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Alleged N111.5billion Revenue Fraud Reports Indicts Zenith Bank

A Financial Advisory Committee constituted by Imo State government indicts Zenith Bank over N111.5 billion fraud from the state revenue.

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A report by the Financial Advisory Committee constituted by Imo State government has indicted Zenith Bank and it’s senior officers over N111.5 billion fraud from the state revenue.

The audit body revealed how Zenith Bank, was used to milk N111.5 billion through charges unknown to financial regulations, creamed off from the state.

Submitting their report to the state House of Assembly, seeking the Imo legislative body to intervene with a view not only to recover the humongous amount from the bank, the committee recommends the dismissal of the State commissioner for Finance, Dr Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite, a former senior staff of Zenith Bank.

The reports indicates that she is planted in government to continue to superintending over the siphoning of government money into pockets of the governor, Sen Hope Uzodinma, and other vested interests.

According to the petition, the sleaze did not start from Uzodinma, the incumbent governor, but It started during the reign of former governor, Rochas Okorocha.

Read Also: How Alleged Fraudster Operates Zenith Bank Account Without BVN

While in office, Okorocha gave over 90 per cent control of Imo State banking transactions to Zenith bank while other banks struggled for the remaining 10 per cent.

Okorocha was alleged to have appointed a senior staff of Zenith bank, Chike Okafor to handle his government’s finance portfolio as Commissioner for Finance.

Things however got to the head when Emeka Ihedioha assumed office as governor on May 29, 2019.

It would seem that Ihedioha got wind of the unholy alliance between Okorocha and Zenith bank, and in less than a week in office.

Specifically on June 6, 2019, he constituted the Financial Advisory Committee comprising 10 forensic accountants, all indigenes of Imo to look into the books of the state government with all her bankers.

Also Read: EFCC Docks Access Bank, Pregnant Woman Over Alleged Fraud

The Committee was chaired by Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, foremost Economist, World Bank Consultant and former Director General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), and Nick Opara-Ndudu, a former Bank Deputy Managing Director who also served as a commissioner under the Okorocha administration as secretary.

Other members were: Nze Charles Onwunali a former senior banker who later became Chairman of Imo Internal Revenue Service; Mr. Kelechi Omeni-Nzewuihe, a former Senior Banker; Sir Chime Aliliele, a former Senior Banker; Mr. Charles Nwogu; Mrs. Udeze Ibezim; and Mrs. Ify Maureen Okafor.

After four months of work, the committee presented its report to Ihedioha on December 1, 2019, who directed the state Accountant General to start the process of recovery of the funds from Zenith Bank.

On December 3, 2019, the Accountant General issued a 30 day ultimatum to Zenith bank and other banks involved to refund the funds illegally taken from the purse of the state.

Unfortunately, the move had to be aborted as Ihedioha was removed as Governor via a Supreme Court judgment on January 14, 2020.

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Top Court News is a product of a dedicated Journalist, owner of I-Wahab Media The Publisher started his Journalism career with Murhi International TV, MiTV in 2003 before working with Radio Nigeria, Lagos Operation, as a Judicial Correspondent. He is presently the Vice Chairman of the National Association of Judicial Correspondent, NAJUC, Ikeja Branch and occupied same office with Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ, Radio Nigeria Chapel. topcourtnewsng.com is out to serve you with informative and educative News in the Judiciary sector. To put an end to the under reported activities of the sector among the three arms of government

CRIME

PHCN N6bn Insurance Benefit Fraud: EFCC Arraigns Cecilia Osipitan

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Justice U. P. Kekemeke of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Maitama, Abuja, has granted the Managing Director of PJO Ventures Limited, Cecilia Osipitan N500million bail with two sureties in like sum.

The judge gave the bail ruling shortly after her arraignment along with PJO and Insurance Resource and Consultancy Services Limited by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

EFCC had filed nine-count charges against the defendants which borders on criminal breach of trust, conspiracy and conversion of public funds to the tune of six billion naira.

According to EFCC, the money was meant for the payment of outstanding insurance premiums and claims of deceased and incapacitated staff of the defunct Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).

Read Also: N322m Laundering: Senator Nwaoboshi Trial Resumes December 10

Osipitan’s offence was said to have contravened Section 311 of the Panel Code Act Cap 532 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, (Abuja) 2004 and punishable under Section 312 of the same Act.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the nine counts charges levelled against them.

Ruling on the bail application, the judge noted that the sureties must be federal civil servant, a religious leader or a member of the National Assembly residing and own landed properties in Abuja.

The matter was subsequently adjourned till January 20, 2022 for commencement of trial.

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Attempted Murder: Court Discharge APC Chieftains in Osun

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Seven members of the All Progressive Congress, APC, in Osun State who were accused of murder by the Police have been discharged by the State Magistrate Court sitting in Osogbo.

The Police had arraigned the then APC state secretary, Mr. Rasaq Salinsile, the acting chairman, Rev. Adelowo Adebiyi, former Commissioner for Works and Transport, Kazeem Salami, and former Commissioner for Youth Sport and Special Needs, Comrade Biyi Odunlade.

Others were former Special Adviser to the Governor on Taxation, Barr. Gbenga Akano; and two APC members from Ilesa and Osogbo, Alaba Popoola and Azeez Adekunle respectively.

The defendants were charged for attempted murder, assault and breach of peace allegedly committed at the venue of the sitting of Ward Congress Appeal Committee of APC.

Read Also: SFU Opens Trial Of Syndicate who Theft N.9Billion From FCMB

At the resumed hearing of the matter, State counsel, Mr F. Akintayo, informed the court that the state has taken over the prosecution of the case from the police.

Mr. Akintayo then applied that the case is withdrawn from the court.

Defence team led by Gbenga Awosode did not oppose the application.

In his ruling, the presiding magistrate, Dr. Segun Ayilara, subsequently dismissed the case.

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Former NSITF Board Chairman, Olejeme Trial Begins November 8

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Justice Maryam Hassan of Abuja (FCT) High Court sitting in Jabi has fixed November 8, for commencement of trial of the former board chairman of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Ngozi Olejeme.

The judge gave the date shortly after delivering ruling over her bail application which allows her to continue to enjoy the administrative bail conditions already granted to her by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Justice Maryam Hassan in addition to the ruling directed that the travel documents of the defendant be submitted at the court’s registry.

Ngozi Olejeme was arraigned before the court by EFCC on nine-count charges which borders on mismanagement, giving a false statement, taking a kickback from contracts, and diversion of NSITF funds into personal accounts and companies she had an interest in.

According to EFCC, Olejeme committed the offence between 2012 and 2015 when she was the board chairman of the NSITF.

Read Also: Bariga Housemaid Murder Controversy; Couple File File No-Case Submission

The anti-graft agency noted that the offence contravened the provisions of sections 8,19 (1) (b) (1), punishable under the Corrupt Practice & other Related Offence Act 2000 and Section 17, (1) (2), 39 of EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004 and punishable under the same section.

However, Olejeme pleaded not guilty to all the counts charge preferred against her.

Subsequently, her counsel, Mr. Paul Erokoro, SAN, applied for bail on self recognition or in the alternative, in the most liberal terms.

He said the bail application was predicated on medical grounds as the defendant has been diabetic and hypertensive for thirty years.

In a counter reaction, EFCC Counsel, Mr. Steve Odiase, who did not opposed the bail application however, opposed to granting of bail on self recognition.

He said that there was no consideration for bail on self recognition in Section 165 (1) of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), 2015.

He urged the court to grant the defendant bail with reasonable surety.

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