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Alleged N6bn Laundering: Court Okays Mompha’s Trial in Absentia

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… As RCCG Pastor jailed 2 years for issuing $1.6m dud cheque***

An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Wednesday ordered the continuation of the trial of the media celebrity, Ismaila Mustapha (alias Mompha), charged with alleged six billion Naira laundering, in his absence.

Justice Mojisola Dada also adjourned until November 16.

“Make sure you bring your witnesses on that date,” Dada said.

She further ruled that his trial was to continue in absential following a futile effort by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) to arrest him after jumping bail.

The EFCC counsel, Mr Abbas Mohammed, said that the commission had made a frantic effort to arrest the defendant but to no avail.

“We also wrote letters to our counterpart to secure the presence of the defendant in this Honourable court.

“My lord, we shall be asking for another date to enable prosecution of the defendant on trial in absentia.

The defence counsel, Mr Kolawale Salami, also aligned with the prosecution and confirmed the position of the commission.

The absence of the defendant had on June 30 stalled his money laundering trial before the court.

The EFCC charged Mustapha and his company, Ismalob Global Investment Ltd., on eight counts of six billion Naira laundering.

The court had on June 22 issued a bench warrant for Mustapha’s arrest following his absence in court.

Dada also revoked the bail she granted the defendant.

The social media celebrity was equally absent in court on June 16.

On June 10, EFCC accused him of flouting the court’s order by travelling to Dubai with a new international passport.

The charge against Mustapha includes conspiracy to launder money obtained through unlawful activities, and laundering of money obtained through unlawful activities.

Others are retention of proceeds of criminal conduct, use of property derived from an unlawful act, possession of a document containing false pretences, and failure to disclose assets.

An Ikeja Special Offences Court on Wednesday sentenced Ayodeji Oluokun, an Assistant Pastor of the Redeem Christian Church of God (RCCG), City of David Parish, Victoria Island, Lagos, to two years imprisonment for issuing 1.6 million dollar dud cheque.

Oluokun was charged alongside his company, Peak Petroleum Industry Nigeria Ltd., on an amended six-count charge bordering on issuance of dud cheque, stealing and obtaining money under false pretences.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo, in her judgment, held that the prosecution had successfully proved the charge of issuance of dud cheque against the defendants.

Taiwo, however, discharged and acquitted the defendants of stealing and obtaining money under false pretences.

“The defendant issued two cheques in the sum of 1.6 million dollars to the nominal complainant, which was dishonoured because there was no fund in the defendant’s account.

“Issuance of the cheque for lack of credit is a strictly liable offence.

“If the defendant was truly expecting some money till the end of July 2014 as claimed by him, he would have waited till he received the money before issuing the cheque on June 24, 2014,” said Taiwo.

The judge said the first defendant knew all of these and still went ahead to issue the cheque dated June 24, 2014.

“It is hereby in the view of this court that the defendant was deliberate in issuing the dud cheque.

“He is hereby found guilty of counts one and two of issuance of dud cheque.

“The defendants, however, are discharged and acquitted of stealing and obtaining money under false pretences as the prosecution failed to establish the facts against them,” she said.

The judge thereafter sentenced the first defendant to two years in prison or payment of a fine of N2 million, and the second defendant to a fine of N2 million.

She ordered the convict to make restitution of 1.6 million dollars to the nominal complainant within 18 months.

The defence counsel, Mr Edoka Onyeke, in his allocutions, prayed the court to grant the convict a non-custodial sentence, adding that he was a pastor and could use his pastoral work as service to humanity, through community service.

“My lord, apart from the defendant being a first offender, if he is incarcerated, he will not be able to carry out the necessary things on behalf of the second defendant so as to make the restitution easy.

“The first defendant is a pastor of a church.

This is a very good opportunity for him to engage in community service instead of a custodian sentence so as to preach the word of God.

“On a final note, the defendant has promised to involve the nominal complainant in order to make the restitution,” Onyeke said.

Counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Samuel Daji, however, urged the court to convict the defendants as charged.

He argued that the convict and the nominal complainant had not been on talking terms, thereby making the terms of restitution difficult to meet.

He also prayed the court to order the defendant to forfeit his property in order to pay up the debt.

“My lord, from the evidence before this court, the defendant is not committed.

It has been nine good years my lord.

“A dollar was N150 at the time the loan was granted to the defendant.

The defendant does not even greet the nominal complainant unless it is of utmost necessity.

“There is evidence that the defendants never want to settle this case.

“The defence counsel said he is a pastor.

