Monday, 25 September 2017
Items filtered by date: December 2016
Thursday, 08 December 2016 01:18

BUY656: Ghana election: Vote counting underway

Counting was underway after presidential and parliamentary polls in Ghana Wednesday, with incumbent John Mahama taking on rival Nana Akufo-Addo for the top job with no clear favourite in a high-stakes race. ADVERTISING inRead invented by Teads The majority of voting stations closed at 5:00 pm, (1700 GMT) with a policeman standing at the end of queues across the country to mark the last voter. On a busy sidewalk in Jamestown, a historic neighbourhood in the country’s capital of Accra, a crowd of some thirty people were counting the thumbprint votes in unison with election officials.

Results are expected to trickle in over the next 24 hours, with both parliamentary and presidential winners expected to be announced Thursday evening at the earliest. “So far this phase of the process is evolving peacefully,” Christopher Fomunyoh, regional director for the US-based National Democratic Institute, an accredited observer, told AFP.

The elections are seen as a litmus test of stability for one of Africa’s most secure democracies. Once praised by US President Barack Obama for its peaceful transfers of power, Ghana has come under fire amid reports of voter intimidation and questions over the independence of its election agency. Charismatic Mahama hopes to win a second four-year term but veteran opposition leader Akufo-Addo has chipped away at the popularity of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) party, focusing on Ghana’s sluggish growth and high-profile corruption scandals.

Tension built up in the run-up to the vote, with a supporter of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) beaten to death and six others critically wounded in clashes this week in the north. On election day, NPP candidate Cecilia Gyan Amoah told AFP she had been beaten up with five others by vigilantes known locally as “macho men” reportedly hired by political parties. The NPP’s Asutifu South candidate said she and her team had been assaulted by men holding guns and cutlasses, leaving one of her team in a critical condition. “Such things shouldn’t happen in a country like Ghana. They have put fear into most of the people,” she said. Casting his vote, Akufo-Addo said it was “very important” for the election to go off smoothly and peacefully “so that Ghana continues to maintain this deserved image of being a democracy that takes its democracy seriously”.

– ‘Everything is messy’ – 

An exporter of gold, cocoa and oil, Ghana was once hailed as a regional growth model but has now taken on too much debt, and in 2015 had to go to the International Monetary Fund for a bailout. There were seven candidates battling for the top job — including former first lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings — and if the smaller parties perform well and deny either frontrunner a majority, a run-off vote will be held later this month. In the final days of the campaign, Mahama, who is 58, flexed his significant resources to reach as many battleground regions as possible where he inaugurated blockbuster infrastructure projects, including railways and airports. “Mahama has done well for us,” said Abudula Alhassan, a 40-year-old driver in the northern town of Bole, a government stronghold. In contrast, Akufo-Addo blasted Ghana’s poor economic growth which stood at 3.3 percent in 2016 — the slowest rate in two decades — and outlined how to get the economy back on track. The 72-year-old is making his third and likely final bid for the highest office.

– Tight race – 

He also lambasted Mahama’s government over a series of corruption scandals in which scores of judges have been implicated. During Mahama’s tenure, the Bank of Ghana controversially bought half a million dollars worth of gold Swiss watches for some of its staff. Akufo-Addo has also alleged that the ruling party is fomenting violence, a claim Mahama denies. Mahama insisted, after he voted in Bole, that Ghana would remain a model of freedom. “This election is going to consolidate that democracy further,” he told AFP.

Elections in Ghana are normally close fought affairs, with Mahama narrowly winning in 2012 with 50.7 percent. But polls in Africa this year have been a mixed bag of surprising triumphs and sobering failures for democracy. In Gambia, a dictator of 22 years conceded defeat, while in oil-rich Gabon the Bongo family continued its 50-year reign after a disputed election.

SPONSORED BY BUY656.COM

Published in Parliament

SPONSORED BY 234NAIRA.COM: The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday grilled the children of Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia at the Lagos office of the commission for several hours.

Impeccable sources within the EFCC told The PUNCH that the judge’s children were grilled as part of the investigations into the allegations that their mother received a total of $793,800 in several tranches from different sources unlawfully between 2012 and 2015.

