Esai Dangabar, one of the six accused persons being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a 16 criminal count charge bordering on conspiracy and criminal breach of trust for their role in defrauding the Police Pension Office to the tune of N32.8 Billion naira (Thirty Two Billion, Eight Hundred Million Naira), was on Thursday December 13, 2012, arrested for interfering with the properties which the court had ordered forfeited to the federal government.
Among properties belonging to Esai which the court ordered forfeited to the federal government on interim basis pending the determination of the substantive suit are: Block of 3 Bedrooms flats at Gwarinpa (6 units), along EFAB Estate, Life Camp; a Block of Bedrooms flats (6 units) at Mabushi District, beside ministry of works; Estate of 4 Bedroom Duplexes (16 units), behind Wuye Modern Market, Abuja; a mini Estate at No.19, Ukpabi Asika Street, Asokoro, Abuja; 12 Units of 2 bedroom Flats at 1, Waziri Ibrahim Crescent, Gudu District, Abuja; 5 Bedroom Duplexes 1, Waziri Ibrahim Crescent, Gudu District, Abuja; 4 Bedroom Bungalows at 1, Waziri Ibrahim Crescent, Gudu District, Abuja and 2 Bedroom flat at Zone C, Apo Resettlement, layout.
Others are: 5 Blocks of One bedroom flats at Zone C, Apo Resettlement layout, Abuja; Twin duplex of 5 bedroom & 3 rooms, 33, ML Wushishi BQ 1 Crescent, Utako, Abuja; 2 Blocks of 3 Bedroom flats, Area 3, Former NYSC Office, Abuja; 2 Bedroom , Area 2, Abuja, Behind Shopping , Complex , 3 Bedroom flats , 2 Goran village, along Adi Farms Limited, Abuja-Keffi Road; 180,000 Litres Storage Facility on a Land of about 5,000sqm, with Office Building, Workshop and 20 Loading Bay 1 Suleja, Niger State.
Vehicles belonging to Dangabar which have been ordered forfeited to the government pending the determination of the criminal charges against him were seven trucks with registration numbers XH 909 RSH; XH 910 RSH; XH 912 RSH; XH 908 RSH; XH 911; XH 913 RSH and XH 460 KUJ.
Dangabar’s bank accounts forfeited to the government were: two Damule Nigeria Limited accounts with FCMB; Damule Nigeria Limited account with Main Street Bank; E. D. Laumara with Access Bank; three account numbers of Essai Dangabar Laumara’s with Access Bank; Laumara E. Taure account with Skye Bank; three of AMD Global Logistics account with Skye Bank. Two accounts of Future Logistics Limited with Skye bank. Three accounts of Marine Logistics & Leisure Integrated in Skye Bank. Two Damule Nig Ltd accounts in Skye Bank.
Companies belonging to Dangabar and five others, forfeited to the EFCC were Halas Investment Limited; At homes; Sy- A Global Services Limited; Jidag Technical Services Limited; Damule Nigeria Limited; Marine Logistics; AMD Global Logistics; Future Logistics Ltd; Jenago Services Limited; H Takano Nigeria Limited; Noni Anthony System Limited; Saudauna Enterprise limited; Ulover International Resources Limited; Somadok Express; Kechis Water Bottling Company; Kechis Events Managers; Kechis Straw; Kechis Plastic Extrusion company; Geopet Petroleum Services Limited; Aina Farms: Otega Farms, Bannachi Global Links and Comm. Co. Limited.
But Dangabar approached the Court of Appeal, Abuja division to challenge the order of the High Court to have his properties forfeited. The appeal court, in a unanimous ruling on July 24, 2012, dismissed his application. In a ruling read by Justice Kolawole Bada, the Appeal Court resolved the three issues raised by Dangabar in favour of the EFCC. Two other justices who held the same view were Justices Bukar Chua and Husseini Mukhtar. The court ruled that the interim forfeiture order pending the hearing of the criminal charge preferred against him is provided for under the EFCC Act. “The court, having been given that power, the exercise of it has not taken away the accused right to fair hearing”, the three justices reasoned.
The court further ruled that the provisions of Section 28 and 29 of the EFCC Act is validated by Section 44 (2) of the 1999 Constitution and is therefore constitutional. Additionally, the court ruled that the presumption of innocence cannot be interpreted to allow a suspect to retain the proceed of the alleged crime made against him. Accordingly, the court ruled that Section 34 of the EFCC Act was substantially complied with by the lower court. He has again proceeded to the Supreme Court challenging the Appeal Court judgement.
Dangabar and his co travellers returned to the high court to challenge jurisdiction and prayed the court to quash the charges against them. But on November 12, 2012, Justice Mohammed Talba of High Court of the Federal Capital Territory , sitting in Gudu, Abuja dismissed the applications to quash charges as the judge said the applicants failed to supply relevant material before the court to warrant the quashing of the case against them. He also said that so far, based on the proof of evidence before the court, the prosecution has presented his case in such a way that a prima-facie has been established against them.
While the public has been warned to stay away from the aforementioned properties and other properties belonging to other accused being investigated by the EFCC, trial in the substantive case of Dangabar and others who were arraigned on May 28, 2012, comes up on January 28, 2013.
I weep for Nigeria.
Almost weekly we hear of financial corruption and stories of corruption at the high places, making me ineffably perplexed.
Imagine the level of corruption in this country where nine out of ten persons in positions of authority sees it as a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to embezzle public funds and plunder our commonwealth.
All they get at the end of the day is a verdict that is a slap on the wrist. Or at worst, a plea bargain