Monday, 20 November 2017
Items filtered by date: November 2017

Zimbabwe’s ruling ZANU-PF party will launch the parliamentary process on Tuesday for impeaching President Robert Mugabe, a government lawmaker told AFP.

The decision on Monday came after Mugabe missed a deadline to resign given to him by his party over the weekend.

Once a simple majority of parliamentarians vote for impeachment, an investigative committee is formed by lawmakers, who report back to both houses of parliament. Each house must then vote by a two-thirds majority for him to be stripped of office.

“We are expecting the motion to be over (Tuesday),” said ZANU-PF lawmaker Paul Mangwana, referring to the initial procedure to commence impeachment proceedings.

He added that ZANU-PF had approached the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party to seek their cooperation to pass the necessary parliamentary votes.

In a televised address late Sunday, the 93-year-old veteran leader defied expectations he would quit, pitching the country into a second week of political crisis.

The speech provoked anger and disbelief among many Zimbabweans, fuelling concerns that Mugabe could face a violent backlash.

Zimbabwe’s crisis erupted on November 13 after a factional squabble over the presidential succession erupted into the open prompting the army to seize power.

Published in Business and Economy
Monday, 20 November 2017 17:01

Alex Ekwueme dies in London hospital

Second Republic vice president, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, is dead.
 
The elder statesman’s death was disclosed in a statement issued by the Ekwueme family of Oko, in Anambra State.
 
The statement was reportedly released in the early hours of Monday.
 
The statement, signed by the former vice president’s brother, and the traditional ruler of Oko in Anambra State, Igwe Laz Ekwueme, explained that he passed on around 10:00 pm on Sunday, in a London hospital.
 
The statement read, “Ekwueme family regrets to announce the peaceful passing away of their patriarch, the former Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Alex Ifeanyichukwu Ekwueme, GCON.
 
“The sad event occurred at the London Clinic at 10:00 pm on Sunday, 19th November, 2017.”
 
It would be recalled that Ekwueme was hospitalised in Memfys Neurosurgery Hospital, Enugu, for about two weeks before he was flown abroad for medical treatment on November 12.
 
The elder statesman was rushed to the hospital after collapsing at his residence in the Independence Layout area of Enugu on October 28.
 
It was learnt that the elder statesman was in a coma at the time he was admitted to the hospital.
 
Ekwueme, who celebrated his 85th birthday on October 10, reportedly suffered from a chest infection, according to his family members.
Published in Headliners

While acknowledging its human frailties, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) insisted at the weekend that the party's 16 years of mistake remained far less than the calamity of the last two and half years of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in multiple dimensions.

A group, known as the National Volunteers for Lamido, which made the assertion in a statement issued in Abuja, noted that whatever the PDP did, it left the scene over two years ago and that exit provided Nigerians the opportunity to gauge the standard of performance. "From the economy, foreign relations where an APC government has decided to make caricature of the country, its leadership and people, security, wage theft, misapplication of resources and the lack of vision at all levels. This is total disaster."

In the statement, signed by its National Coordinator, Umar Danjani Hadeja, tgroup also accused the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, Garba Shehu of deliberately choosing to feed the public with falsehood and obvious inaccuracies, deliberate misinformation, and even mischief bordering on denial and selective amnesia.

It was reacting to Garba's attempted response to a recent interview granted by a former governor of Jigawa state, Alhaji Sule Lamido to the Sun Newspaper, which was published on Saturday, November 11, 2017 wherein he fielded questions on his presidential ambition and the state of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as well as some snippets on reasoned insights on President Muhammadu Buhari's leadership style, the All Progressives Congress (APC) government and the future of Nigeria and the place of her youth.

