Sunday, 21 January 2018
News & Stories

News & Stories (1603)

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is investigating the Ayodele Fayose government  in Ekiti  for alleged diversion of  over N680million meant for salaries  and pension of civil servants .

The amount has been traced to  a fixed account which the EFCC claims yields N6million monthly.

The discoveries informed the arrest of the state’s commissioner of finance and the accountant general by the commission.

Both officials, who were released on Wednesday, have made commitment to “assist the commission with relevant documents before they were granted administrative bail and ordered to report back in two weeks.”

According to a top source in the commission, many facts came to light in the course of investigating alleged misapplication of the bailout funds by the  Fayose administration.

One of such disclosures is  the N1.7billion contract awarded to a Lebanese Company.  The company moved part of the money to allegedly purchase properties for the governor.

The source added: “Investigators stumbled on evidence of diversion of funds meant for payment of state and local government employees in Ekiti State including pensioners.

“Specifically, over N600million was diverted on 25 January 2016. The funds comprising N200million from the Ekiti State Local Government Salary Account, N300million from the Ekiti State Pension Account and N180million from the Ekiti State FAAC Account were first credited into the Consolidated Revenue Account in Zenith Bank on 25 January 2016 and later transferred the same day into an account called 2015 MDG-CGS state project account domiciled in Zenith Bank.

“The analysis of the bank statement revealed that the money was later placed in a fixed deposit where it was yielding monthly interest of about N6million, at a time pensioners and workers in Ekiti State are owed months of unpaid entitlements.”

The source said that EFCC investigators are poring over documents to uncover the beneficiaries of the monthly interest on the fixed deposit.

Apart from the bailout funds, the EFCC had recently also uncovered  alleged diversion of over N59.6million meant for projects under the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in Ekiti State by one Abiodun Agbele, who is an associate of the state governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose.

According to EFCC investigators, the MDGs’ funds were transferred from an account in the  First Bank of Nigeria(titled MDGs-CGS Local Govt)  to BYKD Consult Limited which is purportedly owned by Agbele.

Documents indicated that the funds were transferred in four tranches as follows: February 18, 2015(N18, 159, 050; N15, 319,850; N11, 218, 500; and March 30, 2015—N15, 704, 325.

Upon the receipt of the funds through his account 0059177132 in Diamond Bank, Bodija, Agbele allegedly diverted these for the payment of choice vehicles from Affordable Motors.

Agbele, who is presently on trial was said to have been used as a front to launder N1.299billion for Fayose through his company called De-Privateer.

But as the EFCC operatives were probing more clues on slush funds and payment of kickback by contractors  in the state, they uncovered alleged diversion of MDGs’ funds.

The Presidency had released N713.7billion  as Special  intervention funds to states.

The  bailout was part of a three-pronged relief package to end the workers plight in most of the 36 states.

While N413.7billion represented special intervention funds, the balance of about N250billion to N300billion was  a soft loan to states.

Also, following protest by states against over deductions for external debt service between 1995 and 2002, President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the release of N522.74 billion (first tranche) to states as refunds pending reconciliation of records.

Each state was entitled to a cap of N14.5 billion being 25% of the amounts claimed.

The second tranche of N243, 795,465,195.20 was also disbursed to states in July.

But most of the state governors were alleged to have either diverted or converted the relief funds to personal use.

 

Posted On Saturday, 14 October 2017 14:06 Written by

The Senate has indicated its readiness to continue with the investigation of the allegations levelled against the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, by Senator Isa Misau.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Sam Anyanwu, told our correspondent that the panel would continue with the probe since it was not joined in the suit filed by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation against Misau on behalf of the police boss.

When Anyanwu was asked through a text message if his committee would go ahead with the investigation, as the AGF had filed a suit against Misau on behalf of the IGP, his reply was, “The committee or the Senate is not a party to the suit.”

The Senate had on October 4, 2017 resolved to probe into Misau’s allegations bordering on corruption and misconduct against Idris.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had mandated the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the circumstances surrounding Misau’s disengagement from the Nigeria Police.

Idris had alleged that Misau was a deserter.

