Thursday, 20 July 2017

ENTERTAINMENT

Items filtered by date: July 2017

The Federal High Court in Lagos on Wednesday ordered the temporary forfeiture of a property at Banana Island, Lagos, reportedly bought for $37.5m in 2013 by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The property, designated as Building 3, Block B, Bella Vista Plot 1, Zone N, Federal Government Layout, Banana Island Foreshore Estate, has 24 apartments, 18 flats and six penthouses, according to court papers presented on Wednesday by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

Apart from the property, the court also ordered the temporary forfeiture of the sums of $2,740,197.96 and N84,537,840.70, said to be part of the rent collected on the property.

The funds were said to have been found in a Zenith Bank account number 1013612486.

Justice Chuka Obiozor ordered the temporary forfeiture on Wednesday, following an ex parte application to that effect brought before him by a counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Anselem Ozioko.

Ozioko had told the judge that the EFCC “reasonably suspected that the property was acquired with proceeds of alleged unlawful activities of Diezani.”

The lawyer said investigations by the EFCC revealed that Diezani made the $37.5m payment for the purchase of the property in cash, adding that the money was moved straight from her house in Abuja and paid into the seller’s First Bank account in Abuja.

“Nothing could be more suspicious than someone keeping such huge amounts in her apartment. Why was she doing that? To avoid attention.

“We are convinced beyond reasonable doubts because, as of the time this happened, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke was still in public service as the Minister of Petroleum Resources,” Ozioko told the court.

The ex parte application taken before the judge was filed pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, No. 14, 2006 and Section 44(2)(k) of the Constitution.

Listed as respondents in the application were Diezani; a legal practitioner, Afamefuna Nwokedi; and a company, Rusimpex Limited.

After listening to the EFCC lawyer on Wednesday, Justice Obiozor made an order temporarily seizing the property and the funds.

He directed that the order should be published in a national newspaper.

He adjourned the case till August 7, 2017 for anyone interested in the property and funds to appear before him.

Published in Headliners

Last year an in-depth investigation by Bloomberg business news revealed that Congolese President Joseph Kabila’s family have a network of business interests in the country including stakes in Congo’s biggest mobile-phone company and one of its largest banks.

“The sprawling network may help explain why the president is ignoring pleas” to hand over power, the site said at the time.

Seven months on and Mr Kabila has still not relinquished power even though his constitutionally-limited time in office has come to an end.

This time Bloomberg has turned its attention to the president's brother, Zoe, who is a member of parliament.

It has found that over the past seven years, the Canadian company Ivanhoe Mines has sold five mining licenses to Zoe’s companies.

Bloomberg points out that none of the companies have been accused of wrongdoing and it is not illegal to do business with a sitting member of parliament.

Still, it says, the Kabilas’ commercial interests extend across the economy making it difficult for corporations to operate without coming into contact with a company that has ties to a member of the ruling family.

Published in Business and Economy

Over the past few weeks, crowd-control vehicles, guns and tear gas have been shipped into Kenya, reports Kenya's Standard newspaper.

This comes ahead of the general election on 8 August.

The newspaper reports at least a dozen new South Korean-made riot control vehicles arrived in Nairobi at the weekend.

It also says anti-riot gear including teargas canisters, batons, anti-riot wear and guns came through Mombasa port.

The newspaper adds that this "points to an assessment by the security forces that there could be violence after the announcement of the results".

Every week until the election the BBC's Dickens Olewe is taking an in-depth look at an aspect of the vote.

Published in Business and Economy
Wednesday, 19 July 2017 01:08

Zimbabwe's election 'to cost $270m'

Zimbabwe will need $274m to fund next year's presidential and parliamentary elections, the Reuters news agency reports.

It says the head of the electoral commission, Rita Makarau, gave the figure while addressing a parliamentary committee.

The country is currently suffering a cash shortage but Ms Makarau said that she was confident that the money would be found, Reuters adds.

President Robert Mugabe has been in power since 1980 and is set to run for another five-year term in 2018.

