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$40m Jewelleries: Diezani Alleges EFCC Of Illegal Entry Into Apartment

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The Ex-  Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, has challenged the seizure of $40m worth of jewelries from her premises by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Contained in an affidavit filed on her behalf by her counsel, Prof Awa Kalu (SAN), Diezani, who is currently in the United Kingdom, alleged that the EFCC violated her fundamental “right to own property and to appropriate them at her discretion,” under sections 43 and 44 of the constitution.

Also, she  accused the commission of entering her apartment illegally and taking the items without any court order.

On July 5, 2019, The Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC had secured an order of the court temporarily forfeiting the expensive jewelleries to the Federal Government.

The EFCC Counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, in an exparte application, made before Justice Nicholas Oweibo told the court that the expensive jewelries comprising wristwatches, necklaces, bracelets, bangles, earrings, a customized gold phone and more were reasonably suspected to have being acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities of the former Minister.

According to the schedule attached to the application, the jewellery, categorised into 33 sets, include “419 expensive bangles; 315 expensive rings; 304 expensive earrings; 267 expensive necklaces; 189 expensive wristwatches; 174 expensive necklaces and earrings; 78 expensive bracelets; 77 expensive brooches; and 74 expensive pendants.”

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Oyedepo said “the respondent’s known and provable lawful income is far less than the properties sought to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

After granting the interim forfeiture order on July 5, the court adjourned proceedings for Diezani or anyone interested in the jewellery and gold iPhone to appear before it to give reasons why the items should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

But in an application filed on her behalf by Kalu (SAN), Diezani, contended that “the court lacked jurisdiction to have granted the interim forfeiture order in the first place as she had not been charged with any crime or served with any summons by the EFCC”.

She added  that the entry into her apartment by EFCC operatives was illegal as it was without a court order.

The lawyer added that the temporary forfeiture order was prejudicial to Diezani because she was denied fair hearing.

The application, could however not be argued today as Prof. Kalu was unable to come to court.

A lawyer from his chambers, Chukwuka Obidike, told the court that the SAN was engaged in election petitions, and asked the court to grant an adjournment.

The court has adjourned the case till August 29.

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Crime & Court

Security: Amotekun finally begins operation in Oyo

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Oyo state governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde on Wednesday declared the state Security Network Agency code-named Ameotekun Corps Operational.

Governor Makinde who made the disclosure at the passing-out ceremony of Oyo pioneer Amotekun Corps at Emmanuel Alayande College of Education Sports Complex, Main Campus, Oyo also noted that security has always been an issue, which make security one of the pillars of his administration, averring that insecure state can never attract investors both local and foreign.

The governor said, “When telling the story of the Western Nigeria Security Network code named Amotekun, it will be on record that it was officially launched on January 9, 2020. However, the Amotekun journey began earlier. In July 2019, the six states of the southwest, namely Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun, and Oyo States, agreed to set up this outfit.

“Amotekun is indeed a first of its kind security agency because it is a regional security outfit initiated by one of Nigeria’s six geopolitical zones.

“History will also state that the headquarters is here in Oyo State.

Since its founding, we have been taking steps to ensure that the security outfit kicks off operations. In March 2020, the Oyo State House of Assembly passed the Oyo State Security Network Agency Bill 2020, which I signed into law a few days later.

He continued, “Although COVID-19 and other logistical issues delayed the recruitment process, we ran an open and transparent recruitment process that culminated in announcing the 1,500 successful candidates’ names in October 2020. Shortly after that, their training began in the first week of November. Today we are here to witness the passing out parade of the pioneer members of the Amotekun Corps.

“Security has always been an issue close to my heart. While on the campaign trail, I spoke about how we could tackle insecurity in Oyo State. We outlined clear plans in our manifesto, the Roadmap to Accelerated Development in Oyo State 2019-2023. And so, when we came into office, we went ahead to make security one of the pillars of our administration.

“Our actions have been based on the fact that if our state is insecure, we cannot attract investment, whether foreign or local. So far, we have supported our federal security outfits, who do their best to protect our people. We provided them with communication gadgets and patrol vehicles. More recently, we requested for and established just this past May 2020, the Police Mobile Force 72 Squadron at Ago-Are and presented them with patrol vehicles for the outfit’s operations.

“But as I have argued on various fora, for governors to really play the role of Chief Security Officers of their states, state policing is the way forward. I am confident that someday, we will get enough support at the national level to achieve that constitutional review.

But, for now, we will settle for the next best thing”, Governor Makinde concluded.

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Crime & Court

#EndSARS: Makinde Frees 6 Suspects Arrested At Ogbomoso’s Protest

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No fewer than six suspects arrested in connection with the crisis that visited the protest against police brutality at Ogbomoso recently have been freed by the court as prayed by Oyo State governor, Engr. Seyi Makinde.

The suspects include Olaoluwa Busayo, Olagoke David, Olusola Matthew, Amole Adebayo, Adedokun Segun and Ganiyu Saheed.

The protest against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) had led to vandalization of the palace of Soun of Ogbomoso, Oba Oladunni Oyewumi Ajagungbade on Sunday 10th of October, 2020 while the six suspects were apprehended by the police as being part of those responsible for the attack on the palace.

A statement issued by the State Ministry of Justice, titled ‘Re-unconditional Release of the 6 Suspects Arrested In Ogbomoso in Connection with Ongoing National Protest’ and signed by the Director Public Prosecution, Mr Nathaniel Okeniyi on Tuesday and made available to the press said, upon the visit of the State governor to Ogbomoso immediately after the incident after which the governor visited the palace and later addressed protesters, he promised to set the arrested individuals free as demanded by the protesters.

