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Police FCID probe E-Money over N1.2bn dispute with Lagos firm

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The Chief Executive Officer, Emy Cargo and Shipping Services Limited, Emeka Okonkwo, aka E-Money is under investigation at the Force Criminal Investigation Department Annex, Alagbon, over alleged N1, 209,200,000 dispute with a vehicle dealing company, Autocorp Limited, in Lagos State.

A police source who is privy to the case but pleaded anonymity told PUNCH Metro that Okonkwo and the aggrieved party had been invited for questioning, adding that another meeting had been scheduled for the case.

In a bid to ascertain the facts behind the over N1.2bn that reportedly caused the dispute between both parties, our correspondent, during a conversation with the sales manager for the vehicle dealing company, Patricia Iduwre, discovered that the company contracted Okonkwo to clear eight vehicles in 2020/2021.

According to Iduwre, the vehicles comprised six TXL Prado and two Lexus jeeps valued at N1, 209,200,000, adding that despite Okonkwo clearing the vehicles, the company had yet to take delivery of them till date.

She said, “When we gave him the vehicles to clear, they were valued at N1.2bn. All along, we thought the vehicles were at his warehouse but recently, he said he had sold the vehicles. He said he sold the vehicles because we owed him, whereas we did not owe him.

“In this business, it is after an agent supplies that you pay and he has not even supplied any of the vehicles. We involved our lawyer and reported the case to the police and it was during dialogue with him (Okonkwo) that we got to know he had sold the vehicles. When the police intervened, the reason he gave for selling the vehicles was that we owed him.

“He also said our chairman asked him to sell the vehicles but when the police engaged our chairman, he said he never gave him (Okonkwo) such a directive. Our chairman also told the police to tell Okonkwo to provide evidence that he said he should sell it.”

Iduwre, while demanding the vehicles, urged the police to investigate the case.

She added, “The police asked if he (Okonkwo) claimed to have sold the vehicles at the instance of the chairman, did he give us the money? He then said he used the money to offset debts.

“When he was asked which debt, he said my chairman asked him to use the vehicles to borrow money from the bank. But my chairman debunked that claim.

“My chairman said he is eligible to borrow money from the bank himself, so why would he ask Okonkwo to borrow money from the bank? What we want are the vehicles we asked him to clear; we don’t want any money.”

The lawyer representing the vehicle dealing company, Raymond Olaiya, in a petition to the FCID, described the monetary dispute involving the company and Okonkwo as that of “stealing, fraudulent conversion and criminal sale.”

The petition read in part, “We write on the instruction of our client, Autocorp Limited, to complain of stealing and fraudulent conversion of the company’s imported vehicle numbering eight, which amounted to about N1,209,200,000.

“The vehicles were among several other imported vehicles contracted out to Emy Cargo to be cleared from the Nigerian Ports at Apapa between 2020 and the first quarter of 2021. The eight Four-Wheel Drive jeeps were, till date, never delivered to our company, ever since Emy Cargo cleared them from the Nigerian Ports.

“We, therefore, implore you to use your good offices to help track the whereabouts of these vehicles, which were specifically ordered for by our company to be delivered to our clients, and we would appreciate your timely intervention in bringing Emeka Okonkwo, the CEO of Emy Cargo, to justice as a deterrent to others.”

Okonkwo, when contacted, said the allegation was not true but confirmed that a business transaction happened between both parties.

He said, “It is a false allegation; it is not true. There is a resolution and a business transaction between both parties. However, I am not in town. It is not a phone talk. I will be available on Friday; I am giving you an appointment so you can come over to hear my side of the story.”When contacted, the spokesperson for the FCID Annex, Alagbon, Aminat Mayegun, confirmed that Okonkwo had been under investigation.

She said, “Yes, we are investigating the matter concerning (Okonkwo). The matter is about the conversion and it is being investigated at the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Force. The case is under investigation; we have extended an invitation to him and he has acknowledged the investigation.

“Based on the petition, he was once invited and he came. And now, we have to call both parties involved for another discussion and a date has been scheduled for it.”

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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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