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Buhari Appoints Consultant Accused Of Fraud To Recover Looted Assets

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, has appointed a private consultant, Victor Uwajeh, accused of fraud to trace and recover undeclared assets and proceeds of fraud as part of the ongoing fight against corruption in the country.

The London based Nigerian private investigator, according to findings by HEADLINE, is facing a four-count charge the Federal Government preferred against him for attempting to obtain money through fraudulent means from Senator Andy Uba, who is representing Anambra South Senatorial District.

The office of the Attorney-general of Federation (AGF) instituted the suit against Uwajeh on behalf of the government.

The appointment of Uwajeh is obtained in a letter signed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Prosecution matters, Okoi Obono-Obla.

Dated 22nd March, 2018, the epistle said Uwajeh’s application has been considered for engagement as special investigator to his panel.

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on April 18th, issued order for substituted service of criminal summons on Uwajeh.

At the resumed hearing, government lawyer, Mr. Abubakar Alilu, told the court that the defendant had severally evaded service of the charge on him.

The charge borders on forgery, impersonation and fraud.

Alilu informed the court that a baliff that went with a policeman to effect the service at Uwajeh’s residence in Abuja, was almost shot by security men at the premises.

“One of the bailiffs went to the address of the defendant at 9, Jesse Jackson Street, Asokoro and was almost shot by the policemen guarding his house.

“The defendant is aware of this matter. His counsel had pleaded that he travelled to the United States and that once he returns he would appear in court.

“But my lord since then the defendant has failed to make himself available for trial. I know that it is not yet ripe to make an application for a bench warrant. However, I will apply under section 124 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act for leave of court to paste a copy of the criminal summon in a conspicuous part in the premises where he resides”, the prosecution added.

After he had listened to Federal Government’s lawyer, Justice John Tsoho, granted the request.

The case was, subsequently, adjourned till May 21.

Uwajeh was said to have been indicted by an investigation a crack team from the Nigerian Police Force conducted on a petition that was written to the Inspector General of Police, IGP, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, by Senator Uba.

The embattled lawmaker had in his petition, accused Uwajeh of attempting to use bogus and illegally procured documents to extort money from him.

Nevertheless, the defendant insisted that Senator Uba engaged his services for an assignment in the United Kingdom Border Agency and in the United States of America.

Uwajeh said he previously dragged Uba to court over his alleged refusal to pay him the debt of £1.9million that was remaining from their agreed fee.

In the said suit, the defendant accused Uba of parading fake academic credentials.

He said he got details of Uba’s alleged dubious qualifications from documents he was exposed to while he worked as a private investigator for the lawmaker.

Uwajeh’s letter of engagement reads: “Reference is being made to your letter dated 15th March 2018, “I am pleased to inform you that you application has been considered for engagement as a special investigator to the panel.

“Consequent upon this appointment, you are to trace and where necessary recover undeclared assets and proceeds of fraud for the Federal Government of Nigeria in line with the mandate of the panel. This appointment is subject to terms and conditions as may be expressed in a duly executed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).”

This development stands to question the potency of the anti-corruption mantra of the Buhari administration.

The judge, however, wondered why someone that the state wants to bring to justice would be shielded from prosecution by agents of the same government.

This regime has corruption allegations against about half a dozen members of the current federal cabinet in their previous functions; a military service chief, immediate past Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachar Lawal, former Director General, Nigeria Intelligence Agency (NlA), Wole Oke.

The others are Group Managing Director (GMD), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC); acting Head of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, as well as Inspector General of Police (lGP), Ibrahim Idris.

Except for the SGF and NlA DG that have been sacked after a long period of dilly dallying that created a negative impression of acquiescence in public eyes, the presidency and the relevant agencies that are supposed to act on the multiple allegations and indictments against the seeming untouchables around the corridors of power by driving the investigations to logical conclusions, have been practically silent.

Given the aggression with which the same anti graft institutions went after members of the National Assembly (NASS) accused of corruption while in fact they were being targeted for acting contrary to the ruling party’s dictates with respect to sharing of parliamentary offices, the lack of zeal to arraign the accused in President Buhari’s inner circles is quite unsettling.

Another arm of government which has received the ire of the presidency in its bid to tackle corruption even unconventionally is the judiciary. When high ranking members of the bar and bench accused of impeding justice by being plied with proceeds of criminal enterprise were found at odd hours in their sleeping robes instead court robes in detention facilities, members of the public were excited that if judges, including Supreme Court justices were not spared, then the death knell for corruption has been sounded.

But the accused judiciary members who argued that they were only being victimised for refusing to do the bidding of government against opposition politicians, fought back and subsequent court trials have vindicated most of them.

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