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Thursday, August 10, 2017

News Corner: Just The News... Picture It In Reading!



EFCC Traces N47.2billion, $487.5million To Diezani Alison-madueke.
 The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission said it has traced at least N47.2Billion and $487.5Million in cash and properties to former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke. “This followed painstaking investigations by operatives of the EFCC,” two staff of the anti-graft agency wrote in an article sent to PREMIUM TIMES. The former Minister is also being investigated for corruption and money laundering in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The article, written by Tony Orilade and Aisha Gambari of the EFCC Media department reads:

By Tony Orilade & Aisha Gambari

From time immemorial, precious metals – gold, silver and sparkling stones such as diamonds have delighted women. Relationships have been built and destroyed, wars fought for and reconciliations cemented with gold and precious stones. Not too far back in history, Liberia was the theatre of war over Blood Diamonds.

Unlike Liberia however, the Nigerian nation is not at war. But, it seems Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, until recently, Minister of Petroleum Resources, going by the sheer amount of her acquisition of gold and diamonds, may have been fighting a spirited war against millions of compatriots who are heavily and unevenly yoked by crass poverty. To boot, the former minister is accused of having stolen – in broad daylight – the money that funded her acquisitive binge.

A search of one of Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s palatial residences in Abuja, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) turned up boxes of gold, silver and diamond jewellery, worth several million pounds sterling.

Apart from the jewellery, the EFCC, Nigeria’s foremost anticorruption agency, has traced N47.2 Billion and $487.5 Million in cash and properties to the former Minister of Petroleum Resources in Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

The former minister who has been in London since the birth of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, has however continued to deny any financial misdeed. She insists she is being severely maligned and persecuted by the EFCC.

But, on the strength of weighty evidences placed before Nigerian courts, there are a string of judicial pronouncements ordering the forfeiture of all allegedly ill-gotten wealth to Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s former employers, the Federal Government of Nigeria.

One of the constitutional requirements to be appointed to public office in Nigeria, is the total declaration of all personal assets. It does seem like that provision was observed more in the breach by Mrs. Alison-Madueke.

The EFCC, in the course of investigation, traced another property valued at $37.5m to the former minister in Banana Island, Lagos . She was said to have purchased the 15-storey building, which comprises 18 flats and six penthouses, between 2011 and 2012from the developers, YF Construction and Real Estate.

The property was allegedly acquired in the name of a shell company, Rusimpex Limited, which is managed by one Afamefuna Nwokedim, Principal Partner, Stillwaters Law Firm, Lagos.

On August 7, 2017, Justice Chuka Obiozor, a vacation judge sitting at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, ordered the final forfeiture of a $37.5m (N11.75bn) (Eleven Billion, Seven Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) property on Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos allegedly belonging to Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The order followed an exparte application filed on July 17, 2017 by the EFCC.

At the last adjourned sitting on July 19, 2017, counsel to the EFCC, A.B.C. Ozioko, while moving the ex-parte application, had urged the court to order the forfeiture of the total sum of US$2, 740,197.96 and N84, 537,840.70 respectively found by the Commission in Rusimpex USD account No. 1013612486 domiciled in Zenith Bank Plc suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities. Ozioko had also urged the court to order an interim forfeiture of the assets and property. Ruling on the applications, Justice Obiozor had ordered the respondents- Deziani, Afamefuna Nwokedi and Rusimpex Limited- to show cause within 14 days why the properties should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.

The judge had further ordered the publication of the interim order in any national newspaper for the respondents or anyone who is interested in the property to appear before the court to show cause within 14 days why the final order of the property should not be made in favour of the Federal Government. At the resumed hearing on August 7, counsel to the EFCC argued that the failure of the second and third respondent, Nwokedi and Rusimex meant that “they are not willing to contest the application”.



In his ruling, Justice Obiozor ordered the final forfeiture of the property to the Federal government, in view of the failure of any interested parties or persons to contest the interim forfeiture order as published in a national newspaper by the Commission. The court also ordered the permanent forfeiture of the sums of US$2, 740,197.96 and N84, 537,840.70 respectively realized as rent on the property.

But, by far the most numbing, record-shattering acquisitions of Alison-Madueke, is to be found in the ritzy, nouveaux riches playground of Banana Island , Lagos. It consists of two apartments at the Bella Vista Court.
The apartments which are Penthouses, are located on Block C-5, Flat 21, Plot 1, Zone N. For them, a $350 Million (Three Hundred and Fifty Million US Dollar) hole was allegedly dug in the Nigerian treasury on November 22, 2011, by Ms. Alison-Madueke.

