Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has said it recorded a landmark 40 convictions in January 2019 alone.
The figure, according to an EFCC statement, is a cumulative of convictions secured across the Commission’s zonal offices.
A breakdown shows that the Lagos office earned 20 of the convictions, followed by the Abuja office which got nine. Both Port Harcourt and Kaduna offices each secured three convictions respectively, Kano recorded two, while Benin, Ibadan and Gombe offices had one conviction each.
Notable among the convictions, the statement said, are those of the two former officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who were sentenced to a total of 91 years jail term and forfeited their properties to the federal government.
“The duo were found guilty of laundering N264.8m in the build up to the 2015 general election, a sum which was believed to be their share of the $115m- illicitly dispensed by the former Minister of Petroleum Resources Diezani Alison-Madueke,” the statement said.
Also of interest is that of a fraudster, named Ibrahim Suleiman who defrauded the former First Inland Bank, now FCMB Plc of the sum of N400,700,000 only.
According to the EFCC, the money was fraudulently diverted from an account domiciled in First Inland Bank to the convict’s account from where he transferred various sums to different accounts. He bagged 32 years jail term.
Other convictions included that of one Adewale Dalmeida, a member of staff of Dangote Cement Group. He was sentenced to five years jail term for the diversion of nine trucks that were loaded with 800 bags of cement each, valued at N15 million each, which belong to his employer.
Efe Egube, a former bank manager in the defunct Oceanic Bank, was also convicted. Egube was arraigned alongside his company, Ocean Energy Trading and Services Limited, sometime in 2014 on a 19-count charge that bordered on obtaining the sum of N50,049,000 by false pretence, an offence that runs contrary to Section 1(1) and (3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006. He got seven years imprisonment in Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, presided by Justice Atinuke Ipaye.
“Given the new trends in internet fraud, the enhanced counter-fraud strategies of the Commission in this direction have also been yielding good dividends.
“The Commission specifically wishes to mention that a young man had to plead guilty for collecting money for products not delivered by an online store called ‘Beat Classic Stores’ created to sell shoes and bags online. He was sentenced to six months in jail.
“Following the pronouncements of the Acting Chairman of the Commission, Ibrahim Magu, the Commission can safely say that its January record is only a sign of bigger harvests to come,” the statement said.
Magu had assured recently of the Commission’s resolve to surpass its own 2018 record-setting 312 convictions in its efforts to rid the country of economic and financial crimes and effectively coordinate the country’s efforts in the global fight against money laundering and terrorism financing.
While addressing officers in the Lagos office early January, the acting chairman of the Commission added that: “Those who stole our commonwealth should know that there is no hiding place for them. A high tension searchlight is being beamed on them. It is in their interest to surrender because the game is up.”