Five former governors in EFCC’s ‘emergency’ dock

Ex-Governorx• Lamido, sons remanded in prison custody • Ohakim gets bail, court reserves ruling in Sylva’s case
• Detention facility ‘overstretched’
• BPP advocates prosecution of corrupt public officers

FORMER Governor of Jigawa State, Sule Lamido and his two sons – Aminu and Mustapha – yesterday joined the list of big names in Nigeria’s political space, who are being docked by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in a renewed war against graft.

A Federal High Court in Kano remanded Lamido and his two sons in prisons custody for two months after they were arraigned before Justice Evelyn Anyadike on 28-count charge bordering on corruption and money laundering. Yesterday’s ruling was the fourth in EFCC’s arraignment of former governors, including Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu State), Ikedi Ohakim (Imo), Murtala Nyako and son (Adamawa).

Ohakim was arraigned on Wednesday in Abuja before Justice Adeniyi Ademola on a three-count charge of money laundering involving $2.29 million. Ohakim was yesterday granted bail by Justice Ademola.

Moving the bail application, Ohakim’s counsel, Chris Uche (SAN) prayed the court to admit his client to bail on liberal terms, adding that the charges are bailable. However, prosecuting counsel, Festus Keyamo, urged the court to refuse the application. After listening to both counsel, Justice Adeniyi admitted the accused person to bail in the sum of N270 million with one surety who must be resident in Abuja.

The surety, who must have landed property within Abuja, must swear to an affidavit of means. The surety is also to deposit his/her international passport with the Deputy Registrar of the court.

The case has been adjourned to October 20, 2015. Ohakim was arrested by operatives of the EFCC on Tuesday, July 7, 2015. The former governor is being prosecuted, among other things, for making a cash payment to the tune of $2.2 million for the purchase of a piece of land at Plot No. 1098, Cadastral Zone A04, Asokoro District, otherwise known as No.60, Kwame Nkurumah Street, Asokoro, Abuja.

Nyako and his son, Abdulazis, appeared before the same division of the Federal High Court. Their bid to be admitted on bail, based on an application filed by their counsel, Chief Kanu Godwin Agabi (SAN) failed yesterday. Nyako and his sons are accused of converting huge sums of money, including N240 million of state funds to develop the Hill View Estate in Mpape, Abuja, between October 2011 and June 2012, among other charges.

If the accused are found guilty, the offences are punishable under Section 15 subsection 1A of the money laundering Prohibition Act, 2011. While Ohakim, Lamido and Nnamani served as governors under the auspices of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Nyako was one of the aggrieved PDP governors that jumped ship to form the New PDP, which formed the bedrock for the merger that birthed the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Having fallen out of favour with former President Goodluck Jonathan due to his public criticisms of his administration, the former Adamawa governor was subsequently impeached by the state House of Assembly, following which he left the country. Nyako returned shortly after President Muhammadu Buhari defeated Jonathan in the March 28, 2015 Presidential election.

On Tuesday, Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court, Lagos ordered the forfeiture of multi-billion naira assets allegedly belonging to him. The former senator was charged along with his former aide, Sunday Anyaogu, and six firms – Rainbownet, Hillgate Nigeria, Cosmos FM, Capital City Automobile Nig Ltd, Renaissance University Teaching Hospital and Mea Mater Elizabeth High School.

Justice Yunusa later split Nnamani’s trial from his co-accused, as he was abroad receiving treatment. All the accused were charged for violating some sections of the Money Laundering Act (2004) in some identified transactions while Lamido was governor of the state. The former Jigawa governor, his two sons and one Aminu Wada Abubakar, were brought to the court at 10 a.m.

They all pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the 28-count charge, involving some N1.3 billion. According to the EFCC lead counsel, Chile Okoroma, Lamido was principally charged for engaging in private businesses, as a public officer, allegedly with an aim of concealing the origin of the said amount listed in the charges.

