Tuesday, 21 November 2017

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Items filtered by date: August 2017

A 25-year-old undergraduate of the Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, Imo State, Chioma Pius, who was allegedly tortured by some policemen attached to the Rivers State Police Command, has identified the patrol team behind the attack.

The victim, who spoke with our correspondent on Wednesday, said the matter had also been taken to the Public Complaint Rapid Response Unit of the Nigeria Police Force, Abuja.

Our correspondent had reported Pius’ post on Facebook on Wednesday, where she briefly recounted her experience with a four-man patrol team on the Elebrada Junction, in the Emohua area of Rivers State.

She had said the police team accused her of putting on tattoos on her body and assaulted her before locking her up in a mobile cell.

During a chat with PUNCH Metro, she explained that the cops had earlier checked the vehicle particulars and that of the driver of the cab she took and finding no fault, shifted attention to her.

She said, “The incident happened around 1.05pm on Monday. My friend was having her birthday and I left Bayelsa for Port Harcourt, Rivers State, to buy groceries for her. I was in the cab when we were stopped at a checkpoint.

“One of them asked for the driver’s vehicle documents, which he gave them. I was in the car, listening to music. When the officer saw that the papers were complete, he asked me to come down.

“I asked the cab man if he had any problem with them, and he said no. The policeman asked me to identity myself and I told him my name and that I was a professional fashion designer. I told him that I was also a student of a polytechnic. I was wearing a smile on my face. I never knew that people misunderstood smiling for arrogance.

“His boss came towards us and asked if I was resisting arrest. He said I was treating him as if he was too small to talk to me. The boss asked for my identity and I reintroduced myself.

“He said, ‘Oh, you even have a tattoo, and you are resisting arrest. Ok, detain her.’ I was shocked.  I said, ‘Oga, you can’t ask them to detain me for wearing a tattoo.’ He said I was proving stubborn. Before I could turn around, the other policeman had slapped me twice.

“He pushed me towards his boss, who punched me as if he was punching a man like himself. The next thing, they poured water on me and the man went to get a horsewhip and flogged me. The boss used his gun to hit me twice in the thigh. I jumped into the mobile cell. One of them bought a sachet of pure water and poured it on me, shouting ‘Ashawo’.He also spat on me.”

The Imo State indigene explained that the tattoos on her body had been imprinted for more than eight years, adding that while one was a tribute to a deceased sibling, the other represented important memories of her life.

She said when she asked to speak with her fiancé, an Italian, the policemen called her a prostitute, saying she would soon contract HIV.

“The policemen ransacked my handbag and wallet, looking for money.  They later sneered that I didn’t have any money but I had a sharp mouth to question them.

“Three of them beat me up, while the fourth officer was busy extorting money from other motorists, who watched me suffered,” she added.

She explained that the cab driver, who had been threatened with a gun for wanting to interfere, ran to another checkpoint to beg other policemen to mediate.

The policemen were said to have pleaded with the cops to release her, saying she had suffered enough.

“I want justice because I was humiliated publicly and treated like a child. They have probably been doing this to a lot of people, but it must end. I was not indecently dressed to have warranted any harassment. I wore a black jeans and a T-shirt. I don’t dress indecently outside. What if I had worn something transparent? Then I would have lost my life,” she added.

She gave the number plate of the patrol vehicle as NPF 4982C AKU PH, adding that she had already made statements to the PCRRU.

The Rivers State Police Public Relations Officer, Omoni Nnamdi, did not pick his calls when our correspondent contacted him.

Published in News & Stories
 

Governors of the South-East states, on Wednesday, held talks with leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, in Enugu, the Enugu State capital.

The meeting held at the Enugu State Government House.

It was the first time the governors are meeting Kanu, who is championing the pro-Biafran agitation in the South-East and parts of the South-South.

One of our correspondents learnt that issues surrounding the ongoing agitation, including IPOB’s call for a boycott of the November 18 governorship election in Anambra State and the group’s recent establishment of a ‘Biafra Secret Service’, topped the agenda of the meeting.

The meeting had the Enugu State governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi; and the Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi, in attendance.

Nkem Okeke, deputy governor of Anambra State, represented Governor Willie Obiano.

Rochas Okorocha and Okezie Ikpeazu of Imo and Abia states respectively were absent and were not represented.

A source at the meeting said both governors were outside the country.

Kanu was accompanied to the meeting by elder statesman, Prof. Ben Nwabueze, and founder of the Igbo Youth Movement, Evangelist Elliot Uko.

The PUNCH equally learnt that the governors at the meeting, which held behind closed doors, spoke of the need for an amicable resolution of issues raised by the pro-Biafran activists.

While the governors have maintained that restructuring is the solution to the perceived marginalisation of the Igbo in the country, Kanu and other pro-Biafran agitators are clamouring for outright secession, and the emergence of an independent Biafran nation.