The group particularly lampooned the Presidential Spokesperson for relishing in quackery whenever he ventures into the laborious attempts at rebuttals or rejoinders, more often, with scant regard for the truth. "Clearly, Garba's attempted response to the said Sule Lamido interview is yet another classic example of the PR disaster and liability that he now represents for the Buhari administration. Surely, we would care less for this misfortune of an appointee of Mr. President who is fishing and scavenging desperately for "stuff" that would make him look useful in a job he clearly does not know how to do. His brazen and intellectually lazy import-substitution mission for issues never raised in the interview in the effort to tar Alhaji Sule Lamido with a dirty brush is at best, mischievous, unprofessional and a damning verdict on Garba's."
While describing the attempt by Garba Shehu "to tar Alhaji Sule Lamido with a dirty brush" as mischievous, unprofessional and a damning verdict on the presidential spokesman, the group also expressed concern over the feeble and failed attempt to address or "attack" the facts of the matter raised in the Sule Lamido interview.

It took a swipe at the presidential spokesman for falsely accusing Alhaji Sule Lamido of impugning the integrity of the nation's judicial system and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), when, in actual fact, "the government is itself destroying," these two institutions.

"Where, for instance, did Garba see any reference to these institutions in the said interview? Did he at all, read the interview or in the classic case of playing the 'Boss', lazily rely on some subordinates who supposedly drew his attention to a publication he never sighted? And as if this was not shameful enough, he brazenly proceeded to blindly issue a 'rejoinder' to a publication he apparently knew nothing about. This is a further injury to the image, integrity and ethics of the journalism profession," it said.
According to the group, Garba has thrown up the poverty of the government's effort to water down any serious effort to address our national ills. " His usual habit of ignoring facts was manifest in his attempt to defend his party rather than the government's confused approach to implementing the agenda it promised."

The group however noted that Alhaji Lamido would not be deterred, distracted or cowed by the shenanigans of the ilk of Garba, stressing that as a statesman and nationalist whose sole driving impetus is improvement in the material condition of the ordinary Nigerian citizen, as well as carving a place of high repute for Nigeria in the comity of nations, "Alhaji Sule Lamido is forging ahead with steely determination and singleness of purpose."

"Lamido will continue to speak truth to power and call out the APC government in all its numerous failings. No amount of name-calling, falsehood, character assassination or intimidation will do the trick. Not from Garba Shehu, not from anyone else. The APC government must shape up or ship out, or else expect the Sule Lamidos of this Country and they are in the majority now, to continue to call it out," the group insisted.

Still comparing the PDP government with the current administration, the group further drew attention to what is called confusion and lies, cross messaging and open confrontation among various officials of government even while brazenly engaged in corrupt practices of various kinds as widely reported in the media. "This is worse than a calamity for a developing nation like ours. Garba should encourage the government he serves to investigate those cases instead of chasing shadows and silhouettes. If you check the markets, prices have skyrocketed. There is unemployment, poverty and hunger, which bad effects have shot over the roofs, while some officials including Garba are smiling, as they hide their loots from this government. These stories have become daily doses of media reportage. Time shall tell."

Maintaining that the antecedents of everyone given opportunity of service speaks for him or her, the group contended that Alhaji Sule Lamido comes across as a deliverer of promise, challenging anyone in doubt to visit Jigawa State to understand the difference between the Lamido years and the present reality. "Every visible productive project of stature dotting the entire landscape was initiated and completed by him."
"The essential Alhaji Sule Lamido is a quintessential leader who is and still loved by the people; among whom he lives to date. He speaks his mind, no matter who is involved. In the process, he has encountered and also survived the vicissitudes of politics while serving his fatherland. This has, over the years, shaped his vision with courage of conviction and strength of character. You may confirm by the kind and nature of people around him and his associates.

"Unlike Alhaji Sule Lamido, Garba is inconsequential inconsistent, foul mouthed and practicing quackery as Public Affairs management. Therefore, our final word and free consultancy for Garba is this: "Attend a refresher course on how not to be a Public Affairs assistant. We understand one such course is scheduled for some time in the year 2019, otherwise, you will remain an albatross on President Buhari's neck. Nigerians are watching"

Published in Politics

The police are probing the stabbing to death of Bilyamin Muhammed Bello by his wife, Maryam, in Abuja.

