Sunday, 21 January 2018
Business and Economy

Business and Economy (743)

Anthony Martial has been picked to start Manchester United's clash with Liverpool at Anfield.

Jose Mourinho has handed the France international just his second Premier League start of the season with Marcus Rashford dropping to the bench.

Phil Jones is in the team despite pulling out of the England squad with a knee injury ahead of the international break and Romelu Lukaku also starts after recovering from an ankle injury.

Mourinho is without Marouane Fellaini and Paul Pogba so Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera start in midfield.

Antonio Valencia is named in defence along with Jones, Chris Smalling and Matteo Darmian, while Ashley Young also starts for the fourth game in a row and Henrikh Mkhitaryan maintains his record of starting every Premier League game so far this season. 

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Eric Bailly is not in the squad after picking up an injury in training on Friday while Victor Lindelof is on the bench for just the second time in the Premier League since his move from Benfica in the summer.

Meanwhile, Philippe Coutinho looks set to start as a left forward for Liverpool, in place of Sadio Mane, who is out for up to six weeks after sustaining a hamstring injury during the international break.

In total, Jurgen Klopp has made two changes from Liverpool's last match in the Premier League, with Roberto Firmino and Emre Can replacing Mane and Daniel Sturridge.

Full Liverpool XI: Mignolet, Gomez, Matip, Lovren, Moreno, Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum, Coutinho, Salah, Firmino.

Full Manchester United XI: De Gea, Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Young, Darmian, Herrera, Matic, Mkhitaryan, Martial, Lukaku

Posted On Saturday, 14 October 2017 12:49 Written by

Partial results from Liberia's presidential election show former football star George Weah has taken an early lead.

Figures from the National Elections Commission (NEC) put Mr Weah ahead in 11 out of 15 counties, although most votes have yet to be counted.

His main rival, incumbent Vice-President Joseph Boakai, leads in one county and is second in most others.

A candidate needs more than 50% of the votes for outright victory.

If no-one achieves that, a second round will be held in November.

The election is to choose a successor to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf - Africa's first elected female president and a Nobel Peace laureate.

As the results came in, the manager of Arsenal Football Club, Arsene Wenger, was apparently duped by false reports that Mr Weah had won.

Arsene WengerImage copyrightGETTY Arsene Wenger coached George Weah in the 1990s when he was in charge of French club Monaco

"I would like to congratulate one of my former players, who became president of Liberia," Mr Wenger told reporters.

"It's not often you have a former player who becomes president of a country. So well done, Georgie."

NEC Chairman Jerome Korkoya hit out at false reports and said his officials were doing their best to get accurate official results out as quickly as possible.

"This commission has not declared any winner," he stressed.

International election observers said they had not identified any major problems with Tuesday's voting.

However, parties supporting three of the 20 candidates have alleged irregularities and said they would contest the result, Reuters reported.

Joseph Boakai at a polling station in Monrovia on October 10, 2017Image copyrightAFP
Vice-President Joseph Boakai says the Liberian people want to see more development

Ms Sirleaf, 78, who is stepping down at the end of two terms, hailed the election as a success.

"We believe that all Liberians are ready for this process. I thank them for participating in this process," she said.


Meet the frontrunners

George Weah, 51:

  • Former Fifa World Footballer of the Year
  • Arsene Wenger, now at Arsenal, was Weah's coach at Monaco in 1990s
  • Has the political backing of jailed warlord and former President Charles Taylor
  • Taylor's ex-wife, Jewel Howard Taylor, is his running mate.

Joseph Boakai, 73:

  • Nicknamed "Sleepy Joe"
  • Denies it is because he is often caught napping at public events, says it is because he is a dreamer
  • Vice-President under Ellen Johnson Sirleaf since 2005
  • Has distanced himself from her record, saying "a lot more needs to be achieved".

Liberia, which was founded by freed US slaves in the 19th Century, has not had a smooth transfer of power in 73 years.

Ms Sirleaf took office in 2006, after her predecessor, Charles Taylor, was forced out of office by rebels in 2003, ending a long civil war.

Taylor is currently serving a 50-year prison sentence in the UK for war crimes related to the conflict in neighbouring Sierra Leone.

Mr Weah, 51, has chosen Taylor's ex-wife Jewel Howard Taylor as his running mate.

