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Alleged Money Laundering: Permit Me To Travel Abroad For Medical Treatment – Ex-Governor Okorocha Begs Court

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Senator Rochas Okorocha, former governor of Imo State, has appealed to a Federal High Court, Abuja, to permit him to travel to the United States for medical treatment.

This was made known by his lawyer, Daniel Alumun, on Thursday during the trial before Justice Inyang Ekwo.

The lawyer informed the court shortly after his case was mentioned, that he was unable to serve the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the complainant, respondent motion.

Justice Ekwo consequently adjourned the matter until July 6 for a hearing of the motion due to the absence of the EFCC counsel who was not in court on Thursday.

In a motion on notice marked: FHC /ABJ/CS/28/2022 dated June 22 and filed June 27 by Okey Amaechi, SAN, Okorocha sought an order granting him leave to travel outside Nigeria for medical treatment; and return before November 7, being the next adjourned date for his trial.

He also sought a consequential order for the release of his Nigerian international travel passport booklet, which was deposited with the court registrar in partial fulfilment of the conditions for the bail granted to him and “a consequential order that reliefs (1} and (2) above be communicated by the registrar of this honourable court to the Nigerian Immigration Service, to facilitate the passage of the applicant.

“An order directing the 1st defendant/applicant to return his international passport to the registrar of the honourable court upon his return to Nigeria.”

The lawmaker, who gave three grounds why the reliefs sought should be granted, said he was admitted to bail pending trial in charge number, FHC/ABJ/28/2022.

He said he has duly complied with all the terms of the bail including depositing his travel documents with the registrar of the court.

He said before the arraignment, he had “undergone medical surgery at the Ambulatory Surgery Centre, Texas, in the US for distal femur fracture, which he sustained in an accident.”

He added that he had been on regular/scheduled care and treatment at the same Ambulatory Surgery Center, where he had been scheduled for further medical tests, observation and treatment on July 19, 2022, or immediately thereafter.

SaharaReporters earlier reported that the former Imo governor was under trial for alleged money laundering during his time in office.

Others defendants in the suit are; Anyim Chinenye, Naphtali International Limited, Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited, Consolid Projects Consulting Limited, Pramif International Limited, and Legend World Concepts Limited as 2nd to 7th defendants respectively.

 

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PDP NWC Rejects Wike’s Demands, reiterates confidence in Ayu – Official

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee has rejected the demand 

by Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers State for the removal of Senator Iyorchia Ayu, the party’s national chairman. 

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, made this known on Thursday at the party’s headquarters in Wadata Plaza, Abuja.

The leadership of the chairman was ratified in a vote of confidence despite disputations from some sections of the party and yearnings for him to step aside as the national chairman.

Wike met with some PDP serving, former governors, and other party stakeholders on Sunday.

The Rivers governor has been in disagreement with the party’s flag-bearer, Atiku Abubakar, in the fallout of the party’s special convention last May and the subsequent nomination of the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as the party’s vice-presidential running mate.

The development didn’t go well with the Rivers State governor and his camp, prompting calls for the chairman of the party to step aside, including the reorganisation of the executive arm of the party.

However, barely 24 hours after setting up a committee by the party’s Board of Trustees to wade into the disagreement between Atiku and Wike, the duo reportedly met at the residence of Jerry Gana, a pundit of the party.

According to the outcome of the meeting, Debo stated that the PDP has resolved to “restate confidence in the National Chairman, Sen. Iyorchia Ayu, and the National Working Committee NWC in running the affairs of the Party.

The party also “restates confidence in the capacity, experience, and competence of H.E Atiku Abubakar to rescue, redirect and rebuild this country to earn the respect of the international community.”

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EFCC To Quiz Jaiz Bank CEO, Hassan Usman, Others, Over AGF’S Alleged N109bn Fraud

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EFCC will question Hassan Usman, CEO of Jaiz Bank, and others for suspected N109 billion theft by AGF.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, or EFCC, may soon summon Hassan Usman, the managing director of Jaiz Bank Plc, and other senior members of the Islamic bank for questioning regarding their alleged roles in the N109 billion thatAhmed Idris, the disgraced former Accountant General of the Federation, is accused of stealing, according to sources in the commission.

 

Idris, who is currently facing charges from the EFCC along with two other conspirators, Godfrey Olusegun Akindele and Mohammed Kudu, allegedly stole the enormous sums of money by hacking into the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), and smuggled away billions of naira that belonged to the government.

