Notable Unresolved Cases With EFCC | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Notable Unresolved Cases With EFCC

Posted: Jul 11, 2016 at 4:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

The  Economic and Financial Crimes Commission under  Ibrahim Magu has launched a serious manhunt on corrupt public officers since President  Muhammadu Buhari took over office. Though some Nigerians have described the anti-graft agency’s arrest as being selective, it has able to prosecute some high ranking ex- service chiefs and politicians and has also recovered some subastantial amounts of money from the suspects.

But while the EFCC is doing this, there are some pending high profile cases which  Magu inherited from his predecessors, namely Nuhu Ribadu, Farida Waziri and Ibrahim Lamorde. Some of the personalities involved in this case include:

Orji Uzor Kalu:
Former Abia State Governor Orji Uzor Kalu was arraigned on July 27, 2007 before an Abuja High Court on a 107 count charge of money laundering, official corruption and criminal diversion of public funds in excess of N5 billion. He approached the Court of Appeal to set aside the ruling of the Federal High Court that he had a case to answer. The appellate court dismissed the appeal for lack of merit and gave the anti-graft agency the nod to prosecute him. The case is still hanging in court.

Joshua Dariye:
Another pending case is that of former Governor Dariye of Plateau State, who was arraigned by the EFCC before an Abuja High Court on a 23-count charge involving the sum of N700million. He was granted bail, but he later challenged the jurisdiction of the court to try him. He argued that the alleged offence committed by him took place in Plateau State and the funds involved belonged to the state, and argued that his trial ought to take place in the state, not in Abuja. The judge dismissed Dariye’s objection, which prompted him to approach the Court of Appeal, which also threw out the application and ordered him to go and face his trial. While the case is still pending before the court, Dariye won a senatorial seat in the 2011 polls.

Jolly Nyame:
Former Governor Jolly Nyame of Taraba State was docked on 41-count charge in July 2007. He was alleged to have embezzled N1.3billion and collected N180million from a contractor as a kick-back from a N250 million contract awarded to the company for the supply of stationery to the state government. His case is still undecided years later.

Ndudi Elumelu
Former Chairman of House Committee on Power, Ndudi Elemelu, was docked over a N5.2billion fraud charge brought against him by the EFCC . Justice Garba Umar ruled that he had no case to answer, and EFCC appeared to have gone to sleep ever since.

Peter Odili:
EFCC began moves to swoop on Rivers state officials in late 2006 when it issued a report of investigation into the state’s finances in which it said over N100 billion was diverted during Odili’s two terms. The report contained allegations of large-scale fraud, conspiracy, conversion of public funds, foreign exchange malpractice, money laundering, stealing and abuse of oath of office against the former governor.
To stave off impeding prosecution of officials, the then Rivers state attorney general went to court and got a perpetual injunction in March 2007 restraining EFCC from investigating the state government.
A year later, months after he had left office in May 2007, Odili himself went to court and asked to be made to benefit from the injunction and the court granted his prayers, making him perpetually immune from arrest, investigation or prosecution.
In October 2008, EFCC challenged the perpetual injunction at the Court of Appeal, but no judgement has yet been given nearly seven years after.

Lucky Igbinedion
In January 2008, Lucky Igbinedion, a former Governor of Edo State, was declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on 142 counts of financial fraud. This concerns allegations that he embezzled $24 million (£12m) using front companies.
The former governor’s overseas properties are valued conservatively at about N6 billion. Some of the identified overseas properties include: Mansion in Cape Town, South Africa, numerous houses in Johannesburg, South Africa. The famous Kenwood mansion in United Kingdom (UK), valued at £3.3m and paid for in one day. Igbinedion did not only embark on a shopping spree, he also set up a vast business empire. His younger brother, Bright, is allegedly the overseer of his estimated N7 billion business in South Africa.
It includes the five-star Hotel Constantia along Airport Road in Benin Benin-City, managed by his wife, Eki Igbinedion. The hotel is valued at about N4 billion.
Chief Lucky Nosakhare Igbinedion was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before the Federal High Court, Enugu in charge No FHC/EN/6C/2008 on a 191-count charge of corruption, money laundering and embezzlement of N2.9b. In a plea bargain arrangement, the EFCC through its counsel Mr. Rotimi Jacob reduced the 191-count charge to one – count charge. The single charge read:
“That you, Lucky Igbinedion (former Governor of Edo State) on or about January 21, 2008 within the Jurisdiction of this honourable court neglected to make a declaration of your interest in account No. 41240113983110 with GTB in the declaration of assets form of the EFCC and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 27 (3) of the EFCC Act 2004”.
The terms of the plea bargain were that the prosecutor would reduce the 191 – count charge to one – count charge and in return, Lucky Igbinedion will refund N500m, 3 properties and plead guilty to the one – count charge.

Pension fraud
EFCC is currently prosecuting two separate cases of pension scam in Federal High Courts in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT); the Police Pension Scam and the Head of Service of the Federation Biometric Data exercise scam. In March 2011, ten suspects from the office of the civil service of the federation were arraigned alongside 30 companies on 134-count charges for allegedly defrauding the Pensions Account, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation, over N30 billion.
The cases against the accused persons has gone through several court process over the years with amended charges and delays in the justice system, hence most of the charges filed in courts has not been concluded.