Bilyamin is a son of a former National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and one-time minister, Dr. Haliru Bello.

His wife, who is the suspect, is a daughter of former Aso Savings boss Hajia Maimuna Aliyu.

Hajia Aliyu was recently nominated into the board of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

The couple before the weekend tragic incident had a one-year old daughter.

“The FCT Police Command has commenced investigation into the matter.

“The case has been transferred to the Homicide Section for discreet investigation,” spokesman Anjuguri Manzah stated in a text message last night.

The suspect is being detained by the police while the deceased was buried yesterday after the Janazar prayer at the Central Mosque in Abuja.

Maryam was taken to her residence by homicide detectives for a search, fingerprints and forensic investigation.

She was saved from being mobbed by angry siblings and relatives of the deceased husband. 

Clinging to her seven-month old baby girl, Maryam, who looked remorseful, burst into tears after being led into the flat where she allegedly killed her husband.

According to sources, the jealous wife was uncomfortable with the text messages her late husband had been receiving from some women.

It was gathered that a particular message from a banker made the wife to attack her husband.

The source added: “They were at home when the wife became berserk over some text messages, including one allegedly suspected to be from a female banker.

“After engaging in a shouting match, the wife was embroiled in fighting with her husband before heading to the kitchen where she picked a knife to stab Bilyamin three times, including on his private parts.

“Drenched with blood, Bilyamin fought hard by crawling out of the couple’s flat to ask for help from neighbours.

“Upon hearing his distress call, neighbours, who had heard the exchange of words and banging of doors at the flat, ferried Bilyamin to a hospital.

“Unfortunately, the husband died in the hospital. The incident was reported to the police and Maryam was arrested by homicide detectives.”

Maryam is a graduate with two degrees from British university.

In a Whatsapp message yesterday afternoon, her mother Hajia Aliyu expressed shock and feeling of loss over the sad development.

“It is with a heavy heart but with total submission to the will of Allah that I announce the death of my son in-law, Bilyamin Bello Haliru, which sad event took place in the early hours of today.

“Prayers will be held at the Central Mosque…

“May Allah grant his soul Aljannah Firdaus as his permanent place of abode,” the grieving mother in-law stated.

There had been whispers of a rocky relationship in a marriage meant to bring two prominent families together but allegations of infidelity and plans to marry another wife might have caused the insecurity in Bilyamin’s Maitama home.

The patriarch of the family, Bello, is said to be away in the United States for medical attention.

“We were all sad, it was just too heavy for us to break the news to our father,” a family source added.

Published in Headliners

The Independent National Electoral Commission has declared Governor Willie Obiano of the All Progressives Grand Alliance the winner of the November 18, 2017 governorship election in Anambra State.

The Returnee Officer and Vice Chancellor of the University of Calabar, Professor Zana Akpagu, made this declaration at the INEC office in Awka at the end of the collation of results from the 21 local government areas of the state. 

Obiano, who was running for a second term in office, polled 234,071 votes to beat Tony Nwoye of the All Progressives Congress, who came second with 98,752 votes.

The PDP governorship candidate Oseloka Obaze, came third in the November 18 contest with 70,293 votes.

Published in Headliners

Zimbabwe's ruling party has sacked Robert Mugabe as its leader, as pressure intensifies for him to step down as president.

Zanu-PF appointed ex-Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who was fired by Mr Mugabe two weeks ago, in his place.

The party has given Mr Mugabe, 93, until 10:00 GMT on Monday to resign as president, or face impeachment.

The military intervened last week, in an apparent attempt to block him from installing his wife as his successor.

The first lady, Grace Mugabe, and several other senior officials have been expelled from the party altogether.

Tens of thousands of Zimbabweans attended street protests on Saturday, demonstrating against the Mugabes.

Mr Mugabe has also reportedly been meeting military leaders, according to Zimbabwe's The Herald.

While no details of the talks have been released, photos posted by the newspaper show the two sides - which also met several days ago - shaking hands.