Ofili-Ajumogobia was alleged to have collected bribes through a company account in Diamond Bank, Nigel & Colive Ltd, which she owns jointly with her children.

It was through the said account that a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Obla, allegedly paid a N5m bribe to the judge.

It was learnt that the EFCC had invited the judge’s children since last week but they refused to honour the invitation.

Operatives were said to have stormedOfili- Ajumogobia’s home located on 18 Lai Ajayi-Bembe Street, Parkview, Ikoyi with a search warrant on Wednesday.

However, on getting to the home, the children were said not to be in the house but the judge’s brother-in-law, Mr. Odein Ajumogobia (SAN), who is a former Minister of State for Petroleum Resources and a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, went to speak with the detectives.

He was said to have promised to ensure that the children were brought to the EFCC office in the afternoon.

A detective said, “About a week ago, we gave an invitation letter to Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia and asked her to give it to her two children. However, they never honoured the invitation. So, today (Wednesday), we went to the house with a search warrant but they refused to open the door. A former Minister, Odein Ajumogobia, who happens to be the judge’s brother-in-law, promised us that he would bring the children around 3pm, so we left.

“We invited her children because their names featured in our investigation. So, we invited them to hear their own side of the story. The minister honoured his promise because the children were brought to our officer around 3pm.”

It was learnt that the children were still being grilled as of press time.

The EFCC had on November 28, arraigned Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia and Mr. Godwin Obla on 30 charges bordering on bribery, corruption and money laundering.

The EFCC, in the charges, alleged that Obla, while appearing in a suit numbered FHC/L/C/482c/2010 before Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia, offered a gratification of N5m to the judge to allegedly induce the judge to refrain from acting in the exercise of her official duties as a public officer.

Obla, the EFCC claimed, paid the money from the account of his company, Obla & Company Limited, with United Bank for Africa, to Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia through the bank account of Nigel & Colive Ltd in Diamond Bank Plc.

The EFCC claimed that the judge and the SAN acted contrary to sections 64 (1) and 97 (1) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, No. 11, 2011.

But they both pleaded not guilty to the offence.

The judge was accused of receiving a total of $793,800 in several tranches from different sources between 2012 and 2015 “so as to have a significant increase in your assets that you cannot reasonably explain the increase in relation to your lawful income.”

The EFCC told Justice Oshodi that Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia violated Section 82(a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, No. 11, 2011.

The judge was further accused of forging a deed of assignment between County City Bricks Development Co. Ltd and Nigel & Colive Ltd dated July 5, 2010, which the EFCC claimed was purportedly prepared and signed by Charles Musa & Co.

The offence was said to be contrary to Section 467 of the Criminal Code, Cap C17, Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003.

Published in Business and Economy

SPONSORED BY X365TV.COM: Wizkid and Faridah Demola Seriki (aka Kah-Lo), a rising international artiste and daughter of former Minister of Defence and Chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, Chief Demola Seriki have been nominated for the prestigious Grammy Awards.

Kah-Lo, an alumna of Hofstra Journalism in the United States of America, was nominated for Best Dance Recording “Rinse & Repeat” – Riton Featuring Kah-Lo.

Billboard.com had on Tuesday released the 2017 Grammy nominations for the Awards Ceremony which would hold on February 12, 2017 and would be aired live on CBS.

Wizkid has also grabbed a nomination at the 59th Grammys courtesy of Drake‘s 2016 album, Views which was nominated for Best Album.

The award is given to the main artist, the featured artiste(s), the producer, the engineer and/or mixer and the mastering engineer. Wizkid has credit as both producer and featured artist on Views.

The singer also co-produced and featured in the song “One Dance” in the album.

Published in Entertainment
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 00:48

BUY656: Buhari to present 2017 budget Dec. 14

SPONSORED BY BUY656.COM: President Muhammadu Buhari has notified the National Assembly of his intention to present the 2017 Appropriation Bill to the legislature on December 14, 2016.

Buhari’s letter to the Assembly was read by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, during the plenary at the Senate on Tuesday.

