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N5.2bn fraud: Ex-JAMB registrar, Jimoh Olabisi, used me to divert FG funds, witness tells court

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Jimoh Olabisi, former deputy director, Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), says Dibu Ojerinde, ex-JAMB registrar, used him to divert federal government funds.

Olabisi said this on Wednesday when he stood as a witness of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), at the federal high court, Abuja.

The ICPC arraigned Ojerinde on July 6, 2021, in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CR/97/2021, on an 18-count charge bordering on alleged misappropriation of funds to the tune of N5.2 billion.

The commission alleged that the former registrar committed multiple frauds while heading JAMB and the National Examination Council (NECO).

Ojerinde pleaded not guilty to the allegations and was granted bail in the sum of N200 million.

Olabisi told the court on Wednesday, that he was in charge of opening accounts for JAMB and admitted to opening an account in the name of JAMB/J.O. Olabisi in a commercial bank on the instruction of Ojerinde.

He said it was through this account that funds were moved from the government’s coffers.

“The authority to open the account — the letter to the bank — was jointly signed by Ojerinde and the then director of finance and accounts (DFA), Mallam Umar Yakubu, with specific mandate that I should be the operator of that account,” NAN quoted him as saying.

“I explained in one of my appearances here that the account was opened following an agreement between the defendant (Ojerinde) and myself as a way of deviating from what we were using in National Examinations Council (NECO) to divert public funds.

“So, the defendant subsequently discussed the issue with the DFA, hence the letter.”

The witness said the account was opened without approval from Jonah Otunla, the then accountant-general of the federation.

“However, the registrar convinced the then DFA. He told him that he had gotten approval of the AGF who happens to come from the same zone with the defendant,” he said.

Olabisi also said Ojerinde owned a microfinance bank, Osanta Microfinance Bank Ltd, while serving in government.

He also admitted being a director at the bank.

“I was put there to ease the movement of government money to the bank. The defendant is the chairman, board of directors of the bank,” he said.

The witness also said the ex-JAMB registrar used his position to award contracts to his private companies through the Zenith Bank account number, 1012411301, of JAMB.

Obiora Egwuatu, the judge, adjourned the matter until Thursday for continuation of trial after a motion by Ebenezer Shogunle, the ICPC lawyer.

Crime

Europe-bound Cocaine, Heroin, Meth consignments intercepted at Lagos airport

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..As NDLEA seizes 75.75kg skunk from Canada; arrests pregnant woman, school teacher, others over 2 tons of drugs seized in 8 states

Attempts to export large consignments of illicit drugs especially cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and ephedrine to Dubai, UAE and Europe through various disingenuous modes of concealment by desperate drug cartels via the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, MMIA Ikeja Lagos have again been frustrated by operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, who intercepted them and arrested those behind the bids.


Top on the list of those so far arrested in connection with the seizures is a Nigerian based in Athens, Greece, Iwuozor Edward Chinedu. He was debarked from an Ethiopian airline flight on Friday 3rd February after officers in the tarmac team of NDLEA intercepted two bags during a secondary check exercise at the foot of the aircraft.


When the bags were searched in the presence of Chinedu and other airport stakeholders, two big pellets wrapped with foil papers and some sprinkles of pepper were recovered from each of the two sides of one of the bags.

The pellets were used to construct false walls at the sides of the bag.


The two parcels contained substances that tested positive to cocaine and heroin with a gross weight of 1.30kgs and 900grams respectively.

During preliminary interview, Chinedu claimed he came to Nigeria three months ago to do a surgery, which he was not comfortable doing in Athens. He further claimed he was given the bag to deliver in Greece for a fee of two million naira (N2,000,000).


Similarly, NDLEA operatives at the NAHCO export shed of the airport on Monday 30th January arrested a pregnant woman, Mrs. Sylvester Gloria Onome after 800grams of skunk were discovered concealed in two small radio sets she was sending to Dubai, United Arab Emirate.


