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Paris Club refund: Court freezes seven accounts linked to governors’ forum

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The Federal High Court in Abuja has frozen seven separate accounts which, according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, were used by the Nigerian Governors’ Forum to launder the sum of N10bn said to be derived from the proceeds of the Paris Club refund.

Justice Gabriel Kolawole directed on Wednesday that the freezing order would last for 45 days within which the EFCC must either institute charges in respect of the transactions against the relevant suspects or apply to the court for an extension of the order.

The judge also gave seven days to the account owners, if interested in seeking the setting aside of the freezing order, to file an application which must be served on the EFCC.

The frozen accounts are  0002184449 with Jaiz Bank Plc and operated by HAD Properties Limited; 0025600864 with Guaranty Trust Bank Plc and operated by Hassan Ahmed Danbaba; as well as 0005892453 with Access Bank Plc and operated by Melrose General Services Coy.

They also include one Access Bank account,  0045824054 and another Zenith Bank Plc account 1010948906, both of which belong to Bina Consult and Integrated Services.

The rest are two Access Bank Plc accounts – 0700755576 and 0700946008 – belonging to Farouk Adamu Aliyu and Malam Alu Agro Allied Company Ltd., respectively.

EFCC’s lawyer, Mr. Ben Ikani, had moved the ex parte application seeking the freezing of the accounts on November 27, following which Justice Kolawole adjourned till Wednesday for ruling.

The commission alleged that its preliminary investigation had revealed that the N10bn was fraudulently diverted by the NGF under the guise of paying consultancy fee to BizPlus GSCL Consortium which the Forum engaged “to carry out reconciliation of accounts and recover the amounts due to the states” from the refund of the over-deducted payment of Paris Club debt by the Federal Government from 1995 to 2002.

In an affidavit filed in support of the EFCC’s ex parte motion, a member of the Special Investigation Committee, set up by the commission to investigate the alleged Paris Club refunds scam, Osas Azonabor, alleged that preliminary investigation had revealed that the NGF caused the Central Bank of Nigeria to pay N19,439,225,871.11 into its account for onward payment to BizPlus as consultancy fee.

But the investigator stated that N10bn of the N19.4bn paid to the NGF account by the CBN was fraudulently disbursed to the seven accounts of companies and individuals, who were not part of the said BizPlus GSCL Consortium.

Detailing how the fraud was allegedly perpetrated, Azonabor alleged that the NGF had agreed to pay success fee of two per cent to BizPlus GSCL Consortium.

But the investigator alleged that upon the success of the recovery, rather than stick to the two per cent fee, the NGF caused the Central Bank of Nigeria to deduct five per cent, amounting to the N19.4bn.

He said, “That sometime in January 2017, the applicant (EFCC) received intelligence in respect of a case against the Nigerian Governors’ Forum alleging conspiracy, criminal misappropriation of public funds involving the sum of N19,439,225,871.11 out of the Paris Club refund made by the Federal Government in favour of the 36 states of the federation.

“That preliminary investigation conducted by the commission revealed that the 36 state governments, under the auspices of the NGF, engaged the services of Bizplus GSCL Consortium to carry out reconciliation of accounts and recover amounts due to the states from line charge made on them from 1995 to 2002 for a success fee of two per cent payable by the NGF.

“That investigation further revealed that contrary to the agreed fee of two per cent as stated in paragraph 6 above, NGF caused the Central Bank of Nigeria to deduct five per cent of the amount due to the states which amounted to the sum of N19.4bn (stated in paragraph 5 above) and paid the same into the NGF account, supposedly for onward payment to the Bizplus GSCL consortium.

“That our investigation of the case further revealed that a larger part of the amount stated in paragraphs 5 and 7 above was fraudulently disbursed by the NGF to individuals and corporate entities that were not part of the consortium.

“That the names, account numbers and bankers of the fraudulent beneficiaries of the criminal diversion of the public funds are as stated in the schedule to this application and that copies of the statements of accounts showing the disbursements is hereby attached and marked Exhibits EFCC1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7 respectively.

“That further investigation revealed that those individuals and corporate entities were used by the NGF to launder over N10bn under the guise of paying consultancy fees to the Bizplus GSCL Consortium which, however, found its way to the various accounts listed in the schedule to this application.”

