Court jails ex-Imo commissioner, Laz Okoroafor-Anyanwu for three years over fraud
A high court in Owerri, Imo state, has sentenced Laz Okoroafor-Anyanwu, a former commissioner for transport, to three years imprisonment for fraud.
Delivering the judgment on Tuesday, K.A. Lewanya, presiding judge, found Okoroafor-Anyanwu guilty of diverting N180 million of state funds into a private company account where he is a major shareholder and sole signatory.
At that time, the convict doubled as commissioner for transport and the chairman interim committee of the Imo state transport company (ITC).
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accused him of violating the public procurement act, abuse of office, and using his office to gain undue advantage in his dealings during his tenure as a commissioner and ITC chairman.
The EFCC said while Okoroafor-Anyanwu was commissioner between 2015 and 2019, he transferred the sum of N100 million from the ITC account to his private company named Oma Oil Industries Limited which is against sections 12 and 19 of the ICPC act 2020 for public servants.
He also approved the transfer of another N80 million from government funds directly to his private company account under the guise of procuring vehicles for the management of ITC without due process and recourse to the public procurement act.
Upon arraignment in 2020, the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.
However, the judge held that Michael Ani, EFCC’s counsel, was able to prove the case against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt.
The judge also ordered that the looted N180 million found in his account be forfeited to the Imo state transport company.
NDLEA intercepts cannabis concealed in dried onions at Lagos airport
The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency has intercepted 2.7kg of cannabis concealed in dried onions which was to be exported to Dubai through a postal firm.
It also said no fewer than 1, 205, 260 pills of opioids were seized in two interdiction operations in Kogi and Gombe states by operatives of the agency.
The spokesperson for the anti-narcotic agency, Femi Babafemi, in a statement on Sunday also revealed that officers at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja Lagos, disrupted the activities of a drug syndicate that operated between Nigeria, East Africa and Europe.
The agency arrested two members of the cartel.
He said, “Operatives at the Lagos airport had on Monday, March 13, intercepted a member of the drug syndicate, Ejezie Ifeanyi, during screening of inward passengers on Ethiopian Airline flight from Malawi via Addis Ababa at the arrival hall.
“When a search was conducted on him, it was discovered that one of his two bags had a false bottom concealment.
“During preliminary interview of the suspect, he confessed that a member of the syndicate was waiting at the airport car park to pick him. An immediate follow-up operation led to the arrest of Chukwu Bright, who was waiting in a grey colour Mercedes Benz C180 coupe, marked EKY 973 GQ to receive the drug consignment.”
Babafemi noted that after the arrest, a proper search of the bag was conducted before the two suspects leading to the recovery of three kilograms of heroin.
He added that findings revealed that the drug syndicate networked between Nigeria, and Malawi, Mozambique in East Africa and Europe.
“While Chukwu who lives in Lagos is responsible for the recruitment and coordination of the activities of mules on behalf of other members of the cartel based in Mozambique and Malawi, another set operates from the southeastern part of Nigeria.
“Meanwhile, the NDLEA operatives at the SAHCO export shed of the MMIA on Wednesday, March 15, intercepted a jerry can of palm oil going to Dubai, United Arab Emirates. At the point of examination, it was discovered that 600 grams of cannabis sativa were concealed inside the jerrycan of palm oil. A suspect, Tunde Ogunbowale, who presented the consignment for export to Dubai was immediately arrested.”
Babafemi stated that “an attempt to export 2.7kg cannabis packaged as part of dried onions to Dubai through a postal service firm was frustrated by the NDLEA officers attached to the courier company, who seized a carton filled with colourful sachets of dried onions, used to conceal the illicit consignment.”
“In Kogi State, a total of 530,160 pills of tramadol and 99,000 tabs of diazepam were seized along Okene-Abuja highway from a bus driver, Suleiman Oyedokun, 41, coming from Onitsha, Anambra State and going to Kontagora in Niger State on Monday, March 13.
“Same day, 576, 100 pills of tramadol concealed in bags of rubber slippers were intercepted by NDLEA officers at trailer garage, old mile 3 road area of Gombe metropolis, Akko LGA, Gombe State. Four suspects: Usman Suleiman; Ya’u Yusuf; Saidu Suleiman and Abubakar Umar have so far been arrested in connection with the seizure.
“In Kaduna, 367 kilograms of cannabis sativa were recovered from a vehicle with registration number FKJ141DX,” he added.
According to him, two suspects: Monday Suleiman, 62, and Sama’ila Mohammed, 30 were arrested while a bribe of N1,200,000 offered to the NDLEA officers was documented as part of exhibits to prosecute the suspects.
The statement said operatives in Delta State also on March 15 arrested a local female distiller of cannabis sativa and dry gin, Ebi Akpotudua, 52. The distilling process is used to produce a cocktail drink popularly known as monkey tail. She was arrested at Ugbrooke by River Road, Warri with 19.5 litres of monkey tail and 22.2kg of cannabis.
NDLEA arrests party agents with credit cards in Ogun
Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) have arrested four party agents in the Ibara axis of Ogun state with hundreds of credit cards intended for vote buying.
The NDLEA announced the arrest of the agents in a statement released on Saturday.
The anti-drug agency did not mention the name of the political party to which the arrested party agents belong.
However, a closer look at the photograph of the suspects shows that one of the agents wore an identity card branded “PDP”.
Buba Marwa, the chairperson of the NDLEA, has directed that they should be handed over to the police after proper documentation.
“Operatives of NDLEA on election duty stop and search, just intercepted four party agents with hundreds of money credit cards, to buy votes at Ibara housing estate, Ogun state,” the agency writes.
“Each card contains 10k and activated to cash with a code.”
Security operatives intensified the war against vote buying during the presidential and national assembly elections.
Suspected vote buyers were arrested across the country during the elections.
EFCC arraigns professor Uche Edwin over N1.4bn fraud in Lagos
The Lagos zonal command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned Uche Edwin, a professor, for alleged N1.4 billion fraud.
In a statement on Thursday, the commission said Edwin was arraigned at the federal high court sitting in Ikoyi.
The professor was arraigned alongside his three companies namely Visionary Integrated Consulting Limited, NEMAD Associates Limited, and Revamp Global Enterprise on an 11-count charge bordering on conspiracy, retention, and conversion of funds.
“That you, professor Uche Chigozie Edwin, Visionary Integrated Consulting Limited, Nemad Associates Limited, and Revamp Global Enterprise, sometime in 2021 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Court, conspired amongst yourselves to use the sum of N1, 473,367,046.04 (one billion, four hundred and seventy-three million, three hundred and sixty-seven thousand, forty-six naira, four Kobo), property of the Maize Growers, Processors, and Marketers Association of Nigeria (MAGPAMAN), which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of your unlawful activity to wit: fraud; and you thereby committed an offence, contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act,” one of the charges reads.
But during the arraignment, Edwin pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.
Following his plea, C.C.Okezie, the prosecution counsel, asked the court for a trial date. He also prayed the court to remand the defendant.
Reacting, however, Mobolaji Akintunde, the defence counsel, prayed the court to admit his client to bail.
Akintunde added that his client should be remanded in EFCC custody pending the perfection of the bail.
In his ruling, Nicholas Oweibo, the judge, admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N1 million and two sureties in like sum.
The judge ruled that the sureties must possess landed property within the jurisdiction of the court, and show a tax clearance certificate of three months as well as their passport photographs.
He also ordered the defendant to deposit his passport with the court and adjourned the case till June 27 for the commencement of trial.
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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.
She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others
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