Posted On Saturday, 14 October 2017 01:26 Written by

The Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed says the Federal Government is on course to presenting the 2018 budget proposal to the National Assembly in October.

Ahmed said this at the news conference at the end of the 23rd Nigerian Economic Summit (NES#23) on Thursday in Abuja.She said that 2018 budget proposal would be presented to the National Assembly in October as planned.

“That is what we said and we are still on course and target to do that, the budget is ready.“It will be going to the Federal Executive Council first of all for approval before Mr President will convey it to the National Assembly.

“We are on course to deliver the 2018 budget in October.“ We hope that working together with National Assembly it will be passed on time in December so that in January, we will start a fresh budget going forward,’’ the minister said.

Ahmed said that the government was working to push the implementation of Presidential Executive Orders to boost economic growth and development.According to her, the ministry has come up with a mechanism to monitor the performance of ministers.

“We have started producing a monthly and evaluation report that is measuring the performance of ministers’’.Ahmed, however, said that the government would fast-track the implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

“We have just received the recommendations and we are going to review it.“One of the recommendations says the lab for the implementation of the ERGP must be done quickly in the next two weeks.

“That is what we are committed to doing, we will review the recommendations and plan the implementation with the view of fast-tracking the growth we are aspiring,’’ she said.

Earlier, Ahmed received the report of the NES#23 on behalf of President Muhammadu Buhari from the organiser of the summit, Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Chairman of NESG, Mr Kyari Bukar, presented the report.The theme of NES#23 was “Opportunities, Productivity and Employment; Actualising the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

The deliberations focused on five sub-themes of Think Nigeria; Skills, Competencies and Capacity; Access to Capital; Legislation and Economic Inclusion.The participants adopted a solution-based approach in addressing the issues that would create opportunities, tackle unemployment and improve productivity.

Posted On Thursday, 12 October 2017 20:22 Written by

Former First Lady Patience Jonathan used her mother’s company to launder about N2.114b, according to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) detectives.

Besides, Magel Resort Limited, which was incorporated by Mrs., Jonathan’s late mother, allegedly secured over N200m IT contract from the National Information Technology Development Agency.

Many people, including an hotelier in Abuja, also remitted funds into the account.

Also, uncovered is how some domestic aides of the former First Lady remitted about N5.7billion into the accounts of three firms linked to Mrs. Jonathan.

As part of the investigation, some Federal Government agencies were found to have remitted funds into the account of Ariwobai Aruera Reach Out Foundation,  her NGO, which has N2,475,784,487.77.

Detectives put the cash in the two domiciliary accounts of the ex-First Lady at $20,731, 173.

According to sources in EFCC, the major highlights of the latest investigation of Mrs. Jonathan border on the use of her mum’s firm and domestic aides to launder funds.

The sources claimed that the ex-First Lady has a case to answer because of the “curious payments” made into more than five accounts linked to her.

A source, who pleaded not to be named so as not to jeopardise the investigation, said: “This is not a case of witch-hunt or vendetta. We have retrieved records of transactions and those concerned. There is a strong case of abuse of office.

“Nigerians should prevail on Mrs. Jonathan to seek equity with clean hands by subjecting herself to legal process. How did domestic aides come about billions? Why will a resort company secure an IT contract? How did a furniture firm without a fixed address come about N1.140billion?

“As we investigate the ex-First Lady, our detectives dig out more evidence of alleged money laundering by her between 2009 and 2015.”

The source gave an insight into the latest findings by detectives on Mrs. Patience Jonathan.

The source added: “A company owned by Mrs. Jonathan is Magel Resort Ltd. It was incorporated by Mrs. Jonathan’s late mother. But Patience Jonathan became the sole signatory to the account of the company by board resolution upon the demise of her mother.

“The EFCC is probing the circumstance in which the firm though registered as a resort agency secured over N200m IT contract from the National Information Technology Development Agency.

“The contract was allegedly funded through the National Information Technology Development Fund.”

Several other persons under investigation for money laundering by the anti- graft agency were discovered to have made payments into the company’s account.

Some of them, including a hotelier in central area, Abuja, have been invited for questioning.

“The total sum allegedly laundered through the account of Magel Resorts Ltd run by Mrs. Jonathan and her late mother is N2.114billion.

