Tuesday, 21 November 2017

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

A group, known as Concerned Professionals Initiative for Good Governance (CPIGG), is asking the Nigerian Senate to "totally and overwhelmingly reject the nomination of Aisha Ahmad as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the grounds that she is not qualified  to hold that office since she is lacking in experience and  integrity.
 
The CPIGG, with its headquarters in the North-Central city of Jos,  is just one of the many voices that have so far spoken against last week's appointment of Mrs. Ahmad, a former staff of Diamond Bank Plc by President Muhammadu Buhari, for the position of deputy head of the country's apex bank.
 
"As responsible and law abiding citizens of Nigeria, who are fully conscious of the powers of the Senate as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended, we are writing to draw the attention of the Senate to the abnormality surrounding the nomination of Mrs. Aisha Ahmad as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN)" and  "to appeal to  the Senate, through your good offices, to reject the nomination forthwith," it told the Senate President, Bukola Saraki in  protest letter submitted on Wednesday.
 
In the petition, titled "Wrongful Appointment of Mrs. Aisha Ahmad for the position of Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN): Appeal for intervention of the Senate,"  the group explained that as an organization committed to the promotion of good governance, equity, justice and fairness and the fight against corruption in the administration and governance of the country,  "we  are compelled to   seek the intervention of the Distinguished  Senate to reject the nomination of Mrs. Aisha Ahmad  pending before  Senate for confirmation as Deputy Governor of CBN."
 
According to the group, the petition, dated 10th October, 2017 and signed by its Convener/Chairman, Ebah A. Idikwu, Esq, was anchored on "the obvious aberration, fraud, injustice and abuse of office, which the  nomination of Mrs. Ahmad represents."
 
Outlining the "facts of the matter" for consideration by the Senate, the petitioners alleged that the nominee was not qualified for the exalted office of Deputy Governor of CBN because "less than a week before the announcement was made, the nominee was Head of Consumer Banking at Diamond Bank on the substantive rank of Deputy General Manager(DGM). The CBN Act however provides that to be appointed Deputy Governor of CBN, the candidate must have attained the rank of at least an Executive Director in a reputable financial institution. In the past, those appointed Deputy Governors were Managing Directors/ CEO of Deposit Money Banks. One example is Mr.  Tunde Lemo who until his appointment as Deputy Governor, of CBN was Managing Director of Wema Plc."
 
"Aware that Aisha Ahmad was not qualified for appointment as Deputy Governor, CBN, her sponsors hurriedly caused a highly fraudulent and unusual promotion to be made catapulting her from DGM Status to Executive Director on October 6, 2017by 5.22 PM, the same day her purported appointment was announced  by the Presidency (See attached circular marked Annex A). It means therefore, that the promotion was made after her appointment was made public, an after-thought to salvage a bad situation," the petitioner noted.
 
The petitioner further argued that the Diamond Bank Annual Report for 2016 contained the names and pictures of all Executive Directors on P. 32. "However, Mrs Aisha Ahmad’s name was conspicuously missing, which confirms that she was not an Executive Director of Diamond Bank and therefore, not qualified for the position of Deputy Governor of CBN for which she has been nominated."
 
"Our checks on the organogram of the Diamond Bank have revealed that apart from the seven superior officers of the bank, there are other seven Heads of Units and Departments placed in order of relevance and seniority out of which Mrs. Aisha Ahmad is the sixth. Therefore, it is unthinkable for Mrs Ahmad to overtake six other senior officers to be promoted to the rank of Executive Director. If the question must be asked, what special feat did she accomplish that merited her such an unusual promotion?," they added.
 
The petitioners further informed the Senate that Mrs Aisha Ahmad’s astronomical promotion at Diamond Bank was not approved by the CBN as required by law. "This evident is the circular announcing her appointment was fraudulently silent on CBN approval just as it was silence on whether the board of Diamond Bank sanctioned the applicant as required by the best corporate governance procedures."
 
