By Rajnish Singh New Delhi,
The CBI is probing another loan of Rs 5,280 crore taken by diamond trader Mehul Choksi and his companies from a consortium of 31 banks led by ICICI Bank, informed sources said. The probe is part of the existing FIR filed against Choksi and his Gitanjali Group of companies, said the sources. They said the Rs 5,280 crore loan amount was separate from the Rs 13,600 crore Punjab National Bank (PNB) fraud already being probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). “The investigation is under the purview of working capital loan and it may become the part of the existing PNB fraud cases. If this proves to be a fraud too, the whole fraud amount may officially touch Rs 19,000 crore.
” As per the complaints of PNB, the country’s second-biggest state-run lender, the CBI is currently probing about Rs 7,080 crore fraud during 2013-17 against Gitanjali Gems Ltd, Gill India Ltd, Nakshatra Brand Ltd and Asmi Jewellery India Ltd. The CBI on February 15 filed a case against Gitanjali group of companies controlled by Choksi for allegedly defrauding the bank of Rs 4,8886.72 crore. Later the agency got another PNB complaint on February 22 wherein the fraud in respect of Foreign Letter of Credits increased by another Rs 1,251.56 crore. The agency on March 4 received another complaint from PNB against Gitanjali Group regarding additional exposure of about Rs 942.18 crore. Choksi, the chairman of the Gitanjali Group, was so far accused along with his nephew Nirav Modi in the Rs 13,600 crore PNB bank fraud. The CBI has registered separate FIRs in connection with the case.
Billionaire diamantaire Modi, a regular on the lists of rich and famous Indians since 2013, his group companies — Diamond R US, Stellar Diamond and Solar Exports– his wife Ami and brother Nishal Modi are also named in along with others in the fraud, admitted by the PNB in February and leading to a massive upheaval in the country’s banking system. Choksi, Modi and his family are still at large as they fled abroad in first week of January – around a month before the PNB filed first complaint against them about the fraud.
The PNB has claimed in different complaints to the CBI that several LoUs — issued by one bank to other banks, based on which foreign branches offer credit to buyers — were fraudulently issued by its officials in connivance with Modi and the other accused in the case causing huge losses to the bank. (Rajnish Singh can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Now his sentence has been almost doubled after barrister James Thacker, acting for the Crown Prosecution Service’s specialist fraud division, told a proceeds of crime confiscation hearing that he had spirited away around £3million, probably to Nigeria and Dubai.
Sam Kayode, pictured outside Woolwich Crown Court, was told to pay back £3million or face a further eight years in jail
The lovers he showered with gifts might also face legal action.
The hearing at Woolwich Crown Court earlier this month was told that after Kayode joined Haberdashers’ Aske’s in 1997, it expanded enormously and embraced ‘academy’ reforms that gave schools more control over their finances.
Judge Nicholas Heathcote Williams said in his new judgment: ‘Over nearly seven years Kayode stole and defrauded over £4million from Haberdashers’ by transferring money from their account to his and his wife Grace’s.’
His boss, chief financial officer Paul Durgan, failed to notice any money was missing. Kayode was caught only when a school cleaner spotted bank account statements in his office.
The accountant earned £57,000 a year for his work at the chain’s south-east London schools, but drove a fleet of cars including several Mercedes, an Audi TT and a £40,000 Infiniti, carried a £1,500 Louis Vuitton briefcase and wore £500 Gucci shoes.
He has stopped claiming that his crimes were carried out by his late wife, who died of cancer in 2013 aged 53, and a junior employee.
Haberdashers’ has recovered £571,000 from the sale of flats and houses he owned, but at least £2.75million remains potentially recoverable.
Kayode was told that if he does not pay it all back by the end of this month he will be given an extra eight years.
The judge said: ‘The defendant is a very selfish, greedy and dishonest man. His evidence has been characterised by pauses – while he is clearly calculating, not always accurately, what answers will help him and he may get away with – and by grudging, evasive replies.’
The court heard more than £1million of the missing money was funnelled to Nigeria, where his ‘second wife or girlfriend’ Olubunmi ‘Bunmi’ Halima, 35, managed his business. He gave £266,000 to Halima, more than £77,000 to a second girlfriend Yetunde Turtak in Dartford, Kent, and hundreds of thousands more to relatives and friends in Nigeria.
Judge Heathcote Williams said he doubted every word but it ‘provides a clue where some of the hidden assets are’. A third alleged mistress, Toyin Lawal, 52, of Northfleet, Kent, told the Daily Mail they were not lovers and Kayode simply paid a month’s rent for her when he was a church pastor.
Police took almost three years to charge Kayode after he was caught, giving him plenty of time to hide his fortune.
Mr Durgan, who failed to spot his employee’s fraud, went on to be hired by the auditors who missed the crime, then worked for another school chain.
Popular Ghanaian millionaire Ibrahim Daouda is reportedly in the grips of the police for money laundering charges.
Daouda, popularly known as Ibrah One is also alleged to have defrauded a friend to the tune $400,000.
Reports are that the flamboyant young man who is widely known for his niche for luxurious cars is being trailed by Interpol as well after a tip off by the friend he ‘duped’.
However, in a flurry of threatening messages on social media yesterday, Ibrah vowed not to go down alone if he is prosecuted.
He threatened a mass expose of all the money launderers in Ghana and said “if he goes down, all of them will go down.”
A N1.6 billion contract fraud involving the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has been discovered by the House of Representatives committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness.
The committee during an investigative hearing on violation of public trust in NEMA, said it discovered that the agency spent N1.6 billon on contract awards to companies that have no tax clearance and other precondition qualifications as stipulated by the Nigerian laws.
The Federal Government had in July 2017 released the money to the agency for relief intervention to flood victims in 16 states. NEMA claimed the money had been expended on contracts awarded to 216 companies.
However, the Reps committee, at the investigative hearing which was presided over by the deputy chairman of the committee, Ali Isa, said that reports by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) showed that NEMA not only violated the law on tax but also committed other contraventions in the award of contracts to the 216 companies.
According to separate reports by FIRS, ITF and PENCOM, the Director General (DG) of NEMA, Mustapha Maihaja, failed to undertake a thorough and financial regulations on the companies to find out their qualifications and their status before awarding multi-million Naira contracts to them.
NEMA management was also indicted for breaching the Public Procurement Act 2007 in the ways and manners the contracts were awarded, apart from the tax laws offences.
Although the DG presented a Certificate of No Objection obtained from the Bureau Of Public Procurement (BPP) to prove that all due process procedures were followed before the contracts were awarded, however, the committee members rejected it, explaining that there are documents that clearly show the breaches in question whose authenticity have not been contested, and therefore, the BPP must have cleared the contracts in error.
In another revelation, it was discovered that the governing council of NEMA, installed on April 3, on the same day suspended six directors said to have opposed the manner the NEMA DG was awarding contracts in breach of due process.
NEMA DG had argued that the report of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) recommended the suspension of the officers.
Meanwhile, the DG, who like the suspended directors was facing investigation, was left out of the suspension in the purported EFCC’s report.