“Also allegedly laundered by the former First Lady through the account of Lawari Furniture and Baths Ltd is N1.140billion. The company’s address is given as 100 Akamfa Road, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. The bulk of the money was deposited by Bureau de Change operators.

“The BDC operators have already been invited by the EFCC for questioning.

EFCC sources said that the addresses of most of the companies were discovered to be fictitious as mails sent to them were returned undelivered.

Ariwobai Aruera Reach Out Foundation, an NGO, was discovered to have various accounts but the principal account is domiciled in Diamond Bank.

“The commission stumbled on evidence in which several government agencies made payments into the account. A total inflow of N2, 475,784,487.77 was recorded in the account between 2009 and 2015.”

The source also spoke about the deposits in the domiciliary accounts of the ex-First Lady.

The source said: “Investigation equally discovered that Mrs. Jonathan maintains a dollar account with Diamond Bank which received huge financial inflow from her domestic aides.

“Some of the domestic aides that made payments into the accounts are also trustees of her so- called NGO and director in her companies. The balance in the account was $12,831,173.

“Another dollar account of the former First Lady was discovered in Skye Bank. Inflows into the account came through deposits by domestic aides of Mrs. Jonathan.

“Intelligence reports indicate that most of the purchase of luxury items by the former First Lady was through the Platinum Card of the account. The total amount in the account is $7.9m.”

“Also under investigation is how N1.8billion was deposited in the account of Flinchley Top Homes Ltd, a company linked to Mrs. Jonathan, by her domestic aides between 2009 and 2015.

“Other discoveries are the N2.1billion and N1.8billion deposited into the accounts of AM PM Global Network Ltd and Pagmat Oil and Gas Ltd, between 2009 and 2015. Both companies are linked to the former First Lady,” the source said.

Posted On Thursday, 12 October 2017 01:44 Written by

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday ordered the final forfeiture to the Federal Government of 56 houses situated in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja linked to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke.

The value of the properties was put at 22 million dollars.

The forfeited properties include 21 mixed housing units of eight four-bedroom penthouse apartment, six three-bedroom apartments, two three-bedroom apartment and one four-bedroom apartment.

The properties located at 7, Thurnburn St., and 5, Raymond St., Yaba, are valued at N937 million and bought through Chapel Properties Ltd.

The 16 four-bedroom terrace located at Heritage Court Estate, Omerelu Street, Diobu GRA, Port Harcourt, River, valued at N928 million were bought through Blue Nile Estate Ltd.

Others are 13 units of 3-bedroom with one room maid’s quarter situated at Mabushi Gardens Estate, Plot 1205, Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi, Abuja, valued at N650 million, were bought through Azinga Meadows Ltd.

Also, the A six flats of three-bedroom and one boys quarter located at Plot 808 (135), Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, valued at N805 million were bought for the ex-minister through Vistapoint property Development Ltd.

The forfeiture order followed a motion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking the permanent forfeiture of the properties.

The anti-graft agency while urging the court to grant the motion, argued that the properties sought to be attached “are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities”.

After listening to the submissions of EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Anselem Ozioko, Justice Abdulazeez Anka, granted the motion.

The judge noted that there was no response to the applicant’s motion on notice for final forfeiture by any of the respondents in spite of the fact that they were served with the hearing notice.

“I have gone through the affidavit attached to motion for final forfeiture as well as the submissions of the EFCC’s counsel, Mr Ozioko.

“The court has no option considering the incontrovertible evidence led by the EFCC than to grant the application.

“The motion for final forfeiture is accordingly granted as prayed. All parties have a right of appeal,” the judge ruled.

Joined as respondents in the suit are Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, Donald Chidi Amamgbo, Chapel Properties Ltd, Blue Nile Estate Ltd, Azinga Meadows Ltd, and Vistapoint Property Development Ltd. (NAN)

Posted On Wednesday, 11 October 2017 22:19 Written by

Watford’s Isaac Success downed two bottles of Baileys and repeatedly failed to score with the hookers

A PREMIER League ace and Nigerian international Isaac Success paid four hookers £2,000 for a hotel romp — but failed to score with any of them after drinking two bottles of Baileys. Watford’s Isaac Success, 21, was arrested after angrily demanding his money back.