Published in Headliners

…Arraigned on 32 count over alleged N36b fraud. 

A Federal High Court in Abuja Tuesday ordered that former Governor of Jigawa State, Ibrahim Saminu Turaki be remanded in Kuje prison in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.

By the order given by Justice Nnamdi Dimba, Turaki is to remain in prison pending when he is able to meet the conditions attached to the bail granted him after he was arraigned, with three companies, on a 32-count charge, in which they were accused of laundering about N36billion

Turaki, who was earlier granted bail on liberal terms on July 14 by the vacation judge of the High Court of the FCT, Justice Yusuf Halilu, was arraigned before the Federal High Court on Tuesday on a charge filed in 2007 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The charge is marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/86/2007.

The ex-Governor, who was rearrested by the EFCC on July 4 at a social function in Abuja, after jumping bail and allegedly evading arrest for about six years, was arraigned on Tuesday with three companies -INC Natural Resources Ltd, Arkel Construction Nigeria Ltd and Wildcat Construction Ltd.

After the arraignment and the argument on the bail application made by defence lawyer, Ahmed Raji (SAN), Justice Dimgba noted that in view of the bail earlier granted Turaki by the High Court of the FCT, he was minded to grant bail.

He directed lawyers for the parties: Mohammed Abubakar for the EFCC and Raji for the defence, to agree on terms on which the Turaki could be granted bail.

After a meeting between the lawyers, the reported the agreed terms to the court, which the judge partially adopted and granted Turaki bail at N500million, with two sureties at N250,000 each, who must either be businessmen or civil servants not below the level of a director and must own properties in FCT, including the satellite towns.

The judge ordered to submit his travel documents to the court, and is to seek the court’s permission before travelling abroad. He is to report to the EFCC one in a month.

Justice Dimgba directed the EFCC to liaise with the registrar of the court to verify whether or not Turaki meets the bail conditions, following which the EFCC is to send a letter to the court confirming verification.

The judge said, should the EFCC fails to do that within 24 hours of the defence meeting bail, the defence can write to the court informing it that the EFCC did not write to verify.

Justice Dimgba, who is the court’s current vacation judge in Abuja, adjourned further proceedings in the case to September 19, the date earlier chosen by the trial judge at the Federal High Court, Dutse, Jigawa State, where Turaki reportedly jumped bail about six years ago, following which a bench warrant was issued by the court for his arrest.

The judge also said further proceedings in the case shall resume at the court’s Dutse division.

Dressed in a white native attire (agbada and a cap), Turaki wore long face as he stepped off the dock, shortly after the judge’s pronouncement.

Some of the counts in the charge read: “That you Ibrahim Saminu Turaki, INC Natural Resources Ltd, Arkel Construction Nigeria Ltd, Wildcat Construction Ltd and Ahmed Ibrahim Mohammed (now at large) on or about May 3, 2006 at Abuja, within the jurisdiction of this court did collaborate in concealing the genuine nature of the sum of N8,004,000,000, which sum was diverted from an illegal act and you thereby committed  an offence punishable under section 14(1)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2004.

“That you Ibrahim Saminu Turaki on or about 15th July 2006 at Abuja, did conspire with INC Natural Resources Ltd, Arkel Construction Nigeria Ltd, Wildcat Construction Ltd and Ahmed Ibrahim Mohammed (now at large) to launder the sum of N5.200,000,000 and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 17(a) of the Monet laundering (Prohibition) Act 2004 and punishable under section 14(1) of the same Act.

“That you Ibrahim Saminu Turaki, INC Natural Resources Ltd, Arkel Construction Nigeria Ltd, Wildcat Construction Ltd and Ahmed Ibrahim Mohammed (now at large) on or about 3rd May 2006, did collaborate in concealing the genuine nature of the sum of $20,000,000 which sum was derived from an illegal act and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 14(1)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2004.”

Published in Headliners

Seven lawmakers on trial for ‘money laundering’

Eighteen senators are under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged N367.5billion fraud, it was learnt yesterday.

