£2.5Billion Scam:  We Won’t Allow Anyone To Defraud Nigeria-  EFCC

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC has raised the alarm over attempts  by certain group of lawyers  and their sponsors to  short-change  Nigeria,  saying  that the Commission  will not allow anyone to defraud the country  over the controversial  claim of £2.5billion.


The Commission  strongly condemns a calculated attempt  by a group  of 27 lawyers to blackmail one of its lead prosecutors, Mr. Rotimi Jacob, SAN,  on the  contentious  £2.5billion, insisting that Jacobs is a reputable lawyer  who has successfully prosecuted several high-profile cases for the EFCC.


The 27 lawyers had , in a petition addressed to the National Executive  of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA,  alleged that Jacobs was using the EFCC to arrest,  harass and intimidate them for winning a monetary suit against the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and Union Bank of Nigeria plc.


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Speaking through  one Mr. Onyechi Egwuonwu, the 27 lawyers further alleged  that the Union Bank  induced the EFCC and Jacobs  to file criminal charges against their client,  Petro Union  Oil, in order to frustrate the execution  of the judgment.


But debunking the claim of the lawyers on Tuesday, the EFCC  dismissed  the claim, describing it as false and misleading.


The EFCC said, “For  the purpose of clarity,  the purported  £2.5billion is a fictitious fund Petro Union Oil drew against  an account  in Barclays Bank( United Kingdom) through a cheque issued in 1994.


“The company made a fraudulent attempt to present the cheque for clearing  through Union Bank  but enquiries made by Union Bank  at Barclays Bank  showed that the account against which the cheque was drawn  was closed  in 1989,  five years before the cheque  was presented in Lagos for clearing.  Besides, the company  had also been voluntarily dissolved  by its promoters in the United Kingdom.   The same promoters are the mastermind of Petro Union oil.


“For some inscrutable reasons,   Petro Union Oil was able to procure a court judgment for the  £2.5billion against the CBN and Union Bank  on the basis of an alleged CBN Statement of Account when it is elementary that the CBN ,like all Central Banks across the world, does not maintain accounts for private entities.   Based on the foregoing, the EFCC filed a 7-count charge against Petro Union oil  and its directors and trial is ongoing at the Federal High Court.


“It should be pointed out that, the publication alleging  intimidation and harassment by the lawyers   is a desperate attempt by the shady elements and their promoters to divert attention from  their ongoing trial and frustrate the EFCC in its determination  to rid the country of corrupt and manipulative elements , including the  lawyers and other professionals who lent their names to aid the fraud.

“Mr. Rotimi Jacobs, SAN,  is a highly respected member of the legal profession who has worked assiduously  in conjunction with the EFCC to secure convictions of many notable convicts  in the society.   The EFCC will not be deterred  from its avowed goal  and is considering  filing a complaint against these desperate lawyers  with the appropriate organ of the legal profession.”

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