

“Onyema used the funds in his BOA 8086 account to pay for personal living expenses, among other purchases. For example, Onyema purchased an armoured Lexus LX570 ($204,000.00), using, in part, funds from BOA 8086.”

Count One
of the indictment which deals with Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud alleged that starting from a date unknown, but around May 2016 and continuing through at least February 2018, Onyema and Eghagha, and others “knowingly and willfully combine, conspire, confederate, agree, and have a tacit understanding with each other and with others to commit bank fraud, an offense against the United States, that is to knowingly devise and execute and attempt to execute a scheme and artifice (i) to defraud financial institutions the deposits of which were insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, that is, Wells Fargo Bank and JPMorgan Chase Bank NA, and (ii) to obtain and attempt to obtain moneys, funds, and assets owned by and under the custody and control of those financial institutions by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses, representations, and promises, as well as by omission of material facts, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344.”

The indictment also noted that Onyema founded Air Peace in 2013 and serves as chairman and CEO. It alleged that between 2013 and 2014, Onyema used multiple foreign bank accounts, including several Nigerian accounts, to purchase airplanes for the Air Peace fleet.

According to the indictment, these planes included Boeing 737 aircraft bearing serial numbers 25234, 25235, and 27530, and Dornier 328 aircraft bearing serial numbers 3221 and 3171.

It also noted that funds to purchase these aircraft came from accounts for All-time Peace Media Communications, Foundation for Ethnic Harmony, Every Child Limited, and International Center for Non-Violence, adding that the total amount of funds from these accounts used to purchase aircraft for Air Peace exceeded $3,000,000.

“Between 2013 and 2016, accounts associated with Foundation for Ethnic Harmony, International Center for Non-Violence and Peace Development, All- Time Peace Media Communications Limited, and Every Child Limited in Nigeria transferred more than $3.8 million into bank accounts in the United States to a combination of escrow, logistical, and personal accounts. The funds were used to acquire, export, and service aircraft, as well as to purchase personal property,” it added.

The indictment also showed that Onyema founded and allegedly used Springfield Aviation Company, LEC to facilitate large transfers of funds from his Nigerian bank accounts to the United States.

“On or about April 4, 2016, a business attorney, at the direction of Onyema, established Springfield Aviation Company, LLC (“Springfield Aviation”) as a Limited Liability Company registered in Atlanta, Georgia that purported to specialize in the wholesaling, trading, and sale of commercial aircraft and parts. Onyema is the owner of Springfield Aviation.

“Onyema recruited E.M. to act as a manager of Springfield Aviation and to enter into contracts on its behalf.

“E.M. has no connection to the aviation business outside of her role with Springfield Aviation and has no education, training, or licensing in the review and valuation of aircraft, including aircraft components.”

“On or about July 18, 2016, Onyema opened a business checking account ending in 8621 in the name of Springfield Aviation Company, LLC at a Wells Fargo branch in Atlanta, Georgia (“WF 8621”). Onyema was the sole authorized signer on WF 8621. In or about March 2017, Onyema opened a savings account ending in 0125 in the name of Springfield Aviation Company LLC at a Wells Fargo branch in Atlanta, Georgia (“WF 0125”).

“Onyema used WF 8621 to pay for personal expenses, among other things. For example, the account was used to make purchases at Atlanta locations of Publix, Macy’s, DSW, the Ritz-Carlton, and various restaurants.

“On August 22, 2018, Onyema established Bluestream Aero Services and Springfield Aviation Company in Ontario, Canada. Onyema also opened business bank accounts ending in 7523 held in the name of Springfield Aviation Company and 7515 held in the name of Bluestream Aero Services at Bank of Montreal (Canada).

“In November 2018, Onyema transferred around $10 million from WF 8020 to the Bank of Montreal accounts,” it alleged.

Alleging a scheme to defraud
, the indictment noted that about May 2016 and continuing through May 2017, Onyema, on behalf of Air Peace, purchased several aircraft.

It added that around May 2016 and February 2018, Onyema, Eghagha and others applied for export letters of credit to cause the transfer of funds from a Nigerian bank account for Air Peace to Springfield Aviation bank accounts controlled by Onyema, purportedly to fund the purchase of aircraft by Air Peace from Springfield Aviation.

It however noted that the aircraft that was referenced in each of the export letters of credit was never owned or sold by Springfield Aviation.

