The trial of former Plateau State governor, Senator Jonah David Jang and a former cashier in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government (OSSG), Yusuf Pam before Justice C. L. Dabup of Plateau State High Court, Jos continued on Thursday, November 5, 2020 with the testimony of prosecuting witness two (PW2), Uchenna Innocent Igwe.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC is prosecuting the duo for alleged criminal breach of trust and misappropriation of Plateau State funds to the tune of N6.3 billion.
Led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacob SAN, Igwe, who was a senior manager and head, Jos branch of Zenith Bank from 2014 to 2015 narrated how N2 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSME), granted by the federal government through the Central Bank of Nigeria, (CBN) for provision of affordable credit to participants was diverted.
“My lord we have the Plateau State Project One Account and Plateau State Small and Medium Enterprises Development (PALSMEDEN) account. An inflow of N2 billion from Central Bank of Nigeria came into the Plateau State Project One Account and the inflow was for Small Scale and Medium Enterprises and immediately I saw the inflow in the Project One Account, I notified the commissioner of Finance and the state’s accountant-general that there was an inflow of N2 billion into the Project Account One, instead of the PALSMEDEN account. I notified them because they are the accounting officers of the state.
“The PALSMEDEN account was supposed to house the money for the Small Scale and Medium Enterprises because that was the essence of the account, and was supposed to be disbursed in due course to the micro finance banks, and then to the end users.
“The moment I notified them that the money was sent into the wrong account, they ordered us to transfer the money to the PALSMEDEN account. Immediately I got the instruction, we transferred the money to the PALSMEDEN account on March 20, 2015,” the witness said.
A twist, however, came on March 24, 2015, when the bank received a counter instruction to transfer the money back to Project One Account, which is the wrong account for the fund. And against what the money was meant for, Igwe disclosed that on March 25, 2015, the bank was asked to transfer N900,000 (Nine Hundred Thousand Naira) to the Ministry of Information, N50 million to Government House Administrator, N150 million to OSSG’s Cabinet Office, another N150 million to OSSG’s office.
He further disclosed that on the same date, the bank was instructed to transfer N400,000 (Four Hundred Thousand Naira) to Plateau State Fire Service, additional N2 million to OSSG Cabinet Office, N3 million to OSSG Cabinet Office, N5 million to Government House Administrator, N8.3 million to Government House Administrator, N15 million to OSSG Cabinet Office, another N15 million to OSSG Cabinet Office, N26,250,000 (Twenty-six Million, Twenty-five Thousand) to the SSG account, N11 million to OSSG Cabinet Office and N609 million to Plateau State Government Salary Account.
The alleged diversions and transfers continued in the month of April. “My lord on April 1, 2015 we transferred N609 million to Project One Account from Plateau State Government Salary Account. On April 2, there was a transfer of N150 million to OSSG Project Office Account, and April 7, there was another transfer of N150 million to OSSG Office. On April 8, we again transferred N150 million to OSSG Cabinet Office and N11,474,240.00 (Eleven Million, Four Hundred and Seventy-four Thousand, Two Hundred and Forty Naira) to Operation Rainbow and another N9 million to same Operation Rainbow”.
After a cross-examination of the witness, Jang’s counsel, Mike Ozekhome, SAN, applied that his client be granted leave to travel to United Arab Emirate for medical treatment, promising that he will be back before the next adjourned date.
Justice Dabup granted the prayer and adjourned the matter till February 16, 17 and 18, 2021 for continuation of trial.
It could be recalled that the prosecution on Wednesday, November 4, 2020, presented the first witness (PW1), Mr. Olayetan Mudashir Adeola, a retired director in Development and Finance Department of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), who in his testimony informed the court that Jang as governor of Plateau State insisted that the N2 billion MSME fund be paid into “Project One Account,” which was not meant for the fund.
According to Adeola, “In August 2014 we received a notice of interest from the Plateau State government for their participation in MSMEs. In addition to that, the state government submitted Irrevocable Standing Payment Order (ISPO) equivalent to the amount of N2 billion, and the interest was two per cent.
“When we received the account, we observed it was not the account that was initially created for the disbursement, so we requested for another account, for which they sent two accounts that were not also the accounts for the purpose. It is after receiving these three accounts, that the then state governor, Jang insisted that we should pay the money into “Project One Account.”