The action violates the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) as amended. In his prayer, the lead defence counsel, Effiong Effiong, appealed to the court that his clients be granted bail in line with their rights to freedom and liberty. Lamido, his sons and one Abubakar were arraigned alongside four companies where the Lamidos are believed to have interest.

The companies are Bamaina Holdings Limited, Bamiana Company Nigeria Limited, Bamaina Aluminum Limited and Speeds International Limited.

Lamido is said to have abused his position as governor of Jigawa State between 2007 and 2015, by awarding contracts to companies where he has interest, using his two sons, Aminu and Mustapha as fronts.

One of the counts in the charge reads: “That you Alhaji Sule Lamido (while being the governor of Jigawa State, Nigeria), Aminu Sule Lamido, Mustapha Sule Lamido, Bamaina Holdings Limited, Bamaina Company Nigeria Limited and Speeds International Limited between 15th October and 18th December, 2008 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did convert an aggregate sum of N 124, 649, 915 (One hundred and twenty four million, six hundred and forty nine thousand, nine hundred and fifteen Naira) paid by Dantata & Sawoe Limited into the account of Speeds International Limited domiciled with an old generation Bank at Kano which fund you reasonably ought to have known to be proceeds of an unlawful act of Alhaji Sule Lamido who was a Public Officer within the meaning of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers as prescribed under the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) to wit; engaging in private business by a public officer, using the said company in which he is a director and a shareholder, and to whose account he is a signatory; with the aim of concealing the illicit origin of the said sum and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 14 (A) of the Money Laundering Act, 2004.” However, when the charges were read to the accused persons they pleaded not guilty.

Their counsel, Effiong Effiong, SAN told the court that he had filed application for bail and urged the court to consider granting the accused persons bail. But prosecuting counsel, Chile Okoroma, requested for time to respond to the application.

He prayed the court to remand the accused persons in prison custody as the EFCC holding facilities in Abuja and Kano were already overstretched. Justice Anyadike consequently remanded the accused persons in prison custody pending consideration of their bail application and adjourned to September 28, 2015. Tanks were reportedly rolled out as heavily armed police officers stood guard at Lamido’s arraignment.

A long stretch of the road, which leads to the court, was cordoned off, for the period of the court session. The arraignment of Lamido and his children was not without incident as an unruly crowd of supporters loyal to the former governor threatened to disrupt the court session. It took reinforcement of the detachment of policemen at the court to maintain order.

The travails of the Lamidos began in 2012 when Operatives of the EFCC at the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano arrested one of his sons, Aminu for failing to declare a sum of $ 40,000. He was prosecuted and convicted; with 50 per cent of the undeclared sum forfeited to the Federal Government.

But the investigation into the source of the funds led investigators into the closely guarded web of corruption and money laundering involving members of the former first family of Jigawa State and their cronies Also yesterday, the Federal High Court, Abuja Division reserved ruling in an application filed by former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Timipre Sylva, seeking to quash the fresh charges preferred against him by the EFCC. The trial Judge, Justice Ademola adjourned ruling sine di (indefinitely) in the case after parties in the suit had closed argument in the application.

He said the court would issue hearing notices to parties when the ruling is ready by middle of August after the court returns from vacation, which commences tomorrow (Saturday). Counsel to the former governor, Prince Lateef Fagbemi (SAN) had told the court to set aside the charges against his client on the ground that he cannot be re-arraigned on the charges that have been dismissed by the same court.

“He cannot be re-arraigned on the same fact, same event and same investigation. We are challenging the jurisdiction of this court to hear the charges against the accused person. We urge the court to decline jurisdiction,” he argued.

On his part, counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), in his objection, told the court that the charge before it is different from the one earlier dismissed by the court last month. He said the charge has been expanded to 50 from the 42-count charge that was dismissed by Justice Ahmed Ramat Mohammed of the same court. “The motion asking for the dismissal of the charges is misconceived.

What the court should look at in criminal matter is the constitution and the Criminal Procedure Act (CPA),” Jacobs argued. Justice Mohammed had on June 10 dismissed one of the two charges earlier brought against him and some others by the EFCC on the ground that it amounted to an abuse of court process.