Saraki also set up an ad hoc committee to probe into the allegations against

the Nigeria Police and Idris, including alleged collection of N120bn annually from high-profile persons and corporate organisations for security services.

The Senate President named the Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Francis Alimikhena as Chairman of the panel; and senators Joshua Lidani, Binta Masi Garba,

Duro Faseyi, Nelson Effiong, Obinna Ogba, Abdul-Azeez Murtala-Nyako and Suleiman Hunkuyi as members.

The two committees were mandated to report back to the Senate in two weeks.

Misau, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, had on August 25 accused Idris of extorting money, ranging from N10m to N15m, from Commissioners of Police, State Mobile Commanders and Special Protection Units Commanders, for favourable postings.

The senator also alleged that Idris “makes N10bn monthly from oil companies and other private individuals who enjoy special protection from the security agency.”

Misau said the level of corruption being perpetrated by Idris was so alarming and capable of undermining the anti-corruption stance of President Muhammadu Buhari.

But the Federal Government on Tuesday  through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, filed two separate sets of charges against Misau.

One of the two sets of charges, marked FCT/HC/CR/345/2017, filed before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja, stemmed from his  running battle with Idris.

In the case filed before the FCT High Court, the prosecution preferred against Misau five counts of making “injurious falsehood” against Idris and the Nigeria Police Force based on various allegations of corruption made by the senator against the IGP in the media.

Part of the allegations by Misau, considered injurious to the IGP and the Nigeria Police Force, were that police officers allegedly paid as much as N2.5m to get special promotion and posting through the Police Service Commission.

The federal lawmaker also accused the IGP of allegedly diverting money meant for the purchase of Armoured Personnel Carriers, Sport Utility Vehicles and other exotic cars.

Misau was also said to have falsely accused the IGP of making almost half of the mobile commanders in the country the people of his Nupe extraction.

The offences were said to be contrary to Section 393(1) of the Penal Code.

In the set of charges, marked FHC/ABJ/CR/170/2017, the prosecution preferred seven counts of making and “uttering” false documents comprising affidavits, statutory declaration of age deposed to at the FCT High Court and the Bauchi State Health Management Board Birth Certificate, which he allegedly submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission in 2011 and 2014.

Uttering, according to Wikipedia, “is a crime involving a person with intent to defraud that knowingly sells, publishes or passes a forged or counterfeited document.”

The offences in the seven counts were said to be contrary to Section (1)(2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act.

The two sets of charges were signed on behalf of the AGF by an Assistant Chief State Counsel, Mr. Aminu Alilu, who is of the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Posted On Thursday, 12 October 2017 02:28 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 02:03 Written by

Three-year-old Caleb Popoola is on a hospital bed at the Paediatric and Child Care unit, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, Lagos. He is in coma on a life support machine. Master Caleb’s doctors have diagnosed him with ‘brain tumour’ and he needs N9million to survive.

A letter from LASUTH said Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) done on Caleb showed that he has a large Brainstem glioma with mild hydrocephalus.

His father, Akeem Popoola said Caleb, his first son, had been on a LASUTH hospital bed for three weeks.

He explained that the surgery would be done at Fortis Hospitals Limited in India.

He said: “It would cost N2, 711,250:00 ($7,500), while feeding and accommodation in India would cost N759, 150:00 ($2,100). Air ticket for Caleb would cost about N5million, because we cannot book normal air ticket for him, although we are still looking for something cheaper. He would be travelling on a stretcher; life oxygen and possibly the airline’s medical team would be on board to support him. My wife and I would also be traveling with him and we would need N860, 000 to buy air tickets, because ticket costs N430, 000 per person.”

Popoola noted that since the illness began last June 15, the family has spent about N1.8million on Caleb’s health, including, hospital bills and getting an Indian Visa.

He said the sickness started with Caleb limping on his right leg.

“He could not use his right hand and he was less active in school. We took him to a private hospital but we were told nothing was wrong with him; we later took him to LASUTH and we did all sorts of tests which all came out fine. It was when we did MRI test that we discovered that he had the ailment. We were told that where he had the tumour is very delicate and they cannot play around it. I was at University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo State and Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), all to no avail. I was told that his case was delicate and he cannot be handled in the hospitals due to lack of facilities. We are to spend a minimum of 42 days in India,” Popoola said.

