Controversy is currently trailing the seizure of property and cash belonging to a suspected kidnapper, Collins Ezenwa, popularly known as E-Money, who was killed during a gun battle with policemen attached to Imo State Command in January last year. This followed allegations by widow of the late kidnap kingpin that operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Intelligence Response Team, IRT, had converted her late husband’s property and cash to their personal use, as well as a report which went viral, accusing head of the unit, DCP Abbah Kyari, of illegally depleting late Ezenwa’s assets.
Police Police Late Ezenwa, 31, was a Police Corporal, until November 2017. He was alleged to have coordinated several kidnaps and robberies in Imo, Abia, Enugu and Rivers states and was on the verge of kidnapping a South African-based businessman, when he was confronted by the Police.
Thirteen of his property scattered across the South-East were traced by the IRT operatives. They included a hotel in Enugu State, seven others in Owerri and Okigwe areas of Imo State and one in Aba, Abia State. Also, seven cars, two Sports Utility Vehicles, one Hilux truck, a commercial bus, two tipper-lorries and a trailer truck were recovered at several locations within the South-East, by the operatives. He was nicknamed E-Money owing to what was described as his stupendous wealth and generosity.
However, an online medium quoted the Nigeria Human Rights Commission, NHRC, and Amnesty International of accusing the IRT of gross human rights abuses and illegal expropriation of suspected proceeds of crime. The report alleged that De-Inglish Hotels and Resort in Enugu, owned by the deceased kidnapper and estimated at N220 million, was taken over by the IRT, adding that it had been receiving proceeds of lodging and other services in private bank accounts.
It further alleged that eight blocks of flats on 21, Edinburgh Road, New Layout, Enugu, which was also linked to late Ezenwa, was being managed by the police squad. Furthermore, the report mentioned Tochukwu Okeke and Ozougwu Stanislaus , as account holders of two bank accounts which the NHRC alleged earnings from the hotel and flats were being paid into.
IRT reacts In a swift reaction to the allegations, Commander, IRT, DCP Abba Kyari, described them as unverified lies by widow of the deceased kidnapper. Kyari said: “We have nothing to do with a private account carrying names of people from the South -East, flaunted by the kidnapper’s wife. In this BVN era, bank accounts can easily be investigated and cash movements and owners can easily be traced and arrested for questioning.
“They are all lies from the wife of a kidnap kingpin, who we refused to negotiate with. The family of the kidnapper begged to settle with us but we refused and they vowed to spend money to spoil our names, as all their efforts to transfer the case out of our office failed.
“They now went to a media outfit that is not ready to verify the authenticity of the stories from the kidnapper’s wife who jumped bail given to her on compassionate ground because of her baby. “She has vowed to enjoy the proceeds of her late kidnapper husband’s crime as if there are no laws in this country. We are suing the media outfit for linking our names to some fictitious/unknown accounts carrying names of people from the South -East. “I have never seen those accounts and they will tell the court why they are linking me to an account I know nothing about.
“Moreover, all the exhibits which included 13 houses, 13 vehicles and N100 million cash, we froze in the late kidnap kingpin’s bank account, using court order, are intact, while motion for their forfeiture to the Federal Government is before the Owerri High Court. “We are not relenting.
We are used to this type of baseless accusations/lies coming when uncompromising officers are handling cases of billionaire kidnappers like this. Everybody saw the lies from Evans billionaire kidnapper, his lawyers and wife. “The moment you refuse to negotiate with them, they will sponsor lies against you in anger. Had we agreed to negotiate with the family of the dead kidnap kingpin, nobody would have heard of this case. “We have nothing to hide, we want anybody or organisation to investigate this matter and see the truth.
” More revelations Meanwhile, sources at the IRT, disclosed yesterday, that operatives who were on E-Money’s trail before he was gunned down, had earlier apprehended him during a robbery operation in Owerri, Imo State, alongside some bankers and a real estate agent working for him.
