Renowned Fraudster Defrauds Presidency, Lands Consultancy Job On Loot Recovery
The battle against continued proliferation of corrupt activities amongst elected and unelected officials in leadership positions in Nigeria may have turned a new unholy corner following the Buhari administration’s decision to tap on an internationally renowned blackmailer to champion the fight against corruption.
Information available to 247ureports.com indicates the recent appointment of Victor Uwajeh as a consultant to the federal government of Nigeria on the recovery of looted assets and funds, may have been awarded on fraudulent grounds. According to a source, “He defrauded the presidency”.
On March 2018, the presidency offered Victor Uwajeh the post of consultant via the Chairman of Special Investigation Panel on Recovery of Public Property, Okoi Obono-Obla who also serves as the Senior Special Assistant on Prosecution to the President.
However Victor Uwajeh’s inclusion into the said Special Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property comes on the heels of an ongoing criminal proceedings against his person in an Abuja High Court. The case was brought about by the Inspector General of Police. Mr. Uwajeh is presently out on bail. Uwajeh had attempted blackmailing Senator Andy Uba using forged documents.
Cursory investigation into the backgrounds of Mr. Uwajeh reveals a history of fraud and blackmail – using the government anti-graft structure as cover.
Available information reveals Mr. Uwajeh was imprisoned over his fraudulent and blackmail activities in 2010. He was locked by the then Chairperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] for using the name of EFCC to defraud and blackmail political exposed persons.
On January 13, 2010 the EFCC arrested Victor Uwajeh, who it termed a “fake official” in Abuja for extorting money from members of the public under the pretense that he is an official of the EFCC.
The arrest was carried out following reports that Uwajeh had been presenting himself as a staff of the EFCC. According to the EFCC, a team of operatives was detailed to trail him and investigate his activities with a view to getting specific evidence that could lead to his successful prosecution.
Their efforts led to his arrest and a search on his house on January 13, 2010. Same day, the Commission issued a statement on his arrest. “The whole essence of that was to alert the public that Uwajeh has never been a staff of the EFCC and also encourage those that might have been his victims to come forward with information and evidence”. The accused was detained for two weeks on the order of an Abuja court.
Satisfied that there is enough evidence to prosecute Uwajeh successfully, the Commission charged him to court on January 28, 2010 on a four count charge bordering on impersonation and extortion. The court same day remanded Uwajeh in prison custody till March 4 when his bail application was considered.
The list of politically exposed persons defrauded by Mr. Uwajeh while marauding as a private investigator for EFCC was made available to 247ureports.com. The list includes
- Nuhu Ribadu
- Bola Tinubu – paid undisclosed amount
- Nasir El Rufai
- Bode George – paid undisclosed amount
- Charles Soludo
- Emmanuel Ojei – paid undisclosed amount
- Lucky Igbinedion – paid $3million
- Liyel Imoke – paid $10milliom
- Cecil Ibru – paid $2million
- Dora Akunyili – refused to pay
- Bukola Saraki – refused to pay
- Stella Odua – refused to pay
In explaining how Mr. Uwajah got access to the EFCC, the EFCC through the then spokesperson, Femi Babafemi indicated that “Victor Uwajeh started coming to the EFCC in 2008 to give information just like hundreds of other Nigerians who have been supporting the work of the commission with information and documentary evidence. Between October and November 2008, the Mr. Uwajeh came up with a request that he needed a covering letter to enable him procure some documents for the Commission outside the country. As such, the letter was given to him but with a provision that if he cannot produce any documentary evidence within a space of six months, the letter would no longer be valid or tenable for assistance anywhere”.
The EFCC spokesperson continued to add that it was later discovered that “Mr. Uwajeh had gone out to print complimentary cards depicting himself as a staff of the EFCC and using same to extort money from people. Apart from this, he equally printed EFCC letterhead papers for his criminal use. All these and others such as the commission’s acknowledgement stamp were recovered from his house when he was arrested”.
