Tag Archive | "EFCC"

Lagos Court okays extradition of Nigerian accused of defrauding 70 US law firms

By Eric Ikhilae

•To stand trial on three-count charge

A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday granted an application by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, for the extradition of a Canada-based Nigerian, Emmanuel Ekhator, who is wanted in the United States for alleged criminal conducts.

Ekhator is wanted in the US over his alleged link with a group that defrauded some US law firms of about $29 million.Justice Fatimat Nyako held that with the evidence provided by the prosecution, the court was convinced that Ekhator should be extradited to the US to stand trial on charges against him at the US District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.The court ordered the US Embassy and the Federal Government to perfect his travel arrangement and ensure his extradition within 15 days.

The three-count charge marked 10-244 was part of documents from the US Department of State exhibited before the court by the prosecuting lawyer, Mr. Islam Hassan of the Federal Ministry of Justice.Ekhator, who is said to be a member of a syndicate that specialises in internet fraud, is accused of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, involvement in mail and wire frauds and money laundering. Most of the offences are said to attract a maximum of 20 years imprisonment.

He was said to have evaded arrest in the US last year and escaped to Nigeria. The US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was said to have placed him on its watch list.He was found in Benin, Edo State, where he was arrested earlier this year by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).EFCC, in a supporting affidavit to the extradition application, said Ekhator, who holds a Masters degree from the University of Bradford, West Yorkshire, resided in Canada with his wife, Nkechi.

The commission described Ekhator as the arrowhead of a ring of fraudsters operating between Canada, US and the Asian Peninsular, that had defrauded some law firms of $29 milliom.Ekhator and his gang were alleged to have, between August 2008 and August 2010 fleeced about 70 US law of over $29 million.EFCC said its investigation revealed that Ekhator and his gang simply contacts law firms through e-mails, posing as potential clients, claiming to be representatives of foreign companies, seeking legal representation to help negotiate and collect, on their behalf, claims and settlement in cases like real estate transaction, divorce or torts.

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Corruption: Nigeria’s Ranking Improves


The efforts of the Nation’s foremost anti-graft agency, the economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are beginning to yield results.
Nigeria has recorded an improvement in corruption rating, moving from 147th position to 121st out of 180 countries.
In the latest Transparency International 2009 Global Corruption Report, Nigeria had a 10point rating for 180 countries with Denmark, New Zealand and Sweden tied at 9.3 each to emerge as the least corrupt nations.
The United Kingdom and the United States occupied 16th and 18th positions with 7.7 points and 7.3 points respectively. The most corrupt countries are Haiti 1.4, Iraq 1.3 and Somalia 1.0.
Analysis of the report shows that Nigeria gained 26 more points in its fight against corruption by moving up from 147th to 121st.
The transparency international report described legal and institutional changes against corruption under President Umaru Yar ‘Adua as appreciable. It acknowledges such legal frameworks as the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative act 2007, the Public Procurement Act 2007, Investments and securities Act 2007, the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007.
The report is good and an indication that if the EFCC and relevant agencies are given needed support and cooperation by all stakeholders, things will get better.
In a related development, the United States of America has once again given Nigeria a clean bill of health as a drug free country out of a list of countries determined as a major drug-transit and producing country for the ninth consecutive time.
A statement issued in the White House by Ian Kelly, Department Spokesman, said: The United States released its 2009 narcotics clarification report in which Nigeria was certified for the ninth consecutive time’. The statement entitled Presidential Department for Major Drug-Transit and Major illicit Drug producing countries said the United States gave Nigeria a clean bill f health as a free-drug country.
All Nigerians should be congratulated for this remarkable feat which is a major advancement in our national image. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) should be commended for its resilience and determination which earned Nigeria, the prestigious certification.

Article written by Henry Kester Ewruje

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