In News by Oluwaseun Samuel on the 11th, July, 2020

Revealed! How Malami And Magu Clashed Over The Sale Of Seized Property

Revealed! How Malami And Magu Clashed Over The Sale Of Seized Assets

Ibrahim Magu

Malami and Magu

Contemporary info have emerged on the alleged sale of forfeited property by the workplace of the Legal professional Common of the Federation and the Financial and Monetary Crimes Fee which pitted the 2 authorities establishments in opposition to one another.

Investigations by one among our correspondents revealed that the Legal professional Common of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), and the suspended EFCC Appearing Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, at completely different instances gave separate authorisations for the sale of seized property.

Reasonably than harmonise the disposal of property forfeited by alleged looters and different people arraigned on fees of economic and cyber crimes, findings indicated that their respective workplaces had individually invited auctioneers to bid for the sale of luxurious properties, automobiles, vehicles, sea vessels, crude oil and different valuables working into billions of naira.

The Ministry of Justice and the EFCC had positioned a number of public sale notices within the Federal Tenders Journal and different media inviting the public for public sale gross sales of some seized property.

In February 2018, as an illustration, the ministry positioned an commercial inviting auctioneers, marine engineers, valuers and consultants for valuation and disposal of vessels, ships, boats, vehicles, autos and petroleum merchandise. The discover was positioned on a subscription-based on-line portal, https//:234enterprise.com.

The ministry hinged the transfer on the choice of the Federal Authorities  to “clear its territorial waters, ports, dockyards, company workplaces/stations and highways of out of date and unauthorised vessels, barges, boats, ships, vehicles, autos and the cargo in furtherance of Nationwide Safety of the Federation and restoration of its property coverage.”

On December 19, 2019, the anti-graft company auctioned 244 trailers and tankers forfeited to the Federal Authorities by unlawful oil sellers. Eleven auctioneers participated within the bid.

The train was inaugurated by the fee secretary, Mr Ola Olukoyede, along with a workforce of senior officers on the EFCC zonal workplace in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. The company issued a press assertion on the train. A duplicate of the discover was additionally printed on its web site.

Magu’s plan to public sale $40m Dieziani’s jewelry, others with out AGF’s approval his undoing – Sources

In November 2019, Magu additionally introduced that his company would contract worldwide public sale homes to promote the jewelry reportedly price $40m recovered from ex-petroleum minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, along with seizures produced from Web fraudsters, having secured a forfeiture order from the Federal Excessive Court docket on September 10.

Magu said this throughout a convention on the Lagos workplace of the fee, the place he briefed the stakeholders on the campaign in opposition to cybercrime and fraudsters.

The jewelry contains 419 bangles, 315 rings, 304 earrings, 267 necklaces, 189 wristwatches, 174 earrings, 78 bracelets, 77 brooches and 74 pendants; in addition to luxurious homes in Nigeria, United States and in the UK.

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Sources mentioned the refusal of Magu to contain the AGF within the disposal of the forfeited property largely knowledgeable the rift between them, which led Malami to jot down a memo to the President, Main Common Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), wherein he reportedly levelled 22 allegations in opposition to the embattled EFCC boss, who’s a commissioner of police.

Following the event, the President arrange a fact-finding panel headed by a retired President of the Court docket of Attraction, Justice Ayo Salami, and 6 different members, together with DIG Mike Ogbizi, Hassan Abdullahi (representing the Division of State Companies), Douglas Ekwueme (Nigerian Monetary Intelligence Unit), Mallam Shamsudeen (OAGF), Mohammed Abubakar (Ministry of Justice) and Kazeem Atilebi (civil society teams).

Magu has been held in police custody since Monday and at present present process interrogations over what was mentioned to incorporate the unapproved sale of recovered property.

The embattled EFCC boss was mentioned to have been accosted on Monday by operatives of the Division of State Companies in entrance of the previous EFCC headquarters on Fomella Avenue, Wuse 2, Abuja, round 12pm and whisked to the venue of the panel sitting.

The panel’s investigation is holding behind closed doorways in one among the convention rooms within the previous Banquet Corridor of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

In the meantime, paperwork obtained by Saturday PUNCH on Friday indicated that the AGF final 12 months granted approval to some operators in the oil business to promote 5 sea vessels holding crude oil and diesel forfeited to the Federal Authorities.

The vessels valued at thousands and thousands of naira and laden with tonnes of crude oil and diesel had been seized by safety companies from unlawful oil bunkering operators throughout completely different operations.

In separate paperwork, the AGF directed Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd. to eliminate the crude oil and diesel in 4 sea vessels via an open bid.

In one other approval, the AGF mandated the agency to promote 5 vessels even supposing the agency and its Managing Director, Mr Jerome Itepu, stood trial on the Delta State Excessive Court docket, Asaba, for allegedly stealing about 12,000 metric tonnes of crude oil loaded in a vessel, MT Akuada a.okay.a. MT Kua, valued at N384m in 2009. The auctioneer was to get three per cent of the sale.

The EFCC had in 2015 arraigned 4 individuals on fees of conspiracy, stealing and receiving stolen items.

The accused included a businessman and chieftain of the All Progressives Congress in Edo Central Senatorial District, Chief Francis Inegbeneki; Chief Government Officer of Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd., Mr Jerome Itepu; Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd. and Ine Oil Ltd. owned by Inegbeneki.

