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Fayose: How I Took Delivery of N1.2b Cash, by Bank Chief

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The Federal High Court in Lagos Monday heard how the N1.2billion allegedly given to former Ekiti State Governor Ayo Fayose from the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) was moved to the state.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is trying Fayose for allegedly receiving and keeping N1.2billion and $5million allegedly stolen from the ONSA.

Testifying before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, the 11th prosecution witness, Mr. Sunday Alade, said he was the Zenith Bank Plc Akure Branch Manager in 2014 when the money was moved to his branch.

Led in evidence by prosecuting counsel Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the witness said he got a call from his head of operations asking him to prepare to head for Akure Airport to receive cash from a customer.

“On the 17th of June 2014, I was in my office in Zenith Bank, Akure. I received a call from my head of operations Abiodun Oshodi that a customer would be coming to make a deposit into his account with the bank.

“He said in order to provide security, we should arrange for van bullion to go to the airport to pick the cash.

“After an hour, my head of operations Abiodun Oshodi came and said the customer had arrived. He introduced Abiodun Agbele as the customer.

“He said we should prepare to go to the airport. I asked for time to arrange for security, but they said that won’t be necessary as they had sufficient security. They came with MOPOL and some soldiers in a Hilux van,” Alade said.

The witness said he joined Oshodi and Agbele to the airport, along with the bullion van and the security men.

Alade said: “At the airport, we waited for a few minutes before the arrival of the aircraft. Three individuals came out of the aircraft.

“Two of them walked away. The remaining person introduced himself as O. Adewale. The cash was offloaded into the bullion van and we drove to Zenith Bank Akure,” Alade said.

He said when they arrived at the bank; the money was counted in his presence.

He said Oshodi, Adewale and Agbele were also present.

“The money was counted in our presence. It was N724million. We were informed that there was a balance. We went back to the airport and picked N494million.

“The total cash amounted to N1.219billion. Another aircraft brought the N494million.

“I gathered that the cash was lodged in three bank accounts – those of De-Privateer, Spotless Investment and Ayodele Fayose.

“I also understand some cash was taken away that day by Mr. Agbele.”

Asked who Adewale was, he said: “Adewale O. introduced himself as Obanikoro’s ADC (aide-de-camp).”

Asked if he knew those who walked away from the aircraft after it landed, the witness said: “One of them resembled Obanikoro. I never met him in person. But he resembled the person I saw on television and newspapers.”

Under cross-examination by defense counsel Ola Olanipekun (SAN) and Olalekan Ojo (SAN) (for Spotless Ltd, Fayose’s co-accused), the witness said he did not know where the money came from.

Asked if he knew what the money was meant for, he said: “Not at all.”

The witness said it took 10 days to process the cash.

In response to a question by Ojo as to whether he submitted a bulk cash register to EFCC on the transaction, the witness said “No.”

Ojo showed the witness a statement of the account belonging to Spotless Investment.

He was asked to identify entries for October 6, 2014, September 5, 2014, and December 6, 2014.

Alade said the entries showed the transfer of N11.173million each described as “mortgage repayment” and “mortgage loan liquidation”.

He added: “But I didn’t know anything about the transactions.” Ojo said: “Don’t worry.”

Before the trial began, Jacobs said he was involved in an accident and had to come to court in crutches.

He asked the court to allow him to take only one witness, but he did not disclose when or where he had the accident.

He was seen wearing a heavy bandage brace on his right foot with no footwear on.

There was also no indication that the case would be transferred to another judge.

EFCC Acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu reportedly wrote to the Chief Judge, asking that the case is withdrawn from Justice Olatoregun and re-assigned to another judge.

Magu was said to have expressed a lack of confidence in the judge.

But no reference was made to the purported letter to the CJ by Magu.

Fayose had pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned on an 11-count charge on October 22 last year.