A communique after the meeting, read by Umahi, who is the chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, said the governors noted the concerns raised by the IPOB as well as the secessionists’ demands.

According to the communique, the governors informed Kanu that the demands should not be absolute.

Further meetings are to be held between Kanu and the governors towards an amicable resolution of the issues, according to the communique.

The communiqué read, “The meeting deliberated on the demands of the IPOB and noted its concerns accordingly.

“However, the meeting agreed that these demands by IPOB should not be absolute; rather the South-East governors shall immediately engage the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, and the entire leadership of IPOB in further meetings and dialogue with a view to quickening the resolution of all issues amicably.”

A source at the secretariat of the South-East Governors’ Forum informed The PUNCH that the governors would persuade Kanu to drop the agitation for Biafra and embrace the campaign for restructuring.

Kanu, dressed in Jewish attire, arrived at the Enugu Government House, venue of the meeting, in a white Toyota Venza with the inscription, ‘Eze S. I. Kanu’ on the number plate.

The vehicle apparently belongs to Kanu’s father, Eze S. I. Kanu.

The IPOB leader posed for a group photograph with the governors after the meeting before leaving the government house.

After Kanu’s departure, the governors went into another meeting with a group of Igbo leaders, including the President-General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo, and a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Prof. Charles Soludo.

IPOB leader’s planned re-arrest politically unwise, Umar tells FG

Meanwhile, a former military Governor of Kaduna State, Col. Abubakar Umar (reted.), has cautioned the Federal Government against a possible re-arrest of the IPOB leader on alleged breach of his bail conditions.

Umar, who is also the Chairman of the Movement for Unity and Progress, in a statement on Wednesday in Kaduna, noted that re-arrest of Kanu would be dangerous and politically unwise on the part of the government.

He stated, “Reports in the media indicate that the Federal Government has asked the Federal High Court in Abuja to revoke the bail granted Mazi Nnamdi Kanu and have him re-arrested. This is both dangerous and politically unwise.

“Mazi Kanu is not a common criminal as the government appears to think. On the contrary, he is a bitter young man fighting for a fairer deal for his Igbo kinsmen.

“His seeming militant approach is the result of the strong arm tactics with which the Federal Government deals with him.  His long incarceration before a court granted him bail testifies to this.

“Like Mazi Nnamdi Kanu, many Igbos genuinely feel marginalised since they belong to the category of those who gave Mr. President only five per cent of their votes and appeared to have fallen out of his favour.”

Umar argued that President Muhammadu Buhari’s insistence that the unity of Nigeria was a settled issue was a nationalistic wish coming from a veteran of the civil war fought to keep the country as one.

However, he lamented that the President’s view did not take into account the mood of the nation as indicated by the growing agitations for self -determination, restructuring and many other similar demands.

Umar said, “All indications are that Nigeria has become so polarised that it requires a strong personality like General Buhari to sustain its fragile unity. Needless to say that this does not bode well for the survival of the nation.

“Nigeria’s unity can only be guaranteed when all its citizens feel they are getting a fair deal; when all its component parts are treated justly and equitably; when none feels oppressed.”

He said the fact that there were growing agitations for self -determination, restructuring and other similar demands spoke gravely of the way the federation was being governed.

Published in Business and Economy

The Olori has also reverted to her maiden name Zaynab Otiti Obanor. She disclosed this via an official statement on her official Instagram page @hhzynab on Wednesday.

Her post partly reads: “What I can confirm is that the Ooni and I are no more. I inhale love and exhale gratitude.

“No matter how much time you’ve invested, no matter the use of media to silence and manipulate, no matter the circumstance, slander, embarrassment, threats and lies: get out and seek immediate help!

“My journey continues as a humanitarian aiding women and victims of domestic violence and abuse with the United Nations.

The revelation has confirmed media reports in recent times that the Oni marriage’s to the Benin-born queen was having crisis.

Ooni got married to his ex-Edo bride at an elaborate society traditional marriage held in Benin, the Edo State capital on March 16, 2016.

Although the monarch was not physically present, he was represented by his father, Oluropo Ogunwusi.

 

OFFICIAL STATEMENT:

We have got to stop this culture of shaming and vilifying women with false stories of infidelity & nefarious behavior. The spreading of false information (through "sources" afraid to be identified) is the mark of cowards and a cover up for guilty parties to justify their horrific actions.

There is absolutely no truth to the media circulated lies of infidelity and infertility- on my end. What I can confirm, is that the Ooni and I are no more. I inhale love & exhale gratitude. My journey continues as a Humanitarian aiding women and victims of domestic violence & abuse with the United Nations.

No matter how much time you've invested, no matter the use of media to silence & manipulate, no matter the circumstance, slander, embarrassment, threats and lies: Get out and seek immediate help! We've seen this movie before. Women being dragged in the press & blamed for everything under the sun.

