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Document Exposes How Wema Bank Officials Offered Policeman Bribe To Stop Investigation On N1.7billion Money Laundering, Fraud

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A report by the Nigeria Police Force has exposed how Wema Bank Plc offered bribe to the police officer investigating the N1.7billion illegally moved to account number 0122367964 domiciled in the financial institution and operated by one Isaac Adewole, a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God by top officials of the bank.

The Wema Bank staff members fingered in the fraudulent activities are the bank’s Executive Director, Wole Akinleye; Head of Cooperate Banking, Emmanuel Edah, and Head of Oil and Gas, Kingsley Ananwude.

The report signed by the Commander of Area G, Lagos, ACP Ibrahim Zungura, said multiple fraudulent transactions were carried out through the account.

“The culpability of WEMA Bank officers was further confirmed when the officers tried to bribe investigating officers with large envelopes that contained money.

“The officers declined the bribes but the Bank persisted. The officials spent time begging and persuading the inestigating officers to drop the case. The Executive Director of the Bank, Mr Wole Akinleye, was also invited and he tried hard to derail and stop the investigation. He also wrote a letter to ask that he be exonerated from the case when it was clearly established that the bank could not explain the transactions, that the movement of funds was a form of stealing from the bank which is sometimes referred to as ‘pay off source’.

“This is shown by the facts that the funds deposited were not removed in that order or in the sums deposited but carefully removed in different tranches as it is shown on the account statements. For his own part, Mr Adewole refused to cooperate with he investigations but instead did everything he could to assist the bank in covering up,” the report exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters read.

Meanwhile, the police has charged one Ojo Oladipupo, Chief Security Officer of Wema Bank Plc, to court for attempted bribery.


He was accused of offering a policeman, ASP Jonathan Egwemi (A/P No: 143699), monetary reward in order to stop him from carrying out a detail investigation into the fraudulent and money laundering activities of the bank.

“That you Ojo Oladipupo “M” and others now at large on the same date, time and place in the aforementioned magisterial district did intentionally attempt to offer the station officer A/P No: 143699 ASP Jonathan Egwemi monetary reward in order to reframe him from carrying out a detail investigation into the fraudulent and money laundering activities of your organization i.e WEMA Bank Nigeria Plc and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 64 of the criminal laws of Lagos State of Nigeria,” one of the charges read.

SaharaReporters had reported how N1.7billion were fraudulently moved to account number 0122367964, domiciled in the financial institution and operated by Adewole.

Multiple sources familiar with the fraud said Adewole, who is also the Managing Director of Shibawells Energy Limited, approached the bank in 2018 for a loan to boost his oil trading business using his neighbour’s assets as collateral.

Granting the loan to the pastor, the financial institution opened an account for him where the money was paid.

The account was, however, used to illegally move N1.7billion from the bank in 2021 to multiple accounts operated by top staff members and their proxies.

“He used his neighbour’s house for collateral of the loan which was granted to him and promised to return it within six months. But three years after, the man approached him for his house document, that was when he told him of the fraudulent act. He said the bank paid N1.7billion into the account using different multinational companies like Dana Airlines, Caverton Helicopter and two others, one N300million, one N270million, one N600million and like that, it’s only one of the transactions that they didn’t put a name there,” a policeman involved in the case had told SaharaReporters.

“Guess what they do after, they now moved that N1.7billion from Adewole’s account into different bank accounts in tranches. Like the one I told you —N600million, they immediately put it in another account in form of N150million, N100million, N100million, N90million. The pastor’s account is known as Shibawells Energy Limited. The one for Dana that they moved N160million to, that was how they did it too, they immediately sent it to another account in smaller units as well.

“So the pastor approached the bank instead of the police. The top management staff involved called him and asked him what he wanted, they now ended with an agreement that the bank would give him an extra loan of N1.5billion and he agreed. Remember I told you this man is the Managing Director of Shibawells Energy Limited, a company that does supply aviation fuel. So we realised it was well planned and the names of Dana, Caverton and others were intentionally used to cover up the fraud so people won’t notice. We also realised in our investigation that this money was given to the banks by the CBN and these top officials had to use an account to move it out and use it for something else.