Cheering erupted when the decision to dismiss Mr Mugabe as party leader was announced.

One senior official later told the BBC's Andrew Harding: "It's the dawn of a new era. Mugabe can go farming."

Zanu-PF's Central Committee also warned that impeachment proceedings would begin on Tuesday if Mr Mugabe did not step down as president by noon local time on Monday.

One party official said Mr Mnangagwa, who has since reportedly returned to Zimbabwe, had been nominated as the party's presidential candidate for the 2018 general elections.

President Mugabe and Grace Mugabe on 24 May 2014Image copyrightAFP
President Mugabe's wife, Grace, had emerged as a leading candidate to succeed her husband
Zimbabwe Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa listens as President Robert Mugabe (not pictured) delivers his state of the nation address to the countryImage copyrightREUTERS
But Mr Mnangagwa has re-emerged as front runner after his dismissal two weeks ago

His sacking prompted an extraordinary chain of events over the past week:

  • Mr Mnangagwa fled the country after his dismissal as Mr Mugabe's deputy two weeks ago
  • The army's chief of staff, Gen Constantino Chiwenga, warned last Monday that the military might intervene to stop purges in the party - and was roundly criticised by allies of the Mugabes
  • On Wednesday, soldiers seized the headquarters of the national broadcaster
  • Mr Mugabe has been mostly under house arrest for several days
  • On Saturday, unprecedented mass protests further weakened Mr Mugabe's position

Speaking ahead of the party meeting, the head of the influential War Veterans Association, Chris Mutsvangwa, threatened to "bring back the crowds and they will do their business" if Mr Mugabe did not step down.

Mr Mugabe has been president of Zimbabwe for 37 years, having led the country since it gained independence from Britain in 1980.

He has made just one public appearance since events unfolded, speaking at a university graduation ceremony on Friday.

Published in Headliners

HARARE, Zimbabwe — Zimbabwe’s governing party moved on Friday to expel President Robert Mugabe from its ranks, taking the first step in legally ousting the 93-year-old leader following a military intervention two days earlier.

A majority of the leaders of the party, ZANU-PF, recommended Mr. Mugabe’s expulsion from the very organization that he had controlled with an iron grip since independence in 1980, according to ZBC, the state broadcaster.

Military officers have insisted that their takeover was not a coup, but the party’s leaders appeared on Friday to be providing political cover for the intervention. The party’s central committee, Parliament and Mr. Mugabe’s cabinet could now take steps to officially end his presidency, if he does not resign.

The military arrested Mr. Mugabe early Wednesday, effectively ending his 37-year rule, although it allowed him to appear in public on Friday to address a university graduation.

Later on Friday, party members endorsed the military’s efforts to stabilize the economy and defuse political instability. They echoed military commanders in arguing that the intervention was aimed at rooting out a cabal of corrupt interlopers who had clouded Mr. Mugabe’s judgment and his ability to govern.

“Many of us had watched with pain as the party and government were being reduced to the personal property of a few infiltrators with traitorous histories and questionable commitment to the people of Zimbabwe,” the party leaders said in a resolution. “Clearly, the country was going down the wrong path.”

 

An armored personnel carrier in Harare on Friday. CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

The resolution recommended that Mr. Mugabe be removed for taking the advice of “counterrevolutionaries and agents of neo-imperialism”; for mistreating his vice president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, whom Mr. Mugabe abruptly dismissed last week; and for encouraging “factionalism.” It urged the “immediate and unconditional reinstatement” of Mr. Mnangagwa, who appears poised to succeed Mr. Mugabe, at least until national elections scheduled for next year.

 

Party members also moved to schedule a march for Saturday in support of the military.

Over the past few days, the military has been in negotiations to find a peaceful and face-saving way for Mr. Mugabe to exit the scene, in talks mediated by South Africa and other countries in the region, and by the Roman Catholic Church.