This behavior is unacceptable. I urge those involved to be mindful of their actions for the eyes of our Almighty God are always watching. The seeds of slander is a cancer that harvests to eat away the souls of the planter. The throne is sacred and the attempts to tarnish the name of a Queen, in defense or on behalf of a silent King makes all involved look terrible. Remain dignified in all you do. It's not the end of the world, but the start of a new chapter and you must turn the page with grace.

The world is watching. As I bid adieu to this chapter, my wish to you all is to step into your lives - boldly & fearlessly, the way God intended and live not just by words, but through example.

The best chapter in our lives is the one we are writing now.

Thank you for your love and support.

With peace, love &  light,

Her Highness, Zaynab Otiti Obanor.

Published in Headliners

The Federal Government has explained why it has not arrested the architects of the Coalition of Northern Youths’ quit notice issued to the Igbo living in the North.

The explanation came on the heels of calls by United Nations (UN) experts for the arrest of those behind the June 6 quit notice.

It also came on a day the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB) lashed out at the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) over the pan-North group’s warnings to Ohanaeze Ndi’ Igbo, a pro-East organisation.

At a news conference in Abuja yesterday, Attorney-General of the Federation & Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami (SAN) said they did not go after sponsors of the quit notice due to the “security implications”, adding that the Federal Government was being strategic in handle the issue.

He said: “The way the government works is that a lot of considerations naturally come into play. One is investigation, which is not time-bound; two, security consideration; three, expeditious determination and consideration of public interest.

“But one thing that is certain is that the government is ever alive to its responsibilities and whoever is found wanting, regardless of the length of time, will definitely be brought to book.

“That is the way it works. I assure you that the government will, within the context of its responsibilities, work to ensure good governance, justice, peace and fairness in the nation.”

The Northern youths have withdrawn the quit notice on the Igbo to vacate the North on October 1.

‎Their spokesman, AbdulAziz Suleiman, said the withdrawal was as a result of consultations and pressure from various groups.

Also yesterday, the IPOB, through its spokesman, Emma Powerful, warned the Federal Government against re-arresting its leader, Nnamdi Kanu.

It said doing so will have dire consequences.

The IPOB spokesman was reacting to what it called an attack on the Ohanaeze. Some ACF elders had berated the Ohanaeze leaders for trivialising a criminal matter.

According to Powerful, Kanu has not committed any crime that could warrant his rearrest.

He said: “If Nigeria ever had a case against our leader, why have the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) not commenced the trial since October 2015 when our leader was first arrested?

“Instead, the Arewa North thought they could intimidate this present Ohaneze Ndigbo as they did to previous executives, into allowing Nnamdi Kanu to be arrested.

“The idea of wanting to use baseless trumped up charges to justify the extra-judicial detention of Kanu will be resisted by all men and women of good conscience.”

The UN human rights experts called for the prosecution of those behind the ultimatum issued to the Igbo.

The experts,  Mutuma Ruteere, Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance; Fernand de Varennes, Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues and Anastasia Crickley, Chairperson of the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, described the ultimatum as a “grave concern”.

They also deplored a hate song and audio message being circulated on the internet and on the social media targeting the Igbo.

The UN experts said: “We are gravely concerned about this proliferation of hate messages and incitement to violence against the Igbo and their property, especially considering the previous history of such violence.

“The government must be vigilant, as hate speech and incitement can endanger social cohesion and threaten peace by deepening the existing tensions between Nigeria’s ethnic communities.”

The human rights crusaders said that though some local and national figures, as well as some media representatives had publicly denounced any form of hate speech and incitement, other officials still needed to follow suit.

They added: “We are deeply concerned that some prominent local leaders and elders have not condemned the ultimatum, hate speech and the perpetrators.

“We call on the government, media and civil society representatives, and local and religious leaders, to reject and condemn hate speech and incitement to violence unequivocally and in the strongest possible terms.”

The UN experts said any incidents of hate speech and incitement to violence had to be investigated and the perpetrators prosecuted and punished.

“This includes the people behind the ultimatum and those responsible for the creation, publication and circulation of the hate song and audio message,” they added.

Published in Business and Economy
Wednesday, 30 August 2017 01:34

Major shake-up in NNPC

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) yesterday announced a major management shake-up that culminates in the appointments and redeployment across the value chain.

The Group Managing Director of the Corporation, Dr. Maikanti Baru, told NNPC officials shortly before the announcement was made public that the new appointments would not only help to position the Corporation for the challenges ahead but would help fill the gaps created due to statutory retirements. A total of 55 top management officers were affected in the exercise.

According to a statement by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Mr. Ndu Ughamadu,  under the new arrangement, Roland Ewubare, formerly MD of the Integrated Data Services Limited (IDSL), moves to the National Petroleum Investment Management Services, (NAPIMS) as the new Group General Manager while Diepriye Tariah, former GGM and Senior Technical Assistant to the NNPC GMD takes over from Ewubare as MD of IDSL.

