Tafa Balogun arrested
December 28, 2006 | posted by Nigerian Muse (Archives)


 


 

Guardian

Monday April 4, 2005

Tafa Balogun in cuffs, faces 70 fraud charges
 

It was a twist of faith and circumstances for the immediate Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun Monday.The men, who had hitherto reverenced him brought him to the Federal High Court, Abuja in handcuffs. Other policemen merely stormed the court to have a look at him. Balogun's prosecutor, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for more than three hours reeled out 70 charges of shady deals against him. The EFCC claimed that Balogun during the period he held sway at the Force Headquarters, Abuja was into money laundering, theft of police funds, invested stolen funds in blue chip firms, banks and owned several accounts where huge sums of looted monies were lodged in fictitious names. Altogether, Balogun allegedly stole N10 billion from the Nigerian Police Force (NPF). Balogun, who sat in the accessed person's box for the period that the EFCC levelled the charges against him, pleaded not guilty to any of the alleged offences. He also denied being the owner of the name Adebayo Mustapha and insisted that he has never used also known as (a.k.a) Adebayo Mustapha. In her ruling, Justice Binta Murtallah-Nyako said that when the prosecution intends to use the "alias" or "also known as" she must be shown proof of evidence. The court from 9.15 a.m was told that Balogun, himself a lawyer abused his office as the police chief by stealing N2 billion public funds allocated to the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) for its operations. Policemen in uniform numbering close to 100 were either on guard or simply trooped to the premises of the court to catch a glimpse at the man who they reverence as the nation's number one police officer until the early part of this year when he was swept out of office.


 

Independent
Monday April 4th, 2005

EFCC arraigns Tafa Balogun today

By Wisdom Patrick

Senior Correspondent, Lagos

Former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Tafa Balogun is to be arraigned today, April 4,on 70 count charge involving about N13 billion over money laundering, stealing, among others.

His arraignment is to take place at Court 3, Maitama area of Abuja before Justice Nyako at 9.00am. Tafa’s arraignment this morning has become possible after he was said to have made a written statement “under caution” to detectives at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Abuja after much pressure from the anti-graft agents.

He was detained at the EFCC office in Lagos from where he was transferred to Abuja at the weekend. He was said to have refused to make statement on the allegations concerning him.

It was further learnt that upon arrival at EFCC office in Abuja, Balogun refused to make statement to the anti-graft undercover agents.

“He said what do you want me to say, if I decide to say anything, this government will fall, please leave me alone,” the source quoted Balogun.

But undaunted, EFCC mounted pressure on the former police boss, and he eventually broke his silence on Sunday at about 6.10pm, when he wrote statement, stating all he knows about the N30 million found with one of his aides, Tolu Jinadu, who the former IGP accused of betrayal of trust.

“The man is cooperating now, and that is very good because it would fast-forward our crack, and very soon he would appear in court. But I cannot say this week but soon he would appear in court in Abuja. That is where he committed the crime,” the source added.

But an EFCC source said Sunday night that he is to be brought to court this morning to answer charges against him.

 


 

Independent

Thursday March 31th, 2005




EFCC drafts charges against Balogun

By Chris Agbambu

Deputy Bureau Chief (Abuja)  and Alex Oni
Correspondent (Lagos)


A team of lawyers worked till late Wednesday evening at the office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in Ikoyi, Lagos, drafting multi-count charges against former Inspector General of Police (IG), Tafa Balogun.

Two former top prosecutors with Force CID, Alagbon, Lagos, who now work at the EFCC office in Abuja, were flown in to provide assistance.

They were seen with other lawyers on the third floor block of the prosecution department.

Sources said Balogun will be arraigned on charges of money laundering, corruption and using his position to enrich himself.

They confirmed that he has made several statements since his interrogation started on Monday and that he was still being questioned on Wednesday evening.

“We need to interrogate thoroughly as we have to extract more facts on his assets. We don’t want to take him to court and look like fools there, we are determined to prove the allegations of money laundering and corruption against him”, one of the sources said.

EFCC spokesman, Osita Nwajah, who confirmed the detention of Balogun, explained that he would be charged within the shortest possible time.

He could not say if Balogun will be arraigned in Lagos or Abuja.

Security at the EFCC office in Lagos has been beefed-up for the second day running.

Two armed, tough looking mobile policemen manned the big gate on Wednesday together with EFCC operatives.

Callers, including journalists, were allowed entry only after giving satisfactory explanation of their mission.

One of the mobile policemen urged journalists to understand that the situation “is because of the big fish that is here. Once his case is disposed of, things will come back to normal. You know, anything can happen”.

