Monday, 25 September 2017
Items filtered by date: October 2016

Two soldiers, Lance Corporals Musa Maidabra and Edwin George, serving at 122D30 Regiment in Maiduguri, Borno State, have been arrested for transporting the ransom that was paid for the release of the wife of the Central Bank Governor, Margaret Emefiele.

Emefiele and three others were abducted along Benin-Agbor Road about two weeks ago and were released 24 hours later after the payment of undisclosed amount to their abductors.

The two soldiers said they received N6.5m each as their share of the ransom estimated to be around N80m.

Maidabra and George, who were paraded alongside seven others on Monday in Abuja for alleged involvement in the kidnapping, said they were given the money for assisting the gang to transport the ransom to a hideout in Benin, the Edo State capital.

Other suspects included a dismissed soldier, Ernest Uduefe, Mohammed Abubakar, Mohammed Musa, Mohammed Sule, Ibrahim Abdullahi, Aliyu Musa and Mohammed Yusuf.

Maidabra said, “We were not involved in the kidnapping; we only assisted them to transport the money to a location. We carried the money and ran away with it in a vehicle; it was part of my friend’s share that I collected. We didn’t know the money was from a kidnap operation.”

George corroborated his colleague, saying they provided security cover for transporting the ransom to a hideout in Benin.

“I was not involved in the kidnap; the money they gave me was over N6m. I asked about the source of the money, but they didn’t tell me,” he said.

The Force Public Relations Officer, Donald Awunah, said the police recovered N14,725,000, two Honda Accord cars, an Audi car, one AK 47 magazine and two cartridges from the gang.

He stated that a Jeep, valued at N1.5m and N4m cash were recovered from Maidabra, while a Honda Accord, estimated at N1.1m, was recovered from George.

Awunah explained that detectives recovered N7.7m from Musa out of his N10m share, adding that he sustained bullet wounds after a gun duel with the police while trying to escape from the forest where they had kept their victim.

He said, “Mohammed Sule confessed to have received N10m in cash as part of his share of the ransom paid and claimed a soldier and a gang leader escaped with the rest of the loot. Another suspect, Ibrahim Abdullahi, admitted to have received N10m in cash.

“The police will continue to limit the capacity of kidnappers and other criminals to disrupt the quality of life of Nigerians by the deployment of adequate manpower and resources in crime reduction, detection and prosecution of offenders.”

On the payment of ransom, the police noted that it was sometime used as a bait or bargaining chip to save the lives of victims of crime.

“It is absolutely important to mention that the police do not and will not encourage payment of ransom,” Awunah added.

Published in Headliners

Foreign Policy, a leading US international affairs magazine, on Sunday endorsed a presidential candidate for the first time, backing Hillary Clinton and slamming Donald Trump as “the worst major-party candidate for the job in US history.”

As “we deeply value our relationship with all of our readers, regardless of political orientation… FP’s editors are now breaking with tradition to endorse Hillary Clinton for the next president of the United States,” they said in an editorial.

“The litany of reasons Trump poses such a threat is so long that it is, in fact, shocking that he is a major party’s candidate for the presidency.

“The recent furor over his vile behavior with women illustrates the extraordinary nature of his unsuitability, as does his repudiation by so many members of his own party — who have so many reasons to reflexively support their nominee.”

Foreign Police said Trump was unqualified to lead the international community as US president.

The Republican business tycoon “has repeatedly demonstrated his ignorance of the most basic facts of international affairs, let alone the nuances so crucial to the responsibilities of diplomacy inherent in the US president’s daily responsibilities.”

The Foreign Policy editors said that Trump had promoted the leadership of Russian President Vladimir Putin — “a tyrant and menace” –and had also welcomed Russian meddling in the current US election.

They blasted Trump for speaking “so cavalierly” about the use of nuclear weapons. “It has become clear he understands little if anything about America’s nuclear policies — not to mention the moral, legal, and human consequences of such actions.”

“Indeed, we are not the first to say it, but Trump is the worst major-party candidate this republic has ever produced.”

