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Opposition party Agent arrested in Ekpoma Edo state.

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The opposition party agent Ebhomien Julius Osamudiamen, of people Democratic party (PDP) has been arrested in Esan West collation centre in Ekpoma by Nigeria police force, when he raised alarm in the venue for protesting at the election results been rigged in Favour of The opposition party All progressive Congress (Apc).presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
The journalists stated that the issue started when the returning officer Mr Ola Iho Ojo,who was incharge of ward 2 Ujiogba Esan West local government area, the returning officer presented the results to Inec officer Professor Uwa mandy, there was protest by the Agent of people Democratic Party Ebhomien Julius Osamudiamen.


Mr Ebhomien Julius Osamudiamen begin to protest asking for the cancellation of the Results presented by the Returning officer. Julius Ebhomien said the results collected at different polling units in Ujiogba ward is totally different from what the returning officer presented for collation.
Professor Ola INEC returning officer refuse to accept Mr Ebhomien Julius Osamudiamen demand, and he said the collation will continue.

INEC then continued with the collation process.

Mr Ebhomien Julius told journalists during the collation process, he said we did not come here to rubber stamp the electoral fraud that has been declared by APC and INEC.

“INEC has been pribed APC has influenced INEC,” he said.
While the entire process has been compromised by INEC, Mr Ebhomien Julius, started asking for the cancellation of the entire Presidential election results in ward 2 Ujiogba.
The party agent of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Julius Ebhomien was not satisfactied with the process of the collation of results from Esan West collation officers for the presidential election.

Julius Ebhomien requested that the results should be displayed on the screen by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before they continue. Julius Ebhomien alleged that the uploaded results was differ from what collation officers were presenting.

“INEC failed in the transmission of results. When Julius Ebhomien and other party agents raised the issue, INEC returning officer said,”

Unfortunately, many party leaders have complained bitterly that INEC officials at the polling units were not able to upload election results into the IReV.

Julius Ebhomien affirmed that the only way for them to see that the BVAS hasn’t been deleted is to see uploaded results. “

Julius Ebhomien said INEC chairman should upload the results by state as the results are being presented.”
The police reacted when they see Mr Ebhomien Julius Osamudiamen, refuse for the continuation of the process.
The party agent Ebhomien Julius Osamudiamen, was arrested by the police to allow the continuation of the process.
The Esan West divisional police officer said Ebhomien Julius was arrested to allow the continuation of Results and they will charge him to court for violence during the collation of 2023 presidential election results in Esan West local government area Ekpoma Edo State.
The police further said that according to the 2022 electoral law as amended that anyone find causing violence before,during or after election shall face 14 years in prison.
The police said Mr Ebhomien Julius Osamudiamen, will be under police custody for persecution and breach of Electoral law.
The people Democratic Party chairman in Esan West Mr Akhimien according to him he said the party agent was acting under Nigeria constitution for right of freedom of speech and right to protest. he further said that Inec has succeeded in rigging the Election in Favour of The ruling party All progressive Congress. He claims that Democracy is in danger in Nigeria and call on international communities to come rescue Nigeria.

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Crime

Wema Bank Fined N61.4m After breaching 7 Nigerian Laws

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WEMA Bank found itself on the wrong side of 7 Nigerian laws in 2023, paying penalties totalling N61.350 million in one year.

This was revealed in the bank’s full-year 2023 financial statement, which showed that the lender contravened a cybersecurity law, a section of the Bank and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) circulars on Know Your Customers, among others.

On the cybersecurity framework contravention, Wema Bank received a fine of N2 million, but the lender was fined N20 million for breaching Section 19(3A) of BOFIA, 2020.

Also, Wema Bank was made to pay N17.45 million for violating the CBN circulars on KYC.

The bank further paid a fine of N10 million for the late rendition of final returns. The CBN circulars on KYC were targeted at reducing money laundering and other forms of financial crimes.

“There is no doubt that having sufficient information about your customer and making use of that information is the most effective weapon against being used to launder the proceeds of crime.

In addition to minimizing the risk of being used for illicit activities, it provides protection against fraud, reputational and

financial risks and enables individual financial institutions to recognize suspicious activities,” the CBN says in its KYC manual.