Unconfirmed reports said Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, was at the office earlier on Wednesday. His mission could not be confirmed at press time.

However, officials of the EFCC refused access to Balogun’s lawyer, Tunji Abayomi. Only his wife and selected nuclear family members were allowed to see him.

Abayomi confirmed the security build up around the former IG on the BBC on Wednesday.

He said two EFCC officials told him at 1:00 p.m. that he cannot see his client.

They also told him, he added, that Balogun was not in their office even when he knew he was there because his relatives had just given him food.

“They insisted he was not there and that I should leave”, Abayomi said, and that the EFCC was yet to state the charges against Balogun when he visited the office.

On his third day in detention, Balogun’s spirit is said to be broken, as he could not imagine what is happening to him.

An EFCC operative who spoke on condition of anonymity explained that it is not safe for him to be taken to Abuja; “Lagos is safer for him, that is why he is being detained there”.

On when Balogun will be charged to court, he hinted that investigation into the matter is still very much on. “You know the former IG is very smart and intelligent. We don’t want to take any chances or create loopholes, so I cannot tell you when he will be charged to court. But all I can tell you for now is that we are progressing”.

The source added that EFCC Chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, was in Lagos on Tuesday as part of the team that interrogated Balogun.

EFCC operatives, led by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Ibrahim Lamorde, arrested him on Monday at his official residence.
 


 

The Sun

 

EFCC arrests Tafa Balogun
 

By Oluwatoyosi Ogunseye, Lagos, Ben Okezie and Chika Otuchikere, Abuja
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
 

Former Inspector General of Police, Tafa Balogun has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Balogun, who was compulsorily retired from office on January 18 for alleged involvement in financial impropriety was arrested and whisked away from his Ikoyi home on Monday evening.

Armed with a warrant of arrest, detectives who stormed the embattled former police chief’s home in a long convoy of vehicles wasted no time in accomplishing their mission and Balogun is now a guest of the EFCC at its Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos headquarters.

The ex-police Inspector General who wore a simple shirt on a pair of trousers was sighted at the EFCC premises in a black Toyota car at about 9.45am on Tuesday, looking subdued.

Daily Sun gathered that the arrest of the former Inspector General, a Yoruba, may have been to prove that President Olusegun Obasanjo was not waging an ethnic war with the arrest by the EFCC of former Education Minister, Professor Fabian Osuji and indictment of the Senate Pesident, Adolphus Wabara, both Igbo, last week over a N55 million bribery scam in the National Assembly.
 

It was also gathered that Balogun may have some long hours to spend in the EFCC detention, which has dug very deep into various financial misdemeanours he was allegedly involved in.

"We are not letting him go immediately," an EFCC source told Daily Sun. He is likely to be arraigned in court before the end of this week.

Balogun’s compulsory retirement as the 11th indigenous Inspector General of Police was also linked to money laundering in local and foreign banks running into billions of naira with the dealings at the Fountain Trust Bank sticking out like a sore thumb.
 

So far, EFCC is said to have traced 12 different bank accounts to him, though not all of them are in his name.

A source at EFCC had earlier told Daily Sun: "So far, we have traced 12 different accounts to him. Apart from these, we are still investigating his property. We just received information on two buildings he bought in London recently. Information we have on him is startling. What we are investigating is to ascertain if the transactions were done legally."

Balogun’s nemesis seems to have come in the form of a relatively unknown Tolu Jinadu, a civilian confidant and ‘boy’ whom the powerful IG was alleged have betrayed.
 

Jinadu was said to have written the petition on which EFCC finally nailed the former police chief.

 


 

EFCC arrests Balogun


Horatius Egua, Chiawo Nwankwo, Ibanga Isine, Bukola Ojeme and Oluyinka Akintunde

Security at the Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commissions was on Tuesday beefed up following the arrest of the former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun.

Balogun was said to have been arrested at about 7.30 pm on Monday at a location in Victoria Island, Lagos by operatives of the EFCC and whisked away to the commission’s office.

Sources told our correspondents on Tuesday, that he was driven to the EFCC office at about 8.00pm in a police patrol vehicle, escorted by several unmarked vehicles.

One of the sources said, “Shortly after he was brought to the EFCC office, Balogun was detained in one of the offices on the third floor. I can tell you that EFCC does not care who you are. Once you are found to be culpable, you will be treated according to the law.

“He (Balogun) will remain in the EFCC custody until the commission is ready to take him to court. When that would be, I don’t know.”

It was, however, learnt that the former IG might be arraigned on April 4.

