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Just In: Court Orders Forfeiture Of Multibillion Naira Lagos, Abuja, Dubai Properties Linked To Kogi Govt

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……EFCC to confiscate the sum of N400million recovered from one Aminu Falala in connection with the alleged fraud.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured the nod of the Federal High Court, Lagos to temporarily seize 14 properties and firms in Lagos, Abuja, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) linked to alleged fraud by some Kogi State government officials.

Justice Nicholas Oweibo granted the interim forfeiture order Wednesday following an ex parte motion by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN.

Justice Oweibo also authorised the EFCC to confiscate the sum of N400million recovered from one Aminu Falala in connection with the alleged fraud.

Oyedepo told the judge that the application followed the EFCC’s probe of “damning intelligence of monumental fraud allegedly perpetrated by some principal officers of Kogi State Government and their cronies.”

The senior lawyer alleged that through the fraud “huge sums of money belonging to the Kogi State Government were fraudulently converted and used to either outrightly acquire properties or renovate already existing but dilapidated buildings”.

He informed the judge in suit FHC/L/CS/301/2023 that the properties were reasonably suspected to have been derived from unlawful activity.

Oyedepo further told the court that the N400m was reasonably suspected to have been derived from unlawful activity “and intended to be used for the acquisition of Plot No. 1224 Bishop Oluwole Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.”

The judge directed the (EFCC) to publish the order in a national newspaper within 14 days for any interested party to show cause why the forfeiture order should not be made permanent.

He adjourned till March 28 for a report on compliance with the order.

The EFCC’s motion ex-parte dated February 17, 2023, sought a “preservation order of properties reasonably suspected to have been derived from unlawful activity pursuant to sections 9 and 10 of the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Act, 2022 and Section 44(2)B of the 1999 Constitution.

The 14 properties affected by the order include Plot No. 1160, within Cadastral Zone CO3, Gwarimpa II District, Abuja; No. 2, Justice Chukwudifu Oputa Street, Asokoro Abuja; Block ‘D’, Manzini Street, Wuse Zone 4 Abuja; Plot A 02/176 Block 488B, Lome Street, Wuse 1, Abuja; Fair Plus International Limited at No. 2 Kubwa Resettlement Area Cadastral Zone E1, Abuja; Fair Plus International Limited, at No 41 Ikorodu Road, Jibowu, Mushin, Lagos State; Fair Plus International Limited at No. 2 Bisi Odunsanya Street, Agege Motor Road, Agege Lagos State; Plot No. 1773 Guzape District, Abuja; and No B13 Citiscape-Shariff Plaza, lying, being and situate at plot 739 Aminu Kano Crescent, Wuse 2 Abuja.

The UAE property is Hotel Apartment Community: Burj Khalifa, Plot 160 Municipality NO 345-7562, Sky View Building No 1, Property No 401, Floor 4, Dubai U.A.E.

Others include Plot No. 2934A, Cadastral Zone A06, also known as, No. 1 Ikogosi Spring Close, Maitama District, Abuja; Plot No. 1058, measuring about 1450.77sqm in Cadastral Zone AO8, Wuse 2, also known as No. 2 Durban Street, Abuja; Plot No. 1981, Maitama District, also known as No. 6 Dala Hills, Abuja and the sum of N400million allegedly recovered from Falala.

Oyedepo backed the motion ex-parte application with an affidavit deposed to by an EFCC officer, Adekunbi Mojibola, who was part of the team that investigated the case.

Mojibola averred that the Kogi State government opened account number 1010662710 with Zenith Bank Plc named Kogi State Government House Admin.

She averred in her affidavit that the owner of the account between February 2016 and 3rd September 2021, procured one Abdulsalam Hudu to make cash withdrawals of N46,039,579,919.38 (billion) from the account.

The deponent claimed that one “Comfort Olufunke was equally procured to make a cash withdrawal of N2,402,533,621.00 (billion) from the same account between 23rd March 2016 and 30th April 2018.