Adeola further stated that after getting all the documents and reviewing them, approval was secured for the disbursement of the funds to the state government since the state had met the requirements for disbursement. The disbursement, he said, was made on March 17, 2015.
According to him, “When the disbursement was made to the state government, we observed that the money was not disbursed to the end users (MSMEs), and we indicated that the non-disbursement of the fund to the end users contravened the guidelines.”
Jang and Pam were first arraigned in June 2018, on 17-count charges bordering on misappropriation of funds, criminal breach of trust and taking corrupt advantages to the tune of N30,236,024,219.88 (Thirty Billion, Two Hundred and Thirty-Six Million, Twenty-Four Thousand, Two Hundred and Nineteen Naira, Eighty-Eight kobo), and re-arraigned in February this year, following the re-assignment of the case to Justice Dabup by the state’s chief judge, Justice Yakubu Dakwak after the initial trial judge, Justice Daniel Longji, on his last day on the bench (December 29, 2019), dismissed the defendants’ no-case-submission, and held that they have a case to answer.
Customers In Panic As Sterling Bank Manager Steals N219m
Some customers are worried and have lost their confidence in Sterling Bank, after its former manager was convicted for stealing N219 million.
It was learnt that customers of Ohha Microfinance Bank Limited in Enugu State kept the money in a fixed deposit account with Sterling Bank Plc, its corresponding bank, but Anidiobi Chukwuka, who headed the latter’s branch in Market Road area of the state, converted it into his personal account.
On Tuesday, November 2, 2021, Justice Cyprian Ajah of an Enugu State High Court, sentenced Chukwuka to eight years’ imprisonment for stealing and fraud.
The trial judge convicted Chukwuma of all the 32 counts levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Briefing journalists on the matter, including this publication, Counsel for Ohha Microfinance Bank, Olu Omotayo said Chukwuka committed the offence between August 15, 2014, and November 16, 2017.
According to Omotayo, his client first reported the case to EFCC in a petition dated January 2018, and since that time, the Enugu zonal office of the anti-graft agency had commenced an investigation
“The case was further referred for thorough investigation by the chairman of the commission based on a further petition we wrote on behalf of our client, dated July 4, 2018.
“Sequel to the outcome of further investigations, EFCC, through its prosecuting counsel and Chief Legal Officer, Michael Ani, filed a 32 count charge of stealing by conversion, obtaining by false pretences and forgery against the suspect (now convict) and was subsequently arraigned before Justice Ajah on May 7, 2019.
“The accused was represented during the trial by Chief O.A.U. Onyema, while Olu Omotayo held watching brief for the nominal complainant, Ohha Microfinance Bank Limited, throughout the trial,” he added.
Sterling Bank customers express fear over Chukwuma’s case
This development had resulted in panic among the customers of Sterling Bank, with many of them expressing their skepticism as it relates to trusting the staff of the financial institutions.
A customer who spoke to Unmask NG on a condition of anonymity stated: “It is an open secret that the country is hard, and imagine losing your money at the bank to a staff whom you entrusted to safelock it, is best imagined.“
Another customer, Rukayat Jimoh said her confidence in Sterling Bank has reduced even though Chukwuka had been convicted.
“A lot of stress would go into the recovery of money that was misappropriated or embezzled. It takes God and luck to get your money back when things like this happen to you. So, it is not a good thing for Sterling Bank, and I honestly would not want to put much money in my account with them,” she added.
Source: Unmask NG
EFCC Nabs 27 Oil Bunkerers in Port Harcourt, Picks 31 In Benin Yahoo Boys Raid
Operatives of the Port Harcourt Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, have arrested twenty seven (27) individuals in connection with suspicious illegal oil bunkering.
They were arrested on Friday, September 10, 2012 at Ahoada Local Government Area, Rivers State.
The suspects are: Mohammad Bello; Abubarkar Umar; Abdulkarim Ibrahim; Mohammad Bashimu; Bello Mohammad, Abdullahi Murtala; Paul Paparoman; Abdullahi Ibrahim; Usman Abdulahi; Illiyasu Ibrahim and Idris Dahiru.
