Friday, 21 July 2017
Headliners

Headliners (1683)

A Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered seven banks to remit to the Federal Government $793,200,000 (about N249,659,700,000.00) allegedly hidden with them in breach of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) policy.

A vacation judge, Justice Chuka Obiozor, made the interim order following an ex parte application by the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).

The judge warned that the remittance order would be made permanent on August 8, unless cause was shown why it should not.

The AGF, through his counsel, Prof. Yemi Akinseye-George (SAN), accused the commercial banks of illegally keeping the sums in their custody for “unknown government officials”.

Justice Obiozor ordered the banks to remit the money to the designated Federal Government’s Asset Recovery dollars account domiciled with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The banks are United Bank for Africa (UBA), Diamond Bank Plc, Skye Bank Plc, First Bank Limited, Fidelity Bank Plc, Keystone Bank Limited and Sterling Bank Plc.

According to court processes filed by Akinseye-George (SAN), $367.4m was hidden by three government agencies in UBA; $41m was kept in a National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS) fixed deposit account with Skye Bank.

The documents stated that $277.9m was in Diamond Bank, $18.9m in First Bank, $24.5m in Fidelity Bank, $17m in Keystone Bank, and $46.5m in Sterling Bank.

The AGF’s application was supported by a 15-paragraph affidavit deposed to by a lawyer from Akinseye-George’s law firm, Vincent Adodo.

Adodo averred that the banks colluded with Federal Government officials to hide the funds in breach of the TSA policy.

The funds, he stated, were revenues, donations, transfers, refunds, grants, taxes, fees, dues, tariffs etc accruable to the Federal Government from ministries, departments, parastatals and agencies.

Adodo said the banks failed to remit the funds to the TSA domiciled in the CBN in violation of the guidelines issued by the Accountant-General of the Federation, which fixed September 15, 2015 as the deadline for such funds to be moved.

“The 1st to 7th respondents (banks), in collaboration with and/or collusion with unknown officials of the Federal Government, conspired to disobey the relevant constitutional provisions, thereby depriving the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of funds belonging to it, which are needed urgently to fund pressing national projects under the 2017 budget,” Adodo said.

Among the allegedly culpable government agencies is the National Petroleum Developing Company (NPDC).

Moving the ex parte application yesterday, Akinseye-George said it would best serve the interest of justice for Justice Obiozor to order the banks to remit the funds to the Federal Government, to prevent the funds from being moved or dissipated.

“The withheld funds are urgently required for the implementation of the 2017 budget. The budget has a lifespan of 12 months and we are already in the middle of the year.

“By hiding these hidden funds, the Federal Government is being forced to borrow money from these commercial banks at exorbitant interest rates,” Akinseye-George added.

After listening to the SAN, Justice Obiozor granted the interim orders.

He directed that the order should be published in a national daily newspaper.

The judge adjourned till August 8 “for anyone interested in the funds to appear” before him “to show cause why the interim orders should not be made permanent”.

Posted On Friday, 21 July 2017 02:35 Written by

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday ordered the temporary forfeiture of a property at Banana Island, Lagos, reportedly bought for $37.5m in 2013 by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The property, designated as Building 3, Block B, Bella Vista Plot 1, Zone N, Federal Government Layout, Banana Island Foreshore Estate, has 24 apartments, 18 flats and six penthouses, according to court papers presented on Wednesday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Apart from the property, the court also ordered the temporary forfeiture of the sums of $2,740,197.96 and N84,537,840.70, said to be part of the rent collected on the property.

The funds were said to have been found in a Zenith Bank account number 1013612486.

Justice Chuka Obiozor ordered the temporary forfeiture on Wednesday, following an ex parte application to that effect brought before him by a counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Anselem Ozioko.

Ozioko had told the judge that the EFCC “reasonably suspected that the property was acquired with proceeds of alleged unlawful activities of Diezani.”

The lawyer said investigations by the EFCC revealed that Diezani made the $37.5m payment for the purchase of the property in cash, adding that the money was moved straight from her house in Abuja and paid into the seller’s First Bank account in Abuja.

“Nothing could be more suspicious than someone keeping such huge amounts in her apartment. Why was she doing that? To avoid attention.

“We are convinced beyond reasonable doubts because, as of the time this happened, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke was still in public service as the Minister of Petroleum Resources,” Ozioko told the court.

The ex parte application taken before the judge was filed pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, No. 14, 2006 and Section 44(2)(k) of the Constitution.

Listed as respondents in the application were Diezani; a legal practitioner, Afamefuna Nwokedi; and a company, Rusimpex Limited.