The statement reads in part: “Malami Shehu, Executive Director, Operations, of the Kaduna Refining and Petrochemical Company (KRPC), was appointed Managing Director of the Port Harcourt Refining Company (PHRC) while Adewale Ladenegan, former MD of the Warri Refining and Petrochemical Company (WRPC) was moved to KRPC to assume duty as MD.

“In the same vein, Muhammed Abah, until recently, the Executive Director Operations of WRPC succeeds Ladenegan as MD of Warri Refinery.

“With the retirement of  Farouk Ahmed as the MD of the Nigerian Products Marketing Company, (NPMC), Umar

Ajiya, former GGM in charge of Corporate Planning and Strategy, (CP&S) now assumes duty as MD of NPMC.

“Bala Wunti, former, General Manager, Downstream, GMD’s Office, takes charge as GGM CP&S.

Other changes include: Usman Yusuf who takes over as GGM/STA to the GMD, Adeyemi Adetunji confirmed as MD, NNPC Retail, alongside Dr. Bola Afolabi, who now functions as GGM in charge of Research and Development Division of the Corporation.

“Also on the list is Mrs. Ahmadu-Katagum appointed GGM (Shipping) in the Downstream Autonomous Business Unit and Kallamu Abdullahi takes over as the GGM in charge of the Renewable Energy Division in the Downstream ABU. 

Dr. Shaibu Musa was promoted MD of the NNPC Medical Services Limited, while Ibrahim Birma is the new GGM in charge of the Corporation’s Audit Division now renamed Governance, Risk and Compliance Division.”

 
Published in Headliners
Tuesday, 29 August 2017 02:40

Diezani loses N7.6b loot

Court orders final forfeiture of cash

Protesters seek ex-minister’s extradition

The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered the final forfeiture of N7.6billion allegedly stolen and hidden by former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Justice Abdulazeez Anka granted an application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking the money’s final forfeiture to the Federal Government.

He held: “I’ve read the motion on notice seeking the final forfeiture of the sum of N7,646,700,000 reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity.

“I have also gone through the affidavit in support of the application.

“In the circumstances, I am of the view that the application has merit and is hereby granted as prayed. Parties have a right of appeal.”

Moving the application, EFCC’s lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo said the money was part of “huge sums” allegedly diverted by Mrs Alison-Madueke from various subsidiaries of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).

According to him, it was “fraudulently converted from NNPC by Mrs Alison-Madueke”.

He said the commission published an advertorial after the court ordered the money’s temporary forfeiture, but no one came forward to claim its ownership.

In an affidavit to support the application, an investigating officer, Usman Zakari, said he was part of a team of operatives who investigated an intelligence report that huge sums were laundered.

He said it was looted through former Managing Director, Crude Oil Marketing Department, Gbenga Olu Komolafe; former Managing Director, Petroleum Products Management Company (PPMC) Prince Haruna Momoh; Group Managing Director, Nigerian Products Marketing Company (NPMC) Umar Farouk Ahmed, Stanley Lawson, Babajide Sonoiki and some bank chiefs on behalf of Mrs Alison-Madueke.

The deponent said Mrs Alison-Madueke called a bank chief to her office for a meeting where she informed him that some officials of her ministry would be bringing funds to his bank.

She allegedly directed that the “funds must neither be credited into any known account nor captured in any transactional platforms of the bank”.

The investigator added: “In carrying out this alleged scheme of fraud, the sum of $153,310,000 was moved from NNPC through B.O.N Otti and Stanley Lawson, both former Group Executive Directors, Finance and Account of the NNPC” to the bank.

He said using the same fraudulent scheme, another $45million was also conveyed to the bank.

He said the money was conveyed in cash from Abuja to the bank’s headquarters in Lagos; $113,310,000 was taken out of it and moved to another bank in a bid to conceal its illicit source.

The investigator said the remaining $40million was conveyed in cash to a bank chief, Dauda Lawal.

Zakari said $108,310,000 was taken from the $113,310,000 and was disguised and invested in an off balance sheet investment using an asset management company owned by the bank as a special purpose vehicle.

He said the remaining $5million was conveyed in cash to another bank’s managing director “for safe keeping”.

The sum in the asset management company was allegedly converted to N23,446,300,000, which EFCC said it recovered in drafts from the bank.

It also recovered the $5million held by the bank MD.

The operative said the $40million conveyed in cash to Lawal was subsequently converted to N9,080,000,000 and retained by him.

Zakari said the N23,446,300,000, $5million and N9,080,000,000 were forfeited to the Federal Government on February 16, following an order by Justice Muslim Hassan of the same court.

According to him, the $45million was converted to naira by the bank in a bid to conceal and disguise its illicit origin.

He said EFCC received N7,646,700,000 in draft from the bank.

He recalled that the court on August 9 granted an interim order of forfeiture of the money and directed EFCC to publish the order in national newspapers to enable any person interested in it to appear in court and show cause why it should not be forfeited permanently to the Federal Government.