Similarly, the bank paid a penalty of N8 million for Risk-Based Supervision (RBS) breaches. The lender was likewise penalised for a regulatory breach on the CBN clearance, paying a fine of N2 million for the contravention.

For the late filing of its 2022 audited financial statements with the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), the tier-2 lender was fined N1.9 million.

Fraud and burglary lower but still risks

Fraud and burglary are still big risks for the bank, which lost N256.387 million to them in 2023. However, this was far lower than N880.154 million lost by the bank in fraud and burglary cases in the corresponding period of 2022.

This would mean that the bank took some measures to tackle fraud and theft in 2023, said a credit risk analyst, Mr Osai Djemba.

Mr Djemba explained that the bank “must introduce artificial intelligence measures to reduce its exposure to theft to the barest minimum,” arguing that “sophisticated thieves and several criminals have infiltrated the Nigerian financial system to steal, kill and destroy.”

Complainants demand N10.8bn

Wema Bank left 9,974 complaints unresolved by December 2023. This is lower than 13,642 unresolved complaints reported in the corresponding period of 2022.

Various customers with these complaints demanded N10.843 billion from the lender over the issues.

The bank, however, refunded N11.258 billion to customers (apart from the N10.843 billion), the financial statement said.

“As a result of the initiatives stated earlier, the Bank successfully reduced the average time taken to resolve customer complaints by 60% compared to 2022, and the resolution rate increased from 93% to 98% demonstrating our commitment to improving the experience of our customers consistently and efficiently, the bank noted.

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Crime

Contract Scam: EFCC Arraigns Kwara Businessman Alexander Adeniran Babatunde for N170m

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The Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on Monday, February 5, 2024, arraigned a businessman, Alexander Adeniran Babarinde from Oro-Ago in Ifelodun Local Government Area of Kwara State over alleged involvement in a contract scam, obtaining money under false pretence and forgery.Babarinde was arraigned by the EFCC, alongside his company, Ajays Engineering Limited and one Suleiman Muhammed, (who is currently at large) before Justice Mahmud Abdulgafar of the Kwara State High Court in Ilorin on eight–count charges bordering on obtaining under false pretences.

The defendants allegedly obtained several amounts of money from the complainant under the guise of funding and executing some Federal Government contracts.The petitioner alleged that Babarinde brought some contract awards letters from the Ecological Fund Management Committee Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Development, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, Umaru Musa Yar’adua University, Katsina Universal Basic Education Commission, National Research Institute for Chemical Technology. But, findings by the EFCC revealed that the letters were forged and never emanated from the said government agencies.

It was gathered that the defendants had obtained money to the tune of N170 million from the petitioner as capital to execute the non-existent contracts. All attempts to recover the money however proved abortive.Count three of the charges against him reads: “That you, ALEXANDER ADENIRAN BABARINDE, AJAYS ENGINEERING LIMITED and SULEIMAN MOHAMMED (STILL AT LARGE), sometime between the months of January 2021 and December 2021, in Ilorin Kwara State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, did obtain the sum of N30,530,300.00 (Thirty Million, Five Hundred and Thirty Thousand, Three Hundred Naira ) from one EZEKIEL OLA BABATUNDE as fees for the funding and execution of Federal Government contracts and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act”.Count four of the charges read: “That you, ALEXANDER ADENIRAN, BABARINDE, AJAYS ENGINEERING LIMITED and SULEIMAN MOHAMMED (STILL AT LARGE), sometime between January 2022 and December 2022, in Ilorin, Kwara State, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud did obtain the sum of N6,655,009.00 (SIX MILLION, SIX HUNDRED AND FIFTY-FIVE THOUSAND NAIRA) from one EZEKIEL OLA BABATUNDE as fees for the funding and execution of Federal Government contracts and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offence Act, 2006 and Punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act”.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to all the charges when they were read to him.Following his plea, counsel to the EFCC, Rasheedat Alao, urged the court to remand the defendant (Babarinde) in the custody of the Nigeria Correctional Service and give a date for trial to enable the prosecution to prove its case.Justice Abdulgafar ordered that the defendant be remanded at the Correctional Service and adjourned the case till March 13, 2024 for trial.

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Polaris Bank staff sent to prison over alleged ₦16.6bn fraud

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NAN reports that Onukogu, also known as Daddy Hezekiah, is the spiritual head of Living Christ Mission Church, Onitsha in Anambra.

