Connect with us


Joseph Petitions VP Osinbajo Again Over N170m Deal with FIRS



scam commerce.jpg

Benjamin Joseph, managing director of an Ibadan-based firm, Citadel Oracle Concepts has again petitioned Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President, against the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC); the Nigerian Police and the Attorney General of the Federation over his on-going prosecution for false petitioning and deceit by the Police.

Joseph is also accused of allegedly blackmailing officials of Zinox Technologies Ltd.

His petition arose from a N170 million contract for the supply of HP laptops awarded by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Findings revealed that Joseph’s prosecution by the Nigerian Police before an Abuja High Court, arose after rigorous investigation following his petition in 2013 regarding a business transaction with his authorized representative, Princess Kama and ICT products distributors, Technology Distributions Ltd (TD).

Joseph who had previously petitioned Osinbajo, alleging that his company was used to defraud the Federal Government of over N200m over the non-supply of the said laptops, had recently sent another written petition to the Vice President against the security agencies and the Attorney General’s office.

Investigations revealed that upon receipt of the first petition, the Vice President had immediately minuted it to the appropriate authority – the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for due investigation.

Subsequently, the Procurement Fraud Unit of the EFCC had visited the offices of the FIRS in the course of its investigation and found every unit of the HP laptops supplied with serial numbers nationwide and each unit traced to its respective user.

Further investigations showed the existence of a copy of a Letter of Authority which Joseph issued to the FIRS, with copies of his international passport, accepting the award of the contract for the supply of the HP laptops and appointing his associate, Princess Kama as his authorized representative to handle the transaction.

In addition to the office of the Vice President, Joseph had also petitioned the EFCC, Lagos who investigated and saw no merit in his complaint.

He had then lodged another complaint with the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigerian Police, Ikoyi, alleging that his signature on the board resolution to open an account at Access Bank was forged.

The SFU launched an investigation at FIRS offices and confirmed that the laptops were supplied with serial numbers intact.

 Also, a forensic analysis showed that the Board resolution documents were not forged but were actually signed by him.

Joseph had also petitioned the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) laying same claims against Princess Kama and TD without informing the DIG that he had earlier reported to the EFCC and SFU, Lagos.

The Police again launched a nationwide investigation which confirmed all items supplied with serial numbers.

When the Police Headquarters discovered that Joseph has wasted their time and limited resources on a false claim, the former Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase, arraigned him for deceit and false petitioning at an Abuja court under Charge Number CR/216/16 at the FCT High Court.

When our reporter tried to contact Mr. Joseph about the recurring petitions, the call to his line rang out.

Echika Ezuka, Corporate Communications Advisor to Zinox, disclosed that he is constrained to speak about Benjamin’s case as it is still pending before an Abuja High Court, noting that Zinox had also slammed a N2BN defamation suit on Premium Times which the defendant had been using for his campaign of blackmail.

According to Ezuka, Premium Times is yet to file its defense on the defamation case over two months since it was instituted.

“The on-going case for which Joseph is currently being prosecuted is between Citadel Oracle Concepts and another company which our Chairman has shares in. That company is Technology Distributions (TD), the biggest ICT products distributor in Sub-Saharan African representing major IT brands like HP, Lenovo, Dell, Microsoft and many others. TD is a totally different company from Zinox with different directors, shareholders, management team and a different line of business and Zinox was not in any way involved in the transaction.

“Citadel Oracle Concept Limited was one of the many IT resellers awarded a contract to supply HP laptops at FIRS in 2012 but had no funds to execute it and like few others, had approached TD who are authorized HP distributors in Nigeria with the help of his consultant Princess Kama whose Uncle, Chief Onny Igbokwe has been a long term reseller of TD to assist in supplying the laptops at a pre-agreed invoice value.

“This representative, Princess Kama had previously executed several other bids on his behalf.

“TD does not open bank accounts for contractors seeking to buy from it.  TD did not accompany the defendants to open any account. Instead, TD had insisted on protecting its business from indebtedness, and as such, nominated its staff – Mr. Chris Eze Ozims and Mrs. Shade Oyebode – to be signatories to an account which the defendant and his representatives had opened for the purpose of disbursement of funds as regards the contract. The forms were brought to TD’s office by the defendant’s representatives and we had nominated two of our staff as signatories.

“This was solely as security for the laptops supplied on credit and in view of previous bad experiences which had exposed the business to bad loans. Upon payment of the sum for the contract, TD had gone ahead to deduct the invoiced sum of the supplied laptops and had its staff resigned as signatories to the account.