With the end of his fraudulent foray into the anti-graft agency, Mr. Uwajeh launched what appeared a broad blackmailing scheme. He traveled to the United Kingdom and returned shortly after to claim he has become a UK licensed private investigator. But cursory inquiring shows he was not a licensed private investigator – rather he was a licensed security guard and parking lot attendant. See proof below:
He then began his ‘investigation’ of politically exposed persons. Two of his intended victims were Bukola Saraki and Andy Uba. He approached both persons with documents of supposed evidence of criminality. In return, he requested for $1milliom each from Bukola Saraki and Andy Uba. Both men were quick to reject his attempt at blackmail. Andy Uba on his part called the Inspector General of Police’s attention to the blackmail attempt.
The police forensic department invited Mr. Uwajeh to present the supposed documents pointing to criminality on the part of Andy Uba. The documents were discovered to be forged documents. The IGP then arrested Mr. Uwajeh and arraigned him at an Abuja High Court in February 2018. Mr. Uwajeh has since been on the run. The next hearing comes up May 21, 2018. He was served court summons via alternate service.
Interestingly, the appointment of Victor Uwajeh by the Buhari administration as a consultant on loot recovery comes without the necessary background checks.
Okoi Obono-Obla who signed the offer letter had been sacked by the presidency over shady activities similar to type committed by Mr. Uwajeh against the EFCC. In November 2017, Okoi Obono-Obla was sacked for actions deemed near criminal. Obono-Obla was notified of his sack via a letter dated November 1 and signed by the AGF, marked HAGF/SH/2017/VOL/1/60. The letter stated that activities of Okoi Obono-Obla contravened administrative procedures and protocols in the nation’s civil service structure.
Okoi Obono-Obla was recalled a week later.
Upon his recall, Okoi Obono-Obla was given strict conditions – to operate strictly under the shadow of the Vice President, who would supervise the work of the Special Investigation Panel on the Recovery of Public Property. He must take directives from the Presidency or the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, working strictly on directives or cases referred to him by the Presidency or the AGF and not embarking on ‘expansionist’ search for materials to use under the guise of recovery of public property. According to a source, Obono-Obla is within the scope of what is given to him either by the Presidency or the AGF. “The only thing that must be made clear to him is that he should not assume to be operating on his own but to subject himself to the directives of the AGF of the Presidency on whatever recovery he wants to embark on.”
Mr. Uwajeh’s former aide, Chika Okeke, who served him for over 20years explained the propensity for Mr. Uwajeh to blackmail and swindle people. He said, “You don’t understand Uwajeh’s capacity to forge anything. The house he has in Wuse 2, Abuja was from the money he extorted from a former Vice President. This is a man who can clone any document. He has the capacity to forge even your (the reporter’s) birth certificate. Don’t forget that the man has been a fraudster and blackmailer all his life. Did you see what Uwajeh filed in court? That Andy Uba was owing him 1.2 million British Pounds for negotiation with the British government to lift the no-entry ban. I laughed. Even the Nigerian government won’t give such money to a negotiator who secured the release of over 200 Chibok girls. Recently, he bought an SUV for one of his brothers. The man rejected it. Even when his mother was alive, she used to warn Chief to stop playing tricks on people. Mama Elizabeth used to tell me that Uwajeh began playing tricks on people from a tender age, that she had been begging God to change his ways. Everybody from Onitcha-Ugbo and environs knows Uwajeh to be a fraudster”.
“He tried to extort money from the Late Governor Alamieyeisiegha in Dubai at the time the man was having a running battle with Ribadu. Charles Soludo, Nasir el’Rufai, Bode George, Cecelia Ibru, and Rotimi Amaechi are some of the persons he tried to blackmail and extort. But for Mother Luck, the late Alamieyeisiegha would have had him arrested in Dubai. His strategy is to approach anybody he feels is being hunted by the government of the day. Yes, he tried the same thing with Senator Bola Tinubu. When Tinubu chased him away, he ran to Senate Bukola Saraki with documents he said could nail Tinubu.”
“I was always with him. Most people don’t realize that Uwajeh is a coward. He is so afraid of everything around him. He can be indoors for months. He hates traffic jams. He’s always looking across his shoulder as if he’s expect somebody to harm him. The only times he likes going out is to collect money from his numerous victims. It was his indoor habit that made Farida Waziri boys arrest him in January 2010.”
Now, Mr. Uwajeh will be entrusted with the sensitive task of loot recovery.
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