Also in Lagos, Ms. Alison-Madueke allegedly bought a block of six units serviced apartments at Number 135 Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, just a few hundred metres away from the EFCC zonal operations hub . The apartment has a standby power generating set, sporting facilities, play ground and a water treatment plant. The property was bought at the rate of N800 Million (Eight Hundred Million Naira) on January 6, 2012.
Other properties in Yaba, Lagos, also discovered by the eagle eyes of the Commission’s operatives, are located at number 7, Thurnburn Street and 5, Raymond Street .

The Thurnburn Street property consists of 21 mixed housing units of eight 4-bedroom apartments, two penthouse apartments of 3-bedrooms each and six 3-bedroom (all en-suite) terrace apartments.

The Raymond Street property is made up of two en-suite 2-bedroom apartments and one 4-bedroom apartment.

The Yaba, Lagos properties, which dug a deep hole of an eye-popping N1 Billion (One Billion Naira) , were paid for on May 30, 2012. The same day Alison-Madueke splashed N900 million for the Port Harcourt estate.

In Lekki Phase one, an upscale neighbourhood of Lagos, operatives found a twin four-bedroom duplex. The duplex is located on Plot 33, Block 112, Lekki Peninsula Residential Scheme Phase 1, Lekki, Lagos, with an estimated value of over N200 Million (Two Hundred Million Naira) .

Also in Lagos, a large expanse of land at Oniru, Victoria Island, Lagos has also been traced to the former Petroleum Resources Minister. The land, which is located in Oniru Chieftaincy Family Private Estate, Lekki peninsular, Lagos and currently being utilized as a dumping site, was bought on February 16, 2012, for N135 Million (One Hundred and Thirty- Five Million Naira) .

Plot 8, Gerard Road Ikoyi, Lagos, another property traced to Mrs. Alison-Madueke, is a penthouse on the 11th Floor in the Block B Wing of the building. It was bought for N12 Million (Twelve Million Naira) on December 20, 2011.

On Plot 10, Frederick Chiluba Close, in the serene, upscale Asokoro district of Abuja, lies a tastefully built and finished duplex. In the compound, there are also a Guest Chalet, Boy’s Quarters, an elegant swimming pool, fully equipped sports gym and a host of other amenities.

Investigators have discovered that the property acquired by the ex-minister in December, 2009, at the cost of N400 Million (Four Hundred Million Naira) was never declared in any of the asset declaration forms filed by Mrs. Alison-Madueke.

Also linked to the former Minister in Abuja is a mini estate at Mabushi, Abuja. The estate located on Plot 1205, Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi Gardens Estate, houses 13 three bedroom terrace houses, each with one bedroom en-suite maid’s quarters. It was purchased on April 2, 2012 at the princely sum of N650 Million (Six Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) .

In Aso Drive, Maitama, Abuja, Mrs. Alison-Madueke reportedly acquired a 6-bedroom en-suite apartment made up of three large living rooms, two bedroom Guest Chalets, two bedroom Boys Quarters, two lock up garages and a car park. It was bought on July 20, 2011 for N80 Million (Eighty Million Naira) .

Down South in Nigeria’s oil city of Port Harcourt, the former minister’s acquisitive appetite took her to Heritage Court Estate, located on Plot 2C, Omerelu Street, Diobu Government Residential Area, Phase 1 Extension, Port Harcourt.

The Estate which is made up of 16 four bedroom terrace duplexes is equipped with among other facilities, a massive standby power generating set. Mrs. Alison-Madueke did not blink as she shelled out N900 Million (Nine Hundred Million Naira) for it on May 30, 2012.

In neighbouring Bayelsa State, an apartment with two blocks of flats, all en-suite, and with a Maid’s Quarters were also traced to her.

The house located on Goodluck Jonathan Road, Yenagoa, is sitting on a large expanse of land. Realtors spoken to by EFCC investigators have placed estimated values running into hundreds of millions of Naira on the property.The apartments have four living rooms, eight bedrooms and gold-plated furniture.

Aside from jewelry and property, Mrs. Alison-Madueke, EFCC operatives charge, has N23,446,300,000 and $5milion (about N1.5billion) in various Nigerian banks.

Based on evidence presented by the Commission before the court, Justice Muslim Suleiman Hassan on January 6 2017, ordered the funds’ temporary forfeiture to the federal government.
The EFCC again, on January 24, 2017, urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to order the forfeiture of yet another N9 billion allegedly laundered by some bank officials for Alison-Madueke.

A month later, on February 16, 2017, Justice Hassan ordered the final forfeiture to the federal government, of
N34 Billion naira which has been traced to the former minister.

