Saturday, 21 October 2017
Items filtered by date: October 2017

Liberia on Thursday awaited the delayed announcement of the outcome of presidential elections as international observers called for the results to be released promptly to avoid stoking tension.

Political parties have expressed concern over polling-day hitches on Tuesday, with one calling for a halt to the ballot count.

Footballing superstar George Weah and incumbent Vice-President Joseph Boakai are expected to top the first round of voting, according to analysts, though former Coca-Cola executive Alexander Cummings is considered to have eaten into their support with an innovative campaign strategy.

If no candidate wins 50 percent of the presidential vote, a run-off between the top two contenders will be held on November 7 — an outcome deemed a near certainty.

The chairman of the Liberty Party, whose candidate Charles Brumskine is also seen as a serious contender, on Thursday urged the “NEC to immediately halt further announcements of election results.”

In a statement sent to AFP, he claimed the irregularities were “deeply troubling”.

“If NEC does not cooperate with our request, we will take the appropriate legal action,” the party’s chairman, Ben Sanvee, said.

The National Elections Commission (NEC) is expected will hold a press conference at 5pm (1700 GMT) with the first official results.

Turnout for Liberia’s first democratic transfer of power in seven decades was exceptionally high, the NEC has suggested.

Given the delays, the European Union observer mission urged the NEC to be as open to possible about the details of the final results.

“In order for the final result to be credible the Liberian authorities will have to show the greatest transparency regarding the handling of the result for the polling stations until the validation,” the chief observer of the EU’s Election Observation Mission, Maria Arena, told journalists in Monrovia.

She also called on the authorities to ensure that “potential complaints are handled with the utmost impartiality” in a tense environment.

The Carter Center, an NGO founded by former US president Jimmy Carter, said “prompt release of results” would help in “building confidence among the electorate and preventing confusion and tension.”

Published in Business and Economy

The Commissioner of Police in Abia, Mr Anthony Ogbizi, has said that lethal weapons, including petrol bombs and one double-barrel gun, were recovered during last Sunday’s raid on the residence of the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

Ogbizi said this on Thursday during an interaction with newsmen in Umuahia, adding that the items were recovered during a joint operation by security personnel in the state.

He said that the petrol bombs were found in buckets and incriminating documents and letters, concerning IPOB’s activities and plans, were also recovered during the raid.

He said that the raid was carried out based on an intelligence report, regarding the continued activities of some members of the group.

Ogbizi said: “We recovered many of Biafra’s insignia, staff of office and some of those items are being analysed.”

The police boss said that the operation also led to the arrest of one suspected member of IPOB.

He said that the team also discovered the telephone numbers of the group’s zonal coordinators adding that all the communications between the leadership of the group and their collaborators would be thoroughly analysed.

Ogbizi said that a Biafran flag was also found hanging on a telecommunications mast in the area.

According to him, the police will ask the Nigeria Communications Commission to sanction any telecommunication company that allowed its mast to be used to hoist Biafran flags.

He said that the activities of IPOB in the Southeast were “stirring insurrection” and that security agencies would not fold their arms and watch the group foment violence in the country.

He said that members of the group allegedly set a police station and van ablaze in Aba, and also attacked a military patrol team in Umuahia.

The police chief said that similar joint operations would be carried out intermittently in Kanu’s residence, anytime they received intelligence report that offensive weapons were brought to the place.

He said that it was wrong to say that the military was taking over the duties of the police rather the action should be seen as a synergy between the two organisations to check security challenges.

Ogbizi said that he would not hesitate to invite the army anytime the security situation in the state grew beyond the capacity of the police.

Published in Headliners

The Senate has indicated its readiness to continue with the investigation of the allegations levelled against the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, by Senator Isa Misau.

The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Sam Anyanwu, told our correspondent that the panel would continue with the probe since it was not joined in the suit filed by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation against Misau on behalf of the police boss.

