SSS releases Ifeanyi Ubah after 6 weeks detention; EFCC grills ex-Army chief Minimah over arms deals; Alleged Diezani bribe: Lawmaker freed as ex-minister surrenders to EFCC: Report; EFCC, you can’t freeze Fayose’s account – court; BVN exposed Badeh’s link to N240m house – EFCC agent . . .
The State Security Service (SSS) on Monday released Dr. Ifeanyi Ubah, Chairman and CEO of Capital Oil and Gas Limited, after being in custody for almost six weeks. The oil magnate and politician was arrested by the SSS on May 5, over alleged diversion of petrol kept in his tank farm in Lagos by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Ubah was accused of “economic sabotage” by the NNPC which reported him to security agencies. The NNPC said the petrol kept in Mr. Ubah’s farm was valued at N11 billion, saying it was an attempt by Ubah to cause scarcity of the products in the country, in alleged cahoots with petrol tanker drivers.
EFCC agents grilled former Chief of Army Staff Lt. Gen. Kenneth Minimah over a multi-billion naira arms procurement deal during his tenure. The EFCC is probing the over $1,891,809,299.1 deal which allegedly did not follow procurement procedure for military procurements. The grilling lasted for hours ending about 5:00 pm local time.
It was discovered that a company, which was registered on November 17, 2014, got a $125,179,299.10million contract on the same day. Besides Minimah, 53 others, including another former Chief of Army Staff, 16 other retired and serving Army officers, 12 serving and retired public officers and 24 Chief Executive Officers of companies involved in the deal would also be quizzed.
Lt. Gen. Minimah was Chief of Army Staff between January 16, 2014 and July 13, 2015 under ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
An Igbosere Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos has freed a lawmaker, Hon. Aliyu Ahman Pategi, who was remanded last Friday for failing to produce an ex-minister, Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, who he stood surety for.
Chief Magistrate Afolashade Botoku struck out the charge against Pategi following Akinjide’s surrender to the EFCC at its Lagos office in Ikoyi. Pategi is the House of Representatives member representing Edu/Moro/Patigi Federal Constituency, Kwara State. Akinjide, a former Federal Capital Territory and Minister of State for Defence, was declared wanted by the EFCC for alleged conspiracy and laundering of N650 million.
The EFCC claimed she collected the sum from former Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Alison-Madueke in March 2015, as part of the $115million allegedly illegally disbursed by the former President Goodluck Jonathan administration to prosecute the 2015 general elections.
According to a 16-paragraph affidavit filed by the EFCC, Diezani received the money as gratification from some oil marketers. EFCC counsel Rotimi Oyedepo told the court that Akinjide was granted bail by the agency last August 10, after Pategi stood as her surety on a N650 million bail bond.
In a bench ruling, Magistrate Botoku struck out the suit. She said: “Based on the application of the prosecutor, the suit is hereby struck out and the defendant released.”
The Court of Appeal sitting in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital ruled that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) cannot freeze Governor Ayo Fayose’s bank account.
The account was frozen last year, following allegation that it contained N2.999 billion out of the $3.2 billion suspected to have been distributed through the Office of a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Col. Sambo Dasuki (Rtd.).
The said account was unfrozen on December 13, last year, prompting Fayose to withdraw N5 million from it in Ado-Ekiti after the judgment was delivered. The EFCC filed an appeal against the judgment on the grounds that the money was a proceed of crime. The Appeal Court’s panel, comprising Justices Ahmad Belgore, Fatima Akinbami and Paul Elechi, unanimously held that the EFCC did not attach a notice of appeal. (A technicality).
It averred that the Ado-Ekiti Federal High Court’s verdict of December 13, last year, ordered the EFCC to unfreeze the governor’s account, which the EFCC appealed. The judgment, which was read by Justice Akinbami, said: “No valid appeal has been made against the judgment of the lower court, which unfroze the account. The judgment the EFCC was appealing against was not attached to this application.
The court ruled, inter alia: “EFCC also failed to show sufficient evidence that the money in the account was a proceed of crime, as claimed. In doing this, we expect the EFCC to have shown evidence that the plaintiff has been tried for a criminal offence before, for it to assume that he can receive proceed of crime . . . The application is hereby thrown out.”
An EFCC agent, Mr. Abubakar Madaki, told a Federal High Court in Abuja on Tuesday, how Bank Verification Number (BVN) exposed how a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (Rtd.), was linked to a N240m worth of property in Abuja.
Madaki said he was the head of one of the EFCC’s Task Force teams that investigated a report from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) in 2015 leading to 10 counts of money laundering instituted against Badeh and a company, Iyalikam Nigeria Limited.
The EFCC investigator, testifying as the 19th prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Badeh, said the ex-Chief of Air Staff bought the property at 19 Ogun River Crescent, Abuja, for his son, Alex Badeh (Jnr), in 2013.
The witness, led by the prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs(SAN) told the court, presided over by Justice Okon Abang, that the house was paid for in cash with the dollar equivalent of N240m. He said N134m, spent on installing the facilities and furniture in the house, was paid directly from the account of the Nigerian Air Force.
The trial continues on Wednesday.