Monday, 24 July 2017
Business and Economy

Business and Economy (654)

SPONSORED BY X365TV.COM: Former Governor James Ibori of Delta State has been released from prison in the United Kingdom.

Reports say he was released on Tuesday, having agreed to be deported after serving half of his 13-year prison sentence.

But it has now emerged that the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd did not intend to deport Ibori to Nigeria until he handed over £18 million of “proceeds of crime.”

A High Court judge said attempts to detain him were “quite extraordinary.”

Ordering Ibori to be immediately freed from prison, Mrs Justice May said: “You don’t hold someone just because it is convenient to do so and without plans to deport them.”

A Home Office application that Ibori be electronically tagged and subjected to strict curfew conditions was also rejected.

The judge accepted arguments that the home secretary was attempting to misuse her immigration and deportation powers.

Ibori, a former London store cashier, was jailed for fraud totalling nearly £50 million in April 2012.

He evaded capture in Nigeria after a mob of supporters attacked police but was arrested in Dubai in 2010 and extradited to the UK, where he was prosecuted based on evidence from the Metropolitan Police.

On Wednesday, the Home Office’s barrister said the government was concerned that Ibori might “frustrate confiscation proceedings” and wanted him kept in jail or subjected to strict controls on his movement.

But it emerged in court that the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), which is pursuing the confiscation proceedings, was “neutral” about Ibori’s release and possible deportation.

Ian MacDonald, QC, representing Ibori, said: “The Secretary of State has taken it upon herself. There is no objection from (the CPS) for release.

“This is extraordinary”, Mrs Justice May said. They (the CPS) don’t care.

“Why doesn’t the Secretary of State just send him back?” she asked. “He wants to go. She wants him to go.”

The conviction of James Ibori followed a government anti-corruption campaign led by the Department for International Development (DfID) 10 years ago.

In court on Wednesday, Ibori’s barrister, Ivan Krolic, explained how another defendant in the fraud case had appealed against conviction on the grounds that “police officers in the investigations had been corrupt.”

“The Court of Appeal rejected that after counsel for the Crown indicated that there was nothing to support the allegation”, Mr Krolic explained.

Ordering Ibori’s release, Justice May said: “The Secretary of State appears to have taken it upon herself that Ibori does remain in this country, in apparent contradiction of the order served earlier this year to deport him.

“The position of the Secretary of State, as very candidly set out by Birdling (representing the home secretary), is that she accepts that there is an argument that she has no power to detain him.

“I have decided that the balance of convenience falls heavily in favour of his immediate release. I am not prepared to impose conditions involving tagging or curfews.”

The judge said the matter of Ibori’s deportation should be heard before the end of January.

Ogara, the home town of Ibori, has been agog over his release.

A source close to the flamboyant politician, who remained a political force in his native Delta state throughout his years of travail, however, said it was not comprehensible whether Ibori would fly to Nigeria.

“This is in view of legal proceedings concerning the confiscation of his assets worth tens of millions of dollars, still up in the air.’’

Ibori, who ruled Delta from 1999-2007 was one of the most influential governors during his time and he established a political dynasty that produced his successor Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan and the incumbent Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa.

Despite the legal entanglements and the prospect of Ibori taking his case to the Court of Appeal, the mood among his kinsmen and politicians in the state, especially Peoples Democratic Party faithful is that he should return.

Reports say Oghara is wearing a new look with banners bearing pictures of the ex-governor strategically displayed at different roundabouts within the town.

Associates and loyalists are also catching up on the event to pledge their loyalty to Ibori as they adorn the banners with their pictures side by side the former governor.

Some of the banners, which were placed at the Market Roundabout, Ibori Roundabout and entrance of Oghara, have inscriptions such as: “Welcome back home, our national leader”, “The political messiah and his kinsmen” and “The resource control living legend.

“His ordeal, God’s plan to fortify him.’’

Former DESOPADEC Commissioner representing Ethiope West, Sapele and Okpe, Henry Ofa, told Vanguard: “Without trying to be immodest, the world knows that there is great expectation in Oghara.

“Since he left, there had been lots of misgivings and backwardness in the area in the hope that when he arrives, so many things would change positively.”

