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N29Billion Fraud: You Have Case To Answer, Court Tells Ex-Gov Nyako, Others

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A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Monday, ruled that a former governor of Adamawa State, Murtala Nyako, has a case to answer in the N29 billion fraud charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Nyako is being prosecuted by the EFCC alongside his son, Abdul-Aziz, two companies, Sebore Farms and Extension Ltd and Pagado Fortunes Ltd, as well as Zulkifik Abba, Abubakar Aliyu, Blue Opal Ltd, Tower Assets Management Ltd, and Crust Energy Ltd on 37-count charges of criminal conspiracy, stealing, abuse of office, and money laundering.

The Commission closed its case after it had called 21 witnesses, but rather than open their defence, the defendants opted for a no-case submission on the ground that the prosecution had failed to link them to the alleged offences.

But in his ruling today, Justice Okon Abang, dismissed defendants’ no-case-submission and ordered them to enter their defence.

“I have calmly, carefully, and painstakingly scrutinised the evidence adduced by the 21 witnesses in chief and under cross-examination, including the oral and written arguments of all the defendants.

“I have again carefully and painstakingly considered the evidence of the 21 witnesses and the massive documentary evidence and the extrajudicial statements of the defendants.

“I have carefully considered the legal arguments of all the counsel for the defendants, their written and oral arguments, and the argument of the prosecution.

“It is my humble but firm view that the prosecution has established a prima facie case against the defendants, and they are required to enter their defence immediately,” Justice Abang said

The trial has been adjourned till October 4, 5, 7, and 8 for the defendants to open their case.

The last witness to be called by the prosecution was Kobis Harithimnu, a former Secretary to Adamawa State Government, who testified via video link.

The witness had told the court that there were two departments in his office, which he oversaw, namely: the Security and Special Services Office and Political Services, adding that memos were usually generated by the permanent secretary and brought to him for endorsement before sending to the governor’s office for approval.

According to him, “it is the governor that approves the memos, and collects the cheques from the accountant of the department or sometimes from the permanent secretary. Some of the cheques are sent to the governor by me.”

He added that he explained to the permanent secretary that the procedure was irregular.

The trial which began on July 8, 2015 before Justice Evoh Chukwu, started afresh on September 12, 2016 before Justice Abang, following the demise of Justice Chukwu on June 8, 2016, after the prosecution had already called five witnesses.

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Finance

CBN Stops Selling FOREX To Bureaux De Change

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced on Tuesday that it has stopped the sale of foreign exchange to Bureaux De Change

The apex bank also accused international bodies operating in Nigeria of sabotage.

The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, who spoke shortly after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, accused BDCs of deliberate economic sabotage and misusing the weekly $20,000 allocation to them.

He also said CBN will no longer renew licences of BDCs. Emefiele also accused international agencies and embassies operating in Nigeria of illegally patronising BDCs.

According to him, international development finance institutions, embassies and others are supposed to patronise the importer and exporter window, where there is transparency. Henceforth, previous allocation of foreign exchange to BDCs will now be given to banks to sell to customers. You

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Finance

Alleged N38.5m Fraud: EFCC Presents Second Witness, Closes Case Against Defendant.

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The trial of one Ikemefuna Iwunoh for an alleged N38.5million fraud before Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos continued with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, presenting its second witness, Joseph Gandapa, and also closing its case.

Iwunoh, who was first arraigned in December 2019, is facing a two-count charge bordering on stealing and obtaining by false pretence.

One of the counts reads: “Ikemefuna Iwunoh, between the 22nd May, 2018 and 3rd September, 2018 at Lagos, within the Ikeja Judicial Division, being an account officer to Joseph Innocent Gandapa in Investment-One Financial Service Limited induced the said Joseph Innocent Gandapa to transfer a total sum of N38, 500,000 to Uacin Global Ventures by falsely representing to Joseph Innocent Gandapa that he will get a higher percentage of interes,t which pretence you knew to be false.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, prompting the commencement of his trial.

At today’s sitting, Gandapa, a staff of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and victim of the fraud, told the Court that the money he had invested in Investment-One, supposedly through Iwunoh, was his life savings.

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, N.M,. Anana, the witness narrated how he met Iwunoh, and got assurance that he would help with the investment.

He said: “At the time the investment was to mature, the defendant was not forthcoming and I became troubled. “I placed a call through to Investment-One and that was where I got the shocker that they were not aware of any such investment.

“I visited him and he was telling me to calm down.”

Realising that he had been defrauded, Gandapa said he approached the Police, but “they kept asking for money; so, I got frustrated and petitioned the EFCC.”

Thereafter, he identified the petition he submitted to the EFCC as well as a bundle of documents attached to it, which were all admitted as exhibits against the defendant.

Anana told the Court that the prosecution was closing its case.

Consequently, the Judge adjourned till September 13, 2021 for the defence to open its case.

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Finance

FG Signs N982b Supplementary 2021 Budget

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President Muhammadu Buhari Monday in Abuja signed a supplementary budget of N982.7bn for 2021 to address urgent security and COVID-19 needs of the nation.

The President signed the Supplementary Appropriation Act, 2021 in his office at the State House in the presence of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari and Director-General, Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze and Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters (House), Hon. Umar el-Yakub.

Of the amount, N123.3 million is for recurrent (non-debt) expenditure while the sum of the N859.3bn is for contribution to the Development Fund for the capital expenditure for the year ending on the 31st day of December, 2021.

President Buhari commended the National Assembly for the expeditious consideration and approval of the supplementary budget, assuring that the executive arm of government would ensure the timely delivery of capital projects to achieve the laudable objectives of the Budget.

Meanwhile, the President has also, at an earlier date, signed the Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board (Amendment) Act, 2021.

The Act amends the Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board Act Cap. O10 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to provide for the establishment of the Orthopedic Hospital Jos, Plateau State under the control of the Orthopedic Hospitals Management Board affiliated to the Jos Teaching Hospital to provide specialised orthopedic treatment and medical services.

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