He was arrested by the UK police for allegedly assaulting four sex workers in a Hertfordshire hotel.

Watford’s Isaac Success, 21, was arrested after angrily demanding his money back.

 Alexis Domerge was one of the escorts paid by footballer Isaac Success
Alexis Domerge was one of the escorts paid by footballer Isaac Success

Escort Alexis Domerge said the Watford star boasted of his prowess in the bedroom after paying the women £2,000 for a hotel romp.

But the 21-year-old, who has found the net only once in 19 Watford appearances, drank two bottle of Baileys — and then repeatedly failed to score with the hookers.

When the women decided to blow the whistle on Success’s lacklustre performance after 90 minutes, he angrily demanded his money back.

He was arrested in the hotel lobby after cops were called.

 Michaela Carter says the 21-year-old Success came across as shy and awkward
Michaela Carter says the 21-year-old Success came across as shy and awkward
 The Watford star became angry and demanded his money back after the girls called time on the romp
The Watford star became angry and demanded his money back after the girls called time on the romp

Alexis, 24, said: “He accused us of ripping him off and asked for his money to be returned.

“It was terrifying. He had paid four of us £500 each to party with him and we all got naked as soon as the money came through on our phone bank accounts.

“He was drinking Baileys straight from the bottle.

“He must have chugged at least two. I pulled off his shorts and got down to it with three other girls doing everything you could imagine.

 Michaela says she massaged the footballer for ninety minutes
Michaela says she massaged the footballer for ninety minutes
 Alexis says Success downed two bottles of Baileys
Alexis says Success downed two bottles of Baileys

“But he was getting frustrated. What do you expect if you drink two bottles of Baileys liqueur straight from the bottle?”

Fellow escort Michaela Carter, 30, said: “He had a nice body and all four of us massaged him for a full hour and a half — as long as a football match.

“He had been boasting to us all night about how much he earned and how much fun we were going to have.

“But it’s fair to say that Mr Success did not live up to his name during our night together.

“He seemed really keen on Baileys — swigging the stuff out of the bottle. It made me cringe because it’s so sickly sweet.

“He seemed a bit shy and awkward, probably because he’s only 21. After a bit of chat Alexis took charge and said it was time to get down to business.

 Success was arrested in the hotel lobby after cops were called
Success was arrested in the hotel lobby after cops were called
 Alexis says the Prem star became frustrated but blamed his performance on the booze
Alexis says the Prem star became frustrated but blamed his performance on the booze
 Alexis says the four escorts all got naked as soon as the money came through on their bank accounts
Alexis says the four escorts all got naked as soon as the money came through on their bank accounts

“She laughed and told him, ‘We want your money before the honey’.

“So he transferred £2,000 straight to one of the girls which was divided between the four of us.

“The partying started as soon as the money came into our accounts and we all stripped off.

“All five of us were squirming around on the bed but after a while we realised the Baileys had taken its toll.

“Eventually, I told him I couldn’t stay any longer and we couldn’t give him extra time. That’s when things started to get nasty.

“There was a lot of screaming which must have woken the entire hotel.

“At that point the police were called. We were all making a terrible racket.

“I ended up with a slight cut on my face and a bruise on my arm during the chaos.

“I don’t know how it happened. During the row I also stumbled backwards and broke the heels of my £600 Louboutin shoes. It meant I was already £100 down.”

 Michaela claims the footballer boasted about his high earnings
Michaela claims the footballer boasted about his high earnings
 Things turned nasty when the girs told Success they couldnt give him extra time
Things turned nasty when the girs told Success they couldnt give him extra time

Nigerian international Success, who earns £30,000 a week, booked the four girls after spending the night at a lap-dancing club in London’s West End.

In the early hours they were texted the details of the luxury Sopwell House hotel, Herts, where Success had hired a first-floor suite.

Michaela said: “We met him and a couple of his mates in reception but they left, leaving just Isaac and the four of us.

“We went up to his room. It was a nice room and I could tell he had lots of money because there were designer clothes in there and Christian Louboutin trainers which can cost £800 a pair.

“He offered us drinks then started boasting about how rich he was.

“He said, ‘You won’t believe how much I earn in 90 minutes’.”