But EFCC disagreed with the judgment on the ground that it was premature, as the accused persons had not taken any plea before the court. Earlier on June 1, Justice Evoh Chukwu (also of the Federal High Court, Abuja) struck out the other charge upon EFCC’s application for withdrawal.

In the fresh 50-count charge, Sylva is charged alongside Francis Okokuro, Gbenga Balogun, and Samuel Ogbuku. Meanwhile, the Director-General of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Emeka Eze, yesterday, said that corrupt public officers should be prosecuted under the 2007 Procurement Act, which stipulates a minimum 10-year jail term for such offences.

Eze gave the advice in his goodwill message at a workshop on “Entrenching Integrity in the Procurement Process in Tertiary Institutions” organised by the Anti-Corruption Academy of Nigeria (ACAN), which took place at the Headquarters of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), in Abuja.



25 Comments
  • Henry David

    GEJ and his daft PDP followers kept saying stealing is not corruption and allowed all these rogues to walk around with looted funds. And freely gave them leverage to steal more with people like Stella Oduah and his so called Dazianne to cripple our refinery as minister of petroleum. Thank God for Buhari for giving us hope to see corruption and start tackling it while energizing our refineries, trying to fight boko haram that PDP bequeathed to the nation , clearing debt of states that GEJ left behind.
    If Buhari had not worn election Asari Dokubo,Orubebe ,PDP and GEJ would have wrecked the country. Once again thank you Buhari for coming to save us.

    • Prince T

      we should stop running opposition in nigeria. APC is the rulling government and not opposition government.
      corruption is on both sides of the aisles.
      the govs were charged when GEJ was in power, they could not be arrested because they have immunity as governors.
      for your information nyako is apc, lamido was a dormant pdp member. he was supposed to switch but did not because the deal was not ok. however, he was no longer helpful to pdp.
      boko haram struggle was left in good shape by the time GEJ left power. things have gone from bad to worse since then. i remember PMB boasting to pressmen during campaign saying “what is boko haram” boko haram attacks on a daily basis now. they were already on the run before gej left. we are not even sure if shekau is alive again. i thought GEJ was clueless, Pmb is a first class student in the school of CLUELESS.

      • samtalkback

        Learn how to make reasonable discourse Scumbag!

        • Prince T

          thank you for the scumbag comment. please educate me then if you have any brain at all. when you ignorance is exposed you result to name calling. i am used to people like you and i will not degrade myself to your level.

      • okunrinmeta

        Ohakim ceased to be a governor since May2011, was he still with his immunity between 2011&2015?.

        • Prince T

          you are right about him. what abt lamido, nyako. nyako has already moved to apc anyway.

      • Muyiwa Bakare

        @Prince T – If you were the Chief Executive Office of the State,were you going to say that BH was bigger than the country.Clearly they can be defeated…GEJ had allowed them to infiltrate into every fabric of our existence and as much a PMB will want them crushed as I am sure you also,will need working from both sides of the Coin,Locally and Internationally.He has done the right thing by talking to our immediate neighbours.Next we as a people must be Vanguard of our security.This should have been nipped over 4-5 years ago.We cannot continue to sulk over GEJ political gaffs.I can assure you that if BH was wiped out as soon as PMB got into office,people like you will say that they were working for PMB and have now ceased as soon as he got into office.We have to look at the people affected and stop playing silly politics.I have managed people and such a shame that you can looking at potential Landmines as Clueless(HardTalk Mate).

        • Prince T

          I was able to get an idea of what you wrote. you are right abt GEJ’s record. however GEJ was able to put them on a leech before he lefft office. many towns were taken back and attacks were minimised. attack on chrches stopped under GEJ. pmb rubbished all the above during his campaign and we thought he had a better alternative. GEJ in his worst state is better than PMB now. pmb should not have been lying and running his mouth during campaign when he knows he is more clueless than GEJ. PMb is in power now and no longer in opposition, tell him to put up or shut up.