The President, in the letter titled, ‘2017 budget proposal and plans to lead Nigeria out of recession,’ said he would also address a joint session of both chambers of the National Assembly on the efforts being made by his administration to bring the country out of recession. 

The letter read, “I crave the kind indulgence of the National Assembly to grant me the slot of 10:00hours on Wednesday, the 14th of December, 2016, to formally address a joint session of the National Assembly on the 2017 budget proposal and our plans to get the country out of recession.

“Please extend, Mr. Senate President, the assurances of my highest regards to the distinguished senators, as I look forward to addressing the joint session.”

It is however uncertain if the 2017 budget will be independent of the 2017-2019 Medium Term Expenditure Framework and Fiscal Strategy Paper, which has not been approved by the National Assembly.

President Buhari had sent the MTEF/FSP, which will form the basis for the national annual budget for the three years, to the National Assembly for legislative approval. It narrowly escaped being rejected the second time by the Senate on November 23.

The upper chamber of the National Assembly condemned the projections of the proposal in the document as unrealistic, even though it said the Presidency had set December 1 for the presentation of the 2017 Appropriation Bill to the legislature.

The senators, who took turns to criticise the new version of the MTEF/FSP as well as the officials who prepared the document during the day’s plenary, submitted that it should be sent back to the executive to include the “correct” figures showing the true state of the economy.

The MTEF/FSP, had earlier been rejected by the Senate over the failure by the executive to include some critical details in the document.

The Majority Leader, Senator Ali Ndume, had described the first version of the MTEF and FSP as “empty.”

Published in Business and Economy

SPONSORED BY CHIQUEMAGAZINE.COM: A Nigerian drug convict in Cambodia, Precious Chineme Nwoko has had his hope for reprieve dashed.

Nwoko, also known as Precious Max and linked with several Australian women arrested for being his mules, was sentenced to 27 years imprisonment in 2014.

His hope for reprieve was dashed by a Cambodian appeals court on Tuesday.

The court upheld his prison term, ruling that it was appropriate and in accordance with Cambodia law.

The court also upheld the prison terms slammed on a Frenchwoman, and Australian.

The trio were all convicted for trying to smuggle heroin to Australia.

Judge Pol Sam Ouen said the sentences given by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court in May 2014 to then-19-year-old Frenchwoman Charlene Savarino, 41-year-old Ann Yoshe Taylor of Australia and 23-year-old Precious Nwoko of Nigeria were correct.

The lower court had sentenced Savarino to 25 years in prison, Taylor to 23 years and Nwoko to 27 years.

Savarino and Taylor were arrested in September 2013 at Phnom Penh International Airport after police found 2.2 kilograms (4.8 pounds) of heroin in Taylor’s luggage as they prepared to fly together to Australia.

Another face of Nwoko

Another face of Nwoko

French girl, Charlene_Savarino, one of Nwoko's mules also has her appeal rejected

French girl, Charlene_Savarino, one of Nwoko’s mules also has her appeal rejected

Nwoko posing as a rich South African

Nwoko posing as a rich South African

Nwoko, Savarino’s boyfriend, was believed to have masterminded the smuggling and asked Savarino to make the arrangements.

Cambodia is not a major producer of illegal drugs but has increasingly become a smuggling transit route.

Khieu Vann, the lawyer for Taylor, told reporters that the appeals court’s decision was an injustice and that he would consult with his client to see if she wished to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Asked today by journalists why he used dating scams to turn women into drug mules, Nwoko became enraged, according to a report by Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald

“Are you stupid? Get out of here. You think you can come here and ask questions while I am jail,” he shouted at Luke McMahon, a Melbourne writer who has revealed Taylor’s plight in an exclusive story for Fairfax Media.

Nwoko, who is known as Precious Max, had posed as a successful South African businessman in Phnom Penh when he befriended Taylor on the internet. She became romantically involved with him after he had paid for her airfare to Cambodia.

On September 18, 2013, Nwoko asked Taylor, who was due to fly back to Australia, to take a backpack full of samples for an arts and crafts business in which he claimed to have an involvement.