“Contrary to the series of lies and half-truths by the defendant that his company was used to defraud the Federal Government of over N200m, it is worth stating here that a series of investigations by the EFCC, SFU and the Nigerian Police shows that the HP laptops were duly supplied to the FIRS by TD whom his representative had approached to assist with the supply of the items on credit. Also, the FIRS is in possession of documents such as copies of his international passport, photographs and Letter of Authority, accepting the award of the contract for the supply of the HP laptops and appointing Princess Kama as his authorized representative to handle the transaction.

“It is important to note that in the entire transaction leading up to this case, in all the above investigations and reports, Zinox Technologies Ltd. was not in any way involved. The transaction only involved Technology Distributions Ltd. and its staff. Also, Leo Stan Ekeh was not involved in the said transaction and the investigations. It is because of their blackmail intent that Premium Times – the only medium the defendant is using for his nefarious plan – have continued to use photographs of Ekeh and Zinox as the caption for their stories, even when the company has no bearing with the matter.”

Barr. Chijioke Orji, an Abuja-based lawyer expressed disappointment over the long-drawn nature of the case. According to him, the government should step in and ensure that the wheels of justice moves faster in bringing an end to the seemingly unending suit.

“I have followed this story with keen interest since it started about four years ago. I must say I have been very disappointed with the delays in the prosecution of the case. It is unfortunate that there are a lot of things that are wrong with the judicial system.

“Why is the Federal Government wasting tax payers’ money over a case that a number of security agencies has investigated with the same conclusion? After investigations, the EFCC (Lagos and Abuja), the Special Fraud Unit and the office of the Inspector General of Police all have evidence that the HP laptops, which the defendant claimed was used to defraud the Federal Government, were indeed supplied yet we are still hearing that the defendant is now petitioning the Vice President against the same security agencies he initially petitioned.

”From the facts of the matter, it is clear that the defendant (Benjamin Joseph) and Premium Times are clearly looking for a political solution to avoid his prosecution. This makes the claims of blackmail by Zinox even more valid. If, as alleged by the defendant, Zinox Technologies and TD or its officials defrauded the Federal Government by failing to supply the HP laptops awarded by the FIRS, then the various investigations should have proved this.

“Instead, we are seeing a situation where the offices of the FIRS nationwide have been searched several times and the laptops, serial numbers and individual users confirmed. So what does the defendant want? Does he want to receive the N170m for laptops already supplied? What about the payment to the company who supplied the laptop on credit as a gesture of goodwill to his representatives?

“During the last hearing, his previous associate Princess Kama had testified on oath before the court that Joseph was only intent on blackmailing the Zinox Chairman, Leo Stan Ekeh noting that she had documentary proof including a letter of authority signed by him authorizing her to execute the contract on his behalf.

““It is obvious that the defendant, who is currently standing trial for false petitioning and deceit, is deliberately leading the Vice President and the EFCC on a wild goose chase with his endless petitions. It is indeed a shame that it is taking this long to conclude the trial and put him behind bars. It is sad that our justice system can allow such grievous cases to drag interminably,” he concluded.

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

Continue Reading


Ex-Mainstreet Bank Boss Remanded in Prison over Forgery



Mr Chester Ukandu, former managing director, Mainstreet Bank Registrars Limited, and Mr Achi George, director of the company, have been remanded in prison custody over alleged forging Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) documents.


The two ex- officials were ordered to be remanded by Justice O. A. Williams of the Special Offences Court, Ikeja after they pleaded not guilty to a three-count charge of conspiracy and forgery brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).


According to Mrs Zainab Ettu, the EFCC prosecutor, the suspects between February 6 and 7, 2012, conspired among themselves and forged the letter head paper of Mainstreet Bank Registrars Limited, with registration number: 613674, claiming that it emanated from Mainstreet Bank’s Registrars Limited.


They were also accused of forging a Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Form 2A, claiming that it emanated from CAC.


Ettu informed the court that the two suspects, who were formerly Managing Director and Director of the company, had retired from the company, only to unlawfully convert the company’s properties and bank account with Skye Bank for personal use.


The prosecutor also informed the court that the two defendants were apprehended after investigation was conducted on a petition written by the Company’s lawyer, Dr. Charles Mekwunye, after which they were consequently charged before the court. However, they all pleaded not guilty to the three-count charge.


