Thursday, 20 July 2017

POLITICS

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
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

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

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 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
Wednesday, 12 July 2017 01:06

NIGERIA: Buhari, Osinbajo meet in London

Nigeria’s ailing president Muhammadu Buhari and the country’s acting president Yemi Osinbajo are meeting in London, the Presidency said on Tuesday.

“AgP @ProfOsinbajo meeting with President @MBuhari in London today, and returning to Abuja immediately afterwards,” the Presidency tweeted. But there was no detail on the subject of the discussion.

The president has spent most of this year in London receiving treatment for an unspecified medical condition. He left for London for a medical check-up on May 7, leaving Vice President Yemi Osinbajo to lead the country. His aides said only his doctors can determine when he can return to the country.

“The length of the President’s stay in London will be determined by the doctors. The government will continue to function normally under the able leadership of the Vice President,” presidential spokesman Femi Adesina said in a statement.

Adesina, however, insisted that there was “no cause for worry.”

Buhari had left earlier Nigeria on January 19 for London to “undergo routine medical check-ups” during a short holiday. He only returned on March 10 after an extended period of medical treatment.

Though he hinted at the possibility of him going back for more treatment and acknowledged that he was terribly sick, he did not disclose the true nature of his ailment.

His office released an audio message during the Eid-el-Fitr celebrations purported to be from him. The message delivered wholly in Hausa angered more than a few Nigerians who accused him of being sectional with the choice of language he conveyed his message in.

Last month, Ekiti state governor Ayodele Fayose advised Buhari to resign but his supporters rejected the suggestion.

Published in Politics

First Lady hints at power struggle

President Muhammadu Buhari is getting better and will soon be back, going by his wife Aisha’s statement yesterday in London.

The President’s wife last week travelled to London to be with her husband, who is undergoing treatment for an undisclosed ailment. She has also been carrying out other assignments.

President Buhari left the country on May 7 for another round of treatment. He spent more than 50 days during his first medical vaction in London.

On his return, he told the nation that he had never been that sick in his life adding that he underwent blood transfusion. But he did not disclose his ailment.

On her facebook page yesterday, Mrs Buhari, in a response to the July 6 post by Senator Shehu Sani, expressed herself in a figurative manner, using the animal imagery like the senator did.

She wrote: “God has answered the prayers of the weaker animals. The hyenas and the jackals will soon be sent out of the kingdom.  We strongly believe in the prayers and support of the weaker animals.

“Long live the weaker animals. Long live Nigeria.”

Director of Press in Mrs Buhari’s office Mr. Suleiman Haruna, said yesterday that the post was on the president’s wife’s “verified facebook page”.

As at 10pm, about 257 people had made comments on the post, most of which were wishing President Buhari quick recovery.

Senator Sani (Kaduna Central) wrote on his facebook page on July 6.

“Prayer for the absent Lion King has waned; until he’s back then they will fall over each other to be on the front row of the palace temple.

“Now the hyenas and the jackals are scheming and talking to each other in whispers; still doubting whether the Lion King will be back or not.

“Now the Lion king is asleep and no other dare to confirm if he will wake up or not. It’s the wish of the hyenas that the Lion King never wakes or comes back so that they can be kings. It’s the prayers of the weaker animals that the Lion King comes back to save the Kingdom from the hyenas,the wolves and other predators.”

The senator is believed to be referring to those who are scheming to become president in 2019, criss-crossing the country in moves to taking advantage of the president’s absence.

Some people who are holding political positions are also believed to be undermining the system to position themselves in the president’s absence.

The President’s wife also yesterday posted her photograph speaking at an event in London.

She wrote under the photograph: “Today I attended the Babatunde Osotimehin Memorial Lecture at County Hall, London.

“It was an honour to have spoken about his achievements at all levels and his commitment towards women and children all over the world.”

Osotimehin was the Exective Director of the United Nations Fund for Population Activitiies (UNFPA) and a former minister of health, who died last month.

Published in Business and Economy

Wayne Rooney has left Manchester United to rejoin Everton for an undisclosed fee.

The 31-year-old has signed a two-year deal at Goodison Park after leaving Old Trafford.

Rooney said in a statement: "It is some time since I said that the only Premier League club I would play for other than Manchester United was Everton, so I am delighted that the move has happened.

"Thirteen years ago I went to United with the intention of winning trophies and I have been fortunate to be a part of one of the most successful periods in the club's history.

"I have come back to Everton because I believe Ronald Koeman is building a team that can win something and I look forward to playing my part in making that a reality for the club I have supported since a boy."

Everton manager Ronald Koeman told the club's website: "Wayne has shown me that ambition that we need and that winning mentality -- he knows how to win titles and I'm really happy he's decided to come home.

"He loves Everton and he was desperate to come back. He is still only 31 and I don't have any doubts about his qualities. It's fantastic he's here."

In 2004, Rooney signed with United, leaving Everton as an 18-year-old in a £25.6 million deal.

He went on to score 253 goals in 559 appearances, winning the Premier League title five times. In January, he scored his 250th goal for United to break the record set by Sir Bobby Charlton.

Rooney, fifth on United's all-time list of appearance makers, also won the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup and three League Cups during 13 seasons at United.

He was appointed club captain by former manager Louis van Gaal in 2014 following Nemanja Vidic's departure to Inter Milan.

