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How Former Intercontinental Bank Chief, Erastus Akingbola Bought London Properties for £9.7M



A prosecution witness, Abdulraheem Jimoh, has told a Federal High Court in Ikoyi Lagos how Erastus Akingbola, a former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, diverted funds from the bank and bought some properties in London for the total sums of £9.7million.

Jimoh made the revelation before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun on Wednesday.

The prosecution had, on Tuesday, March 12, opened the trial of the former bank chief.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Dr Erastus B.O. Akingbola, whilst being the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Intercontinental Bank Plc, between November 2007 and July 2008, at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, caused to be created a misleading appearance of active trading in the shares of Intercontinental Bank Plc on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, by being connected with the utilization of an aggregate sum of N179, 385, 000, 000 (One Hundred and Seventy- Nine Billion, Three Hundred and Eighty-five Million Naira) of the bank’s funds for the purchase of Intercontinental Bank Plc’s shares.” 

At the resumed hearing,  Jimoh a former Chief Inspector with the defunct Intercontinental Bank, told the Court how he unravelled fraudulent transactions by Akingbola. 

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN,  the witness said, “I was given a letter by the Management of the bank, which came from Tropics Securities Limited, a company owned by Dr Erastus Akingbola, his wife and some other shareholders.

“The letter was addressed to the Group Managing Director, Dr Erastus Akingbola and attention drawn to Mr Olayinka Adebiyi, requesting the payment of N10billion, N1.2billion and N4.3billion to Tropics Securities Limited and other companies.

“Investigation report on the issuance of N10billion to Tropics Properties, Tropic Securities Limited and Bankinson Nigeria Limited showed the monies paid and cleared by Access Bank were said to have been used to pay for the “indebtedness to Access Bank.”

The witness said the N10billion fraud was discovered by the bank and later forwarded to him for further enquiry.

In his further evidence, he said he discovered during the investigation that the defendant acquired properties in London with the sums of £8.5million and £1.2million allegedly diverted from the bank.

He added: “This was discovered when the bank received a letter via e-mail from Deutsche Bank of London.

“Monies were transferred to Soo-Kok Holdings Limited; Tofa General Enterprises; Cinca Nigeria Limited; Harmony Trust and Investment Limited; Stanzus Investment Limited.” 

Counsel to the defendant, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, during cross-examination, confronted the witness with a documented evidence he gave to an Ikeja High Court some years ago,  where he contradicted himself over his MBA qualification.

“I enrolled, but the MBA programme was aborted because I didn’t finish some project works in 2000 from the University of Ilorin”, the witness told the Judge. 

Olanipekun also told the court that the witness was misleading the court, adding that “The witness is not a witness of truth and, therefore, should not be believed by the court of his testimony.” 

When asked to explain to the court the origin of the statement to the court marked exhibit L, he said:  “The statement was written in my office when the EFCC investigators came to interview me.

“They gave me their letter head. 

“The statement was typed by someone else in my office.  

“I sat beside the person who typed the statement, while I dictated the hand- written statement to her.” 

Under further cross-examination, he said he never interrogated or met with the defendant.

The witness, however, admitted to have interrogated various Heads of Departments in the bank. 

“I interrogated various Heads of Departments in Intercontinental Bank because they acted upon the instructions of Akingbola”, the witness said.  

The witness also told the court that no loan was granted to the defendant or his companies. 

Justice Olatoregun adjourned the case to March 14, 2019 for continuation of trial.  

The defendant was first arraigned before Justice Mohammed Idris of the same court on a 26- count charge of fraud, granting reckless credit facility, abuse of office and mismanagement of depositors’ funds in 2009. 

The case was later transferred to Justice Charles Archibong on October 25, 2010. 

Justice Archibong, however, struck out the charge for want of diligent prosecution by the prosecution. 

Dissatisfied, the Commission approached the Court of Appeal on February 20, 2015. 

The appellate court, in its ruling, overturned the judgment of the trial court.  