“In support of the letters of credit and to cause the disbursement of funds from either Wells Fargo Bank or JPMorgan Chase Bank NA into Springfield Aviation’s account, Onyrma, Eghagha, and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury, with intent to defraud, submitted false documents to Wells Fargo, including fabricated purchase agreements, bills of sale, and valuation documents.

“Eghagha sent false documents to E.M. and directed E.M.to sign the documents on behalf of Springfield Aviation. Eghagha instructed E.M. to present false documents to the respective banks in support of each letter of credit.

In or around May 2016, Onyema, as the owner, Chairman, and CEO of Air Peace negotiated and purchased the Boeing 737-500 aircraft bearing manufacturer’s serial number (“MSN”) 28721 (“Boeing 28721”) from Commercial Jet Solutions, LLC. That sale was consummated by an Aircraft Purchase Agreement dated May 16, 2016, and a Bill of Sale dated July 13, 2016, for a total of $2,078,000.

It read: “The purchase was completed using three wire transfers from WE 8020 totaling $2,078,000: $500,000 on or about May 16, 2016; $73,000 on or about May 23, 2016; and $1,505,000 on or about July 14, 2016.“In or about November 2016, Wells Fargo Bank received an export letter of credit request from Fidelity Bank in Nigeria on behalf of applicant Air Peace Ltd. The letter of credit requested that Wells Fargo accepts as a transfer $1,682,184 for the benefit of Springfield Aviation. The purpose of the letter of credit was purportedly to fund Air Peace’s purchase of Boeing 28721 from Springfield Aviation, an aircraft already owned by Air Peace that was never owned by Springfield Aviation. The letter of credit was identified as FB16ILL00063. The directions for the letter of credit state that “Documents must strictly conform with the terms and conditions of the attached letter of credit” and that “Documents Dated Prior To L/C Opening Date Not Acceptable.”

“In support of the letter of credit and to cause the disbursement of funds from Wells Fargo into Springfield Aviation’s account, Onyema, Eghagha, and others known and unknown to the Grand Jury presented false documents to Wells Fargo. Those documents included, among others:

“Sales and Purchase Agreement dated June 1, 2016, between Springfield Aviation and Air Peace for the Boeing 737, signed by ONYEMA as Chairman/CEO of Air Peace and signed by E.M. as Manager of Springfield Aviation, on or about September 22, 2016;

“Notarized Bill of Sale from Springfield Aviation to Air Peace, dated December 30, 2016;

“Commercial Invoice from Springfield Aviation to Air Peace, dated December 30, 2016;

“Valuation submitted on behalf of Springfield Aviation on December 30, 2016, which purported to be a “full aircraft appraisal” by “JMI LLC” that estimated the current market value of the Boeing Aircraft as $3,000,000; and

“Delivery Certificate dated December 30, 2016, certifying that Springfield Aviation delivered Boeing 28721 to Air Peace in conformity with the terms of the letter of credit.

“JMI LLC was not a valid business that conducted airplane valuations at any time relevant to this Indictment.

“On or about January 9, 2017, the letter of credit was amended to increase the amount of the anticipated transfer to $2,000,000.

“On or about February 10, 2017, Wells Fargo transferred $1,982,228.46 into Springfield Aviation’s Wells Fargo account, WF 8621.”

(THISDAY)

BIG STORY

#JusticeForUwa: Students Protest In Benin, Demand Death Sentence For Sex Offenders

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Members of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) on Thursday occupied major streets of Benin City, the Edo state capital in protest.

The students demanded justice for Uwaila Omozuwa, an undergraduate of the University of Benin who was recently raped and killed.

They also demanded that a death sentence be pronounced for sex offenders.

The President of the students’ union, Danielson Akpan, spoke with Channels Television during the protest demanding justice for their late colleague.

The lawmaker representing Ovia Federal Constituency, Dennis Idahosa, who also joined the students in the solidarity march vowed that he would move a motion to support capital punishment at the floor of the house.

Meanwhile, the new Commissioner of Police in Edo State, Johnson Kokumo had earlier on Wednesday promised that efforts would not be spared in ensuring that the culprits involved in the circumstances that led to Uwaila’s death are apprehended and made to face the law.

Kokumo made the promise when he paid a condolence visit to the family of the deceased.

