Wednesday, 20 September 2017
Headliners

Headliners (1730)

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: President Muhammadu Buhari is staying back in the United Kingdom because he needs more rest, the Presidency said yesterday. But there is no cause for alarm, presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said.

Speaking with State House reporters, Adesina said: “The President wants Nigerians to know that he appreciates their prayers, he appreciates their concerns and their goodwill. He has added that there is really no cause to worry.
“He is the one who owns the body and there is nobody who will know his body more than him and he says no cause to worry.
“It makes sense to say that maybe from the results of the tests, further rest has been recommended”.
The statement did not say how long the rest will last.

“I speak for somebody. I do not speak for myself. So it is what he tells me to say that I say and the statement transmitted to me is that the President needs to rest for some further time,” Adesina said.

On the possibility that the President will speak directly to Nigerians, he said: “What he has just done is to speak to Nigerians.”
Asked to speak on the President’s state of health, Adesina said: “Don’t you know that the Hippocratic Oath even forbids a doctor from speaking about the condition of his patient, except the patient authorises it? It is only the patient himself who can speak about what he is going through.

“This is the person going through these series of tests and rest and he says no cause to worry. Let us believe that.”
On why reporters trying to see the President in UK are being prevented, he said “I do not consider that as harassment. Presidents are not hijacked and interviewed. Those things are scheduled. So I do not consider that as harassment.”

Reacting to the possibility of the president spending months in the UK, the media adviser said: “What we have just said is what I will want us to believe. The President said he needs to rest further; the same President that communicated that to us, when it is time for him to come, he will also communicate to us.
On the claim that the President has lost his voice, he said.

“Those people need to prove it. He spoke with President Trump. Did Trump say he did not speak with the Nigerian President? Anybody can allege anything.
“My message to Nigerians is that let us learn to believe our leaders. This is a man we elected into office and he says no cause to worry; let us believe him.”

Posted On Wednesday, 22 February 2017 00:42 Written by

*EFCC tracks N388.3b London-Paris Club refunds 

*Consultants ‘got 2%’

*Governors ‘shared 3%’

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: Seven governors have questions to answer in the alleged diversion of part of the N388.304billion London-Paris Club refunds into two accounts opened by the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), The Nation has learnt.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has uncovered N19billion in one of the accounts. The other is a domiciliary account, which contains a yet unspecified amount of money.

One of those invited for interrogation has admitted handing over a huge sum of money to a principal officer of the National Assembly after changing it into dollars, according to the preliminary report on the management of the refunds.

According to a source, who pleaded not to be named because he is not permitted to talk to the media, EFCC detectives discovered that while about 2% of the funds was paid to consultants who allegedly assisted in computing what was due to each state, 3% was shared by some governors under “curious circumstances”.

The source said: “The detectives have uncovered the two accounts opened in the name of the NGF and the signatories to same.

“We are looking into circumstances behind such huge deposits from London-Paris Club refunds into these accounts.

“The payment of 2% of the refunds to consultants and 3% to some governors which was rated as “curious” by investigators have been confirmed. We also discovered that some of the governors nominated these consultants.”

The source declined to name the seven governors, stressing that the details will be released as soon as the investigation is concluded.

Responding to a question, the source said one of those questioned actually admitted that he changed some of the funds into dollars and handed it over to a principal officer of the National Assembly.

 

Besides, he insisted that the EFCC had no any agenda against the governors, adding: “It has no basis to run the NGF down at all, but you should know that the Presidency is interested in how these London-Paris Club refunds were spent.

“We know the governors have immunity, but certainly NGF does not enjoy such constitutional protection. We are looking at what informed the transfer of such funds into the accounts of the NGF and for what purposes.

“Once the purposes are in line with statutory financial regulations and the EFCC is satisfied, the case is closed. But where there are cases of diversion and stealing of public funds, the law will take its course.”

The Federal Government released N388.304billion of the N522.74 billion funds to 35 states as refunds of overdeductions on London-Paris Club loans.

States on top of the list with huge reimbursements are those controlled by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) contrary to their claims of being oppressed by the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.

The big earners are Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Katsina, Kaduna, Lagos, Imo, Jigawa, Borno, Niger, Bauchi,and Benue.

Only Kano State and the FCT did not benefit from the reimbursement.