The defendant subsequently headed for the Supreme Court, where the decision of the Appeal Court ordering him to face the charges preferred against him by the EFCC was affirmed.

The prosecution counsel, Mr. Mabas Mabur, represented the EFCC in the case.

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Court Convicts Former NIMASA DG, Obi over N136million Fraud



The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday, May 23, 2019, secured the conviction of a former acting Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Callistus Obi. Also convicted was Alu Dimas, an aide to Patrick Akpobolokemi, a former Director-General of NIMASA. They were convicted by Justice Mojisola Olatoregun of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi.

The duo were arraigned alongside two companies, Grand Pact Limited and Global Sea Investment, on April 12, 2016 on an eight-count charge bordering on conspiracy, conversion, and money laundering to the tune of N136million (One Hundred and Thirty Six Million Naira).

The prosecution proved that the convicts converted the sum of money, N136million, belonging to the Agency to their personal use on August 5, 2014.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Callistus Nwabueze Obi and Dismas Alu Adoon, on or about the 5th day of August 2014, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: Conversion of the sums of N111, 000, 000.00 (One Hundred and Eleven Million naira) property of NIMASA, knowing that the said sums were proceeds of stealing, and thereby commited an offence.”

The defendants pleaded not guilty to the charge preferred against them, thereby leading to their trial.

In the cause of the trial, the prosecution called eight witnesses and tendered several documents, which were admitted in evidence by the court.

At the resumed hearing today, Justice Olatoregun discharged and acquitted the defendants of the charge of conspiracy preferred against them.

The Judge, however, convicted them of conversion and money laundering.

The Judge said:  “The prosecution has proved the charges preferred against you beyond reasonable doubt with evident conversion and money laundering of N136million”.

Justice Olatoregun, however, deferred sentencing to May 28, 2019 and ordered that the convicts be remanded in prison custody.

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Togolese cook seeks plea bargain in Credit Switch CEO’s murder…as wife gives own account



30-year-old Togolese cook, Sunday Anani, charged with the murder of the Chief Executive Officer of Credit Switch Ltd, Chief Opeyemi Bademosi, yesterday Tuesday May 21st, asked the Lagos state High Court in Igbosere to grant him a plea bargain agreement with the government.

Recall that 67-year-old Bademosi was stabbed to death at his home in Parkview estate, Lagos state in October last year. Anani fled the scene of the incident and was later arrested in his hideout in Ondo state.

At the commencement of proceedings on Tuesday, Anani’s counsel, the Director of the Office of the Public Defender (OPD), Mrs Aderenra Adeyemi, informed the court of his decision to a plea bargain. Adeyemi told Justice Mobolanle Okikiolu-Ighile that Anani would be opting for a plea bargain deal and that the defence had approached the prosecutor, Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Ms Titilayo Shitta-Bay, to that effect.

Meanwhile the wife of the deceased, Mrs. Ebunoluwa Bademosi, yesterday, gave her own account of what transpired on the sad day her husband was gruesomely murdered. Mrs Bademosi told the gory story of how she returend from work to find her husband in a pool of blood.

“I went through the kitchen door to gain access to the building. The kitchen door was locked. I knocked several times, calling on the defendant (Anani), but he didn’t come to open the door. My husband’s bedroom and the kitchen door was a distance, so I felt he (Anani) must be doing something for him, so I waited by the kitchen door, for a while. While i was waiting, I got a call from my sister, at Ibadan and we spoke for about 5-6 minutes. ’At some point, I brought out my phone from my bag and called my husband, I realised that the phone was being picked but he was not responding. I called him twice and it was the same thing. It was showing minutes counting but nobody was talking.

‘’I went downstairs and decided to pass through the front door, thinking if I got there, there would be somebody at the door. By the time i got to the front door, I realised that the door was left ajar.”

Mrs Bademosi said she immediately suspected something bad had happened.