In contrast they called Democrat Clinton a “quality candidate” prepared to lead.

“Were she to be elected as this country’s first woman president, not only would it be historic and send an important signal about both inclusiveness and Americans’ commitment to electing candidates who have distinguished themselves on their merits, but she would enter office having already put down one great threat to the United States of America — the grotesque and deeply disturbing prospect of a Donald Trump presidency.”

Published in Headliners

The Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Command, Mr. Francis Odesanya, is under fire for his role in the aborted arrest of a judge of the Federal High Court, Port Harcourt, in the early hours of Saturday, The PUNCH learnt on Sunday.

The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, was said to have rushed to No. 35, Forces Avenue, the GRA official residence of the judge and prevented operatives of the Department of State Services from arresting the judge.

Wike, who was said to have had a confrontation with the DSS officials, was said to have been joined at the scene by the police commissioner.

A highly-placed source, who spoke to The PUNCH on condition of anonymity, on Sunday, said preliminary report had shown that Odesanya prevented the security agencies from carrying out a legitimate order.

Based on the report, he said the police authorities as well as the Police Service Commission would sanction the police boss.

He, however, did not disclose the kind of punishment to be meted out to him.

The source stated, “The Rivers Commissioner of Police will be dealt with appropriately. It has been established that the DSS officials who were at the judge’s residence had with them duly signed search and arrest warrants.

“By stopping the security agents from doing their work, what he did was to obstruct justice. He stopped those people from carrying out a legitimate order.

“He will be sanctioned accordingly.”

The Public Relations Officer, Rivers State Command, Mr. Nnamdi Omoni, had told journalists that policemen were only at the judge’s residence to ensure there was no breakdown of law and order.

It was also learnt on Sunday that no fewer than 15 judges across the country were under investigation by the DSS.

It was gathered that the DSS was investigating the judges based on various petitions, which accused them of corruption.

A top Federal Government official, who confided in our correspondent on Sunday, said the 15 judges included seven that were arrested on Friday and Saturday.

The DSS had, in what it called a sting operation, arrested Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro, both of the Supreme Court;  the suspended Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, Justice Mohammed Tsamiya; Justice Kabiru Auta of the Kano State High Court and Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Other arrested were a former Chief Judge of Enugu State, Justice I. A. Umezulike, and Muazu Pindiga of the Federal High Court, Gombe Division.

It was gathered that besides the judges, the DSS had invited three court registry staff across the country as part of the investigations into the alleged corruption in the judiciary.

“Currently, we are investigation 15 judges, including the seven that were arrested. Three court registry staff have been invited and quizzed. We have facts and figures,” the source stated.

The government official faulted a claim that the DSS acted unilaterally without carrying along the National Judicial Council.

He stated that the Service sent letters to the NJC and the Ministry of Justice concerning the investigations of the judges.

According to him, while the ministry responded, the NJC did not respond, adding that the DSS did not dramatise the arrest of the judges as alleged.

The government official also explained that the fact that the judges were under the authority of the NJC did not exclude them from investigation and prosecution.

He stated, “They have no immunity. Even those (governors), who have immunity, can be investigated. There are many professional groups, including the Nigeria Union of Journalists; if you commit a crime, besides facing disciplinary actions from your union, you should be investigated and prosecuted according to the law of the country.”

The source further explained the constitutional mandate of the DSS, adding that the service had not intervened in what did not concern it by investigating the judges.

Giving an insight into the allegation against some of the judges, he alleged that some of them received bribes to compromise judgments.

He also cited the case of a judge who had a N1.5bn estate, alleging that granting of bails to defendants had been turned into an avenue for making money by some judicial officers.

It was learnt that the government was not happy with way the police handled the investigation into the alleged Senate forgery involving the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu.

Published in Headliners

Former governor of Delta State, James Onanefe Ibori, is due to  become a free man in December, after spending half of his jail term in United Kingdom prisons, according to a report from London.

Ibori was jailed for money laundering offences by Southwark Crown court in 2012.

But it is unclear yet whether he will return to Nigeria immediately as legal proceedings concerning the confiscation of his assets worth tens of millions of dollars are yet to be resolved.

