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Court freezes suspended Abiodun’s aide’s bank accounts, seizes Lekki home

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos Tuesday ordered the interim forfeiture of the funds and properties traced to Mr Abidemi Ganiyu Rufai, the suspended aide of the Ogun Governor facing wire fraud charges in the United States.

The order covers Rufai’s property located at House 11. Omodayo Awotuga Street, Bera Estate, Chevy View, Lekki, Lagos and funds in his accounts with two new generation banks.

Justice Tijjani Ringim made the order sequel to an ex parte motion filed and argued by a counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) Ebuka Okongwu.

The EFCC joined Rufai and his firm Omo Mayodele Global Investment as 1st and 3rd respondents in the suit.

Okongwu told the judge that it was essential for the court to grant the prayer of interim forfeiture to preserve the res and prevent further dissipation of the defendants’ funds.

He furnished the judge with an affidavit sworn to by an EFCC investigator, Usman Abdulhamid, detailing the agency’s investigation of Rufai in collaboration with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The investigator stated that Rufai had already dissipated a suspicious N29.37million in tranches of N5,000,000, N5,000,000, N2,730,000, N1,100,000, N2,040,000, N2,000,000, N2,000,000 and N5,000,000.

The funds were warehoused in his accounts in three banks.

Rufai was arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) at the John F. Kennedy (JFK) Airport in New York on May 14 over alleged $350,000 COVID-19 unemployment fraud from Washington State Employment Security Department, in the United States.

He was indicted for alleged conspiracy, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Justice Ringim in a bench ruling granted the EFCC’s order as prayed in the motion paper.

“I am satisfied by the averment in the affidavit deposed to by Usman Abdulhamid and the legal submission of the counsel that this application should succeed and same is accordingly granted as prayed,” he held.

The judge also ordered the EFCC to publish the order within 14 days from Tuesday for any interested party to show cause why the funds and properties should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

H3 adjourned further proceedings till December 1, 2021.

According to the affidavit, the EFCC investigated Rufai’s sources of income and bank accounts.

It found that on 19th March 2020, there was an inflow of N4,500,000, which was further dissipated the same day in five tranches of N1,000,000 (in four places) and N500,000 into Rufai’s Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank) Account.

It said the transaction recurred in the 1st Respondent’s account domiciled with the 3rd Respondent.

Subsequent transactions included but not limited to “transactions of the sum of N5,000,000 on the 27th March 2020, N5,000,000 on 3rd April 2020; N2,730,000 on the 7th April 2020; N1,100,000; N2,040,000 on the 14th April 2020; N2,000,000 on the 27th April 2020; N2,000,000 on the 28th April 2020; N5,000,000 on the 13th May 2020, and numerous other transactions, which were all dissipated to his GTB Account on the same day of the inflow.

“Further analysis revealed that prior to the first inflow on the 19th March 2020, the 1st Respondents account rarely receives such traffic and huge inflows.

“Upon proactive investigative method of asset tracking and recovery conducted by the Commission, it was revealed that the 1st Respondent owns a property located at HOUSE 11. OMODAYO AWOTUGA STREET, BERA ESTATE, CHEVY VIEW, LEKKI, LAGOS, NIGERIA,” it said.

The EFCC added that it wrote various letters of investigation activities to various financial institutions, agencies and related regulatory bodies, some of the responses of which are still being awaited.

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PHOTOS: Fani-Kayode dines at residence of another Buhari’s Minister

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Since Thursday when his defection to the All Progressives Congress (APC) was made public, Femi Fan-Kayode, former Minister of Aviation, has been under fire.

From Social media to traditional media, the former critic of President Muhammadu Buhari and the ruling party, has been lampooned.

But FFK has waved critics aside, sharing pictures of his visit to the residences of key APC figures.

On Saturday, he released pictures of his visit to Ali Isa Pantami, Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, whom he had labelled a terrorist and asked Buhari to sack a few months ago.

While the dust raised by the post is yet to settle, Fani-Kayode released fresh pictures of his visit to the residence of George Akume, Minister of Special Duties.

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Armed gang invade Lagos streets, injure many, loot shops

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Mushin area of Lagos State was yesterday, thrown into commotion as some armed gang invaded some streets, inflicting injuries on residents and destroying property worth millions of naira.

It was gathered one person died in the mayhem that forced churches within the affected communities to close for fear of being attacked.

Information had it that a notorious armed robber was arrested sometime by the police and was transferred to Abuja. But his release was allegedly facilitated by some big shots he worked for.

After his release, his loyalists from the Idi-Araba area of the state reportedly invaded some areas of Mushin to attack some persons whom they accused of being the cause of his arrest. The areas affected were Alafia, Daniel and Morgan.

A resident, who simply gave his name as Mitchy, explained that “the fight has been going on since midnight (Saturday)and the perpetrators came from Idi-Araba. This has been happening for almost six months. But last night and today’s(Sunday) were the most violent.

“Surprisingly, the armed thugs were teenagers between 16 and 19 years. They looted people’s shops and carted away goods. They were armed with machetes, guns and bottles.

“Holy Trinity Anglican Church at Alafia junction and Christ Gospel Apostolic Church on Da-Silva street could not conduct Sunday service.”

It was gathered teams of policemen from the Tactical Unit of the Lagos State Police Command were ordered by the Commissioner of Police, CP Odumosu to contain the situation.

When contacted, the command spokesman, CSP Ade Ajisebutu, said 15 suspects had been arrested in connection with the clash. He said axes, cutlasses and expended cartridges were recovered in the process.

According to Ajisebutu, “Normalcy has returned to the area. CP Odumosu has assured residents to go about their lawful businesses. At the end of an investigation, the suspects will be charged to court.”

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Ondo Govt seals off Shoprite, popular market

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The Ondo State Government has sealed off Shoprite and the neighborhood market in Akure, the Ondo State capital.

The popular facilities were sealed on Monday by the Ondo State Waste Management Authority, ODSWMA, over what was described as unsanitary and unhygienic practices.

A few days ago, the agency had taken similar action against five notable buildings in the state for flouting the environmental laws of the state.

Shoprite, which is located on Igbatoro road in Akure and the Neighborhood market at NEPA axis of the State capital, were accused of ignoring a series of warnings from the agency.

The General Manager of the Authority Mrs Ayo Adeyemo, who disclosed this, said the owners of the affected facilities violated environmental laws and failed to comply with the laid down hygienic practices.

Adeyemo, who maintained that further sanctions would be taken, warned that anyone found culpable will not be spared

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