N1.5 Billion Fraud: Aide to Lagos Speaker arrested…as Money laundering charges hang over Ikuforiji
A Personal Assistant to Adeyemi Ikuforiji, Speaker of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Oyebode Atoyebi,and a former manager with Intercontinental Bank Plc (now Access Bank), Mr. Olayinka Sanni have been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, over a case of conspiracy, stealing and forgery amounting to about N1.5billion.
Ikuforiji, was last year arraigned before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos alongside his Personal Assistant, Mr. Oyebode Atoyebi by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on an amended 20 count charge of money laundering.
The accused persons were initially charged before Justice John Tsoho, who personally withdrew from the matter, after he said he had no intension of continuing with the case, though he gave no reason.
The case was subsequently re-assigned to Justice Okechukwu Okeke. At the hearing in the matter, EFCC's council reminded the court of the existence of the charge and asked that it should be read to the accused persons.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges and were admitted to bail on self recognition while the Clark of the Lagos Assembly, Segun Habiru stood as surety for Atoyebi.
The charge alleged that Ikuforiji and Atoyebi conspired among themselves between April 2010 and July 2011 to do an illegal act by accepting various cash payments amounting in the aggregate of N273 million from the Assembly without going through a financial institution.
The offence is contrary to and punishable under Sections 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 and punishable under Sections 16 (2) (b) of the same Act.
Sanni, a chartered accountant and operator of SIDAW Ventures, a Bureau de Change, was alleged to have fraudulently transferred various sums of money from more than seven customers of the bank into the account of SIDAW ventures owned and operated by him without the customers' consent.
Specifically, he transferred N65million from the account of Babington Junior Seminary; N40million from P.W. Nigeria Limited's account; N15million from Mikano International's account; N20million from Viju Industries Limited's account, N306million from the account of Falana & Falana Chambers and Fafun Nigeria Limited and N1.2billion from Murhi International Limited into his SIDAW Ventures account without the consent of the account owners.
Besides, Sanni also collected the sum of $461,200 USD from one Chukwurah Nkiru, who sold it to him for the equivalent of N76, 559,200 but was not paid.
Sanni is also embroiled in a foreign exchange scam where his SIDAW Ventures account was used to handle the sum of N104, 405, 000 where only N72,229,000 worth of foreign exchange was paid to the customer leaving a balance of N32, 185, 000 being hotly contested between his firm and the customer. Oyebode Atoyebi, Personal Assistant to Ikuforiji was also arrested for complicity and conspiracy with Sanni for allowing his passport-sized photograph and name to be used to open an account in SIDAW ventures limited in the name of Akanmu Babatunde. With this fictitious name, Sanni brokered many shady deals and duped many innocent people.
The two suspects will soon be arraigned in court.