When Anyanwu was asked through a text message if his committee would go ahead with the investigation, as the AGF had filed a suit against Misau on behalf of the IGP, his reply was, “The committee or the Senate is not a party to the suit.”

The Senate had on October 4, 2017 resolved to probe into Misau’s allegations bordering on corruption and misconduct against Idris.

The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had mandated the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions to investigate the circumstances surrounding Misau’s disengagement from the Nigeria Police.

Idris had alleged that Misau was a deserter.

Saraki also set up an ad hoc committee to probe into the allegations against

the Nigeria Police and Idris, including alleged collection of N120bn annually from high-profile persons and corporate organisations for security services.

The Senate President named the Deputy Chief Whip, Senator Francis Alimikhena as Chairman of the panel; and senators Joshua Lidani, Binta Masi Garba,

Duro Faseyi, Nelson Effiong, Obinna Ogba, Abdul-Azeez Murtala-Nyako and Suleiman Hunkuyi as members.

The two committees were mandated to report back to the Senate in two weeks.

Misau, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, had on August 25 accused Idris of extorting money, ranging from N10m to N15m, from Commissioners of Police, State Mobile Commanders and Special Protection Units Commanders, for favourable postings.

The senator also alleged that Idris “makes N10bn monthly from oil companies and other private individuals who enjoy special protection from the security agency.”

Misau said the level of corruption being perpetrated by Idris was so alarming and capable of undermining the anti-corruption stance of President Muhammadu Buhari.

But the Federal Government on Tuesday  through the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, filed two separate sets of charges against Misau.

One of the two sets of charges, marked FCT/HC/CR/345/2017, filed before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory in Abuja, stemmed from his  running battle with Idris.

In the case filed before the FCT High Court, the prosecution preferred against Misau five counts of making “injurious falsehood” against Idris and the Nigeria Police Force based on various allegations of corruption made by the senator against the IGP in the media.

Part of the allegations by Misau, considered injurious to the IGP and the Nigeria Police Force, were that police officers allegedly paid as much as N2.5m to get special promotion and posting through the Police Service Commission.

The federal lawmaker also accused the IGP of allegedly diverting money meant for the purchase of Armoured Personnel Carriers, Sport Utility Vehicles and other exotic cars.

Misau was also said to have falsely accused the IGP of making almost half of the mobile commanders in the country the people of his Nupe extraction.

The offences were said to be contrary to Section 393(1) of the Penal Code.

In the set of charges, marked FHC/ABJ/CR/170/2017, the prosecution preferred seven counts of making and “uttering” false documents comprising affidavits, statutory declaration of age deposed to at the FCT High Court and the Bauchi State Health Management Board Birth Certificate, which he allegedly submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission in 2011 and 2014.

Uttering, according to Wikipedia, “is a crime involving a person with intent to defraud that knowingly sells, publishes or passes a forged or counterfeited document.”

The offences in the seven counts were said to be contrary to Section (1)(2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act Cap M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 and punishable under the same section of the Act.

The two sets of charges were signed on behalf of the AGF by an Assistant Chief State Counsel, Mr. Aminu Alilu, who is of the Department of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, the Federal Ministry of Justice.

Published in News & Stories

Former First Lady Patience Jonathan used her mother’s company to launder about N2.114b, according to Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) detectives.

Besides, Magel Resort Limited, which was incorporated by Mrs., Jonathan’s late mother, allegedly secured over N200m IT contract from the National Information Technology Development Agency.

Many people, including an hotelier in Abuja, also remitted funds into the account.

Also, uncovered is how some domestic aides of the former First Lady remitted about N5.7billion into the accounts of three firms linked to Mrs. Jonathan.

As part of the investigation, some Federal Government agencies were found to have remitted funds into the account of Ariwobai Aruera Reach Out Foundation,  her NGO, which has N2,475,784,487.77.

Detectives put the cash in the two domiciliary accounts of the ex-First Lady at $20,731, 173.

According to sources in EFCC, the major highlights of the latest investigation of Mrs. Jonathan border on the use of her mum’s firm and domestic aides to launder funds.

