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Executive Order 6 Imperative For Fight Against Corruption – British Envoy |RN

British-envoy-Paul-Arkwright
         British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright

Adelani Adepegba, Abuja

 

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, has endorsed the Executive Order 6 signed by President Muhammadu Buhari, noting that it is important for rooting out corruption in the country.

The envoy in an interview with Channels TV on Monday noted that the order would assist in the fight against graft in the country.

He said, “I’ve heard that this is an anti-corruption measure, it’s not for me to say who should or should not be on the list. But what I would say is that it’s very important in continuing this fight against corruption and rooting out corruption where it is happening”.

Arkwright, however, refrained from commenting on the travel ban on 50 Nigerians by the Federal Government.

He stressed the need for peaceful and credible elections in 2019, adding that free, fair and credible election was important for political stability in the country.

The high commissioner said that meeting with political candidates was necessary to discuss expectations for the 2019 polls.  (Punch)

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Executive Order 6: Court Backs Buhari On Seizure Of Looters’ Assets |RN

                                            President Muhammadu Buhari

Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

 

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Thursday validated the Presidential Executive Order 6 of 2018 which provides for the interim seizure of assets linked to ongoing criminal trials and investigations.

President Muhammadu Buhari had on July 5, 2018, issued the Presidential Executive Order, but two lawyers, Ikenga Ugochinyere and Mr Keneth Udeze, instituted a suit before the court to challenge its constitutionality.

Delivering judgment on Thursday, Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu dismissed the lawyers’ suit for lacking in merit and affirmed that the President had the constitutional powers to issue the PEO as long as it did not encroach into the principles of separation of powers.

She ruled that the PEO was issued as a policy directive for the implementation of provisions of existing laws, adding that it also recognised the right of every citizen to approach the court for redress if aggrieved by the enforcement of the PEO.

The plaintiffs had on July 13, 2018, filed the suit marked, FHC/ABJ/CS/740/2018, arguing that the PEO contravened constitutional provisions.

They argued that by virtue of the combined effect of sections 5, 36 and 43 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the President lacked the power to issue the PEO.

They maintained that the President’s act or conduct in issuing the PEO interfered with or encroached into the ownership of assets or properties of any person who had not been found guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction.

The plaintiffs had through their lawyer, Mr Obed Agu, joined President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, as the defendants.

But dismissing the suit on Thursday, Justice Ojukwu agreed with the defendants’ lawyer, Mr Tijani Gazali, that the PEO could only be enforced in line with the provisions of the law and did not amount to an infringement of the rights of the affected person, who also had the right to approach the court to seek redress.

She ruled that contrary to the plaintiffs’ contention, the Executive Order 6 did not violate the rights of citizens to fair hearing and to own property under sections 35 and 43 of the 1999 Constitution, but was informed by the President’s willingness to preserve suspected property from being dissipated while an investigation or criminal trial linked to it was ongoing.

“What the President has demonstrated by the Executive Order in question is his willingness to ensure the prevention of the dissipation of assets and funds connected with the commission of the offence of corruption and other related offences, until the determination of any corruption-related matter against the person or firm,” the judge held.

However, the judge made a little modification to the PEO which she noted seemed to give the AGF the discretion on when to seek the court’s permission to seize any property suspiciously linked to corruption or other criminal activities.

The judge, in modifying the order, directed that the AGF, who is assigned the coordinating role by the PEO, must, at all times, obtain a court order before seizing any asset.

While reiterating that the PEO must be implemented in accordance to the principles of the rule of law, she added that the coordinating role imposed on the AGF by the PEO was subject to Section 174 of the 1999 Constitution and must be predicated on the existence of facts.

The judge ruled, “It is pertinent that the honourable Attorney General of the Federation, as the overseer of the activities of all the law enforcement authorities listed in the 2nd Schedule to the Executive Order, should ensure due process and uniformity of purpose.

“It is the further opinion of this court that the honourable Attorney General of the Federation first obtains an order of the court in all circumstances before blocking or freezing or confiscating such funds or assets pending the conclusion of an investigation or legal action.

