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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Wednesday, closed its case in a 59-count charge, bordering on money laundering, criminal diversion of funds to the tune of N702,000,000 against former Senior Special Assistant to ex- Goodluck Jonathan on Media, Doyin Okupe.

Okupe was facing prosecution by EFCC before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, sitting in Abuja.

EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade disclosed this in a statement in Abuja.

He added, “At today’s proceedings, prosecution counsel, Ibrahim Audu presented his last and sixth witness, Shuaibu Salisu, former Director Administration and in the of National Security Adviser ONSA, who presently works with the National Intelligence Agency, NIA.

“Salisu told the court that “Sometime in 2012, Chief Okupe came to the Office of the National Security Adviser, ONSA, and after their discussion, I was directed to make a payment of N50 million (Fifty Million Naira) to him.”

According to him, “Okupe provided his account details, where I paid the amount into the bank account of Value Trust .”

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He added that he was further directed by the ONSA to be paying N10 million monthly (Ten Million Naira) to Okupe for a period of over two years, which he said was reduced to a monthly N5million (Five Million Naira) towards the end of 2014 due to paucity of funds.

He said he made other payments to Okupe as directed, saying that at a point he was instructed to pay the defendant N6, 000, 000.

Further, Salisu revealed that sometime in 2014, the then National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki directed that he paid the sum of N35million to an account provided by Okupe and that he can also recall paying N50million in cash to Okupe on Dasuki’s directive.

He told the court that he only obeyed directives in all the payments he made to Okupe and didn’t know what the monies were meant for.

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When asked if there were evidences of the payments, the witness reportedly told the court that he usually provided Okupe with the payment vouchers, which he usually signed.

When also asked if all the payments were captured in payment vouchers, Salisu was said to have replied in the negative.

Speaking under cross-examination by Okupe’s counsel, Akinlabi Akinbade, the witness disclosed that Okupe was not the only person that received payments from ONSA. “Anybody that the NSA directs that payment be made to, we make payment,” he said.

Also, Under same cross-examination, the witness said he had no reason to believe that the payments he made were from an illegal source.

In his words, “ would I assume it was illegal? I was only directed to make payments,”

Further , he said some of the payment instructions he carried out while working in the ONSA came verbally while others came by writing.

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He added that in the case of the payments to Okupe, all the instructions were verbal.

However, the matter was adjourned to June 26, for the defence to open its case.

 

Source: Daily post

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Abass Sulaiman Adegoke, well known as Adegoke is a student of Federal Polytechnic Ede studying Civil Engineering, He is a media enthusiast, loves traveling, and has a special interest in personal development.

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We used N1.5bn to take care of ourselves as COVID-19 palliative — NDDC MD

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The acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Kemebradikumo Pondei, has admitted that the commission spent N1.5 billion for staff as ‘COVID-19 relief funds’.

He made this statement at the investigative hearing on the N40 billion corruption allegation against the commission.

The Senate had on May 5 set up a seven-man ad-hoc committee to investigate the “financial recklessness” of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the commission.

The lawmakers said, within the last three months, the commission has spent over N40 billion of the commission’s fund ”without recourse to established processes of funds disbursement which has opened up further suspicion among stakeholders of the Niger Delta Region.”

They also faulted the IMC’s ”arbitrary use of executive power in an alleged wrongful sacking of management staff without recourse to established civil service rules and practice with the aim of allegedly concealing the fraudulent financial recklessness they have committed.”

Mr Pondei and other delegates from the commission appeared before the committee on Thursday for the hearing.

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Part of the audit read out by the chairman of the committee, Olubunmi Adetunmbi, said N3.1 billion was spent as COVID-19 funds between October 2019 and May 2020.

In the report, the lawmaker said ”N10 million was paid to one person, N7 million to two people, N5 million to three people, 148 people took N3 million each, 157 people got N1.5 million each, 497 people got N1 million each and 464 people were paid N600,000 each.”

Another N475 million was given to the police to purchase face masks and hand sanitisers, he added.

Responding to questions regarding the COVID-19 Relief Fund paid to NDDC staff, the MD said ”only N1.5 billion was used to take care of staff” despite being paid their salaries.

He explained that part of the fund was for the youth of Niger Delta.

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”The youth were given palliatives to help cushion the effect of the pandemic on the people. The youth were idle and to avoid violence, they were paid,” he said.