“The applicant has complied with the order of this court by publishing the said order on the 16th of August. It is in the interest of justice to grant this application,” Zakari said.

Justice Anka “granted the application as prayed”.

The UK’s National Crime Agency (NCA) has frozen London properties valued at £10 million allegedly bought for the former minister.

The two properties located at Regents Park in London, along with one in Buckinghamshire, have now been frozen based on the request of Nigerian authorities.

According to online news medium, Premium Times, a London court gave the freeze order in September 2016 but details of the rulings have only recently become public.

But the agency was too late in preventing a further two properties worth £8 million from being sold.

In July, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) had revealed four properties it alleged were bought for the former petroleum minister by individuals and firms seeking her influence in obtaining lucrative oil assets and crude oil lifting contracts.

Some of the oil assets were assigned to people believed to be her cronies through Strategic Alliance Agreements (SAAs).

The DoJ’s affidavit stated that businessmen, Jide Omokore and Kola Aluko were involved in the purchase of two of the properties allegedly bought for Alison-Madueke.

The UK order obtained by Africa Confidential, a newsletter specialising in politics and business in Africa, has revealed that three of the properties have been frozen under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Published in Headliners

Chelsea lifted Antonio Conte’s spirits ahead of the crucial final days of the transfer window as goals from Cesc Fabregas and Alvaro Morata sealed a comfortable 2-0 victory over woeful Everton on Sunday.

Conte has spent the last few weeks grumbling about Chelsea’s failure to land his top transfer targets, and with the window closing next week, the Blues boss is hoping to bolster his depleted squad with several signings.

Against that troubled backdrop, it was essential Chelsea signed off before the international break with three points to keep in touch with Premier League pace setters Manchester United.

The champions achieved that aim with ease as Fabregas opened the scoring in the first half at Stamford Bridge before Morata bagged his second goal since his club record £58 million ($74 million) move from Real Madrid.

Conte’s men have now won two in a row following their shock opening-day defeat against Burnley, but they won’t have many less demanding victories than this one against a lethargic Everton side who barely broke sweat.

Although Morata scored again, the Spain striker was a diffident figure for long periods and Conte knows Chelsea’s hopes of more silverware rest on him being given extra options to juggle the demands of a gruelling season.

Everton’s first league defeat of the season was a frustrating end to what had been a positive week for Ronald Koeman’s men after they drew at Manchester City and qualified for the Europa League group stages.

Back from suspension, Fabregas came in for Tiemoue Bakayoko and was immediately in the thick of the action when Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye escaped with a yellow card after catching the Spaniard with a crude studs-up lunge.

Quickly monopolising possession, Chelsea threatened an early goal as William’s penetrating run teed up Morata in the penalty area.

But Morata opted to pass and the chance was gone when Pedro lifted an ambitious bicycle kick over the crossbar.

David Luiz took a direct approach moments later, bringing Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford into action for the first time with a low strike from just outside the area.

Pedro followed suit with another long-range effort that had Pickford sprawling to his right to save.

Killer blow
Chelsea’s relentless pressure was rewarded in the 27th minute.

Fabregas flicked a pass to Morata and timed his run perfectly to receive the Spaniard’s headed return ball in stride, nudging in front of Leighton Baines to guide a deft finish past Pickford for his first goal of the season.

Although Everton had a draining Europa League assignment at Hajduk Split on Thursday, even that couldn’t completely excuse a desperately uninspired display.

It was only a matter of time before Chelsea made them pay again and it was Morata who delivered the killer blow in the 40th minute.

After referee Jon Moss played the advantage following a foul on Victor Moses, Cesar Azpilicueta had time and space to whip over a pin-point cross and Morata punished the flat-footed Everton defence with a header beyond Pickford from 10 yards.

Pedro almost made it three just after half-time with a curling effort that whistled wide before Everton finally carved out a chance.

Sandro Ramirez had only Thibaut Courtois to beat when he raced onto Wayne Rooney’s pass, but the striker’s miscued shot was in keeping with his side’s limp performance.

Normal service was soon resumed as Chelsea peppered Pickford’s goal, with Pedro shooting wide and Moses firing too close to the keeper.

Despite Chelsea’s commanding position, Conte remained typically hyperactive on the touchline.

A calmer head will be required when he returns to the transfer maelstrom.

Published in Sports
Sunday, 27 August 2017 20:40

Liverpool thrash Arsenal 4-0 at Anfield

Arsenal’s early-season problems mounted at Anfield on Sunday after they were condemned to a miserable 4-0 defeat by Jurgen Klopp’s rampant Liverpool.

Not even the return of Alexis Sanchez could inspire Arsene Wenger’s side as they fell to goals from Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Daniel Sturridge. Salah’s third goal, after 57 minutes, summed up Liverpool’s mastery of the opposition as Arsenal managed to concede from an attacking corner.

