Day: March 16, 2018

Meet Nwude – The Fraudster Who Sold A Non Existent Airport To A Brazilian For Over $200m

Here is the story of Emmanuel Nwude who committed the largest fraud in Nigeria by selling a non-existent airport to a Brazilian for $242 million between 1995 and 1998.

Emmanuel Nwude carried out one of the the biggest banking frauds in the world

The wide spread internet fraud commonly known as 419 is a phenomenon Nigeria has sadly come to be associated it. Before internet fraud became a global issue, Nwude had committed one of the biggest scams in the world.

Specifically, his fraud was the third largest banking scam in the world after the Nick Leeson’s trading losses at Barings Bank, and the looting of the Iraqi Central Bank by Qusay Hussein.


How was Emmanuel Nwude able to carry out this jaw-dropping scam and convince Nelson Sakaguchi who was the director of the bank to part with so much money for the purchase of an airport?

Nwude was a former director of Union Bank of Nigeria and this position made him privy to certain sensitive links, information and documents that other employees would not be aware of.

He impersonated the then governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Paul Ogwuma, and connected with Sakaguchi informing him of a mouth-watering deal of Nigeria’s plan to build an airport in Abuja.

Nwude, while posing as the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Governor, was able to convince Sakaguchi that he stood of chance of pocketing $10 million commission when the deal passed through. Sakaguchi paid $191 million in cash and the remainder in the form of outstanding interest.


Nwude’s accomplices were Emmanuel Ofolue, Nzeribe Okoli, and Obum Osakwe, along with the husband and wife duo, Christian Ikechukwu Anajemba and Amaka Anajemba.

Christian was later assassinated.

The criminal gang also successfully convinced the director of the Brazilian bank to release the funds.


How the scam happened

It started with a fax in March 1995.

It was from a man called Tafida Williams, who signed off as the Director for Budget and Planning at Nigeria’s Ministry of Aviation. Nigeria, Tafida said, had shifted its administrative capital to Abuja and needed new transport systems. A friend and long-term client of Noroeste had suggested the Brazilian bank would be interested in investing in a new international airport. What Sakaguchi didn’t know was that he was a mark, and although the client was a real person, Tafida was not. Not even that, that there was no such project underway. He didn’t know it then, and wouldn’t for another three years.

Shortly after that fax, Sakaguchi travelled to London. His new friends whisked him from the airport to a hotel in a limousine. At the airport, he met three Nigerian men and one woman. One man gave him a business card introducing himself as the governor of the Nigeria Central Bank, Paul Ogwuma. By the end of the meeting, Sakaguchi was convinced. In fact, he gave them $35, 000 in cash; they would remit $39 million, they promised.

Nelson Sakaguchi was not an extraordinary banker, but he was a hyper-efficient one. For fourteen years, he had meticulously guarded the overseas funds of his employer, the Brazilian bank Banco Noroeste. A loyal and ambitious man, his illustrious career would collapse right before his eyes as his fellow director demanded details about their Cayman Islands operations.

No one had noticed anything off about Sakaguchi’s accounts until a Spanish bank, Santander, tried to buy Noroeste from the Simonsen and Cochrane families in 1998. There was a large amount of money seemingly just sitting in the Cayman’s arm; yet it was two fifths of the entire bank’s value and half of its capital base. That single question begun a bizarre journey into the criminal underworld of Nigerian fraudsters, and just how simple it is to rob a bank.


The birth of the EFCC

In 2002, the then president, Olusegun Obasanjo saw to the establishment of an anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Nwude’s fraud case was one of the first to be investigated and in 2004, all members of the gang were arraigned before an Abuja High Court on 86 counts of “fraudulently seeking advance fees” and 15 counts of bribery related to the case . Although they pleaded not guilty, they were warned not to attempt to bribe court officials as it was suspected that money was going round.

In 2005, Amaka confessed to helping Anajemba and was asked to repay $25.5 million and also sentenced to two and a half years in prison.

Nwude attempted to bribe Nuhu Ribadu, the then chairman of the EFCC, with $75,000 cash but the latter refused and Nwude was charged with attempted bribery as well as attempt to kidnap a prosecuting witness.

Following Sakaguchi’s witness, Nwude finally pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five concurrent sentences of five years and was also asked to pay $10 million fine to the federal government.

He was released from prison in 2006 and filed a case to reclaim his assets insisting some of them were acquired before the criminal act. He has so far been able to reclaim $167 million.


A land dispute in the town of Ukpo in the Dunukofia area with Abagana community turned bloody when over 200 men invaded the community killing four policemen and the security guard at the construction site in 2016. The Anambra state government fingered Nwude as the ringleader and he was subsequently arrested and arraigned on 27 charges including murder and terrorism. He is being held at Awka prison as the court case is still on.

While Nwude’s criminal exploit was not the first in the country, it signified the rise in international financial crime and popularise the advanced fee fraud syndrome with Nigeria’s name associated with it.

College Student Shot In The Head As He Sat In Parked Car

This is the first picture of a former college student shot dead as he sat in a parked car in the street.

Joseph Williams Torres, 20, was sitting in a car in Walthamstow, east London, when he was approached by a gunman who fired several shots through the window.

The former Waltham Forest college student, who had studied carpentry, was treated at the scene in a car park on the Essex Close estate but died en route to hospital.

A close friend told the Standard: “We’re all heartbroken. We would walk to school together every day. He had a cheeky smile and was the class joker.

“He was close to his little sister, she is distraught. Joseph was innocent and completely harmless.”