"Most Importantly, the nomination of Mrs. Aisha Ahmad amounts to a gross violation of the Federal Character principle as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria since Niger state where Mrs Aisha Ahmad hails from produced a Deputy Governor of the CBN in the person of Mr Maiyaki who served for 10 years. In addition, Mrs Aisha’s Mother comes from Kwara state which also produced a Deputy Governor of CBN in the person of  Mrs Sarah Alade, who also held the position for ten (10) years. Going by the Federal Character principle therefore, the other North Central states of Plateau, Benue, Kogi, Nasarawa and FCT should also have the opportunity to produce a Deputy Governor of CBN," the petitioner posited.
 
The petitioners contended that from the foregoing, "it is clear that Mrs. Aisha Ahmad’s appointment as Deputy Governor of CBN was fraudulently conceived and made for purposes that are clearly far from the objective of ensuring the good management of the nation’s economy."
 
They warned that as a beneficiary of the skewed process of her promotion to qualify for appointment into the CBN, there was every reason to believe that Mrs. Aisha Ahmad would be morally unsound to defend skewed or corrupt process if allowed to function as Deputy Governor of CBN, saying, "she will be dangerous to the integrity of the CBN and the highly sensitive functions carried out by the apex Bank for the good of the economy."
 
"From the facts above, there are obviously very powerful interests behind the nomination of Mrs Aisha Ahmad as Deputy Governor of CBN. If the powerful interests could influence her abnormal promotion at Diamond Bank to pave way for her nomination as Deputy Governor of CBN, the same interests would work though her to compromise economic policies. To put it succinctly, Mrs. Aisha Ahmad will be an economic Saboteur. Nigeria can do without her," the petitioners said.
 
Insisting that  te appointment of Mrs. Ahmad was illegal, unconstitutional, null and void and must not be allowed under whatever circumstance, the petitioners warned that it would be a negation of the anti-corruption stance of the Federal Government if Mrs Aisha Ahmad is allowed to manipulate her way to attain the high office of Deputy Governor of CBN, and that it would  not only set a bad precedent, it will destroy the integrity of the CBN and by extension destroy the nation’s economy.
 
 
 
 

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.

 

Two protesters were shot dead Friday as opposition supporters clashed with police in western Kenya, with hundreds defying a ban on rallies to express their anger over an increasingly uncertain presidential election.

In the town of Bondo, the rural home of opposition leader Raila Odinga, a large crowd confronted officers outside the police station, scattering as live shots were fired.

Witnesses told AFP two people were shot dead. “One person had his head shattered by a bullet while the other was hit on the chest,” said eyewitness Sam Oguma.

Police commander Leonard Katana said the demonstrators were shot after attempting to “attack” the police station.

Regional security official Wilson Njega confirmed the two deaths, saying a full report would be issued once the circumstances of the killings became clear.

In the main western city Kisumu, 50 kilometres (30 miles) from Bondo, 20 people were admitted to hospital with serious injuries, four of them with gunshot wounds including one man in a critical condition who had been shot in the neck, said hospital chief Juliana Otieno.

Several nursery school children were also hospitalised after police fired tear gas into the Mt Carmel Academy in the Nyalenda slum.

“There was tear gas all over the school and more kept being fired by the police,” said Mary Ochieng, a witness.

The protests come as Kenya is mired in confusion over a presidential election that is due to take place in less than two weeks.

Friday’s violence was the worst since clashes in the days after the August election which left 37 dead.

A local human rights group said 35 of them were shot dead by police.

A new election?
In early September, the country’s Supreme Court annulled the results of an August 8 election — won by President Uhuru Kenyatta — citing irregularities in the counting process and mismanagement by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC).

And it ordered that a re-run of the vote be held within 60 days, with the date set for October 26.

But Odinga on Tuesday announced he would not take part, accusing the IEBC of failing to make fundamental reforms.

Odinga has argued that his withdrawal from the race should force the IEBC to cancel the election and begin the whole process from scratch — allowing more time for his reforms.

But the IEBC appears to be pushing forward with plans for the vote, saying only that Odinga had yet to submit the required form to officially pull out of the race.

Kenyatta on Friday signed a supplementary budget allocating 12 billion shillings ($116 million, 98 million euros) for the new election.

Chaos in Kisumu
The government ban on protests has further angered the opposition National Super Alliance (NASA) coalition.

