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I Am Not Harassing Your Family, Buhari Tells Jonathan |The Republican News

Buhari-Jonathan

Muhammadu Buhari and Goodluck Jonathan

Olalekan Adetayo and Godwin Isenyo

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Wednesday, said he was not harassing the family of former President Goodluck Jonathan or any other persons in the current administration’s ongoing fight against corruption as claimed by Jonathan.

He said anybody, who did not have skeleton in his or her cupboard, had nothing to fear about the ongoing anti-graft war.

Buhari said this in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, while reacting to an allegation credited to Jonathan in a book, ‘Against the Run of Play’, written by the Chairman of ThisDay Editorial Board, Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, that his family was being harassed by the present government.

The former President was also quoted to have disagreed with the style being used by the present administration in its anti-graft fight.

But Buhari said given the scale of revelations and recovery of funds so far by the anti-corruption agencies, it was obvious that corruption had “an uninhibited course during our recent past.”

While stating that he was resolute in the fight, the President said time would give the verdict on whose style of fighting corruption ultimately yielded the most dividends.

He said his belief was that national interest must always be placed above personal interest, no matter who was involved.

The statement read in part, “We make bold to state unequivocally that President Buhari harasses nobody; he merely allows the law to take its course.

“For the umpteenth time, we say that anybody, without skeleton in his or her cupboard, has nothing to fear about the bared fangs of the anti-corruption initiative. Fear belongs only to those who have abused trust while in office.

“Anybody who feels aggrieved is free to approach the courts to seek redress or justice. President Buhari believes in the rule of law and that is why his campaign against corruption is anchored on that plank.

“With regard to President Buhari’s anti-graft style, which the former President deprecates, given the scale of revelations and recoveries so far by the anti-corruption agencies, it is obvious that corruption had an uninhibited course during our recent past.”

Meanwhile, Senator Abubakar Girei said Jonathan should not blame anybody for his electoral defeat in the 2015 presidential election.

Girei said the former President was the architect of his failure in the election which ushered in Buhari as President in 2015.

Girei represented Adamawa Central Senatorial zone between 1999 and 2003 on the platform of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party.

The former Senator, who is now a member of the All Progressives Congress, said in a statement in Kaduna on Tuesday, that the former President was defeated because “he imposed Boko Haram insurgency, Niger Delta militancy, armed banditry and all forms of insecurity to remain in power.”

According to him, it is uncharitable for Jonathan to blame his defeat on local and international leaders and the former Independent National Electoral Commission chairman, Prof. Attahiru Jega.

He also berated a former Military Governor of Kaduna State, Col. Abubakar Umar, for saying the Federal Government disrespected the former President.

Gerei added, “The likes of Col. Dangiwa Umar and their paymasters cannot save him (Jonathan) and his cohort from paying for their sins sooner than later.”            (Punchng.com)

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We Will Find, Prosecute Multinationals Involved In Illicit Financial Deals – EFCC

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Acting Chairman, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu

Ifeanyi Onuba, Abuja

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has unveiled plans to go after multinationals involved in illicit financial flows out of Nigeria.

The Acting Chairman of the commission, Ibrahim Magu, disclosed this in an interview with journalists on the sideline of a conference on the use of beneficial ownership information and the recovery of assets in Africa.

The event, which was hosted by the Federal Inland Revenue Service in Abuja, was attended by representatives of over 30 African countries to discuss the issue of illicit financial flows, tax evasion and corruption on the continent.

According to the World Bank and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the continent is estimated to be losing more than $50bn annually to illicit financial flows stemming from bribery, corruption, transfer pricing, tax evasion and money laundering.

This figure represents more than the continent receives in official development assistance everywhere and is increasing at an annual rate of 9.4 per cent, which is twice as fast as the global average gross national income.

Magu described the development as worrisome, adding that a major cause of illicit financial flows was corruption.

He said if the menace of corruption could be addressed, the rate of tax evasion and illicit flow of funds would be reduced.

This, he noted, would free more resources for the government to implement development projects in the face of dwindling revenue.

He said the commission had opened discussions with the FIRS to set up a special unit that would deal with tax fraud, tax evasion and other related offences, particularly in multinational firms.

Magu stated, “We are already discussing that and we are going to upgrade our cooperation with them, and we are going to set up a unit that will be in charge of tax fraud and tax evasion and related offences.