She claimed that Hudu, between 6th August and 29th September 2019 “whilst fraudulently working in concert with his syndicate withdrew in cash the total sum of N612,650,000 (million) from an account known as Kogi State House Administration (operation) with account number 0793190623 domiciled in Access Bank.

She averred that between February 2016 and 22nd October 2021, “Hudu in a desperate bid to conceal the proceeds of the several unlawful activities whilst working in concert with other principal officers of the state, made a cash withdrawal of N34,206,890,170.50 (billion) from the account known as Government House Admin Lokoja with account number 1003889575 domiciled in United Bank for Africa (UBA PLC).

The deponent further claimed that “A peep into the registers has revealed that about N7,900,000,000 (Billion) from the cash withdrawals made by Abdulsalam Hudu and his cronies from the account of Kogi State Government were concealed in the care and custody of Murtala Maigari and his associates.

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INTERNATIONAL DAY OF MENSTRUAL HYGIENE – ELEGUSHI FOUNDATION DONATES SANITARY PADS TO 2000 SCHOOLGIRLS

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International Day of Menstrual Hygiene, observed annually on May 28th, is dedicated to breaking taboos and raising awareness about the importance of good menstrual hygiene management (MHM).

The day provides an opportunity for all stakeholders to highlight the importance of menstrual care, and raise awareness about the issues faced by those who don’t have access to menstrual products, safe, hygienic spaces in which to use them, and the right to manage menstruation without shame or stigma.

In celebration of this year menstrual hygiene day and in continuation of its tradition of donating sanitary pads to young girls, the Oba Saheed Elegushi Foundation donated sanitary pads to 2000 secondary schoolgirls in Lagos State.

The distribution, which was done in collaboration with the Lagos Island Maternity Hospital, underscores the importance of community collaboration in addressing menstrual hygiene challenges and demonstrates the power of joint efforts in creating lasting change in young girls.

Speaking at an event to mark this day, Executive Director of the foundation, Aiki Odiawa said the collaborative effort with Island Maternity Hospital is essential to extend the reach of the program, ensuring that every girl in need receives adequate menstrual hygiene products. By pooling resources and expertise, we can also develop comprehensive educational campaigns that address menstrual health and advocate for policies that support this critical aspect of women’s health.

She added that in the last one year, more than 200,000 girls have benefitted from the sanitary donation, which the Elegush i foundation embarks on a monthly basis to young schoolgirls within Ikate-Elegushi kingdom.

The Apex Nurse of Island Maternity Hospital, Mrs Oluwatoyin Champion thanked the foundation for the donation of the sanitary pads, saying that every girl of adolescent age have access to hygienic menstrual cycle.

Over 2000 schoolgirls from Eko Akete Junior Secondary School, Lagos Island, Ilasan Secondary School, Eti-Osa, Gbara Secondary School, Jakande, Eti-Osa and Girls Academy, Lagos Island, benefited from the initiative.

 

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Emefiele didn’t get approval to redesign naira – Ex-CBN director

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The trial of the immediate-past Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, continued on Tuesday with a former Director of Operations at the apex bank, Ahmed Umar, telling the court that the naira redesign embarked upon by Emefiele late 2022 did not have the approval of the Committee of Governors.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had on May 15 arraigned Emefiele before Justice Maryanne Anenih of the Federal Capital Territory High Court on charges bordering on alleged unlawful redesign and printing of the new naira notes.

In the charge marked CR/264/2024, the EFCC alleged that Emefiele carried out the naira redesign policy without the approval of the CBN Board and President, Buhari.

The anti-graft agency said without the approval of the CBN Board and the President Muhammadu Buhari, Emefiele spent N18.96bn for the printing and swapping of new naira notes worth N684.5m

It alleged that Emefiele, “knowingly disobeying the direction of Section 19 of the CBN Act, 2007” approved “the printing of N375,520,000.00 pieces of colour swapped N1,000 notes, at the total cost of N11,052, 068,062 without the recommendation of the Board of Central Bank and the strict approval of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, among other things.”