Security Minister Fred Matiangi on Thursday banned rallies in the centre of Nairobi, Mombasa and the western city of Kisumu after property was destroyed, passers-by robbed or assaulted, and business disrupted.

However, the opposition pushed ahead with protests Friday, and plans to stage daily rallies next week.

In Kisumu, the main city in the west and Odinga’s stronghold, there were chaotic scenes as police fired teargas and gunshots rang out as protesters pelted them with stones.

President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday responded to allegations that the Igbo were under-represented in his government, saying that the South East region was not marginalised in appointments into his cabinet.

Receiving some leaders from the region who visited him at the Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday, President Buhari said there are “four substantive ministers” from the South East region while seven states in the North only got appointments as ministers of state.

Buhari said: “I gave the South-East four substantive ministers in the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Investment, Science and Technology and Labour.

“Seven states in the North got ministers of state. And of the two ministries headed by your sons, I cannot take any decision on foreign policy and investments without their input.”

President Buhari also assured stakeholders from the South East, who were led by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu, that the region would benefit more from roads and coastal rail projects, which he said are of critical importance to the economy.

The President, according to a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, declared that the 2nd Niger Bridge, the East-West Road and the Coastal rail project were receiving utmost attention from his administration.

He said that counterpart funding from the Chinese government would substantially fund the projects, which when completed would improve the welfare, well-being and economy of the people in the region.

The President said: “I know the Chinese are very competent in handling such projects and we will ensure that we get the money for the projects to take off.

“I thank you for articulating your demands, and I want to assure that we are doing our best for the country.

“If we can stop people from stealing, then there will be more resources to put into projects that will create employment for Nigerians.”

The President also promised the leaders, comprising governors and ministers from the region, the President of Ohanaeze, Chief Nnia Nwodo and representatives from the National Assembly, that he will visit the states in the zone soon.

“I want to assure you that I came into government with a clear conscience and I will also leave with a clear conscience,’’ he said.

Earlier, the President of Ohanaeze, while articulating the demands of the zone to the President, highlighted the issue of state creation, restructuring, federal projects in the South East, namely Enugu-Onitsha Road, Enugu-Port Harcourt Road and Aba-Ikot-Ekpene Road, among others.

Nwodo also demanded urgent presidential interventions on the Enugu Airport, reticulation of the gas pipelines in the South East and the standard gauge plan for railway construction.

Commending the President’s remarkable achievements on security and the fight against corruption, Nwodo said: “We are ready to work with you. We are determined to work with you. We know you are a decisive leader and we know God will continue to give you the wisdom to govern Nigeria.’’

Also speaking, Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State expressed satisfaction on the outcome of their discussions with the President on critical issues and topics affecting the region.

“You have no hatred for any state. You have treated all states with equality. What one state gets in the north, the other gets in the south,’’ the governor said, referring to budget support facility and stabilisation fund released to states and local governments since the inception of the administration.

Florence Otedola, “ DJ Cuppy’’, has confirmed split with her boyfriend, Victor Anichebe, Nigeria’s professional footballer and a striker for Beijing Enterprises.

Cuppy, a disc jockey, music producer and the daughter of Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola, made this known in a recent interview.

She cited distance, time difference and their tight schedule as the reasons for the breakup, but that they are both friends.

Cuppy recently moved back to Nigeria and Anichebe lives in China.

Cuppy featured on Channel 4, a British public-service television documentary, `Lagos To London, Britain’s New Super-Rich’ in 2016.

‘People saying “this DJ is his so and so’s daughter” it doesn’t bother me anymore as I love what I do.

‘I only worry I am not going to make the impact I want to make,” she said as her gigs have included DJing at the inauguration of Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari.

‘I am scared of always being his (Otedola’s) daughter and not getting past that, for me that means not being successful enough.

‘ ‘I am still masked by my dad’s success. If I didn’t try and make it outside Nigeria I would be unhappy.’

Cuppy is keen to be famous in her own right as a DJ and has been securing gigs around the world at venues including Privé, Jalouse, District and Funky Buddha.

While Cuppy admits her father’s fortune has opened doors and helped her network, she said she has to prove her talent behind the decks to secure more work.