Ondo was only paid 50 per cent of its refunds (N6,513,392,932.28) because of leadership change in the state which will soon lead to the inauguration of the Governor-elect,  Mr Rotimi Akeredolu.

A breakdown of the list of top beneficiaries of the refunds is as follows: Akwa Ibom – N14,500,000,000.00;  Bayelsa – N14,500,000,000.00;  Delta—N14,500,000,000.00; Katsina  -N14,500,000,000.00; Lagos – N14,500,000,000.00;  Rivers

-N14,500,000,000.00;  Kaduna – N14,362,416,363.24; Borno-N13,654,138,849.49; Bauchi – N12,792,664,403.93;   Benue – N12,749,689,453.61; Sokoto—N11,980,499,096.97; Osun– N11,744,237,793.56; Anambra– N11,386,281,466.35; Edo– N11,329,495,462.04; Cross River – N11,300,139,741.28; Kogi – N11,211,573,328.19; and Kebbi – N11,118,149,054.10.

The Federal Government reached a conditional agreement to pay 25% of the amounts claimed, subject to a cap of N14.5 billion to any given state.

Balances due thereafter will be revisited when fiscal conditions improve.

“Mr. President’s overriding concern is for the welfare of the Nigerian people. considering the fact that many States are owing salaries and pension, causing considerable hardship,” the government said.

THE NATION had exclusively reported that the presidency was uncomfortable with the funds management by governors.

A source in the Presidency, who spoke in confidence, said: “President Muhammadu Buhari has lived up to his pledge to ease salary crises in all the states by releasing N388.304billion to 35 states.

“The agreement between the Federal Government and the governors was very clear. While  50 per cent of the amount released shall be used to offset outstanding  salary and pension arrears, the remaining 50 per cent would be used for the payment of other obligations.

“Some governors have however reneged on this agreement. Security reports available to the Presidency showed that Governor Ayodele Fayose paid only one month out of eight-month salary arrears.

“The governor went ahead to pay a curious 13-month salary to Ekiti workers. Yet, he got N8.877billion refund.

“Instead of accounting for what he used the loan refund for, he attacked the Federal Government on hardship in the country. The relevant agencies are monitoring development in Ekiti and some states.”

Responding to a question, another source in government said: “It is however unfortunate that some governors underdeclared the refunds made to them. Some of them were also discovered to be giving spurious analysis to cover up the actual figures.

“In fact, some states changed the agreement overnight. A state said the President asked states to use at least 25 per cent of their London and Paris Club refuns to offset salary arrears.”

Posted On Monday, 20 February 2017 05:47 Written by

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: RICKETY, unkempt, neglected and dangerous are a few of the words to describe the road. As a first time visitor to the area, you are welcomed by loads of waste polythene bags littering the street. Interestingly, on the same road, which experts say would require less than N5 million to fix, is an old and seemingly abandoned structure, where a whopping sum of $9.7 million and £74,000 cash was hidden.

Since the discovery sometime last week , Chikun Road, in Sabon Tasha, a suburb of Kaduna metropolis, has become a tourists’ attraction, with the people trooping to the place to see where such huge cash was found. Prior to the unusual discovery, the road, and indeed, Sabon Tasha, was a sleepy and quiet community that hardly attracted such attention.

It will be recalled that operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last week stormed the house allegedly belonging to a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Andrew Yakubu, where they discovered $9.7m raw cash in a fire-proof cabinet. According to the anti-graft agency, a special operation conducted by its operatives on a building belonging to the former NNPC boss in Kaduna, yielded the recovery of a staggering sum of $9,772,800 and another sum of £74,000 cash.

“The huge cash was hidden in a fire proof safe. The surprise raid of the facility was sequel to an intelligence report which the commission received about suspected proceeds of crime believed to be hidden in the slums of Sabon Tasha area of Kaduna. “On arrival at the facility, the caretaker of the house, one Bitrus Yakubu, a younger brother to Andrew Yakubu, disclosed that both the house and the safe where the money was found belong to his brother, Andrew Yakubu.

“When the safe was opened it was discovered that it contained the sum of $9,772,800 and £74,000.” Meanwhile, Andrew Yakubu reported to the commission’s zonal office in Kano on Wednesday and made statements wherein he admitted ownership of the recovered money, claiming it was gift from unnamed persons. He is currently assisting the agency in its investigation.