Alexis, from Brooklyn, New York, said: “I was actually quite turned on by his body. He’s beautifully toned.

“Eventually, Michaela and one of the other girls broke it to him that they couldn’t stay any longer.

“But he then accused us of ripping him off and demanded his money back.

“Several police cars arrived really quickly and about five officers came in and cuffed his hands behind his back and took him outside.

“Success admitted that he had paid us for sex.

“But he also claimed we’d cheated him out of the cash, without mentioning the reason why he didn’t have sex.

“All this commotion was more than the hotel management could take and they ordered us out of the hotel — including him.

 The footballer paid the girls £500 each for sex in his suite at Sopwell House hotel
 
The footballer paid the girls £500 each for sex in his suite at Sopwell House hotel
 Isaac booked the four escort girls after spending the night at a lap-dancing club in West London
Isaac booked the four escort girls after spending the night at a lap-dancing club in West London

“It’s a really nice place and I guess this isn’t the sort of behaviour they tolerate.”

The hookers said Success later called his bank and had the payments to them stopped.

Alexis said: “We couldn’t believe it when he accused us of cheating him and got the bank to get him his money back.

“We made a deal and it wasn’t our fault he didn’t have a good time. His behaviour was off the scale.”

Success signed for Watford from Spanish side Granada for £12.5million last July — then a record fee for the Hertfordshire club. He has struggled to make the starting line-up since.

He sat out Watford’s 2-0 away win at Southampton on September 9 but went out on the town in London the following day before hooking up with the girls.

Alexis and Michaela and another 34-year-old escort were recruited by a fourth hooker, a friend of Success’s.

A Hertfordshire Police spokesman said: “Police are investigating an allegation of assault reported to have occurred at 6.30am at Sopwell House in St Albans on Monday September 11.

“A 21-year-old man was arrested and de-arrested and inquiries are ongoing.”

A representative for the player said: “We strongly refute all allegations against Isaac and will vigorously fight to clear his name.”

Posted On Tuesday, 10 October 2017 22:10 Written by
  • ’No syringe in Aso Villa Clinic’

THE President’s wife, Mrs. Aisha Buhari, has lamented the poor state of healthcare services in Nigeria, including the State House Clinic, Abuja.

Her daughter, Zahra, through her Twitter account, had also condemned services rendered at the clinic few weeks ago.

Zahra had pushed for the management to give account of the N3 billion allocated to the clinic.

Reacting to the allegations of poor services at the clinic last week, the Permanent Secretary of the State House, Jalal Arabi, said the clinic was being repositioned for efficient services.

But confirming the state of services at the clinic yesterday, the first lady urged those in charge to do the right thing.

She spoke at a one-day stakeholders’ meeting on “Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn Child, Adolescent Health and Nutrition (RMNCAH+N)” at the old Banquet Hall of the State House, Abuja.

Lamenting the lack of drugs and equipment at the clinic, she said the management must explain the use of funds allocated to the medical facility.

Mrs. Buhari, who called out the State House Medical Centre’s Chief Medical Director, Dr. Hussain Munir, at the event, described Nigeria’s health sector as very poor.

She was angry that she could not get treatment at the State House Clinic few weeks ago when she fell sick and did not want to travel abroad for such ailment.

According to her, she was shocked that the x-ray machine was not working despite the huge funds allocated to the clinic.

She had no option but to make do with a foreign-owned hospital in Abuja as she wondered what would be the fate of an ordinary Nigerian in the states, who falls sick, if such circumstances could happen in Abuja.

She queried why the clinic management would be constructing new projects when medical items like syringes were not available for patients at the facility.

She said: “Before I commenced my speech, I will like to be realistic and say a few words concerning health and health delivery system in Nigeria.

“The Nigerian health sector is in a very, very, very poor sorry state to say the least. I am happy the CMD of Aso Clinic is here. Is he around? Dr.  Munir or his representative? Ok, he is around.

“Ok Dr. Munir, I’m happy you are here. As you are all aware for the last six months, Nigeria wasn’t stable because of my husband’s ill-health. We thank God he had fully recovered now.

“If somebody like Mr. President can spend several months outside Nigeria, then you wonder what will happen to a common man on the street in Nigeria.

“Few weeks ago, I was sick as well. They advised me to take the first flight out to London; I refused to go. I said I must be treated in Nigeria because there is a budget for an assigned clinic to take care of us.