Uwa, a 22-year-old student of UNIBEN was reported to have been raped inside a church where she went to read at the Ikpoba Hill area of Benin City, Edo State Capital.

The hoodlums were reported to have struck her in the head with a fire extinguisher after raping her and left her for dead. She was rushed to the University of Benin Teaching Hospital where she later died.

The news of her death has continued to spark outrage with trends on social media demanding justice and an end to rape.

(Channels TV)

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BIG STORY

Buhari Is Not In Charge Of Aso Rock —- Wole Soyinka

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Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate, says he does not believe that President Muhammadu Buhari is in charge of the country.

Speaking on Thursday during an interview on PlusTv Africa, the renowned writer said the answer to the nation’s problem is decentralization, adding that there’s a need for the people to be historically conscious.

Soyinka was reacting to an open letter written by Umar Dangiwa, retired colonel and former military administrator of Kaduna, to Buhari over the president’s knack for appointing people from his section of the country into office.

“First of all, I was appalled by the silence that followed this revelation. I think those who are responsible for this criminal lopsidedness should be punished. It is not sufficient just to discuss it. It’s criminal,” Soyinka said.

“I have said this before. I don’t believe there is really anybody in charge in Aso Rock. I’m sorry to say this. I’ve been studying the trend over the past year and a half and I believe this president is not in charge of this nation, in so many aspects and directions. I’m convinced he’s not really and totally with it.

“It’s so serious. It is not the fact alone, we know the history of this. We know what it has caused the nation and we know it isn’t over yet. And you say are launching an enquiry. That’s not enough. This man is not in charge.”

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BIG STORY

Police Arrest 3 Brothers For The Kidnap and Murder Of A Mother Of 5 In Abuja, Exhume Corpse Of The Deceased For Forensic Examination [GRAPHIC PHOTOS]

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Police operatives attached to the Intelligence Response Unit of the Nigeria Police Force have arrested three (3) suspects namely; Johnson Emmanuel – 38yrs, Gideon Emmanuel – 31yrs and Success Emmanuel – 27yrs for the kidnap and gruesome murder of one Mrs Janet Nnenna Ogbonnaya on 14th May 2020.

The suspects, born by same parents, all-male and native of Isiekenesi, Ideato LGA of Imo State were arrested by the Police in their home town where they had taken refuge after committing the crime in Abuja, in order to evade police arrest.

Investigations that led to the arrest of the suspects is a sequel to complaints received from one Chinedu Ogbonnaya who alleged that his mother, Mrs Janet Nnenna Ogbonnaya, 55yrs, a native of Ozuitem in Bende LGA of Abia State had been kidnapped and a 5-Million naira ransom demanded before she could be released. A comprehensive and painstaking investigation by the police operatives resulted in the arrest of the three (3) suspects, whom, in the course of interrogation, revealed that the victim had long been murdered and buried. Further findings revealed that the victim, a widow, who had been a Facebook friend of the principal suspect – Johnson Emmanuel, was lured from her home in Gwagwalada to visit the suspect. The suspect thereafter took advantage of the visit, served her yoghurt laced with drugs and subsequently had her murdered. The suspect had killed the victim and buried her remains in a septic tank, went ahead to reach out to the family of the victim using her phone and demanded 5-Million naira ransom as pre-condition for her release. ​

Meanwhile, on 4th June 2020, the suspects led a team of investigators alongside pathologists to a residence at Wumba District, Lokogoma, Abuja where the victim’s decomposing body was exhumed from a septic tank. The exhumed body has been taken to the University Teaching Hospital, Gwagwalada, Abuja for forensic examination.

A Toyota Highlander Jeep belonging to the deceased has also been recovered by Police operatives at a mechanic workshop in Apo where it had been repainted into a different colour, vehicle documents fraudulently changed and ownership of the stolen vehicle criminally transferred to one of the masterminds of the crime – Johnson Emmanuel.

Investigations also revealed that the house where the deceased was killed and buried originally belonged to one of the suspects but was hurriedly sold-off to a third party apparently to obliterate evidence.

The Inspector-General of Police, IGP M.A Adamu, NPM, mni, while commending the operatives for a job well done, reassures that perpetrators of any form of crimes in the country will not go undetected and unpunished. He, however, enjoins citizens to be more security conscious and report any suspicious activities within their neighbourhood to the nearest police station.

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