 

When The Nation visited the area, it was observed that the building is not one of the finest in the area and is habited by tenants, a status which made it difficult for people in the neighborhood to suspect such large amount being stashed in the structure. It was also observed that, except for the value of its land, the structure which banked the multi-million dollars is not worth more than N4 million itself. Its old zinc roof has turned chocolate brown, while breeze has started lifting a sheet from the rear. The building can only be categorised as a second-class structure in the area, as it has no drive-in for its occupants, but two pedestrian gates, one in front and the other at the back.

Its tenants, as at the time of the visit, were seen going in and out of the building as if nothing had happened, just as owners of shops attached to the house equally opened for business. Though, they declined comments on the discovery for fear of victimisation, both the store owners and living tenants in the house were obviously not happy with the development. But residents of the area, who spoke with our correspondent, expressed their disappointment.

While, some cursed the former GMD, others pleaded that the money be brought back to develop their community. The common features in the area are untared roads, bad drainage system and collapsed culverts. Though, with facilities in place, electric and pipe-borne water are not regular in supply in the community. Residents said, though the former GMD seldom comes around, his younger brother, Bitrus Yakubu, who lives in the neighbourhood,has never been of any financial assistance to the community in times of need.

Some of the angry residents described the owner of the money as a wicked fellow, saying it would have been better for him to keep the money inside one of his GRA houses, not in the midst of people who struggle for survival. According to a neighbour, who identified himself as Uncle Sam Koro, he had once asked the former GMD Andrew Yakubu for a favour of N20,000 to pay his rent, a plea Koro said Yakubu turned down, even as his security aides pushed him away.

“I was here when the operatives of the EFCC came and ordered the younger brother of Andrew Yakubu, Bitrus, to open the door, and they came out with the fireproof safe and they opened it, only to discover hard currencies there. “I was so amazed. And this is somebody I once asked for help from. I am talking about N20,000 to pay my rent. He said he didn’t have money and before I could say jack, his security guards had pushed me away, right in his presence. So, when this issue of money happened, my encounter with him quickly came to my mind.

“Everyone in this area is feeling bad about this development. I will advise that the government re-invest at least 20% of that money in this area. So, his case should be used as example for others to learn from,” Koro said. Another resident, who owns a welding workshop about 20 meters away from the dollars building, said he wished he could smell dollars like he smells his electrode when welding, saying he could have been the one to blow the whistle and get five percent of such huge amount. “If I had smelled it, I would have at least reported to EFCC and get my five percent like they said.

At least, that would have changed my life for better till I die. I would just open a big factory, where I can fabricate marketable materials in commercial quantity, build myself a reasonable house and some others to hire out to people. “I am not happy about the development; at least if the man had helped the community, people would have been sympathising with him. But now, nobody is sympathising with him,” he said. Another resident, Godwin Alfa, a graduate of Electrical Engineering, said: “Imagine me going out of our compound to fetch water.

We have tap water, but the supply is not regular. The same goes for electricity; we don’t always have light and when we have it, it is usually low voltage. “So, the point I am trying to make is that, with all these problems, while we have not even started talking about roads, hospital and the rest, but someone kept $9.7m in this community without considering assisting us. Like myself now, I am a graduate. I have HND in Electrical Engineering, married with two kids, but I have no job. I am just managing here and there. If the man in question had invested that money, at least, if am not lucky to be employed there, other graduates like me would have been employed.” Jerry D. Ishaya, in his own words, said: “If you have kept a large sum of money somewhere, whether you got it legitimately or illegitimately, bring it out and invest it for the people to benefit.

Don’t call for sympathy from the poor who needs it. There is a great lesson to be learnt from the $9.2million saga. “In the PDP manifesto that I read, there is no looting. If anyone is caught looting, let him face the law. After all, EFCC was established by PDP.” Another resident, Mrs. Shila Musa, said: “Those stealing our commonwealth and making us languishing in abject poverty will not no peace. Just imagine, an amount that is enough to resuscitate the ailing textile industry in Kaduna in the hands of one man, ‘Allah ya isa’ (God will judge).

“I am a Christian and I know that in a situation like this, some people will be blindly supporting this kind of person. But the question is of what benefit has his loot been to Christianity? So, Nigerians must wake up and fight their common enemies looting our treasury irrespective of their religious or ethnic affiliations,” Mrs. Musa said. Meanwhile, while the people of Sabon Tasha are waiting to hear what becomes of $9.7m and another sum of £74,000 cash taken away from their community by the EFCC operatives, they are hoping that their community will have a share of the hard currencies to change its status for better.

