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EFCC To Arraign Oil Chiefs for N168m Fraud

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Docks Company Director Over N6.5m Alleged Fraud
Arraigns Pension Consultant for N66m Fraud
SAN FRANCISCO, May 16, (THEWILL) â€' The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC is to arraign the Chief Executive Officer of Globtec Resources Limited, Joseph Idoko, and three others for offences bordering on conspiracy and obtaining money by false pretence.

The other suspects are Mahmud A. Mohammed, Chief Executive, Al-Maqarinaz International Limited, Ikechukwu Nkwoha-Philip and Ibrahim Ali, Chief Executive, Dano Interglobal Marine Services Limited.

The suspects were picked up by operatives of the Commission following a complaint by the Chief Executive of Emex Oil Ndawta Ghana Limited, Ismaila Abdulgafar. The complainant alleged that, Idoko and his cohorts, who parade themselves as oil merchants, conspired and fraudulently collected $1m (One Million US Dollars), the equivalent of N168m (One Hundred and Sixty Eight Million Naira) from him for the supply of crude oil.

Abdulgafar stated that, the crude oil, Nigeria's sweet crude, Bonny Light, was to be delivered through the vessel, MT AL-ALBAR but he later discovered that it was a phony deal as the vessel is non- existent.

The Commission has concluded investigation into the scam and, on May 15, 2014, filed three-count information at the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja.

Meanwhile, the commission Thursday arraigned one Madeline Eyimofe alongside her company, Demoris Environmental Services Limited before Justice R.I. Ahiakwo of the Rivers State High Court on one count charge bordering on issuance of a dud cheque.

Madeline allegedly issued an Oceanic Bank Cheque No 08816714 for the sum of Six million, Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N6, 500,000.00) to one Sylvester Igwegbe. The cheque was allegedly returned for lack of sufficient fund when it was presented for payment. She however pleaded not guilty to the charge.

In view of her plea, prosecuting counsel, U.R Ewoh asked the court for a date to commence trial but the defence counsel, E.E Okocha urged the court to grant his client bail. Justice Ahiakwo granted the accused persons bail in the sum of Ten Million Naira (N10, 000,000.00) with two sureties in like sum.

The charge against the accused reads, 'that you Mabeline Eyimofe being the Director of Demoris Environmental Services Limited on or about the 2nd day of March, 2011 at Port Harcourt in the Port Harcourt Judicial Division of the High Court did fraudulently issue an Oceanic Bank Plc cheque, no. 08816714 dated 2nd day of March, 2011 in the sum of Six Million Five Hundred Thousand Naira (N6,500,000.00) in favour of Sylvester Igwegbe in the name of your company, Demoris Environmental Services Limited which was to settle your financial obligation with the said Sylvester Igwegbe and when the said cheque was presented for payment within three months of its issue. It was dishonoured due to insufficient funds standing in your credit and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(a) and (b)(i) & (ii) of the Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act Cap D11 of the Revised Edition (Laws of the Federation) 2007.

The matter was adjourned till June 26, 2014 for trial.

Also, the EFCC on Thursday arraigned Muhammad Ibrahim Sodangi before Justice Darius Haet Khobo of the Kaduna State High Court on a 13-count charge bordering on impersonation and stealing.

Sodangi is alleged to have falsely pretended to be a retired officer/civil servant in the Kaduna State Civil Service and in such assumed character enlisted his name in the pension payroll of Kaduna State Civil Service where he defrauded the state of N66 million (sixty six million naira).

The Kaduna State Government had engaged Sodangi as a consultant to undertake the computerization of the Kaduna State Pension payroll and in that capacity committed the fraud.

Prosecuting counsel, Sylvanus Tahir, sought the leave of the court to prefer charge against the accused person. He was vehemently opposed by the defence counsel, Abbas Ibrahim who stated that the EFCC lacked the capacity and competence to prefer charge: 'We submit that by the principle of separation of power enunciated in the doctrine of federalism duly recognized in section 2 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Federal Government and its coordinating states have distinct powers,' he said adding that, only the Attorney General of Kaduna State as its chief law officer has exclusive power to institute the case.

Tahir however urged the court to dismiss the defence counsel's submission as 'it is a ploy by the accused to delay his arraignment and trial.' He said the Commission was empowered by the EFCC Establishment Act, 2004 to fight economic and financial crimes.

Justice Khobo ruled that the EFCC Act adequately empowers the agency to prosecute and asked the accused to take his plea.

Sodangi pleaded not guilty to the 13 count charge when read to him.

Count 6 of the charge reads, 'That you, Muhammad Ibrahim Sodangi, being a Consultant engaged by the Kaduna State Government to undertake the Computerization of the Kaduna State Pension payroll, sometime between August, 2012 to December, 2012 at Kaduna in the Kaduna Judicial Division of the High Court of Kaduna State did take dishonestly the sum of N9, 937, 163.34 (Nine Million, Nine Hundred and Thirty Seven Thousand, One Hundred and Sixty Three Naira and Thirty Four Kobo only), property of Kaduna State Pension Bureau without its consent by enlisting your name into the Pension Payroll and which said sum were paid into your Keystone Bank Plc Account No: 05029000014 Kaduna Main Branch and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 287 of the Penal Code Law of Kaduna State of Nigeria.

Thereafter, Tahir asked the court to fix a date for trial and remand the accused person in prison custody.

However, Abbas urged the court to grant his client bail stating that he had never defaulted on the administrative bail granted him by the EFCC.

Justice Khobo granted bail to the accused in the sum of one million naira with a reliable surety, who must be resident in Kaduna. The surety is to have a clear means of identification such as international passport, national identity card or drivers licence. The surety must possess a landed property verifiable by the court.

Justice Khobo adjourned the case to June 19, 2014 for trial.