She hadn’t made it to the check-in counter when police swooped and found about two kilograms of heroin in the backpack.

Nwoko was arrested soon after.

Australian police are investigating a growing number of internet scams targeting Australians in south-east Asian countries, including Cambodia, where Nwoko is believed to be still operating scams, from his jail cell, targeting Australian women.

*Source: Sydney Morning Herald.

Published in Headliners

SPONSORED BY CHIQUEMAGAZINE.COM: The Federal Government has banned the importation of vehicles into the country through land borders.

In a statement on Monday in Abuja, Mr Wale Adeniyi, the Nigeria Customs Service Public Relations Officer, stated that “the prohibition order covers all new and used vehicles”.

Adeniyi also said the ban was sequel to a presidential directive restricting all vehicle imports to Nigeria’s Sea ports only, adding that the order takes effect from Jan. 1, 2017.

“The restriction on importation of vehicles follows that of rice; import of rice through land borders has been banned since April 2016.

“Importers of vehicles through the land borders are requested to utilise the grace period until Dec. 31, 2016 to clear their vehicle imports landed in neighbouring Ports,” Adeniyi said.

Published in Business and Economy

SPONSORED BY X365RADIO.COM: A star witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Adamu Usman Yusuf, Monday told a Federal High Court in Lagos southwest Nigeria how about N4.9 billion was converted into United States dollars by a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Patrick Akpobolokemi and other accused charged with money laundering.

Akpobolokemi is standing trial alongside a former Commander of the Military Joint Task Force, Operation Pulo Shield in the Niger Delta, Major General Emmanuel Atewe, Kime Engozu and Josephine Otuaga over N13 billion fraud.

Adamu Usman while been led in evidence by EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that during investigation, it was discovered that the money was handed over to the 3rd and 4th accused (Engozu and Otuaga).

Adamu told the trial judge, Saliu Saidu that “at the end of our investigation, we discovered that about N4.9 billion was converted into United States dollars and the money was handed to the 3rd and 4th accused persons”.

“We also recovered evidence, where the defendants acknowledged the receipt of the money and same was forwarded to forensic audit unit for expert opinion”.

Yusuf told the court that the defendants used different companies and accounts to launder billions of money from Joint Task Force operation account.

The companies are: Jagan Ltd; Jagan Trading Company Ltd; Jagan Global Services Ltd; Al-Nald Ltd; Paper Warehouse Ltd; Eastpoint Integrated Services Ltd and De-New link Integrated Services Ltd.The accused committed the alleged offence of fraud between Sept. 5, 2014 and May 20, 2015.

He said during the investigation, letters of request were sent to GTB bank, Heritage Bank, Diamond Bank, Stanbic IBTC bank, as well as First City Monument Bank (FCMB) demanding for account statements and operating documents of beneficiaries of the accounts.

The witness made a power point presentation to the court to corroborate his evidence.

Before the commencement of trial today, the EFCC in an amended 22-count charge filed before the court alleged that the accused sometime in 2014 in Lagos converted the sum of N8, 537, 586, 798.58 property of NIMASA contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amemdeent) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

They were also alleged to have between September 5, 2014 and May 20, 2015 converted to personal use the sum of N2,006,270,930.67 through Jagan Limited, property of NIMASA.

Some of the counts read: That you, Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Major General Emmmanuel Atewe, Josphine Otuaga Kime Enzogu between 5th days of September, 2014 and 22nd May, 2015 in Lagos converted the sum of N1, 147, 723, 362.42 through Jagan Trading Company Limited property of NIMASA contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amended) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

“That you Patrick Ziadeke Akpobolokemi, Major General Emmanuel Atewe ,Josphine Otuaga, and Kime Engozu within the jurisdiction of the court converted the sum of N1, 871, 795, 679. 14 through Eastpoint Integrated Services Limited, property of NIMASA”

The accused were also alleged to have between September 5, 2014 and May 20, 2015 converted to private use the sum of N 2, 006, 270, 930, .63 through Jagan limited, property of NIMASA contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amended) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

In the charge, the anti-graft agency also alleged that the accused conspired to defraud NIMASA of N605, 645, 750.00 million through Paper Warehouse Limited.