After listening to the EFCC lawyer on Wednesday, Justice Obiozor made an order temporarily seizing the property and the funds.

He directed that the order should be published in a national newspaper.

He adjourned the case till August 7, 2017 for anyone interested in the property and funds to appear before him.

Posted On Thursday, 20 July 2017 00:07 Written by

Zimbabwe will need $274m to fund next year's presidential and parliamentary elections, the Reuters news agency reports.

It says the head of the electoral commission, Rita Makarau, gave the figure while addressing a parliamentary committee.

The country is currently suffering a cash shortage but Ms Makarau said that she was confident that the money would be found, Reuters adds.

President Robert Mugabe has been in power since 1980 and is set to run for another five-year term in 2018.

Posted On Wednesday, 19 July 2017 01:08 Written by

…Arraigned on 32 count over alleged N36b fraud. 

A Federal High Court in Abuja Tuesday ordered that former Governor of Jigawa State, Ibrahim Saminu Turaki be remanded in Kuje prison in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

By the order given by Justice Nnamdi Dimba, Turaki is to remain in prison pending when he is able to meet the conditions attached to the bail granted him after he was arraigned, with three companies, on a 32-count charge, in which they were accused of laundering about N36billion

Turaki, who was earlier granted bail on liberal terms on July 14 by the vacation judge of the High Court of the FCT, Justice Yusuf Halilu, was arraigned before the Federal High Court on Tuesday on a charge filed in 2007 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The charge is marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/86/2007.

The ex-Governor, who was rearrested by the EFCC on July 4 at a social function in Abuja, after jumping bail and allegedly evading arrest for about six years, was arraigned on Tuesday with three companies -INC Natural Resources Ltd, Arkel Construction Nigeria Ltd and Wildcat Construction Ltd.

After the arraignment and the argument on the bail application made by defence lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN), Justice Dimgba noted that in view of the bail earlier granted Turaki by the High Court of the FCT, he was minded to grant bail.

He directed lawyers for the parties: Mohammed Abubakar for the EFCC and Raji for the defence, to agree on terms on which the Turaki could be granted bail.

After a meeting between the lawyers, the reported the agreed terms to the court, which the judge partially adopted and granted Turaki bail at N500million, with two sureties at N250,000 each, who must either be businessmen or civil servants not below the level of a director and must own properties in FCT, including the satellite towns.

The judge ordered to submit his travel documents to the court, and is to seek the court’s permission before travelling abroad. He is to report to the EFCC one in a month.

Justice Dimgba directed the EFCC to liaise with the registrar of the court to verify whether or not Turaki meets the bail conditions, following which the EFCC is to send a letter to the court confirming verification.

The judge said, should the EFCC fails to do that within 24 hours of the defence meeting bail, the defence can write to the court informing it that the EFCC did not write to verify.

Justice Dimgba, who is the court’s current vacation judge in Abuja, adjourned further proceedings in the case to September 19, the date earlier chosen by the trial judge at the Federal High Court, Dutse, Jigawa State, where Turaki reportedly jumped bail about six years ago, following which a bench warrant was issued by the court for his arrest.

The judge also said further proceedings in the case shall resume at the court’s Dutse division.

Dressed in a white native attire (agbada and a cap), Turaki wore long face as he stepped off the dock, shortly after the judge’s pronouncement.

Some of the counts in the charge read: “That you Ibrahim Saminu Turaki, INC Natural Resources Ltd, Arkel Construction Nigeria Ltd, Wildcat Construction Ltd and Ahmed Ibrahim Mohammed (now at large) on or about May 3, 2006 at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court did collaborate in concealing the genuine nature of the sum of N8,004,000,000, which sum was diverted from an illegal act and you thereby committed  an offence punishable under section 14(1)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2004.

“That you Ibrahim Saminu Turaki on or about 15th July 2006 at Abuja, did conspire with INC Natural Resources Ltd, Arkel Construction Nigeria Ltd, Wildcat Construction Ltd and Ahmed Ibrahim Mohammed (now at large) to launder the sum of N5.200,000,000 and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 17(a) of the Monet laundering (Prohibition) Act 2004 and punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act.

“That you Ibrahim Saminu Turaki, INC Natural Resources Ltd, Arkel Construction Nigeria Ltd, Wildcat Construction Ltd and Ahmed Ibrahim Mohammed (now at large) on or about 3rd May 2006, did collaborate in concealing the genuine nature of the sum of $20,000,000 which sum was derived from an illegal act and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 14(1)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2004.”