          • Muyiwa Bakare

            What you said GEJ did was late in the day.Imagine if he did what he did trying to hold on to power 6 Weeks before election 5-6 Years ago.We would no have had BH building tunnels and getting to grips the NE.What we are saying is that the damage has been made before PMB took over.But as the new leader he has no choice to to pick up from where GEJ left the state.I am sure he is presiding the affairs of the state irrespective of your choice.I will not tell anyone to put up or shut it as I am an advocate of a better Nigeria.Nigeria will be better again.He just started and the entire PDP machinery is panicking.It’s early days mate.He will deliver if we work we all do our bits honestly.

          • Prince T

            you are repeating what i have already said, YOU WERE RIGHT ON GEJ. i am a neutral person if you must know, i have no party affiliation and never voted for neither pmb nor gej because i see no difference between them. GEJ acted late but left bh in good shape before leaving office. pmb a former army general and has boost of doing better that what gej has done messed us up. attacks have intensified since pmb took office. it is easy for you to talk since you do not have family in the north. 600 died in one month alone, this is more than that of Jonathan in a month. PMB COULD HAVE AT LEAST MAINTAINED WHAT GEJ STARTED WITH BH. all we hear is attack on pdp instead of doing what they were voted in to do.

    • Damy

      you are a daft, how do you jump into conclusion so quick? Has Buhari delivered? Why only PDP Ex-Governors alone? This is witch hunting.

      • Philip Onyemauche Mbonu

        Stop abusing yourselves on this forum. None of the treasury looters gave you people money from their loots or did they? We need to condemn looters as they exist in both sides. They only switch when there is less or nothing to loot.

  • edem oyoita

    I don’t trust efcc. At the end of the day these ex govs will walk out acquitted for sloppy handling of their cases by efcc. Its all to deceive Mr President Buhari that they are working.

  • Kandi Krisagbedo

    I saw Ohakim smiling broadly and shaking hands gleefully as if he was in a thanksgiving outing. Perhaps, he feels the trial is just one of those circus shows, which EFCC had engaged in the past. I have a feeling that EFCC under Buhari is a newly improved crime fighting-agency. It is better for EFCC; otherwise, Buhari will not waste time before sending them packing.

    • Foa

      Absolutely correct

  • baba naira

    Another show. Buhari should change Lamorge as EFCC head he is a bribe taker. The whole organisation needs dismantling and total reorganisation.

    • honesty NO1

      You are 100% correct

  • Adelmo Juan

    http://drakenov.blogspot.se/2015/07/sack-barrister-joseph-nwadike.html

    SACK BARRISTER JOSEPH NWADIKE NOW(INTERPOL PROSECUTOR)!!

  • agbobu

    NOW THEY ARE SINGING, GOODLUCK JONATHAN’S GANG OF THIEVES, ROBBERS AND LOOTERS OF OUR MONEY AND WEALTH. SHAME ON YOU ALL, THERE WILL BE NO HIDING PLACE OR PLACES AS YOU MUST DO THE TIME BECAUSE YOU DID THE CRIME

  • ukata okore

    Yet to hear from EFCC on the two ORJIs on ABIA

  • emmanuel kalu

    This is like a musical dance that nigeria continues to do. every new president fight corruption, the same people are indicted, some money is recovered, and after a few years they are back again looting. it is a complete and total waste of time, until the president ends the means of corruption and the avenue that makes it happen.

  • Hajenu

    Haven’t we seen all this gragra before? Keep turning Nigerians round and. Round, and the politicians continue stealing,….

  • honesty NO1

    EFCC when are we going to see any of these looters in prison? Or are you saying that you are just making them look guilty while you drag them to court to be found innocent? PMB !!!!! why are you silent about the reconstitution of EFCC?.That STOOGE Mr Lamorde must go.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

  • benny agafa

    I commended PBM for giving free hands to government agencies to do their work. I hope they will not conpromise ? WORK?

  • Usman Hassan Muhammad

    Oho Bahari all this things is not gud at all, but thair is GOD

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