“He has a partner, we called him and realised he wasn’t aware of the transaction. He was shocked, he realised the statement presented to him was forged to hide the fraudulent transaction.”

According to Adewole’s statement of account obtained by SaharaReporters, on January 28 2021 via transaction ID No: M35660, he received the sum of N424,811,000 from Caverton, N160,000,000 from Dana and N630,000,000 from Beam Energy, all with the same transaction number.

On June 18, 2021 via transaction ID No: M104031, the pastor received the sum of N300,000,000 via NIP transfer from an undisclosed account source.

Also on same June 18, 2021, via transaction ID No: M104031, Adewole received the sum of N270,000,000 from Messrs Morrifoil Oil and Gas Ltd., all totalling N1,784,811,000.

When contacted, a source at Dana Air said the airline didn’t do any transaction with Adewole nor his company, Shibawells Energy Limited.

“If I tell you we aren’t aware of this case, then I’m lying, the police some time ago invited us and we were surprised that the company’s name was used for such a fraudulent transaction. It will be wrong for me to share our bank statement with you but such a transaction wasn’t authorised by us,” a source at Dana Air told SaharaReporters.

“We weren’t involved in such a deal, only the bank management can tell you why they use Dana’s name for the transaction. Go to the bank tomorrow and send money to anyone and use Dana as the sender they won’t stop you from doing that. Jokes apart, if we have that kind of amount, my brother, we don’t have any problem,” the source added.

In January 2022, a group, Transparency Nigeria Group, asked the Central Bank of Nigeria to dismiss the Chief Executive Officer of Wema Bank, Ademola Ademise, over alleged fraud.

The group in a statement by Dahiru Mohammed, its Communications Director, alleged that Ademise had grossly abused his office as CEO of the bank and contravened several extant regulations of the CBN.

According to the group, Wema Bank, under Ademise’s watch, covered up a massive fraudulent scheme perpetrated by companies and proxies of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu.

Calling for his immediate removal, TNG said, “In doing this, Mr Ademise failed in his fiduciary duties and allowed a powerful politician to use Wema Bank as a clearing house for laundered funds.”

The group referred to a story dated November 23, 2020 by Peoples Gazette where bank records showed that Ocean Trust Limited, a company linked to Tinubu, shuffled billions of naira between its accounts with Wema Bank.

The newspaper documented the transaction between January and June 2019 on how Ocean Trust summarily moved N16.4billion from its operations accounts into a fixed deposit account all domiciled in Wema Bank.

This was after the court case involving Dayo Apara, a former Managing Director of Alpha Beta, a company partially owned by Tinubu.

Ocean Trust was specifically mentioned in Apara’s court documents as one of the firms allegedly used to siphon funds from Alpha-Beta, the controversial Lagos tax contractor.

According to the report, Alpha Beta has received billions of naira from the Lagos treasury since Tinubu was governor.

Apara claimed the firm received N150billion in the past 15 years from Lagos.

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More Troubles For Umo Eno As Court Rejects Stay-of-execution Request

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A Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday dismissed an application filed by Pastor Umo Eno seeking a stay-of-execution of the Order which had nullified his nomination as the PDP governorship candidate in Akwa Ibom State.

The court which nullified Eno’s nomination, ordered that he should be replaced with Rt. Hon. Michael Enyong as the authentic PDP candidate.

In throwing out the request for stay of execution, the Court ruled that Umo Eno was never a party to the case filed by Enyong, and so his request could not be entertained by the COurt. The court therefore described Umo Eno as ‘’meddlesome interloper’’ for seeking to file an application in a matter he was never a party of.

Recall that in a judgement delivered on January 20, Justice Fadima Aminu of the FHC, Abuja, had ordered the PDP to submit Enyong’s name to INEC as its candidate. In a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/1295/2022 filed in August, Enyong had submitted that he won the party’s primary held on May 25. The defendant in the case was PDP. Enyong did not join Eno as a party in his case. How clever!