Posted On Saturday, 18 February 2017 15:13 Written by

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday vowed to end corruption in all ramifications in the country, saying looting of public funds, bribery of public officials and other vices associated with corrupt practices constitute more than half the real problems of the nation.

He spoke through the Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwukah at the launch of an anti-corruption campaign, tagged “The Value Project” in Abuja.

The anti-corruption campaign organised by the Federal Ministry of Education in collaboration with a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Youth Health and Social Reforms (YOHESOR), was designed for building a corrupt-free generation through education, value re-orientation, skills training and awareness creation in primary and secondary schools across the 36 states of the federation and Abuja.

Speaking against the backdrop of recent recovery of billions of dollars from former public officials and the general endemic corruption in the country, President Buhari said he strongly believes that ending corruption would lead to a new Nigeria.

He said his administration had made it clear in the last one year that Nigerians must join hands with his government to kill corruption before corruption kills what is left of the country.

Buhari said: “I am personally delighted to be associated with this initiative as it borders on the anti-corruption campaign of our administration but this time from the perspective of our school children.

“I stand to be corrected but I strongly think that if we get it right with corruption, we almost will get it right with the new Nigeria of our desire.

“In the last one year of this administration, we have made relentless efforts to make our position clear that we must all join hands to kill corruption before corruption kills what is left of our dear country.

“I have no doubt in my mind that the vices associated with corrupt practices, such as budget padding, miracle exam centres, sorting of lecturers, contract inflation, looting of public funds and bribery of public officials, constitute more than half of the real problem of this nation.

“I therefore, urge everyone who professes genuine love and passion for this unique country called Nigeria to support this government in its drive to change the orientation of Nigerians, particularly the children about corruption and its attendant social vices,” he said.

The president said he saw the anti-corruption campaign project as a high social and moral impact investment for the children.

National Coordinator, Youth Health and Social Reforms (YOHESOR), Dr. Ijeomah Arodiogbu, in his remark, said Nigeria was suffering from corruption induced poverty.

This, he said, had made most people to conclude that there is no future for the children, adding, however, that Nigeria could be saved through the project.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State for Education, Prof Anwukah in his address, which was read on his behalf, said the battle ground of the anti-corruption crusade led by President Muhammadu Buhari was now shifted to primary and secondary schools for practical impact.

Posted On Friday, 17 February 2017 13:48 Written by

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM...THE BUSINESS DIRECTORY: The Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday ordered the forfeiture of $153million allegedly belonging to former Minister of Petroleum Resources Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke to the Federal Government.

The Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said the money was laundered for the former minster.

Justice Muslim Hassan held that the money was a product of unlawful activity.

The judge ordered the forfeiture of unclaimed N23.4billion, $5million as well as $40million (the naira equivalent of which is N9.08billion).

EFCC said the laundered money was $153million, some of which was converted to naira.

“I am satisfied that all the conditions in Section 17 (1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act have been met,” the judge held.

The section makes a property that is reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful act forfeitable to the Federal Government.

Justice Hassan had on January 6 ordered the temporary forfeiture of the money stashed in various banks.

While the N23.4billion and $5million were unclaimed, a bank chief, Dauda Lawal, claimed the $40million (which was worth N9.08billion, when it was forfeited to the EFCC).

Lawal had accused EFCC of falsifying the circumstances under which he surrendered the N9.08billion.

He denied ever being in possession of properties suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activity held or laundered on behalf of Mrs Alison-Madueke.

Lawal said following his arrest on May 9, 2016, he cooperated with the EFCC and made a full admission to having received $25million.

 

“Having provided evidence to the EFCC of how the $25million so obtained had been disbursed, I was still made to agree to surrender to the EFCC an additional sum of N9.08billion being the naira equivalent of $40million at the rate of N227 to $1,” he said.

On how he got the money, Lawal said he received a call from a personal friend, Stanley Lawson, around March 2015 to help collect $25million from someone in Lagos, which he subsequently paid into an account provided for him.

 ”I had no idea of the origin of the said funds and only acted in the course of normal banking business,” he said.

But, Justice Hassan held that the evidence before him showed that Lawal surrendered the money to the EFCC voluntarily.