After the ball was headed clear, Hector Bellerin misjudged the bounce and Salah sprang past him before sprinting over half the length of the field and converting clinically.

Substitute Sturridge got in on the act with just his third league goal of 2017, completing the rout with a far-post header from Salah’s cross after yet another unstoppable counter-attack 20 minutes later.

The opening goal had come in the 17th minute after wave after wave of Liverpool attacks.

Finally, on a rapid break, young full-back Joe Gomez delivered a superb, hanging right-wing cross and Firmino sprinted in at full speed to head past Petr Cech from six yards.

The warning signs had been there for Wenger, even before Firmino’s opener.

On 10 minutes, Emre Can and Firmino had combined effectively for the former to cross to the far post, where Salah looked certain to score until Cech scurried across his goal to make a brilliant block.

Moments after taking the lead, Liverpool should have doubled it as Firmino freed captain Jordan Henderson, whose poor touch preceded a shot that flew well off-target.

Klopp’s decision to axe regular first-choice goalkeeper Simon Mignolet from his squad had raised eyebrows, although Arsenal made an equally significant move in dropping club-record signing Alexandre Lacazette to the bench.

Wretched
Despite recalling Sanchez for his first Arsenal start since the FA Cup final in May, the Gunners looked close to complete disarray at times.

Still, they might have taken the lead after just seven minutes when Sanchez surged through and played in Danny Welbeck, who could only hook his shot over under pressure from Gomez.

But once in front, Liverpool played with increasing confidence, while Arsenal’s visibly drained. When Henderson’s 31st-minute cross was headed out of the area, Mane volleyed it, first-time, narrowly wide of the right-hand post.

Liverpool’s control was complete in the 40th minute when Mane claimed a second goal that had been a long time coming. To sum up Arsenal’s wretched half, it came from one of their own attacks, which was broken up in the Liverpool area by Gomez.

Liverpool broke upfield at electrifying pace, Can to Firmino to Mane, and the forward calmly cut inside Rob Holding before curling an unstoppable finish past the diving Cech.

Wenger brought on Francis Coquelin for Aaron Ramsey at the interval and the visitors at least started to threaten, with Mesut Ozil shooting wide and Sanchez seeing his shot blocked on the edge of the area.

The relief was short-lived, however, with Can soon heading a Salah free-kick just wide and Salah’s pacy run clean through on goal drawing another good save from Cech.

The third and fourth goals were fully deserved for the hosts and only another good stop by the beleaguered Cech denied Mane a second goal in between them.

Published in Business and Economy

Paris Saint-Germain have agreed a deal to sign teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe from Monaco, French media reported on Sunday.

Radio stations France Info and RMC reported that PSG had agreed to pay 180 million euros ($215 million) including bonuses for the French international striker.

That would make him the second most expensive transfer in football history behind Neymar, who joined PSG from Barcelona for 222 million euros earlier this month.

Despite the reports, Mbappe was named on the Monaco bench for Sunday night’s Ligue 1 meeting with Marseille.

According to sports daily L’Equipe, Paris will initially sign Mbappe, 18, on loan before making the move permanent.

“Monaco and PSG on Sunday reached an agreement for a loan deal for Kylian Mbappe to the Parisian club with an option to buy for 180 million euros,” said L’Equipe, adding that Mbappe would undergo a medical by Monday morning.

A loan deal would help PSG get around UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, with many wondering how the Qatar-owned club can avoid sanctions from European football’s governing body considering the investment already made on Neymar.

FFP rules currently stipulate that clubs cannot post losses of more than 30 million euros over the three-year period to 2018.

Among the sanctions risked by PSG if they are found to have broken those rules is a ban from the Champions League.

Mbappe burst onto the scene in the second half of last season and scored 15 goals in 29 appearances in Monaco’s run to the French title.

Published in Sports

•Shagaya sues Unity Bank, says accounts frozen without court order
•Freeze: I have lost business goodwill, can’t pay N514m debts on chartered aircraft, Shagaya tells court •Unity Bank: Our hands are tied by the law

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has frozen over N8, 627,458,773.36 billion in three accounts of Hajiya Muinat Bola Shagaya, an associate and friend of a former First Lady, Mrs. Patience Jonathan.

Shagaya’s relationship with about 10 firms/account names are also being investigated by the anti-graft agency, The Nation learnt yesterday.

But Shagaya, who did not hold any public appointment during the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, has dragged Unity Bank to the High Court of Lagos State for allowing the EFCC to Post No Debit (PND) on her accounts without a valid court order.

She says the action taken on her accounts violates Section34 (1) of the EFCC Act, 2004.

Besides, the withdrawal ban placed on one of her accounts has prevented her from defraying N514, 800,000 incurred as cumulative costs in the course of an Aircraft Lease Agreement of a bombardier Jet, according to documents which Shagaya filed and deposed to at the Court alongside with her counsel, Napoleon Emeaso-Nwachukwu.

Hearing of the matter is slated for September 28.