“We are prepared to follow him and we are convinced that he is going to lead us to the Promised Land’’, some of his followers told Journalists.

“We have the belief that there is a plan for him by God,” Ofa, a key loyalist said.

Posted On Thursday, 22 December 2016 02:55 Written by

SPONSORED BY 234NAIRA.COM: The Chairman of the African Union (AU), Mr Idriss Deby, on Monday expressed full support for the decisions adopted by the ECOWAS Heads of State on the political situation in The Gambia.

In a statement issued in Addis Ababa and made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), in Abuja, Deby commended the Heads for their “principled stand with regards to the situation in The Gambia.

He said the AU was in full support of the decisions reached at the meeting held in Abuja on Dec 16, including “the consideration to use all necessary means to ensure the respect of the will of the people of The Gambia.’’

“The Chairman of AU reaffirms its readiness to pursue and intensify coordination efforts with ECOWAS and the UN.

“This is in order to facilitate the speedy and orderly transfer of power to the President-elect, including its full support to President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as ECOWAS Mediator in The Gambia.’’

Deby, who is the President of Chad, repeated his call on The Gambia’s outgoing President Yahya Jammeh to facilitate the smooth transfer of power to the newly elected president, Adama Barrow, as decided by The Gambians.

He also called on members of the security forces in The Gambia to strictly abide by the country’s Constitution and the rule of law.

Leaders of ECOWAS had at the end of their one-day summit in Abuja reiterated their support to the sanctity of the election in The Gambia which saw the incumbent, Jammeh losing to the opposition candidate Barrow.

They condemned the decision by Jammeh to reject the result of the election which he had earlier accepted and even called the winner to congratulate him.

The meeting also appointed President Buhari as its Mediator to be assisted by Ghana’s John Mahama to ensure all parties in The Gambia accepted the outcome of the election.

The meeting also resolved that all Heads of State of the organisation should attend the inauguration of Barrow as the new president of the The Gambia on Jan. 19, 2017.

Posted On Tuesday, 20 December 2016 02:29 Written by

SPONSORED BY X365TV.COM: All Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS member countries have resolved to attend the inauguration of the Gambian President-Elect, Adama Barrow, on January 18, 2017, in conformity with the Gambian constitution.

According to a communiqué presented at the end of the 50th Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government held in Abuja on Saturday, the out-going President Yahya Jammeh must uphold the result of the December 1 presidential election in the country and must guarantee the safety and protection of the President-elect.

“The Authority calls on President Yahya Jammeh to accept the result of the polls and refrain from any action likely to compromise the transition and peaceful transfer of power to the President-Elect,’’ the communiqué added.

The Authority also appointed President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and his Ghanaian counterpart as Chief Mediator and Co-Mediator respectively in the Gambian political impasse.

Posted On Sunday, 18 December 2016 00:36 Written by

SPONSORED BY BUY656.COM: President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja presented a budget of N7.30 trillion for 2017 before a joint session of the National Assembly.

Buhari, who arrived at the assembly Chambers at 1.55p.m., apologized for shifting the time for the presentation of the appropriation bill from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

He explained that the delay was informed by his sudden trip to The Gambia in an attempt to avert possible political in that country, occasioned by the insistence of President Yayah Jameh.

The president said that N2.24 trillion, representing 30.7 percent of the 2017 budget, would be committed to capital expenditure aimed at pulling the economy out of recession as quickly as possible.

He said the capital expenditure was increased from N1.8 trillion in 2016 to N2.24 trillion in 2017.

The president also announced N2.98 trillion as recurrent expenditure for the 2017 fiscal year.

He said, having reviewed the trends in the global oil industry, the government had decided to set a benchmark price of 42.5 dollars per barrel and a production estimate of 2.2 million barrels per day for 2017 fiscal year.

According to him, the aggregated revenue available to fund 2017 is N4.94 trillion, 28 percent higher than the 2016 budget.

He said that oil was projected to contribute N1.99 trillion of the amount and non-oil revenue would be contributing N1.73 trillion.