“If the budget is N100 million, we need to know how the budget is spent. Along the line, I insisted they call Aso Clinic to find out if the X-tray machine is working. They said it was not working. They didn’t know I am the one that was supposed to be in that hospital at that very time.

“I had to go to a hospital that was established by foreigners in and out 100 per cent. What does that mean?

“So, I think it’s high time for us to do the right thing. If something like this can happen to me, no need for me to ask the governors’ wives what is happening in their states.”

Mrs. Buhari added: “This is Abuja and this is the highest seat of government, and this is Presidential Villa. One of the speakers has already said we have very good policies in Nigeria. In fact, we have the best policies in Africa. Yes of course, we have but the implementation has been the problem.

“So, we need to change our mindsets and do the right thing. I’m sure Dr. Munir will not like me saying this but I have to say it out. As the Chief Medical Director, there are a lot of constructions going on in this hospital, but there is no single syringe there. What does that mean? Who will use the building? We have to be good in reasoning. You are building new building and there is no equipment, no consumables in the hospital and the construction is still going on.”

According to her, the stakeholders meeting is to build alliances that will help strengthen advocacy for RMNCAH+N at the state level.

She said by creating a strong coalition, it would in turn increase awareness on the importance of improving RMNCAH+N, promote advocacy for better service and increased utilisation of RMNCAH+N services.

The event was organised by her pet project, Future Assured. It had state governors’ wives, development partners, primary healthcare coordinators and other stakeholders in attendance.

The highlight of the event was the investiture of governors’ wives as advocates of RMNCAH+N and their signing of commitment forms.

Posted On Tuesday, 10 October 2017 04:13 Written by

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) on Monday dismissed as untrue claims by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, that he was never involved in the award of major crude oil contracts in the country.

NNPC said in a statement the minister was expressly consulted by its Group Managing Director (GMD), Dr. Maikanti Baru,  and his recommendations taken into consideration in the crude oil contracting process.

It also described Kachikwu’s instance that major contracts were never reviewed or discussed with him as “mostly unfortunate.”

NNPC stressed that all it required to award a contract in the oil and gas sector was the approval of the Tenders Board and not the minister’s endorsement.

The state oil company’s response followed the report of alleged lack of adherence to due process in the award of contracts by Kachikwu in his August 30 letter to President Muhammadu Buhari.

The minister had claimed that several major contracts were never reviewed or discussed with him and the NNPC Board.

The President had since ordered Baru and the entire management team of the Corporation to respond expeditiously to the allegations.

The statement reads: “It is important to note from the outset that the law and the rules do not require a review or discussion with the Minister of State or the NNPC Board on contractual matters. What is required is the processing and approval of contracts by the NNPC Tenders Board, the President in his executive capacity or as Minister of Petroleum, or the Federal Executive Council (FEC), as the case may be. There are therefore situations where all that is required is the approval of the NNPC Tenders Board, while in other cases, based on the threshold, the award must be submitted for presidential approval. Likewise, in some instances it is FEC approval that is required.

“It should be noted that for both the Crude Term Contract and the Direct Sale and Direct Purchase (DSDP) agreements, there are no specific values attached to each transaction to warrant the values of $10billion and $5billion respectively placed on them in the claim of Dr. Kachikwu. It is therefore inappropriate to attach arbitrary values to the shortlists with the aim of classifying the transactions as contracts above NNPC Tenders Board limit. They are merely the shortlisting of prospective off-takers of crude oil and suppliers of petroleum products under agreed terms. These transactions were not required to be presented as contracts to the Board of NNPC and, of course, the monetary value of any crude oil eventually lifted by any of the companies goes straight into the federation account and not to the company.

“Furthermore, contrary to the assertion of Dr. Kachikwu that he was never involved in the 2017/2018 contracting process for the Crude Oil Term Contracts, Dr. Kachikwu was in fact expressly consulted by the GMD and his recommendations were taken into account in following through the laid down procedure. Thus, for him to turn around and claim that ‘these major contracts were never reviewed or discussed with me’ is most unfortunate to say the least.”

