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How I got N1.2b cash from Fayose, others, by bank chief

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The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday heard how the N1.2 billion allegedly given to former Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose from the Office of National Security Adviser (ONSA) was moved to the state.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is trying Fayose for allegedly receiving and keeping N1.2 billion and $5 million said to have been stolen from the ONSA.

Testifying before Justice Mojisola Olatoregun, the 11th prosecution witness, Mr Sunday Alade, said he was the Akure, the Ondo State capital Branch Manager of Zenith Bank Plc in 2014 when the money was moved to his branch.

Led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), the witness said he got a call from his Head of Operations asking him to prepare to head to Akure Airport to receive some cash from a customer.

“On June 17, 2014, I was in my office in Zenith Bank, Akure. I received a call from my Head of Operations, Abiodun Oshodi, that a customer would be coming to make a deposit into his account with the bank.

“He said in order to provide security, we should arrange for a bullion van to go to the airport to pick the cash.

“After an hour, Oshodi came and said the customer had arrived. He introduced Abiodun Agbele as the customer.

“He said we should prepare to go to the airport. I asked for time to arrange for security, but they said that won’t be necessary as they had sufficient security. They came with MOPOL (mobile policemen) and some soldiers in a Hilux van,” Alade said.

The witness said he joined Oshodi and Agbele to the airport, along with the bullion van and the security men.

He added: “At the airport, we waited for a few minutes before the arrival of the aircraft. Three individuals came out of the aircraft.

“Two of them walked away. The remaining person introduced himself as O. Adewale. The cash was offloaded into the bullion van and we drove to Zenith Bank in Akure.”

Alade also said when he and the others got to the bank, the money was counted in his presence.

According to him, Oshodi, Adewale and Agbele were also present at the bank.

“The money was counted in our presence. It was N724 million. We were informed that there was a balance. We went back to the airport and picked N494 million.

“The total cash amounted to N1.219 billion. Another aircraft brought the N494 million.

“I gathered that the cash was lodged in three bank accounts – those of De-Privateer, Spotless Investment and Ayodele Fayose.

“I also understand that some cash was taken away that day by Mr Agbele.”

Asked who Adewale was, he said: “Adewale O. introduced himself as (former Minister of State for Defence) Musliu Obanikoro’s ADC (aide-de-camp).”

On whether or not he knew those who walked away from the aircraft after it landed, the witness said: “One of them resembled Obanikoro. I never met him in person. But he resembled the person I saw on television and newspapers.”

Under cross-examination by defence counsel Ola Olanipekun and Olalekan Ojo, both SANs (for Spoless Limited, Fayose’s co-accused), the witness said he did not know where the money came from.

Asked if he knew what the money was meant for, he said: “Not at all.”

The witness said it took 10 days to process the cash.

Responding to a question by Ojo if he submitted a bulk cash register to the EFCC on the transaction, the witness said: “No.”

Ojo showed the witness a statement of account belonging to Spotless Investment.

He was asked to identify entries for October 6, 2014, September 5, 2014 and December 6, 2014.

Alade said the entries showed the transfer of N11.173 million each described as “mortgage repayment” and “mortgage loan liquidation”.

He added: “But I didn’t know anything about the transactions.”

To this, Ojo said: “Don’t worry.”

Before the trial began, Jacobs said he was involved in an accident and had to come to court in crutches.

The lawyer asked the court to allow him take only one witness, but he did not disclose when or where he had the accident.

He was seen wearing a heavy bandage brace on his right foot without a footwear.

There was also no indication that the case would be transferred to another judge.

EFCC Acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu reportedly wrote to the Chief Judge, asking that the case be withdrawn from Justice Olatoregun and re-assigned to another judge.

Magu was said to have expressed lack of confidence in the judge.

But no reference was made to the purported letter to the CJ by the EFCC acting chairman.

Fayose had pleaded not guilty when he was arraigned on an 11-count charge on October 22, last year.

EFCC said the former governor and Agbele, who is facing a different charge, allegedly took possession of N1,219,000,000 on June 17, 2014 to fund Fayose’s 2014 governorship campaign.

The commission said Fayose “reasonably ought to have known” that the money “formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: criminal breach of trust/stealing”.

EFCC said the former governor, on the same day, received cash payment of $5 million from Obanikoro without going through a financial institution.

The commission said the sum exceeded the amount authorised by law, thereby violating the Money Laundering Act.

Justice Olatoregun adjourned till May 10 and 14 for continuation of trial.

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Pastor accused of breaking member’s marriage

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Mr Tertsea Daagu, a member of the NKST Church, has accused a Pastor of the Church, Terlanga Unongu, of “causing confusion” in his relationship with his wife, Wandoo Daagu.