This means that it is only the PDP that has the locus to file an appeal or stay of execution application against the judgement which sacked Eno. So far, the PDP’s National Legal Adviser (NLA) is not willing to participate in the matter especially since he was never carried along in all the Umo Eno legal matters. Rather, the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of the Party had always engaged Barr. Emmanuel Enoidem (the former NLA) as its legal counsel, totally sidelining the current National Legal Adviser. Recall also that the PDP National Legal Adviser had a few weeks ago issued a public statement announcing that it is only the NLA that has the authority to brief and engage lawyers holding briefs for the party. The public statement had also warned party members to desist from engaging lawyers without his knowledge.

Meantime, I understand that Enyong’s lawyers had served INEC with the Court order and his name would soon be published by the electoral umpire as PDP’s authentic governorship candidate.

My Take:

1. The chances of Umo Eno returning to his former status as the governorship candidate is very, very slim. It probably will not happen.

2. Gov. Udom Emmanuel and the PDP have yet to come to terms with the fact that Umo Eno’s name has been deleted as the candidate. They are inconsolable in anger, grief and pain. ‘’They are experiencing a great sense of separation, akin to the overwhelming feeling of loss which one experiences when he is bereaved’’, says a political analyst and business man, Elder Aniefiok Isatt.

3. This development is also the greatest setback and the most devastating blow the PDP has ever suffered in the state since 1999. This case might just be some kind of ‘’Nunc Dimittis’’ for the PDP in the State.

4. Privatively, PDP stalwarts are quick to blame the governor for the woes that has befallen the party this season. They believe that by imposing a very unpopular person as the candidate, the governor had bruised and hurt the majority of the members.

5. The question many are pondering is: Will Udom Emmanuel take to Enyong and accept him as the PDP candidate, thus conceding that Umo Eno was never God’s revelation, contrary to what he told the people; or will the governor leave Enyong to his own devices and embrace a different person?

 

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Our Client Wanted To Say ‘Pupsy’, Not Her Private Parts — Lawyer Defends Embattled Nigerian Polytechnic Female Graduate

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Barrister Ikechukwu Nwaopara, a legal practitioner representing the interest of Sharon Ogechi Okoroafor, the graduating student of the Federal Polytechnic Nekede, Owerri, Imo State, who went viral on social media for saying that she graduated with the help of God and her private parts, has said his client was misinterpreted.

The lawyer, who made the appeal to the institution’s management in a statement made available to newsmen, claimed that their client had no intention of disparaging the institution’s reputation, standards or integrity.

The statement reads: “We are solicitors to OKOROAFOR OGECHI SHARON (our client under our Pro Bono (Free Legal Services) on whose behalf we write this memo to you.

“We are aware that she will be facing the school disciplinary panel this morning, and we wish to use this medium to express our confidence that the panel will carry out their duties in compliance with the principles of Fair hearing, good conscience and natural justice, devoid of harassment, intimidation, and threats.

“We have met and discussed with our Client and evidence before us shows that she has no intention to defame the character, standard and integrity of the institution. In her words what happened in the said viral video was a slip of tongue as a result of her uncontrollable ecstasy over her graduation. Her intended words were “God and Pupsy” in appreciation of the Almighty God and her dad.

“It is clear, therefore, that she had no intention whatsoever to use such a “foul word” in the said viral video to cajole or blackmail the institution, as no lecturer or name of the institution was mentioned or referred to in the said viral video.

“Our lawyers are already on ground at the institution now to follow up the proceedings at the panel against any form of intimidation or harassment. The integrity and standard of the said institution is not in doubt especially since my senior brother, Rev Dr Arimanwa took over as the Rector. Indeed, justice is for all parties.”

We had reported that after Sharon’s video went viral on the internet, the management of the institution announced that it would investigate her action as it was capable of dragging the reputation of the school to the mud.

