High profile corruption: How Major Gen. Atewe allegedly stole N8.5b
INEC officials indicted in N177.3 million money laundering
In our review of high-profile corruption trials today, the former Commander of Operation Pulo Shield, a military Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta, Major General Emmanuel Atewe (retd), was arraigned over N8.5 billion alleged fraud alongside other accused persons.
Three officials of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Gbadegun Abiodun, Afolabi Albert and Oladipo Oladapo, were also arraigned for N177.3 million money laundering.
Emmanuel Atewe -N8.5 billion fraud
Major General Emmanuel Atewe (retd) is a former Commander of Operation Pulo Shield, a military Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta who was charged for N8.5 billion alleged fraud alongside others.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on February 3, 2017, re-arraigned him along with former Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Director-General Patrick Akpobolokemi, before a Federal High Court in Lagos.
The prosecution also named Mr. Kime Engozu and Mrs. Josephine Otuga in the charge.
Prosecution said NIMASA, under Akpobolokemi, approved billions of naira to several military personnel who were purportedly engaged to patrol the creeks to prevent pipeline vandalism and illegal bunkering.
The funds, according to the EFCC were allegedly diverted to private accounts through fraudulent means.
The anti-graft agency alleged that the defendants conspired among themselves to defraud NIMASA of N8.5 billion using six companies.
Their re-arraignment was sequel to the transfer of the former trial judge, Justice Saliu Saidu, from Lagos to the Port Harcourt division (Justice Saidu had since been transferred back to Lagos).
The accused were re-arraigned before a new judge, Justice A.O Faji, and their pleas taken afresh.
After their re-arraignment, defence counsel prayed the court to allow the defendants continue on the earlier bail granted by the previous judge.
Atewe, Engozu and Otuaga were each granted N100 million bail each with two sureties in like sum by Justice Saidu.
Hearings are ongoing on the case.
INEC officials – N177.3 million money laundering
The EFCC arraigned three officials of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mr. Gbadegun Abiodun, Mr. Afolabi Albert and Mr. Oladipo Oladapo on August 1, 2018, for money laundering.
They were accused of taking a bribe of N177.3 million on March 30, 2015, in the build-up to the 2015 general elections when they were attached to Osun State office of INEC.
EFCC alleged that the officials breached the money laundering act 2011 as they handled the cash without going through any financial institution.
Although they pleaded not guilty, Justice Chuka Obiozor ordered that they should be remanded in Ikoyi prison until they meet the N100 million bail condition with a surety each with landed property in Lagos State.
Trials commenced in 2018.
[This Publication includes part of a compendium by Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) covering corruption cases as at 22nd of November, 2019.