The military has insisted that its intervention was not a coup. The Herald, the state-run newspaper, said the military “had taken action to pacify the degenerating political, social and economic situation in the country,” which “if left unchecked would have resulted in violent conflict,” and said the action was intended “to flush out reactionary and criminal elements around the president.”

On Friday, Mr. Mugabe was freed — if only temporarily — to address a university graduation ceremony. It was his first public appearance since the military placed him under house arrest — an illustration, perhaps, that this was no ordinary attempt to oust a despot.

Mr. Mugabe, 93, has dominated his country since independence from Britain 37 years ago, surviving through a blend of political skill, brutality, manipulation and patronage dispensed among a corrupt elite.

Those days “are numbered,” though, said Chris Mutsvangwa, the leader of Zimbabwe’s influential war veterans’ movement, which was founded to represent those who fought in the seven-year liberation war in the 1970s but has emerged as a powerful political force.

At a news conference, Mr. Mutsvangwa cranked up pressure on Mr. Mugabe, saying the longtime leader would face huge calls for his ouster at a rally on Saturday.

At his news conference, Mr. Mutsvangwa said several key regions in Zimbabwe’s Shona-speaking heartlands — the base of ZANU-PF’s support — had approved calls for the president’s expulsion. Mr. Mugabe himself has in the past used orchestrated maneuvering in the provinces to undermine national figures in Harare.

The talks involving the Catholic Church and South African mediators are intended to devise some form of transition that would have the appearance of constitutional legitimacy while providing a decorous departure for a leader whose role in the pre-independence liberation struggle is central to the national narrative.

The military’s ultimate intention has apparently been to effect a transfer of power without the appearance of illegality that might draw further opprobrium from outside Zimbabwe or frighten off potential investors.

“The army is trying to keep people guessing” while talks continue, said Frank Chikowore, a Zimbabwean journalist.

The ZANU-PF resolution on Friday singled out the G-40, a faction of politicians aligned with Mr. Mugabe’s wife, Grace Mugabe. It denounced four of them as “criminals and counterrevolutionaries”: Jonathan N. Moyo, the minister of higher education; Ignatius M. Chombo, the finance minister; Saviour Kasukuwere, minister for local government; and Patrick Zhuwao, the minister for public services, labor and social welfare.

The party did not, however, explicitly condemn Mrs. Mugabe, whose recent aspirations to succeed her husband appear to have been a trigger for his downfall.

Outside the main cities on Friday, the military set up roadblocks on main highways, apparently to thwart any attempt at organized resistance. Buses traveling from Bulawayo, the second city, to Harare, the capital, were pulled over and boarded by soldiers who checked documents and asked passengers about their business. Sometimes, travelers reported, the soldiers ordered passengers off the buses for inspection. Some were asked if they were carrying weapons.

Such was the official concern to maintain an appearance of normalcy that the state broadcaster devoted the first 10 minutes of its news bulletin on Thursday to interviews with people across the land and, as if scripted, all repeated the same refrain: “It’s business as usual.” Mr. Mugabe’s appearance at the graduation ceremony — however surreal — seemed to be part of the same stratagem.

Some Zimbabweans suggested that the officers’ calculation might offer Mr. Mugabe a chance to play hardball in closed-door talks.

In the annals of Africa’s many uprisings and coups, the script often involves the strongman fleeing into exile or being imprisoned or even shot.

Instead, Zimbabwe’s military allowed Mr. Mugabe to return to State House, his official residence, and on Friday, he appeared in a bright blue cap and gown, under tight security, to oversee the graduation ceremony in Harare. At one point, he appeared to doze, his head lolling.

By appearing at the ceremony, Mr. Mugabe wanted to give “the impression that he is still in charge,” Mr. Mutsvangwa said. “He is finished.”

“He is defying the population, trying to give a semblance of normality when things are not normal,” Mr. Mutsvangwa said. “That’s why we are saying: Don’t lie to yourself; it’s a delusion. You know he has been deluding himself — he is deluded.”