Following their plea, Samuel Agwuh, their Lawyer, informed the court that he had filed bail applications, and urged the court to grant his clients bail in the most liberal terms.


Responding, the prosecutor, informed the court that they were just served with the applications, and needed time to respond.


The prosecutor consequently urged the court to remand the defendants in custody pending when the bail applications will be heard. Ruling on the submissions of both parties, the presiding Judge, Justice O.A. Williams, ordered that the two defendants to be remanded in Ikoyi Prisons till April 10, when their bail applications will be entertained.

Continue Reading


Kaspersky says POS Malware Targets Chip and PIN Cards



Researchers from Kaspersky Lab researchers have discovered that the cyber criminal group behind the Prilex point-of-sale (POS) malware now have the ability to turn stolen credit card data into functional plastic cards.

Employing ‘smart’ chip and PIN technology to protect payment cards has been widely used around the world over the past ten years, and its growing popularity has attracted attackers.

Prilex has been active in South America since 2014, and has evolved, shifting its efforts from ATM hacks to attacks on POS systems developed by Brazilian vendors. It is now using used stolen credit card information to create functional plastic cards.

This will allow crooks to perform fraudulent transactions in online and physical shops. “This is the first time that the researchers have seen in the wild such a full suite of tools for carrying out fraud. The cloned credit card works in any point-of-sale system in Brazil due to a faulty implementation of the EMV standard that means not all data is verified during the approval process,” says Kaspersky Lab.

How it works

Prilex malware is made up of three components: malware that modifies the POS system and intercepts the credit card information, a server to manage the illegally obtained information, and finally an application that the malware ‘client’ can use to view, clone or save statistics related to the cards.

“This is the most notable feature of the malware: its associated business model, where all the users’ needs are taken into account, including the need for a simple and friendly user interface,” adds Kaspersky.

Research shows that Prilex is distributed through the traditional postal service, convincing victims to grant computer access to the criminals for a remote support session, which is then used to install the malware. The majority of victims tend to be traditional shops, such as petrol stations, supermarkets and typical retail markets.

Thiago Marques, security analyst at Kaspersky Lab, says Prilex offers attackers everything from a graphic user interface to well-designed modules that can be used to create different credit card structures.

Chip and PIN technology is still relatively new in some parts of the world, such as the US, and many people are not aware of the risk of credit card cloning and abuse.

In Brazil, Prilex has been able to take advantage of a faulty implementation of the industry standards, emphasising the importance of developing secure, future proof standards for payment technologies, he added.

Continue Reading


FG Approves Cisco Networking Academy in Federal Unity Colleges



The Federal Government of Nigeria through the Federal Ministry of Education has approved the Cisco Networking Academy Program as well as the establishment of 6 Internet of things (IoT) innovation centres across the Federal Unity Colleges in the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.

This initiative is part of Cisco’s strategic partnership with the Federal Ministry of Education to provide access to quality ICT education in the Country.

The project is driven by one of Cisco’s Networking Academy Support Centres, UNITeS, and so far, two IoT Innovation Centres have already been established at the Federal Science and Technical College, Yaba and at FGC, Bwari, Abuja.

Speaking at the official opening and inauguration of one of the Innovation Centres at Queen’s College, Lagos, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu represented by the Director of ICT, Federal Ministry of Education, Ifegwu Orji, stated: ‘Qualitative education in the modern world is intrinsically tied to the development and deployment of ICT in education.

This initiative by Cisco is highly commendable as it will train our students to become global problem solvers and to become competitive on a global level.  It is my earnest desire that this centre will produce great minds that will make a difference Nigeria”

The Minister went on to endorse and approve of all other Cisco long-term CSR programmes, urging all stakeholders in the sector to partner with the government in order to salvage the education system of the country towards the attainment of sustainable development, towards a digital economy.

CSR Programme Manager, Cisco Nigeria, Imoh Akpan remarked: “The establishment of these centres is one way that Cisco encourages the adoption and the application of technology.

Our aim is to boost the education sector, ensuring more students are exposed to skills for the digital economy, in the current 4th Industrial Revolution, thereby enhancing Nigeria’s global competitiveness, boosting socio-economic development, as well as promoting employability”.

The Unites Internet of Things Innovation Centre which is the first in Sub- Saharan Africa, designed to serve as a centre for research and development that will provide solutions to social challenges and developmental problems, and transform Federal Unity Colleges into smart schools for teaching and learning.

The intervention will provide our children with a competitive edge when entering higher education or the labour market.

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2017 Communication Week Media Limited.