On the same day, operatives also intercepted a consignment going to Congo Kinshasa, containing 111 bottles of body cream that were used to conceal 24.50kgs of ephedrine, a chemical precursor and active ingredient to produce methamphetamine.

The cargo was later traced to a trader at Alaba trade fair complex, Ojo area of Lagos, Onyekachukwu Uduekwelu after the initial arrest of two freight agents.


Another housewife, Mrs. Okpara Chizoba Victoria was arrested at her residence at 37 Obashola street, Ijesha area of Lagos on Friday 27th Jan. following the seizure of 300grams of skunk hidden in a bag of crayfish she was sending to Dubai, UAE through a freight agent.


In the same vein, operatives at the SAHCO export shed of the airport on Thursday 26th Jan. intercepted a sack of new clothes going to Sierra Leone.

During a thorough search of the consignment, a parcel of white crystalline substance that tested positive to methamphetamine with a gross weight of 1kg, as well as 300grams of skunk and 100grams ecstasy (MDMA) were recovered.

A freight agent, Mfonabasi Victor Joseph was already arrested in connection with the seizure.


No fewer than 255,500 pills of tramadol and diazepam were recovered from an Italy based suspect, Duru Josephat who concealed the drugs in two of the bags he was travelling with to Milan, Italy on an Ethiopian airline flight.

He confessed he bought the drugs in Onitsha, Anambra state and was taking them to Italy to sell.
Barely a month after operatives at the Tincan seaport intercepted a consignment of 24.5kgs of cannabis indica concealed in used vehicles imported from Canada, they have again seized 75.75kgs of the same substance, which came from Montreal, Canada, hidden in a container of four used vehicles with number MSCU 5336680.

Coincidentally, the consignment has also been traced to a suspect already in custody in connection with the earlier seizure, Steve Adigwe and his accomplice, Cedrick Maduweke who is still on the run.


In Bauchi state, a suspect Clement Ekweozor, was nabbed at Rafin Zurfi area, Bauchi town with 28,088 pills of tramadol and other opioids, while 12,000 capsules of the same drug were among others recovered from four suspects when their commercial bus marked UGH 978 KS was intercepted at Koka junction, Asaba, Delta state by NDLEA operatives on Wednesday 1st January.


A 40-year-old secondary school teacher, Sani Isah was arrested by operatives at a house in Jekadefari area of Gombe on Thursday 2nd Jan. for dealing in new psychoactive substance,
Akuskura. 2,198 bottles of the substance concealed in six bags were recovered from him while he claimed to have started the illicit business since 2018.


In Ogun state, 190kgs of cannabis were recovered from a dealer, Emmanuel Ibrahim in
Lafenwa area of Abeokuta following credible intelligence, while three suspects: Mohd Sani Alasan, Yusif Musa and Musa Musa were arrested at Maidile area of Kano with 2,400 bottles of codeine-based syrup.

Another dealer, Bako Ibrahim, 55, was also arrested on Saturday 4th February in Sharada area of Kano with 420 blocks of cannabis weighing 282kgs.


Another dealer of the same substance, Akeem Azeez, 39, was nabbed with 612kgs recovered from him in Akure, Ondo state.

Following a follow up operation in Minna, Niger state, operatives of the Kogi state command of the Agency now have in their custody a suspect, Michael Ikechukwu Ofili, 30, over the interception of his consignment containing 106,800 pills of tramadol sent to him from Onitsha, Anambra state, along Okene-Lokoja highway.


While appreciating the efforts and commitment of the officers, men and women of the MMIA, Tincan, Bauchi, Delta, Gombe, Ogun, Kano, Ondo and Kogi state commands of the Agency towards ridding Nigeria of the menace of illicit drugs, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) urged them and their compatriots across the country not to relent.

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Crime

Police arrests two suspects with 180k fake new naira notes in Enugu

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The Enugu police command says its operatives arrested two suspects with fake redesigned notes in Ibagwa-Aka community of Igbo-Eze LGA of the state.

Daniel Ndukwe, the command’s spokesperson, announced the development in a statement on Friday.

