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EFCC Grills Air Peace Boss Allen Onyema Over Alleged $44.9m Wire Fraud

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As part of the ongoing probe of alleged $44.9 million wire deals, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has interrogated the Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Mr. Allen Ifechukwu Onyema.

Also, there were strong indications last night that the EFCC may watch-list a former Special Adviser/Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme Office.

It was learnt that the ex-Special Adviser might be placed on INTERPOL red alert list.

Investigation revealed that Onyema, who was quizzed on Wednesday, has been placed on administrative bail.

It was, however, learnt that his activities are under the anti-graft commission’s surveillance.

A reliable source said the invitation of Onyema was part of the ongoing collaboration with the FBI and other security networks working on the alleged $44.9 million wire deals in which Onyema, his Finance Officer Ejiroghene Eghagha and two banks were implicated.

The source said: “Our team of detectives on Wednesday interacted with Onyema in our Lagos office on the wire deals, especially on issues involving money laundering.

“The questioning was part of our ongoing collaboration with the FBI and other agencies in line with the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) between Nigeria and the United States.

“We decided to release Onyema on administrative bail in deference to his constitutional right of innocence until proven guilty.

“But Onyema is on surveillance by the EFCC pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation.”

Asked why the EFCC opted to interrogate Onyema after charges have been preferred against him and Ejiroghene Eghagha in the United States, the source added: “There are vital Nigerian components of the indictment and demands of the US Government.

“For instance, the US is seeking the forfeiture of over $13 million left in some accounts linked with the suspect in the United States and Canada. The funds are $4,017,852.51 in JP Morgan Chase Bank in the US and $4,593,842.05 and $5,634,842.04 in the Bank of Montreal, Canada.

“We cannot rule out some of the money in some accounts in Nigeria. And our investigation may reveal the identities of other accomplices. Also, two Nigerian banks have been mentioned in the wire deals, especially transactions on the purchase of aircraft.

“If there are assets to be seized in Nigeria, we have to collaborate with the US Government on the forfeiture process.”

As at press time, it was learnt that the EFCC was on the trail of a former Special Adviser/ Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme Office.

Another source said: “The suspect has gone underground. We may have no choice but to watch-list the ex-Special Adviser. We will eventually place him on INTERPOL red alert.

“Preliminary findings revealed a nexus between the Amnesty Office and the activities of Onyema’s firms/groups/ NGOs as applicable.

“These groups include the Foundation for Ethnic Harmony, International Centre for Non-Violence and Peace Development, All-Time Peace Media Communications Limited and Every Child Limited.

“Our detectives discovered that the Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria (FEHN) handled the training and transformation of some former Niger Delta militants for both the Amnesty Programme Office and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).”

Responding to a question, the source said: “We are probing allegation of money laundering which led to the buying of exotic vehicles by Onyema.

“He blew about N170,100,000 ( $472,500) on three vehicles with cash transferred into his BOA 8086 account from Nigerian and other foreign bank accounts. We want him to explain the sources of the cash.”

According to the unsealed indictment, Onyema bought the luxury vehicles as follows: armored Lexus LX570 ($204,000); Rolls Royce ($180,000); and Mercedez Benz($88,500).

The indictment reads in part: “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 armored Lexus LX570 ($204,000.00), using, in part, funds from BOA 8086.

“In or about January 2016, Bank of America closed BOA 8086 and issued a cashier’s cheque in the amount of $4,000,396.43 made payable to Onyema and his wife.

“On or about March 1, 2016, Onyema opened a checking account ending in 3417 (“WF 3417”) and a savings account ending in 8020 (“WF 8020”) at a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Atlanta, Georgia. Both WF 3417 and WF 8020 were opened in the name of Allen I. Onyema, and Onyema was the sole authorised signatory on both accounts.

“Between on or about March 2, 2016, and May 10, 2016, Wells 8020 received numerous wire transfers totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars from his bank accounts domiciled in Nigeria, including but not limited to the bank account for All-Time Peace Media Communications Limited and Foundation for Ethnic Harmony.

“From March through May 2016, Onyema made numerous cash withdrawals from WF 8020 totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. WF 3417 was used to pay for personal expenses, including purchases at Atlanta, Georgia locations of Prada, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Louis Vuitton, the Apple Store, and various airlines.

“In March 2016, Onyema also used WF 8020 to purchase luxury cars, including a Roll Royce for $180,000 and a Mercedes for $88,500, among others.

“On or about November 14, 2017, Onyema opened a business saving account ending in 2151 (JPMC 2151) at a JP Morgan Chase Bank branch in Atlanta, Georgia. Both JPMC 5512 and JPMC 2151 were opened in the same name of Springfield Aviation Company, LLC, and Onyema was the sole authorized signatory on both accounts.

“In total, from 2010 through 12018, wire deposits amounting to over $44.9 million transferred from foreign accounts into Onyema’s Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JP Morgan Chase accounts.”

BIG STORY

BREAKING: Minister Of Transportation Rotimi Amaechi Attacked By ‘Misguided’ Nigerians In Spain

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Some persons described as “misguided Nigerians” on Friday attacked the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, in Spain.