The sources claimed that the ex-First Lady has a case to answer because of the “curious payments” made into more than five accounts linked to her.

A source, who pleaded not to be named so as not to jeopardise the investigation, said: “This is not a case of witch-hunt or vendetta. We have retrieved records of transactions and those concerned. There is a strong case of abuse of office.

“Nigerians should prevail on Mrs. Jonathan to seek equity with clean hands by subjecting herself to legal process. How did domestic aides come about billions? Why will a resort company secure an IT contract? How did a furniture firm without a fixed address come about N1.140billion?

“As we investigate the ex-First Lady, our detectives dig out more evidence of alleged money laundering by her between 2009 and 2015.”

The source gave an insight into the latest findings by detectives on Mrs. Patience Jonathan.

The source added: “A company owned by Mrs. Jonathan is Magel Resort Ltd. It was incorporated by Mrs. Jonathan’s late mother. But Patience Jonathan became the sole signatory to the account of the company by board resolution upon the demise of her mother.

“The EFCC is probing the circumstance in which the firm though registered as a resort agency secured over N200m IT contract from the National Information Technology Development Agency.

“The contract was allegedly funded through the National Information Technology Development Fund.”

Several other persons under investigation for money laundering by the anti- graft agency were discovered to have made payments into the company’s account.

Some of them, including a hotelier in central area, Abuja, have been invited for questioning.

“The total sum allegedly laundered through the account of Magel Resorts Ltd run by Mrs. Jonathan and her late mother is N2.114billion.

“Also allegedly laundered by the former First Lady through the account of Lawari Furniture and Baths Ltd is N1.140billion. The company’s address is given as 100 Akamfa Road, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State. The bulk of the money was deposited by Bureau de Change operators.

“The BDC operators have already been invited by the EFCC for questioning.

EFCC sources said that the addresses of most of the companies were discovered to be fictitious as mails sent to them were returned undelivered.

Ariwobai Aruera Reach Out Foundation, an NGO, was discovered to have various accounts but the principal account is domiciled in Diamond Bank.

“The commission stumbled on evidence in which several government agencies made payments into the account. A total inflow of N2, 475,784,487.77 was recorded in the account between 2009 and 2015.”

The source also spoke about the deposits in the domiciliary accounts of the ex-First Lady.

The source said: “Investigation equally discovered that Mrs. Jonathan maintains a dollar account with Diamond Bank which received huge financial inflow from her domestic aides.

“Some of the domestic aides that made payments into the accounts are also trustees of her so- called NGO and director in her companies. The balance in the account was $12,831,173.

“Another dollar account of the former First Lady was discovered in Skye Bank. Inflows into the account came through deposits by domestic aides of Mrs. Jonathan.

“Intelligence reports indicate that most of the purchase of luxury items by the former First Lady was through the Platinum Card of the account. The total amount in the account is $7.9m.”

“Also under investigation is how N1.8billion was deposited in the account of Flinchley Top Homes Ltd, a company linked to Mrs. Jonathan, by her domestic aides between 2009 and 2015.

“Other discoveries are the N2.1billion and N1.8billion deposited into the accounts of AM PM Global Network Ltd and Pagmat Oil and Gas Ltd, between 2009 and 2015. Both companies are linked to the former First Lady,” the source said.

Published in News & Stories
Thursday, 12 October 2017 01:42

NNPC: Kachikwu got contracts for nine firms

The war of integrity between Minister of State for Petroleum Resources Ibe Kachikwu and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Group Managing Director (GMD) Dr. Maikanti Baru got more intense yesterday.

The oil giant faulted the Minister’s claim that he was not consulted on $10billion Crude Term Contracts.

The NNPC said Kachikwu made an input into the shortlisting of 40 off-takers for the Crude Term Contracts by recommending seven companies, which were engaged.

Also, the minister was said to have nominated two companies for the alleged Direct Sales, Direct Purchase (DSDP) transactions, which Kachikwu claimed were worth $5billion.