“He was duly cautioned. He signed. He made the statement in the presence of his counsel, who endorsed it. I hold that the statement was made voluntarily.

“There is no evidence that he borrowed the money from friends. How he borrowed the money was not disclosed,” the judge held.

After ordering the final forfeiture of the unclaimed N23.4billion and $5million, he said: “In respect of the second respondent, learned counsel informed the court that the second respondent filed a counter affidavit on why the sum of N9.08 billion should not be forfeited.

“I have carefully examined the affidavit evidence before the court and I find that the second respondent was duly cautioned in English language before his statement was taken and so, I hold that same was taken without any evidence of inducement.

“On the whole I am satisfied that all the conditions stated in Section 17 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other Related offences Act was duly fulfilled by the applicant.

“I accordingly make the following orders: An order for the final forfeiture of the sum of N23,426,300,000 and USD$5million being unclaimed property to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“An order of final forfeiture is made to the Federal Government of Nigeria the sum of N9,080,000,000 recovered from the second respondent being proceed unlawful activity,” the judge held.

Before the judgment, Lawal’s lawyer, Charles Adeogun-Phillips, had informed the court of an application for leave to file further affidavits to his counter-affidavit.

He also said parties were exploring means of reaching amicable settlement out of court.

Adeogun-Phillips said he wanted to supply fresh evidence in a further affidavit as to how his client raised the money he forfeited to the EFCC.

“The issues are material to the disposition of this case, because he did not provide details of where he borrowed the money from,” he said.

EFCC lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo, who claimed he was not aware of any discussions to settle the case out of court, opposed Adeogun-Phillips’ application, saying it was a bid to arrest the judgment.

Justice Hassan refused the application, saying it was an “after-thought” and a “booby trap”.

He held that no convincing reason was adduced as to why the evidence was not supplied earlier.

“This fresh evidence, in my view, is an afterthought and is intended to overreach the prosecution and cause injustice.

“The instant application is unmeritorious and is hereby dismissed,” Justice Hassan held.

 

 
Posted On Friday, 17 February 2017 01:00 Written by

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: ABUJA- SENATE President Bukola Saraki who left Nigeria in the early hours of yesterday to visit President Muhammadu Buhari in London, has described the President as healthy and no cause for alarm.

In a statement he personally signed and made available to Journalists at 11.11 pm yesterday, read, “Myself, Rt Honorable Yakubu Dogara and leader of Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan paid a visit to President Buhari in Abuja House in London.

“We were delighted to see that President Buhari is doing well, was cheerful and in good spirits.

“The president I saw today is healthy, witty and himself“The presiden’ts absence and imminent return shows that there is no vacuum in government and our system of democracy is working with all organs of government fulfilling their mandate. And let me use the time tested cliché, there is no cause for alarm!”

Posted On Thursday, 16 February 2017 00:23 Written by

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) Vice-Chancellor Prof. Adebiyi Daramola and Bursar Ayodeji Oresegun at the Ondo State High Court in Akure for alleged N156.9million fraud. Daramola and Oresegun were invited in October by the anti-graft agency, following a petition by non-teaching staff.

The embattled VC was arraigned on a nine-count charge and the bursar on a two count charges. Daramola was alleged to have obtained N17.3million for accommodation allowances from 2012 till last year whereas he was living in government quarters.

The VC was accused of collecting N15.4million for biennial family vacation overseas for 2013 and 2014.
Daramola and Oresegunpleaded not guilty. The VC’s counsel, Adebayo Adenipekun, asked the court to give his client bail, saying he has been on administrative bail and has not breached any of the conditions. Ibukun Fasanmi, who represents the second accused, aligned with the submission.

EFCC lawyer Ben Ubi objected, saying the defendants failed to place material facts before the court. Justice Ademola Bola granted bail at N10million each.
He ordered them detained at the State Investigation Bureau (SIB) in Akure, pending when they meet their bail conditions.
There was drama at the court’s main entrance as hundreds of workers clashed with students, who were in court to solidarise with the VC.
Security operatives intervened and normalcy was restored.

Posted On Wednesday, 15 February 2017 00:17 Written by

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM...THE BUSINESS DIRECTORY: A Federal High Court in Abuja heard yesterday how a former Chief of Air Staff (COAS), Mohammed Dikko Umar, allegedly splashed N2.38 billion on five choice houses in Abuja, Kano and Kaduna.