The delay in resolving the issue stems from allegations of police corruption in the Ibori matter and the likelihood of the former governor taking his case to the Court of Appeal.

His lawyer told the court on Friday that the former governor   would appeal against his conviction on the grounds that British police and lawyers involved in his case were themselves corrupt.

Ibori, who governed Delta State from 1999 to 2007, is serving a 13-year sentence after pleading guilty in 2012 to 10 counts of fraud and money-laundering.

While in office, Ibori acquired luxury properties in Britain, the United States, South Africa and Nigeria. He is the most senior Nigerian politician to have been held to account for the corruption that has blighted Africa’s most populous nation.

His jailing in Britain, where he had laundered millions of pounds and sent his children to an expensive private school, was hailed as a high point in the international fight against graft and an important signal to other corrupt politicians.

But his lawyer Ivan Krolick told Southwark Crown Court on Friday that Ibori was “95 percent certain” to challenge his conviction in the Court of Appeal based on documents that have only recently been disclosed to the defence by the prosecution.

At the same hearing, Stephen Kamlish, a lawyer for Ibori associate and convicted money launderer Bhadresh Gohil, said the documents showed there had been widespread police corruption followed by a cover-up that was still going on now.

The main allegation is that a police officer involved in the Ibori probe took payments for information in 2007 from a firm of private detectives working on Ibori’s behalf. At the time, Ibori had not been arrested and was still in Nigeria, but knew that British police were investigating his finances.

Kamlish said prosecution lawyers had known there was evidence of police corruption but had failed to disclose it to defence lawyers. Krolick told Reuters on the sidelines of Friday’s court hearing that Ibori did not know about the payments at the time.

The police have said that the allegation was thoroughly investigated and that no one was arrested or charged, and no misconduct identified. The officer against whom the allegations have been made is still in active service.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), after a lengthy internal investigation, said in September it was confident that the convictions of Ibori and Gohil remained valid.

The CPS has said it found “material to support the assertion that a police officer received payment in return for information.” It did not use the word “evidence”, suggesting it did not consider the material in question amounted to proof.

But the CPS conceded in September that the material should have been disclosed to the defence, and handed over thousands of documents to defence lawyers. Those were the documents that Kamlish and Krolick were referring to in court on Friday.

Gohil has already filed an appeal against his conviction. Krolick said Ibori was likely to do so once his legal team had finished going through all the newly disclosed documents.

As is normal under British procedures, Ibori is due to be released in December after serving half his sentence, taking into account pre-trial detention.

Gohil, a British former lawyer, has already been released after serving half of a 10-year term for his role in laundering Ibori’s millions.

Published in Business and Economy
Sunday, 09 October 2016 18:17

DSS recovers N93.5m,$530,087 from 3 judges

Agency claims judge hid $2m at home

N1.5b house traced to Supreme Court Justice

Arrested judges to be arraigned tomorrow

Angry CJN protests to Osinbajo, summons NJC meeting

NBA declares state of emergency, demands release of judges

Wike: DSS agents manhandled me, threatened to shoot

 

SUMMARY OF MONEY RECOVERED FROM SOME JUSTICES

 

ADENIYI F.A. ADEMOLA

NAIRA——–N54million

DOLLARS——$171, 779.00

POUNDS—-£80.00

RUPEES—- 1,010.00

EURO—-€4,400.00

 

NWALI SYLVESTER NGWUTA

NAIRA——–N35, 208,000

DOLLARS——$319,475

POUNDS—-£25,890

EURO—-€280

UAE—-380

GAMBIA DALAIS—-420

ARGENTINE NOTES—4

GHANA CEDIS—-20

 

JOHN INYANG OKORO

NAIRA——–N4, 350,000

DOLLARS——$38, 833

POUNDS—-£25,890

EURO—-€1,000.00

 

SUMMARY OF RECOVERED MONEY

DOLLARS—$530,087

POUNDS—-£25,970

EURO—€5,680

NAIRA—N93, 558, 000.00

RUPEES—-1,010

UAE—380

GAMBIA DALLALIS—430

ARGENTINE NOTES—-4

GHANA CEDIS—-20

In an apparent bid to douse the outrage that greeted its midnight arrest of two Supreme Court Justices and three other judges, the Department of State Security (DSS) yesterday said the sting operations yielded a mind-boggling N93, 558,000.00, $530,087, £25,970, €5,680, from three of those in its custody.