The corporation said while the Minister was its GMD, he sent a memo to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) seeking clarification on the status of the NNPC Tenders Board.

NNPC’s position is contained in a fact-sheet apparently prepared against the backdrop of the six posers raised by loyalists of Kachikwu for GMD Baru. The Nation published the posers exclusively yesterday.

Besides the posers, the minister had in an August 30 memo to President Muhammadu Buhari alleged that he was being sidelined by the GMD.

He said: “As in many cases of things that happen in NNPC these days, I learn of transactions only through publications in the media. The question is, why is it that other parastatals which I supervise as Minister of State or Chair of their Boards are able to go through these contractual and mandatory governance processes and yet NNPC is exempt from these?”

Sources, who spoke with our correspondent, with a fact-sheet said the “posers amounted to mere academic exercise and sheer deceit by the minister”.

They claimed that the minister was consulted on most of the transactions he listed in his memo to the President, including Crude Oil Term transactions, Direct Sales, Direct Purchase (DSDP) contracts and Ajaokuta-Kaduna-Kano (AKK) Gas Pipeline contract.

The fact-sheet said: “For record purposes, Nigerians should be aware that Kachikwu single-handedly superintended and approved the off-takers of Nigerian Crude Oil and gas for 2016/ 2017. There were no issues then.

“As for the off-takers for 2017/2018, the minister was consulted by the GMD. Out of a list of 40 off-takers, Kachikwu recommended seven firms, which were accepted by NNPC management without any issue. He initially nominated three and later added four. His judgment was respected, accepted and approved by NNPC management alongside 33 others.

“The seven off-takers he recommended are as follows: North-West Petroleum; Setana Energy; Emo Oil; Litasco Supply and Trading Company;   Voyage Oil and Gas; Levene International  and Cespa Trading. Since the Minister strongly recommended all these companies, we concurred with his recommendation which was based on a professional judgment. We also did not find any of the companies wanting and they met the criteria for crude lifting.

“On DSDP, the Minister also nominated two companies, Messrs Falcon Bay Energy Limited and Rain Oil Limited. The NNPC avoided all these details in its statement on Monday in order to protect the interest of these companies doing legitimate business. But Nigerians can appreciate that Kachikwu’s input was sought.

“Regarding AKK Pipeline contract, NNPC has explained that it is still in the works; it has not been awarded by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

“There was this $9.2billion Escravos Gas Pipeline Project which the GMD did not touch  in his memo to the President. Apart from discussing and reviewing it with the Board of NNPC, the GMD wrote a June 29, 2017 memo to the Presidency and after official process and consultations with the Minister, it was approved. In fact, the Minister gave the final approval in a memo of August 22, 2017, although with some reservations.

“Concerning sections 130(2) and 148(1) of the 1999 Constitution, the Minister only alluded to the powers of the President. The NNPC GMD made it clear that he obtained the approval of the President on these transactions. If the President, as the senior Minister of Petroleum Resources, has exercised his constitutional powers, what else is the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources after?

“It should be noted that NNPC and its GMD are only following the standards put in place by the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources on Crude Oil Term Contracts and other transactions. NNPC is following the same rules which the Minister put in place. But the Minister is now criticising the same rules. The only thing that has changed is that Kachikwu is not the substantive GMD of NNPC again.’

“Nigerians need to know that the Minister (while he was the GMD of NNPC) wrote a memo to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to seek clarifications on the financial limit of NNPC Tenders Board. And the BPP put the limit at $20million. This is what the NNPC management has been adhering to.”

When contacted, a top source in the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, who is in the position to know, said NNPC was lying.

The source said: “All of the above are lies. No official documentation backing this. This and possibly more to come are vain efforts to discredit Kachikwu and cover up the damning allegations he made.”

Published in Headliners
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 22:31

How Ghana king's cash 'cost banker job'

An employment tribunal in the UK has been hearing how Ghana's Osei Tutu II, the Ashanti king, handed $462,000 (£350,000) in cash to a bank worker to deposit in his account, the UK's Telegraph newspaper reports.

