Connect with us

News

Air Peace boss Onyema indicted in $20 million money laundering scheme6 minutes read

Allen Onyema who is the CEO of Air Peace Nigeria is being accused by the United States government of fraud and money laundering in the region of 20 millions of dollars.

Published

on

Allen Onyema who is the CEO of Air Peace Nigeria is being accused by the United States government of fraud and money laundering in the region of 20 millions of dollars.

L-R: Chairman of Air Peace Airline, Chief Allen Onyema, Speaker of the House Gbajabiamila and Hon Ndudi Elumelu [Twitter/@femigbaja]

L-R: Chairman of Air Peace Airline, Chief Allen Onyema, Speaker of the House Gbajabiamila and Hon Ndudi Elumelu [Twitter/@femigbaja]

The United States Department of Justice has charged Allen Ifechukwu Athan Onyema, the Chairman and founder of Air Peace Nigerian airline, with bank fraud and money laundering “for moving more than $20 million from Nigeria through United States bank accounts in a scheme involving false documents based on the purchase of airplanes,” according to a statement from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia.

Air Peace’s Chief of Administration and Finance, Ejiroghene Eghagha, has also been charged with bank fraud and committing aggravated identity theft in connection with the scheme.

According to the statement issued by the United States Department of justice, “Onyema allegedly leveraged his status as a prominent business leader and airline executive while using falsified documents to commit fraud.” U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak was quoted in the statement as saying; “We will diligently protect the integrity of our banking system from being corrupted by criminals, even when they disguise themselves in a cloak of international business.”

Robert J. Murphy, Special Agent in Charge of the DEA Atlanta Field Division who commented on the indictment said, “Allen Onyema’s status as a wealthy businessman turned out to be a fraud. He corrupted the U.S. banking system, but his trail of deceit and trickery came to a skidding halt. DEA would like to thank the many law enforcement partners and the subsequent prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office who aided in making this investigation a success.”

“This case is a prime example of why IRS-CI seeks to partner and leverage its expertise in an effort to thwart those seeking to exploit our nation’s financial system,” said Thomas J. Holloman, IRS-Criminal Investigation Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Office.

“With the importance of our banking system to the movement of money around the world, those attempting to use intricate schemes to commit bank fraud through the use of falsified documents and other means should know that the odds are now heavily stacked against them as law enforcement is combining its talents to protect the sanctity and integrity of the nation’s financial system.”

“Onyema setup various innocent-sounding multi-million dollar asset purchases which were nothing more than alleged fronts for his scam,” said acting Special Agent in Charge Robert Hammer, who oversees HSI operations in Georgia and Alabama. “I’m proud to be part of a team of law enforcement agencies that come together to identify and attack criminals that attempt to profit from the exploitation of our nation’s financial systems.”

According to U.S. Attorney Pak, the indictment, and other information presented in court: “Onyema, a Nigerian citizen and businessman, is the founder and Chairman of several organizations that purport to promote peace across Nigeria, including the Foundation for Ethnic Harmony, International Center for Non-Violence and Peace Development, and All-Time Peace Media Communications Limited.

“Beginning in 2010, Onyema began travelling frequently to Atlanta, where he opened several personal and business bank accounts. Between 2010 and 2018, over $44.9 million was allegedly transferred into his Atlanta-based accounts from foreign sources.”

How he allegedly did it

Onyema founded Air Peace in 2013.

According to the statement, “in years following the founding of Air Peace, he travelled to the United States and purchased multiple airplanes for the airline. However, over $3 million of the funds used to purchase the aircraft allegedly came from bank accounts for Foundation for Ethnic Harmony, International Center for Non-Violence and Peace Development, All-Time Peace Media Communications Limited, and Every Child Limited.

“Beginning in approximately May 2016, Onyema, together with Eghagha, allegedly used a series of export letters of credit to caus banks to transfer more than $20 million into Atlanta-based bank accounts controlled by Onyema. The letters of credit were purportedly to fund the purchase of five separate Boeing 737 passenger planes by Air Peace. The letters were supported by documents such as purchase agreements, bills of sale, and appraisals proving that Air Peace was purchasing the aircraft from Springfield Aviation Company LLC, a business registered in Georgia.

“However, the supporting documents were fake — Springfield Aviation Company LLC, which is owned by Onyema and managed by a person with no connection to the aviation business, never owned the aircraft, and the company that allegedly drafted the appraisals did not exist.

“Eghagha allegedly participated in this scheme as well, directing the Springfield Aviation manager to sign and send false documents to banks and even using the manager’s identity to further the fraud. After Onyema received the money in the United States, he allegedly laundered over $16 million of the proceeds of the fraud by transferring it to other accounts.”

Onyema and Eghagha were indicted on November 19, 2019, on one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, three counts of bank fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit credit application fraud, and three counts of credit application fraud.

Additionally, Onyema was charged with 27 counts of money laundering, and Eghagha was charged with one count of aggravated identity theft.

Response

In response to the allegation, Allen Onyema released the following statement. 

“Thank you for reaching out to me. I can confirm to you that all allegations are false and are in no way in line with my character as a person and as a businessman whose only aim has been to build Nigeria and improve wellbeing.

“As the press statement clearly stated, these are indictment that only contains charges.  I am innocent of all charges and the US government will find NO dirt on me because I have never conducted business with any illegalities.”

