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Alleged $1.6bn Scam: Court Strikes Out Charge And Deziani’s Name |RN

Deziani madueke

From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court in Abuja yesterday struck out one of the nine counts of $1.6billion crude oil fraud filed against the businessman, Jide Omokore, and five others by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
This was a sequel to an application by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, who alleged that she was not accorded the opportunity to defend herself after being indicted in the particular count. Others facing trial for the alleged crime include Omokore, his two companies, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Limited. Others are a former Managing Director of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, Victor Briggs; a former group executive director, exploration and production of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Abiye Membere and a former manager, planning and commercial of the NNPC, David Mbanefo.
The anti-graft agency had preferred nine counts of criminal diversion of about $1.6billion alleged to be part of proceeds of sales of petroleum products belonging to the Federal Government, against the six defendants.
Allison-Madueke, who was said to be currently in the United Kingdom facing some legal proceedings, was not listed among the existing six defendants in the case to defend the charge, but she was, together with Briggs, Membere and Mbanefo, in count eight, accused of aiding Omokore in the commission of money laundering offence.
The offence she and others were accused of was said to be contrary to section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.
But the former minister, through her lawyer, Dr Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), on September 18, 2017, filed an application seeking among other prayers, an order directing an amendment to the charges, by adding her name as the seventh defendant to enable her to defend herself with respect to the eighth count.
She also told the judge that she would be grossly prejudiced by a refusal of the application, which would further compound the gross violation of her constitutional rights.
Opposing the application, lawyer for the EFCC, Mr Aliyu Yusuf, urged the court to refuse Diezani’s application seeking to be joined as a defendant. He said that Diezani, who is on self-exile, is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police for several crimes and has been admitted to bail in the United Kingdom but cannot leave the country.
Yusuf said: “The applicant seeing that the investigations by the Metropolitan Police had reached the advanced stage and that trial in the instant charge before this honourable court is proceeding smoothly had designed the instant application to distract and scuttle both her investigation and imminent prosecution in the United Kingdom and the trial before this court.”
He also argued that Diezani knew she would not be able to leave the United Kingdom in view of the ongoing investigation and imminent prosecution. Therefore, she is seeking the order to amend the charge for her name to be included on the face of the charge in order “to escape from investigation and prosecution in the United Kingdom under the guise that she is coming to face her trial before this court and also scuttle the trial.”
In his ruling, Justice Dimgba ruled that the EFCC could not have its cake and eat it because by including Diezani’s name in count eight, the commission ought to make her one of the defendants.
“It looks like blackmail,” the judge said and added that the court had no option than to strike out count eight of the charge, where Diezani’s name was mentioned. He adjourned trial of the substantive matter till October 5 and 6, 2017.   (The Sun)

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CJN, Okonjo-Iweala, Fayemi, Fayose, Others Under Probe, Says EFCC |RN

Walter-Onnoghen
                      CJN, Justice Walter Onnoghen

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Walter Onnoghen; Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti State; his predecessor and the current Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Dr Kayode Fayemi; and the immediate past Minister of Finance, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, are among high-profile personalities currently under its investigation.

The names are contained in the list of high-profile cases involving over 100 politically-exposed persons and top-ranking public officers still being investigated by the EFCC as of August 2017, The PUNCHreliably learnt on Monday.

The list, sighted by one of our correspondents via an EFCC source on Monday, was recently sent by the anti-graft agency to the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), based on a request.

Sunday PUNCH had reported that the list, sent to the AGF’s office earlier in August, comprised over 100 high-profile cases including the cases of a Justice of the Supreme Court and a judge of the Federal High Court.

Sunday PUNCH has also reported that some former governors, one of whom currently serves as a minister in the President Muhammadu Buhari’s cabinet, and others serving their terms in the Senate, as well as other politically-exposed persons, including some former ministers, senators and some persons, are being investigated for the $2.1bn arms purchase scam.

“The list was actually sent in August to the then Acting President Yemi Osinbajo and copied the AGF,” another EFCC source said on Tuesday.

The list, sighted earlier on Monday, listed 106 cases under investigation and several others pending in court but either stalled or moving slowly.

It did not disclose the details of the cases under investigation.

It, however, stated the date each of the over 100 cases was “referred”, the challenges being encountered in the investigation and the source of information leading to the commencement of the probe.

Sources of such information for the cases were listed against each of the cases.

They include intelligence, whistleblowers and petitions from government agencies and private citizens.

Among other notable names on the list are the incumbent Governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, and his predecessor, Captain Idris Wada.

Other former governors on the list include Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, who is currently the Senate’s Minority Leader; Jonah Jang of Plateau State, currently serving as Senator representing Plateau North; Ali Modu Sherriff of Borno State, who recently had a controversial stint as the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party; and Chief Lucky Igbinedion of Edo State.

Also listed are the names of Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan; and some ministers who served under the Jonathan administration.

Apart from Okonjo-Iweala, former ministers on the list include the immediate past Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke; the immediate past Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke (SAN); a former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Bala Mohammed; ex-Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, who is currently the Senator representing Anambra North; and a former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe.

Alison-Madueke’s husband’s name, Rear Admiral Alison Madueke (retd.), was also listed.

Also sighted on the list are the names of two men who simultaneously served as media aides to Jonathan – ex-Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, and a former Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe.