My lord, the more reason he should be given a custodial sentence in order to serve as a deterrent to others.

“The court has stated mandatory sentence.

We shall be asking for restitution.

I shall be urging the court to order the defendant to forfeit his property so as to use it to pay his debt,” Daji said.

The EFCC counsel had submitted that the defendant issued a Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria Ltd. cheque of 1.6 million dollars payable to GOSL Nigeria Ltd.

He said when presented for payment, the cheque was dishonoured on the ground that there were no sufficient funds standing to the credit of the account on which the cheque was drawn.

The offences contravened Sections 1(1) (b) of the Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act, Cap D 11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and Section 285 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State and section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences.

 

 

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Police Parade Lawyer Over Alleged Abuse Of 10-year-old Househelp

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Gunmen Abduct NPC Commissioner, Aides At Rivers Section Of East-West Road

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) has paraded Mrs Adachukwu Okafor, an Anambra-based lawyer, who was recently apprehended for allegedly assaulting her 10-year-old house help.

Okafor, presented herself at the Police station after she had been declared wanted and a N2 million bounty placed on her for allegedly using a red-hot knife, electric pressing iron, and other weapons to brutalise the underage house help.

ACP Olumiyiwa Adejobi, Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), while addressing the media at the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), on Friday in Abuja, said it was a case of attempted murder and child abuse.

Adejobi, represented by CSP Olabisi Okuwobi, National Coordinator, Police Campaign against Cultism and other Vices, explained that the house help worked for two weeks in the house of the suspect before the incident occurred.

According to him, the suspect alleged that she saw the house help fondling the penis of her six-year-old son, while bathing him.

“On January 29, 2024, this suspect accused her of this and proceeded to tie her hands, mouth and flogged her. She also inserted a hot knife into her private part and poured ground pepper into it.

“She then plugged on an electric iron into the socket allowed it to be hot and used it on the maid’s cheek and buttocks.

“After causing the maid trauma, she now locked her up in the toilets from the afternoon of the incident till the evening of the following day without food.”

The FPRO added that the aunt of the househelp raised an alarm, which attracted passersby when the suspect returned her to the house after inflicting grievous injuries on her.

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“It was at that point that she dropped the young girl with the aunt, without cloth with the burns on the cheek, buttocks with blood and water oozing out of her private part that the aunts raised an alarm.

“This attracted passers-by who brought out their phones recorded and it went straight to the social space, which attracted the police and Commissioner for Women Affairs in Anambra state.

He, therefore, reiterated the commitment of the NPF to ensure prosecution of the case and justice for the house help.

“Meanwhile, the Inspector General of Police (I-G) has assured Nigerians that a diligent prosecution of this case will be carried out and no iota of the incident will be swept under the carpet.

“And we will ensure that justice is served on the little girl. And this should serve as a note of warning to those who use little children for child labor,” he said.

Mrs Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, Minister of Women Affairs, urged the public to speak out and report any violence to ensure that justice prevails for the victims.

“You see any bad thing, you shout out, if you don’t shout out, you will die in silence, so I’m so glad you shouted out and it is like a command to us.

“We in government are assuring you that we will always take it up and will never let you down ever again.

“You have been let down before but not anymore because the President has already said the poor should breathe. So what he means is that Nigerians should be more respected, taken care of, and treated with compassion.

“So this is the lady. We have brought her and are assuring you that we will get justice for that girl, justice for the nation. We will not let go,” she said.

On her part, the suspect, Okafor, who is a mother of four, denied inflicting injuries on her house help, who she said fell on a burning camp gas, while she was trying to flee from being beaten.

“She entered the kitchen with her back because she was running away from her cane and she mistakenly sat on a burning gas cylinder. That was what happened to her.

“I didn’t use iron or anything like that on her or a knife,” she said.

According to her, she was not happy with the incident as “that was not what she envisioned.” 

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NDLEA Arrests Terminal Operator, Dockworker Over 1,044.29kg Cocaine, Colorado

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…And 2 others; one still at large

Operatives of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, have begun to unmask members of an organized criminal network behind the recent importation of two containers laden with illicit drugs as well as assorted arms and ammunition from Durban, South Africa to the Tin Can seaport in Lagos.

Among those already arrested as members of the syndicate are: a clearing and notify party of the two containers, Falowo Samuel Kayode; a dock worker, Anjorin Idowu and Uzairu Ahmed Iguda who is in charge of the Five Star terminal at the port. Another dock worker at the terminal, Mohammed Muktar Sule (alias organizer) who is equally linked to the syndicate is currently at large.

