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EFCC arraigns Senator Bassey, makes damning revelations

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday, arraigned Senator, Albert Bassey, popularly known as OBA, before Justice A. A. Okeke of the Federal High Court, sitting in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, on a six-count charge bordering on money laundering.

The Senator appeared in court following a bench warrant issued on him by the same court on June 17, 2019, for breaching the terms of bail granted him by the Commission.

The case against the Senator is hinged on the allegation that he took possession of six vehicles worth N204million, at the instance of one Olajide Omokore, whose companies had contracts with the State Government, at the time.

EFCC said its investigations revealed that the said vehicles were proceeds of crime and that he committed the offence while he doubled as the Commissioner for Finance, Akwa Ibom State and Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee, in December 2012. It is an offence which contravenes Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.

The vehicles are, Infinity QX 56 BP, valued at N45million; Toyota Land Cruiser V8 BP, valued at N40million; Range Rover, valued at N40million; Toyota Hiace, High Roof, valued at N27million; Toyota Hiace High Roof, valued at N16million and Toyota Hilux 4×4, valued at N36million.

One of the counts against him reads: “That you, Albert Bassey, whilst being the Commissioner for Finance, Akwa Ibom State and Chairman of Akwa Ibom State Inter-Ministerial Direct Labour Coordinating Committee, IMDLCC sometime in December 2012, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, indirectly took possession of a vehicle (Infinity QX 56 BP) valued at N45,000,000.00 at the instance of one Olajide Jones Omokore (whose companies had contracts with Akwa Ibom State Government at that material time), when you reasonably ought to have known that the said vehicle formed part of proceed of unlawful activity (to wit: corruption) and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to the counts.

In view of his plea, prosecuting counsel, Mohammed Abubakar, prayed the court for a trial date, to enable the prosecution prove its case against him.

Defence counsel, Solomon Umoh, SAN, informed the court of his client’s bail application and moved same, praying the court to grant the defendant bail.

Umoh said: “The applicant in his application regretted the issuance of the bench warrant and explained his absence. The respondent has not disputed the fact that the applicant is on bail, granted him by the EFCC even as we speak.”

Responding, Abubakar strongly objected to the application on the ground that the terms of the bail application earlier granted the defendant by the Commission, were breached, hence the issuance of the bench warrant.

He further urged the court to discountenance the submissions of Umoh and refuse the application.

But after listening to the arguments canvassed by both counsels, the court discharged the bench warrant issued against the Senator and granted him bail.

While adjourning to July 2 and 3, 2019 for trial, Justice Okeke held that: “The defendant is hereby granted bail in the sum of N20million and one surety in like sum. The surety must have a landed property within the jurisdiction of this Court which will be verified by the court registrar, and the court registrar shall file the report of verification.”

The trial judge further ordered that the Senator should be held in EFCC custody, pending the fulfilment of the bail conditions.

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Arewa

Morning review: 10 things you need to know this Friday morning

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Good morning! Here is today’s summary from Nigerian Newspapers:

1. Rivers State police command, on Thursday, announced that it has arrested a suspected serial killer of young women, Gracious David West, who allegedly lures his victims to low budget hotels in Port-Harcourt, the state capital. The police had earlier said that David West’s victims since July are no fewer than eight ladies. However, a statement on Thursday night by the Nigeria Police Public Relations Officer, ACP Frank Mba, said the alleged serial killer, who is also a cultist, was nabbed on his way to Uyo, Akwa Ibom from Port-Harcourt.

2. The Federal Government, States and Local Government Areas (LGAs) on Thursday shared N740.88 billion as federal allocation for the month of August. This was contained in a communique issued at the end of the Federation Accounts Allocation Committee (FAAC) meeting and signed by Mr Ahmed Idris, the Accountant-General of the Federation (AGF), in Abuja. The communique said that the gross statutory revenue of N631.79 billion received for August was lower than the N674.36 billion received in the previous month by N42.56 billion.

3. The Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) has condemned the recent xenophobic attacks in South Africa where many non-nationals, including Nigerians lost their lives and properties. They also condemned the reprisals in Nigeria and called on the governments of both countries to resolve the issue. CBCN, however, commended the South African Catholic Bishops’ Conference (SACBC) for their condemnation of the attacks and urged the government to take decisive steps to end it.

4. A group known as Customary Government of the Indigenous People of Biafra, CG-IPOB, has dragged former Head of State General Yakubu Gowon, rtd, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Attorney-General of the Federation to a Federal High Court sitting in Enugu. In their suit, the pro-Biafra group wants the court to decide on issues relating to self-determination, regional autonomy, and roles the respondents played during the civil war, referendum, among other things.