Posted On Monday, 09 October 2017 16:41 Written by

Twenty-four hours after a letter he wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari was made public, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, on Wednesday joined his colleagues for the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Our correspondents, however, learnt that the issue did not come up at the meeting presided over by the President.

“The minister was at the FEC meeting and the President presided. The issue did not come up at the meeting at all,” a source at the meeting said.

When asked the action Buhari had taken on the issue since the letter was dated August 30, 2017, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, insisted that he had no comment on the issue.

Another source however told our correspondent that nobody was sure yet if the President indeed got Kachikwu’s letter before its content became public knowledge.

“Nobody is sure yet if the President indeed got the letter. Who knows whether those who blocked the minister from seeing the President even blocked the letter from getting to him,” the source added.

Senate probes allegations against Baru

Meanwhile, the Senate on Wednesday began an investigation into allegations of corruption against the NNPC Trading Limited, a subsidiary of the national oil firm, which was accused of awarding a questionable petroleum importation contract.

The lawmakers are also probing the allegations of insubordination and unapproved award of $25bn contracts against the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru, by Kachikwu.

The move by the Senate followed the adoption of a motion moved at the plenary by Senator Samuel Anyanwu and titled, ‘Allegation of corruption against NNPC Trading: Time to conduct a holistic investigation’.

The lawmakers also adopted another prayer of the motion, which called for a probe of the allegations against Baru in a petition to the President by the minister.

Kachikwu had written to Buhari alleging acts of insubordination and humiliation by Baru.

In the letter titled, ‘Re: Matters of insubordination and lack of adherence to due process by the GMD NNPC – Dr. Baru,’ Kachikwu alleged that the NNPC boss had repeatedly sidelined and disrespected the board of the national oil firm, which is chaired by the minister, among other alleged misdemeanours.

Moving the motion, Anyanwu said the Senate was aware that NNPC Trading Limited was a joint venture creation of the NNPC and Duke Oil, Hyson/Carlson (JV), NAP Oil (JV) and West Africa-Gas Limited (JV).

According to the lawmaker, Duke Oil was incorporated in 1989 in Panama and does not pay tax in Nigeria.

The lawmaker said, “The Senate is further aware that Duke Oil, compared to other major players in the sector, is still grappling with the basics of what it was registered to do in spite of massive support from the NNPC owing to large-scale corruption.

“We are aware of the decision by the current GMD to allocate almost all products to Duke Oil; this is in addition to its automatic inclusion in the lifting of crude oil, gas, etc., which made Duke Oil a money-spinning outfit that is accountable only to the NNPC.”

Seconding the motion, Senator Abubakar Yusuf called for an extension of the probe to the NNPC and all its subsidiaries.

President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, named Senator Aliyu Wammako as Chairman of the panel, while and Senators Tayo Alasoadura, Kabiru Marafa, Albert Bassey, Sam Anyanwu, Ahmed Ogembe, Chukwuka Utazi, Rose Okoh and Baba Kaka Garbai were listed as members.

Posted On Thursday, 05 October 2017 01:04 Written by

An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigation officer, Tosin Owobo, on Tuesday testified that three former Nigeria Air Force chiefs allegedly diverted N21 billion to their personal accounts from NAF.

He said they diverted the sum through several companies which they registered personally.

He said none of the companies had any transaction or contract with NAF.

Owobo was testifying in the trial of a former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd), former NAF Chief of Accounts and Budgeting, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun and a former Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo. 

They were arraigned before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court in Lagos.

EFCC accused them of converting N21billion from NAF through various companies, namely Delfina Oil and Gas Limited, Mcallan Oil and Gas Limited, Hebron Housing and Properties Company Limited, Trapezites BDC, Fonds and Pricey Limited, Deegee Oil and Gas Limited, Timsegg Investment Limited and Solomon Health Care Limited.

Led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Owobo said N5.9billion was transferred from NAF accounts to Delfina Oil and Gas Limited.

He said after the money was converted to dollars, it was handed over to Gbadebo, who took it to Adigun, who in turn took it to Amosu.

He said Mcallan Oil and Gas Limited received N6.1billion from NAF, while Trapezites BDC Limited received N3.6billion.

Owobo said Deegee Oil and Gas Limited received N800million from NAF accounts, while Timsegg also got the same amount.

Posted On Wednesday, 04 October 2017 02:51 Written by
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