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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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Police nab 40-yr-old man for killing his mother in Akwa Ibom

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Akwa Ibom State Police Command yesterday said it has arrested a 40year-old man identified as Inyangake James Peter for the gruesome murder of his biological mother, Mma Offiong James Peter.

The state Police Public Relations Officer, (outgoing), Mr Odiko MacDon in a statement on Monday in Uyo disclosed that the deceased was about 70 years old.

According to MacDon the ugly incident occurred on 4th of April 2024 at about 9:00am in Ikpe Annang Village of Essien Udim Local government area of the state.

He added that the command also arrested one Asuquo Isaac who murdered his 18-year-old son identified as Iboro Isaac over family misunderstanding.

His words “Akwa Ibom State Police Command has arrested one Inyangake James Peter, 40 -years-old, for gruesomely murdering his biological mother, one Mma-Offiong James Peter, about 70 years-old, on 4/4/2024 at about 9:00am at Ikpe Annang Village in Essien Udim LGA.

The Suspect who confessed to the crime has been transferred to the State CID for discrete investigation.The Suspect on interrogation alleged that he had a voice saying ” kill her”, ” kill her ” and he decided to oblige.

“Similarly, one Solomon Asuquo Isaac of Ikot Obok Nsit in Nsit Ibom LGA who murdered his son, one Iboro Isaac, 18 years old last year as a result of family misunderstanding, has been arrested.

“Cases of some family members killing their biological relations has been of great concern to the Command in recent times.

“Also, on 9/4/2024, Anti-Robbery Squad of the Command on ‘stop and search’ arrested one Ekemini Edet Akpan of Ekpene Ikpan Village, along Calabar Itu Highway by Raycon Construction Company, for being in possession of one locally made gun, one revolver pistol and 18 live cartridges.

“Suspects will be charged to court at the completion of investigation”.

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Hoodlums Ambush 2 Trucks Loaded With Palliative In Benue

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Emmanuel Agema, the acting head of the Benue state Board Internal Revenue Service (BIRS), stated that hoodlums intercepted two palliative vehicles and manhandled their drivers.

Agema alleged that the hoodlums dressed as revenue officers at a collection point near Aliade, Gwer East Local Government Area in Benue state, when the unsuspecting cars bringing palliative from Adamawa to the eastern portion of the country fell into their ambush.

Addressing members of the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Benue led by the chairman, Emmanuel Anstwen, Agema said: “The hoodlums stopped the vehicles, broke their windscreen and stole the sum of #200,000 from one of the drivers at the illegal tax collection point.

He said two persons have been arrested and transferred to the DSS on the governor’s directives that a thorough investigation be carried out to fish out those behind illegal tax collection in the state.

He stated: “Since I assumed duty as acting Chairman of BIRS, my biggest challenge is the activities of illegal tax collectors and so far 35 persons have been charged to court.

“On assumption of duty, we also terminate revenue contract, close revenue leakages about 90 percent, we are now using our staff making us generate more revenue for the state.”

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Flooding: NEMA, others urged to implement measures to avert disaster

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A former Special Adviser to Imo State Governor on Orientation, Chief Dr Fidel Onyeneke has admonished the National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, and the State Emergency Management Agency, SEMA, to live up to their professional responsibilities.

He urged the agencies to ensure that rural dwellers were appropriately guided on the precautionary measures to take against the dangers of flooding.

He gave the advice in Owerri on Sunday while reacting to the heavy rainfall being witnessed in different parts of the country, including Imo State.

Onyeneke stressed that the people should be proactive by removing refuse and other materials that block the waterways.

He observed with dismay that rather than making early arrangements to check impending flood disaster, most residents display non-challant attitude.

The former Special Adviser appealed to the State and Local governments,to assist the vulnerable communities with appropriate machinery and manpower to work towards preventing the impending flood problems.

Onyeneke also suggested that make-shift camps should be established in the riverine areas as a matter of emergency to minimize the suffering of the persons who may be displaced by floods.

He urged government agencies and Non-governmental Organizations to embark on intensive public engagement and advocacy with a view to educating the masses on how to protect the environment and farmland against destruction by flooding.

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