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BIG STORY

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

#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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