Mr. Mugabe — in official portrayals at least — has maintained power as an enduring emblem of the fight to expunge colonial influence in Africa.

But he has presided over a precipitous economic decline that began with the seizing of white-owned farms starting in 2000. Joblessness has soared, and a shortage of foreign currency has driven up the price of imports. At the same time, a loyal elite around him has amassed villas, farms and high-end automobiles.

Published in Parliament

“These are tears of joy,” Frank Mutsindikwa, 34, told Reuters, holding aloft the Zimbabwean flag.

“I’ve been waiting all my life for this day. Free at last. We are free at last.”

NAN reports that on Friday, President Ian Khama of Botswana urged Mugabe to end his attempts to remain in office after the military seized power, as he has no regional diplomatic support to stay in power.

The military intervention, which political sources say could pave the way to a national unity government after 37 years of Mugabe rule, also presented “an opportunity to put Zimbabwe on a path to peace and prosperity”, Khama told Reuters.

“I don’t think anyone should be President for that amount of time. We are Presidents, we are not monarchs. It’s just common sense,” Khama said.

Earlier, Mugabe arrived at a university graduation ceremony in the capital on Friday, his first public appearance since a military seizure of power that political sources say is aimed at ending his 37 years in office.

Mugabe, who is 93, opened a graduation ceremony at Zimbabwe Open University in Harare.

He wore blue and yellow academic robes and a mortar board hat and appeared to fall asleep in his chair as his eyes closed and his head lolled.

Mugabe led the country’s liberation struggle and has dominated its politics since independence in 1980.

He said he is still in charge but a senior member of the ZANU-PF ruling party said it wanted him gone.

“If he becomes stubborn, we will arrange for him to be fired on Sunday,” the source said. “When that is done, it’s impeachment on Tuesday.”

In contrast, the military said in a statement on national television it was “engaging” with Mugabe. It referred to him as Commander in Chief and said it would announce an outcome as soon as possible.

Mugabe is revered as an elder statesman and member of the generation of Africa’s independence leaders but he is also viewed by many in Africa as a president who held his country back by remaining in power too long.

He calls himself the grand old man of African politics.

Zimbabwe’s official newspaper, the Herald, ran photographs late on Thursday showing him grinning and shaking hands with military chief Gen. Constantino Chiwenga, who seized power this week.

The images stunned Zimbabweans who thought it meant Mugabe was managing to hold out against Chiwenga’s coup, with some political sources saying he was trying to delay his departure until elections scheduled for next year.

The ZANU-PF source said that was not the case. Anxious to avoid a protracted stalemate, party leaders were drawing up plans to dismiss Mugabe at the weekend if he refused to quit, the source said.

“There is no going back,” the source told Reuters. “It’s like a match delayed by heavy rain, with the home side leading 90-0 in the 89th minute.”

The army is camped on his doorstep.

His wife, Grace, is under house arrest, and her key political allies are in military custody.

The police, once a bastion of support, have showed no signs of resistance.

Furthermore, he has little popular backing in the capital, a stronghold of support for opposition parties that have tapped into the anger and frustration at his handling of the economy, which collapsed after the seizure of white-owned farms in 2000.

Unemployment is now running at nearly 90 percent and chronic shortages of hard currency have triggered hyperinflation, with the prices of imports rising as much as 50 per cent a month.

The only words Mugabe spoke at the graduation ceremony were met with ululations from the crowd.

In a telling irony, one of the graduates was the wife of Chiwenga.

The U.S., a longtime Mugabe critic, is seeking “a new era”, the State Department’s top official for Africa said, an implicit call for Mugabe to quit.

n an interview with Reuters, acting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Donald Yamamoto appeared to dismiss the idea of keeping Mugabe in an interim or ceremonial role.

“It’s a transition to a new era for Zimbabwe, that’s really what we’re hoping for,” Yamamoto said.

The army appears to want Mugabe to go quietly and allow a smooth and bloodless transition to Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice president, whose sacking last week triggered the military takeover.

