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EFCC Arraigns TStv MD, Bright Echefu, For Allegedly Defrauding Ex-Minister N380 million

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Bright Echefu, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (MD/CEO) of Telecom Satellites Limited (TStv) has been arraigned in court.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arraigned him and three others on a nine-count money laundering charges. 

 

Count six of the charges alleged that Echefu defrauded Mr Tanimu, MD of Kalsiyam Global and also former Minister of Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, the sum of N380 million. 

 

Others arraigned alongside Echefu before Justice Inyang Ekwo of a Federal High Court, Abua include the Executive Director of TStv, Felix Igboanuga; TStv and Briechberg Investment Ltd as 2nd to 4th defendants respectively. They, however, pleaded not guilty to all the counts. 

 

Upon their non-guilty plea, EFCC’s counsel, Tahir Sylvanus, SAN, prayed for an order remanding Echefu and Igboanuga in a correctional centre pending the hearing and determination of the case.

 

Sylvanus hinged his application on the grounds that it took almost a year after filing the charge before the defendants could be arraigned. 

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The lawyer, who said Echefu and Igboanuga were a flight risk, alleged that the duo refused to turn up for arraignment after being admitted to administrative bail and the charge filed on June 9, 2023. He, therefore, asked for a speedy trial of the matter. 

 

But Eyitayo Fatogun, SAN, who appeared for the defendants, informed the court that a bail application had been filed on his client’s behalf in October 2023. He urged the court to admit them to bail, pledging that the defendants were ready to stand their trial. 

 

The defendants were alleged to have, on or about May 18, 2020, committed the money laundering offence, including tax evasion, unremitted Value Added Tax (VAT) and Company Income Tax and Pay As You Earn (PAYE) deducted from the salaries of 165 staff. 

 

The offence is said to be contrary to the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended in 2012) and punishable under Section 15(3) and (4) of the same Act. 

 

In count five, Echefu, being the MD of Briechberg Investment Ltd on or about May 18, 2020, in Abuja, with intent to defraud, was alleged to have obtained the sum of N150 million from Mr Turaki Kabiru Tanimu, SAN, MD of Kalsiyam Farm. 

 

The monies were said to have been paid into Briechberg Investment Lid account number: 1015561485 domiciled with Zenith Bank Pic under the false pretence of representing loan advance to Telcom Satellite for the purpose of enhancing the acquisition of modern technology. 

 

Echefu was alleged to have misappropriated and converted the said monies to his personal use, among other counts.  

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IN-THE-NEWS

Investigation Into Cause Of Lagos Cholera Outbreak Not Concluded

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The Lagos state government has explained that unregistered tiger nut drinks have not been identified as the cause of the recent cholera outbreak in the state.

There were reports that Kemi Ogunyemi, special adviser to the Lagos state governor on health, said unregistered tiger nut drinks had caused the outbreak.

In an interview on Saturday, Ogunyemi was quoted as saying a survey carried out in Eti-Osa LGA showed that people who visited hospitals in the early days of the outbreak all said they had consumed an unregistered tiger nut drink.

“We found empty bottles with a name on them, but we discovered that it wasn’t even registered with the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, the regulatory body that ensures the safety of consumables,” she was quoted as saying.

“There was a phone number and a name on the bottle, and we started tracing. We did contact tracing, similar to what we did with COVID-19. We combed the area to ask people where they got the drinks from.

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“We couldn’t find any full bottles. We only found empty ones, which were of no use because we could not test them. The phone number on the bottle was not reachable.”

Reacting to the reports, Tunbosun Ogunbanwo, spokesperson of the ministry of health in Lagos, said Ogunyemi was misquoted.

“Investigations into what caused the outbreak is still ongoing. It is not true that it was caused by tiger nut drink,” he said.

On June 11, Akin Abayomi, Lagos commissioner for health, said five people had died while about 60 residents were hospitalised as a result of the “suspected” cholera outbreak in some parts of the city.

Days later, the commissioner confirmed the cholera outbreak and said there have been 350 suspected cases — with 17 confirmed and 15 fatalities.

As of June 20, there have been 24 deaths and 35 confirmed cholera cases in Lagos.

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Christ Embassy Fire Under Control, Says Lagos Fire Service

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Margaret Adeseye, the Director, Lagos State Fire and Rescue Service, has revealed that the fire that engulfed the Christ Embassy Church located at Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos has been brought under control.

We reported earlier on Sunday that the building caught fire, and officials of the LSFRS were also reported to be at the scene to put the fire out.

In a statement on Sunday, Adeseye provided updates on the situation, stating that no casualties have been reported.

She wrote, “At 07:27 hours, a fire outbreak was reported at the Christ Embassy Church located on Billings Way, Ikeja.

“Firefighting units from Alausa and Ikeja fire stations were promptly dispatched and arrived at the scene by 07:36 hours. The church auditorium was found to be engulfed in flames. The fire is currently under control.” READ FULL STORY HERE>>>CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING>>>

Adeseye added that some parts of the building have been pulled down to ensure that the fire is completely extinguished.

She added, “In addition, LASEMA’s excavator is being used to pull down some parts of the building to ensure complete extinguishment and to prevent further structural collapse.

“The cause of the fire has not yet been determined, and investigations are underway to ascertain its origin.

“No casualties have been reported at this time. Updates will be provided as more information becomes available.”

The President and founder of LoveWorld Incorporated, also known as Christ Embassy, Pastor Chris Oyakhilome, has also said the fire incident was not an accident but an avenue for bigger and better things.

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Ekiti University Student Slashes Her Colleague With Razor Blade During Argument

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Rachael Olufogbe, a 300-level student of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti in Ekiti State, has been arrested.

She was arrested by the police following a physical assault on a fellow student on Saturday.

It was gathered that the incident happened in a private hostel located in Oye Egbo, a community outside the school premises after Olufogbe and another female occupant disagreed with the right of drying line in the hostel.

The PUNCH correspondent learnt that the victim moved Olufogbe’s clothes to create space on the clothesline before spreading her clothes. However, Olufogbe protested this act, leading to an exchange of words between the two.

The situation escalated quickly as Olufogbe was said to have picked a blade to inflict bodily injuries on the victim. READ FULL STORY HERE>>>CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING>>>

Pictures obtained by our correspondent showed that the victim suffered bloody cuts in her throat, head, and chest.

The school’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof Sunday Fashina, confirmed the incident to our correspondent on Saturday.

He said, “The incident happened outside the campus in a private hostel. Nobody dares that within the campus because they know the rules and regulations. If anyone tries that, it will catch up with them. The police are already handling it.

“The suspect is in police custody, and once it involves the police, we cannot interfere. When they are done with their investigations, they will write to the Vice-Chancellor to give their report, then we conduct our investigation. So, let’s wait for the outcome of the police investigation.”

Efforts to reach the state Police Public Relations Officer, Sunday Abutu, were unsuccessful as calls made to his phone rang out and he was yet to reply to a message sent to his WhatsApp line as of press time.

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