However, Unity Bank says its hands are tied by the law in complying with the EFCC’s directives to freeze Shagaya’s accounts.

The EFCC in a letter to the Unity Bank Managing Director in respect of one of the frozen accounts said: “The commission is investigating a case in which the above-mentioned account featured.

“In view of the above, you are requested to kindly check the table below and provide us with Certified True Copies (CTC) of the following information, which should include but not limited to the following: (i) The deposit slips/telex copies (front and back) that conveyed the authority of the transactions; (ii) Any investment made with the funds in any of your products which should include fixed/term deposit and their liquidation and the interest incurred, Banks Acceptance, Commercial Papers and any other relevant information in relation to these.

The EFCC listed the transactions in the said account as “N300m(Bola Shagaya RTGS);  N300m (Additional N300FTD at 15% TRAN); N500m (Time Deposit); N2,317,013,698.64 (BNG COLLAOS FOR FTD-CUSTOMER ACCOL); N2.3billion (Opening a Time Deposit Account); N292, 495, 029.82 (Withdrawal from Time Deposit); N292, 495, 029.82 (TAK Asset Mgt Limited); N300m (Term Loan booked for 356 days); and N2,025,455,015.08 (BNG COLLAPS OF FTD Customer Account.”

In a separate letter Cr: 3000/EFCC/LS/STF/ STF3MP/ Vol.11/182 which Shagaya made available to the court, the EFCC asked Unity Bank to Post No Debit(PND) on 10 accounts linked with her.

The account names are (i) First Deep Water Discovery Limited; (ii) Bola Shagaya; (iii) FAPLiNs Nigeria Limited (iv) Lingo Nigeria Limited; (v) Buri Barclays BDC; (vi) Links Global Synergy Ltd; (vii) OKIOIL Nig. Ltd; (vii) JEMARVIZ Nig Ltd; (ix) PJ Oil and Gas Ltd; and (x) AFDIN Ventures Ltd.

The anti-graft commission said: “The commission is investigating a case in which the above mentioned accounts featured.

“You are requested to kindly place the account on Post No Debit (PND) category pending the conclusion of the investigation.

“This request is made pursuant to Section 38(1) and (2) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment) Act, 2004 and Section 21 of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.”

In the third letter, the EFCC said it was looking into two other accounts including Voyage Oil and Gas and Bola Shagaya from 2008 to date.

It said: “The commission is investigating a case in which the above mentioned accounts featured. In view of the above, you are requested to kindly provide us with Certified True Copies (CTC) of the following information which should include but not limited to the following: (i) The Mandate Card  and statement(s) of all domiciliary and Naira account(s) in the above mentioned accounts from 2008 to date with letter of certification in accordance with Section 84 of the Evidence Act 2011; (ii) any investment made with the funds in any of your products which should include fixed/term deposit and their liquidation and the interest incurred, Bank Acceptance, Commercial Papers and any other relevant information related to these.

“You are further requested to kindly place the account on Post No Debit (PND) category pending the conclusion of investigation.”

But Shagaya accused Unity Bank of complicity on her travails following  the bank’s alleged failure to exercise the requisite due diligence.

She said the freezing of her accounts did not comply with Section 34(1) of the EFCC Act, 2004. She specifically referred to the bank’s refusal to allow her to make transactions on Account 000326118 including payment of N514, 800,000 to Global Apex Air Limited, through Heavywind Integrated Services, for the lease of a bombardier Jet.

She said the Aircraft Lease Agreement between her and Global Apex Air Limited has been terminated with her forfeiting US$1million.

In an affidavit she deposed to, Shagaya said: “The official of the Defendant (Unity Bank) whom my Personal Assistant relayed the development to, informed him that on the 3rd of November, 2016, the Defendant received a letter from the EFCC through their Lagos office informing it that my account with it is under investigation and requested that the account be put on “Post No Debit” pending the outcome of the investigation hence the Defendant’s inability to honour my payment instruction.

“Initially I laughed off the excuse as a ploy of the Defendant to deter me from taking legal actions against it for dishonouring my payment instructions especially that of the 31st of October 2016 which ultimately led to the termination of the Aircraft Lease with Global Apex Air Ltd. And the loss of the sum of One Million United States Dollars deposited with the Lessor by me.

“On the 27th of January, 2017 the Defendant responded to my Solicitor’s letter. In its response, the defendant stated that: “it observed that long before your client forwarded her cheques and payment instruction to the Bank as indicated in your letter under reference, the EFCC had formally informed the Bank that an investigation relating to your client’s account was ongoing and sought the cooperation on the Bank accordingly.” The Defendant’s letter ended by stating that “Based on our understanding and the fact that the Bank was already aware that the Law Enforcement Agency had taken definite steps to comply with Section 34(1) of the EFCC Act, 2004, behoves the Bank not to allow the dissipation or removal funds in your client’s account without appropriate clearance from the Law Enforcement Agency or a judicial order directing the release of the funds to your client.”

