N66m Diversion: Court Fixes March 17 for Judgment in Ex-Air Chief Dikko Umar’s Case
Justice Nmamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on March 2, 2022, reserved judgment in the case of alleged criminal diversion of N66 million against a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Dikko Umar (rtd) till March 17, 2022.
Umar was first arraigned on January 25, 2017, on a 7-count charge of money laundering and procurement fraud to the tune of N9.7 billion.
However, six of the counts were dismissed following a no-case submission, leaving one count of alleged diversion of N66million from the Nigeria Air Force’s bank account.
At the resumed trial on March 2, 2022, counsel presented their final arguments with defence counsel, Onyeachi Okpeazu SAN, asking the court to discharge and acquit the defendant on the grounds that the prosecution failed to establish the ingredients of the alleged offence beyond any reasonable doubt.
“My lord, the count was not established in any manner by evidence. This is a criminal matter, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt,” he said.
However, prosecuting counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, urged the court to be guided by the written address filed and adopted on February 22, 2022, to convict and sentence the defendant.
“My lord, a lot of stories has been raised, first whether we have proven money that left Nigerian Air force Account to Capital Law Firm. We did, at paragraph 5.5 in our written address, N47 million and N10 million respectively left the NAF account to the Capital Law Firm, and all are before the court,” he said.
Justice Dimgba consequently fixed March 17 to deliver judgment.
Alleged $1.6bn Oil Fraud: Why My Company Paid $3M to YF Construction – Omokore
The money laundering and procurement fraud trial of Olajide Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Ltd, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited, Victor Briggs (former managing director, Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, NPDC, and Abiye Membere continued today, Thursday March 3, 2022 before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Abuja with the continuation of cross examination of the first defence witness, Olajide Omokore.
At the resume sitting today, prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs SAN, asked the defendant whether one of his company, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept, paid Three Million, Five Hundred and Sixty-nine Thousand, Nine Hundred and Seventy-nine Dollars ($3,569,979) to YF Construction Development Estate Limited. The witness answered in the affirmative, but added that his company and YF build and sell properties together. “Sometimes if we have land, they build on it, or if they have land, we build on it and sell it together,” he stated.
Asked whether he has a Joint Venture with the company, he said, no but added that, maybe his legal department has.
The prosecuting counsel asked him to look at page 2 on Exhibit Atlantic 64 to confirm an invoice to his company, Energy property for the purchase of “Jaguar Ultimate” at 36 million naira, on October 14, 2013. He confirmed the invoice.
Jacobs further said page 3 shows the delivery of the vehicle but Omokore replied that nobody received it. He told the court that he saw the customer name and the signature on the invoice, and also confirmed that the delivery note was signed.
Asked whether he is aware that NPDC and NNPC staff are public servants, Omokore answered in the affirmative.
The prosecuting counsel sought to know whether the defendant knew that the managing director of the NPDC and NNPC determine the quantity of crude oil to be given out to his company. He replied that he knows of NNPC but cannot tell of NPDC.
Jacobs reminded the witness that it was Membere who as managing director of the NPDC in exhibit 12, signed all the operations. DW1 said he didn’t know, but said he knew Membere to be in charge of Exploration and Production.
To conclude his cross-examination, Jacobs sought to know whether Omokore’s companies were registered as charities, in view of the companies’ penchant for buying and giving out cars to people for free. The witness answered; “No, they were not registered as charity organisations.”
Justice Dimgba thereafter discharged the witness, and adjourned the matter till Friday, March 4, 2022 for cross examination of the remaining defence witnesses.
Northern States Civil Society Networks seeks Collaboration with EFCC
The Conference of Northern States Civil Society Network, CNSCSN, on Thursday, March 3, 2022, sought collaboration and partnership with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in fighting economic and financial crimes, including enhancing compliance of civil society organizations with regulations of the Special Unit Against Money Laundering, SCUML.
The chairman of the Network, Ibrahim Waiya stated this when he led representatives of the Network on a courtesy visit to the Commission. “We are ready to assist the Commission in creating awareness about its activities by bringing other stakeholders on board, also supporting a legal framework to enhance compliance with the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering, SCUML. Whatever areas of partnership and support that will bridge the gaps in defining development agenda, we are ready to engage”, he said.