It gave no names, but The Nation was able to get their identities and a breakdown of what was found on them.

Those under arrest  are Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and Inyang Okoro both of the Supreme Court , the suspended Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, Ilorin Division, Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya , Justice Kabiru Auta of Kano State High Court and Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Justice Tsamiya had earlier been recommended by the National Judicial Commission (NJC) for retirement for meeting a litigant thrice and demanding N200million bribe.

The commission also recommended the sack of Justice Auta for receiving N125million from a litigant through an account approved by him and recommended that he be handed over to the police for prosecution.

Briefing reporters at the DSS headquarters in Abuja yesterday, spokesman for the organisation, Mr. Abdullahi Garba said attempt to recover another  $2million cash from an unnamed    judge was thwarted by the governor of the state.

Garba alleged that the governor mobilized thugs and operatives of an unspecified ‘sister agency’ against DSS operatives and craftily relocated the $2 million.

He said: “The Department of State Services (DSS) in the past few days, has embarked on series of special sting operations involving some Judges of the Supreme, Appeal and High Courts.

“These operations were based on allegations of corruption and other acts of professional misconduct by a few of the suspected Judges.

“The service action is in line with its core mandate, as we have been monitoring the expensive and luxurious lifestyle of some of the Judges as well as complaints from the concerned public over judgment obtained fraudulently and on the basis amounts of money paid.

“The judges involved were invited, upon which due diligence was exhibited and their premises searched. The searches have uncovered huge raw cash of various denominations, local and foreign currencies, with real estate worth several millions of Naira and documents affirming unholy acts by these Judges.

“Meanwhile, some of them have made useful statements while a few have declined even with the glaring evidences that were found against them in terms of material cash, documents and property recovered pointing to their compromise.

“In one of the States where the Service operations were conducted, credible intelligence revealed that the Judge had Two Million United States Dollars ($2,000,000 USD) stashed in his house.

“When he was approached for due search to be conducted  he, in concert with the State Governor, mobilized thugs against the Service team.

“The team restrained itself in the face of unbridled provocative activities by those brought in by the Governor; unfortunately, the Judge and Governor also engaged the tacit support of a sister security agency.

“The Service surveillance team noticed that upon frustrating the operation, the Judge with the active support of the Governor craftily moved the money to an unknown location which the Service is currently making effort to unravel.

“Meanwhile, large amount including foreign/local currencies have been recovered and summaries of these include:

  1. NAIRA –      N93, 558,000.00
  2. DOLLARS –      $530,087
  3. POUNDS –      £25,970
  4. EURO –      €5,680

“Other foreign currencies were also recovered; the above were recovered from just three of the judges.

“These in addition to other banking documents, including real estate documents have been recovered.”

According to the DSS, the new initiative  to cleanse the  judiciary of corrupt elements will  be sustained while those found culpable  will  be prosecuted.

The DSS spokesman dismissed  speculations that  the operation was aimed at stopping  Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen of the Supreme Court  from succeeding  Chief Justice Mahmud Mohammed who is due to retire next month.

He said the operation did not affect Onnoghen at all and he is not under any investigation whatsoever.

“The Service would want to clearly state that it has never invited Justice Walter Nkanu Onnoghen for investigation; neither is he being investigated by this Service,” Garba said.

“In addition, the Service would like to put it on record, that it has tremendous respect for the Judiciary and would not do anything to undermine it or its activities.

“The Service will also join hands with this noble institution in its fight to rid it of few corrupt Judges whose actions is undermining not only the Judiciary but the common bond of our national life.

“This current operation will be sustained and followed till sanity and sanctity is restored to the esteemed third arm of government and public confidence is regained.

