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Investigations

How Oduah, others shared N3.9b airports contracts cash

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EFCC grills 61 suspects

Director returns N240m

WHO GOT WHAT

•N839, 780,738.09 was remitted to Broadwaters Resources. The cash was diverted to liquidate a loan.
•N1, 629,250,000 was paid into the account of Global offshore and Marine Limited out of which about N840m went to Crystal TV Limited. The signatories to the account of Crystal TV are related to Stella Oduah
•About N780million was transferred to Tip Top Global Resources Ltd belonging to the family of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim. Anyim’s staff were discovered to be signatories to the account

There is N9.4 billion meant for the installation of security devices at the 22 airports?

This is the knot the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is battling to untie.

Its detectives have traced about N3.9billion of the N9.4billion to a company belonging to a former Minister of Aviation, Sen. Stella Oduah and five other firms.

The firms are Broadwaters Resources Company Limited; Sobora International Limited; Global offshore and Marine Limited; Tip Top Global Resources Limited and Crystal TV .

About 61 suspects have been grilled by the anti-graft agency in connection with the alleged diversion of the cash.

The EFCC has obtained a court order to impound six dredging vessels, quarry equipment and some equipment bought for Crystal TV under the Interim Forfeiture clause in its Act.

The commission has raised a team to interrogate Mrs Oduah, a senator.

According to a fact-sheet, which was obtained by our correspondent, Tip Top Global Resources Limited, which is linked with the family of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, was paid N780million for unknown services.

The document states: “The contract is for the sum of N9,443,549,531.25 for the procurement and installation of equipment in 22 airports. No evidence that due diligence was carried out before the contract was awarded.

“ This contract was initially awarded to a company called Cybernetics Limited. Ex- President Goodluck Jonathan approved the award to Cybernetics and the Bureau of Public Procurement issued a certificate of no objection. But due to the reduction of the cost from over N10b

to N9.4b., Cybernetics rejected the award.

“I-SEC, which was supposed to be technical partner to Cybernetics, was later proposed by the ex-Minister of Aviation for the contract.

”Out of the contract sum, N3, 911, 887, 753.56 was fraudulently diverted, misappropriated and laundered through some companies. Investigators have been able to trace the cash.”

A director of I-SEC is said to have refunded about N240million to EFCC out of the slush funds traced to him. The EFCC has located six dredging vessels, quarry equipment and equipment bought for Crystal TV. An interim forfeiture order has been obtained on these equipment.

The N3, 911, 887, 753.56 was “paid to other beneficiaries who do not have direct or indirectly connection to the execution of the contract.”

“About N839, 780,738.09 was remitted to Broadwaters Resources Company Limited N839, 780,738.09 which had no relationship with I-SEC. The cash paid into Broadwaters was later diverted into another firm called Sobora International Limited to liquidate an existing loan into First Bank. The shareholders and signatories to the account are people related to Stella Oduah. Her cousin, who is a staff in her private company called SEA Petroleum and Gas Limited was a signatory into the account.

Another N1, 629,250,000 was paid into the account of Global offshore and Marine Limited out of which about N840m went to Crystal TV Limited. The shareholders and signatories to the account of Crystal TV are related to Stella Oduah and the cash was used to liquidate existing loan by Crystal TV.

“From the same N1.6b, about N780million was transferred to Tip Top Global Resources Ltd belonging to the family of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim where Anyim’s staff were discovered to be signatories to the account.”

Meanwhile, the EFCC has raised a panel to interrogate Sen. Oduah, who is scheduled to appear before the team on February 19th.

“We are set for the ex-Minister’s grilling, it is left to her to keep to the appointment date which she has fixed,” a top source added.

EFCC said: “Oduah was invited on three occasions to report for interview on the 13th June, 2017, 29th June 2017 and 13th November 2017 but she failed to honour any of the invitations.

Rather than appear to face a panel that was raised by the EFCC to interrogate her, Mrs. Oduah, through a letter dated January 5, 2018, informed the commission that she would honour the invite on January 29, 2018.

“The letter was duly acknowledged by the commission and just as the investigators were looking forward to her arrival Oduah played a fast one on the EFCC with another letter indicating that she would no longer be available on January 29.

“She cited an invitation by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, to accompany him to London where he was scheduled to deliver a lecture at the House of Commons on January 25.

“Oduah stated that her next convenient date to honour your invitation is 19th February, 2018.”

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Report: CCB Serves Summons on Onnoghen

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The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) has formally served court summons on Walter Onnoghen, chief justice of Nigeria (CJN), Daily Trust reports.

Onnoghen has been accused of false assets declaration, with six-count charge filed against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT)..

The CJN was meant to be arraigned on Monday at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) but he was absent. Wole Olanipekun, lead counsel to Onnoghen, had challenged the jurisdiction of the court.

Olanipekun who was in court with over 40 other senior advocate Nigeria (SANs) also argued that the CJN was not served because the summons were given to his private secretary.

The lawyer said in a criminal matter, summons ought to be served on the accused except the tribunal orders otherwise.

However, Daily Trust quoted a source as saying Onnoghen personally received the summons when CCB officials went to his office at the supreme court.