“Five million for youths and five million for women and five million for people living with disabilities in each senatorial district,” he said.

He said ”the remaining fund was spent on staff of the commission.”

“We used it to take care of ourselves. We are NDDC, we need to take care of ourselves too,” he said.

He further explained that the IMC inherited debts upon assumption of ”that needed to be cleared on time.”

He said the previous management owed hotels and had unpaid electricity bills of about N26 million.

When asked the police was given N475 million, Mr Pondei said a request was made from ”the high command of police and the management took a look at it and approved it.”

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He explained that the money ”was an intervention and the NDDC is expecting a report as to how the money was spent.”

Meanwhile, the acting deputy director, projects, Cairo Ojougboh, added that the money given to police is for nine states of the Niger Delta region.

The investigative hearing will continue on Friday, the chairman said.

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EFCC: Anxiety over who replaces Magu

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The probe of the former EFCC Boss, Ibrahim Magu has proved anxiety in the commission’s headquarters over who takes over as acting chairman.
The anxiety stems from the fact that Magu’s suspension has not been officially communicated to the Head of Operations, Mohammed Umar, who, according to the EFCC Act, is the next in command to the acting chairman, who should act in his absence.
Vanguard gathered that there appears a jostling between the Head of Operations and the commission’s secretary, Ola Olukayode, over who should act in absence of the embattled acting chairman.
Vanguard further gathered that despite a list of three nominees forwarded by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, Muhammadu Buhari has intensified his search for a possible replacement for the suspended acting Chairman of EFCC.
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This was even as a source disclosed to Vanguard last night that President Buhari, On Wednesday, gave the Head of Operations at the EFCC, Mohammed Umar, the nod to assume headship of the anti-graft agency in the interim, pending conclusion of security checks on some names brought to him for consideration.
Umar, a deputy commissioner of Police, is the second most senior officer at the EFCC and Magu’s second-in-command.
It was gathered that Malami was initially opposed to the idea of allowing Umar to hold the fort in the absence of Magu, stressing that as head of Operations of the agency, he played a key role in some of the official infractions he complained about in the memo to President Buhari.
Multiple sources confirmed to Vanguard that Malami’s position was backed by some members of the Federal Executive Council, as they preferred to rather allow Secretary of the EFCC, Ola Olukayode, who is not a police officer, to superintend the affairs of the agency, pending the outcome of an ongoing probe into activities of the commission under Magu.
“The argument was that since the allegation was that most of the alleged rot in the EFCC was perpetrated by a team of selected police officers referred to as ‘Magu-boys’, it would not be wise to allow a policeman to take over Magu’s .
“They noted that some of the needed proof of evidence could be covered up under esprit de corps, saying it would be better to allow a neutral person head the commission in the interim, pending conclusion of the ongoing investigation by the Justice Ayo Salami-led panel”, the source told Vanguard on the ground of anonymity.
Meanwhile, an attempt by Vanguard to get Malami’s reaction proved abortive, as he neither answered calls placed to his line nor responded to text messages. One of his aides told our corespondent around 7:30 pm on Wednesday that his principal was still at the Presidential Villa and was yet to return from the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting.
It will be recalled that Malami had in an earlier memo to President Buhari, wherein he highlighted about 22 alleged sins of Magu, recommended three persons to head the EFCC.
The AGF had assured President Buhari that his nominees have all it takes to drive the anti-corruption war home.
Top on Malami’s list of a possible replacement for Magu is a retired Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Mohammed Sani Usman, who is believed to have been vetted by President Buhari for thOthers, according to reports not disputed by the AGF, included the current Commissioner of Police for the FCT, Bala Ciroma. Ciroma had previously served as the EFCC Head of Operations.
Malami was said to have also pointed out a retired Assistant Inspector-General of Police, AIG, from Kebbi State, as a good candidate for the EFCC top job.
Besides, President Buhari was said to have also considered a retired commissioner of Police in Niger State, Ms. Diseye Nirim-Poweigba. Malami insisted that Magu was no longer fit to retain his position as the anti-graft czar, accusing him of sundry infractions ranging from the alleged diversion of recovered assets, insubordination and gross misconduct.
He had earlier decried Magu’s alleged refusal to transmit some sensitive criminal case-files to his office, notwithstanding the fact that the EFCC is under the supervisory watch of the F

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