“An application may be made ex parte and if the court is satisfied with the averment and information contained in the application, the order may be granted.

“It is, however, recommended that an order of the court in that regard include a period of investigation or subsequent date. Where the court is of the opinion that the party to be affected by the order should be put on notice, the court should make that determination.”

Affirming the constitutionality of the PEO and the need to implement it in line with the rule of law, the judge ruled, “In the final analysis, what this court has to say is as follows:

“The President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has powers under sections 5 and 315 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to issue Executive Orders on routine administrative matters, to state’s policies, especially for the internal operations of state’s agencies insofar as it does not step on the toes of legislative and judicial powers under the constitution.”  (Punch)

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Buhari, NJC Replace Sacked Federal High Court Judge With Petitioner |RN

Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

Justice Olusegun Tokode, who was removed from the Federal High Court’s bench in December 2017, will be replaced on Tuesday with a petitioner who exposed an alleged irregularity in his appointment, The PUNCH has learnt.

The PUNCH on Monday sighted a copy of the letter by the National Judicial Council addressed to the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adamu Abdu-Kafarati, indicating that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the appointment of the petitioner, Ms Abimbola Awogboro, to replace Tokode.

Awogboro, along with the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, had faulted Tokode’s appointment in a petition sent to the NJC, leading to his removal in December 2017.

The NJC’s letter to Justice Abdu-Kafarati, dated October 5, 2018, indicated that Awogboro would be sworn-in at the chambers of the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of NJC, Justice Walter Onnoghen, on Tuesday (today).

Titled, Re: Appointment of one Federal High Court judge, the letter signed by the Secretary of NJC, Mr Ahmed Saleh, on behalf of the CJN, read in part, “I have been directed by the Chief Justice of Nigeria and Chairman of the National Judicial Council, Hon. Mr Justice Walter Onnoghen, GCON, to inform you that the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, on the recommendation of the National Judicial Council, has approved the appointment of Ms. Abimbola Awogboro as a judge of the Federal High Court.

“In accordance with the provision of 290 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, you are to kindly request the candidate to declare her assets and liabilities.

“The candidate will be sworn-in on Tuesday, October 9, 2018 by 10am in his lordship’s chambers.

“Your lordship may wish to notify the candidate, please.”

Awogboro was not part of the nine newly appointed judges of the Federal High Court.

Tokode was appointed to the Federal High Court bench in December 2015.

But Awogboro and SERAP, in a petition sent against him, accused him of making false claims to the Federal Judicial Service Commission and the NJC over his eligibility for appointment as a judge.

He was said to have submitted six court judgments in six cases, which he claimed to have personally conducted while practising as a lawyer.

But Awogboro and her co-petitioner alleged in their petition that only one of the cases, in which the judgments submitted by Tokode were delivered, was truly conducted by him.

The NJC said the submission of six judgments to the FJSC and NJC was a pre-requisite for application for appointment as a judge.

Following its findings, the NJC not only recommended his removal from office, it ordered him to refund the salaries and allowances he had earned since his “purported appointment to the position of a judge” to the coffers of the judiciary.

But Tokode has since filed two suits to challenge his removal from office.

While one of the suits has been struck out, the other is still pending in court.  (Punch)

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I Was Voted Into Office To Fight Corruption – Buhari |The Republican News

                             President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, said the anti-corruption war of his administration was not negotiable.

He said it was a must for him to fight graft because that was one of the reasons he was elected.

According to a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, the President spoke while receiving a former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

Mbeki, who heads the African Union High-Level Panel on Illicit Flows from Africa, was in Nigeria to give      Buhari, who is the current champion of AU Anti-Corruption Campaign, some updates.

The President said since his electoral promises to Nigerians included fighting corruption, he could not afford to let the people down.

He said, “For this administration, fighting corruption is non-negotiable. It is a must.

“We must fight corruption frontally because it’s one of the reasons we got elected.

“We campaigned on three fundamental issues: security, reviving the economy, and fight against corruption. It’s the reason we got elected, and we can’t afford to let our people down.”

Noting that the government was making progress on the anti-corruption war, “and not just talking,” the President said he was very pleased with the assignment the former South African President was carrying out for the African continent.