EFCC said he and Agbele, facing a different charge, allegedly took possession of N1, 219,000, 000 on June 17, 2014, to fund the former governor’s 2014 gubernatorial campaign.

The commission said Fayose “reasonably ought to have known” that the money “formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: criminal breach of trust/stealing.”

EFCC said Fayose, on the same day, received a cash payment of $5million from former Minister of State for Defence Musiliu Obanikoro, without going through a financial institution.

The commission said the sum exceeded the amount authorized by law, thereby violating the Money Laundering Act.

Justice Olatoregun adjourned until May 10 and 14 for the continuation of trial.

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Atiku, PDP Asking Us For Server That We Don’t Have, INEC Tells Tribunal

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The Independent National Electoral Commission on Thursday insisted that it had no electronic server being sought to be accessed and inspected by the Peoples Democratic Party and its presidential candidate in the February 23, 2019 presidential election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

The commission had earlier denied the existence of such server in its reply filed on April 10, 2019 to oppose Atiku and PDP’s petition pending before the five-man tribunal.

The petitioners are by their petition challenging the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress at the last presidential election.

INEC, Buhari and the APC who are the respondents to the petition and to the petitioners’ application for access to the server used for the election, on Thursday, asked the Justice Mohammed Garba-led panel to dismiss the petitioners’ request.

The three respondents, through their respective counsels, reminded the tribunal that the Court of Appeal had, on May 6, 2019 (before the petition was filed on May 18), dismissed a similar application filed by the petitioners.

Represented at the Thursday’s proceedings by its lead counsel, Mr. Yunus Usman (SAN), INEC said the application by the petitioners amounted to asking the commission to produce what it did not have.

Urging the tribunal to dismiss the application, Usman said, “We attached as Exhibit 1, the enrolled order of this honourable court made on May 6, 2019 refusing all the prayers of the petitioners in this application.

“They said we should bring what we don’t have.”

INEC had declared Buhari and APC the winner of the February 23 election.

It said Buhari polled 15,191,847 votes to defeat his closest rival, Atiku, who polled 11,262,978 votes.

But Atiku and the PDP, in their petition filed on March 18 challenging the outcome of the poll, contended that “from the data” obtained from INEC’s server, “the true, actual and correct results” showed that they polled a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari whom they said scored 16,741,430 votes.

By calculation, Atiku and PDP claimed to have defeated Buhari by 1,615,302 votes.

The petitioners, through their lead counsel, Dr. Livy Ozoukwu, subsequently filed an application on May 8, 2019, seeking an order of the tribunal permitting them to access and inspect the INEC’s server into which results and other data were allegedly transmitted during the February 23 poll.

A senior member of the petitioners’ legal team, Chief Chris Uche (SAN), moved the application on Thursday.

Uche urged the tribunal to grant the application in the interest of justice, transparency and neutrality, saying it was necessary for his team to be able to maintain the petition.

He said, “The application in summary asks for access to and inspection of the server of the INEC and the smart card readers used in the conduct of the presidential election.

“We have addressed the issues in our counter-affidavit, written address and reply on points of law and we urge your lordships that the application be granted as prayed in the interest of justice, transparency and neutrality.

“The application is necessary for the maintenance of this petition.”

Reacting first, INEC’s lead counsel, Usman, referred the tribunal to his client’s counter-affidavit filed on May 23 in opposition to the application.

He added that the Court of Appeal having earlier refused similar application, same should not be granted again.

The leader of Buhari’s legal team, Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), also urged the tribunal to dismiss the application.

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DSO Trial: Judge Threatens To Close ICPC’s Case Against NBC Boss, Others

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Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has threatened to close the case of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC) against the Director General of National Broadcasting Commission, Ishaq Modibbo and three others for lack of diligent prosecution.
The threat was sequel to an oral application made by Alex Izinyon SAN, counsel to the 2nd and 3rd defendants (Dipo Onifade and Lucky Omoluwa) and supported by counsel representing the 1st and 4th defendants.