The main goal of the generals is to prevent Mugabe from handing power to his wife, Grace, who appeared on the cusp of power after Mnangagwa was pushed out.

(Reuters/NAN)

Published in Headliners

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) yesterday said it had tendered 25 exhibits and called six witnesses against a former Governor of Zamfara State, Ahmed Sani Yerima, who is standing trial for allegedly mismanaging N464,820,189.24out of  N1billion loan meant for the repair of Gusau Dam in 2006.

The agency also said it had made its final submission before Justice Bello Tukur Gummi of Zamfara State High Court 5, sitting in Gusau.

A statement by the spokesperson of the ICPC, Mrs. Mrs Rasheedat A. Okoduwa (mni), said the ex-governor’s statement corroborated the charges preferred against him.

The statement said: “The commission’s prosecuting counsel led by Mrs. Christiana Onuogu, after calling six witnesses and tendering 25 exhibits made their final submission while the counsel for the ex-governor, Mahmud Magaji (SAN), tendered 8 exhibits.

“In her submission, Mrs. Onuogu argued that the prosecution had proved the essential elements of the offences with which the former governor was being charged, and that the principle of a no-case submission made by him failed where the defendant had explanations to make in response to the charges against him.

“She also averred that the defendant’s confessional statement that he had diverted part of the N1billion UBA loan to other projects and services corroborated the charges preferred against him.

“The action, according to her, was contrary to and punishable under Section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

“Mrs. Onuogu, therefore, prayed the court to dismiss the no-case submission entered by the defence counsel.

“Having listened to the submissions made by both the defence and the prosecution, the trial judge adjourned the case to 5th December, 2017 for ruling on the no-case submission”.

It should be recalled that Senator Yerima had earlier been arraigned in 2016 by the ICPC before Justice Bello Shinkafi of High Court 4, Gusau, Zamfara State on a 19-count charge bordering on  the alleged diversion of N385.5million and other sums from the N1bn loan meant for the repair of a collapsed dam and rehabilitation of flood victims while he was governor.

The case was subsequently transferred to Justice Gummi with the agreement of both the defence and prosecuting counsel on account of several adjournments because of the judge’s ill-health.

Some of the  charges against Sani, popularly called Yerima Bakura, are as follows:  “That you Ahmed Rufai Sani on or about November 2006, whilst being the Governor of Zamfara State at Gusau within the jurisdiction of this court did commit an offence of spending money allocated for one project on another to wit: out of the N1billion additional budgetary allocation by the Zamfara State House of Assembly for the repair of collapsed Gusau Dam and settlement of the victims of the said dam which was obtained through a bank loan, you spent the sum of N20m purportedly on assistance to the INEC and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

“ On another to wit: out of the N1billion additional budgetary allocation by the Zamfara State House of Assembly for the repair of collapsed Gusau Dam and payment of compensation to the victims of the said dam which was obtained through a bank loan, you spent the sum of N10million purportedly on donation and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

“ Did commit an offence of spending money allocated for one project on another to wit: out of the N1billion additional budgetary allocation by the Zamfara State House of Assembly for the repair of collapsed Gusau Dam and payment of compensation to the victims of the said dam which was obtained through a bank loan, you spent N43,008,000 purportedly on surveillance of guests and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000.

“That you Ahmed Rufai Sani on or about November 2006, whilst being the Governor of Zamfara State at Gusau within the jurisdiction of this court did commit an offence of spending money allocated for one project on another to wit: out of the N1billion additional budgetary allocation by  the Zamfara State House of Assembly allocated for the repair of collapsed Gusau Dam and payment of compensation to the victims of the said dam which was obtained through a bank loan, you spent the sum of N21,450,000 purportedly on settlement of publication equipment and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 22 (5) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000”.

Published in News & Stories
Saturday, 18 November 2017 01:40

EFCC grills ex-SGF Anyim

Barely 24 hours after his arrest, detectives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday grilled a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, on how he allegedly laundered over N13billion out of N58, 146,983,677.85 in the Ecological Fund account.