He submitted that when Africa was vigorous with the war against corruption, “we will eventually appeal to the conscience of the rest of the world.”

In his remarks, Mbeki said corruption was an African challenge that must be responded to, “as development challenges can only be met through the check of illicit financial flows.”

He said he was delighted that Buhari touched on the issue in most of his speeches, with the most recent being at the United Nations General Assembly last week.

“We are pleased with the way you take up the matter. Countries need the political will to stop the illicit flow. Nigeria has shown a good example.

“The more we are showing that we are acting as Africans, the easier to get the rest of the world to cooperate,” Mbeki said.   (Punch)

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Buhari Blames The Elites For Being Silent Over PDP’s Alleged Misrule |RN

                               President Muhammadu Buhari

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has chided Nigerian elite for remaining silent in the face of alleged misrule of the country by the Peoples Democratic Party between 1999 and 2015.

He said while they allowed Nigeria to be mismanaged in 16 years without raising a voice in consternation, they have been accusing him of being too slow.

He wondered where those that were considered to be fast got to.

According to a statement on Friday by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, the President spoke at a meeting he had with the Nigerian community in the United States of America on Thursday in New York.

The meeting was held on the margins of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly holding in New York.

Buhari said he had taken ordinary Nigerians as his constituency because of the way they had been standing by him.

He said this was the reason he has been conscious of them.

The President said, “They (Nigerian elite) didn’t say a word. Under the PTF (Petroleum Trust Fund, of which he was Chairman), we did roads from Lagos to Abuja, to Onitsha, to Port Harcourt.

“Since then, the roads were not done, between 1999 and 2015, yet the elite did not say a word.

“I was called Baba Go Slow. Those who were going fast, where did they get to?

“In 1983, military officers gathered and made me Head of State. I packed the politicians into jail, told them they were guilty until they could prove their innocence. We seized what they had looted, but after I myself was put in detention, the politicians were given back what they had looted. How many elites complained about that?

“Three times I contested elections; three times I went to court after the elections were rigged against me. No justice, but I said ‘God dey.’

“It was mainly the ordinary people that stood by me. That is why I am always conscious of them. They are my constituency. Even pregnant women on the queue would fall into labour, go to have their babies, and still come back to vote for me. I will keep doing my best for the country.”

Buhari told the Nigerians living in America that if he won the 2019 election, and he spent another four years in office, “I will leave some difference in that office.”

The diaspora Nigerians, in their scores, are top-flight professionals, drawn from fields like medicine, engineering, sports, the arts, investment, academia, politics, agriculture, transport, education, publishing, and many others.

Most of them expressed the wish to come back home and contribute to the change making a headway in Nigeria, to which the President replied, “You are contributing to this great country (America).

“If you want to help back home, invest in education in your constituencies. If you educate people, they won’t then accept nonsense from anybody.”   (Punch)

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Aisha Buhari’s ADC, Sani Baba-Inna Released From DSS Detention |RN

 

The Department of State Services (DSS) has reportedly released the Aide De Camp (ADC) to Wife of President Muhammadu Buhari, Aisha.

The First Lady had, last Friday, accused her ADC, Sani Baba-Inna of fraud.

Mrs Buhari said Mr Baba-Inna collected cash gifts totalling N2.5 billion from politicians and businesses over three years but kept it to himself. She asked the police to retrieve the money, and publicly asked persons who may have given money to Mr Baba-Inna to demand same from him.

However, police investigations, according to sources in the police, failed to trace such huge amount to the ADC.

Dissatisfied, Mrs Buhari reportedly asked the DSS to take over the case.

Spokesperson of the service, Peter Afunanya, who confirmed the arrest to PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday said investigation was in progress.

Mr Baba-Inna’s elder brother, Farouq Baba-Inna, told PREMIUM TIMES Thursday afternoon that he has been released.

“He has just been released and I am on my way to see him,” he said.