When the charge was read to all the accused persons they all pleaded not guilty.

The offence is also said to have contravened the provisions of Section 390 of the Criminal Code Act Cap. C. 38, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

The matter has been adjourned till February 3, 2017 for continuation of trial.

 

Published in Headliners
Monday, 05 December 2016 03:20

BUY656: BOLA KUFORIJI-OLUBI DIES AT AGE 80

SPONSORED BY BUY656.COM: Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Sunday expressed shock and sadness over the death of foremost accountant and a former Minister of Commerce and Industry, Dr. Bola Kuforiji-Olubi.

Dr. Olubi, who was a former President of Institute of Chartered Accountant of Nigeria (ICAN), was appointed the first female Chairman of United Bank of Africa (UBA) in 1984, passed on at the age of 80 on Saturday.

Governor Ambode in a statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Habib Aruna, described Dr. Olubi as a distinguished businesswoman, banker, economist and accountant, who cut her teeth in the corporate world.

The Governor recalled the former minister’s decades of distinguished career in the private and public sectors of national life, saying she was a role model to the future generation.

“Dr. Olubi was a woman of many firsts; she wrote her name in gold in the banking industry and was a pace-setter and leader in banking, manufacturing and entrepreneurship not only in Nigeria but also in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“It was not surprising that she was a proud and well-deserved recipient of National honours, fellowships, awards and honorary degrees from within and outside the country,’’ Governor Ambode said.

The Governor said Dr. Olubi’s legacies would continue to be a source of inspiration to the younger generation.

Published in Headliners

SPONSORED BY CHIQUEMAGAZINE.COM: There is a stock reply in Nigeria when a man is asked to spend money. He, in most cases, would say: “I am not another da-Rocha!” It is an expression that has to do with stupendous wealth or display of it or generosity or a combination of all. However, while many use the statement with ease, not all of them know anything about the man called Candido da-Rocha. We offer you his story this week and, later, other narratives of the lives and times of prominent Nigerians who were trail blazers in their own rights in the 20th century. Below is the story of da-Rocha and what made him ‘tick’:

The life of Candido da Rocha is a complex read. He was an entrepreneur whose activities did not follow the trend of popular economic theories. He was a celebrated capitalist, with property and estates running into billions of naira. He was a businessman with old-fashioned-idiosyncrasies, yet he accumulated properties in every nook and cranny of Lagos. He had no apologies for being rich, and enjoyed showing off. One of his habits, according to one of his grand-daughters, Chief (Mrs) Yewande Oyediran, was throwing coins to children from the balcony of his one-storey building – christened ‘Casa d’Agua’ in English ‘Water House’ – at Kakawa street.

Candido da Rocha was arrogant and ostentatious; at the same time he was not one who played to the popular masses. He was rarely seen in public. When he was nominated as a candidate for an election by his bosom friend Herbert Macaulay, he began his address to the party faithful thus: “I am Candido da Rocha, your candidate into the House, vote for me if you like, and if you don’t, all well and good.” Immediately after the ‘speech’ he vanished. He did not need their votes and therefore he did not get them. The people of Lagos ‘dashed’ him some 20 votes.

Eko Samba community in Brazilian quarters, Lagos.

Eko Samba community in Brazilian quarters, Lagos.

While some analysts believe that Da Rocha’s attitude at the rally was audacious, Mrs Oyediran disagreed: “No, papa was jot a very proud fellow. He surely did not mean it the way people had interpreted it. He was only saying that judging from his background as a serviceman, a man who had shown so much interest in the welfare of the people, the people should vote for him. Papa was a very modest man.”

Indeed, Da Rocha was a very modest and generous capitalist. During the Second World War, when the authorities of Kings College were looking for a place to relocate the students in the boarding house – among whom were Tiamiyu Bello Osagie, who would become one of Nigeria’s most celebrated gynecologists; Adenekan Ademola, son of Nigeria’s first indigenous Chief justice, Adetokunmbo Ademola; Dapo Aderemi, son of Sir Adesoji Aderemi, the legendary Onni of Ife – da Rocha volunteered his Bonanza Hotel on Customs Street, Lagos, and did not collect a dime for the period it was used. Even after the war, when government asked influential Nigerians to contribute to the rehabilitations fund, he made substantial donations and he instructed that the amount should not be disclosed to the public.