Earlier in May 2016, the sum of over $100 Million (One Hundred Million US dollars) were traced to the accounts of several Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) staffers, who were allegedly bribed by Alison-Madueke to compromise Nigeria’s 2015 general elections.

Justice Mohammed B. Idris of the Federal High Court, sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on April 27, 2017, ordered the final forfeiture of the bribe money traced to one staff of INEC, Christian Nwosu, who was arraigned on April 5, 2017.

In the course of the trial, Mr. Nwosu pleaded guilty to receiving the sum of
N30 Million (Thirty Million Naira) from Mrs. Alison-Madueke. Upon his confession, the court ordered the final forfeiture of his landed property situated at Okpanam, Oshimili North Local Government Area of Delta State. Also forfeited by Mr. Nwosu to the federal government was the cash sum of N5 Million (Five Million Naira) .

Going by the continued unearthing of hard-to-ignore evidences of unexplained acquisitions, coupled with Justice Chuka Obiozor’s rulling on the final forfeiture of a $37.5m (N11.75bn) (Eleven Billion, Seven Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) to the federal government , ex-minister Alison-Madueke’s evidence-free counter-charge, that she is a victim of EFCC persecution, may be ringing hollower and hollower.

Orilade and Gambari are officers of the Public Affairs Directorate of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.





 Fresh Crisis In South-West PDP As Group Rejects Fayose
 A faction of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) South West zone, headed by Chief Makanjuola Ogundipe has called on the Chairman, Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi to urgently call to order, the governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose over his activities within the party in the zone.

The faction posited that instead of allowing peace to reign and also let the party maximize the opportunity of the recent verdict of the Supreme Court, which resolved its long time leadership crisis, Fayose and some leaders have been busy causing more problem that could crate further imbroglio.

Reading a communiqué issued after a stakeholders meeting in Lagos yesterday, the faction rejected the leadership of Fayose and dissociate itself from his activities.


It also resolved that a social committee be set up at the zonal and national level to continue to mobilize people into the PDP, just as it would continue to reach out and appeal to all those who had left the party as a result of the highhandedness and intolerant activities of some members.

The party also noted that Ogundipe is the validly elected and judicially sanctioned leadership in the zone as it enjoined the national leadership and the Ekiti State chapter of the PDP to stop dealing with Fayose.

Ogundipe, a PDP stalwart from Ekiti, who was Fayose’s nominee at the October 11, 2014 Southwest zonal congress condemned the alleged “hostile, authoritarian and distabilising activities of the governor.”

According to him, “We demand that he should be called to order before he sounds the death knell on the party in the Southwest. The authentic zonal leadership and stakeholders hereby rejected Fayose’s leadership.

“We resolved further that henceforth the national leadership of our party and the Ekiti State chapter should desist from relating with him as it regards the zone.”

Alleging that Fayose and some others are fanning the embers of discord within the party, the party leaders also expressed concern over the activities of the duo of Eddy Olafeso and Bunmi Jenyo and others who were described as “products of a contraption which has since been nullified by the Federal High Court, Lagos in suit No. FHC/L/CS/605/2016.”

Insisting that his leadership remains in the region, Ogundipe said “The provision of our party made it clear that any elected officer will serve for four years, therefore, nobody; either you are a governor or anything can remove us from office until October 2018.”

It however congratulated the National Caretaker Committee and other eminent members of the party on the resolution of its crisis, saying, “It is imperative of the party to reposition itself to take advantage of the disenchantment of Nigerians against the bad and inconsistence policies of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) ahead of the next general election.”

Also speaking, Professor Wale Oladipo, a former National Secretary of the party said it is an anomaly for any member of the party to come out and say it will or have expelled anybody while the PDP itself is still looking for members after the protracted crisis that forced most of its faithful to leave after its defeat in the last general election.

It further insisted there was no division in the party, as some would want to insinuate thorough their activities in recent times.

Meanwhile, Olafeso, who claimed to be the authentic Deputy National Chairman, Southwest zone by virtue of being loyal to the Makarfi’s leadership before the apex court verdict, dismissed Ogundipe and his people of not having the locus standi to declare anybody persona non grata since they have once openly announced their movement to Mega Party.


He added that the Ogundipe group was only grandstanding because the party has chastised Senator Buruji Kashamu for his activities saying, “The Supreme Court judgment was clear enough and if they want to join us they should be humble enough to accept their mistakes and come back.”

He wondered how Ogundipe would claim to remain in office till 2018 after the apex court verdict “there are jokers that should not be taken seriously.”