‘I think I am a great DJ. Network comes into it but if I don’t do well I won’t get asked back no matter whose daughter I am.’

Cuppy, who recently graduated from King’s College, University of London, with a degree in business and French, said she wants to become renowned around the world as a DJ and make it into Forbes 30 under 30 Rich List.

She said she does have to deal with criticism from those who think she has only had the opportunities in her career she has had so far due to her father’s connections and purse strings, but she said this doesn’t concern her anymore. (NAN)

Liberia on Thursday awaited the delayed announcement of the outcome of presidential elections as international observers called for the results to be released promptly to avoid stoking tension.

Political parties have expressed concern over polling-day hitches on Tuesday, with one calling for a halt to the ballot count.

Footballing superstar George Weah and incumbent Vice-President Joseph Boakai are expected to top the first round of voting, according to analysts, though former Coca-Cola executive Alexander Cummings is considered to have eaten into their support with an innovative campaign strategy.

If no candidate wins 50 percent of the presidential vote, a run-off between the top two contenders will be held on November 7 — an outcome deemed a near certainty.

The chairman of the Liberty Party, whose candidate Charles Brumskine is also seen as a serious contender, on Thursday urged the “NEC to immediately halt further announcements of election results.”

In a statement sent to AFP, he claimed the irregularities were “deeply troubling”.

“If NEC does not cooperate with our request, we will take the appropriate legal action,” the party’s chairman, Ben Sanvee, said.

The National Elections Commission (NEC) is expected will hold a press conference at 5pm (1700 GMT) with the first official results.

Turnout for Liberia’s first democratic transfer of power in seven decades was exceptionally high, the NEC has suggested.

Given the delays, the European Union observer mission urged the NEC to be as open to possible about the details of the final results.

“In order for the final result to be credible the Liberian authorities will have to show the greatest transparency regarding the handling of the result for the polling stations until the validation,” the chief observer of the EU’s Election Observation Mission, Maria Arena, told journalists in Monrovia.

She also called on the authorities to ensure that “potential complaints are handled with the utmost impartiality” in a tense environment.

The Carter Center, an NGO founded by former US president Jimmy Carter, said “prompt release of results” would help in “building confidence among the electorate and preventing confusion and tension.”

The Commissioner of Police in Abia, Mr Anthony Ogbizi, has said that lethal weapons, including petrol bombs and one double-barrel gun, were recovered during last Sunday’s raid on the residence of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

Ogbizi said this on Thursday during an interaction with newsmen in Umuahia, adding that the items were recovered during a joint operation by security personnel in the state.

He said that the petrol bombs were found in buckets and incriminating documents and letters, concerning IPOB’s activities and plans, were also recovered during the raid.

He said that the raid was carried out based on an intelligence report, regarding the continued activities of some members of the group.

Ogbizi said: “We recovered many of Biafra’s insignia, staff of office and some of those items are being analysed.”

The police boss said that the operation also led to the arrest of one suspected member of IPOB.

He said that the team also discovered the telephone numbers of the group’s zonal coordinators adding that all the communications between the leadership of the group and their collaborators would be thoroughly analysed.

Ogbizi said that a Biafran flag was also found hanging on a telecommunications mast in the area.

According to him, the police will ask the Nigeria Communications Commission to sanction any telecommunication company that allowed its mast to be used to hoist Biafran flags.

He said that the activities of IPOB in the Southeast were “stirring insurrection” and that security agencies would not fold their arms and watch the group foment violence in the country.

He said that members of the group allegedly set a police station and van ablaze in Aba, and also attacked a military patrol team in Umuahia.

The police chief said that similar joint operations would be carried out intermittently in Kanu’s residence, anytime they received intelligence report that offensive weapons were brought to the place.

He said that it was wrong to say that the military was taking over the duties of the police rather the action should be seen as a synergy between the two organisations to check security challenges.

Ogbizi said that he would not hesitate to invite the army anytime the security situation in the state grew beyond the capacity of the police.

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.

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.

Thursday, 12 October 2017 01:42

NNPC: Kachikwu got contracts for nine firms

The war of integrity between Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Ibe Kachikwu and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Group Managing Director (GMD) Dr. Maikanti Baru got more intense yesterday.