Based on credible intelligence, the Agency had requested a 100 percent joint examination of two containers marked MSCU 4581770 and TRHU 7968071 from South Africa. As a result, the exercise was conducted with other stakeholders on the 18th and 19th of January, 2024 during which 56.39kg cocaine and 795kg Colorado, a synthetic strong strain of cannabis among other illegal items were recovered from the containers.

Following a tasking order by the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig Gen Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) to a combined team of specialized units of the agency to unravel those behind the importation of the large consignments of the illicit drugs, ongoing investigations have led to the discovery of more bags of Colorado weighing 192.7kg, a pistol, and rounds of ammunition removed from the container, MSCU 4581770 and hidden in an empty container before the 100 percent joint examination at the Five Star terminal.

As a result, two suspects: Uzairu Ahmed Iguda who is in charge of the terminal’s container positioning and stacking, and Anjorin Idowu who is a dock worker in the terminal have been arrested.

Another suspect, Mohammed Muktar Sule (alias organizer) now at large, is also a dock worker in the terminal. Investigations reveal that the three suspects conspired with the agent and notified party, Falowo Samuel Kayode to remove the 192.7kg Colorado, pistol and rounds of ammunition from the container to an empty container in the terminal.

The latest seizure brings the total recovered from the two containers to 56.39kg of cocaine and 987.9kg of Colorado with a combined weight of 1,044.29kg. Investigations have also revealed three kingpins believed to be based in South Africa and connected with the importation of the containers. They include: Odeyemi Taiwo Emmanuel; Akinyemi Olayinka and Adebayo Adewole Emmanuel who are now on the Agency’s wanted list.

In Edo state, NDLEA officers on Tuesday 20th February raided a drug joint under Powerline, off Etete Road, GRA Benin city where they arrested a sales girl, Jessica Destiny, 24, and recovered assorted illicit drugs. A follow-up operation the following day led to the arrest of the owner of the joint, 36-year-old Ibrahim Sani who is the Commander, of Arewa Association Vigilantes in the area.

While a consignment of 179kg cannabis was recovered by operatives at Badagry Waterside, Lagos on Wednesday 21st February, a 67-year-old grandpa, Rafiu Ogunro was nabbed on Thursday 22nd February, at Magbon, Ogun state with 57kg cannabis, 2,700 pills of tramadol, and 231 bottles of Codeine syrup, weighing 2.31 litres.

In Borno, a 25-year-old lady, Zara Mele was arrested with quantities of cocaine and heroin at the Baga checkpoint on Tuesday 20th Feb, while Usman Shuaibu, 26, and Mohammed Lawan, 22, were also nabbed with quantities of the same class A drug at Meri and Babban Layi areas of Maiduguri the same day respectively.

No less than 44,820 pills of opioids being taken to Zamfara state by Tasiu Mohammed, 25, and Abubakar Tanko, 54, were intercepted along Jega-Sokoto road by NDLEA officers in Kebbi state, while a farmer Ali Abdulhamid, 35, was arrested in his farm where he grows tomatoes and some stems of cannabis sativa weighing 73 kilograms at Bakin Kasuwa village, Birnin Yero area of Igabi LGA, Kaduna state.

Two suspects: Shuaibu Ahmed, 38, and Tanimu Abdullahi, 29, travelling in a commercial bus from Lagos to Kano with 99 blocks of cannabis weighing 37kg were intercepted by NDLEA officers along Kwali-Gwagwalada express road, Abuja on Monday 19th Feb, while one Michael Okefi was arrested at Upper Iweka area of Onitsha, Anambra state with 483 bottles of codeine-based cough syrup concealed in two 50-litre kegs. A follow-up operation led to the arrest of the actual owner, Osinachi Jasper.

At least 540 grams of cocaine concealed in canvas shoes heading to the UK were intercepted at a courier firm in Lagos on Friday 23rd Feb by NDLEA operatives of the Directorate of Operation and General Investigation, DOGI. Equally, a consignment of tramadol 225mg hidden in ladies’ headgear going to the UK was also seized the same day at the courier house, while another parcel containing ecstasy concealed in a body cream container meant for Cyprus was also intercepted.

In Kano state, different quantities of opioids and other illicit drugs were recovered from at least 12 young men arrested in parts of Kano between Monday 19th and Friday 23rd February. Some of the suspects include Yusuf Abdullahi,20; Usman Muh’d,18; Sadiq Jibrin, 20; Ibrahim Lawan, 25; Ukasha Usaini,19; Sahabi Lamini,15; Isiyaka Mohd, 28; Bashir Ayuba,36; Ahmad Idris,18; Abubakar Sani,29; Bashir Mohd, 21 and Udochukwu Ezekiel, 35.