“Sequel to the promise of his Excellency, Governor Seyi Makinde at Ogbomoso to effect the release of the suspects arrested in connection with the protest, today, being 19th October, 2020, the Chief Magistrate Court 2, Iyaganku Ibadan, on application of Attorney General has discharged and withdrawn the charge filed against the suspects forthwith.”

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Recall that governor Seyi Makinde gave his support to peaceful protest which he said was borne out of high level of youths’ unemployment and poverty in the land, he called on the police to take the back sit in the protest while the men of ‘Operation Burst’ should give the protesters adequate protection and avert its being hijacked by hoodlums.

 

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Ibadan: EFCC Secures Conviction of Fraudsters, Arraigns Three

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Justice Sherifat Adeyemi of the Oyo State High Court, Ibadan, on Wednesday, sentenced one Balaji Salami to prison for fraud.

The convict was prosecuted by the Ibadan Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on amended one-count charge of obtaining money by false pretence, contrary to Section 419 of the Criminal Code Cap 38, Laws of Oyo State 2000.

The charge read: “That you Bolaji Salami sometime in March, 2020, at Ibadan, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, with intent to defraud, obtained various gift cards, worth the sum of USD$150 (One Hundred and Fifty United States Dollars) from one Smith Johnson, a white male American citizen, when you falsely represented to him that you are a white female American by name Angelina James, that you are in love with him and wanted to marry him, which representations you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence.”

He pleaded guilty to the offence following which the judge pronounced him guilty as charged and sentenced him to six months imprisonment with effect from his June 30, 2020 date of arrest.

Apart from his prison term, he would restitute his victim, the sum of $150 USD (One Hundred and Fifty United States of American Dollars) and forfeit his iPhone X Max, Itel mobile phones and HP laptop computer to the federal government.

Similarly, Justice Patricia Ajoku of the Federal High Court, Ibadan, on Wednesday, October 14, sentenced one Olanrewaju Isaac Olatunji (a.k.a. Mia Cruz) to one year imprisonment for fraud. He was prosecuted by the Ibadan Zonal Office of the Commission on amended one-count charge of criminal impersonation.

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The charge read: “That you Olanrewaju Isaac Olatunji (a.k.a. Mia Cruz) sometime in May 2019 at Ibadan within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud, knowingly impersonated one Mia Cruz, a white female, when you falsely represented yourself to Abigail Mccaroll, in order to gain advantage for yourself, contrary to Section 22 (2) (b) (ii) of the Cyber Crimes (Prohibition, Prevention Etc) Act, 2015, and punishable under Section 22 (2) (b) of the same Act.”

He pleaded guilty to the charge upon which prosecution counsel, Mabas Mabur asked the court to sentence and convict him accordingly.

The judge sentenced him to one year imprisonment with effect from February 13, 2020, day of his arrest. His is also to restitute the sum of $1600 (One Thousand Six Hundred United States Dollars) to his victim through the EFCC, and forfeit his Honda Crosstour and other items recovered from him to the federal government.

Meanwhile, the Ibadan Zonal Office of the Commission also yesterday, arraigned the trio of Adedapo Olayiwola, Adebola Aderonke Adesina and her company, Kestrel Travels and Tour Limited, before Justice Sherifat Adeyemi.

Olayiwola is being prosecuted on a five-count charge of obtaining money by false pretence, contrary to Section 1 (2) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.

He is alleged to have fraudulently obtained over N4 million (Four Million Naira) from different victims on the pretence that he has plots of land to sell to them.

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However, the victims, with time, discovered that the said plots of land did not belong to him.

“That you Olayiwola Adedapo sometime in 2016, in Ibadan within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N1,400,000 (One Million Four Hundred Thousand Naira) from one Monsuru Watiu Adekunle under the pretext that it is the purchase price for two acres of land, situated at Oyigun Village, Akinyele, Ibadan which you claimed belong to you, which representations you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act 2006.”

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, upon which prosecution counsel, Murtala Usman asked the court for a commencement date of trial and for him to be remanded in prison custody.

Justice Adeyemi admitted Olayiwola to bail in the sum of N5million and two sureties in like sum. The sureties are to provide a valid means of identification, verified by the EFCC. He was given seven days to comply with the bail conditions or be returned to EFCC’s custody. The case was adjourned till December 2, 2020.

Adesina, on her part, was arraigned alongside her company on one-count charge of stealing, contrary to Section 390 of the Criminal Code Law, Cap 38, Laws of Oyo State, 2000.

She was alleged to have fraudulently obtained the sum of N2,400,000 (Two Million, Four Hundred Thousand Naira) from one Adeniyi Taiwo Dauda through her company on the pretence that she could help him procure visas for some of his clients. She, however, failed to deliver on her promise and refused to refund the money to her victim.

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The charge read, “That you, Adesina Adebola Aderonke and Kestrel Travels and Tours Limited sometime in February, 2019 at Ibadan, within the Ibadan Judicial Division of this honourable court, did commit an illegal act, to wit: stealing of the sum of N2,400,000.00 (Two Million and Four Hundred Thousand Naira) only, property of Adeniyi Taiwo Dauda.”

She pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, prompting prosecution counsel, Murtala Usman to ask the court for a commencement date of trial and for the defendant to be remanded in prison custody.

The court ordered that she be remanded in EFCC’s custody, pending an application for her bail and adjourned the matter till October 20, 2020 for hearing.

 

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