 

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Alleged N1.4bn Fraud: Witness Reveals How Kogi Assembly Candidate, Atumeyi Fraudulently Benefitted N681m from Union Bank Customers’ Accounts

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The first prosecution witness, PW1, Olusegun Falola, in the ongoing trial of Ismaila Yousouf Atumeyi, a Kogi State House of Assembly candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, and two others, on Monday, January 31, 2023, told Justice Tijani Ringim of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos how the sum of N681m (Six Hundred and Eighty-one Million Naira) was paid into Atumeyi’s business account.

Atumeyi is standing trial alongside Ngene Joshua Dominic and Abdulmalik Salau, a former employee of Union Bank Plc, on an 18-count charge bordering on alleged cybercrime and money laundering to the tune of N1.4bn.

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, Falola, an Internal Auditor and Team Lead, General Investigations, Union Bank Plc, told the court that “sometime in October 2022, during the periodic internal review of accounts of customers, we observed that some accounts that were placed on No-debit were debited.

“In the course of our review, it was observed that the methodology employed in debiting the said accounts was different from the way accounts are being debited in the normal banking activity.

“Based on this, the case was assigned to me for further internal investigation. During the review, I observed that beyond the few accounts that were referred to me for investigation, there were other numerous accounts that were being debited.

“Furthermore, the debits on these accounts were traced to two beneficiaries, Atus Homes Limited account and Fav Oil and Gas Limited.

“These two accounts received the sum of N681m and N1.38bn, respectively from the account of 429 customers.”

He also told the court that further investigations revealed that Atumeyi is the signatory to the Atus Homes Limited account, while the signatories to Fav Oil and Gas are Shuaibu Yusuf and Nurudeen.

According to him, all illicit debits on the customers’ accounts were done via internet banking on one of the bank’s platforms known as Union 360.

Giving further testimony, he said: “As at the time of investigation, over 600m had been withdrawn from the account of Atus Homes Limited and over N800m withdrawn from Fav Oil and Gas.

“We also realized that they were able to make those fraudulent transfers because the bank system was fraudulently manipulated.

“It was this realization that made us know that only a person with privileged information on the bank’s information technology could have carried out such illicit transactions.

“It was based on that knowledge that we reported the matter to the EFCC for further investigation.”

Oyedepo sought to tender the petition written to the EFCC, the correspondences between EFCC and the bank as well as the defendants’ statements of account that had been identified by the PW1.

However, counsel to the third defendant, Babatunde Ogunwo, objected to the admissibility of the attached statement of account on the grounds that the prosecution had not sufficiently complied with Section 84 (2) 2(4) of the Evidence Act.

“I strongly believe that the prosecution has not satisfied the provisions of Section 84 (2) 2(4) of the Evidence Act. All I heard the witness say is questions put to him by the prosecution.

“However Section 84(2) of the Evidence Act gives conditions more than what the witness has stated.

“There are four legs as stated by the Evidence Act and the witness has only answered one. These conditions have to be complied with.

“I humbly submit that the prosecution has not complied with the conditions stated for the admissibility of the statements of account”, Ogunwo argued.

Responding, Oyedepo said that the argument of the defence counsel was misconceived and also missed its target.

He, therefore, urged the court to discountenance the objection of the defence.

He also submitted that the certificate of identification as enshrined in the Section of the Evidence Act “is not a ritual that must be performed in achieving admissibility of computer-generated evidences.”

He further argued that “where the issue is as to the failure to comply with procedural steps towards admissibility, the order the court will make is not to reject the document, but to urge the tendering party to regularize.

“This document is relevant in the determination of this matter and I urge my Lord to so hold.”

In a short ruling, Justice Ringim overruled the objection of the defence and admitted the evidence in exhibit.

Justice Ringim also granted the second defendant, Dominic, bail on the same terms of the 3rd defendant, as granted on January 6, 2023.

The matter was adjourned to February 2, 2023 for continuation of trial.

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