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Alleged N304Million Fraud: EFCC Presents More Evidence Against Former NIMASA Director-General, Haruna Baba Jauro, Two Others

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Justice Tijani Ringim of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State has admitted in evidence more documents tendered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the former Acting Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Haruna Baba Jauro, and two others.

Jauro alongside one Dr. Dauda Bitrus Bawa and a company, Thlumbau Enterprises Limited, are being prosecuted on 19 counts bordering on stealing and money laundering to the tune of N304,118,500.

The Lagos Zonal Office of the EFCC first arraigned Jauro and the two others on April 12, 2016, before retired Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos.

The anti-graft commission in a statement said at the resumed sitting, the prosecution presented its third prosecution witness (PW3), Orji Chukwuma, an investigator with the Commission.

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), Chukwuma of the Chairman Monitoring Unit, EFCC, Abuja, told the court that he was the Head of Special Task Force Unit 3, Lagos Zonal Command, at the time of the investigation of the alleged fraud.

When asked if he knew the defendants and the company, Thlumbau Enterprises Limited, the witness whom the Commission said his team was tasked with investigating money laundering and other financial crimes, told the court that he came across all the defendants in the course of his investigation, upon receipt of intelligence reports against the management of NIMASA.

He explained that in the course of investigations, various enquiries were made to banks and staff members of NIMASA and that interviews were also conducted on staff, banks’ employees, contractors to NIMASA, corporate organizations, individuals who made payments into the 3rd and 1st defendants’ accounts as well as some beneficiaries of the proceeds made by them.

According to him, investigations revealed that the 3rd defendant was incorporated by the 1st defendant, using his children, while the 2nd defendant operated the account of the 3rd defendant.

Chukwuma also told the court: “Further investigation revealed that proceeds of unlawful activities of the 1st defendant, while he was the Executive Director of Finance and Administration in NIMASA, was concealed and laundered for his benefit through the 3rd defendant. The proceeds were used to acquire a property in Abuja.”

He further informed the court that funds co-mingled with loans taken from Aso Savings Limited to also acquire two other houses in Lagos.

When he was asked if he could identify both Exhibits A1 and A2 which are the 3rd defendant’s statement of account containing the proceeds of the enquiries and investigations he carried out, Chukwuma identified Exhibit A series as the 3rd defendant’s mandate and statement of accounts, responses to the EFCC’s enquiries as well as the instruments used to move money out of the 3rd defendant’s account.

Giving evidence about Exhibit A1 and the share structures of the 3rd defendant, the witness told the court that one Samuel Haruna Baba had 500,000 ordinary units; one Salome Haruna Baba owned 250,000 ordinary shares and one Ila Haruna owned 200,000 ordinary shares.

According to him, the names mentioned are children and relations of the 1st defendant. He added that their addresses are the same as his.

Asked if he could identify the enquiries he recovered while conducting investigations in NIMASA, Chukwuma did, adding that they were documents from NIMASA to banks to effect payments.

The prosecution sought to tender a copy of the internal memo of NIMASA dated July 8, 2014, and two letters of instructions to Access Bank from NIMASA dated January 3, 2014; to which the court admitted all the evidence and marked as exhibits B, B1 and B2.

The prosecution counsel also asked the witness if there was an exchange of correspondence regarding the Aso Savings loans he earlier talked about, to which he answered in the affirmative, adding that it contained the mandate, statement of account, certificate of identification and mortgage correspondence of the first defendant.

The prosecution counsel further sought to tender the letter dated February 10, 2016, from Aso Savings and Loans Plc to the EFCC with its attachments, and the court also admitted all of them in evidence and marked them as Exhibit C.

Testifying more about Exhibit A and some entries made on January 6, 2014, Chukwuma explained that there was an inflow of N15 million ( Fifteen Million Naira) that came from the Committee of Intelligence belonging to NIMASA.

“The Committee is set up and funded by NIMASA for specific purposes related to security.

“Investigations showed from the account statement of January 23, 2014, that the sum of N12m (Twelve Million Naira) out of the N15m (Fifteen Million) was transferred to the account of the first defendant in Aso Savings to manage the loans he took to buy property.

“On July 10, 2014, another sum of N20m (Twenty Million Naira) was also paid into the account of the third defendant.

“Subsequently, the 2nd defendant also benefited the sum of N1,470,000 (One Million, Four Hundred and Seventy Thousand Naira), which was later returned to the Commission in a draft,” he said.

When he was shown copies of the draft by the prosecution counsel, he identified them as the statement of one Ishaq Banabas, who returned the total sum of N35m (Thirty-five Million Naira) through five different bank drafts to the EFCC Draft Registration Form Receipt.

Draft Registration Form receipts were admitted in evidence and marked as exhibits D and D1 respectively. The PW3, in his further testimony, told the court that the sum of N20m ( Twenty Million Naira) was transferred by Kishini Nigeria Limited and another N5m( Five Million Naira) was paid to the third defendant by Eminent Consult.

The 3rd defendant’s account, according to him, was co-mingled and aggregated to the sum of N52m (Fifty-two Million Naira) paid to one Helen Mbonu, who used it to purchase a house for the first defendant. When asked about the various entries in the exhibit A series, the PW3 told the Court that there were several inflows from various individuals and companies into the 3rd defendant’s accounts, including Sulaiman Mohammed, Komas Mega BDC, Dan Asabe, Mustapha Buka, Dulbangon Enterprise, Kostam Mega Concept, Kolomi Mohammed, Abubakar Mansur, Mukaila Jubrila, Alkawali Nigerian Enterprise and Hassan.

Asked if the third defendant rendered any services that led to the various cash payments totalling N120m, the witness told the court that the 3rd defendant never rendered any services, adding that “the payments are proceeds of unlawful activities.”