He disclosed that as a civil society group operating in the Nineteen Northern States of Nigeria, the objective of NSCSN is advocating best practices of democracy, accountability and increased development of Northern Nigeria, through policy influencing, cooperation and partnership.
Waiya commended the EFCC Chairman for his track record in one year as chief executive of the agency, pointing out that his unique style of leadership has engendered public trust and confidence in the Commission.
“I can say that your unique style of subjecting yourself as a public servant to public scrutiny has in no doubt created a conspicuous testimony that you indeed have a sincere intention and passionate commitment to fight corruption in Nigeria”, Waiya added.
The EFCC boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa, in his response, thanked the Network for the visit. He said he was happy to see a group of CSOs cutting across several states who are passionate about the fight against economic and financial crimes, adding that the Commission welcomes the offer of collaboration by the group. He said the offer by the group was in sync with at least two objectives of the Commission’s Strategic Plan dwelling on increased public engagement and collaboration with stakeholders, and directed the Public Affairs Department to ensure the Network is carried along in the Commission’s public engagement activities.
Bawa further said he was happy that the group is already conscious of the activities of SCUML but charged them to continue to sensitize their members on the need to meet their statutory obligations to SCUML. He said since his assumption of office, the Commission has re-organized and empowered SCUML but admitted there are gaps as some Designated Non-Financial Institutions, DFNIs, are still not complying with regulations.
Alleged N874m Fraud: EFCC Presents Third Witness Against Four Fidelity Bank Staff
The ongoing trial of four staff of Fidelity Bank, Olusegun Babasola, Abisola Ahmed, Uchechukwu Uma, Jude Aphaeus, and a non-staff of the bank, Omidiji Joseph, for an alleged N874 million fraud before Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo of a Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos continued on March 3, 2022 with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC presenting its third witness and tendering more exhibit against the defendants, including a DVD of the bank’s CCTV footage.
The defendants are being prosecuted by the EFCC on two counts for their various roles in the hacking of the bank’s database and cloning of more than 22 ATM cards used to steal and divert to personal use about N874 million belonging to five of the bank’s corporate customers – American International Insurance Company Limited (AIICO), Interswitch, OVH Energy Marketing Ltd, Fidelity Bank sinking fund account and FSL Securities Ltd.
They had pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, prompting their full-blown trial.
At today’s proceeding, the third prosecution witness, Chimdinma Peter, an operative of the EFCC narrated to the Court the findings of the EFCC’s investigation into the alleged fraud.
Led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Nnaemeka Omewa, the witness told the Court that the EFCC received a petition from Fidelity Bank on the alleged fraud and immediately swung into action.
He said: “Upon receipt, we commenced investigation into the alleged fraud, which we found out was perpetrated using the Postillion App.
“We accessed the banking app domiciled in the server to ascertain the IP address used.
“It pointed to a System domiciled at the Virtual Unit of the bank domiciled in Lagos.
“The System was identified and we found out it was used to de-link already existing ATM cards, and link them to some other accounts.”
According to him, investigation revealed that the ATM cards were linked to the five “victimised accounts” from which N874 million was withdrawn at different times.
He said: “The System used was identified and we observed that for it to be accessed, login details must be used.
“We found out that the profile used belonged to the third and fourth defendants.
“We reviewed the activities of the Virtual Unit and found out that three members of staff of the Unit also viewed the affected accounts prior to the withdrawals when they had no reason to do so.
“For the Virtual Unit of the bank to view an account, there must be a request from the Qserve, but a review for the period from 9th to 15th July 2019 did not reveal any request to the Virtual Unit of the bank.”
Testifying further, he noted that when the accounts were linked to the ATM cards, money was withdrawn in cash and also transferred to other bank accounts including one King Dommy Enterprise.
He said: “King Dommy Enterprise received several inflows of tranches of N908,000 totalling N136 million debited from FSL.
“From this, N50 million was transferred to the account of the fifth defendant, Omidiji Joseph Olanrewaju on 15th July, which was thereafter disbursed to different accounts including Findrex Aviation business school and Waltham BDC.”
The third and fourth defendants, he said, claimed ignorance of the use of their profile login details to access the Postillion App during the period the alleged fraud was perpetrated.
“The Application was used to increase the daily withdrawal limit from N150,000 to N100 million,” he added.
Head, Media & Publicity
3 March, 2022
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Report By: PRNigeria.com