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Monday, 12 March 2012

Lagos Speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji In Fresh N300 million Fraud…In Alleged Secret Meeting With Justice Okeke


The embattled Lagos State House of Assembly speaker, Adeyemi Ikuforiji who’s been running from pillar to post since an alleged money laundering and fraud case has been instituted against him by Nigeria’s anti-graft police, EFCC, the troubled politician according to impeccable sources has again been fingered in a fresh fraud. Our high profile source revealed that, Adeyemi Sabitun Ikuforiji has been fingered in another fraud of diverting over N300 million tax payers money through frivolous seminars for local government chairmen and councilors. Enquirer squealed that just as efforts are being made to get Ikuforiji out of the web of criminal trial, the embattled speaker has again been fingered in a fresh N300 million scam. It was authoritatively disclosed that the Speaker had appointed an ex Commissioner in Lagos, Senator Tokunbo Afikuyomi as a consultant to organise seminars for councillors and chairmen of the 57 local government councils in the state to be held in Lagos and Accra, Ghana. The seminar for the councilors, according to a source at the Lagos State House of Assembly, had been held in Lagos about two weeks ago while the one for the chairmen is currently going on in Accra Ghana. The Speaker, we learnt took over N300 million for the two seminars, a venture that should not cost tax payers more than N20 million. Quoting the source “the seminars are pure waste of Lagos State money, what he’s using our money to organise is not even the responsibility of the state house of assembly”. The source further divulged that it was the sole responsibility of the state local government service commission or the ministry of local government. “Please we need the public to know what we are seeing here, “It is really annoying and fraudulent” she added. The source also revealed that already two lawmakers have vowed to report the latest scam to the EFCC. In another twist, there are indications that Mr Ikuforiji has begun a structured payment of an alleged bribe of $1 million USD to Justice Okechukwu Okeke of the federal high court, Lagos where the EFCC recently re-arraigned him and his Personal Assistant, Oyebode Atoyebi for stealing public funds totaling over N273 million and laundering same through their bank accounts. The first installment of the bribe money, $500,000 was allegedly paid by Ikuforiji to Okeke at a location in Ikoyi last week after a prominent former governor of Lagos brokered a meeting between the embattled speaker and the trial judge on Bourdillion road, Ikoyi penultimate Saturday. The meeting, we also gathered had dragged on into the wee hours of Sunday during which our source revealed that Justice Okeke almost emptied a full bottle Moet Rose champagne. The judge was said to have struck an agreement with the accused to fast track the case and dismiss it for lack of sufficient evidence to warrant conviction. It is after delivering the final ruling that he’s to take delivery of the final installment of $500,000. It would be recalled that the speaker was recently arraigned for alleged money laundering before a Federal High Court in Lagos by the EFCC. The Speaker and his Personal Assistant, Mr. Oyebode Atoyebi, were arraigned on an amended 20-count charge before Justice Okechukwu Okeke, and as expected they’ve pleaded not guilty and were granted bail. While Ikuforiji got bail on self recognition, the Clerk of the Lagos Assembly, Mr Segun Habiru, stood as surety for Atoyebi. EFCC’s lawyer Godwin Obla informed the court of the existence of a charge against the accused persons and requested that it should be read to them. The defence team, led by Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), did not object to the request. The charge was read to the accused and they pleaded not guilty. After the arraignment, Oyetibo urged the court to grant bail to the accused persons on self recognition, the Speaker being the third citizen of the state. Obla did not oppose the bail application, but urged the court to attach conditions to Atoyebi’s bail. Justice Okeke granted bail to Ikuforiji on self recognition and directed that someone stands as surety for Atoyebi. Trial has been slated to start on March 26th, 2012. Ikuforiji and Atoyebi are being accused of accepting payments, amounting to N273,303,780 from the Assembly without going through a financial institution, an offence contrary to and punishable under Sections 16 (2) (b) and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011. The offence was allegedly committed between April 2010 and July 2011.

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