“We want to see that we work on these very seriously and we intend to use that to see how we can bring succour to the economy.

“Very soon, we will set up this unit because we have just discussed with the FIRS chairman; and so, we will sit down and organise a special training so that we can collaborate very well and chase out corruption from this country and send it back to where it is coming from. If there is no corruption, there won’t be illicit financial flows.”

The EFCC boss said the agency would also take its anti-corruption war to the universities.

Magu added, “We are talking with the universities and we are looking at programmes and trying to launch a similar thing like the ‘Women Against Corruption’.

“The student union leaders visited me and this was their complaint, and we have told them we are going to do this to protect their future. So, it is very necessary that the students join us in the fight against corruption.”

The Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, who spoke at the event, said the issue of illicit financial flows had cost the continent huge losses in revenue.

She said while the government had put in place measures to fight corrupt practices, it would require the assistance of other countries to tackle the issue of tax evasion and illicit financial flows.                (Punchng.com)

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Ikoyi $43.4m: Osinbanjo Panel Compiles List Of Invitees |The Republican News

yemiosinbajo

Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo

Barely 24 hours after its constitution, the Presidential Investigative Committee on alleged infractions by two senior government officials got cracking yesterday.

The committee, headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, is probing suspended Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Babachir Lawal and National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Director-General Ayo Oke.

Lawal is alleged to have awarded a N200million contract to a company, Global Vision Limited, linked with him by the Presidential Initiative for the North East (PINE) for the clearing of “invasive plant species” (weeds) in Yobe State.

Oke is being investigated over the $43.4million “covert operations” cash, which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) found in an apartment in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos.

Contrary to the popular thinking that the NIA hid the $43.4million away from President Muhammadu Buhari, sources in the agency said yesterday that a brief was submitted to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) detailing the cash at hand as part of a comprehensive report for the President. But it was not clear last night whether the President actually got the report.

The Vice President and committee members met yesterday on their two-week mandate.

A source said: “The VP and members of the panel met to set up the structure for their investigation and list those who are likely to be interrogated.

“Members also got copies of the Interim Report which was submitted to the Presidency by the Acting Chairman, Mr. Ibrahim Magu and briefs from Engr. Babachir Lawal and Amb. Ayo Oke.

“The collation of issues to determine was ongoing as at press time .Once it is done, what is left is to isolate others who will appear before the panel, apart from Magu, the SGF and DG NIA. It is a big assignment with the right foundation laid by different memos/briefs already submitted to the Presidency.”

The committee is also expecting details of the operation in Osborne Towers from the EFCC, whose Acting Chairman Magu returned to Abuja yesterday.

Another source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The committee will certainly interact with all those involved in the request and approval of the funds; the remittance of the cash and those in charge of the management of Osborne Towers.

Some lawyers may represent the embattled SGF, the NIA DG, companies and others who are to appear before the committee. But, it could not be immediately ascertained if the committee will be disposed to the engagement of lawyers.

A source said: “This investigation is about the reputation of some individuals and companies who have decided to engage lawyers to be on their defence team.

“Those affected do not want to appear before the committee and get locked in any technicality which may lead to their dismissal or prosecution.

“Their argument is that it is also the standard practice all over the world to get counsel to come along with those being investigated.”

NIA sources insisted last night that the agency did not hide the $43.4million from President Buhari.

A source said: “Contrary to what is being said, the NIA actually did not hide the $43.4million from President Muhammadu Buhari. This will imply that the agency has an ulterior motive.

“What actually happened was that the agency’s brief was submitted to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) detailing the cash at hand, including the $43.4m, as part of a comprehensive report for the President.

“We have all the memos written to ONSA. It is also a good development that the NSA, Gen. Babagana Monguno, is a member of Osinbajo’s committee. We hope that at the appropriate time, he will step aside to either corroborate or deny these memos.”

Apart from the Vice President and Monguno, the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami(AGF), is also a member of the committee.

The three-man committee is expected to:

  • enquire into the circumstances in which the NIA came into possession of the funds;
  • find out how and by whose or which authority the funds were made available to the NIA; and to
  • establish whether or not there has been a breach of the law or security procedure in obtaining custody and use of the funds.