The oil giant faulted the Minister’s claim that he was not consulted on $10billion Crude Term Contracts.

The NNPC said Kachikwu made an input into the shortlisting of 40 off-takers for the Crude Term Contracts by recommending seven companies, which were engaged.

Also, the minister was said to have nominated two companies for the alleged Direct Sales, Direct Purchase (DSDP) transactions, which Kachikwu claimed were worth $5billion.

The corporation said while the Minister was its GMD, he sent a memo to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) seeking clarification on the status of the NNPC Tenders Board.

NNPC’s position is contained in a fact-sheet apparently prepared against the backdrop of the six posers raised by loyalists of Kachikwu for GMD Baru. The Nation published the posers exclusively yesterday.

Besides the posers, the minister had in an August 30 memo to President Muhammadu Buhari alleged that he was being sidelined by the GMD.

He said: “As in many cases of things that happen in NNPC these days, I learn of transactions only through publications in the media. The question is, why is it that other parastatals which I supervise as Minister of State or Chair of their Boards are able to go through these contractual and mandatory governance processes and yet NNPC is exempt from these?”

Sources, who spoke with our correspondent, with a fact-sheet said the “posers amounted to mere academic exercise and sheer deceit by the minister”.

They claimed that the minister was consulted on most of the transactions he listed in his memo to the President, including Crude Oil Term transactions, Direct Sales, Direct Purchase (DSDP) contracts and Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline contract.

The fact-sheet said: “For record purposes, Nigerians should be aware that Kachikwu single-handedly superintended and approved the off-takers of Nigerian Crude Oil and gas for 2016/ 2017. There were no issues then.

“As for the off-takers for 2017/2018, the minister was consulted by the GMD. Out of a list of 40 off-takers, Kachikwu recommended seven firms, which were accepted by NNPC management without any issue. He initially nominated three and later added four. His judgment was respected, accepted and approved by NNPC management alongside 33 others.

“The seven off-takers he recommended are as follows: North-West Petroleum; Setana Energy; Emo Oil; Litasco Supply and Trading Company;   Voyage Oil and Gas; Levene International  and Cespa Trading. Since the Minister strongly recommended all these companies, we concurred with his recommendation which was based on a professional judgment. We also did not find any of the companies wanting and they met the criteria for crude lifting.

“On DSDP, the Minister also nominated two companies, Messrs Falcon Bay Energy Limited and Rain Oil Limited. The NNPC avoided all these details in its statement on Monday in order to protect the interest of these companies doing legitimate business. But Nigerians can appreciate that Kachikwu’s input was sought.

“Regarding AKK Pipeline contract, NNPC has explained that it is still in the works; it has not been awarded by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

“There was this $9.2billion Escravos Gas Pipeline Project which the GMD did not touch  in his memo to the President. Apart from discussing and reviewing it with the Board of NNPC, the GMD wrote a June 29, 2017 memo to the Presidency and after official process and consultations with the Minister, it was approved. In fact, the Minister gave the final approval in a memo of August 22, 2017, although with some reservations.

“Concerning sections 130(2) and 148(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the Minister only alluded to the powers of the President. The NNPC GMD made it clear that he obtained the approval of the President on these transactions. If the President, as the senior Minister of Petroleum Resources, has exercised his constitutional powers, what else is the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources after?

“It should be noted that NNPC and its GMD are only following the standards put in place by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources on Crude Oil Term Contracts and other transactions. NNPC is following the same rules which the Minister put in place. But the Minister is now criticising the same rules. The only thing that has changed is that Kachikwu is not the substantive GMD of NNPC again.’

“Nigerians need to know that the Minister (while he was the GMD of NNPC) wrote a memo to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to seek clarifications on the financial limit of NNPC Tenders Board. And the BPP put the limit at $20million. This is what the NNPC management has been adhering to.”

When contacted, a top source in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, who is in the position to know, said NNPC was lying.

The source said: “All of the above are lies. No official documentation backing this. This and possibly more to come are vain efforts to discredit Kachikwu and cover up the damning allegations he made.”

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