“Members of the public are also encouraged to avail the Service of any information which could assist in this drive to rid our nation of corrupt practices and tendencies,” Garba said.

The DSS spokesman declined to take questions from reporters after reading his prepared text.

He said the operation is a continuing exercise and that reporters would be invited later for further briefing.

However, further investigation by The Nation showed that the service had actually traced N1.5billion to one of the arrested Supreme Court justices.

The DSS had also submitted a confessional tape and a security brief on Justice Pindiga’s alleged involvement in a N500m deal to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed.

The NJC was said to have cleared him of any wrongdoing.

A highly placed source said the sting operation was informed by alleged low response of the Judiciary to reported cases against some of the judges.

The source said: “We have all the records intact. In the residence of one of the Supreme Court justices, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, about N35, 208,000 raw cash $319,475 and other hard currencies were found during the operation.

“The second, Justice Inyang Okoro had N4,350,000 cash and about $38,833.

“We have been able to trace about N1.5billion mansion to one of the arrested judges of the apex court.

“All the affected judges will be arraigned in court on Monday (tomorrow) with evidence against them.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “In the case of Justice Pindiga, we have been conducting investigation on him in respect of alleged N500million inducement and two houses in Abuja.

“When confronted, he admitted and the confessional tape was forwarded to the CJN for consideration by the NJC.

“But interestingly, the NJC gave him a clean bill of health. No government will sit idly and allow such a judge to remain on the bench.

“We adopted due diligence in investigating these judges. Nigerians will hear more when their trial begins.”

Found at the residence of Justice Ademola, according to sources were: N54million,$171, 779.00,£80.00, 1,010.00 Indian Rupees and €4,400.00.

At the residence of  Justice Ngwuta the following currencies were allegedly found: N35,208,000,$319,475,£25,890,€280,UAE 380,GAMBIA DALASI 420,ARGENTINE PESO 4, and GHANA CEDIS 20,while the followings were allegedly  found in Justice  Okoro’s:N4, 350,000,$38, 833,£25,890 and €1,000.00.

Justice Ngwuta was later released late last night.

Published in Headliners

The Department of State Service (DSS), on Saturday revealed that it found stacks of pounds and dollars and Naira suspected to be proceeds of fraud during its search of the homes of justices of the Supreme Court and some judges across the country.

The DSS said it had deployed intelligence to track down missing two million dollars believed to be a proceed of fraud found in a judge’s house.

This is contained in a statement signed by an official of the service, Mr Abdullahi Garba, and made available to newsmen in Abuja.

“In one of the States where the Service’s operations were conducted, credible intelligence revealed that the judge had two million dollars stashed in his house.

“When he was approached for due search to be conducted, he, in concert with the State Governor, mobilised thugs against the service team.

“The team restrained itself in the face of unbridled provocative activities by those brought in by the governor.

“Unfortunately, the judge and governor also engaged the tacit support of a sister security agency’’, Garba said.

He said: “the service surveillance team noticed that upon frustrating the operation, the judge with the active support of the governor craftily moved the money to an unknown location which the service is currently making effort to unravel.’’

Garba, however, said the DSS had in the past days embarked on series of special sting operations involving some judges of the Supreme, Appeal and High Courts.

He said the operations were based on allegations of corruption and other acts of professional misconduct by the suspected judges.

According to him, the service’s action is in line with its core mandate.

“We have been monitoring the expensive and luxurious lifestyle of some of the judges as well as complaints from the concerned public over judgment obtained fraudulently and on the basis of amounts of money paid.

“The judges involved were invited, upon which due diligence was exhibited and their premises searched.

“The searches have uncovered huge raw cash of various denominations, local and foreign currencies, with real estate worth several millions of naira and documents affirming unholy acts by these judges’’, he said.

Garba added that some of the judges had made useful statements while a few declined even with the glaring evidences that were found against them.

“The summaries of the recovered money include N93, 558 million $530,087, £25,970 and €5,680.

“Other foreign currencies were also recovered from just three of the judges.