He added: “We have taken him to various churches including The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Mowe, and Mountain of Fire Ministries (MFM) for prayers.”

Popoola is appealing for financial assistance for Caleb. Naira donations can be made to Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB), account name: Popoola Akeem and account number, 0006748242.

Dollar donations can be paid to Standard Chartered Bank, account name: Popoola Akeem and account number: 0002492351.

He can be reached on 08056573117 or 08095827721.

Posted On Wednesday, 11 October 2017 03:17 Written by

‘GMD’s response full of  distortions’

David-West: minister’s claims wild

Loyalists find gaps in NNPC’s position

POSERS FOR BARU, BY KACHIKWU’S LOYALISTS

 

•What becomes of Sections 130(2), 148(1) of the Constitution and Section 1(1) of NNPC Act?
•How can the NNPC Tenders Board appointed by Baru be responsible for approving
contracts in the light of Section 20(1) of the Public Procurement Act?
•What is the proof that Kachikwu as NNPC GMD did what Baru is doing?
•How can NNPC Board oversee budget without information?
•Why was Baru silent on the controversial appointments he made without briefing the board?
•Are there standards of transparency and due process when NNPC awarded contracts of
that magnitude without carrying NNPC Board along?

The crisis of confidence in the oil sector raged on yesterday, with some associates of the Minister of State, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, taking on the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru.

Kachikwu wrote to President Muhammadu Buhari, alleging that Baru

  • awarded $25billion contracts unilaterally;
  • ran a “bravado” management; and
  • made appointments without consultations.

Baru denied it all. He said no money was involved in the contracts and that the NNPC Tenders Board had no business reporting to Kachikwu and the corporation’s Board. The Presidency backed his position.

But Kachikwu’s “loyalists” have described Baru’s response as a potpourri of contradictions and distortions. To them, Baru’s and NNPC’s defence is “unconvincing”.

These verdicts were contained in a fact-sheet meant to clarify issues surrounding the disputed $25billion transactions by NNPC. 

The Nation stumbled on the fact-sheet yesterday. It may have been prepared against the backdrop of NNPC’s Monday statement, which described Kachikwu as a “liar” with his August 30 memo to President.

The loyalists of the Minister raised six posers for Baru and NNPC to answer.

The six posers, based on the 1999 Constitution, the NNPC Act and the Public Procurement Act, are as follows:

  • What becomes of Section 130(2), Section 148(1) of the 1999 Constitution and Section 1(1) of the NNPC Act if Baru said he did not have to consult the Minister and NNPC Board?
  • How can the NNPC Tenders Board appointed by Baru be responsible for approving contracts in the light of Section 20(1) of the Public Procurement Act?
  • What is the proof that Kachikwu as NNPC GMD did the same things that Baru is doing?
  • How can NNPC Board oversee budget without information?
  • Why was Baru silent on the controversial appointments he made without briefing the board? Did the silence confirm that the appointments were irregular or wrong?
  • Are there standards of transparency and due process when NNPC awarded contracts of that magnitude without carrying NNPC Board along?

The fact-sheet reads in part: “While not joining issues, it will be worrisome if relevant section of Nigerians and keen watchers of oil and gas industry are not put through on the response of the NNPC GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru on policies on public procurement as enshrined in the relevant laws and regulations governing procurement in Nigeria, which include Public Procurement Act 2007 and Procurement Procedures Manual.

“The Public Procurement Act 2007 provides procurement guidance to all Federal ministries, extra-ministerial agencies, departments, agencies, parastatals, corporations and other public entities set up by the constitution or Acts of the National Assembly and /or whose funding derives from the Federation Accounts, their own internally generated revenue, the Federation share of the Consolidated Revenue Fund and special allocations in the federal budget or being entities outside of the foregoing description, derive at least 35% of the funds appropriated or proposed to be appropriated for any type of procurement described in the Public Procurement Act 2007, which NNPC is one.

