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Why court absolved three AIICO staff members of N1.5 billion fraud charges

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On September 19, An Ikeja Special Offences Court in Lagos discharged and acquitted three staff members of AIICO Capital Limited, of the N1.5 billion fraud charges brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo in her ruling absolved Onome Odometa, Olajumoke Akano, and Olabode Ogunlere of the 22-count charges proffered against them.

The judge held that the prosecution failed to prove the alleged offense against the defendants. consequently, she said suspicion no matter how grave is not evidence and cannot be the basis for the conviction of any person in law.

The defendants were accused by the EFCC of conniving with Lanre Fabunmi, a former Managing Director of the firm to convert the said money under the guise of payment of sales commission.

They were arraigned in August 2021 on a 22-count amended charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing, and dishonest conversion of funds for the purpose of purchasing properties, and converting funds belonging to the firm.

According to EFCC, The offences were punishable under section 287(8), 332(3) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2015.

Upon arraignment, they pleaded not guilty to the charges and were subsequently granted bail in the sum of N50 million each with two sureties in like sum.

On November 22, the EFCC opened the prosecution’s case and closed it with eight witnesses urging the court to ask the defendants to enter defence.

After the EFCC had closed its case, the defendants subsequently filed a no-case submission before the court.

They contended that the accusations by the prosecution did not link them to the alleged crimes.

According to them, none of the witnesses called by the prosecution testified of a rule prohibiting payment of sales commission to staff.

Consequently, they prayed the court to dismiss the charges against them saying they had no case to answer.

Ruling on the no-case submission filed by the defendants the judge said “The myriad of evidence to prove the payment of sales commission also reveals that the defendants in any capacity did not approve the payments to themselves.

“In fact, according to PW2, before any payment is made, it must go through internal control, client services, and then the Managing Director approves.

She noted that “None of the defendants have been shown to be part of Internal Control or hatching a plan to steal from the company with erstwhile Managing Director.

Simply believing the evidence of the prosecution that they got huge sums as sales commission means they connived with the erstwhile Managing Director would be speculation on the part of the court.

“A lack of concrete evidence creates doubt in the mind of the court and the court does not act on speculations, let alone conjectures that are ambiguously speculative.

“Suspicion no matter how grave is not evidence and cannot be the basis for conviction of any person in law.“

The suspicion remains suspicion and cannot graduate to convincing evidence no matter how grave the suspicion can be.

In the final analysis, the case of the prosecution is riddled with speculations, half-truths, and insufficient evidence to support the amended information.

“The case of the prosecution was thoroughly whittled down under cross-examination and the remnants of the evidence have not established a case against the defendants warranting the need for them to enter their evidence.

“Consequently, having failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendants, the no-case submission made by the defendants is hereby upheld.

The defendants are hereby discharged and acquitted,” Justice Taiwo ruled.

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  1. zmozero teriloren

    December 5, 2022 5:41 pm at 5:41 pm

    As soon as I discovered this website I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.

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Abdul Samad Rabiu receives Nigerian army recognition award

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The Nigerian army has awarded Abdul Samad Rabiu, founder of BUA Group, for his support to the institution through his company’s foundation and his private philanthropy, the Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa Initiative (ASR Africa).

The award was presented by President Muhammad Buhari at the 2022 Nigerian army ‘chief of army staff’ conference in Sokoto.

Faruk Yahaya, chief of army staff, joined Buhari during the presentation.

In a statement on Monday, Rabiu thanked the Nigerian army for the recognition, saying it was a call to do more.

“Personally, I am very honoured to have received this recognition award today,” he said.

“Our security agencies are doing so much and have sacrificed a lot to keep us safe. We must acknowledge visible progress and support where we can as individuals and the private sector.”

Rabiu further urged others in the private sector to join hands in supporting visible government efforts in the security and social development space.

According to the statement, the billionaire’s contributions include a N2 billion donation to the army, plans to refurbish and equip science laboratories as well as libraries in six command secondary schools across the various regions in Nigeria, infrastructure development and refurbishment of barracks, provision of kits, equipment, amongst others.

Speaking on the award ceremony, Yahaya highlighted the numerous achievements of the Nigerian army and thanked eminent Nigerians, security agencies, and the government for supporting the institution in its quest to defend the country’s territorial integrity and sovereignty against external aggression while also giving aid to civil authorities in mitigating internal security challenges in the country.