“Be rest assured that I also have my lawyers on this and these mere allegations will be refuted.”

“I never laundered money in my life, neither have I committed bank fraud anywhere in the world. Every Kobo I transferred to the US for aircraft purchase went through the Central Bank of Nigeria LC regime and all were used for the same purpose. The American companies that received the funds are still in business. I never took a penny from any US bank or Nigerian bank. I am willing to defend my innocence in the US courts.”

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

Tell your story the right way

Have you witnessed a news worthy event? Want to become our citizen journalist and tell your own stories?

Send your stories to us or contact us via:
Email: Click to email us
Social media: Twitter and Facebook @NewsCentralTV
WhatsApp: Text or call +234 901 190 0000 .

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

News

UN condemns use of IEDs against civilians in Libya

“UNSMIL strongly condemns these acts, which serve no military objective, provoke extreme fear among the population, and violate the rights of innocent civilians…,” the UN said.

Published

on

A man inspects the wreckage of a car outside the Khadra General Hospital which is dedicated to treating people infected with coronavirus (COVID-19) in the Libyan capital Tripoli on April 8, 2020, after it was targeted by forces loyal to Libyan strongman Khalifa Haftar. (Photo by Mahmud TURKIA / AFP)

The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has condemned the use of improvised explosive devices against civilians in the southern part of Tripoli, as the armed conflict between the east-based army and the UN-backed government continues.

UNSMIL “is extremely concerned about reports that residents of the Ain Zara and Salahuddin areas of Tripoli have been killed or wounded by improvised explosive devices placed in or near their homes,” UNSMIL said in a statement Monday.

“UNSMIL strongly condemns these acts, which serve no military objective, provoke extreme fear among the population, and violate the rights of innocent civilians who must be protected under international humanitarian law,” the statement said.

UNSMIL called on all individuals to “seek information and heed security advice to stay away from areas that have not been declared safe to enter by a competent authority or items of unknown origin which may be explosive devices”.

UNSMIL also commended the search and clearance work by Libyan Police and Military Engineers, reaffirming its continued support to Libyan partners, communities, and stakeholders “who are working tirelessly to rid Libya of the threat of explosive remnant of war (ERW)”.

The UN-backed government’s forces accused the rival east-based army of planting mines before withdrawing from conflict areas in southern Tripoli.

Since April 2019, the east-based army has been leading a military campaign attempting to take over Tripoli and topple the UN-backed government.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

Tell your story the right way

Have you witnessed a news worthy event? Want to become our citizen journalist and tell your own stories?

Send your stories to us or contact us via:
Email: Click to email us
Social media: Twitter and Facebook @NewsCentralTV
WhatsApp: Text or call +234 901 190 0000 .

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

News

Strike looms as public sector wage dispute enters arbitration in South Africa

Published

on

The ongoing face-off between workers in the public sector and the South African government continues. According to the Public Service Coordinating Bargaining Council (PSCBC), disagreement between the trade unions and government has moved the talks to arbitration for further hearing.

PSCBC General Secretary, Frikkie De Bruin explains that the arbitration hearings will begin by mid-June. An arbitrator will issue an award after the hearings are complete, with the matter potentially heading to court or resulting in a strike if the unions aren’t happy.

Ordinarily, public sector workers make up a third of South Africa’s expenditure. But with the coronavirus lockdown and income reduction, Pretoria seems unwilling to incur more debt.

If not handled carefully to appease the workers, the ruling African National Congress, (ANC) could lose its political dominance in the next local elections.

If no resolution is reached and the workers decide to resolve it an industrial action, it could erode all effort made by the government in the fight against the coronavirus.

The dispute started in February when the government affirmed that it could not fulfil its 2018 agreement on a three-year wage agreement.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

Tell your story the right way

Have you witnessed a news worthy event? Want to become our citizen journalist and tell your own stories?

Send your stories to us or contact us via:
Email: Click to email us
Social media: Twitter and Facebook @NewsCentralTV
WhatsApp: Text or call +234 901 190 0000 .

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

Business News

Ethiopia to divest 40% of Ethio Telecom

Published

on

The Ethiopian government is finalizing plans to sell a 40 percent stake in Ethio Telecom- the country’s sole telecommunication provider . The plan was announced by Ethiopia’s State Minister of Finance, Eyob Tekalign Tolina.

Ethiopia’s telecommunication industry is considered one of the last closed markets. It has been one of the government’s plans to liberalize the country’s economy launched by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Ethio Telecom has a large market serving a population of around 110 million.

The government will retain ownership of the remaining 60 percent.

Foreign firms in the telecom sector will be invited to bid and a percentage of the minority stake will be sold to Ethiopian citizens. South Africa’s MTN and Kenya’s Safaricom have shown interest in expanding into Ethiopia in the past.

Ethiopia’s communications regulator says the country would proceed with the privatisation of the telecommunications sector despite the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Copyright News Central

All rights reserved. This post and other digital content on this website may not be reproduced, published, broadcasted, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from News Central.

Tell your story the right way

Have you witnessed a news worthy event? Want to become our citizen journalist and tell your own stories?

Send your stories to us or contact us via:
Email: Click to email us
Social media: Twitter and Facebook @NewsCentralTV
WhatsApp: Text or call +234 901 190 0000 .

New stories delivered to your phone

Click here to have news stories delivered to your phone or mail. You can also share your stories with us. Join our mailing list here.

Continue Reading

Trending