“The procurement Act 2007 borders on Efficiency, Fairness, Transparency, Accountability and Ethical Standards, and way and manner such procurement shall be conducted, and the entities like Tenders’ Board with powers to do.

“And any procurement system that fails to take into consideration these relevant sections stimulated hesitation to compete, submission of inflated tenders containing a risk premium, or submission of deflated tenders followed by delayed or defective performance, collusion in bribery, bad value for money, and betrayal and abuse of the public trust for personal gain.

“Dr. Kachikwu’s leaked memo to the President sought among other things, to promote application of fair and competitive standard and ethical practices.

“But in his public response to the private memo to the President, it is clear to all fair-minded persons that the attempt of the NNPC GMD, Dr. Maikanti Baru, to defend himself is unconvincing, clear embarrassment to the person of President Buhari, his dream of sanctified institutions, and our dear constitution.

“The public response to the issues raised in the leaked memo to the President is a potpourri of contradictions, distortions, and clear breach of facts and logic.”

The loyalists faulted Baru’s claim that he did not need to consult the Minister and the Board on the alleged $25billion transactions.

They asked the NNPC boss to be more forthcoming on his non-consultation of the Minister and the Board in respect to the provisions of sections 130(2) and148(1) of the 1999 Constitution, and Section 1(1) of the NNPC Act

The fact-sheet  added: “The ministerial issue as viewed lacks substance. The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (3rd alteration) is very clear on the powers of the President of the Federal Republic.

“By virtue of Section 130(2) of the Constitution, “the president shall be the Head of State, the Chief Executive of the Federation and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federation,” and by virtue of Section 148(1) of the Constitution, ‘the president may, in his description, assign to the Vice-President or any Minister of the Government of the Federation responsibility for any business of the Government of the Federation, including the administration of any department of government.’

“So by the enshrinement of that Section 148(1) above, and the supremacy of the Constitution, according to Section 1 sub-section (1),  Baru’s submission as regards Kachikwu’s role as an appointed Minister by Mr. President is wrong, null, void and inconsistent with the constitution to the extent of its inconsistency.

“Again apart from the fact that every Board of parastatals, extra-ministerial or corporations etc. are the supervisory entities of such, the NNPC Act in Sections below are clear

“S. 1(1) says: ‘There shall be established a corporation by the name of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (hereinafter in the Act referred to as “the Corporation”) which shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal and may sue or be sued in its corporate name.

(2) The affairs of the Corporation shall be conducted by a Board of Directors of the Corporation which shall consist of a Chairman and the following other members, that is (a) the Director-General, Federal Ministry of Finance and Economic Development;

(b) The Managing Director of the Corporation; and

(c) Three persons to be appointed by the National Council of Ministers, being persons who by reason of their ability, experience or specialised knowledge of the oil industry or of business or professional attain.”

“Sub-section (2) of the Act is clear that the NNPC Board has overall supervisory powers over the corporation. How can these supervisory powers not include some kind of oversight on contracts worth billions of dollars?”

The minister’s loyalists faulted Baru’s claim that the NNPC Tenders Board is the only legal body to approve contracts and not the NNPC Board.

The fact-sheet said: “Baru’s claim that the NNPC Tenders’ Board, not the NNPC Board, is the right body to approve such contracts in question is also false. According to Public Procurement Act’s Section below:

S.20. (1) The accounting officer of a procuring entity shall be the person charged with line supervision of the conduct of all procurement processes; in the case of ministries the Permanent Secretary and in the case of extra-ministerial departments and corporations the Director-General or officer of co-ordinate responsibility.

(2) The accounting officer of every procuring entity shall have overall responsibility for the planning of, organization of tenders, evaluation of tenders and execution of all procurements and in particular shall be responsible for.”

“Apart from the GMD as the appointor of the Tenders’ Board, which he also chairs, his duty is purely to plan, organise, evaluate, execute and supervise the conduct of ‘procurement processes’ and not to approve contracts above his threshold under the seal of the Corporation.

“He cannot plan, organise, evaluate, execute procurement process, approve and execute approved projects. He lacks the statutory capacity to be the sole determinant of due process in the corporation.