Sources said the initial plan was to arraign him on Thursday, but it was later discovered that the courts were on recess.

Balogun was removed in February after an EFCC investigation traced over N1billion to his accounts.

When our correspondents contacted the EFCC spokesman, Mr. Osita Nwaja, he denied knowledge of Balogun’s arrest.

Security operatives that manned the gate leading to the EFCC office turned back most visitors on the claims that the office was undergoing renovation.

Only visitors cleared either by the EFCC Director of Operations, Mr. Ibrahim Lamorde, or any of the EFCC senior operatives, were allowed into the premises.

A top police source told our correspondents on condition of anonymity that some senior police officers that came to see the detained former IG were denied access.

They were allegedly instructed not to allow anybody except members of his family access to him.

At 12.27pm, a Toyota Prado escorted by a Peugeot 504 station wagon drove into the premises without any harassment.

Upon inquiry, our correspondent was told that the visitors were members of the Balogun family who brought lunch for the former IG.

Counsel to Balogun, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, picked holes in the arrest and detention of his client.

Abayomi said that Balogun had committed no offence and therefore, should not have been arrested.

He said, “I am proceeding to Lagos. My understanding is that, he is being held in Lagos. But I want to say that, he has never been interrogated. Therefore, we consider his detention, not only unwarranted, but clearly a breach of his fundamental human rights.

“We will not accept the validity of the detention, as we think that, it has not been done according to the due process of law. The former IG has maintained that he retired honorably and his retirement must have been deemed to be honorable, that was why the government accepted it. I want to emphasise that the former IG was not dismissed from employment, nor sacked, but he retired.”

Abayomi said he might head for court to challenge Balogun’s arrest.

Meanwhile, the EFCC Chairman, Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu, did not attend the meeting by the House of Representatives Committee on Ethics and Privileges which is investigating the N55million scandal rocking the National Assembly.

In a tersely worded letter to the committee, he said that his appearance would jeopardise the ongoing investigations into the case.

He therefore promised to “submit a comprehensive report to the House through appropriate channel as soon as investigations are concluded.”

But the Chairman of the committee, Dr. Bello Mohammed took exception to Ribadu’s excuse, saying he was duty bound to honour the invitation.

President Olusegun Obasanjo indicted three members of the House —Dr. Shehu Matazu, Mr. Gabriel Suswam and Mr. Osita Izunaso — in his nation-wide broadcast on the scandal last week.

The committee, headed by Dr. Bello Mohammed, also began interrogation of the indicted members, with Izunaso appearing before it.

There were indications on Tuesday that MTN Nigeria Communications may be sanctioned for allegedly providing members of the House of Representatives with free recharge cards.

A member of the House, Dr. Haruna Yerima, had last month accused the House members of collecting free recharge cards from the MTN.

Although the House denied the allegation, it suspended Yerima on February 17 for what it called baseless allegation to ridicule it before Nigerians.

The EFCC, however, went ahead with a probe of the allegation, which confirmed that the members collected free recharge cards.

A source at the commission said though the new management of the company was doing its best to clean up the firm’s operations, “The outstanding issues cannot be swept under the carpet. The company will have to answer for it; and we are examining various options, depending on how well they co-operate with us.”

The MTN External Communications Manager, Mr. Andrew Okeleke, was said to be on vacation when our correspondents called his office for comments.

But a senior official of the company said that the firm was not aware of any investigations into the free recharge cards.

He said that there was nothing unusual in giving complimentary products, saying that even manufacturing firms like breweries give complimentary products to government officials and other high networth customers as part of marketing strategy.

According to him, the practice obtains even in South Africa.

He said that investigations or prosecution could only arise if it was proven that the motive was to bribe the lawmakers for any specific issue.

The official, however, promised that the company would issue an official statement on the development latest on Wednesday (today).

The PUNCH Wednesday, March 30, 2005


 

Vanguard

 


Tafa Balogun arrested
By Kingsley Omonobi & Ise-Oluwa Ige
Posted to the Web: Wednesday, March 30, 2005

*To be arraigned Friday as counsel says he is innocent

ABUJA — The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Monday night, effected the arrest of the immediate past Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun, preparatory to his arraignment in court by Friday. Mr Balogun was arrested at about 9 p.m. in his Lagos residence.
 

He was subsequently taken to the commission’s detention facility in Lagos for interrogation.

“He has been under interrogation since yesterday (Monday) and he will remain in detention here pending when we are through with our interrogation,” an EFCC source said yesterday. “He wrote his statement today (yesterday), filled the suspect’s personal data form and the assets declaration form. All these are necessary before his arraignment latest Friday or Monday next week,” the source added.
 