Justifying the commission’s request for the freezing order, Azonabor stated that the 72 hours stop-order allowed by law to be placed on any account suspected to be involved in suspicious transaction or any crime had expired, but investigation had yet to be concluded.

He maintained that the court order freezing the accounts was needed to enable the EFCC to carry out its investigation to a logical conclusion.

He said, “That further to the foregoing, I am aware that substantial amounts from the fraudulent disbursements into these accounts have further been laundered to some other accounts or withdrawn as cash. While discrete investigation is currently ongoing, the 72 hours stop order allowed by law to be placed on any account suspected to be involved in suspicious transaction or any crime has expired.’’

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P+ Measurement extends partnership with Global Communications Agency

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Phillips Odiakose

Media monitoring and evaluation agency, P+ Measurement Services has announced an extension of its media monitoring and evaluation partnership with global communications firm, Burness Communications for 2019. The extension will enable P+ to continue providing print, online, TV and radio monitoring and evaluation services to Burness in the Ghana market.

In a bid to continue the successful rollout of the partnership signed in 2017, P+ will continue to handle Burness Communications client public relations monitoring and evaluation activity while supporting their organizations objectives. Burness Communications specializes in advocacy campaigns, media relations, public policy engagement and event planning and P+ will help the brand maximize its communications objectives by providing real-time, high-quality media monitoring and evaluation services.

Speaking about the partnership extension, Lead Consultant P+ measurement services Nigeria, Philip Odiakose said.  “We are delighted to extend what has been an excellent partnership with Burness Communications to improve the availability of reliable, cost-effective media monitoring services across Africa. The media monitoring and evaluation market is a growing market and with the right frameworks and experts in place we believe we are on the right path to redefining the market with quantitative and qualitative analysis that adds value to marketing communications.“

“As we said at the start of this partnership, it remains true that the media monitoring and analytics market offers huge potentials to stakeholders. With the right partners providing support in the areas of media planning, analytics and reporting we believe we can help our clients make a difference in their business”. He continued.

Nigeria’s fast-growing media intelligence agency P+ Measurement Services continues to spur a PR measurement and evaluation literacy campaign for brands and government agencies in a bid to standardize a procedure that enables stakeholders to understand that implementing the right measurement and evaluation program will help companies get a clearer understanding of consumer habits and sentiment toward brand products and services.

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FMBN disburses N114.5m home renovation loan to 139 beneficiaries in Yobe

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FMBN

The Coordinator, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, in Yobe, Abdu Goni, has said the bank has disbursed N114,500,000.00 as home renovation loan to 139 staff of Federal Medical Centre, Nguru.

The coordinator disclosed this yesterday while presenting cheques to the beneficiaries in Damaturu.

He said the loan, which is under the bank’s Home Renovation Loan scheme, followed a Memorandum of Understanding MoU)  signed with their employers.

Goni explained that the loan has six percent interest rate and is repayable in five years.

“Already federal government employees in 35 states of the federation and the FCT have benefited with exception of Yobe state.

“Contributors can borrow from one naira up to N1 million to renovate their homes. We solicit Yobe state government’s cooperation and understanding toward assisting and encouraging the employees who are contributing to the NHF scheme to also benefit from this window,” he appealed.

He commended the administration of governor Gaidam for according priority to welfare of its workers in terms of prompt payment of salary and gratuity and allocation of houses on owner-occupier basis.

Earlier, the special guest of honour, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam, who was represented by Permanent Secretary, Establishment, Bukar Dapchi said the government would look into the issues raised with a view to assisting its workers benefit from the loan.

Source: DailyTrust

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PDP alleges plots to arrest Atiku, Obi, Saraki, Dogara

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PEOPLE’S Democratic Party (PDP) National Chairman Prince Uche Secondus has raised the alarm, alleging plots by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to arrest some key leaders of the opposition party on trump up charges.

Secondus listed the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar; his running mate, Peter Obi; Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara and the party’s other leaders as some of those marked for arrest.

But, the Presidency denied the reports claiming that the Buhari-led government ordered raid on the home of PDP presidential candidate’s son and the alleged blockage of the Obi’s bank accounts and his family.

A statement by the Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, said the reports are manifestation of the PDP’s growing expertise in fake news.

He called on the public to disregard the reports.

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