The monarch gave a bag containing notes of almost £200,000 and $200,000 in August last year to Mark Arthur.

The deposit at the Ghana International Bank in London triggered a money-laundering alert and cost Mr Arthur his job.

Mr Arthur, a dual citizen of UK and Ghana, says that his dismissal was unfair.

He said that the money transfer had been approved by Joseph Mensah, the bank's chief executive, the report says.

His lawyers say that his handling of the deposit was in line with way the bank previously handled Osei Tutu II’s bank account.

The king, who once worked in the UK, is estimated to be Africa’s 10th richest monarch, with valuable gold mine and cocoa plantations, and remains one of the most influential traditional figures in Ghana, the report says.

The tribunal continues.

Published in Business and Economy

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday ordered the final forfeiture to the Federal Government of 56 houses situated in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Abuja linked to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Allison-Madueke.

The value of the properties was put at 22 million dollars.

The forfeited properties include 21 mixed housing units of eight four-bedroom penthouse apartment, six three-bedroom apartments, two three-bedroom apartment and one four-bedroom apartment.

The properties located at 7, Thurnburn St., and 5, Raymond St., Yaba, are valued at N937 million and bought through Chapel Properties Ltd.

The 16 four-bedroom terrace located at Heritage Court Estate, Omerelu Street, Diobu GRA, Port Harcourt, River, valued at N928 million were bought through Blue Nile Estate Ltd.

Others are 13 units of 3-bedroom with one room maid’s quarter situated at Mabushi Gardens Estate, Plot 1205, Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi, Abuja, valued at N650 million, were bought through Azinga Meadows Ltd.

Also, the A six flats of three-bedroom and one boys quarter located at Plot 808 (135), Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, valued at N805 million were bought for the ex-minister through Vistapoint property Development Ltd.

The forfeiture order followed a motion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) seeking the permanent forfeiture of the properties.

The anti-graft agency while urging the court to grant the motion, argued that the properties sought to be attached “are reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities”.

After listening to the submissions of EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Anselem Ozioko, Justice Abdulazeez Anka, granted the motion.

The judge noted that there was no response to the applicant’s motion on notice for final forfeiture by any of the respondents in spite of the fact that they were served with the hearing notice.

“I have gone through the affidavit attached to motion for final forfeiture as well as the submissions of the EFCC’s counsel, Mr Ozioko.

“The court has no option considering the incontrovertible evidence led by the EFCC than to grant the application.

“The motion for final forfeiture is accordingly granted as prayed. All parties have a right of appeal,” the judge ruled.

Joined as respondents in the suit are Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, Donald Chidi Amamgbo, Chapel Properties Ltd, Blue Nile Estate Ltd, Azinga Meadows Ltd, and Vistapoint Property Development Ltd. (NAN)

Published in News & Stories

The police have said the vehicle used to convey Tagbo Umeike to the hospital has been recovered from Davido’s Lekki residence.

This, the police said, proved that the popular Nigerian artist knew more than he initially told investigators.

Davido had, in a pre-investigation meeting, told the police he had left Shisha Bar for DNA Night Club in Victoria Island without the deceased and was only informed by mutual friends of his death while he was at DNA.

The police chief made it clear that this was an untruth, saying:

“However, investigation revealed that Davido’s white Toyota Hilux escort driver, Tunde Usutu, accompanied by one Agbeje Olaoye and one Idris Busari, both Davido’s friends, took the deceased to the General Hospital Lagos and abandoned him in his vehicle on the instruction of Davido.

“The CCTV footage at the hospital picked the escort vehicle abs the entire activity. The vehicle was recovered from Davido’s residence at 7, Awoshika Street, Lekki Phase 1.

“This completely debunks Davido’s claim that he did not know how the deceased got to the General Hospital. The interim autopsy report stated that the victim died of Asphyxia.”