5. The Theatre Command, Operation LAFIYA DOLE on Thursday accused global humanitarian organisatoon, Action Against Hunger of sabotage against Nigeria’s anti-terrorism war. The Command accused the organisation of engaging in notorious activities despite several warnings to desist from aiding and abetting terrorists and their atrocities. The army alleged that the Command had, on many occasions, raised the alarm over the issue during meetings with the NGOs operating in the North East Theater of Operation.

6. President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday in Abuja directed security chiefs to bring an end cases of crude oil theft in the country. The Inspector-General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, said the President gave the challenge when he met behind closed doors with security chiefs, at the State House, Abuja.

7. Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, on Thursday, disclosed that issues concerning the Biafran people were before the various arms and agencies of the United Nations, adding that Biafra’s case would no longer be swept under the carpet. Kanu demanded from the UN an urgent action against the numerous rights abuses inflicted daily upon Biafra agitators by the government of the day and the need to support the undeniable right of Biafrans to self-determination as enshrined in law, statute and various UN conventions.

8. The Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Uyo, on Thursday affirmed the victory of Gov. Udom Emmanuel of the Peoples Democratic Party in the March 9, general elections. Nsima Ekere of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had filed a petition challenging the result of the election. However, delivering judgment, the three-member tribunal headed by Justice A.M Yakuba, dismissed the case filed by Ekete, on grounds that the petition lacked merit.

9. A Federal High Court in Abuja, Thursday, ordered the forfeiture of all assets belonging to Process and Industrial Development (P&ID) limited to the federal government. This development followed the conviction of the involved firms on 11-count charge bordering on economic sabotage, money laundering, tax evasion amongst others preferred against them by the federal government. Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo premised the order on the admission of guilt by the firm and its officials in the criminal charges against them.

10. The Presidency has dismissed claims that Vice President Yemi Osinbajo had been sidelined following President Muhammadu Buhari’s inauguration of an Economic Advisory Team (EAC) to replace the Economic Management Team (EMT). While the EMT was headed by Osinbajo, the newly constituted EAC will report directly to President Buhari. The Presidency said all that the president had done particularly this week was just to tweak governance and get the best for Nigerians.

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Arewa

$9.6bn fine: We don’t know persons Malami, EFCC arraigned in Nigeria – P&ID mocks Buhari govt

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Process and Industrial Development Ltd (P&ID) has reacted to the ruling of a Federal High Court in Abuja forfeiting its assets in Nigeria over charges of fraud and tax evasion.

The judgement was delivered by Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday, arraigned those it said were linked to a controversial oil contract.

The Nigerian government had vowed to probe the gas pipeline deal between the previous administration and the Irish firm, which triggered the decision of a United Kingdom court to ask the company to seize $9.6bn in Nigerian asset.

In a statement in reaction, P&ID mocked Nigeria, the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) Abubakar Malami and the EFCC for producing false evidence.

The company also said it was not aware that Nigeria conducted any investigation that led to the court hearing.

P&ID said: “Today’s sham trial in Nigeria is entirely illegitimate, and follows a systematic campaign of harassment, intimidation and illegal detention of a number of individuals associated with P&ID or the GSPA contract.

“The individuals detained have not been afforded due process and have instead been pressured and intimidated by the government into making false statements.

“Nigeria’s Attorney General Abubakar Malami has publicly acknowledged that his aim is to provoke global opposition against P&ID, by undertaking this EFCC ‘investigation’.

“None of the individuals involved are current employees or representatives of P&ID. P&ID itself has received no communication from any Nigerian authority about the investigation or today’s hearing. There has been no evidence produced, no defence allowed, no charges laid, no due process followed.

“The EFCC’s investigation is an attempt to produce false evidence, and is being conducted in blatant disregard of basic human rights and the rule of law. P&ID calls on the Government of Nigeria to accept its responsibilities under the law and to cease this sham investigation.”

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Arewa

Court remands ATM fraudsters in Jigawa

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Magistrate court II sitting in Dutse has remanded two people who specialized in defrauding innocent people of their Automatic Teller Machine card in Jigawa State.

Those remanded include Abba Abubakar of Unguwar Mu’azu quarters in Kaduna State and Mohammed Mohammed of Unguwa Uku in Kano State.

Presenting the culprits to the court, the Prosecutor narrated that, the suspects were arrested in one of the Bank premises with 24 different ATM cards and 150 thousand Naira in their possession.

He said that the suspects were defrauding people that are unable to withdraw their money by exchanging the victims’ ATM card with the fake one after they have helped them.

The suspects admitted to have been defrauding people in Dutse, the capital city of the state.

Magistrate Muhammad Lamin Usman said the suspects were charged for conspiracy and fraud.

He ordered the suspects to be remanded in prison for one week for the final hearing of the case.

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