Posted On Wednesday, 19 July 2017 01:03 Written by

THE West African Examinations Council (WAEC) on Monday announced the release of the results of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for school candidates (May/ June 2017).

Addressing journalists at the Council’s National Office in Lagos on Monday, the Head of the National Office (HNO), Mr Olu Adenipekun, noted that a significant improvement was recorded this year, with nearly sixty per cent of the total candidates obtaining credit in six subjects including English and Mathematics.

He said, “A total of 923,486 (nine hundred and twenty three thousand four hundred and eighty six) candidates, representing 59.22%, obtained minimum of credits in five (5) subjects and above, including English Language and Mathematics. The percentage of candidates in this category in the WASSCE for School Candidates in 2015 and 2016 was 38.68% and 52.97%, respectively.”

Also, according to the breakdown, a total of 1,567,016 candidates registered for the examination, out of which 1,559,162 sat the examination.

Out of this figure, 1,471,151 (94.36%) results were released in full, while 95,734 candidates (5.64%) have some of their subjects still being processed “due to errors” committed by candidates in the course of registration or during examination.

However, a total of 214,952 results (13.79%) were withheld “in connection with various reported cases of examination malpractice.”

A further breakdown of the results showed that 1,490,356 candidates (95.59%) obtained credit and above in two subjects, while 1,436,024 candidates (92.44%) obtained credit and above in three subjects.

Also, 1,357,193 candidates (87.05%) obtained credit and above in four subjects; 1,243,772 (79.77%) in five subjects; and 1,084,214 (69.54%) in six subjects.

Adenipekun further disclosed that the Council had concluded plans to conduct its first ever January/February examination for private candidates in 2018, in line with the decision of WAEC’s Annual Council Meeting which “granted approval to member countries to conduct WASSCE for Private Candidates twice a year.”

Posted On Monday, 17 July 2017 23:46 Written by

A crackdown on visitors with visa overstays is imminent in the United States of America with Nigeria, Brazil, Venezuela, China and  Colombia listed as countries with the most total overstays that do not participate in the visa waiver programme.

The Trump Administration says it has a problem with visa overstays in the country and is now determined to step up enforcement to try to cut down on the violations.

Consequently, the government is introducing a face scan for all US citizens travelling abroad.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said this is aimed mainly at better tracking visa overstays and also at tightening security.

The agency said it’s the only way to successfully expand a programme that tracks non immigrant foreigners.

A report in May showed that more than 54 million visitors checked in last year – and nearly 630,000 of them didn’t go back home.

John Wagner, the Customs deputy executive assistant commissioner in charge of the programme, confirmed in an interview that U.S. citizens departing on international flights will submit to face scans.

The number of visa overstays was about 200,000 higher than the previous 12-month period.

Libya, a country of special interest because of terrorism concerns, saw 43 percent of its students refuse to leave on time, while a staggering 75 percent of students from Eritrea broke the terms of their deal, the report said.

Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Centre for Immigration Studies, said those kinds of rates should force a rethink at the State Department, which issues visas, and should spur immigration officials to put more effort into deterring and deporting overstays in the U.S.

“The fact that more than 700,000 visits were overstayed last year shows just how much we need to step up interior enforcement to create more of a deterrent, not only by identifying and deporting overstays, but by weakening the job magnet by cracking down on employers who hire illegal workers,” she said.

Posted On Sunday, 16 July 2017 18:50 Written by

Hull City have signed Chelsea defender Ola Aina on a season-long loan.

Full-back Aina, 20, made three substitute appearances in the Premier League and one in the FA Cup, and started two EFL Cup games last season.

He is the first major arrival at Hull since Leonid Slutsky was appointed as manager in June.

"I'm very excited to be here and it is the start of a new chapter in my career. I just want to hit the ground running," Aina told Hull's website.

Born in London and with England caps up to under-20 level, Aina has declared his allegiance to Nigeria.

He been part of three FA Youth Cup-winning sides at Stamford Bridge and twice helped them win the Uefa Youth League.

Posted On Wednesday, 12 July 2017 01:32 Written by

Kenyan MPs, who are some of the best paid lawmakers in the world, are to get a pay cut intended to reduce the public wage bill.

The MPs' $7,200 (£5,500) monthly pay will be cut by 15% and they will lose some generous allowances.

The Salaries and Remuneration Commission (SRC) said that the salary review was part of a plan to reduce Kenya's public sector wages by 35%.

The average income in Kenya is $150 a month.

The new salaries will be effective after the 8 August election.

The review will affect pay and allowances of national and county government officials, including the president, whose gross salary has been reduced from $16,000 to $14,000.