Davido has been reinvited for questioning by the police after more information concerning the demise of his friend Tagbo was unveiled.

Published in Entertainment
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 22:00

Davido Lied About Tagbo’s Death – Police

Nigerian pop artist Davido has been invited again by the Lagos State command of the Nigerian police in connection with the death of his friend Tagbo Umeike.

The autopsy that was done on the deceased revealed that he died of suffocation.

The Acting Lagos Police Commissioner, Imohimi Edgal, stated at a briefing that Davido has been reinvited for questioning.

According to Edgal, the information Davido gave them was different from what was found after their investigation.

Apart from the autopsy report revealing that Tagbo died of asphyxia or suffocation, investigations also revealed that he was abandoned in his car at the hospital by Davido’s driver and two of his friends: Agbeje Olaoye and Idris Busari.

The Lagos police chief said a CCTV footage from the General Hospital where Tagbo was dumped revealed that Davido’s escort Hilux vehicle driver, Tunde Usutu, and his two friends took him to the hospital and abandoned him there.

Davido, according to Edagal, had stated earlier, during a pre-investigation meeting with the police, the deceased’s family, friends and Caroline Danjuma, that he had left Shisha bar where he had been drinking with the deceased for DNA nightclub in Victoria Island and was only informed by mutual friends of his demise.

Before his demise, Tagbo was said to have consumed a huge amount of alcohol. The bartender and CCTV footage confirmed that Tagbo had drunk as much as 40 shots of Tequila and exhibited signs of drunkenness.

Two of Davido’s other friends, DJ Olu and Chime, were found dead in a BMW Saloon car in an underground garage days after Tagbo’s demise. The autopsy done on them to confirm the cause of death is yet to be concluded.

Published in Headliners
Wednesday, 11 October 2017 03:17

Boy, 3, in coma, needs N9m to live

Three-year-old Caleb Popoola is on a hospital bed at the Paediatric and Child Care unit, Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, Lagos. He is in coma on a life support machine. Master Caleb’s doctors have diagnosed him with ‘brain tumour’ and he needs N9million to survive.

A letter from LASUTH said Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) done on Caleb showed that he has a large Brainstem glioma with mild hydrocephalus.

His father, Akeem Popoola said Caleb, his first son, had been on a LASUTH hospital bed for three weeks.

He explained that the surgery would be done at Fortis Hospitals Limited in India.

He said: “It would cost N2, 711,250:00 ($7,500), while feeding and accommodation in India would cost N759, 150:00 ($2,100). Air ticket for Caleb would cost about N5million, because we cannot book normal air ticket for him, although we are still looking for something cheaper. He would be travelling on a stretcher; life oxygen and possibly the airline’s medical team would be on board to support him. My wife and I would also be traveling with him and we would need N860, 000 to buy air tickets, because ticket costs N430, 000 per person.”

Popoola noted that since the illness began last June 15, the family has spent about N1.8million on Caleb’s health, including, hospital bills and getting an Indian Visa.

He said the sickness started with Caleb limping on his right leg.

“He could not use his right hand and he was less active in school. We took him to a private hospital but we were told nothing was wrong with him; we later took him to LASUTH and we did all sorts of tests which all came out fine. It was when we did MRI test that we discovered that he had the ailment. We were told that where he had the tumour is very delicate and they cannot play around it. I was at University College Hospital (UCH) in Ibadan, Oyo State and Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospital (OAUTH), all to no avail. I was told that his case was delicate and he cannot be handled in the hospitals due to lack of facilities. We are to spend a minimum of 42 days in India,” Popoola said.

He added: “We have taken him to various churches including The Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) in Mowe, and Mountain of Fire Ministries (MFM) for prayers.”

Popoola is appealing for financial assistance for Caleb. Naira donations can be made to Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB), account name: Popoola Akeem and account number, 0006748242.

Dollar donations can be paid to Standard Chartered Bank, account name: Popoola Akeem and account number: 0002492351.

He can be reached on 08056573117 or 08095827721.

Published in News & Stories
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