“I entered the apartment. By the time I got in, I looked up and saw blood flowing out of my husband’s bedroom. I couldn’t enter my husband’s bedroom because the door was only partially open but I could see his body lying on the floor. I wasn’t sure of what could be happening inside the bedroom, so, I ran out of the building and started screaming, calling neighbours to help. A couple of people came. I told them to go up and check that something was happening, that I didn’t know what exactly it was” she said

Mrs. Bademosi told the court that she ran to the gate and asked the security man,

“Where is that guy that oga brought into the house? What is happening? Who is inside the house?”

The guard said the defendant informed him the deceased sent him on an errand.

“People started coming, my next door neighbours and her driver were going upstairs and I followed them but i stood at a distance. They came out and said he was gone (sobbing), my husband was gone, and the defendant was not inside the house, then i passed out. When I woke up, I saw a crowd around me, inside the house, my husband’s corpse was lying down there. They took me downstairs because they didn’t want me to see the corpse. The police later came and took his corpse in an ambulance, he was buried on November 21, 2018? she said

Mrs Bademosi refuted claims that she had a strained relationship with her deceased husband.

“I had a very cordial relationship with my husband. I cooked for my husband”.

The case was adjourned till June 11 for continuation of trial.

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£1m fraudsters who funded notorious Nigerian organised crime gang convicted



Three siblings who were working directly for the leader of a notorious Nigerian crime gang have been convicted of laundering nearly £1m for the Black Axe organised crime syndicate through UK bank accounts.

Okemiorukaye Nakpodia, 56, was found guilty of conspiracy to money launder at Woolwich Crown Court today (8 May 2019). Esther Nakpodia, 35, Unuakpotovo Nakpodia, 46, both pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing.

All three siblings, who live in Greenwich in London, will next appear at the same court on 24 May 2019 for sentencing.

They laundered the proceeds of hundreds of frauds between 2007 and 2015.

Police identified 174 suspicious transactions entering bank accounts. Money from a number of the victims of the original frauds ended up in the defendants’ bank accounts and was then laundered by the Nakpodias.

The leader of the Black Axe, Augustus Bemigho-Eyeoyibo, is the brother-in-law of the three defendants. Black Axe is a banned organisation in Nigeria and has been linked to decades of murders, rapes, extortion and drug dealing in Nigeria and across the world, with members allegedly swearing a ‘blood oath’ to join.

Esther and Unuakpotovo Nakpodia are also subject to extradition proceedings concerning advance fee frauds in Greece, to be held at Westminster Magistrates Court at a later date.

Philip Slough, for the CPS, said: “We were able to show the Nakpodias were talking to Augustus Bemigho-Eyeoyibo, the leader of Black Axe, based on conversations found on their devices.  They talked about the amounts, and what to do with the funds after they arrived, including how much to keep for themselves.

“This strong evidence confirmed that the Nakpodias had been actively involved for a number of years in a conspiracy to launder money which had been stolen by others using phone and email scams.

“This prosecution will play a role in starving a dangerous criminal gang of funds and we will seek to recover their proceeds of crime at a later hearing.”

Building the case

Philip Slough, for the CPS, said: “Esther Nakpodia claimed to have never heard of Black Axe, denying links to the organisation – this despite the fact her sister has been married to the group’s leader for 14 years.

“Esther denied knowing that Augustus Bemigho-Eyeoyibo is involved in gang activity, and said she believed he was a reputable business man. She accepted being in possession of £28,000 when arrested – this was money withdrawn from her bank account and was taking it with her to Nigeria to give to her sister and brother-in-law in person. A number of incriminating text messages were found on her mobile phone seized from her upon arrest, revealing her deep involvement in the laundering of these funds.

“Unuakpotovo Nakpodia admitted opening and controlling numerous bank accounts – between January 2007 and February 2015, she received over £700,000 of suspicious payments from between 65-70 unconnected parties in 16 different countries. Unuakpotovo also denied being part of a conspiracy to money launder the proceeds of crime.

“Okemiorukaye Nakpodia accepted all transactions relating to the bank accounts attributed to him – he received nearly £50,000 of direct suspicious payments from eight unconnected third parties in three different countries. He claimed not know the source of these transfers.”

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