“This seizure is in addition to other banking documents, including real estate documents’’, the statement said.

According to the statement, preparations are ongoing to arraign the judges in a competent court of jurisdiction in line with the laws of the country.

“The service has never invited Justice Walter Onnoghen of the Supreme Court for investigation, neither is he being investigated.

“The service has tremendous respect for the judiciary and would not do anything to undermine it or its activities.

“The service will also join hands with this noble institution in its fight to rid it of few corrupt judges whose actions are undermining not only the judiciary but the common bond of our national life’’, Garba said.

The statement, however, said the current operation would be sustained till sanity and sanctity were restored to the esteemed third arm of government and public confidence regained.

Garba also urged members of the public to avail the service of any information which could assist in this drive to rid the nation of corrupt practices and tendencies.

Published in Headliners

The Department of State Service, DSS Saturday said  it recovered over N270 Million from the residences of three judges following its simultaneous raids on Friday night‎ of the residences of over seven justices of the Supreme, Federal and high courts across the country. A break down of the monies recovered from the residences of the unnamed three justices include N93,558,000; $530,087; £25,970 and €5,680.

Addressing a press conference at the DSS headquarters yesterday to explained why it carried out the raids, an official of the service, Mallam Garba Abdullahi said it was aimed at restoring “sanity and sanctity to the esteemed third arm of government”.

According to Mallam Garba, a planned raid on the residence of a judge in Rivers where the service, he said, had intelligence that he had $2million in cash at home was frustrated by Governor Nyesom Wike who brought in thugs to prevent the service from carrying out its mission in connivance with an unnamed sister security agency. He explained that the operations were based on allegations of corruptions and other ‎acts of professional misconduct by the suspected justices.

The DSS official further defended the action of the service saying it was in line with us core mandate, adding that the affected justice’s “expensive and ‎luxurious” lifestyle was being monitored by the service for some time

 

Published in Headliners
Saturday, 08 October 2016 19:12

Why we raided judges’ residences – DSS

The Department of State Services on Saturday said it raided the residences of some Supreme, Appeal and High courts judges in Abuja and in some states due to allegations of corruption against the judges.

Abdullahi Garba, an official of the Service who spoke to journalists in Abuja said huge sums of money were recovered in the raids carried out in Gombe, Port Harcourt, Kano, Sokoto and Enugu.

“These operations were based on allegations of corruptions and other acts of professional misconduct by a few of the suspected Judges,” said Garba.

He said the DSS had not violated any law, saying that the raids were in “line with its core mandate.”

“We have been monitoring the expensive and luxurious lifestyle of some of the Judges as well as complaints from the concerned public over judgment obtained fraudulently and on the basis amounts of money paid.

“The judges involved were invited, upon which due diligence was exhibited and their premises searched. The searches have uncovered huge raw cash of various denominations, local and foreign currencies, with real estate worth several millions of Naira and documents affirming unholy acts by these Judges. ”

Garba said some of the judges have them have made useful statements “while a few have declined even with the glaring evidences that were found against them in terms of material cash, documents and property recovered pointing to their compromise.”

He insisted that the operation will be sustained and “followed till sanity and sanctity is restored to the esteemed third arm of government and public confidence is regained.”

Published in Headliners

Two Justices of the Supreme Court – Justices Sylvester Ngwuta and John Okoro – were arrested at their official residences in Abuja by men of the Department of State Service early hours of Saturday.

The two men were said to be currently in the DSS custody in Abuja.

Media aide to the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mr. Ahuraka Isah, confirmed to our correspondent the arrest of Justices Nwgwuta and Okoro.

He however said the reasons for the arrest were still not known to him.

He clarified that Justice Walter Onnoghen, the next in rank to the incumbent CJN, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, was not among the Justices of the apex court arrested as earlier reported.

Isah said, “What I can tell you for now is that Justices Ngwuta and Okoro were arrested early hours of today.

“We do not know the reasons for the arrest yet. Justice Onnoghen was not among those arrested.”