Others are Hussaini Yaiu; Bala Audu; Ibrahim Muhammad; Auwal Abdulsalam; Laminu Yusuf; Suleiman Abubarkar; Abdulahi Musa; Mamuda Abdulahi; Edima Samuel Gospel; Nural Abdulahi; Dauda Adamu; Adamu Ibrahim; Ali Abah; Sabiu Sani, Azumi Blaik and Keshim Ordu.
They were arrested in a random raid conducted by the EFCC, based on verified intelligence on their alleged illegal oil bunkering activities.
In the course of the arrest, according to a statement made available to ThePageNews by its Media head, Wilson Iwajaren, the financial crime fighting body said, large quantities of products suspected to be illegally- refined Automotive Gas Oil (AGO) were found with them. Twenty (20) jerry cans and 25 litres of the products, stored in drums and tanks, ready for onward transportation to various locations, were intercepted.
The suspects would be charged to court as soon as the investigation is concluded.
Meanwhile, Operatives of the Benin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Sunday, September 12, 2021 arrested 31 suspected internet fraudsters. The suspects were arrested in two separate locations in Benin City sequel to actionable intelligence.
Among those arrested are suspected fraudsters who, a few weeks ago, were seen in a viral video standing on top of their cars and throwing bundles of Naira notes into the air at a popular Plaza in Benin City. They had embarked on a similar mission at the same venue on Sunday before they were intercepted by operatives of the Commission at the exit gate.
The other suspects were arrested at their hideout in Benin City.
Those arrested are Essien Sunday, Joseph Nwosu, Samuel Victor, Abdurahman Abudulahi, Uwaifo Destiny, Osaro Osarere, Favour Oleye, Smart Okunvobo, Oduwa Osahon, Osaretin Blessed, Frank Osas, Aisosa Kelly, Richard Ehigie, Destiny Omoru, Jacob Kelvin, Aker Kelly, Promise Godspower, Lucky Dickson and Osamode Efosa.
Others are Osamuyi Aigbe-Egharevba, Ohumumwen Osaremen, Christopher Momodu, Aigbe Destiny, Eti-osa Osamwonyi, Patrick Benson Osaguna, Victor Kenyei, Marvellous Atiti, Gift Ebuehi, Osayi Casmir, Osahenkhoe Godstime and Paul Okoh.
Items recovered from the suspects at the point of arrest include 13 exotic cars, including: Lexus ES 350, Lexus 350, Lexus RX 350, Lexus ES 350, Lexus RX 350, Lexus RX 350, Lexus IS 350, Toyota Venza, Mercedes C300, Mercedes ML350, Range Rover Evoque, GLK 350 4Matic and Toyota Camry.
Other items are laptop computers, phones, documents and identity cards.
The suspects have made useful statement and will be arraigned in court as soon as investigations are completed
Two Men Arrested For Stealing Human Skull From Cemetery
Two men Saidi Mutiu, 41, and Olasunkanmi Oladejo, 35, have been arraigned before the Iyaganku Magistrate’s Court in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, for unlawful possession of a human skull.
The duo were arraigned on Thursday by Oyo State Police Command.
The Mutiu and Oladejo were trialled on a three- count charge bothering on alleged conspiracy, unlawful possession and interfering with human corpse.
Mutiu of Idi-Arere area, Ibadan, and Oladejo of Oju-Odo area, Academy, Ibadan, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.
But the police prosecutor, Foluke Adedosu, had informed the court that the defendants allegedly conspired to commit the act of misconduct with regard to the corpse.
She said on August 31, at about 1.30pm at Challenge area in Ibadan, the defendants allegedly had in their possession one human head without lawful justification.
“The duo of Mutiu and Oladejo was alleged to have indecently interfered with a corpse by removing the head without lawful justification. The defendants allegedly tampered with the corpse buried at a Muslim burial ground in Ibadan where they dug the grave and cut the corpse’s head.
Adedosu added that the offence contravened Sections 242, 329A and 516 of the Criminal Code Laws of Oyo State 2000.
The magistrate, Mrs I. O Osho eventually, granted the defendants bail in the sum of N500, 000 with two sureties in like sum each and adjourned the case till December 21, 2021, for hearing.
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