Some of the party notables present at the meeting aside Kashamu and Oladipo included former Ekiti State Deputy Governor, Abiodun Aluko; former PDP National Auditor, Fatai Adeyanju; Tunde Carenna, Segun Adewale, Wahab Owokoniran, Gbenga Otegbolu, Kolapo Ogunjobi, Hakeem Taiwo and Adekola Razak.


Federal Government Will Pursue Those Churning Out Hate Songs - Lai Mohammed
The Federal Government, yesterday, vowed to unleash the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC and security agencies against promoters of hate speech and songs now raging in some sections of the country.

The vow by the Federal Government came as the NBC vowed to apply appropriate sanctions from the broadcasting code against the broadcasters of the hate songs.

Former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, also condemned the anti-Igbo songs fanned in some sections of the North. Asked to give the Federal Government’s reactions to the anti-Igbo songs, yesterday, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said: “Let me make it very clear, hate speech from anywhere, from any part of the country is what we have been preaching against and I feel that there must be sanctions.


I am sure that the NBC will sanction any broadcast station that broadcasts this kind of hate speeches and I am sure that the security authorities would hound anybody who is found to be engaged in hate speeches in any form.

 “The government does not just care about hate speeches in the North, the government is against hate speeches anywhere; any form of music anywhere which can be described as hate speech from any part of Nigeria will be penalised, no mistake about that. No part of the country has the right to incite any part of the country against the other,” the minister asserted.


Bomb Scare Causes Pandemonium At Lagos Airport
Part of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA, in Lagos was yesterday morning thrown into pandemonium following the discovery of an alleged bomb planted by some unscrupulous persons.

The incident followed an alarm raised by workers arriving at the hajj and cargo terminal area who discovered an unattended bag.

 A security source told Vanguard the terminal manager, to whom the discovery was drawn, immediately placed a call to the security agencies at the airport, leading to the arrival of the Bomb Disposal Unit which opted to destroy the bag. But the equipment used for the blast blasted a hole in one of the terminal buildings and shattered the roof.


The big bang which accompanied the blast threw a scare into users of the terminal and had everyone running in different directions for safety.

 After the blast, however, it was discovered that the bag only contained booklets of the Lagos State Pilgrims Welfare Board, normally issued to pilgrims from the state.

Observers said the event meant that despite the seemingly sophisticated equipment of the Bomb Disposal Unit, they adopted a crude approach that could have cost lives, as they neither analyzed the bag nor took it away from the area for safer disposal.

The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, yesterday refuted a rumoured bomb scare at the Hajj and Cargo Terminal of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos saying it was an unattended bag at the hajj and cargo area of the terminal had caused the scare.

Reacting to the rumour, FAAN General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Mrs Henrietta Yakubu , said the bag in question contained some copies of an Islamic guide; meant for pilgrims to guide them with regards to their journey.


How 3 Men Defrauded Senator Mudashiru Obasa Of N9.2m Using His Fb Account
The State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, SCIID, Panti, Yaba, of the Lagos State Police Command has arraigned three men before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, for allegedly defrauding the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Mudashiru Obasa, of N9.188 million.


The three men, Frank Nwokobia, 27; Ezeoke Kanayochukwu, 25, and Godwin Essien, 28, were arraigned before Justice Chuka Obiozor, on a five-count charges of conspiracy, impersonation, identity theft and fraud.

The defendants, who were arrested at different locations in Delta State, according to the prosecutor, William Ologun, had sometimes in May hacked the Facebook account of the Speaker of Lagos State House of Assembly, and retrieved several information which they used in withdrawing N9.188 million from his account.


The prosecutor informed the court that the defendants were arrested in Delta State, after the complainant, Obasa, petitioned the Police that his Facebook account had been hacked and that N9.188 million had been withdrawn from his account by unknown individuals.

 The offences, according to the prosecutor, are contrary to Sections 27(1)(b) and 22(2)(b)(ii) of Cybercrimes Prohibition and Prevention Act, 2015.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges, after which their lawyer, Mr. Ali Abba, prayed the court to admit his clients bail in liberal terms.

 Ruling in the bail application, trial judge, Justice Obiozor, admitted the defendants to N5 million bail with one surety each.

The judge ordered that the sureties, who must be recommended by the defendants’ lawyer, must be residents of Lagos State, with landed property and three year tax.

The judge also stated that the landed property title documents and tax must be verified by the court’s Deputy Chief Registrar. The court also ordered that the three defendants be remanded at the Ikoyi facility of Nigerian Prison Service, pending the perfection of the bail conditions.