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EFCC re-arraigns don for alleged N1.4bn fraud

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A professor, Uche Chigozie, who allegedly defrauded the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria, was on Thursday re-arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission before a Federal High Court in Lagos, for N1.47bn money laundering.

Chigozie, who was arraigned alongside three companies, Visionary Integrated Consulting Ltd, Nemad Associates Ltd. and Revamp Global Enterprises, is facing 11 counts bordering on conspiracy, fraud, stealing, and money laundering, preferred against him by the EFCC.

He was first arraigned in August 2023, before Justice Nicholas Oweibo, and had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Justice Oweibo was, however, transferred out of the Lagos Division, and the case was reassigned to the new trial judge, Justice Dehinde Dipeolu.

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The EFCC’s prosecution counsel, Mrs Chinenye Okezie, told the court that the defendant allegedly conspired with the other defendants, and used the sum of N1.47bn belonging to the Maize Growers, Processors and Marketers Association of Nigeria.

Okezie said that the defendant allegedly retained the sum of N197m in his UBA account, which formed part of the proceeds of illegal act of gratification.

She also told the court that Chigozie allegedly used N120m to acquire a property in his name, in the Gwarimpa area of Abuja and another N200m, to acquire two properties in Owerri, Imo State.

The anti-graft agency said the defendant used the aggregate sum of N90m to acquire several plots of land in parts of Owerri.

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He was further accused of using the sum of N34m to acquire three Toyota Hilux vehicles in his name.

The commission also said that the defendant allegedly received a dollar cash payment equivalent to N87m from one Muwawiyya Haruna, which sum exceeded the amount authorised by law.

Our correspondent gathered that the EFCC said the defendant ought to have known that the money formed part of the proceeds of unlawful activity of fraud.

According to the commission, the offences committed contravened Sections 1(a), 15(1), 15(2), 15(3), 16, and 18(a) of the Money Laundering Act, 2012.

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However, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Following the defendant’s plea on Thursday, the defence counsel, Mr Etudo Mefo, urged the court to allow the defendant to continue on an earlier bail granted him by the court on August 7, 2023.

But the prosecutor, Okezie, urged the court to only allow the defendant to continue on his existing bail if the defence counsel would undertake to ensure his attendance in court.

She explained to the court that the defendant had been absent on certain occasions, which she claimed had caused some drama.

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The prosecutor, therefore, insisted that she would not oppose if the defence counsel made that undertaking.

In his response, the defence counsel told the court that when the defendant was first granted bail, his sureties included his biological father as well as a legal practitioner.

He told the court that he was willing to add to the number, and thus undertook to ensure attendance of the defendant in court.

Following the agreement of the parties, Justice Dipeolu adjourned the case until March 13 for trial.

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Soldiers arrest terrorists, reunite lost child with family in Taraba

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Troops of 6 Brigade Nigerian Army and Sector 3 Operation Whirl Stroke have arrested two notorious terrorists after a fierce shootout at Geshi Village in Damisa Ward of Donga Local Government Area, Taraba State.

The Acting Assistant Director of the 6 Brigade Army Public Relations, Lieutenant Oni Olubodunde, disclosed this in a statement on Sunday.

Olubodunde stated that the operation, which took place on July 11, also led to the recovery of two motorcycles used by the criminals.

The statement partly read, “The operation, conducted by the troops deployed in Akate in Donga Local Government Area, occurred following intelligence reports that revealed an attack in Geshi Village by armed terrorists.

“Acting on this information, troops swiftly mobilised to the area and engaged the armed men in a fierce exchange of gun battle, ultimately overpowering the terrorists with superior fire power and subdued them forcing the criminals to flee in disarray into the bush with gun shot wounds.”

Two wounded terrorists were said to have been apprehended while trying to escape on motorcycles, which were also seized.

The statement added that the arrested suspects are undergoing interrogation.

In another development, troops of Headquarters 6 Brigade while on routine patrol within the Jalingo metropolis, were reported to have found a nine-year-old pupil identified as Dorothy Kwatsumen wandering around in her school uniform at Gongomaliki area in Yorro LGA of Taraba State.