Daagu stated this during his defense in a divorce case brought against him by his wife, before a Makurdi Upper Area Court.

“I have never beaten my wife or accused her of adultery; it is my wife that admitted before our NKST Church Committee that she has committed adultery with one Rev Terlanga Unongu, a Pastor of the Church.

“I have not accused my wife of having an affair, but she has confessed to having an affair with Rev Terlanga Unongu.

“In 2007, she confessed to having an intimate affair with the Pastor when the Church committee took up the matter. I have the evidence with me written in Tiv language.

“Though the committee could not give an appropriate resolution, we appealed to the General Synod where a resolution was passed.”

He denied ever beating the woman, and claimed that she left his house with the approval of her father.

Daagu said that he was not opposed to divorce, adding that he was also not opposed to his wife having full access to their three kids.

It was gathered that Mrs. Wandoo Daagu had petitioned the court to dissolve the marriage, citing alleged brutality and “unnecessary” accusations of infidelity.

Wandoo, who said that she married her husband according to the Tiv Native Laws and Customs at Amua, Gaav in Konshisha Local Government Area in 2000, told the court that there was no longer love between them.

“We have three children; after nursing our last daughter, my husband started accusing me of being unfaithful.

“He kept attacking me and would be beat me up at the slightest provocation. I reported this cruelty to his parents, but instead of intervening, they took sides with him,” she said.

Wandoo said that she left Daagu’s house in 2008, when the cruelty became unbearable.

“Since I left his house, my husband has never visited me or my parents to discuss our issue. He has no respect for my parents,” she said.

She urged the court to dissolve the marriage and grant her full access to their three children.

The Judge, Ms Adole Akintomide, has adjourned the case to Dec. 14, for judgment.

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South Korea to donate $8m in aid for hungry North

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South Korea approved $8 million in humanitarian aid for the impoverished North on Wednesday, authorities said, with negotiations over Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal deadlocked and inter-Korean relations at a standstill.

It will be the first such aid Seoul has provided Pyongyang since 2015 and follows the North’s lowest recorded harvest for a decade, according to the United Nations.

The donation — to be made through the UN — comes as President Moon Jae-in seeks to salvage diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington following the breakdown of the Hanoi summit when Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump failed to reach a deal on the North’s nuclear programme and sanctions relief.

Pyongyang has since largely cut off contact with both Seoul and Washington, with the South’s unification minister saying this week he had last spoken to a North Korean official at the beginning of May.

Seoul’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean relations, said the government had approved a plan to provide the funds amid concerns over the “worsening food situation”.

It will be given $4.5 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) to help address malnutrition, along with $3.5 million to UNICEF for health issues among children and pregnant women.

More than 10 million North Koreans — 40 percent of the population — were suffering from severe food shortages, according to recent UN estimates. The figure is similar to recent years.

“WFP and other international bodies have requested assistance to the North on the back of concerns for deteriorating conditions among the vulnerable there,” the ministry said in a statement.

It is the first humanitarian aid implemented by Moon’s government, but a North Korean propaganda outlet has already dismissed it as “non-essential” for inter-Korean relations.

If the South “sincerely wishes for sustained development, peace and prosperity”, it should implement the inter-Korean economic joint projects agreed last year instead of “raising the issue of humanitarian aid”, the state-run Uriminzokkiri website said in a commentary last month.

Several sets of sanctions, imposed on the North over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, currently block many proposed developments.

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Tragedy as gunmen behead businessman in Rivers

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Gunmen on Wednesday night killed and beheaded a middle-aged businessman simply identified as Chima.

It was gathered that the victim was shot and killed before he was beheaded by his assailants in the presence of his wife at Rumuekini community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.

An eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stated that the incident happened around 11:00 p.m., adding that the killers put off the victim’s power generating set as a ploy to lure him out of his house.

It was gathered that the victim came out to check why his generator suddenly went off but was accosted by the gunmen, who shot, killed and beheaded him.

The source said, “The incident is shocking. Last night, Chima sat outside with his brothers and friends at a joint on the school road.

“Later around 11:00 p.m., we heard that he was attacked in his house. We heard that the killers turned off his generator and when he went outside to find out what happened to the generator, he was attacked.

“Immediately he came out, the boys shot him. He managed to run back into his house with the bullet, but the boys followed him, killed him and cut off his head.”

Another source explained that the hoodlums had ordered the wife of the deceased to bring a kitchen knife after they had killed her husband.

It was learnt that the gunmen used the kitchen knife to behead their victim and also ordered his wife to carry the head of her husband in a bucket into a waiting car before they zoomed off.

The killing and beheading of late Chima on Wednesday occurred despite the state governor’s stern warning to sanction Local Government chairmen and traditional rulers who condone criminality in their domain.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in Rivers State Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the incident.

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