Amaechi said he was attacked at an event on climate change held in Madrid, Spain.

The minister disclosed this on his Twitter handle, @ChibuikeAmaechi.

He said Spanish police officers succeeded in stopping his attackers before they could hurt him.

He did not disclose the identities of his attackers.

The minister had tweeted:

Recall that the immediate past Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, in August, confirmed a physical assault on him by some members of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra in Nuremberg, Germany,

Ekweremadu confirmed the attack in a statement released by his Media Assistant, Uche Anichukwu, in Abuja.

The senator, who also gave an account of the event on his social media handle @iamekweremadu, also said that he was safe.

He condemned the attack and said he had immediately reported it to the Nigerian Ambassador to Germany, Mr. Yusuf Tuggar.

Ekweremadu had said, “I attended the Second Annual Cultural Festival and Convention organized by Ndi-Igbo Germany in Nurnberg today where I was billed to give a keynote address along with the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, who, however, could not make it eventually.

“I was given a resounding welcome by Ndigbo in Germany and everything went smoothly until some men, who identified themselves as IPOB members stormed the venue and began to complain about the killings in the South East, stressing that there would be no Igbo event at the venue.

“I tried to engage them, but when they became unruly, I had to leave the venue. The organizers also invited the police and I was accompanied out of the venue.

“Much as I am disappointed in their conduct, especially as I am one of the persons who have spoken up on justice for Ndigbo, the Python Dance, judicial killings in Igbo land and elsewhere both on the floor of the Senate and in my written and personal engagements with the Presidency and the media as well as rallied the southeast Senate Caucus to secure Mazi Nnamdi Kanu’s release with Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe taking him on bail to douse tension in the South East, I nevertheless do not hold this to heart against them, for they know not what they do.”

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Sowore Vs DSS: Suspend The Nigerian Constitution, Declare Full Military Regime —- Deji Adeyanju Advises Buhari

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Convener of Concerned Nigerian, Deji Adeyanju, on Friday charged President Muhammadu Buhari to suspend the country’s constitution, disband National Assembly.

Speaking with newsmen, Adeyanju also charged Buhari to abrogate the judiciary and transform into a Military Head of State because he is a “tyrant.”

He was reacting after operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, invaded the courtroom of an Abuja Federal High Court, chased away lawyers before re-arresting Omoyele Sowore, convener of RevolutionNow Movement.

Adeyanju said: “This is tyranny taken too far. We are now in a full military regime. Buhari should suspend the constitution, disband the national assembly, abrogate the judiciary and come out fully as military head of state.

“You saw the way they stormed the court like gangsters, chased away lawyers and took him away.

“Buhari is a tyrant. He has no human Sympathy.”

This is coming less than a day after he was released by the DSS after an Abuja Federal High Court ordered for his release within 24 hours.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu also ordered the DSS to pay the sum of N100,000 to Sowore, for refusing to release him on bail despite two court orders to that effect.

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BIG STORY

Hadiza Lied! We Never Sponsored Thugs To Harass NPA MD – Ocean Marine Solutions

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The management of Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMSL) has debunked any knowledge or involvement in the physical attack of the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman, at the National Assembly.

NPA boss Ms. Hadiza Usman petitioned the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmad Lawan alleging that she was physically attacked by hoodlums at the premises of the National Assembly in Abuja on Tuesday.

She claimed that her attack was sponsored by Chairman of Messrs Ocean Maritime Solutions Limited (OMSL), Captain Wells Okunbo apparently over the decision of the NPA on the Secure Anchorage issue after attending an investigative hearing in the Assembly.

She said that she was only saved a bigger assault by her security agents who took her into Senator Danjuma Goje’s office where she waited for the hoodlums to leave.

Reacting to the allegation, Commodore Chuma Adogu (rtd), said the allegation was a falsehood and a figment of imagination, saying the Chairman of OMSL, Captain Wells Okunbo, a fine gentleman who has served the nation diligently in various capacities, could not have sponsored thugs to attack the NPA boss.

Commodore Adogu (retired) noted that on that Tuesday there was no any sign of such alleged attach or rented crowd in the premises of the National Assembly that could warrant such allegation, maintaining that OMSL Management came to the National Assembly just like other invited organizations on the day of the investigation by the Joint Committee of the Senate investigating the Secure Anchorage Area (SAA).

‘’On the day of the investigation at the National Assembly, we came like other invited organizations and we never came with any thugs or rented crowd to harass anybody talkless the Managing Director of NPA. The security at the premises of the National Assembly was very tight as everybody was routinely checked and controlled while entering thus forestalling any rented crowd or thugs to gain entrance. We came before the panel and presented our position in the SAA without nursing hatred against anyone.

‘’Let me make it clear to the Nigerian public that OMSL is a responsible corporate organization with a lot of Nigerians working as its employees. We are mindful of this and never can we trade it away. I repeat we do not have hands nor did our Chairman sponsor any group of thugs to attack Ms. Hadiza Bala Usman. We see this as part of the attempts to discredit OMS and distract attention from the main issue which is already with the Senate’’ he submitted.

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