He was also asked to explain how the ecological cash ended up in the accounts of about 15 companies linked with him.

A third peg of the interrogation bordered on why Anyim collected N520million from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) on the eve of the 2015 general elections.

The reasons for the payment of the N520million were described by investigators as “unclear” as at the time of filing this report. 

According to findings, Anyim, who was described as sober in custody, was said to have used two of the 15 companies to make several transfers to 37 entities.

It was learnt that the EFCC opted to arrest the ex-SGF after he failed to respond to a letter of invitation from the agency.

It was gathered that Anyim, who was aware of the EFCC trail on him in the last one year, had banked on a political solution to his travails.

His sudden attendance of a dinner in honour of President Muhammadu Buhari in Abakaliki on Tuesday was said to be one of the rapprochements he was banking on to stave off the EFCC’s arrest.

But top sources close to investigation, who spoke in confidence with our correspondent, claimed that Anyim had a lot of garbage to clear based on his conduct in office.

One of the sources said Anyim, who was SGF from May 2011 to May 29, 2015, was under probe for alleged “false declaration of assets, abuse of office, misappropriation of public funds and money laundering”.

The source said: “We have been conducting a covert investigation of Anyim in the last two years based on the alleged diversion and laundering of ecological funds.

“After reaching an appreciable stage, we invited Anyim, but he refused to honour the 10am appointment given to him. We had no choice than to effect his arrest at about noon on Thursday.

“We executed a search warrant in his house and we were able to recover some documents relevant to the investigation.”

Asked to be specific on the allegations against Anyim, another source added: There was the wild disbursement of cash from the SGF Ecological Fund account when Anyim was in charge. Most of the beneficiaries of the cash had nothing to do with ecological contracts.

“For instance, from May 2012 to May 2015, the SGF Ecological Fund Account with the Central Bank of Nigeria received an inflow of N58,146,983,677.85. From this fund, three of the companies linked to Anyim (Foundation Years, Obis Associate and Eldyke Engineering) received contracts worth over N13billion. Foundation Years alone received a net payment of N10,308,017,838.85 between 2014 and 2015.

“Curiously, on receiving the fund, Foundation Years and another Anyim’s company, Br-Kthru, made several transfers to 37 entities. Some of the organizations and individuals have no nexus at all with ecological issues. Investigators are probing the reasons behind the wild disbursement.

The source listed companies which Anyim allegedly used as fronts to “obtain contracts or laundered proceeds of the ecological funds contracts as Foundation Years Limited, Precious Integrated, Precious Petroleum, Mak & Mak, Chap Construction, Eldyke Engineering, Pryke Limited, Chipa Nigeria Limited, Prima A11 Limited, Pima International, Chanto Engineering, Ishiagu Microfinance Bank, Mulak Ventures, Vitro Engineering and Tip Top Nigeria.”

A third source said  Anyim has cases to answer in connection with alleged “false assets declaration, receiving N520m from the Office of the National Security Adviser on the eve of the 2015 general elections for unclear reasons and using proxies and companies in which he had interest to corner contracts from the Ecological Fund.

“So far, he is looking sober in our facility, but we have asked him to give account of the N13billion curious payments/ withdrawals/ transfers from the Ecological Fund account. We have conducted searches on the 15 firms, identified their accounts.

“More amazing was the transfer of the N520million to Anyim by ONSA on the eve of the 2015 general elections. He needs to account for this cash too.

“We have other strands of investigation, including the Centenary Project, alleged cornering of NDDC projects by cronies and alleged building of a 297-bed hotel within two years of becoming SGF. But we have not gone into these other allegations.

“Anyim knew all along that the EFCC had been on his trail. At a point, he wanted a political solution to his travails, but this has not worked for him. What is at stake has to do with public funds.”

All the efforts to contact Anyim or any of his aides for comment did not succeed as the mobile telephone numbers of virtually all the contacts were switched off.

Published in Headliners
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