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FAKE NIGERIAN PRINCE JAILED FOR 7 YEARS FOR FRAUD IN UK

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A Nigerian who was posing as a member of the Royal family, and mingling with diplomats, captains of industry and senior police officers has been jailed for fraud in UK.

Daily Mail reports that Dr Yilkyes Bala who hails from Plateau State was chauffeur-driven in a black Bentley and hosted sumptuous dinners at the Dorchester to mix with society’s elite.

But the supposedly flourishing businessman was in fact a criminal mastermind responsible for an ambitious immigration racket.

Investigators believe he helped more than 100 of his countrymen, including most of his extended family, to enter the UK illegally under false and stolen identities.

At the centre of the scam was a corrupt Home Office worker who sold him genuine, but improperly issued, refugee passports for £1,500 each.
Bala then used his network of security companies to give the illegal immigrants references and jobs.

They could then ‘hit the jackpot’ and obtain a National Insurance number, giving them full citizen’s rights and access to State benefits.bala 2

But the racket, which continued for up to 16 years, unravelled when the Home Office employee was caught out.

This week Bala, 55, was starting a seven year jail sentence from August 1st, after a jury convicted him of conspiring to breach immigration laws.

A judge at Canterbury Crown Court said the charming fraudster was ‘at the hub’ of a ‘significant conspiracy’ to beat UK border security.

The conviction is an embarrassment for those who mixed with Bala, including the Nigerian Ambassador and senior officers at City of London Police.

The charming conman referred to himself as ‘His Royal Highness Prince Yilkyes Bala Finok Tonglele PhD State Crown Prince’.

He even carried an identity card claiming to be ‘prince of princes’ in the Nigerian Plateau State Council of Chiefs.

Investigators found he did not inherit the honour, but he claimed it was bestowed on him later in life, and they have been unable to disprove this.

Bala travelled to Britain in the early 1980s before studying administration at Greenwich School of Management as part of a philosophy doctorate.

He already claimed to have a degree from the now-defunct Clayton University, in Missouri, U.S., long suspected as a ‘buy-a-degree’ college.

He went on to set up a network of companies and claimed that at one stage they employed 900 people across Europe, Asia and Africa.

The core business was supplying security guards to the construction industry, including one firm based in Knightsbridge, Central London.

His companies, which included Golden Shield and Mayfair and Knightsbridge Guarding, also provided alarm monitoring, VIP bodyguards and uniformed guards for offices.

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Within two decades Bala, a father of six, was living in a £1.3million home in leafy Beckenham, South East London.

He joined the Croydon branch of the Masons and sent his daughters to fee-paying Blackheath High School.

But a huge investigation, which Bala claimed cost up to £10 million, unravelled his empire and exposed him as a ruthless conman.

Officials discovered a corrupt Home Office employee based in Croydon had improperly obtained more than 200 refugee passports.

In genuine cases they are used as travel documents for those claiming asylum in Britain, often fleeing religious or political persecution.

But the official was illicitly applying for them in the name of non-existent relatives of genuine refugees.

At least 91 documents were posted to addresses linked to Bala, who ran the Armour Group chain of companies with offices across the capital.

They were then used as the foundation for applications to remain in the UK as he and his accomplices ran rings around immigration officials.

Those linked to Bala used every trick in the book to beat border controls, from urgent medical visas to travelling as domestic servants.

Some were so shameless that they changed their names by deed poll back to their original identities within weeks of adopting the persona of a non-existent refugee.

Among those given false identities so they could remain in Britain were Bala’s second wife and his brother.

After his arrest, Bala boasted to officials that he was allowed up to seven wives, ‘and a few more on the side’.

Investigators found his home stuffed with paperwork linked to his businesses, with documents in his garage filling two vans alone.

Because of the complex web of his businesses it took the Home Office two years to prepare the case against him.

The illegal immigrants caused chaos in Government systems once they had obtained their new identities.

One man was uncovered by his fingerprints when he was caught drink driving on two occasions, first under his real name and then in a false one.

In some cases, illegal immigrants had already failed to gain citizenship under one name so simply adopted a new identity to try again.

Official company minutes for Bala’s security companies recorded the same people attending meetings under different names.

Bala’s second wife Giwo Tonglele, 46, was also convicted of conspiracy to facilitate illegal entry of persons into the UK and was jailed for five years.

Their former employee Casmir Ekwuhga, 42, was jailed for four years for taking part in the conspiracy, holding a refugee passport illegally and using it to obtain a driving licence fraudulently.

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Jailing them, Judge Heather Norton said the scam was well organised.

She said: ‘These documents were created to order. Each one of you was involved in deceiving the immigration authorities. You were at the hub of the whole enterprise.

‘The motive was simple.It was to provide identities for employees, relatives and friends. It was a significant conspiracy.’

More than 100 illegal immigrants linked to the scam have been arrested, but only a small number are believed to have been convicted and deported.

David Fairclough, of the Home Office, said Bala was brought to justice after a ‘long, complex and painstaking investigation’ and said the case should serve as a warning to others.

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Glo promotes Nigeria’s rich cultural heritage at Ojude Oba

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Digital solutions provider, Globacom, on Tuesday threw its weight behind the 2024 Ojude Oba Festival of Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, emphasizing the huge potential of such festivals to promote cultural diversity, unity and harmony in the country.

 

In his goodwill message to this year’s edition of the event, the Chairman of Globacom, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jr., also noted that age-long festivals such as Ojude Oba could foster cultural exchange and showcase Nigeria’s rich heritage to the world.