“I will also contend at the hearing of this Suit that the Defendant negligently and wrongfully failed to exercise the requisite due diligence and by extension, the duty of care it owed me as my banker prior to complying with the alleged freezing instruction from the EFCC.

“The Defendant did not request and ensure it was obliged the Freezing Order from a court of competent jurisdiction prior to complying with the instruction to freeze the Claimant’s account

“The Defendant failed to honour the Claimant’s payment instructions of the 31st of October 2016 as well as those of the 1st and 2nd November 2016 which preceded the alleged instruction from the EFCC.

“The Defendant failed to promptly notify the Claimant of the freezing other account. The freezing of the Claimant’s account did not comply with Section 34(1) of the EFCC Act, 2004.

“Since the unlawful freezing of my account by the Defendant, I have not been able to transact with that account due to my inability to access same thereby causing business losses and opportunities.

“By reason the Defendant’s action, I have suffered loss of reputation and damages and my person brought to disrepute, public opprobrium and odium.

“The actions of the Defendant which consist in unlawfully freezing my account without an Order of a Court of competent jurisdiction and failing to disclose same to me promptly was unreasonable as well as defamatory of me before my business associates who now see me as a criminal and an untrustworthy fellow who is in the habit of issuing due cheques and payment instructions that she knew would not be honoured.

She said she had lost a lot of business goodwill since her accounts were frozen including

o    The loss of $1,000,000 deposited with Global Apex Air Ltd. Due to her in ability to pay accrued costs in line with Aircraft Lease Agreement which was occasioned by the failure of the Defendant to oblige the Claimant’s payment instruction to Heavywind Integrated Services.

o    Loss of business opportunities and goodwill occasioned by her inability to operate her account domiciled with the Defendant due to its freezing.

o    Loss of reputation occasioned by the Defendant’s wrongful dishonouring of her payment instructions to third parties.

“If not compelled by this Court, the Defendant will not on its own volition unfreeze my account even when it is glaring the Defendant had wrongfully breached the duty of care it owes complying with an illegal instruction in freezing my account.”

But in a letter to Shagaya’s counsel, Unity Bank said it has a legal and ethical responsibility to render assistance to law enforcement agencies.

The bank explained its constraints in a letter by its Head, Legal Services Department, Mr. Alaba Williams and Mr. Olusegun Olukoya of the same department.

The bank said:  “While the Bank respects the contractual nature of the relationship with your client, it is without prejudice to the Bank’s standing as a responsible law abiding Corporate Citizen.

“In spite of the Bank’s contractual relationship with your client, that relationship is not without a legal and ethical responsibility to render assistance to law enforcement agencies when required of the Bank.

“Considering the sensitive nature of the investigation touching your client’s account as advised by the EFCC in October 2016, the Bank had to exercise caution in relation to further transactions, especially debits, in the account of your client under investigation.

“The need for the Bank to exercise due caution in the matter of the operation of your client’s account after receipt of notification of the ongoing investigation by the EFCC was informed by our understanding of various existing statutory provisions  relevant to the request of the EFCC received by the Bank.

“Based on our understanding and the fact that the Bank was already aware that the Law Enforcement Agency had taken definite steps to comply with section 34(1) the EFCC Act, 2004. It behoves the Bank not to allow the dissipation or removal of the funds in your client’s account under investigation, before the Court Order seeking to preserve the funds was obtained.

“The contractual relationship between your client and the Bank does not permit us to pre-empt the investigation by the Law Enforcement Agency and the related Court Proceedings which outcome could lead to forfeiture of the funds in the same account.

“The Bank could be considered an accessory after the fact if it allowed the dissipation of the funds in your client’s account without appropriate clearance from the Law Enforcement Agency or a judicial order directing the release of the funds to your client.

“Therefore contrary to the allegation in your letter, the Bank had a proper justification for refusing the payment instructions from your client for funds to be removed from her account in issue when there was an ongoing investigation by the EFCC in respect of the said funds. The Bank is therefore not in breach of any contractual obligation to your client. The Bank is also not liable to your client for the sum of N700,000,000.00 (Seven Hundred Million Naira) or any other sum that matter as damages claimed by you.

“Please, note that Unity Bank Plc. is committed to comply with the extant laws and Regulations of all competent Authorities and Jurisdictions.

“In addition to adopting best practices; ethical and legal considerations always guide our commercial decisions protecting the good name and the reputation of the bank remains the primary consideration in all actions taken by the Bank. Accordingly, the Bank protects its products and services from being involved in allegation of unlawful activities. Hence we  will cooperate fully with all Regulators and Law enforcement Agencies.

“We are of the humble opinion that your client should kindly resolve any outstanding issues with the Law Enforcement Agency and facilitate the removal of the “Post No Debit” on her account with the Bank.

“Litigation against the Bank will therefore not be necessary in the circumstance.”

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