MPs' current benefits:

  • Personal car loan up to $67,400 - repayable at 3% interest
  • An official car grant of $48,000 per 5-year term
  • Mileage (or business class travel by air or rail in lieu) and car maintenance of $3,440 monthly
  • Mortgage $190,000
  • Salary $7,200

Figures from Africa Check and media reports


The lawmakers blocked previous attempts to tax and/or cap their pay, saying that their constituents depended on the MPs to help them financially.

The review reduces their salaries to $6,100 and scraps some of their allowances.

SRC boss Sarah Serem said the abolition of mileage and sitting allowances, which are favoured by the MPs, "were prone to abuse".

Instead of mileage allowances, the SRC has created zones for which state officers will get a one-month allowance, the Daily Nation reports.

"There were claims of up to Sh2 million ($20,000) per month," Ms Serem said of the abuse of mileage allowance, the report adds.

SRC said the salaries were set after comparing them with countries within the East African Community, South Africa, India, Canada and the US.

It says it also considered the country's GDP before setting the salaries.

Ms Serem said that despite the reduction, the MPs will still remain some of the best paid legislators in the world.

The salary review is also meant to harmonise the pay structure of other workers in the 700,000 strong public sector.

Posted On Tuesday, 11 July 2017 02:04 Written by

*Police say nine men killed in an overnight attack on a village in the coastal district of Lamu

Suspected al-Shabab fighters beheaded nine men in an overnight assault on a village in the Kenyan coastal district of Lamu, police said, days after the armed group killed three police officers in an attack on a nearby village.

A witness, who asked not to be named, confirmed the death toll to Reuters news agency.

"They raided Jima and Pandanguo villages and killed nine men. They were slaughtered like chickens, using knives," said the witness.

Kenya's Interior Ministry announced late on Saturday that curfew was imposed in three districts following the attack.

It said in a tweet that the 12-hour curfew, from 6:30pm (1530 GMT), affects parts of Lamu, Garissa and Tana River and is to be in place for the next three months. 

In a televised address on Saturday morning following the death in hospital of Kenya's Interior Minister Joseph Nkaissery, President Uhuru Kenyatta spoke of "an unfortunate incident this morning, which we are assessing".

Appointing Education Minister Fred Matiangi as acting security minister, Kenyatta promised there would be "no vacuum in securing our country".

President Uhuru Kenyatta sought to reassure Kenyans when mentioning the latest killings in a speech earlier on Saturday. 

"We have had an unfortunate incident this morning that we are currently assessing and addressing," he said.

Earlier in the week, three police officers were killed in an attack on a police post in Lamu, blamed on the al-Qaeda-linked al-Shabab group.

Posted On Sunday, 09 July 2017 14:25 Written by
 

Manchester United are increasingly confident of completing the £75m signing of Romelu Lukaku in time for the Everton forward to link up with Jose Mourinho's squad in Los Angeles on Sunday, sources have told ESPN FC.

Despite Everton sources claiming to ESPN FC on Thursday that no deal had been agreed with United for the Belgium international -- raising Chelsea's hopes of beating United to the 24-year-old -- senior figures at Old Trafford believe that the player is now on course to join United.

Plans have been made by United for Lukaku to undergo a medical in Los Angeles, where he is spending his summer vacation, and the formalities could be completed by Friday afternoon, enabling a deal to be sealed before Mourinho's tour squad jets out of Manchester for California on Sunday.

Wayne Rooney, meanwhile, is expected to stay behind in order to complete a return to Everton after being given permission by United to negotiate a move back to Goodison Park, 13 years after leaving the club for Old Trafford.

Mourinho's team had been led to believe Lukaku favoured a return to Chelsea and that a deal to take the Belgian back to Stamford Bridge had, at one stage, been close.

The club had also baulked at Everton's valuation of £100m and were convinced Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata would cost significantly less.

However, reaching an agreement with Real Madrid for Morata has proved more difficult than originally thought with the Spanish side holding out for close to £80 million.

The United manager knows Lukaku from his time in charge at Chelsea. It was Mourinho who sanctioned Lukaku's sale to Everton in 2014.

The 24-year-old has become one of the Premier League's most prolific strikers in his three seasons at Goodison Park, scoring 71 goals in 133 games.

Everton were desperate to keep their main goal scorer, especially after spending close to £100 million this summer to help Ronald Koeman's side break into the top four.

However, Lukaku has made no secret of his desire to play in the Champions League.

 

Posted On Friday, 07 July 2017 02:45 Written by
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