The swimsuit, numbered A/EFCC/1c/2015, was filed on March 24, 2015 by A.J. Arogha, Esq. and U.R. Ewoh, Esq. on behalf of the EFCC.

The accused had been charged with “conspiracy, opposite to, and punishable underneath part 516 of the Felony Code Legislation, CAP C21, Legal guidelines of Delta State 2006.”

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In line with the anti-graft fee, the accused, someday in 2009, at Warri, Delta State, throughout the jurisdiction of the court docket, allegedly conspired to “commit a felony, to wit: stealing and, thereby, dedicated an offence.”

It said, “They had been alleged to have dedicated the offence of stealing, opposite to part 383 of the Felony Code Legislation, CAP C21, Legal guidelines of Delta State 2006, which is punishable underneath part 390(four)(c) of the identical legislation.

“In line with the particulars of the offence, they allegedly stole about 12,000 metric tonnes of crude oil loaded in a vessel, MT Akuada a.okay.a. MT Kua, valued at N384m in 2009, being the property of the Federal Authorities of Nigeria.”

The third rely indicated that the accused additionally allegedly stole about four,000 metric tonnes of crude oil, loaded in a vessel, MT Hope, valued at N128m belonging to the Federal Authorities.

Inegbeneki, the second accused within the cost sheet, was additionally charged with allegedly receiving stolen items opposite to, and punishable underneath part 427 of the Felony Code Legislation, CAP C21, Legal guidelines of Delta State 2006, “having allegedly acquired from one Itepu (first accused) and Omoh-Jay (third accused), about 12,000 metric tonnes of crude oil, understanding identical to have been stolen.”

Nonetheless, findings by one among our correspondents indicated that the AGF authorised Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd. to public sale the forfeited vessels.

In a letter dated April three, 2019, with reference no. HAGF/ARMU/RMDOVSC/2018/T addressed to the Chief of Naval Employees, Nigerian Navy, Vice Admiral Ibok-Ete Ibas, the AGF mentioned Omoh-Jay Ltd. had been granted approval to conduct an open bid and solicited the cooperation of the navy.

The letter signed by Malami, titled ‘Re: Swimsuit no. FHC/ABS/CS/742/2017 FRN and Anor. vs unknown individuals (arrested vessels), was acquired by the CNS on the day it was signed.

It learn, “Please be told that Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd. has been granted approval to conduct an open bid for content material just for the following vessels: MT Asteris with crude oil, MV PSV Derby with Automated Gasoline Oil (diesel), MV Zahra with AGO and MV Lengthy Island with AGO (with go away of court docket).

“For the aim of disposal of the merchandise underneath reference, the Workplace of the Honourable Legal professional-Common of the Federation and Minister of Justice requests the Chief of Naval Employees to kindly grant entry and vital help as at all times for the entire course of.”

Within the second approval, Malami directed Omoh-Jay Nigeria Ltd. to conduct one other open bid for 5 sea vessels, three of which had been laden with crude oil and diesel.

The letter addressed to the MD of Omoh-Jay Ltd, dated September 9, 2019, with reference HAGF/ARMU/NSA/2018/1, was additionally signed by the Justice Minister. It was titled, ‘Re: Report on swimsuit no. FHC/ABS/CS/742/2017 FRN and Anor. v unknown individuals (arrested vessels).

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It learn partially, “Pursuant to your earlier instruction dated September 12, 2018, on the above material, you’re hereby instructed additional to conduct an open bid sale for the next vessels: MT Asteris with crude oil, MV PSV Derby with Automated Gasoline Oil, MV Zahra with AGO, MT Peace and MV Anuket Emerald.”

It additional directed the agency to revert with gives to the AGF for ultimate approval earlier than the conclusion of the sale.

“Learn that the success charges stay three per cent of the overall worth recovered from the public sale. You might be, due to this fact, anticipated to submit acceptance letter inside 72 hours of the receipt of this instruction,” Malami directed.

Nonetheless, our correspondents couldn’t verify the present standing of the case between the EFCC and Omoh-Jay Nigeria Restricted in addition to different  co-defendants as of the time of submitting this report on Friday.

Reacting on behalf of the AGF, in respect of the approval to Omoh-Jay Ltd, his media aide, Dr Umar Gwandu, merely requested one among our correspondents to make a proper request.

“You might be additionally inspired to help the enquiry with proof of prison conviction. This can help investigation and determination in contemplating them for public sale or in any other case in view of constitutional presumption of innocence till in any other case established,” he famous.

On the shortage of synergy between the AGF and EFCC on property disposal, Gwandu argued that restoration companies had been unified by current regulation in property restoration put in place to control their processes and process in restoration and disposal of recovered property.

He said, “It’s misplaced to conclude that there is no such thing as a collaboration. Failure to work on current regulation that pressured collaboration, transparency, accountability and uniformity can, due to this fact, at finest be adjudged as an act of breach.”

Requested particularly why the AGF and Magu had been independently authorising public sale of property, he responded, “Submit your enquiry with paperwork to again your declare.”

The EFCC spokesman, Dele Oyewale, had but to answer inquiries concerning sale of property with out recourse to the AGF as of the time of submitting this report.

When contacted on the standing of the case involving Omoh-Jay Ltd. and different defendants, an EFCC lawyer, A. Latona, declined remark. “Make your inquiry official, please; I don’t reply to questions on the telephone,” he mentioned on Friday evening.

***

Supply: Saturday PUNCH

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