Seven are on trial. Some of the cases date back to 10 years.

A senator is being investigated for alleged stamp duty infractions.

One or two Senators (outside the list) are under investigation for their alleged involvement in the N19billion and $86million London-Paris Club refund in which seven governors have been implicated.

The Nation stumbled on a fact-sheet which indicates that 11 of the senators under investigation are from the North. The others are from the South.

Those facing trial include two from Northcentral, three from Northwest, one from Northeast and one from Southeast.

Those being investigated cut across the six-geopolitical zones.

Most of the N367.5billion alleged fraud border on money laundering, misappropriation, unexecuted contracts, diversion of public funds to campaigns, and others.

In one of the cases, a senator is being probed for alleged diversion of about N108billion while he was a governor in one of the states in the South-South.

A senator allegedly embezzled about N47billion when he was a governor. Investigators believe he was aided by his wife and son.

A senator is standing trial for alleged mismanagement of N1.2billion ecological funds; another allegedly diverted to other uses N1billion meant for the repair of a collapsed dam.

The other strands of the fraud include laundering of N40billion by a senator from the North-East; diversion of N3billion to the campaign by a North-West Senator; 149-count charge of mismanagement of N15billion by a senator from the North-Central and the arraignment of a North-West senator for allegedly N52billion fraud.

There are N9billion case involving a senator from the South-East; N2.1billion contract fraud by a member of the Upper Chamber from the South-South; N10.2billion fraud traced to a senator from the North-West and N2billion diverted funds credited to a senator from the North-Central.

Two aides of a senator, who is being probed for alleged illegal deduction of N3.5billion from the London-Paris Club refund have been quizzed.

Three new senators from the North-Central, South-East and South-West have been under investigation for some infractions, including alleged Stamp Duty collection fraud.

An EFCC source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The case files of all these 18 senators are already with us. Seven of them are already on trial.

“But, certainly, 11 others will be prosecuted at the appropriate time. It may interest you that some agencies in a few international jurisdictions are interested in some of the cases against some of these senators.

“It might also interest you that some of these cases predated the appointment of the present Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu. But since continuity is a cardinal principle of the EFCC, Magu has decided to ensure that the matters in court are pursued to logical conclusion. There is also no waiver for all cases undergoing investigation.”

In response to a question, the source added: “Magu has no personal problem with any senator. He inherited most of these cases.”

Meanwhile, it was learnt that some of the senators have also made a “strong case for the discontinuation of either their investigation or prosecution by the EFCC as part of the conditions for supporting  Magu.

“In one of the lobbying sessions, a senator from the North-East said he committed no crime to have been subjected to trial by the EFCC.

“Although a Senator from the North-Central was aggrieved, he was reported to have said: ‘I won’t block the nomination of Magu because he is probing me. I have forgiven him. But I know I did not commit any fraud and I will be vindicated in the end.”

Published in Business and Economy
Tuesday, 18 July 2017 00:24

I Am A Radical For Jesus – Tonto Dikeh

Nollywood actress Tonto Dikeh whose marriage recently was annulled and who has also declared that she’s now a born again christian made a post on what it truly means to know Jesus.

The mother of one said:

“Being born again isn’t a license to be BORING,OR DIRTY IN APPEARANCE..
Being born Again is living a fun filled,Happy joyous life knowing that you have a mighty God by your side..
Being born again isn’t about not having friends or hanging out,it’s about having the right friends that will elevate,motivate,inspire you and most especially pray with you..
Being born again means having Access to the best and the most beautiful things of life..
Being born Again is having Peace and never been afraid to show how genuinely happy you are no matter who that affects..
Being born Again is having to see a hate word and still praying for them..
God wldnt call you only to make you A boring person or a less fashionable person,As a matter of fact I believe a born Again Christian shld have the finest things of life..Because if my life isn’t Colourful how then can I convince you that a LIFE IN CHRIST IS A BLISSFUL ONE..
My fellow brethren it is time for us to Allow the world see Jesus in us colorfully.. MY NAME IS TONTO DIKEH,I AM A RADICAL FOR JESUS,MY LIFE IS AS BRIGHT AS THE COAT OF MANY COLORS,I SPEAK IN HEAVENLY TONGUE AND AM AN ENTERTAINER #KINGTONTO #MAMAKING #RADICAL4JESUS”

Published in Arts & Culture

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Monday, intervened in inter-bank Foreign Exchange Market with the supply of 195 million dollars as part of effort to stabilise the market.