Because of his wealth, a lot of people assumed that he built the ‘Water House’ where he lived most of his life. The house, which even by the standards of modern architecture stands out as a formidable edifice, was built by his father, Esan. The structure is fortified by massive pillars, and it can compete favourably with ancient temples and synagogues. It is a masterpiece with some figurative decorations symbolic of the hardwork of the past; the honesty of ancient man; the affordability of things, the vision of a peaceful man, the quality of things of old, the opulence of a blessed man, a lesson for the modern man and a monument of virtue.

A reconstruction of Da Rocha’s history shows that his family was originally from Ilesha. His father John Esan adopted his name da Rocha while in captivity in Brazil. The adoption was to demonstrate his emotional attachment to his master and possibly a way of expressing his desire to identify with the name that had brought him some fame and luck. Although Candido was born in Brazil in 1869, his father never stopped dreaming of taking him and all his children back to their homeland in West Africa. However by the time John Esan found his way back to ‘Nigeria’, he did not go back to Ilesha. He decided to integrate his family into the new settlement that was taking shape in Lagos.

Lagos in the early days

Lagos in the early days

Together with other settlers and returnees from Brazil, they led a delegation to the representative of the Queen of England who was the symbolic head of the colonial administration. They requested for parcels of land on which they could settle so that they, too, could start to contribute their own quota to the economic growth of Lagos colony. Their request was granted. They were given an expanse of land in present day Lagos which stretched from the Central Bank to Moloney street. The area was christened Popo Aguda (Brazilian Quarters) and it became the settlement for the returnees and their families. Some names of other notable returnees include Agusto, Rodrigues, Vaughan, da Rocaha, Salvador, the Pereiras, Pedro da Silva and Gomez.

On the two plots allocated to Esan da Rocha on Kakawa street he built the ‘Water House’. On his death, Candido the eldest son, moved into the house. It was said that he paid off his other siblings before taking over the entire complex.

The first borehole in Lagos fitted with an imported iron mechanism to pump up water was installed in the da Rocha house. People in the neighbourghood came to fetch water. He sold water to some, to others he gave free. From the commercialization of this essential commodity, da Rocha made a considerable percentage of his wealth. Apart from selling water, Candido da Rocha operated a small shop at 12 Kakawa street where he traded in general merchandise which included gold brass, gold dust, imported shoes, brass fittings, textiles and jewelry. He exported kolanuts, alligator pepper, bitter kola and adire tye and dye to Brazil. With the profit from his trade he embarked on a number of capital projects. He also saw the value of owning property and reportedly acquired large tracts of land in Lagos especially on Broad Street, the Marina, Customs Street and Agege. The Agege land alone was over 55 acres on which stands a historic one storey building, the first of its kind. He built it as a relaxation hide out whenever he went to farm and to possibly make himself elusive to the throng of humanity loading around his Kakawa residence.

Candido da Rocha did his banking in style. Stories with respect to his banking activities are woven in myths. What is real, however, is that he operated some accounts with the then Standard Bank of Nigeria, Marina and Barclays Bank. He was reputed to be the most affluent depositor in both banks. It was popularly believed then that da Rocha’s accounts formed up to 80 per cent of the total deposits in the banks of all customers. His massive fortune earned him a large measure of respect and fear. One popular story which indicates the awe in which da Rocha was held goes thus on a certain day, da Rocha went to the bank and joined other people on the queue. All of a sudden, one Chief J.A Ajao emerged from nowhere and dashed to the front of the line. The cashier was about to attend to him when da Rocha flared up and threatened to close his account with the bank – National Bank Marina. It was Ajao himself who tendered effusive apologies to da Rocha for his misdemeanor with the excuse that he never knew that ‘a whole da Rocha was on the queue.’