The statement disclosed that initial attempts to locate her school and family were unsuccessful, hence, she was taken to the Brigade headquarters for custody to ensure her parents were located.

The statement added, “Eventually, she was later discovered to be a pupil of Glory Children Academy.

“Troops proceeded to the school location and met the headteacher who informed troops that they had been searching for about 24 hours and have reported the case to the Jalingo Police Division. The pupil was later reunited with her parents.”

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FG Arraigns Eight Chinese Nationals, One Nigerian Over Illegal Mining

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The Federal Government’s efforts to combat illegal mining has received a significant boost with the arraignment of several Chinese nationals for illegal mining activities in Lokpaukwu community, Umuchieze, within Umunneochi Local Government Area of Abia State.

The suspects, including eight Chinese nationals and one Nigerian, were recently apprehended by the Mining Marshals, an elite security outfit crafted from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC). The Marshals are tasked with ridding the mining sector of illegal operators.

This was disclosed by the Special Assistant on Media to the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Segun Tomori, in a statement on Friday.

He said that the Mining Marshals, codenamed “Operation Hayakin Kogo,” is the brainchild of the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dele Alake, adding that the initiative is a pivotal component of Alake’s 7-point agenda aimed at sanitizing the mining environment.

“The trial of the suspects began yesterday before Justice J.K Omotosho of the Federal High Court, Abuja. The prosecution filed a 3-count charge, bordering on mining without lawful authority, obstruction of lawful mining operations amongst others.

“The defendants include SHEN YONGCHAN, MO BAIXIAN, XIAO BIN, HUANG XU FA, MA BINGLI, YANG JIAN, LI PEIYIN, QUE WENYONG, HIYK EDWARD DESMOND, and WANDA COMPANY LIMITED.

“Upon hearing the pleas and arguments from both sides, the defendants were remanded at Kuje Correctional Centre until the adjourned date for the continuation of the trial.

“The Mining Marshals, led by ACC John Onoja, comprise a 2,570-strong force dedicated to eliminating the nefarious activities of criminal syndicates in mining areas across the country.

“The Minister is committed to strengthening the operations of the Mining Marshals through the infusion of technology and more equipment to ultimately ensure that the nation reaps maximum benefits from its God-given mineral resources,” the statement read.

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Man files for divorce, Says wife cheated in a dream

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A man from Bulawayo, Energy Moyo, is seeking a divorce from his wife after experiencing recurring dreams in which he saw his wife cheating on him.

Moyo, a resident of the Lobenvale suburb, has been married to Angela Dube for nine years.

He recently submitted a divorce application to the Bulawayo Customary Court, citing vivid dreams of his wife’s alleged infidelity as the reason for their separation. Despite lacking concrete evidence, Moyo’s dreams have left him convinced of Dube’s unfaithfulness.

In his court application, Moyo described how these recurring dreams involved his wife romantically engaging with another man, who also happens to be their neighbor. These dreams have caused him significant distress and led him to question his wife’s faithfulness.

“The marriage relationship between the parties has irretrievably broken down, and there are no prospects of restoring a normal marriage between them,” Moyo wrote in his application, emphasizing that the dreams have strained their relationship beyond repair.

Moyo explained that these troubling dreams began early in their marriage and have continued throughout the years, eroding the love, affection, trust, and respect they once shared. Although he has no tangible reason to believe his wife has been unfaithful, the persistent dreams have left him unable to continue with the marriage.

Furthermore, Moyo claimed that attempts to discuss these dreams with Dube have resulted in verbal and physical abuse from her. This alleged abuse, combined with the distress caused by the dreams, prompted Moyo to seek a divorce.

In addition to the divorce, Moyo is requesting custody of their two children and an equal division of their household property. He expressed his desire for the best outcome for his children and believes that an equal sharing of their property is fair.

The case has not yet been heard by the Bulawayo Customary Court. It remains to be seen how the court will address this unusual divorce application based on dreams.

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