The source explained that IRT operatives discovered that E-Money also had links to a notorious robbery gang which specialised in hijacking oil vessels on the high seas and selling off its products to waiting buyers. It was gathered one of his friends identified simply as Onyekere, had advised him(E-money) to quit his police job and travel out of the country to avoid suspicion.
Vanguard learned that E-Money left his police job, travelled out of the country for weeks and when he returned, bought a hotel in Enugu and also made a deposit of N100 million into a fixed deposit account, to which his wife was also a signatory.
The source said: “We commenced our investigations into the activities of this criminal in October 2017, while he was a policeman, after one Emmanuel and David Ofong were kidnapped along Nsukka-Kogi Road, Enugu by a gang of kidnappers and a ransom of $2 million was paid for the release of one of the victims, David Ofong, while the kidnappers held on to Emmanuel Ofong, demanding for additional money.
“We went into the case and through the aid of advance technology we were able to establish that E-money was the man behind the kidnapping but we had difficulty arresting him then because he was always moving in and out of the country.
“Shockingly, we heard, in 2018 that he has been killed alongside two members of his gang. But since Chief Emmanuel Ofong, who he kidnapped was still missing, we continued our case with the hope of arresting other members of his gang. “In the process, we arrested a banker working for him and he informed us that his wife had a fixed deposit account credited with N100 million. We also arrested a property agent, who assisted him in buying his property.”
SERAP reacts to $16bn power projects, backs EFCC’s decision to probe past govts’ spending
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has agreed that “the reported probe by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of the past governments, starting with the government of former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s $16 billion power project.
SERAP noted that it is an opportunity for the anti-graft agency to show that former heads of state and other high-ranking public officials are not immune from investigation and prosecution for allegations of grand corruption in Nigeria.
“This probe is something, which SERAP has consistently called for. Nigerians have for far too long been denied justice and the opportunity to get to the bottom of why they continue to pay the price for corruption in the electricity sector–staying in darkness, but still made to pay crazy electricity bills.”
According to reports, the EFCC has begun the probe of the $16 billion power project of the administration of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. While some put the exact cost of the project at $16 billion others say it is $13.8 billion. Key contractors and about 18 top public officers allegedly involved in the power project scam during the Obasanjo administration, and those of former Presidents Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, may also be arrested.
SERAP, in a statement signed on Sunday by its deputy director, Kolawole Oluwadare, said: “The probe is timely, especially coming at a time of citizens’ frustrations at persistent allegations of corruption and the impacts on their human rights. Investigating allegations of grand corruption and prosecuting former heads of state and other high-ranking officials where such allegations show relevant and sufficient admissible evidence would address the grave travesty that has for many years occurred in the power sector.”
The organization also added: “The EFCC should urgently invite anyone suspected to be involved for questioning. The agency should also expand the probe to cover the alleged squandering of a total of N11 trillion in the power sector between 1999 and 2015, and the unresolved case of the reported missing $12.4 billion oil windfall, allegedly spent between 1988 and 1993 by the government of former military dictator, General Ibrahim Babangida.”
“The EFCC has the full support of Nigerians in its efforts to hold high-ranking public officials to account for grand corruption, and if consistently, fairly and diligently pursued, this probe would contribute to ending impunity for corruption, and to mobilizing and encouraging youth civic engagement in the anti-graft fight in the country. SERAP stands ready to work with the EFCC in pursuing all allegations of grand corruption.
“SERAP notes that former presidents have routinely faced corruption charges in countries like Iceland, Kyrgyzstan, Brazil, Montenegro, South Korea, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Slovakia, Peru, and Mauritius, and the probe by the EFCC would mean this list would grow even further to include Nigeria.
“Impunity for grand corruption will continue as long as high-ranking public officials go largely unpunished for their alleged crimes. It is by pursuing these allegations and taking the evidence before the court that the truth will be revealed and justice best served. Addressing impunity in the power sector should be total. This would help to further public perception of fairness and thoroughness.
“Lack of regular electricity supply in the country had occasioned many other problems, including lack of access to potable water. The failure by successive governments to tell Nigerians the truth about allegations of corruption in the power sector amounts to a failure to ensure that electricity services are progressively made available, on the basis of equality and non-discrimination.