“But after the approval by the NNPC Board, President or FEC, it is worthy of note that the Tenders’ Board, according to Public Procurement Act in Section 22 (3), ‘shall be responsible for the award of procurement of goods, works and services within the threshold set in the regulations.”

“Under the seal of the NNPC Board, according to the First Schedule, Part A, Sections 11, 12 and 13 of the NNPC Act which says:

“11. The fixing of the seal of the Corporation shall be authenticated by the signature of the Chairman and any other person authorized in that behalf by the Board.

  1. Any contract or instrument, which if made or executed by any person not being a body corporate would not be required to be under seal, may be made or executed on behalf of the Corporation by any person generally or specially authorised to act for that purpose by the Board.
  2. Any document purporting to be a contract, instrument or other document duly signed or sealed on behalf of the Corporation shall be received in evidence and, unless the contrary is proved, be presumed without further proof to have been so signed and sealed.”

The loyalists claimed that it was not true that Dr. Kachikwu as NNPC GMD did what Baru is doing

The fact-sheet states: “At the inception of Dr. Kachikwu’s term as the GMD NNPC, there was no NNPC board in place, and this void Kachikwu bridged by briefing the President weekly on all key issues. All actions and activities were sanctioned by Mr. President.

“Beyond that, it is on record that Dr. Kachikwu as the then GMD of NNPC instituted a culture of transparency at all levels which culminated to monthly publications of the operational activities and briefings of stakeholders of the corporation. This practice, which is a key component of the oil and gas reform plan, has since ended with his exit as the GMD.”

The loyalists asked Baru to explain how NNPC Board oversees the budget without information.

They also challenged NNPC and Baru to explain their silence on some controversial appointments made by the GMD.

They said Baru could not hide behind illegality to justify wrong actions.

The fact-sheet said: “Baru admitted that one of the NNPC board’s statutory responsibilities is overseeing the budget. How can the board perform this function if it has no information or input about contracts to be executed?

“Why was Dr. Baru silent on the controversial appointments he made without briefing the board? It is noteworthy that Dr. Baru was silent on the appointments which he carried out without informing the NNPC board, and were not subsequently ratified by the board.  His silence confirms that his appointments were irregular and wrong.

“The truth is, there are no standards of transparency and due process that will allow NNPC to award contracts of that magnitude without carrying the NNPC board along. Due process is about being open, not taking refuge behind distorted and convenient interpretations of the rules.

” Due process is not just the letter of the law. It is also about the spirit of the law. People who have nothing to hide, welcome the opportunity to share information with relevant stakeholders. As they say, transparency is the best deodorant.”

Posted On Wednesday, 11 October 2017 02:56 Written by
SENATOR representing Delta North Peter Nwaoboshi yesterday dared the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to produce document indicating that he took a loan of N1.2 billion from the Nexim Bank.

Nwaoboshi told reporters in Abuja that at no time did he take N1.2 billion loan from the bank.

The Delta North lawmaker insisted that the attempt by the anti-graft agency to paint him black was effort in futility since he did not offend the law.

The EFCC claimed that Nwaoboshi secured a N1.2 billion loan in 2014 under the Local Industrial Growth Scheme, when he was sitting on the Board of Directors of Nexim Bank

It alleged that part of N1.2 billion facility was diverted for other use other than what it was granted for.

It said Nwaoboshi had been invited through the Clerk to the Senate to clear allegations against him but he has not responded.

The senator said any interested party should cross-check the minutes of the board meeting, where the loan facility was approved to see that the board duly excused him from the meeting.

He said the duration of the loan is five years, which meant that completion of repayment would elapse in 2019.

The senator, who said it was on record that Delta State had been repaying the loan, wondered what his offence was.

Nwaoboshi said: “I didn’t take a loan of N1.2 billion. I challenge EFCC to show document that I Peter Nwaoboshi took a loan of N1.2 billion. The company in question has Nigerian and Chinese directors. It is a manufacturing company. They approached Nexim bank to take a loan of N1.2 billion. Because I know some of the directors, I excused myself from participating in the process in accordance with the law. It was the Deputy Governor of CBN who was the chairman of the board.