The defence counsel had expressed dissatisfaction over the way and manner the prosecution counsel was conducting the trial in piece meal.

At the last adjourned date, May 27 to be precise, the ICPC lawyer Henry Emore, had called only two witnesses, and assured Justice Giwa that he would bring all his remaining witnesses to court on June 3.

Based, on Emore’s assurance, the court directed him to bring all his witnesses to court on Monday June 3, instead of bringing them one per sitting.
However, at Monday’s proceeding, after calling the 6th witness, the prosecution counsel told the court that he could not continue the trial due to absence of two other witnesses.

The ICPC lawyer told the court that one of his witnesses travelled to Saudi Arabia for lesser Hajj, while the other was bereaved.
Miffed by the prosecution counsel’s call for an adjournment, Alex Izinyon SAN, counsel to the 2nd and 3rd defendants made an oral application asking the court to close the case of the prosecution.
“We have tolerated the prosecution, if the prosecution is not prepared to proceed with this trial, my Lord, please close their case. They should put their house in order and stop wasting the time of the court.
“Today, they just served on the defence, additional proof of evidence in court.

“The court fixed today for this trial but after calling one witness, the prosecution counsel is requesting an adjournment and thereby wasting the court’s precious time” Izinyon said.
Counsel to the 4th defendant (Pinnacle Communications Ltd) Ama Etuwewe, associated himself with Izinyon’s application.
“We left out everything today just to come to court to do this case, only for the prosecution counsel to call one witness and move for an adjournment.

Similarly, counsel to the 1st defendant (Modibbo Kawu) asked the court to close the case of the prosecution.
Addressing the prosecution counsel, the Judge stated, ” You heard the applications and complaints of the defence counsel and I agree with them.

“I think it is in your own interest to put your house in order. I adjourned this case till today for you to bring all your witnesses, so that we can make progress.

“I could have fixed other cases today but the whole day is now wasted. “I will not close your case but you must bring all your witnesses in court on the next adjourned date or I will close your case” the court stated.
Justice Giwa specifically noted that the prosecution flouted the order of the court directing him to bring all his witnesses in court on Monday.

Consequently, the court ordered Emore to bring all his witnesses to court on the next adjourned date of June 26.
Earlier, the PW 6, Remigius Ugwu, a Compliance Officer with Zenith Bank had testified that Pinnacle Communication Ltd has an account with them.

After a short testimony, the prosecution counsel tendered the PCL’s bank opening package and statement of account, which were later admitted in evidence by the court. In the course of the testimony the witness admitted that the turnover of Pinnacle in the period covered by the statement of account he tendered was well over N11 Billion.

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Court Remands Woman Who Blamed Snake for Missing N35m JAMB Funds

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A high court in Maitama, Abuja has remanded Philomina Chieshe and five other officials of the Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB).

They were remanded on Friday over their involvement in the missing N35 million from sales of JAMB e-card in Benue state.

Chieshe was arraigned alongside Samuel Umoru, Yakubu Jekada, Daniel Agbo, Priscilla Ogunsola, and Aliyu Yakubu.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC ) arraigned her and others on eight counts bordering on refusal to account for the board’s money between 2014 to 2016.

Peter Afen, who presided over the case, ordered that the defendants be remanded in the custody of EFCC, pending the outcome of their bail application.

He then adjourned until Monday, June 3, 2019 for the hearing of their bail application.

The EFCC had alleged that Chieshe, a sales clerk with JAMB, told their registrar and his team that she could not account for N36 million she made in previous years before the abolition of scratch cards.

They alleged that she claimed that the money was swallowed by a snake in Makurdi.

She alleged that it was her housemaid that connived with another JAMB staff, to “spiritually” (through a snake) steal the money from the vault in the accounts office.

The anti-graft agency said these contravened section 139 (a) of the penal code law.

They pleaded not guilty to the allegations.

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