TOP 10 ‘Forgotten’ High-profile EFCC Cases

Since the establishment of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) in 2003, high profile cases have been piling up, with many as old as the agency itself. Daily Trust dusted some of them off and took a look

When former President Olusegun Obasanjo set up the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), many Nigerians were excited that the days of corruption were numbered. But thirteen years down the road, the anti-graft agency is still battling with many inconclusive cases. However, following the take-over of affairs of the EFCC on November 11, 2015, the new sheriff, Ibrahim Lamorde, promised a tougher fight.
Recently, national buzz has it that the high-profile cases which the EFCC has pursued in the past are ‘forgotten’, causing some to dismiss even the current ones as having a limited shelf life. Some also say with the current government’s major emphasis on fighting corruption, some old cases could easily fall through the cracks, so Daily Trust dusted off a number of files, and the following were discovered.

Peter Odili
Former governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili, had a rough time with the EFCC even before the end of his two-term tenure in 2007. His travails started when the anti-graft agency investigated the finances of Rivers State, and he was alleged to have diverted over N100 billion of the state’s funds. Following the indicting report, on February 22, 2007, the then Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice of Rivers State filed a suit challenging the powers of the EFCC to probe the affairs of the state. He claimed that the activities of the EFCC were prejudicial to the smooth running of the government of Rivers State.
However, the case was stalled when presiding judge, Justice Ibrahim Buba heeded to Odili’s request and granted a perpetual injunction restraining the EFCC from probing the former governor. But recently, EFCC boss Ibrahim Magu confirmed to the media of the perpetual injunction issued on Odili’s case and said the commission’s quest to appeal the matter was being frustrated by the Court of Appeal since 2008. According to the EFCC, the case of Odili will be re-opened.

Adamu Mu’azu
Apart from the crisis that rocked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leading to his sudden “disappearance” after the party lost the 2015 general elections, its former National Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, has a pending case with the EFCC. His case borders on the alleged mismanagement of N19.8 billion when he was governor of Bauchi State between 1999 and 2007. The accusation followed a petition to the EFCC, which prompted the agency to invite the former governor to appear before it in July 2008. But rather than honour the invitation, Mu’azu travelled to Britain on the premise that he was attending the graduation of his daughter, returning to the country two years later, after Goodluck Jonathan became president. Even then, the EFCC reaffirmed that Mu’azu still has a case to answer.

Joshua Dariye
Former governor of Plateau State, Chief Joshua Dariye, has a running battle with the EFCC after he was alleged to have siphoned about N1.2 billion of the state’s ecological fund. He was being prosecuted on a 23-count charge on diversion of funds into private accounts and money laundering. In an EFCC document obtained by Daily Trust, in addition, he is also alleged to have diverted about N204 million meant for the state treasury, to Ebenezer Retnan Ventures, ERV – a company linked to him. The EFCC in 2004 received a petition from the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation regarding a request by the UK Metropolitan Police for the investigation of some companies linked to Mr. Dariye. He was still the governor of the state. The anti-graft agency investigated some banks mentioned in the petition and they also quizzed some companies and individuals mentioned.
The EFCC discovered that the account mandate had no passport photo but was operated by Dariye, who requested for a waiver. The investigation revealed that Dariye, who now represents Plateau Central in the Senate, further directed the bank to disburse the money into private companies. However, Dariye had denied any involvement in the fraud since he first appeared before a Federal High Court, Abuja in July 13, 2007. Later, Dariye filed a motion praying the court to quash the charges against him but his request was turned down on December 10, 2007. He proceeded on appeal, which also suffered the same fate on June 17, 2010 as well as at the Supreme Court on February 27, 2015. Reports from the EFCC explained that Dariye is currently facing trial.

Saminu Turaki
Alhaji Saminu Turaki, according to the EFCC, is alleged to have misappropriated N36 billion involving a case of criminal conspiracy, stealing, money laundering and misappropriation of public funds. Turaki was Jigawa State governor between May 29, 1999 and May 29, 2007. He was initially arraigned before a Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court in 2007 but the case was later transferred to the Federal High Court, Dutse, after he challenged the jurisdiction of the FCT court.
However, in the case of Turaki, he has been declared wanted by the EFCC on since December 2, 2014. According to the wanted poster signed by EFCC Head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, Turaki was declared wanted after “the former governor has continuously evaded appearance in court. At the last sitting on November 13, 2014, he was absent, despite a subsisting warrant for his arrest.”