“The minutes of the board meeting are there. I told the board to excuse me and they did. The company offered a security valued at N3.5 billion as collateral. The records are there.

“The company in question provided documents verified by the bank that they were given a contract of N1.9 billion. The loan was for running cost, purchase of equipment and raw materials. This was verified by the bank. The bank went to Delta State and verified that the contract was given.

“The tenure of the loan was for a period of five years. It means it will expire in 2019. The company domiciled the payment of that contract to Nexim Bank and the Delta State Government has been paying the money into this account in Nexim Bank, including the one they paid just last week.”

Posted On Wednesday, 04 October 2017 03:32 Written by

INSPECTOR-General Ibrahim Kpotun Idris has reassured the citizenry that the police will secure conviction against alleged notorious kidnap kingpins, Henry Chibueze (aka Vampire) and Chukwudumebi Onwuamaegbu, also known as Evans.

The IG, who gave the assurance yesterday in his keynote address at a public security lecture in Uyo hailed the National Assembly for passing the anti-kidnapping bill into law and recommending a death sentence for perpetrators.

At the lecture with the theme: “Insecurity, socio-economic impacts and conflicts resolution perspectives”, the IGP said the police would also ensure that kidnap suspects are prosecuted in court as a way of checking incessant cases.

“With humility, I must state with some amount of confidence that these strategies have worked based on successes achieved so far. Most heinous crimes, especially kidnapping and armed robbery, which occurred, have so far been detected.

“You are very much aware of the fate of the notorious kidnapper, Henry Chibueze (alias Vampire) and the billionaire kidnapper, Chukwudi (alias Evans) and many others too numerous to mention here, who were arrested and many of them being prosecuted.

“Considering the detailed investigation being conducted on these cases, Insha Allah, we must gain conviction”, he said.

IGP Idris said the preventive strategies and arrests made by the police in recent times have helped in checking the activities of kidnappers, armed robberies and other heinous crimes in Kaduna-Abuja Express ways, South=South Zones and many parts of the country.

He added that the problems of cattle rustling and insurgency in the Northeast and Northcentral as well as militancy in the Niger Delta are also being tackled by the police.

“The ability of the Nigerian Police to control the secessionist tendency of IPOB in the Southeast is another success story, thanks to the Military Operation Python Dance in the Southeast,” the IG stated.

Akwa Ibom Governor Udom Emmanuel said the issue of insecurity was not only the responsibility of security agencies but that of everyone.

He, however, said for the Federal Government to succeed in its fight against insecurity, it must address the factors that cause insecurity in the Niger Delta.

Posted On Wednesday, 04 October 2017 03:29 Written by
Tension is mounting at the Millar Waterside area of Warri, Delta State, as boat operators yesterday protested against the killing of a fellow boat operator named Akpobolokaemi Duke, a native of Enekorogha Community in Burutu local council, by Marine Police personnel on October 1.

It was gathered that the deceased was coming to Warri to ferry passengers back to the riverine communities when he was allegedly shot by the Marine Police team.

According to reports, he was shot for earlier refusing to pay a bribe demanded by the police team patrolling the Warri River. It was learnt that as soon as he was sighted from afar the policemen gave him a hot pursuit with sporadic gunshots, which led to the death of the deceased.

When contacted yesterday, the Delta State police command said it was investigating the incident and would make a pronouncement after a thorough investigation.

Meanwhile, human rights lawyer and national coordinator of the Foundation for Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Crusade (FHRACC), Alaowei Cleric, said the unprovoked murder of the boat operator because he refused to pay a bribe should not go unpunished and urged the Commissioner of Police to bring the policemen involved in the killing to book.

He said: “The unprovoked killing of a law-abiding citizen by the police is unlawful and such act must not go unpunished. The perpetrators of this brutal murder of Akpobolokaemi Duke must be brought to book. We are calling on the Commissioner of Police to immediately investigate the incident and punish the culprits appropriately.