There were indications last night that the EFCC has ended its search and combing operations in Osborne Towers in Lagos in respect of the $43.4million haul.

The operatives drafted for the assignment have returned to Abuja.

But a skeletal surveillance was left in the controversial Apartment 7B.

Also, it was learnt that the anti-graft commission has obtained some vital documents from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on the company used to acquire the apartment by the National Intelligence Agency (CAC).

It was gathered that one of the documents provided a fresh insight into the acquisition of the apartment with EFCC putting another company in Ikeja under watch.

A reliable source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The EFCC has ended its search and combing of apartments in Osborne Towers. Those who went for the operation in Lagos are back to Abuja.

“There is however a surveillance still being out in place in Apartment 7B where over $43.4million was recovered.”

Responding to a question, the source added: “We have also obtained vital documents from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) implicating another company in Ikeja. The company is now under EFCC watch including the profiling of its accounts.

(The Nation)

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No More Fresh Communication To Senate On Magu |The Republican News

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Acting Chairman, EFCC, Ibrahim Magu

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari will not communicate to the Senate his latest position on the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, The PUNCH has learnt.

The Senate had, on March 15, 2017, requested the President to nominate a replacement for Magu following the rejection of his nomination by the legislature.

The upper chamber of the National Assembly said the rejection, which was based on security report by the Department of State Services, had ended Magu’s chairmanship of the EFCC in acting capacity.

But Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo had, last week, ruled out the possibility of replacing Magu, saying the President did not find the security report prepared by the DSS, which formed the basis for Magu’s rejection, a strong reason to replace Magu.

When asked when the latest government’s position would be sent to the Senate, a source in the Presidency told our correspondent on Tuesday that Buhari did not need to communicate his latest position to the Senate.

He said, “The Vice-President has made the government’s position on Magu’s matter clear.

“There is no need for the President to write the Senate again on the matter since he is no longer seeking the lawmakers’ confirmation.

“Have you not seen Magu carrying out his assignments without hindrance? That is to show you that the President does not need to write the senators again.”

Osinbajo had said he aligned himself with the argument of a lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), that Senate confirmation was not needed for the EFCC’s chairman appointment based on the provisions of Section 171 of the constitution.

He said, “No law says we can’t re-present him. And again, there is the other argument, whether or not we need to present him for confirmation and that’s a compelling argument from Femi Falana.

“His argument is that under the Constitution, Section 171, and if you look at that section, it talks about the appointments that the President can make. They include appointments of ministers, ambassadors and heads of agencies such as the EFCC.

“In that same Section 171, the Constitution rightly says that certain appointments must go to the Senate such as ministerial and ambassadorial appointments. Those of heads of agencies like the EFCC do not have to go to the Senate.

“That’s what the constitution says. But the EFCC Act, which, of course, as you know, is inferior, says that EFCC chairman should go to the Senate for confirmation.

“I am sure that even a pocket-book lawyer knows that when legislation conflicts with Constitution, it’s the constitution that prevails. I agree with Mr. Falana that there is no need in the first place to have sent Magu’s name to the Senate, but we did so and it was rejected by the Senate, but I believe that it can be re-presented.

“I don’t think there is anything wrong about the fact that Senate has rejected him. Senate has acted in its own wisdom to say ‘no, we don’t want him’, and we can say ‘this is our candidate… we like the gentleman and we want him to continue’.”

Section 171 of the Constitution that deals with presidential appointments read as follows:

(1) Power to appoint persons to hold or act in the offices to which this section applies and to remove persons so appointed from any such office shall vest in the President.

(2) The offices to which this section applies are, namely:

(a) Secretary to the Government of the Federation;

(b) Head of the Civil Service of the Federation;

(c) Ambassador, High Commissioner or other Principal Representative of Nigeria abroad;

(d) Permanent Secretary in any ministry or head of any extra-ministerial department of the government of the federation howsoever designated; and

(e) any office on the personal staff of the President.

(3) An appointment to the office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation shall not be made except from among Permanent Secretaries or equivalent rank in the civil service of the Federation or of a State.              (Punchng.com)

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Ikoyi N13bn Cash: EFCC Searches Ex-Governors Obi, Mu’azu, Others Ikoyi Flats

Large sums of money stashed in an apartment in Ikoyi, Lagos. Photo: EFCC

 

Eniola Akinkuotu, Olalekan Adetayo and Olaleye Aluko

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, on Tuesday, searched the apartments of the immediate past Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi; and a former Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Adamu Mu’azu, as part of investigations into the  $43.4m, £27,000 and N23m (N13bn) found at a flat in Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, last week.