Mrs Oyediran, his daughter, believes that this story was invented by the British, although she was too young at the time the incident was to have occurred to confirm its veracity. She, however stated that either this particular episode or another similar incident caused the British to scamper to ‘Water House’ to tender an apology to da Rocha. This action was enough to send a signal to the public that da Rocha was annoyed with the bank and had threatened to withdraw his money.

Another account has it that da Rocha was in the habit of taking a stroll to Standard Bank (now first bank) every evening. On such occasions he would go into the banking hall and have a short rest before returning to his house. Such outings kept the gossip mills rolling with the tales of da Rocha going to the bank to threaten them with the withdrawal of his huge deposits which would have led to a monetary crisis in the bank.

Despite all the myths about his invincibility, da Rocha remained a very modest man. He once reacted to the claim that he was a millionaire in an unassuming tone: “Don’t mind these Lagos people. They are a poor people. When you have 2,000 pounds in Lagos, you are called a millionaire. When you have a few shillings, they say you a rich man… I can tell you that I am not a millionaire but God had only blessed me because I know that only a very few people in my class have the money that I have.”

Da Rocha’s flamboyance and material wealth seemed to overshadow the religious qualities of the man. This does not suggest however that he was not religious. He was a Roman Catholic, his parents were Roman Catholics. Most of his friends were Catholics. The Rodrigues, the Pereiras, the Gomezs and the Sapara Williams. Indeed he was active in the church. He practically financed the construction of about three prominent churches in Lagos.

Published in News & Stories

SPONSORED BY HIRING234.COM: The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is set to re-arrest and prosecute a former Governor of Delta State, Mr. James Ibori, who will complete his sentence in a prison in Britain on December 20, 2016.

Barring last minute changes, Ibori will be arraigned on 170 charges bordering on money laundering and corruption.

A Southwark Crown court had on April 17, 2012, sentenced Ibori to 13 years in prison after the ex-governor pleaded guilty to 10 counts of money laundering and stealing $250m from the treasury. 

Following his conviction in the UK, there were criticisms of the Nigerian justice system ,especially an Asaba High Court which had struck out 170 charges which the EFCC had brought against Ibori.

However, the EFCC took the matter to the Appeal Court where a three-man panel of justices on May 15, 2014, at the Benin Division of the Court of Appeal ruled that the ex- governor, who is currently serving a 13-year jail term in a London prison, has a case to answer.

The appellate court panel, led by Justice Ibrahim Saulawa, ordered that the case be re-assigned to another judge of the Federal High Court for continuation of trial.

The EFCC subsequently said in a statement in 2014 that the ex-governor would be re-arrested upon the completion of his prison sentence.

The EFCC statement read, “With this judgment, the coast is clear for Ibori to face trial in Nigeria upon the completion of his jail term in London.”

Attempts to speak with the EFCC spokesman, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, on Saturday proved abortive.

However, a source at the EFCC told our correspondent that the legal department of the commission would have to look into the matter again.

He said, “Indeed Ibori still has a case to answer but it will be reviewed and charges might be amended.”

However, legal luminary, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), told our correspondent on the telephone that there was no need prosecuting Ibori again.

Sagay, who spoke in his personal capacity and not as the chairman of President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption committee, told our correspondent that Ibori had already been punished and prosecuting him again could amount to human rights abuse.

He said, “It will be constitute double jeopardy because he was been punished according to the law and any attempt to arrest him and make him go through the process a second time will be unconstitutional.

Some of the possessions confiscated from the ex-governor include: a house in Hampstead, North London, worth £2.2m; a property in Shaftesbury, Dorset, for £311,000; a £3.2m mansion in Sandton, near Johannesburg, South Africa; a fleet of armoured Range Rovers valued at £600,000; a £120,000 Bentley Continental GT; and a Mercedes-Benz Maybach 62 bought for €407,000 cash.

When contacted on Saturday, spokesperso‎n for the AGF, Mr. Salihu Isah, told our correspondent that he needed to hear from the minister before he could react.

“It is the AGF that can take such decision, I need to hear from him first,” Isah said.

Published in Business and Economy
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