The source who was part of the team quizzing Mr Balogun said: “The former IGP is getting better except may be he is not looking strong, but he can write.”

Activities at the commission’s office were completely paralysed yesterday as the main entrance into the premises was under tight security. Even people on appointment were not allowed entry apparently because of Mr Balogun’s presence.

Details of the possible charges against Mr. Balogun have not been confirmed. But there are allegations that several bank accounts have been traced to him.

The ex-IG's lawyer, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, in a statement yesterday said “he is free of the charges proclaimed against him.”
 

The statement: “No one need be disturbed by the harassment, intimidations, proclamations of guilt, arrest, detention or prosecution by the EFCC.

The organisation set-up under a single vindictive authority takes pleasure in using power anyhow and in anyway. This is why scores and scores of citizens remain detained by EFCC in utter abuse of the Constitution and the norms of human liberty. We only need to visit the offices of EFCC to see that behind the high profile cases is a terrible decay covered up by individuals who should not have been given such powers.

“It is characteristics for government in developing nations to arrest people anyhow including millions that have been freed as innocent by the courts.

"The wound of the current harassment of Mr. Tafa Balogun, would soon be healed by the proof of his innocence in an impartial court. It is the discharge of the burden of the proof by the state that should preoccupy us. Not the careless unwarranted and unjustified abuse of authority by EFCC.

“Mr. Tafa Balogun maintains this position for the benefit of doubt. He entered the police honourably, served at various departments effectively and retired with compliments from government.

"If now, in spite of all his commitments to the nation, he is being subjected to the current irritations, then, in the same way he defended Nigeria as Inspector General of Police, he will defend himself as an ordinary citizen of Nigeria entitled to the due process of law.
 

“The nation should not assume his guilt, not at all, but should demand adequate proof before an impartial tribunal notwithstanding the disturbing and noisy proclamations of guilt against him by EFCC.
 

"Mr. Tafa Balogun will be defended and may we as his counsel begin the defence by stating unequivocably that he is free of the charges proclaimed against him. Let us insist if only for the sake of all of us on the balance of justice.”

Mr. Balogun was retired on January 17. Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Chief U.J. Ekaette had in a statement said that Tafa’s retirement took effect March 6, 2005.
 

Chairman of EFCC, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, in a chat with journalists shortly after Mr. Balogun proceeded on retirement leave said he (Tafa) was being investigated for allegation bothering on financial misconduct, including money laundering.

His (Tafa’s) counsel, Dr Abayomi, was however quick to deny the commission’s allegation, saying: “EFCC does not try people. It can only probe and if any case is established against any body, that has to be proved in the court of law. The only avenue where I can defend my client is in the court of law.

“All we are asking is that the EFCC should conduct its investigation in a civilised manner without violating his (Tafa’s) right to presumption of innocence,” he said.
 

This week arrest of Tafa may not be unconnected to the investigation carried out by the commission on the allegation of corruption levelled at him.
 


 

 

This Day

 

EFCC Arrests Tafa Balogun

May be arraigned Thursday
By Abimbola Akosile and Eugene Agha, 03.30.2005

 

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arrested Mr. Tafa Balogun, former Inspector-General of Police (IGP), preparatory to his possible arraignment in Abuja tomorrow over charges of alleged corrupt practices.
Balogun according to reliable sources, was formally arrested in his Lagos home on Monday night and taken into EFCC custody, from where he is expected to be transferred to Abuja for prosecution. A scuffle was said to have occurred between mobile policemen detailed to guard Balogun, and the EFCC team that went to effect his arrest.
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported an un-named source as saying that Balogun is currently being interrogated by detectives from the EFCC in Lagos. According to the agency, Balogun has been under interrogation since Monday and would remain in detention pending when the investigation is completed.
 

"He wrote his statement today (Tuesday), filled the suspects' personal data form and the assets declaration form. All these are necessary before his arraignment latest Friday or Monday next week,” a source  told THISDAY.
Balogun's interrogation, according to the source, became necessary to extract more facts on his assets with a view to proving allegations of money laundering and official corruption against him in court.
 

THISDAY also gathered that activities at the Commission's office were completely paralysed yesterday as the main entrance into the premises was under tight security. People on appointment were not allowed entry, apparently because of Balogun's presence.
 

Senior EFCC officials confirmed Balogun’s arrest to THISDAY last night.
 

Balogun’s retirement from the police last January was sudden and controversial.
 