Posted On Thursday, 15 December 2016 00:40 Written by

SPONSORED BY CHIQUEMAGAZINE.COM: Popular money-doubling scheme, Mavrodi Mundial Moneybox (MMM), has placed one month ban on all withdrawals starting from Dec. 13.

A letter displayed on the page of participants of the scheme cited “heavy workload on system” as reason for the ban.

This means that members of the ponzi scheme who are due to withdraw both their capital and 30 percent return on investment will no longer be able to do so until sometime in January 2017.

According to the letter, the ban on withdrawals is partly due to negative reports by the media on the scheme.

The letter reads in part; “one-month freezing of confirmed Mavros.

“Dear members, as usual in the New Year season, the system is experiencing heavy workload. Moreover, it has to deal with the constant frenzy provoked by authorities in the mass media.

“The things are still going well; the participants feel calm; everyone gets paid – as you can see, there haven’t been any payment delays or other problems yet – but!..it is better to avoid taking risk, Moreover, there are just three weeks left to the New Year.

“On the basis of the above mentioned therefore, all confirmed Mavros will be frozen for a month.

“The reason for this measure is evident. We need to prevent any problems during the New Year and then, when everything calms down, this measure will be cancelled, which we will definitely do.

“We hope for your understanding, Administration.

A similar scenario played out in Zimbabwe and South Africa, where participants money were frozen for certain period, pausing the system, only to return with new adjustment in its terms, causing the scheme to crash.

Before this sudden turn of event, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) had warned Nigerians against participating in the scheme which it described as a “Ponzi”.

The House of Representatives had in October ordered an investigation into the operations of the scheme.

Posted On Tuesday, 13 December 2016 11:36 Written by

SPONSORED BY X365TV.COM: The President Muhammadu Buhari’s led federal government has presented a 10-point fiscal roadmap to reset the economy on the path of growth.

The Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun revealed the outline when she represented Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, at the annual dinner of the Lagos Business School.

Speaking at the session she said, “The Federal Government’s fiscal policy roadmap is addressing barriers to growth that will drive productivity, generate jobs and broaden wealth creating opportunities to achieve inclusive growth.”

According to her, ”Buhari administration is determined to convert Nigeria to a productive economy rather than one that is consumption driven. To do so, government would tackle the infrastructure deficit to unlock productivity, improve business competitiveness and create employment.

Adeosun stated that government would actively partner with the private sector to achieve this by the use of a number of new funding platforms.

These include the Road Trust Fund, which will develop potentially tollable roads, and the Family Homes Fund which is an ongoing PPP initiative for funding of affordable housing.

Adeosun assured that despite the current economic challenges facing the Nigerian economy, the outlook is positive due to the strong fundamentals of Nigeria and the ongoing reform programme.

She reiterated that Government is determined to create an enabling environment and put in place supportive policies to return to growth in 2017 including greater alignment of monetary and fiscal policies.

Posted On Sunday, 11 December 2016 13:47 Written by

SPONSORED BY HIRING234.COM: Gambian President Yahya Jammeh must hand over power after defeat in elections, The UN Security Council has said.

President Jammeh initially conceded to Adama Barrow in last week’s vote but has since refused to accept the end of his 22-year rule.

Mr Barrow said he was sure the military supported him as the country’s new leader.

The UN added that a handover should come without condition or delay.

President Jammeh initially appeared to concede after results showed he had lost, but on Friday said he “totally” rejected the result.

His statement was condemned by The African Union (AU), who described it as “null and void”.

President Jammeh’s reluctance to accept the result has also been criticised by the US and neighbouring Senegal.

A heavy military presence has been reported in the Gambian capital, Banju, but the streets have remained calm.

The BBC’s West Africa correspondent, Thomas Fessy, says the main question now is whether President Jammeh has managed to split the army, retaining a faction ready to back his announcement.

Posted On Saturday, 10 December 2016 22:41 Written by

SPONSORED BY X365RADIO.COM: Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh said on Friday he rejects the outcome of last week’s election that he lost to opposition leader Adama Barrow and called for fresh elections.

The announcement made on state television throws the future of the West African country into doubt after an unexpected election result that ended Jammeh’s 22-year rule and was widely seen as a moment of democratic hope.