Stella Oduah
Stella Oduah was a key member in the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan as Minister of Aviation. She is being prosecuted by the EFCC over two, now-infamous armoured BMW cars allegedly purchased for N255million by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) under her watch. On August 26, 2015, she obtained an interim injunction stopping the EFCC from prosecuting her on the matter, a position the anti-graft agency challenged.
Justice Mohammed Yunusa of a Federal High Court, Lagos, also granted that the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Inspector-General of Police from prosecuting the ex-minister.

Adebayo Alao-Akala
The former governor of Oyo State, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala was prosecuted alongside his former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters, Chief Hosea Agboola, and a businessman, Mr. Femi Babalola of a N11.5 billion fraud.
Justice Akintunde Boade of the Oyo State High Court, on December 12, 2012, ruled that the former governor, and the two others who are charged by the EFCC of N11.5 billion fraud, have a case to answer. They had earlier demanded that the charges be quashed. The anti-graft agency alleged that the former governor and the two others awarded contracts without budgetary provisions and by obtaining falsely.
According to the EFCC’s preliminary report into a petition by one Mr. Kunle Jimoh and Mr. Julius Dada, it said that Alao-Akala routinely inflated contracts with a view to enriching himself. However, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN), counsel to the defendants filed a preliminary objection to the charges, praying the court to quash them on grounds that the EFCC lacked evidence to back the allegations. They also questioned the jurisdiction of the court, pointing out that it was abuse of power to put anybody on trial for an offence not proven.

Ayo Fayose
The EFCC has been on the heels of the Governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, for an alleged mismanagement of N1.2billion poultry project when he was governor between 2003 and 2006. At a point, he wanted the charges quashed through a court order pointing out that the offences were committed in Ekiti State and not Lagos. The EFCC, on November 22, 2012 re-arraigned the former governor on a 27-count amended charge over an N416 million scam. Presently, the trial of Fayose has been suspended because of an immunity clause. He was elected governor in 2014.

Orji Uzor Kalu
The EFCC accused the former governor of Abia State, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu, of diverting the state’s N5.6 billion while in office from 1999 to 2007. He was arraigned in July 2007 on a 107-count charge on money laundering, official corruption and criminal diversion of public funds. Kalu was charged alongside his company, Slok Nigeria. He had urged the trial court to quash the charges because he claimed no evidence was established against him. But when he took the matter before the appeal court, it ruled that he has a case to answer. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court yesterday upheld the ruling of the appeal court and ordered that Kalu submits himself for the EFCC trial.

Boni Haruna
Former Governor of Adamawa State, Mr. Boni Haruna, is facing a 28-count charge of fraud and embezzlement preferred against him and three others by the EFCC. A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja and presided by Justice Adamu Bello on November 15, 2012, dismissed the application of the former governor of Adamawa State and three others to quash the charges of fraud and embezzlement of public fund preferred against them. Others charged with the ex-governor are: Mohammed Inuwa Bassi, a former Minority Leader in the Adamawa State House of Assembly, John Babani Elias, an aide to the ex-governor and Al-Akim Investment Nigeria Limited.
According to the EFCC, Haruna was said to have fraudulently altered a cheque dated 13/11/2002 in the sum of N10,000,000.00 operated by him in the name of Mohammed Inuwa Bassi, with intent that said cheque may be acted as genuine and thereby committed an offence. Similarly, he was alleged to have on or about March, 12, 2003 while as governor, fraudulently altered a cheque in the sum of N16,125,000.00 operated by him, in the name of Mohammed Inuwa Bassi with intent that the said cheque may be acted upon as genuine and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 3 (2) (a) of Miscellaneous offences Act, Cap 410 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 1990 as amended by the Tribunals (certain Consequential Amendments, etc), Decree no. 62 of 1999 and punishable under Section 3 (2) of the same Act.
The matter dragged on until written addresses were adopted in November, 2011 and the matter was adjourned to January 31, 2012 for ruling. This did not hold and further adjourned to March 7. Again, the ruling was not ready and the matter was adjourned sine-die.

Gbenga Daniel
A former governor of Ogun State, Chief Gbenga Daniel has also been accused of corruption by the EFCC. The former governor is being prosecuted for alleged mismanagement of state funds between 2003 and 2011. He is facing trial on a 38-count charge of stealing and fraudulent conversion of public property as well as false declaration of assets to the tune of N211.3million.
Contacted on cases that had dragged on for so long, the EFCC head, Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren told Daily Trust that: “There is no such thing as ‘forgotten’ cases in the EFCC.” He also said all cases charged to court by the commission are at different stages of prosecution.

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