According to a January 17 statement signed by Secretary to the Federal Government (SFG), Mr. Ufot Ekaette, the embattled former IGP had given a notice of retirement effective March 6 and proceeded on retirement leave January 18.
 

EFCC chairman, Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu, later said that Balogun was forced into retirement based on the outcome of the investigation by his commission. He was said to have been involved in corrupt enrichment to the tune of about N2 billion. Following Balogun's retirement, Mr. Sunday Ehindero, Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) in charge of administration was appointed  Acting  IGP.


Also, Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala had at an international forum stated that the former IGP may soon be prosecuted when investigation on his case is concluded.


 

Guardian

March 30, 2005

 

EFCC arrests Tafa Balogun


By Mustapha Ogunsakin and Alex Olise (Lagos), John-Abba Ogbodo and Emmanuel Onwubiko (Abuja)

 

OFFICIALS of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have arrested former Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Tafa Balogun.

 

Sources close to the former police boss told The Guardian yesterday that he was picked up on Monday around 8.00 p.m. at his Ikoyi, Lagos, home.

 

His lawyer, Dr. Tunji Abayomi, yesterday confirmed the arrest but restated the former Police chief's innocence.

Balogun resigned on January 17 this year over his alleged indictment for fraud.

 

The EFCC Chairman, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, later confirmed that the commission was investigating the former police chief over the lodgement of about N1 billion in an account at the Fountain Trust Bank, Victoria Island, Lagos.

Sources at the EFCC also hinted that Balogun might be flown to Abuja for trial as he operated from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). It was also learnt that various other bank accounts, both local and international, had been traced to him while more than 10 landed property had been traced to him abroad. This is apart from the ones in high brow areas across the country.

 

Since his retirement, Balogun has maintained a low profile as a travelling ban was reportedly placed on him.

Sources said that the government seized his travel documents, including his international passport.

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos also granted an interim order freezing a total of N2.7 billion traced to Balogun in five different bank accounts.

 

The order was granted by Justice J. Awokunlehim in suit no. FJHL/L/CS/213/2005 filed by the EFCC.

Abayomi yesterday said that the retired nation's police boss would be arraigned at the Federal High Court on Friday. He did not however know the division of the court where the trial will take place.

 

Abayomi, who spoke with The Guardian, criticised the crimes commission for "arbitrarily" detaining Balogun.

He said: "I am shocked because he has not been shown any allegation. There is no news on the detention of Tafa Balogun because it is typical in a Third World country like Nigeria; because the government believes that it is through that means that the system is changed."
 

The lawyer, who maintained that his client is innocent, said that justice would prevail in the court whenever Balogun is charged.

 

His press statement reads:
 

"No one need be disturbed by the harassment, intimidations, proclamations of guilt, arrest, detention or prosecution by the E.F.C.C.

 

"The organisation set up under a single vindictive authority takes pleasure in using power anyhow and in anyway this is why scores and scores of citizens remain detained by E.F.C.C. in utter abuse of the Constitution and the norms of human liberty. We only need to visit the offices of EFCC to see that behind the high profile cases is a terrible decay covered up by individuals who should not have been given such powers."
 

Abayomi continued: "It is characteristic for government in developing nations to arrest people anyhow including millions that have been freed as innocent by the courts.

 

"The wound of the current harassment of Mr. Tafa Balogun, would soon be healed by the proof of his innocence in an impartial court. It is the discharge of the burden of the proof by the state that should pre-occupy us. Not the careless, unwarranted and unjustified abuse of authority by EFCC"
 

Abayomi, who is also a personal lawyer to President Obasanjo, continued:
 

"Mr. Tafa Balogun maintains this position for the benefit of doubt. He entered the police honourably, served at various departments effectively and retired with compliments from the government.

 

"If now, in spite of all his commitments to the nation, he is being subjected to the current irritations, then, in the same way he defended Nigeria as Inspector-General of Police, he will defend himself as an ordinary citizen of Nigeria entitled to the due process of law."
 

The lawyer added: "The nation should not assume his guilty, not at all, but should demand adequate proof before an impartial tribunal notwithstanding the disturbing and noisy proclamations of guilt against him by the EFCC.

 

"Mr. Tafa Balogun will be defended and may we as his counsel begin the defence by stating unequivocally that he is free of the charges proclaimed against him. Let us insist if only for the sake of all of us on the balance of justice," he stated.

 

But the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Mr Emmanuel Ighodalo last night denied knowledge of the arrest. He said: "We came to work today as early as 7 a.m., and as I am speaking to you, we are still in the office. But we are not aware of anything like that."
 


 

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