“In November 2016, SERAP petitioned the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Walter Onnoghen, urging him to probe the alleged spending of the $16 billion. In April 2017, SERAP sent President Muhammadu Buhari an open letter, advising him to take allegations of corruption in the power sector to the international criminal courts to ensure that justice is served.
“SERAP has also called on Mr Buhari to refer the alleged $16 billion spending on electricity between 1999 and 2007 to the EFCC. Mr Buhari subsequently raised questions over the issues, saying that ‘one of the former Heads of State was bragging that he spent more than 15 billion American dollars, not naira, on power. Where is the power? Where is the power?
“In August 2017, SERAP published a report, ‘From Darkness to Darkness: How Nigerians are Paying the Price for Corruption in the Electricity Sector’, which revealed how over N11 trillion meant to provide regular electricity supply was allegedly squandered under the governments of former presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan”, the statement concluded.
Meanwhile, the said report reads: “The Obasanjo’s administration spent $10 billion on NIPP with no results in terms of increase in power generation. $13.278,937,409.94 was expended on the power sector in eight years while unfunded commitments amounted to $12 billion.
“The Federal Government then budgeted a whopping N16 billion for the various reforms under Liyel Imoke (2003 to 2007) which went down the drains as it failed to generate the needed amount of electricity or meet the set goals. Imoke was alleged to have personally collected the sum of $7.8 million for the execution of the contract for the construction of the Jos-Yola Transmission Line, which was never executed. There were documented/reported allegations of corruption against Imoke that fizzled-out shortly thereafter.”
Alleged Money Laundering: Atiku’s Lawyer, Giwa-Osagie Gets N20m Bail
A Federal High Court, in Lagos on Thursday granted bail to Uyiekpen Giwa-Osagie, lawyer to the former Vice President and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Candidate, Atiku Abubakar.
Justice Nicholas Oweibo granted Giwa-Osagie bail in the sum of N20million with one surety in like sum, while he, thereafter, fixed October 8 for trial in the case.
The judge also admitted Giwa-Osagie’s brother, Erhunse, also in the same sum and a surety.
He held that the sureties for both defendants must reside in Lagos and have landed property in the state.
Justice Oweibo further ordered that the defendants be released to their counsel, pending the perfection of their bail terms which must be done within 14 days.
‘Isheri Day’ Attack: Police Reveal How Soldiers Allegedly Killed Two Persons
The Ogun State Police Command has disclosed that some soldiers from the Ikeja Cantonment in Lagos, played a role in the killing of some residents of Isheri Olofin on Sunday August 13.
The State Commissioner of Police, CP Bashir Makama in a statement on Monday, said credible information at the disposal of the command has it that on the said date, Four (4) men of the Nigerian Army believed to be from Ikeja Cantonment and posted to Kara Market, left their beats and went to Isheri Olofin, a border town between Lagos and Ogun State where the indigenes of the town were celebrating their annual “Isheri Day”.
Makama explained that the soldiers, on getting there, had a minor disagreement with some youths which made the soldiers to start shooting sporadically into the air.
He added that consequently, one Damilare Adelani was hit by bullets and he died on the spot.
The police, in the statement further revealed that the ugly incident infuriated the people at the scene who in turn reacted violently against the soldiers leaving one of the soldiers and three other civilians injured.
He said the soldiers quickly took their injured colleague to a hospital (name with-held) where they met one of the injured civilians being attended to by a Medical Doctor on duty.
According to the police commissioner, a statement from the officials of the hospital reveals that the Soldiers ordered the doctor at gun-point, to leave the injured man and attend to their colleague.
“They then dragged the patient out of the bed and subsequently stabbed him to death with a Bayonet attached to the muzzle of his rifle,” CP Makama said.
Following the emerging details of the incident, the Ogun State police command says a full scale investigation into the “Isheri Day” shooting incident has been launched.
The command through CP Makama further notes that contact with the military authorities in Ogun State have been established and efforts are in place to ensure that those found wanting are brought to book.
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