The court was also told that Umar, who was COAS between October 2010 and September 2012, directed the payment of N558.2million to himself monthly as upkeep allowances outside his legitimate earnings as an officer of the Nigerian Air Force (NAF).

A former Director of Finance and Accounts at the NAF Headquarters, Abuja, Air Commodore Salisu Abdullahi Yushau (retd.), who disclosed this, said he believed that the funds Umar deployed to acquiring the five houses were from the N558.2m he got monthly.

Yushau, who gave details of how the houses were bought by Umar, using different names, spoke as the first prosecution witness at the trial of Umar, who is facing a seven-count charge of money laundering. Umar, in the charge filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), is accused of diverting United States dollars’ equivalent of N4.8b.

Led in evidence by lead prosecution lawyer Sylvanus Tahir, Yushau, who said he participated in the purchase of the houses upon instructions from Umar, said the former COAS spent about N140m to renovate two of the houses.

Dressed in white native attire like Umar, who sat directly opposite him at the other end of the courtroom, Yushau, who said Umar facilitated his appointment as the Director of Finance and Account, testified for about two and half hours.

As the witness spoke, Umar, who kept a straight face, occasionally stared at him, particularly when he (the witness) tried to describe all that transpired.
Throughout his testimony, Yushau kept referring to the defendant as “my boss, the then Chief of Air Staff”. Tahir insisted that he (Yushau) refer to Umar as the defendant to avoid ambiguity in identification.

The witness said although he had indicated his intention to quit, Umar, who was so impressed with his performance, insisted that he served his (Umar’s) successor, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh.

The witness said: “NAF was receiving about N4b monthly (a little above N4b, about N4.1b). However, the actual figure that we usually paid as salaries monthly was between N2.3 to N2.4b. The balance of about N1.6b was made.

“From this N1.6b, the sum of N558,200,000 was usually set aside for the upkeep of the Chief of Air Staff. The sum of N120m was also earmarked for the office of the Director of Finance and Accounts. But on assumption, I told the Chief of Air Staff that my office did not require that amount of money.
“So, the sum of N120m was put under the Chief of Air Staff’s office, which he was using for visits to NAF formations and other welfare issues. The balance of about N1b was used for training, maintenance of NAF assets, fleet, and other priority projects. These projects included barracks construction, renovation of barracks accommodation for officers and men, and any other projects that the Chief of Air Staff may wish to undertake.

“This sum of N558,200,000 was usually converted to USD and taken to him at home. The money was usually brought to me by the Finance Officer, Headquarters NAF Camp, Group Captain Bukar.

“On some occasions, I asked the Finance Officer to accompany me to his (COAS’) official residence at Niger Barracks, so that he could witness the delivery of the money to the Chief of Air Staff. This practice lasted up till his retirement in Sept. 2012.
“I believe he was using the money for whatever he wanted to do. However, there were some properties which he purchased and I believe the money could be from the money we usually gave to him,” the witness said.

On how the houses were purchased, Yushau said: “Sometime between November 2010 and January 2011, my boss, the Chief of Air Staff, the defendant, called me and asked me to get somebody, who could find a house for him around Maitama, where he intended to settle down after his retirement.
“I got a brother of mine, Barrister Husseini Umar, of Capital Law Firm, and told him what my boss wanted. After a couple of days, he came back to me and told me he had found a house at Vistula Close, off Panama Street Abuja. I went and inspected the place with him, and I informed the defendant that the lawyer had located a very nice house.

“It was a five-bedroom duplex, with a guest’s chalet, a swimming pool and two-bedroom boys’ quarter attached to the house. My boss, the defendant, asked me to arrange for inspection. Barrister Husseini Umar gave us a time in the evening and I went and picked the defendant. We went to the property where we met Barrister Umar in the evening. Because there was no light, I went with a torchlight.

“The defendant saw the house and was happy with it and gave the go-ahead to Barrister Umar to negotiate the purchase of the house. The price of the house was then agreed at N700m. The defendant authorised the purchase and asked me to take the money from the money we normally give to him monthly. And I then directed the Finance Officer at the Hqts, Group Captain Bukar, to give the lawyer the equivalent of N700m which was given to the lawyer in USD.

“The defendant gave me the name on which the deed of assignment should be prepared. That name was Mohammed Maijamaa. I gave the name to Barrister Umar. After they completed the documentation of the purchase, the deed of assignment and power of attorney were brought to me for onward transmission to the defendant,” Yushau said.