 

The group was last week charged before Justice A. O. Adeyemi Ajayi of the Maitama, Abuja-based Federal Capital Territory High Court.

Investigative work by the EFCC revealed that the former Accountant General had opened bank accounts with an Islamic bank and utilized those accounts to refine his money-laundering techniques.

 

Investigations indicated that the bank was used to launder a sizable amount of money to high government officials at the federal and state levels, while the magazine is unable to determine the extent of some bank employees’ involvement in the crime.

 

According to information obtained by The Source Magazine, the commission is currently working to uncover any shady dealings the former AGoF may have had with some Islamic bank executives, which may have “enabled him to use the bank to launder public monies.” The bank must respond to important queries, according to an EFCC source.

The Accountant General and his accomplices must have chosen Jaiz bank, in order not to draw any suspicion from the public and banking regulators. But it’s now obvious that there’s no hidden place for the bank and greedy government officials who committed the fraud. The EFCC will get to the bottom of the fraud and expose those involved” another EFCC top official said on Tuesday.

“There is a need to question more top officials of the bank apart from the chief executive who must be privy to how and when huge sums of money were moved without deeming it fit to alert constituted authority in the country and EFCC. There’s no way huge sums will be moved without the MD’s knowledge, and we are quite sure these officials are not unaware of the money laundering law,” the official said.

The EFCC claimed that Idris utilized a substantial portion of the stolen money to launch businesses and buy real estate in Kano, where he is from, as well as Abuja and other places.

These properties include, among others, the Kano City Mall, the Gezawa Exchange Limited, and the Gezawa Integrated Farms.

 

A portion of the earnings from the theft were also utilized by the disgraced former accountant general to bribe important members of the state and federal governments, including former governor Abdul’Aziz Yari of Zamfara state, who was at the time the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).

 

During the trial last week, an EFCC prosecution witness Hayatu Ahmed, said Idris has accounts with Jaiz Bank which he used to make payments to individuals and companies, including a N280 million he paid into “Gezawa Commodity Market with Jaiz Bank.”

 

Additionally, it was discovered from EFCC sources that the bank was used in a large number of transactions that the disgraced Idris conducted with bureau de change. Several bureau de change in Kano and Abuja were paid via the bank, according to credible proof. The source stated that the dollar equivalent was then collected in cash and afterwards paid directly to people who had benefited from the crime.

 

Giving an overview of the fraud last week, the EFCC witness claimed that three groups shared the stolen money, including members of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), including one of its commissioners, Peace Akomas, a former deputy governor of the Abia State who is accused of collecting N18.8 billion.

The second group is the AGF group, and it got a total sum of N18.01 billion.

 

“The third group, the Commissioners of Finance in the nine oil producing states, received N21.4 billion. The money was withdrawn by Akindele, converted to US dollars, and handed over to Akomas on behalf of the group.

 

“The fourth group is called the Yari group. This group received N17.15 billion. The entirety of the sum was transferred to the account of Fimex Professional Services on the instruction of the representative of this group – Abdul’Aziz Yari, former Zamfara state governor.

 

“The remaining N8.9 billion was retained by the second defendant. Furthermore, N4.29 billion was converted to US dollars by Akindele as appreciation for the consultancy contract, and the balance of N4.6 billion was given to Akindele,” the EFCC witness said in court.

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LIRS Set To Launch Whistle-Blower Initiative August 5

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The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) is set to launch its Whistle-Blower initiative, a state-wide project, introduced to provide a platform for employees, stakeholders and the general public to report any observed violation, misconduct, or unethical behaviour across the state on Friday, August 5, 2022.

 

In a public notice signed by the LIRS Executive Chairman, Ayodele Subair, the Whistle-Blower initiative is a public policy of the State Government to encourage reporting of illegal actions or financial crimes, through the appropriate channel, with a view to correcting the violations or non-compliance.

 

According to the LIRS boss, “In line with the LIRS core values of integrity and accountability and our commitment to uphold the highest standards of openness, probity and accountability in our dealings with stakeholders, the platform is anonymous and confidential and it is independently managed by Deloitte, a globally accredited company.”

 

“The objective of the Whistle-Blower initiative is to guarantee transparency, accountability, and confidentiality to all taxpayers and stakeholders in general.

 

“The policy is designed to protect whistle-blowers from victimization and to encourage them to freely report without fear,” Subair submitted.

 

The launch of the Whistle-Blower initiative is scheduled to take place at the Protea Select Hotel, Assibifi Road, Alausa-Ikeja, Lagos.

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