BIG STORY

UNN Suspends, Probes Lecturer For ‘Attempting To Sexually Assault’ Student

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A lecturer known as Mfonobong Udoudom has been suspended by the University of Nigeria (UNN) for what it called an “inappropriate affair” with a student.

Viral videos surfaced on Tuesday showing the senior lecturer of general studies pacing around his office in his pants, looking visibly alarmed.

Sources at the university said that the lecturer was “caught pants down attempting to have sex with a married female student of the school.”

According to the sources, Udoudom had a long-standing custom of “passing female students only after sleeping with them.”

He was accused of forcing a female student to understand that she would fail his course unless she agreed to have sex with him.

One of the sources, under anonymity, said the female student planned with her husband to entrap the lecturer while working with UNN security and other students.

The student source further said the security agents forcefully broke into his office and caught the lecturer “in action.”.

“It was planned out with her husband and security agents at the school. The female was made to approach the lecturer to offer him money in order to scale through his course. He refused and insisted he needed to have sexual intercourse with her in his office,” the source said.

“When the lady succumbed to his demands and asked him to undress, he was caught wearing only boxers.”

In the now-viral footage, a witness is heard saying, “We have been following this case from day one. We have all the chats, voice notes, video calls, and every conversation he had with the female student.”.

When contacted, UNN management told TheCable that Udoudom has now been suspended.

Okwun Omeaku, UNN’s acting media spokesperson, said the senior lecturer will be made to face the staff disciplinary panel.

“The indefinite suspension is with immediate effect pending the outcome of a disciplinary panel constituted by the university to investigate the incident,” he said.

“UNN has a zero tolerance for sexual misconduct involving our staff and students.

“We are committed to protecting our students from any form of abuse and exploitation. The university management will not hesitate to punish Mr. Mfonobong David Udoudom according to our rules if he is found guilty.”

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Yahaya Bello Took $720k From State Treasury To Pay His Child’s School Fees — EFCC Chairman Olukoyede

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman, Ola Olukoyede, claims that Yahaya Bello, the former governor of Kogi, took out $720,000 to cover his child’s upfront school fees.

Olukoyede made this known in Abuja on Tuesday during an interactive session with media executives.

The head of EFCC claimed that the former governor of Kogi transferred funds to a bureau de change operator and utilised them to pay his child’s school fees ahead of time.

Olukoyede added that Bello made the payment in anticipation that his tenure was gradually coming to an end.

“A sitting governor, because he knew he was leaving office, moved money directly from the government to bureau de change and used it to pay his child’s school fee in advance,” the EFCC boss said.

“Over $720,000 in anticipation that he was going to leave the government house. In a poor state like Kogi, you want me to close my eyes under the guise of ‘I’m being used’. Used by who? At this stage of my life.”

Olukoyede said he inherited the case file of the former Kogi governor, noting that he did not initiate the investigation against Bello.

On April 17, EFCC operatives laid siege on Bello’s residence in Abuja to arrest him over alleged N80 billion fraud.

While the EFCC operatives were at Bello’s residence, Usman Ododo, governor of Kogi, came to visit his predecessor.

Shortly after Ododo departed from the residence, the EFCC operatives also left the house.

Bello was reportedly rescued by Ododo when he departed his residence located in the Wuse Zone 4 district of Abuja.

Subsequently, the anti-graft agency declared the former governor wanted.

The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has also placed Bello on a watchlist.

The anti-graft agency alleged that Bello, alongside Alli Bello, chief of staff to Ododo; and one Daudu Suleiman, diverted about N80.2 billion belonging to the Kogi government.

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I’ll Tender Resignation If Yahaya Bello Is Not Prosecuted — EFCC Chairman Olukoyede

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The chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ola Olukoyede, has threatened to resign if he does not bring Yahaya Bello, the former governor of Kogi State, to justice.

Olukoyede gave a speech in Abuja on Tuesday during an engaging conversation with media executives.

“If I do not personally oversee the completion of the investigation regarding Yahaya Bello, I will tender my resignation as the EFCC chair,” he said.

The EFCC boss also vowed that everyone involved in obstructing Bello’s arrest from his Abuja residence will face the full wrath of the law.

He also said he invited Bello to his office for a more respectful and dignified interrogation, but that the ex-governor wanted EFCC operatives to grill him in his village instead.

“I called Yahaya Bello, as a serving governor, to come to my office to clear himself. I shouldn’t have done that,” he said.

“But he said that because a certain senator has planted over 100 journalists in my office, he would not come.

“I told him that he would be allowed to use my private gate to give him a cover, but he said my men should come to his village to interrogate him.”

Olukoyede said the EFCC did not violate any law while trying to arrest the former governor from his residence.

“Rather, we have obeyed the law. I inherited the case and I didn’t create it. Why has he not submitted himself to the law?” he asked.

“I have arraigned two past governors who have been granted bail now—WWillie Obiano and Abdulfatah Ahmed.

“We would have gone after Bello since January but we waited for the court order.

“As early as 7 am, my gallant men were there. Over 50 of them. They mounted surveillance.

“We met over 30 armed policemen there. We would have exchanged fire and there would have been casualties.

“My men were about to move in when the governor of Kogi drove in and they later changed the narrative.”

He vowed that all those who have dipped their hands into the public till would be investigated and prosecuted.

“If I can do Obiano, Abdulfatah Ahmed and Chief Olu Agunloye, my kinsman, why not Yahaya Bello?” Olukoyede said.

The EFCC is prosecuting Bello on 19 counts bordering on alleged money laundering and misappropriation of public funds to the tune of N80.2 billion.

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