On the second house, he said the defendant called him sometime in early 2012 and told him to get him another property in Asokoro, because he (Umar) was tired of living in Maitama.

He said through the efforts of Barrister Umar, a property at Plot 1853 Deng Xiao Ping Street, off Mahima Mohammed Street Asokoro was secured for the defendant, which he bought at N850m.

“This is a property of duplex of about 6 bedrooms, an underground hall, BQ, a gym, swimming pool, and two-bed room guest’s chalet. Just like the previous house at Maitama, he also gave me the same name, Mohammed Maijamaa, for the preparation of the power of attorney and deed of assignment.

“Thereafter, Barrister Umar brought the title deed, the power of attorney and deed of assignment to me for onward transmission to my boss the defendant. After that, he said he wanted a mosque to be constructed, the fence to be redesigned, and the swimming pool to reduce the depth because of children.
“So one Architect Saka was invited to carry out the job. The price was agreed at N66m and my boss, the defendant, gave the go-ahead for the payment to be effected. That was the end of that transaction,” he said.

“On the third house, the witness said the defendant, sometime in 2011, directed him to scout for a house for him to buy in Kano, so that when he visits his home state, as the COAS, he will not need to rent accommodation.

“So, I went to Kano, and through a friend by name, Jubril Shuaibu Ala, we got an agent who helped us scout for a house. That was how House No 14 Audu Bako Way, Kano was purchased. The house was a seven- bedroom duplex with an enclosed swimming pool, about three living rooms, a study, a lawn tennis court, and a squash court and also I think a two-bedroom boy’s quarters.

“The house belonged to one Sudanese by name Mustapha. I inspected the House, and came back to Abuja to brief my boss, the defendant. During our next visit to Kano, we went with him to the house at night. He (Umar) inspected the house and met the owner and had some discussions with him.
“Subsequently, the amount was agreed at N250m. The defendant, after returning to Abuja, gave me the money to pay in USD. I called Jubril Shuaibu Ala, who facilitated the transaction, to come to Abuja and collect the money.

“I gave him the amount as agreed in USD. And he went and effected the payment. I cannot remember the actual name he gave for the preparation of the title deeds, but all the documents were given to me and I handed over to the defendant,” the witness said.
Yushau said he also assisted Umar to buy No 8, Kabala Road, Kaduna from a former Commandant of the Armed Forces Command and Staff College, Jaji, Air Vice Marshal Sunday Ali Leks.

He said the last house was the one the defendant bought at Plot 3B, Street 2, Ministers Hill, Mabushi, Abuja at N500m.
The witness said he got the house from a colleague, Group Captain Bukar, which he later gave the defendant to occupy when he was to vacate his official residence and his Asokoro house was not ready.

“At that time, we could not get any property that we could let for one year. So, I remembered this house at Mabushi. I met my boss, the defendant, and asked him if they could manage that place at Mabushi. I explained to him how I came about the place.

“He told me to tell my wife to pick his wife and show her the place. His wife was happy with the place when she saw it. That was how they moved into the house to enable the new Chief of Air Staff move into the official residence. They were living there up to the time I was retired on 31/12/13.
“Sometime early 2014, he told me that it was time for them to give me my house but I felt there was no way I could move into a house that was occupied by a former Chief of Air Staff. I told his brother, Abdullahi Mahmoud Gaya now a House of Representatives member, that there was no way I was going to stay in the house. So if they move I would have to sell the place.

“He (Gaya) went and discussed with his brother, my boss the defendant. And sequel to their discussion, it was agreed that my boss, the defendant. should pay me N500m for the house. I told Bukar of the development and gave him the reason for taking the decision.
“I subsequently collected from my boss the USD equivalent of N500m from his house, and I used part of the money to repurchase my No 8, Embu Street, Wuse 2 from Bukar, who was at that time in the UK. That was how the transaction ended,” Yushau said.

When the proceedings began, Tahir gave the prosecution’s opening statement, pursuant to the provision of Section 300 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), during which he presented a picture of the prosecution’s case against the defendant and how it intended to lead evidence to prove its case.

When Yushau ended his testimony, defence lawyer Hassan Liman (SAN) sought a short adjournment for him to cross-examine the witness. Tahir did not oppose this. Justice Nmandi Dimgba adjourned the hearing till February 16 for continuation of trial.