On Friday, a Federal High Court (FHC), Abuja, ordered Chinenye Duru, a Polaris Bank staff and account officer, to Victor Onukogu, to be remanded in a correctional facility over alleged ₦16.6 billion fraud.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that while the I-G is the complainant in the charge marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/603/2023, Polaris Bank Plc and Duru are 1st and 2nd defendants.

Upon resumed hearing, I-G’s counsel, Abdulrasheed Sidi, informed the court that the matter was fixed for arraignment.

But Duru’s lawyer Chukwuemeka Kalu, said though they were ready for the plea, the prosecution was in contempt of the FHC’s order and could not be heard.

“When I finish with the plea, you can say what you want to say,” Justice Ekwo declared.

Adedapo Adejumo, who appeared for Polaris Bank, said a plea of not guilty should be entered for his client.

After the 11 counts were read to Duru and he pleaded not guilty, Sidi applied for a date for trial.

But Kalu said on the taking of the plea, fundamental issues on the prosecution’s conduct had been raised.

The lawyer said though he was not objecting to a date for trial, he said during Duru’s detention, they approached the court for the enforcement of his right.“The matter was before your learner brother, Hon. Justice D.U. Okorowo, who ordered the interim release of the 2nd defendant on bail.“The conditions for the bail were fulfilled on this same matter between the parties“It was based on whether the prosecution will continue with investigation or prosecution of the 2nd defendant while the EFCC is doing the same,” he said.Kalu said despite serving the court order on the I-G, they refused to comply with the directive, “upon which we commenced a contempt proceeding against him before this court.”

He said Forms 48 and 49 had been served on the I-G.“We believe the Inspector-General of Police cannot take this court for granted on this same matter by bringing the 2nd defendant before the court,” he added.The judge told Kalu that what was before him currently was a charge against Duru which a plea had been taken.He said if the lawyer had any objection to the trial proceedings or any other matter relating to the charge, he should look at the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) and comply with it. The court would look at his application and make a decision.“I cannot preside over the proceedings even though it is the same court, it is presided over by a different judge.

“If you have any issue, you will spend time looking at how to approach it as prescribed by the law.“Plea has been taken, I have to take two decisions, one is on the remand of the 2nd defendant and the other is the date for trial,” the judge said.But Kalu said he had the order for his release before the court and that under Section 158 of the ACJA, the court had the power to admit Duru to bail.“Where is your application for bail?” Justice Ekwo asked.The lawyer responded that they were standing on the already existing order by Justice Okorowo.

“Did you file it?” the judge asked.“We did not but the order is already before the court,” he responded.Justice Ekwo then said that he would make two orders; one for the trial and the other for Duru’s remand, but if Kalu filed the bail application, a date would be given to hear it.“How many witnesses are you calling?” he asked the police lawyer and Sidi said five witnesses.The judge, who adjourned the matter until April 23, April 24 and April 25 for trial, ordered Duru to be remanded in a correctional centre pending further orders of the court.

NAN reports that in count one, Polaris Bank and Duru were alleged to have between Nov. 17, 2017, and Aug 14, 2023, fraudulently withdrawn from Onukogu Victor Hezekiah’s account numbers: 1040495455 and 1060104735, domiciled with the bank the sum of N16 billion and ₦500 million.It said that knowing that the said money did not belong to them, “and knowing the same act was wrong with the intention of converting same to your personal use and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 21 (a) and punishable under Section 18 (3) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition Act, 2022.In count four, the defendants were alleged to have between Nov. 17, 2017 and Aug. 14, 2023, fraudulently withdrew the sum of ₦75. 534 million from Onukogu’s account number: 4010023601 contrary to Section 18 (2) of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition Act, 2022.In count six, they were alleged to have fraudulently withdrawn the sum of ₦13.3 million from Hezekiah University’s account number: 40910106770.The defendants were also alleged to have fraudulently withdrawn the sum of ₦16.3 million between the same date from Hezekiah University’s account number: 411054152 without any authorisation from the account owner to convert same to their personal use contrary to the Money Laundering Act, among other counts.

NAN reports that Onukogu, also known as Daddy Hezekiah, is the spiritual head of Living Christ Mission Church, Onitsha in Anambra.

(C) NEWS AGENCY OF NIGERIA

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