At the trial opening on Tuesday, the EFCC fielded ex-CBN Director of Operations, Umar, as its first witness.

Led in evidence by the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN), Umar told the court that his department in 2022 was directed to come up with the new design for the naira.

“The management of CBN directed my department to come up with a memo on the design of the naira note sometime in August 2022.

“We prepared the bill with the Committee of Governors and passed it through the line Deputy Governor Operations, which he forwarded to the Governor and it was listed for consideration by the Committee of Governors.”

The ex-director, who told the court that he joined CBN 35 years ago and retired in July 2023, explained that the Committee of Governors comprised five members, including the CBN Governor as chairman.

The witness told the court that the naira redesign memo was presented to the Committee of Governors for their consideration/ review on October 26, 2022, but the committee did not approve it.

Umar said, “We humbly requested the implementation of the amendment. (But) the extract from the COG did not approve item one and item three. While item two was modified to include N200 denomination, the proposal for the exercise in 2023 wasn’t approved by the COG.

“The procedure requires the Board of Directors to recommend to the President for design and form.

“The design shall be contained in the currency after the approval of the President then the production of the currency will commence.”

Justice Anenih, admitted in evidence, the Certified True Copy of the memorandum filed by the Operations Department and marked it as Exhibit A.

The EFCC, in the charges, accused Emefiele of spending N4.4bn to print “coloured swapped N500 notes.”

According to the EFCC, Emefiele spent N3.4bn to print “137,070 pieces of coloured N200 notes.”

The EFCC said Emefiele carried out the alleged actions between October 2022 and March 2023 in Abuja in clear violation of Section 19 of the CBN Act.

The EFCC alleged that Emefiele disobeyed the direction of the law with the intent to cause injury to the public with the manner in which he implemented the naira swap policy.

Emefiele was also accused of unlawfully approving the withdrawal of N124.8bn from the Consolidated Revenue Fund of the Federation.

The ex-apex bank chief, however, denied all the allegations, pleading not guilty.

 

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TROUBLE LOOMS FOR CULTURE MINISTER, HANATU MUSAWA, OVER N290M STREET LIGHT PROJECT

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The Minister of Art, Culture and the Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa is at the center of yet another scandal.

This time, she was accused of voting 290 million naira for street lights to be located in her local government and if not properly handled might culminate into a major crisis.

According to an article published by Daily Trust Newspapers on
May 22, 2024, the Ministry of Culture voted 290 million naira for street lights to be located in Minister Hanatu Musa Musawa’s local government.

While reacting to Daily Trust article, the permanent secretary of the ministry, Mr James Sule, said the project was a strategic one but industry watchers are peeved that the Perm Sec did not disclose the cultural jobs, culture attractions and the emerging innovations that the project will contribute to gross Domestic productivity of the nation.

The minister was also alleged to have budgeted a whopping sum of three billion naira for culture research and development in her 2024 budget.

Sources squealed that prior to this current scandal rocking the ministry, Musawa had used her appointees to falsely lay claim to culture projects done by the immediate past administration and now have resorted to deploy a tested technocrat like her permanent secretary to accuse Daily Trust of alleged misinformation on the budgeted solar lights to be domiciled her local government.

A staff of the ministry who spoke on the condition of anonymity said “If all our ministers, agency heads, and legislators now compete to domicile constituency projects exclusively in their local governments, other areas in Nigeria that did not produce ministers will end up with nothing, no roads, lights, railway, hospitals, airports and etc. What a clever way to practice nepotism and misappropriation in the name of budgeting for constituency projects”

It would be recalled that Musawa was embroiled in NYSC status scandal.

This started about three years ago when Musawa could not provide evidence of national service to senators during the screening for an appointment she was nominated for by former President Muhammadu Buhari.

But the controversy resurfaced when following the confirmation by the management of the NYSC that Ms Musawa, who was inaugurated as Minister by President Bola Tinubu, was still undergoing her national youth service.

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