Posted On Tuesday, 14 February 2017 00:24 Written by

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM...THE BUSINESS DIRECTORY: India’s Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has recovered 1.3 kilograms of fine quality Colombian cocaine stashed in 90 capsules from the stomach of a Nigerian , who had come to Delhi from Lome, Togo.

According to The Times of India, the accused was taken to hospital where an X-ray confirmed the presence of foreign bodies in his stomach. He was kept in the hospital for two days during which he expelled 90 capsules containing 1.3kg cocaine.

The Nigerian was identified as Monday Tony Okonkwo. He arrived IGI airport in an Ethiopian Airlines plane on February 6.

“When we conducted a thorough search of his body and baggage, he denied having any drugs or banned substance with him. However, the NCB team got suspicious when he said that he had come to India regarding his business of wigs and hair, but was found travelling on a tourist visa,” said Rajender Pal Singh, deputy director general, NCB 

Tony was taken to Safdarjung hospital where an X-ray confirmed the presence of foreign bodies in his stomach. During interrogation, the man revealed that he had ingested the drug capsules at a guesthouse in Lagos.

“The accused said he took around three hours to ingest the capsules and then took a flight to Lome. He then travelled to Addis Ababa from where he boarded a flight to New Delhi. His passport has corroborated the claims,” Singh said.

Monday Tony Okonkwo was supposed to deliver the drugs to another distributor who would have contacted him once his Indian number was active. “We are on the lookout for his handlers based in India and Nigeria,” Singh added.

NCB believes the cartel is being run by a group based in Peru or Bolivia and is the same one that had employed a Brazilian woman earlier to carry the contraband in swallowed packs.

The consignments were first taken to Sao Paolo, Brazil and then distributed throughout west African countries through carriers. The drug was brought to India via Ethiopia or Abu Dhabi.

Posted On Sunday, 12 February 2017 16:24 Written by

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM...THE BUSINESS DIRECTORY: The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) has taken  a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Andrew Yakubu, into custody following the recovery  of   $9,772,800 and £74,000 cash from him.

Yakubu is being detained in an EFCC facility in Kano.

The cash,The Nation gathered authoritatively yesterday,was  originally hidden by the suspect in a fire-proof safe at his brother’s house in the slums of Sabon Tasha area of Kaduna metropolis apparently as a precautionary measure.

It was discovered by EFCC operatives who immediately impounded it. Yakubu was subsequently arrested and taken to Kano for interrogation.

Sources said he admitted the ownership of the money which he described as a gift. He did not name the givers.

But he was driven to Kaduna yesterday by the EFCC for a fresh search.

A highly-placed EFCC source said yesterday that Yakubu was co-operating well with his interrogators.

“ So far, he has cooperated with our investigators by admitting ownership of the funds,” the source told The Nation.

“As I speak with you, we have taken him to Kaduna for another round of search . We are suspecting that there could be more of such slush funds hidden elsewhere. We are not prepared to take things for granted.”

Asked whether the ex-GMD could face trial, the source said: “All I can tell you is that investigation is still on. We are glad that we have recorded a breakthrough.

 

“We have a senator in our office in Kano trying to guarantee his bail. If he is able to meet the bail conditions, we will release him while investigation continues.”

The Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, in a statement yesterday,  gave details of how the agency recovered the $9.7m.

His words:”A special operation conducted by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on 3rd February, 2017 on a building belonging to a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Andrew Yakubu, in Kaduna yielded the recovery of a staggering sum of $9,772,800 and another sum of £74,000 cash.

“The huge cash was hidden in a fire-proof safe.

“The surprise raid of the facility was sequel to an intelligence which the commission received about suspected proceeds of crime believed to be hidden in the slums of Sabon Tasha area of Kaduna.

“On arrival at the facility, the caretaker of the house, one Bitrus Yakubu, a younger brother to Andrew Yakubu, disclosed that both the house and the safe where the money was found belong to his brother, Andrew Yakubu.

“When the safe was opened, it was discovered that it contained the sum of $9,772,800 and another sum of £74,000.

“On February 8, 2017, Andrew Yakubu reported to the commission’s Zonal Office in Kano and made statement wherein he admitted ownership of the recovered money, claiming it was a gift from unnamed persons. He is currently assisting the investigation.”

Posted On Saturday, 11 February 2017 14:54 Written by
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