Meanwhile, at the 16th annual Africa CSR awards (SERAS), the BUA founder was named the chief executive officer (CEO) of the year 2022, while BUA Group and ASR Africa bagged three awards namely: ‘best company in social impact and human capital advancement in Africa’, ‘impact investor of the year’, and ‘best company in infrastructure development’.

The awards were given for the firms efforts in driving impactful change and sustainable development through various ASR Africa and BUA foundation projects in the year 2022.

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EFCC launches manhunt for Kano APC senatorial candidate, Abdulsalam Zaura over ‘$1.3m fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says it is making efforts to arrest Abdulsalam Zaura, the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Kano central senatorial district, over alleged fraud.

Ahmad Rogha, counsel to EFCC, said this on Monday while speaking with journalists at the federal high court in Kano.

BACKGROUND

In 2018, EFCC had arraigned Zaura, better known as A.A. Zaura, on a five-count charge bordering on fraud before a federal high court in Kano.

The anti-graft agency had accused Zaura of defrauding a Kuwaiti national by obtaining the sum of $1,320,000 under the pretext that he is in the business of building properties in Dubai, Kuwait, and other Arab countries.

In June 2020, Lewis Allagoa, the presiding judge, found the defendant not guilty and discharged him on all counts.

Dissatisfied with the judgment, the EFCC approached the court of appeal.

In April 2022, a court of appeal sitting in Kano ordered a fresh trial.

TRIAL STALLED OVER ABSENCE OF JUDGE

On Monday, the trial of Zaura was stalled because Mohammad Yunusa, the judge, was absent from court as he was said to be attending to other national issues outside Kano.

In the previous court sitting, the trial judge had ordered the EFCC to produce the accused person in court owing to the latter’s absence.

Speaking on the development, Rogha said the defendant was supposed to be in EFCC custody, adding that the agency will ensure he is in court at the next sitting.

“We are looking for Zaura and he will be arrested as soon as we find him,” he said.

“Ordinarily, he was supposed to be in our custody and the court has affirmed that. But I can assure you, he would be arrested and brought to court on the next adjourned date — 30th January, 2023.”

In a counter argument, Ibrahim Waru, counsel to the defendant, said EFCC does not possess any legal authority to arrest his client.

Waru also said it was not necessary for his client to be in court on Monday since the court did not sit.

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Budget Padding: Senate clears Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed

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The Senate has on Monday cleared the Minister of Finance , Budget and National Planning , Mrs Zainab Ahmed of alleged insertions in budgetary provisions of some Ministries , Departments and Agencies ( MDAs).

The Senate gave the Finance Minister a clean bill of health on alleged series of puddings in the proposed N20.51trillion 2023 budget when she appeared before the Senator Barau Jibrin, APC, Kano North led Senate Committee on Appropriations to make clarifications on the issues

Satisfied by her submission , the Chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, Senator Jibrin said that the clarifications presented by the Minister were well understood by all the committee members and thereafter hailed her for ensuring transparency with capturing of such loans or grants in the budget .

Meanwhile, the Senate has frowned at shoddy implementation of the National Social Investment Programme ( NSIP) based on lack of records of verifiable beneficiaries .

In her presentation, the Finance Minister told the Committee that the various sums some heads of agencies feigned ignorance of during their interface with relevant committees for budget defence , were approved by the Federal Executive Council ( FEC), before budget presentation itself by President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday , October 7, 2022.

Ahmed said, “All the proposed budgetary sums like the N206billion in the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development , the N8.6billion in the Ministry of Defence , N195.468billion in the estimates for the Ministry of Power etc , were all captured before presentation by Mr President.

“Most of these sums are bilateral or multilateral loans captured in the budget of agencies selected for projects execution for sole purpose of transparency.

“The totality of such loans captured in the proposed budget of the relevant agencies is N1.771trillion .

“Had heads of the affected MDAs carried out thorough scrutinization of their approved budgetary proposals , the issue of insertion or budget padding wouldn’t have arisen at all, realization of which made the Minister of Defence , Bashir Magsshi to apologise after feigning ignorance of N8.6billion in his Ministry’s budget during interface with Senate Committee on Defence “

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