Dr Adenuga observed that the theme of this year’s celebration, UNITY AND HARMONY IN IJEBULAND: THE GIFT OF OJUDE OBA, emphasised the values that the festival had espoused for over a century that it has been in existence.

 

He added that the festivals also had potential to boost tourism and help in the diversification of the economy which was why the Federal Government and many governments across the globe have placed tourism on top of their development agenda.

 

Adenuga noted that Globacom has continued to support major festivals in the country in order to strengthen them as world class events which will attract even more visitors from across the world.

 

On the company’ partnership with the Ojude Oba Planning Committee, he is optimistic that it will further foster a symbiotic relationship with immense benefits for both Globacom and the sons and daughters of Ijebuland at home and in the Diaspora.

 

One of the key features of the festival is the Regberegbe (age grade) competition. Egbe Bobasete Okunrin Omooba came first with Egbe Bobagunte Okunrin Akile Ijebu second and Egbe Bobamayegun Okunrin Asiwaju polling third place.

 

 

 

Egbe Bobagunwa Obinrin Omooba won first place in the female division, while Egbe Bobagunwa Obinrin Asiwaju and Egbe Arobayo Obinrin Akile Ijebu emerged as runners-up, taking home the same awards as their male counterparts.

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Perm Sec Denies Sexually Harassing Female Subordinate, Says, She Accused Me Because I Refused To Pay Her Bills.

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The permanent secretary of the federal ministry of foreign affairs, Ibrahim Lamuwa, says he is being accused of sexual harassment by Simisola Fajemirokun-Ajayi, an official of the ministry, because he refused her demands.

 

Recall that the minister of foreign affairs, Yusuf Tugga, had notified Folasade Yemi-Esan, the head of service of the federation (HoS), of the allegation.

 

In a letter to Yemi-Esan, the minister said it was necessary to communicate the development to her following the “gravity of the matter” after Femi Falana, a human rights lawyer, wrote a petition to him.

 

However, in response to the allegation, Lamuwa said his failure to pay Ajayi’s bills on an official trip to Davos and refusal to grant her access to policy files and financial records of the ministry were the reasons why she accused him of sexual harassment.

 

The permanent secretary said he has never sexually harassed her but has maintained a professional relationship with all his subordinates.

 

“I have served for nine years cumulatively in the State House, in the Office of the Vice President, Chief of Staff to the President, and the exalted Office of the President at various times under Chief Mike Oghiadomhe, Mr. David Edevbie, Amb. Abdullahi Gwary, and lastly, Amb. Lawal Kazaure,” Lamuwa said.

 

“I received three letters of commendation at various times from the State House for meritorious service.

 

“On allegations of female directors being harassed, I have never had any incident with any female director in any hotel room, nor have I ever removed any female officers’ names from trips or postings because they refused to comply with any sexual demands.

 

“No four women or any number could have shared any alleged ordeal with me with her, as no such incidents have happened in the past, and it is untrue that any such common knowledge exists in the Ministry, as there is no basis for it.

 

“From the foregoing, I believe Mrs. Simisola O. Fajemirokun-Ajayi’s action might not be unconnected with my failure to pay her Davos bills or give her access to the Ministry’s policy files and financial records.

 

“For example, on 12th January, 2023, while in Davos, on a WhatsApp chat, she tried to know what I and the DFA were doing about the payment of the outstanding Nigerian Mission’s 1st Semester Allocation of about N12,957,103,477, claiming to know the Minister has spoken to the CBN Governor on the issue.

 

“In my response, I told her that Missions’ funding should not concern her, as it was being handled at the highest level. Her response was ‘Noted Sir. As directed by the Hon. Minister sir, does it concern Me?’. I wrote back to say, ‘I sorted that out with the HMFA yesterday’. And she said ‘thank you’. I knew she was angry with me about that.

 

“It is clear that there are two issues that have been worrying Mrs. Simisola O. Fajemirokun-Ajayi and were therefore waiting for any opportunity to get back at me.”

 

The permanent secretary added that they had exchanged jokes on many occasions in

the presence of other people.

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Foreign Affairs Ministry Perm Sec, Lamuwa, Suspended Over Sexual Harassment Scandal

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The permanent secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Lamuwa has been suspended over allegation of sexually harassing a married female staff of the Ministry.

 

Recall that the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, wrote to the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Folasade Yemi-Esan, over allegation of sexual harassment levelled against the Permanent Secretary.

 

One of the Minister’s aides, Mrs. Simisola Fajemirokun Ajayi, stated that Lamuwa sexually harrased her.

 

Lamuwa had served as Nigeria’s ambassador to the Republic of Senegal with concurrent accreditation to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania before his appointment as Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

 

He joined the foreign service in 1993, was born in 1967, and hails from Funakaye Local Government Area of Gombe State.

 

In a letter dated May 27, Tuggar said he was compelled to write to inform the Head of Service of a formal complaint against Lamuwa on allegations of sexual harassment.

 

“Bearing in mind the gravity of the matter, I feel it necessary to draw your attention to it and ask that you handle it accordingly.

 

“Please find attached a copy of the complaint I received via email. May I also assure you that I remain available to provide you with any assistance required in discharging your responsibilities,” Tuggar wrote.

 

Source squealed that Lamuwa had been asked to step aside by the Office of the Head of Service.

 

He was given till Friday last week to vacate office and the immediate past Nigerian Ambassador to Cuba, Benaoyagha Okoyen, assumed office on Monda

y in acting capacity.

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