The acting Director, Corporate Communications of the apex bank, Mr Isaac Okorafor, in a statement, said 100 million dollars was offered through the wholesale segment.

He said that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment received 50 million dollars, while tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel Allowance (BTA), among others, got 45 million dollars.

Okorafor said that the CBN was pleased with the state of the market, and assured that the bank would continue to intervene in order to sustain liquidity in the market and guarantee international value of the naira.

He said the apex bank remained determined to achieve its objective of rates convergence, “hence the unrelenting injection of intervention funds into the foreign exchange market’’.

Okorafor expressed optimism that the naira would sustain its run against the dollar and other major currencies around the world, considering the level of transparency in the market.

He, therefore, advised stakeholders to abide by the guidelines to ensure transparency in the market.

Last week, the CBN intervened in the various segments of the foreign exchange market with the injection of 396.8 million dollars.

Meanwhile, the naira continued to maintain its stability in the market, exchanging at an average of N364 to a dollar in the Bureau de Change segment of the market.

Published in News & Stories

There is hardly any doubt that the subsisting economic recession in the country is taking its toll on all sectors of the economy. The arising pains, from time to time, become so heavy that even the most enduring lets out a cry of exasperation. The other day, operators in the automotive sector were reported to have cried out that low demand for their products might cause them to shut down their operations. What that means is that auto-manufacturers or assembly plants in the country have reached their wit’s end. That situation has been driven by many factors but certainly not because Nigerians no longer need brand new cars and vehicles. The forces include non-availability of financial resources needed to purchase new cars; poor state of the economy resulting from the on-going economic recession; devaluation of the Nigerian currency against major international convertible currencies; lack of or inadequate consumer finance facilities for vehicle purchase; high cost of the cars/vehicles assembled in the country; availability of cheaper alternatives especially functional second hand cars; ineffective implementation of government’s policy on ‘buy Nigerian made goods’; and inflation that has eroded the value of money.

If the auto-manufacturing companies are allowed to shut down, the inherent dangers will include loss of jobs by the employees leading to higher national unemployment rate. The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the country will nose-dive as the contributions made by the auto-makers will be lost. There will be decline in government’s revenue as a result of lost income taxes; industrialisation of the country will suffer a major setback; small and medium scale enterprises that provide services or supply materials to the companies will lose their contracts and perhaps, die. Local capacity and skills development will tend downwards; and ultimately, all the investment that had been made will be lost even as the government goes about in search of more investors.

Incidentally, what is happening to the business of the auto-manufacturers currently cuts across all sectors of the economy. Individuals and organisations, including governments at all levels, are struggling to make ends meet. It is incumbent on each and everyone to find innovative and creative solutions that will facilitate overcoming the current challenges posed by unhealthy economic environment. Thinking out of the box is paramount. It does not matter how long and how far and loudly the cries of drowning individuals, corporations and governments are heard, such are unlikely to produce positive solutions. That the auto-manufacturers are reported to be operating presently at five per cent of installed capacity can be noted as worrisome but such notation will not change the situation. Companies as big enough as the auto-makers should have the means of reading and interpreting goings-on in the market place as well as the know-how to generate ideas that, when implemented, should turn the table in their favour. If the directors and managers are unable to deal with ensuing challenges and as a result the companies are shut down, that will be a clear sign of leadership failure and a bad baggage they will carry around for the rest of their careers. Consequently, it is not in the interest of the leadership of the auto-companies to keep waiting until they are shut down. No amount of outcry will assure that the companies either remain productive or improve on capacity utilisation. Therefore, they should think and act.