“Let the Police build public confidence by checkmating incidences of extra-judicial killings. Now that the Inspector-General of Police has ordered the dismantling of roadblocks on the roads, we appeal to the police hierarchy to also order immediate withdrawal of the police patrol teams from the creeks since they are becoming a tool of extortion.

“The police have not told us on their side of the story as our team of investigators were not allowed to interrogate them at the Marine Police division. However, in our independent investigation, we discovered that the Marine Police actually has a squad in the river, which specialises in extorting money from transport boats along Warri river. Mr. Akpobolokaemi was one their victims of unlawful extortion in the river. We do not know why they chose to murder him in cold blood.”

Posted On Wednesday, 04 October 2017 03:15 Written by

Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel of the Federal High Court, Ibadan, on Tuesday sentenced Prof. Benjamin Ogbunbodede, a former Director of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training (IAR&T), Ibadan, to 40 years imprisonment for corruptly enriching himself to the tune of N177 million.

Zacheus Tejumola, a former Chief Accountant of the institute, was also sentenced to 40 years imprisonment while Clement Adenose, another staff, bagged four years in jail.

In a judgment which lasted over two hours, Ayo-Emmanuel said that he convicted the trio based on the overwhelming evidence against them.

The judge, however, said that he had no reason to convict them on count 13 due to want of evidence.

“There is no ambiguity in the facts tendered by the prosecution that the three convicts conspired, converted and stole the hazard allowance of N177 million belonging to the staff of IAR&T.

“Ogunbodede and Tejumola are therefore, sentenced to 40 years imprisonment each for their roles for counts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15 and 16.

“Adenose is sentenced to four years in prison. The sentences will, however, run concurrently,” Ayo-Emmanuel stated.

Earlier, Mr Tunde Olupona, the counsel to Ogunbodede, had pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy in sentencing his client.

He argued that his client lacked administrative experience in running such a sensitive position.

Similarly, Mr I.A Salawu and Mrs Yetunde Adegboye, counsel to Tejumola and Adenose, pleaded with the court to show mercy to their clients, citing various portions of the constitution.

However, Mr Nkwuruka Amana, the counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, urged the court to sentence the convicts in accordance with the stipulation of the law.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Ogunbodede, Tejumola and Adenose along with 10 others had since 2014 been standing trial over a 16-count charge bordering on conspiracy, unlawful conversion and stealing of N177 million hazard allowance belonging to the staff of the institute.

Ten of the defendants had earlier pleaded guilty and opted for plea bargain arrangement.

Nine out of the 10 previously convicted were different companies which Ogunbodede, Tejumola and Adenose indirectly used to siphon the N177 million.

Olupona, who spoke after the judgment, told NAN that he and his other colleagues were still studying the judgment and would in due course take appropriate decision on whether to appeal or not.

Posted On Wednesday, 04 October 2017 03:10 Written by

The trial of a former governor of Abia State, Orji Kalu, who was accused of N2.9bn fraud, was stalled on Tuesday due to the absence of the prosecuting counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN).

Kalu is being prosecuted before the Federal High Court in Lagos.

He is facing 34 charges alongside Udeh Udeogu and Slok Nigeria Limited before Justice Mohammed Idris.

The case was meant to continue on Tuesday but Jacobs did not appear.

The defence counsel informed the judge that the prosecutor had already written to them, stating that he would not be in court.

Justice Idris, however, noted that Jacobs did not send any such letter to the court.

The judge expressed his displeasure at the development, noting that trials in criminal cases were meant to be day-to-day by virtue of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015.

The matter was, consequently, adjourned till November 8, 2015.

The EFCC, in the charges, alleged that while he was governor of Abia State, Kalu siphoned funds running into over N2.9bn from the state’s treasury.

The ex-governor was accused of diverting state funds into the account of Slok Nigeria Limited, a company, the EFCC claimed was owned by Kalu and his family members.

Kalu was said to have allegedly diverted the funds in tranches of N200m, N50m, N200m, N300.8m, N545m, N429m, N288.4m, N190m, N157m, N152.8m, N100m, N84m and N50m between August 13, 2003 and January 12, 2005.

Posted On Wednesday, 04 October 2017 03:05 Written by
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