The shooting at 9.30pm on Wednesday is the third in a week in London. A 14-year-old boy was left with “life-changing” injuries after being shot outside Seven Sisters Tube station on Tuesday.

On Thursday last week 19-year-old Kelvin Odunuyi was shot dead outside a cinema in Wood Green.

On the same night as Mr Torres’ death, a teenager was stabbed to death yards from his home in Chadwell Heath after being chased by a gang through an estate.

Lyndon Davis was cradled by a friend after the attack in Nash Road at about 10.30pm on Wednesday.

The 18 year old, an aspiring rapper who was known as Lynx, was taken to hospital where he died less than two hours later.

Today his father Ricardo Green told the Standard: “I’m devastated. He was a great boy.”

Lyndon is the eighth teenager to be fatally attacked in London this year. Seven have been stabbings.

A friend said: “He was a nice guy we can’t believe it. He loved his rap, he was a talented musician. His sister and family are devastated.”

Another added: “I am going to see his family, They are grieving. We are all struggling to understand how this happened.”

A police cordon was put in place as homicide police searched for discarded weapons. A forensic tent was erected, yards from Lyndon’s front door.

The teenager and his family are thought to have moved to Chadwell Heath recently after previously living in Barking.

Witness Kelly Lowing said: “I heard terrible screaming – it was so loud. There was the boy outside in the ground who was screaming, they were desperate cries.

“The ambulance came and was working on him. It was terrifying and horrible.”

Lecturer James Sodimu said: “There were loads of young boys running around the estate. They were obviously chasing someone.

“They were covering something with plastic bags, it looked like they were concealing weapons. It was very frightening.”


Another witness said: “He was chased down through the estate – he nearly made it home. We are all totally shocked.”

In another incident, another teenager was fighting for life today after being stabbed in an argument outside Woodford Station.

Witnesses said he was approached by a group of teenagers who asked where he was from.

Passers-by rushed to give the victim first aid after he was found collapsed outside the station just before 5.30pm yesterday.

There have been no arrests in either of the deaths.


Culled from Evening Standard

Flight Attendant Falls To Her Death From Plane’s Emergency Exit

An Emirates flight attendant died after tumbling from a plane’s emergency exit on the tarmac in Uganda.

The hostess, who was not named, died in hospital a day after the incident at Entebbe International Airport in Uganda on Wednesday afternoon.

Flight EK729 arrived in Entebbe about 2pm local time and was scheduled to head back to Dubai at 3.25pm, with passengers preparing to board.

An Emirates flight attendant died after ‘jumping’ from a plane’s emergency exit on the tarmac in Uganda

The woman suffered serious head injuries that caused her death, with a gruesome photo showing her lying face down on the tarmac in a pool of blood.

Unnamed witnesses told local media she spoke with colleagues then held what looked like a glass bottle under her chin before jumping from the 60ft Boeing 777.

‘Her knees were shattered and her body cut with broken glass from the bottle she jumped with,’ one told the Daily Monitor.

Emirates said it was cooperating with the investigation, which is yet to officially determine the cause, and only referred to its employee falling from the door.

It happened as an Emirates flight was preparing for passengers headed to Dubai to board at Entebbe International Airport. File photo

‘A member of our cabin crew unfortunately fell off from an open door while preparing the aircraft for boarding on flight EK729. The injured crew member was brought to the nearest hospital,’ it said.

Uganda’s Civil Aviation Authority said it would investigate the incident, which in a very early statement on Wednesday also referred to as a fall.


‘A female member of the cabin crew appeared to have opened the emergency door and unfortunately fell off an Emirates aircraft that had safely landed and parked,’ it said.

Local News: Plumstead Old Depot To Be Renovated Following Mayor Of London’s Multi Million Funding

Plans to renovate an old depot in Plumstead have been revealed following £2.5m of funding from the Mayor of London.

City Hall announced the grant from the Good Growth Fund earlier this month and the money will be split between projects in Plumstead High Street and at White Hart Road depot.

Early impressions of how the old White Hart Road council depot could look have been released by the council ahead of a meeting on how to spend the cash.

Crossrail has been using the building, but the council is set to take it back this year and plans to build a market and cafe in what will be the Plumstead Business Hub.

A report going to the council next Wednesday says: “With the departure of Crossrail, there is an opportunity now to re-establish this building as managed workspace for Plumstead.

“Officers consider that this building is ideally suited to develop a varied range of managed workspaces supported by auxiliary services (such as a crèche, cafe, socialising and networking spaces) that will both support the vibrancy of the building offer and be open to the wider public.”

The plans suggest studios, rehearsal space, a nursery and a gallery as well as a public square, roof terrace and pub.

For the high street, the money will be pumped into the appearance of shopping areas, to increase business.


The report also says: “There is an opportunity to deliver façade, signage, lighting and treatment improvements to businesses in Plumstead. An initial appraisal estimates that at least 40 businesses can benefit from these improvements.”

However, not all shops in the town centre will get a boost from the money as the council is planning on using it on stores that tick the boxes of being either a local asset or in a “strategic location”.

The council will also be pitching in £2.5m to the schemes, matching the funding Sadiq Khan announced.

Speaking about the announcement, Councillor Denise Hyland, leader of Greenwich Council, said: “The council is driving change in Plumstead, investing millions and attracting further funds to improve the local environment.

“We will continue to work with residents and existing businesses to improve the high street as well as attract new businesses into the area. I am delighted by this additional funding, especially with it coming in the same week as work starts on transforming the library into a multi-functional community centre.”

A further £2.7m has also been earmarked by the council to develop the area adjacent to Plumstead station.