But the auto-manufacturers would have seen the issue of low sales coming if only they had been market-sensitive. Indeed, if their marketing, research and development departments were alive to their responsibilities, they would have foreseen the situation. With such early knowledge, the companies would have strategised on how best to deal with the challenge in order to keep their operations on-going despite the country’s economic situation. One way this would have been achieved is by exploring the export market, especially in countries that are not suffering from economic recession. It would also have been necessary for the auto firms to strategically re-assess their cost profiles with a view to identifying and effectively managing major cost drivers in order to achieve lower selling prices of their products.

It is imperative, however, that it is recalled that the Federal Government not too long ago unfolded the National Automotive Industry Plan. That plan received broad-based acceptable by stakeholders, including the auto-producers. As good as that plan may be if it is not implemented in its letter and spirit, the challenges that face the automotive sector will not abate in the short to medium term. The government must therefore ensure that the implementation is driven to the extent that the intendments are achieved with the operators having little or no cause to complain. If, for example, governments and their agencies patronize domestic auto-assemblers by buying their vehicles, that will be exemplary and may encourage other corporate entities in the country to do the same. If governments’ employees are made to buy locally assembled cars, private sector operatives may also follow. This can be achieved faster if governments arrange, through the banks, new vehicle purchase finance facilities for their employees. The ‘buy made in Nigeria goods’ slogan needs to be catalysed through government examples. These initiatives will assist in solving the ‘low sales’ challenge being faced by the automotive industry. 

Additionally, the production cost of the auto companies needs to be studied to reveal and rectify what drives them too high resulting in high selling prices and inability to compete with imported ones. Furthermore, issues of poor infrastructure such as power, high cost of funds, inadequate foreign exchange, non-payment of employees’ salaries by most state governments, rising cases of unemployment, depreciation of the Naira, and so on require urgent remedial attention if enduring solutions must be found. In the final analysis, government should appreciate that with the reported development, realisation of its objectives and projections in the National Automotive Industry Plan, is under threat and thus, must do something to counter the threat.

http://guardian.ng/opinion/auto-plants-may-shut-down-amid-poor-sales-2/

Published in Parliament

THE West African Examinations Council (WAEC) on Monday announced the release of the results of the West African Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) for school candidates (May/ June 2017).

Addressing journalists at the Council’s National Office in Lagos on Monday, the Head of the National Office (HNO), Mr Olu Adenipekun, noted that a significant improvement was recorded this year, with nearly sixty per cent of the total candidates obtaining credit in six subjects including English and Mathematics.

He said, “A total of 923,486 (nine hundred and twenty three thousand four hundred and eighty six) candidates, representing 59.22%, obtained minimum of credits in five (5) subjects and above, including English Language and Mathematics. The percentage of candidates in this category in the WASSCE for School Candidates in 2015 and 2016 was 38.68% and 52.97%, respectively.”

Also, according to the breakdown, a total of 1,567,016 candidates registered for the examination, out of which 1,559,162 sat the examination.

Out of this figure, 1,471,151 (94.36%) results were released in full, while 95,734 candidates (5.64%) have some of their subjects still being processed “due to errors” committed by candidates in the course of registration or during examination.

However, a total of 214,952 results (13.79%) were withheld “in connection with various reported cases of examination malpractice.”

A further breakdown of the results showed that 1,490,356 candidates (95.59%) obtained credit and above in two subjects, while 1,436,024 candidates (92.44%) obtained credit and above in three subjects.

Also, 1,357,193 candidates (87.05%) obtained credit and above in four subjects; 1,243,772 (79.77%) in five subjects; and 1,084,214 (69.54%) in six subjects.

Adenipekun further disclosed that the Council had concluded plans to conduct its first ever January/February examination for private candidates in 2018, in line with the decision of WAEC’s Annual Council Meeting which “granted approval to member countries to conduct WASSCE for Private Candidates twice a year.”

Published in Headliners
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