In the same vein, the Commands across the country intensified their War Against Drug Abuse, WADA, advocacy lectures. These include Sensitisation lectures for students of Fatahur Rahman Academy, Gumel, Jigawa state; students of Boys High School, Nawfia, Anambra state; students of Government Senior and Junior College, Victoria Island, Lagos with the Yobe state command paying WADA advocacy visit to the Emir of Fika, Alhaji Muhammadu Abali Idrissa and the Emir of Potiskum, Alhaji Umar Bubaram Ibn Wuriwa Bauya, among others.

While commending the officers and men of the Tincan, Lagos, Edo, Ogun, Kaduna, Kano, Anambra, Kebbi, Borno, and FCT Commands of the Agency for their balanced efforts in the past week, the Chairman/ Chief Executive Officer of NDLEA, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Buba Marwa (Retd) equally applauded their counterparts across the country for intensifying their WADA advocacy lectures thus creating parity between their drug supply reduction and drug demand reduction activities

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ENUGU: Police Arrest 83 Suspects, Rescue 20 Kidnapped Victims

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Gunmen Abduct NPC Commissioner, Aides At Rivers Section Of East-West Road

The Police Command in Enugu State says it arrested 83 criminal suspects and rescued 20 kidnapped victims within the state from Jan. 1, 2024, till date.

The offences for which the suspects were arrested included abduction, kidnapping, armed robbery, murder, defilement and vandalism among other crimes committed within the state in the period under review.

The state Commissioner of Police, CP Kanayo Uzuegbu, disclosed this on Tuesday while briefing newsmen on the successes of the Command since the beginning of the year.

Uzuegbu noted that 46 firearms of different calibers were recovered as well as 125 ammunition of different calibres were recovered within the period under review.

According to him, 36 motor vehicles were recovered; six tricycles were recovered and 15 motorcycles were also recovered by gallant and eagle-eyed crime fighting officers and men of the Command.

He said many of the arrested suspects had been arraigned in court and remanded in the Nigerian Correctional Service Custodial Centre, while others would be prosecuted accordingly once investigations are concluded.

The commissioner said that proactive and people’s centred policing approaches of the Command had started yielding the expected results.

Police arraign Lagos businessman for alleged theft of N3.5m phones

“I wish to specially thank the Executive Governor of Enugu State, Dr Peter Mbah, for the immense support his Administration has continued to extend to the police in the state.

“In the same vein, I profoundly thank and appreciate the Inspector-General of Police, Dr Kayode Egbetokun, for his visionary and pragmatic leadership style, which have brought about the policing strides recorded in Enugu State and Nigeria as a whole.

“Additionally, I express my immense gratitude to my colleagues in sister security agencies and the entire security stakeholders in Enugu State, for all the collaborative support we enjoyed in 2023, and which has continued into 2024.

“I also want to thank and appreciate my officers and men for their diligence, hard work and dedication to duty, which have resulted in the operational successes recorded.

“I urge them to remain focused and committed to actualizing the mandates of the Nigeria Police Force in Enugu State,” he said.

The commissioner maintained that discipline remained the bedrock of the Nigeria Police, adding: “I caution officers and men to shun acts of corruption, unprofessionalism and moral debasements, which bring with them severe disciplinary consequences”.

According to him, officers and men must remain professional, firm, upright and diligent in the performance of their duties.

He warned unrepentant criminals to turn over a new leaf, as “we shall more than ever, turn up the heat and make Enugu State more uncomfortable for them and their activities.”

He said: “And if they fail to repent, then we shall stop at nothing to ruthlessly deal with them.

“I also want to strongly caution rumour mongers, rabble-rousers and peddlers of fake, misinformative and disinformative news in Enugu State to desist forthwith, as the Police would not hesitate to deal decisively with anyone found wanting, in accordance with extant laws, particularly the Cybercrime Act.

“There is no doubt that the task of tackling the increasing security challenges in our society is daily becoming daunting.

“Nonetheless, the assurance I bring to the good people of Enugu State is that we will remain focused and unflinching in our commitment to enthrone a crime-free and peaceful environment for all and sundry to thrive in their legitimate enterprises.”

Uzuegbu urged the citizenry to remain law-abiding, security conscious and continue to support the police, through the provision of credible and actionable security information; while also reporting suspected criminals and their activities to the nearest police station. (

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