United manager Jose Mourinho told his club's official website: "It is no secret that I have long been an admirer of Wayne. He has been a model professional throughout his time at the club and will remain in the history books for many years to come.

"It is never easy to see a great player playing less football than he would like and I could not stand in his way when he asked to go back to Everton. His experience, focus and determination will be missed and I wish him well for the future."

Rooney began to fall down the pecking order at United last season and made just 15 Premier League starts.

He was linked with moves to China and the United States but, when it became apparent he would be leaving United, the chance to rejoin Everton always seemed the most appealing.

United's interest in Everton striker Romelu Lukaku -- for whom they have agreed a fee of £75m with the Merseysiders -- helped ease the way for a return to Goodison Park.

Ed Woodward, United's executive vice-chairman, said: "Wayne has been a fantastic servant to United since the moment he signed for us as a prodigiously talented, explosive teenager some 13 seasons ago.

"Who can forget his storybook debut hat-trick against Fenerbahce, the spectacular overhead kick against City and the countless match-winning performances in his time here? But after much discussion, the club has decided to accept his request to rejoin his boyhood team.

"He goes having created some of the most magical moments in some of the most successful years in the club's history. Wayne leaves us as our greatest ever goalscorer and having won every major trophy in the game.

"His record will take decades for anyone to get close to matching and I am extremely grateful for the way he has led from the front since being appointed club captain three years ago. "On behalf of the whole club and our hundreds of millions of fans around the world, we wish Wayne all the very best for the next phase of his incredible career."

Rooney's departure from Everton 13 years ago did cause resentment among fans but the player has never lost touch with his roots and has spoken about his love of Merseyside.

As time wore on, antipathy towards Rooney from Evertonians eased and he even played for the club again in Duncan Ferguson's testimonial in 2015.

His signing continues a busy summer at Everton with Rooney, also England's record goal scorer, joining Jordan Pickford, Davy Klaassen, Michael Keane, Henry Onyekuru, Nathangelo Markelo and Sandro Ramirez as new additions.

Published in Sports
Sunday, 09 July 2017 12:54

Adeleke wins Osun West bye-election

NIGERIA: Mr. Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has won the Osun West Senatorial bye-election held on Saturday in Osun State.

Official results of the election showed that he defeated his  All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Mudashiru Hussain in nine of the ten Local Government Areas where the election was conducted.

The results is as follows:

Iwo LG        APC 12,205         PDP 12,547

Ede North   APC 2,784      PDP 18,559

Ede South   APC 2,096      PDP 13,406

Ejigbo           APC 12,229     PDP9,723

Irewole         APC 8,952        PDP9,096

Ola-Oluwa   APC 5,316       PDP5,618

Ayedere        APC 5,360       PDP5,789

Ayedaade      APC 7,179        PDP-9061

Egbedore      APC 4,768       PDP-7,142

Isokan            APC 5,227        PDP-6,539

Collation of ward results of the bye-election began in earnest last night with voters anxiously waiting for confirmation of the final outcome from the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The election was generally peaceful.

The two leading candidates -Mudasiru Hussein of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and Ademola Adeleke of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – hailed the election as fair and peaceful although the police arrested three suspected thugs for allegedly interfering with the voting process at Okinni in Egbedore Local Government area .

The day began with a drizzle but that did not stop voters from heading to the various polling units in the 10 local government areas that make up the senatorial zone as early as 8am.

Security was tight and voters had little complaints about the supply of voting materials, especially card readers.

Restriction was placed on vehicular movement across the state, except the Ibadan/Ife/Ilesa/Akure expressway, that links Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti States.

The election was preceded by a curfew in the district from 6pm on Friday to 6am yesterday.

Hussain after casting his vote at Ward 3, Unit 1, Beulah Baptist Primary School, Ejigbo,at about 9.30am  expressed satisfaction ‘so far’ with the election, saying he was confident of winning.

He commended both the INEC and voters for their maturity, saying that “if elections are conducted like this it means democracy has reached an advanced level.”

For his part, Adeleke, who is the younger brother of the late  Isiaka Adeleke, whose death created the  vacancy voted at Saagba Abogunde compound in Ede North at 8.34 am.

He said he was “100 percent confident of victory.”

“As you can see, it rained this morning before the voting exercise commenced. This is a signal to the fact that I will carry the day. With this large turnout also, its unarguable that I will beat Hussein hands down by God’s grace,” he added.

The Speaker of the Osun State House of Assembly, Najeem Salam, also commended the effort of security personnel in maintaining peace in Ejigbo.

Former Minister for Youth Development, Senator Akinlabi Olasunkanmi, advised the INEC to sustain credibility and standard set up by the last administration.

He spoke at his Ward 5, Unit 16 Ode-Omu, where he expressed satisfaction with the process of the election.

The police said they arrested three suspected thugs for allegedly unleashing mayhem at Igbokiti Unit, Ward 10, Okinni in Egbedore Local Government council. The thugs reportedly attacked  voters and INEC adhoc officers at the polling unit.

Some voters waiting to cast their votes were allegedly matcheted and injured.

The Commissioner of Police, Mr. Fimihan Adeoye, in a telephone chat, confirmed the arrest. He said the suspects were undergoing interrogation.

“With our vigilance and commitment to ensure peaceful conduct of the exercise, we are very happy that there is peace and there is no significant case of violence,” he said.

“We are determined to sustain peace and effective security till the end and even after the entire electoral process.”

Published in News & Stories
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