Ndukwe said the suspects, Joseph Chinenye and Onyeka Kenneth Ezeja were caught at a filling station with fake redesigned N1000 in 180 pieces “where they used the notes to purchase petrol”.

“Acting on credible information, police operatives serving in Igbo-Eze South Division of Enugu state command, on 02/02/2023 at about 9.05 pm, arrested one Joseph Chinenye aged 39 and Onyeka Kenneth Ezeja aged 29, both male and respectively of Iheakpu-Awka in Igbo-Eze south LGA and Onicha Enugu-Ezike in Igbo-Eze north LGA,” the statement reads.

“They were in possession of suspected counterfeit one hundred and eighty (180) pieces of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) newly redesigned one thousand naira (N1,000) notes, with face value of one hundred and eighty thousand naira (N180,000.00).

“Preliminary investigation shows, among other things, that the notes, which are in three separate batches, bear the same serial numbers of A/34:282656, A/46:578759, and 8/93:852942; while the suspects claimed to have secured the counterfeited naira notes from an unidentified woman in Benin, Edo state.

“In addition, they confessed to having attempted to sell the notes to a point-of-sale (POS) operator, who rejected them, before the operatives arrested them at a filling station in Ibagwa-Aka community of Igbo-Eze LGA, where they used the notes to purchase petrol.

“The duo will be arraigned in court upon consolidation and conclusion of the investigation into the case by the state criminal investigation department (CID) Enugu.”

Ahmed Ammani, commissioner of police, reassured the commitment of the police to fish out and bring to book, criminal elements hellbent on perpetrating such acts of economic sabotage.

Ammani also urged the public to support the police in its quest, while being vigilant and wary of who or how they obtain and carry out transactions with naira notes, especially the new ones.

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Crime

ICPC arrests FCMB manager for preventing ATMs from dispensing cash to customers

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says it has arrested the manager of a bank in Osogbo, the Osun capital, over ATMs loaded with naira notes that were blocked from dispensing.

In a statement on Friday by Azuka Ogugua, the ICPC spokesperson, the commission said the cash bundles were loaded into the ATMs while still wrapped, and as such, could not be dispensed through the machines.

“The ICPC Compliance Team in Osogbo has busted an FCMB in Osogbo, Osun State, where some ATMs were loaded with cash with their wrappers un-removed, thus preventing the cash from being dispensed,” the statement reads.

“The Team therefore directed that the wrappers be removed, and the cash loaded properly.

“However, when a follow-up visit was undertaken the following day to ascertain the level of compliance, the Team discovered that one of the ATMs was still loaded with the wrappers un-removed. The Operation Manager of the Bank was arrested and taken in for questioning.”

In another development, the commission said the branch service head of Stanbic IBTC Bank in Deidei, Abuja, was taken into custody over the “deliberate refusal to upload cash into the branch’s Automated Teller Machines (ATM) even when the cash was available, and people were queuing at the ATMs”.

“When the ICPC monitoring team stormed the bank at about 1:30pm to ensure compliance, and demanded explanation as to why all the ATMs were not dispensing cash, it was informed by the branch’s Head of Operations that the bank just got delivery of the cash,” the commission said.

“However, facts available to the ICPC operatives indicated that the branch took delivery of the cash around 11:58am and either willfully or maliciously refused to feed the ATMs with the cash.

“Against this backdrop, the ICPC team compelled the bank to load the ATMs with the redesigned Naira notes and ensured that they were all dispensing before arresting the culprit.

“Investigations are still ongoing, and the Commission will take appropriate actions as soon they are concluded.”

Seven Point of Sale (POS) operators and a security guard were also said to have been arrested in Osun state over alleged extortion of residents.

The ICPC said a probe into the activities of the POS operators revealed that they got the cash from filling stations, “but they then resell the cash to the public at exorbitant rates”.

“The arrested persons are helping the Commission with information to assist investigations and bust any syndicates involved in the hoarding or sales of the redesigned notes,” ICPC added.

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