“After a thorough investigation, I have decided to reject the outcome of the recent election. I lament serious and unacceptable abnormalities which have reportedly transpired during the electoral process,” Jammeh said.

“I recommend fresh and transparent elections which will be officiated by a god-fearing and independent electoral commission,” he said.

Human rights groups said Jammeh’s government detained, tortured and killed opponents during his rule and his defeat sparked wild celebrations. But some people also said they doubted whether he would accept defeat.

Official election results from the electoral commission gave Barrow, a real estate developer who once worked as a security guard at retailer Argos in London, 45.5 percent of the vote against Jammeh’s 36.7 percent.

Barrow is set to take over in late January following a transition period.

Reuters

Posted On Saturday, 10 December 2016 02:14 Written by

SPONSORED BY X365RADIO.COM: Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh said on Friday he rejects the outcome of last week’s election that he lost to opposition leader Adama Barrow and called for fresh elections.

The announcement made on state television throws the future of the West African country into doubt after an unexpected election result that ended Jammeh’s 22-year rule and was widely seen as a moment of democratic hope.

“After a thorough investigation, I have decided to reject the outcome of the recent election. I lament serious and unacceptable abnormalities which have reportedly transpired during the electoral process,” Jammeh said.

“I recommend fresh and transparent elections which will be officiated by a god-fearing and independent electoral commission,” he said.

Human rights groups said Jammeh’s government detained, tortured and killed opponents during his rule and his defeat sparked wild celebrations. But some people also said they doubted whether he would accept defeat.

Official election results from the electoral commission gave Barrow, a real estate developer who once worked as a security guard at retailer Argos in London, 45.5 percent of the vote against Jammeh’s 36.7 percent.

Barrow is set to take over in late January following a transition period.

Reuters

Posted On Saturday, 10 December 2016 02:02 Written by

SPONSORED BY 234NAIRA.COM: The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday quizzed a former Minister of State for Defence, Senator Musiliu Obanikoro, for allegedly receiving N450m from the Coordinator of the Goodluck Jonathan Campaign Organisation in Lagos State, Adewale Onilere, during the countdown to the 2015 presidential election.

 Operatives disclosed to The PUNCH that the N450m was part of the N23bn ($115m) allegedly disbursed to the leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 36 states of the federation by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

A source at the EFCC told our correspondent that Onilere, who is the Chairman of the PDP in the Somolu Local Government Area, received N650m from the campaign organisation out of which N450m was given to Obanikoro.

He said, “Onilere received N650m and then delivered N450m to Obanikoro at his house. Onilere gave Obanikoro the money in the presence of some PDP leaders.

 “So, on Wednesday, we invited Obanikoro to tell his side of the story. However, Obanikoro denied receiving any money from Onilere.

“Since Obanikoro is currently on administrative bail, we let him go. However, we have invited Obanikoro and Onilere to come to our office in two weeks’ time to face each other. Surely, we will get to the bottom of this.”

In a terse text message, however, Onilere denied handling stolen funds.

“It is certainly false and I know nothing about it. Thanks,” he said.

Obanikoro and his two sons, Babajide and Gbolahan, are currently under a separate investigation involving N4.7bn which was allegedly diverted from the Office of the National Security Adviser.

The ONSA, under the leadership of the then National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), was alleged to have paid N4.7bn into the bank account of a company, Sylvan McNamara, in which Obanikoro’s sons were directors.

Obanikoro had said in his statement on oath at the EFCC that after receiving the money in June 2014, he gave N1.219bn to the then governorship candidate of the PDP in Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose; while N1.3bn was given to the PDP candidate in Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore.

He also confessed to giving Fayose a separate $5.377m at Spotless Hotel in Ekiti State in the presence of party stalwarts including the then Ekiti State PDP Secretary, Mr. Tope Aluko.

Obanikoro was said to have kept about N785m for himself, which he allegedly spent while campaigning ahead of the PDP governorship primary in Lagos State, which Mr. Jimi Agbaje won.

However, the EFCC asked him to return about N584m of which he has already returned N137m.

Posted On Friday, 09 December 2016 01:22 Written by
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