Sources confirmed that Justice Adeniyi Ademola of the Federal High Court in Abuja was also arrested by the operatives of the DSS after breaking into his official residence at about 1am on Saturday.

The official residence of another judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba, who is a neighbour to Justice Ademola on S. O Ogbemudia Crescent, Zone E of Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja, was also searched.

But Dimgba was not arrested.

Credible sources confirmed to our correspondent that the security agencies presented search warrants for the raid on the homes of Justices Ngwuta, Okoro and Ademola.

The operative went away with some documents found in the arrested judicial officers’ homes.

It was learnt that the DSS had no warrant for the search conducted on Justice Dimgba’s house.

Published in Headliners

The National Chairman of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Odigie-Oyegun has broken his silence as he responded to the sundry allegations of misdeeds leveled against him by a national leader of the party, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu.

Odigie-Oyegun in a statement maintained that he did not commit any wrongdoing over the decision by the top echelons of the party to settle for Chief Rotimi Akeredolu as the party’s flagbearer in the forthcoming Ondo State governorship poll.

He described the allegation of bribery and corruption leveled against him as reckless and baseless, adding it was unfortunate that such insult was directed to his person deliberately to dent his hard-earned reputation built over the years.

He said: “Nobody has the kind of money that can buy my conscience or make me do injury to an innocent man. In all the primaries conducted under my watch as national chairman, I have strived to ensure a free, fair, transparent and credible process. The 2016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election was not an exception. There must be internal democracy in the party and our constitution must be respected by all.”

He further faulted allegation that he overruled the NWC’s vote of “six against five” in favour of canceling the primary election results and conducting another primary

Akeredolu added: “According to the minutes of the 18th emergency meeting of the APC NWC held from Monday, September 19, to Thursday, September 22, 2016 at the party’s National Secretariat in Abuja, there was absolutely no meeting which I chaired that voted in the manner alleged. Clearly, the report on which the media office of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu acted was a figment of someone’s wild imagination.

“On Thursday, September 22, 2016 being the final day for submission of candidate by political parties, the NWC discussed the possibility of voting having finished deliberation on the2 016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election Appeal Committee Report because members in support of cancelling the primary results were still strident in their position.

“A member of the NWC, however ,drew the attention of the meeting to its previous decision in which the report of the Primary Election Committee was adopted while the Appeal Committee was set aside. The implication of this decision he reasoned was that a decision to submit the name of the winner of the primary election was already taken unless the NWC will now wish to reconsider its earlier decision. I agreed with this and ruled that the previous decision of the NWC be upheld.”

On allegation that the names of “over 150 valid delegates were excised to make room for an equal number of impostors, he said: “The Ondo State approved delegates list was compiled in strict compliance with the party’s constitution. Only qualified delegates were included in the list.

“Moreso, none of the aspirants or the Appeal Committee has submitted to NWC a list of delegates who were not qualified to be included in the delegates list but were listed as delegates or presumed qualified delegates who were not included in the delegates list used for the primary.”


On the claim that he used a “prayer interlude” to “secretly excuse” himself from the NWC meeting to submit the name of Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, SAN, to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) as the candidate of the party, he said: “The allegation is high fiction and an insult to the intelligence and sensibility of the respected NWC members present at the meeting. We do not and have never engaged in prayer interludes/sessions outside the usual opening and closing prayers. The prayer that is being referred to must be the closing prayer for the meeting.”

He went on to shed light on the position of the national working committee position on the issue thus: “The Party’s NWC decision to reject the 2016 Ondo State APC Governorship Primary Election Appeal Committee Report was taken on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 in executive session after careful and exhaustive deliberations. The minutes and rejection were confirmed by the NWC on Thursday, September 22, 2016.

“The NWC in its four-point resolution rejected the Appeal Committee’s recommendation on the grounds that the report was fundamentally and fatally flawed. The NWC observed that the Appeal Committee contradicted itself when it admitted in its report, “In making the above recommendations one is not unmindful of the fact that there may have been substantial compliance in the conduct of the exercise.” but still proceeded to recommend the nullification of the primary election.

 

Published in Business and Economy
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