The source said CJN was waiting for them and the process went well.

Danladi Umar, CCT judge, had adjourned the matter till January 22 for the prosecution to properly serve the CJN.

The federal high court, Abuja and the national industrial court have given orders to halt the proceedings.

The courts also restrained the police from arresting the CJN.

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Patience Jonathan ‘Proves’ Source of $8.4m, N7.4b With Videos

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Former First Lady Dame Patience Jonathan’s lawyers yesterday played five videos to prove the source of $8.4 million and N7.4 billion, which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeks to forfeit to the Federal Government.

The videos were projected before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court in Lagos.

The judge had last April 20 ordered temporary forfeiture of the funds, which EFCC said were suspected to be proceeds of crime.

Mrs. Jonathan, Globus Integrated Services Ltd, Finchley Top Homes Ltd., Am-Pm Global Network Ltd, Pagmat Oil and Gas Ltd and Magel Resort Ltd and Esther Oba are the respondents.

Among the temporarily forfeited sums are N1.085 billion and N226.3 million found in Finchley’s Ecobank account and N39.4 million found in its Diamond Bank account, as well as N55.9 million found in Pagmat Oil and Gas’ Diamond Bank account, among others.

EFCC’s counsel Rotimi Oyedepo had urged the court to order the money’s final forfeiture to the Federal Government.

But, Mrs. Jonathan’s lawyer Chief Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN) opposed the application.

He urged the court to refuse it on the basis that sufficient facts were not placed before the court to warrant a final forfeiture order.

The SAN argued that Mrs. Jonathan was neither invited by the commission to explain the sources of the funds nor was she charged with any offence.

Adedipe contended that the depositions by the applicant that the funds represented proceeds of unlawful activities were not substantiated.

The companies’ counsel, Chief Mike Ozekhome (SAN), argued that going by the provisions of the Advanced Fee Fraud Act, EFCC’s motion for final forfeiture was premature.

He argued that it was only when the companies’ affidavits to show cause are argued, and the court finds no merit in them, that the final forfeiture application could be justified.

According to him, his clients filed affidavits to show cause, adding that one of the companies exhibited its certificate of incorporation, its board resolution that Patience Jonathan be made a signatory to it, and bank documents showing its account are signed by other persons who are also signatories.

Besides, Ozekhome told the court that one of the companies makes money from selling items such as groceries, drinks, lighting, among others, adding that there was a video clip exhibit of various outfits legitimately run by the company.

The first video, which lasted 25 minutes, showed business outlets and products of Finchley Homes Ltd. They include interior and exterior home decorations, household utensils, textiles, drinks, noodles, furniture, a warehouse, as well as various pickup vans said to belong to the company.

The second video clip, which ran for four minutes, showed the business outfit of the Otuoke, Bayelsa State based Magel Resort Ltd, which comprised a luxurious hotel equipped IT centres.

Adedipe also exhibited three videos showing activities of the Women for Change Initiative, a non-governmental organisation linked to Mrs. Jonathan.

The first 10-minute video showed the flag off of the initiative’s campaign.

It was followed by another 10-minute clip showing aspects of the initiative’s empowerment of women through the distribution of food items.

The final video of seven minutes duration showed Mrs. Jonathan visiting Katsina State for the initiative’s flag-off.

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Panama Papers: David Mark Shuns FG Panel, Files Suit to Stop Probe

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A former Senate President, David Mark, has backtracked on his promise to appear before the Federal Government’s Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property over an allegation that he owns some offshore companies.

It was learnt that instead of appearing before the panel, Mark filed a suit to challenge the legality of the panel.

A source familiar with the Mark’s case told our correspondent that “the former Senate President was invited for questioning by the SPIPRPP in respect of 20 companies in British Virgin Island and other tax havens.”

It was learnt that this followed an investigation conducted by the national intelligence agency in collaboration with the SPIPRPP.

Our correspondent gathered that the investigation followed a revelation in Panama Papers allegedly linking Mark and other top Nigerians and political leaders around the world to some companies and other assets held offshore.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists released the Panama Papers containing details of financial and lawyer-client information for hundreds of thousands of offshore entities in May 2016.

Mark was originally invited to appear before the panel for questioning on December 11, 2018.

The ex-Senate President, through his lawyer, Mr Ken Ikonne, wrote a letter dated December 11, 2018 to the panel indicating his readiness to appear for the planned probe, but pleaded for it to be postponed till December 21, 2018.

He pleaded for the postponement on health, among other grounds.

But in what appeared to be a U-turn from the December 21 date promise, Ikonne told our correspondent on Sunday that there was no basis for him to appear before the panel because his client had filed a suit to challenge the legality of the panel.

He said, “We did not appear before the tribunal because it is illegal. We have filed a suit to challenge the legality of the panel.”

When asked for an update on the investigation on Sunday, the Chairman of the Special Presidential Investigation Panel for Recovery of Public Property, Mr Okoi Obono-Obla, confirmed that the former Senate President did not show up for questioning but instead filed a suit to challenge the investigation.

“He took us to court again. I was served with papers on January 7,” Obono-Obla said.

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