A call to Mr Afunanya was not answered and is yet to be returned as at press time.      (The Sun)

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Buhari’s Government, HSBC Engagment In Fight Gets Uglier |The Republican News

Buhari-Muhammadu

“We ask them (HSBC) to heed President Buhari’s constant refrain: return our stolen assets, then see how well we will do.”

• As EFCC allegedly traces $33.6m to 3 Nigerians’ accounts with bank

• You’re hypocrite, Atiku slams govt

Iheanacho Nwosu, Abuja

The Federal Government appears not to be taking lightly the alarm raised by the British multinational bank (HSBC), which predicted that re-electing President Muhammadu Buhari in 2019 could further worsen Nigeria’s present economic situation.

Barely 48 hours after the presidency issued a statement, accusing the bank of aiding the collapse of Nigeria’s economy in the past by conniving with past Nigeria’s leaders to loot the country’s resources blind, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), yesterday, took a swipe at the bank, accusing it of engaging in money laundering.

But former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, came hard on the government for attacking the bank, just because it gave a verdict that Buhari’s re-election for another term would spell doom for the country’s economy.

The EFCC in a statement it posted on its Instagram page noted that the international bank “is one of the largest banking and financial services organisations in the world. HSBC’s international network comprises around 7,500 offices in over 80 countries and territories in Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, the Americas, the Middle East and Africa.

“Since inception, HSBC is synonymous with money laundering and has paid billions of US Dollars in fines across the world. In Nigeria, the bank laundered more than $100 million for the late dictator, Gen Sani Abacha in Jersey, Paris, London, Switzerland and Geneva. The bank is also involved with laundering proceeds of corruption for over 50 Nigerians including a Nigerian serving Senator.

“Part of Abacha Assets yet to be recovered are: $12 million in HSBC Fund Admin Ltd with account number S-104460 in Jersey; $20 million in HSBC Life (Europe) with account number 37060762 in U.K and $1. 6 million in HSBC Bank plc with account number 38175076 in U. K.”

The presidency had in a statement signed by Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Garba Shehu, last week alleged that one of the things that helped to destroy Nigeria’s economy in the past was the connivance of HSBC with some Nigerians to loot Nigeria’s money, adding that “rather, we ask them (HSBC) to heed President Buhari’s constant refrain: return our stolen assets, then see how well we will do.”

 

Reacting to the government’s outburst, Atiku, whose position was conveyed by his Presidential Campaign Organisation, yesterday, said he was amused when he read the statement that emanated from the presidency.

He added that, “It is at once comical and pathetic that the Buhari government’s statement called HSBC corrupt. It seems they are unaware that some of the record 12 trillion worth of debt which the Buhari administration has saddled Nigeria with is actually funded from HSBC, which is the world’s largest bank.

“When they were taking their money, the ever begging Buhari administration did not know that HSBC was corrupt. It was after the HSBC told the truth about the Buhari government that they knew that the HSBC is keeping looted funds.

 

“In their statement, the presidency called HSBC ‘a bank that soiled its hand with millions of US dollars yet-to-be-recovered Abacha loot.’ They forgot that their principal, Muhammadu Buhari said ‘Abacha did not steal.’ So if Abacha did not steal, how could HSBC keep recovered Abacha loot? When you tell so many lies, you begin to contradict yourself,” Atiku said.

He reminded the All Progressives Congress-led administration that the British Prime minister, Theresa May and other international organisations have condemned Nigeria under Buhari’s leadership as one that is being regarded as the world’s centre for “extreme poverty.”

He also called on the government to put on its thinking cap so as to change the negative narrative about Nigeria.

“The fact remains that Nigeria under Buhari has been adjudged as the world headquarters for extreme poverty by the World Economic Forum and the World Poverty Clock as well as the British Prime Minister, Theresa May. Are these people also corrupt?

“Only last month, the National Bureau of Statistics revealed that our second quarter GDP growth rate was lower than our first quarter GDP growth. Another quarter of negative growth and Nigeria will enter a second recession under the Buhari administration. The same NBS published in December 2017 that 7.9 million Nigerians lost their jobs in 21 months under Buhari’s watch.

“These are the things that the government should be focused on and not to haul infantile insults at the world’s largest bank,” Atiku added.  (The Sun)

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