Other prominent persons, living in the building, include a former Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (Retail), Mrs. Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue; and media mogul and founder of Ebony Life Television, Mo Abudu.

Sources within the EFCC told one of our correspondents that all the flats were searched including the unoccupied ones.

The commission had uncovered the N13bn in flat 7B of the building on Wednesday last week.

Detectives were, however, of the opinion that there might be more money concealed in other flats including three unoccupied apartments.

The media aide to ex-Governor Obi, Mr. Valentine Obienyem, confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that all the apartments in the building were searched by the commission.

He, however, maintained that the apartment was a rented one as Obi’s home is in Onitsha, Anambra State.

Obienyem warned mischief makers against seeking fault in Obi, adding that the entire tenants in the building were also searched.

He said although the former governor was not at home when the EFCC carried out the search, he sent the key to the flat to the EFCC and nothing incriminating was found in the apartment.

The statement read in part, “The media aide to former Governor Mr. Peter Obi has confirmed the search by the EFCC of Flat 1, occupied by the former governor in the building where the agency discovered large sums of money.

“The apartment was rented by the wife of the former governor and it is where Mr. Obi usually stays anytime he is in Lagos.

“Even though Mr. and Mrs Obi had travelled to the USA and the UK for speaking engagements, when we relayed the message of the search to him, he quickly sent the keys to the four-bedroom apartment to the EFCC via courier.

“He even left instructions that we should allow them to also search his Onitsha residence should there be a need for that. After the thorough search, nothing was found in the apartment.”

When contacted on Tuesday, Mo Abudu said she would not comment on any issue relating to the towers, adding that she had already put a statement on her Instagram page.

She said, “Hello. I am not interested in talking to the media about this. I’m in a meeting right now and I am not interested in talking about anything at all. Okay? So, I am going to drop my telephone now.

“I know what it is you want to talk about and I am not interested. I’m busy. There is nothing I’m going to talk about. Whatever it is you want to write, write it and if anybody writes anything that is not, I am going to sue that person.

“I have already put out a statement. Have you not been checking the internet? I am looking for the person that will let me make him a scapegoat.

“Go to my Instagram and you will see it. You will see my statement there. Thank you. Have a good night. Bye.”

Abudu had said through her lawyers, Streamsowers and Kohn, on their twitter handle that the apartment was not a gift from any government official.

The lawyers added that the apartment was bought by Abudu in the open market and for a fair value, stating that the allegations were baseless.

It was learnt on Tuesday that the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, was the one handling the investigations into the controversial N13bn seized by the EFCC and not the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).

“The NSA, Babagana Monguno, is the one investigating and not the AGF. By the time he finishes his job, the Presidency may then officially address the issue,” a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told The PUNCH.                     (Punchng.com)

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Anti-corruption War Is Not About Media Frenzy, Ribadu Tells Magu

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Pioneer Chairman of EFCC, Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu

The Pioneer Chairman of the Economic Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Alhaji Nuhu Ribadu takes a swipe at the Acting Chairman of the Commission, Ibrahim Magu
Speaking of the ongoing anti-corruption war, Ribadu the EFCC is losing the war against corruption “because the drivers of the anti-corruption vehicle are more interested in drama and media hype than the actual national goal.”
This is certainly not the EFCC of my dream,” Ribadu said, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari must have been disappointed in the manner at which the anti-graft war is being fought.
His words: “Anti-graft war is not all about media frenzy but genuine commitment to the total eradication of corruption from the system.
I am sorry to say that we are losing the war against corruption because the drivers of the anti-corruption vehicle are more interested in drama and media hype than the actual national goal.
It is preposterous to unlawfully incarcerate alleged corrupt elements for months just to find evidence against them, and when you finally charge them to court, you fail to present evidence but start begging judges to help the president fight corruption as if we are in the Banana Republic.
“This is certainly not the EFCC of my dream, and I am very sure that this is not what President Muhammadu Buhari meant when he promised to fight corruption during the electioneering.”

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