Other prominent high-profile persons on the list are a former Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Abdullahi Dikko; a former acting Chairman of the PDP, Uche Secondus; Col. Bello Fadile (retd.), who served under the immediate past National Security Adviser, Sambo Dasuki; the incoming Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Abdu Kafarati; and Justice Mohammed Tsamiya, who was recently retired compulsorily by the National Judicial Council.

The EFCC stated in the document that it was investigating the CJN based on intelligence referred to it on October 12, 2016. The document indicated that the commission was investigating Okonjo-Iweala based on a petition referred to it on January 28, 2016.

For Fayose’s case, the commission said it received a petition against the governor on August 13, 2016, but the investigation had been stalled due to alleged lack of cooperation from the Ekiti State Government officials.

The commission stated similarly that the case against Akpabio was referred to it on May 10, 2016, but had been stalled due to an injunction granted by a High Court of Akwa Ibom State stopping the probe.

It stated that although the Court of Appeal had set aside the injunction, the Akwa Ibom State Government had proceeded on an appeal to challenge the judgment of the Appeal Court.

Apart from stating that Fayemi’s case was under investigation and giving the name of the person who referred it to the commission, it did not state the date the case was referred.

It stated that the cases against Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State and his predecessor, Capt. Idris Wada was referred to the EFCC on September 29, 2016, and April 16, 2016, respectively.

The case against Patience Jonathan alongside Ariwabu Aruera Reachout Foundation was said to have been referred to the commission on September 26, 2016, while that of Oduah was on April 5, 2016.

The case against Sherriff was said to have been informed by an intelligence report referred to the commission on October 10, 2016.

The commission stated that Diezani’s case was referred to it on June 20, 2016, while it received that of her husband on January 14, 2016.

It stated that investigation into Orubebe’s case, referred to it in 2013, had been stalled due to lack of cooperation from the Ministry of Niger Delta.

The case involving Justice Tsamiya was said to have been referred to the commission on October 17, 2016, while the case file of Justice Kafarati was said to be with the commission’s acting chairman.

The document indicated that the cases against Abati and Okupe were referred to the commission sometime in December 2015.

The file of the former Customs boss, Dikko, was said to have been referred to the EFCC on February 20, 2017.

In his reaction on Tuesday, Fayose’s Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said the state government would not cooperate with the EFCC until it started acting responsibly.

Olayinka stated, “The EFCC should start acting responsibly in the interest of the nation and stop being a willing tool in the hands of the All Progressives Congress.

“We have written several petitions against former governor Kayode Fayemi, now Minister of Mines and Steel Development, which the commission fails to act on.

“The state government will not cooperate with the EFCC under Ibrahim Magu until it starts behaving responsibly.”

When contacted, Fayemi, who spoke through his media aide, Yinka Oyebode, said, “I am not aware of any probe by the EFCC.”

On his part, Okupe said he had appeared before the EFCC to answer some questions on a particular issue.

Though he refused to mention the issue, he said it was not a crime for one to be investigated by a government agency.

The former presidential spokesman added, “I have appeared before the EFCC before on an issue the commission was investigating and I have given them sufficient explanation.

“I have not been condemned or convicted. Investigating politically-exposed persons is normal. So, I don’t see the list as something we should bother ourselves with.”

Akpabio could not be reached for his reaction. When contacted, his media aide, Mr Anietie Ekong, said, “My boss is still out of the country and I cannot comment on this matter.”

Attempts to get Okonjo-Iweala on Tuesday were unsuccessful as calls to his media Adviser, Mr Paul Nwabuikwu did not connect while a text message sent to him had yet to be answered as of the time of filing this report.

In his reaction, the Director-General on Media and Publicity to the Kogi State Governor, Kingsley Fanwo, said he was not aware of the investigation.

He said, “Governor Yahaya Bello is a staunch advocate of a corrupt-free Nigeria and will welcome any genuine drive at combating or preventing corruption.

Having said that, I think it is premature and prejudice to comment on a mystery investigation.

“Governor Bello is an incorrigible and incorruptible Nigerian who had been doing legitimate business before his foray into politics.”

Abati neither responded to telephone calls nor text messages sent to his two phones.

The lawyer to Mrs Patience Jonathan, Mr Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), had accused the EFCC of persecuting his client.

Adedipe said the former first lady had sued the EFCC for harassment and he was sure of victory.

The spokesperson for the CJN, Awassam Bassey, could not be reached through his telephone on Tuesday.

Story by: Olusola Fabiyi, Everest Amaefule, Kamarudeen Ogundele, Eniola Akinkuotu, Leke Baiyewu, Ifeanyi Onuba and Ade Adesomoju.    (Punchng.com)

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Patience Jonathan Dares EFCC, Recovers N2b Hotel |The Republican News

 Patience-jonathan-hotel
The hotel complex of Dame Patience Jonathan, off the Mabushi Kado Expressway, Abuja

Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

Patience, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan, has recovered her N2bn hotel which was sealed off by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in June, The PUNCH has learnt.

In June, the EFCC placed the red inscriptions, ‘EFCC Under Investigation’ all over the hotel which is located near Setraco Construction Company, off the Mabushi Kado Expressway.

However, when our correspondent visited the five-storey building recently, the EFCC inscriptions had been covered with patches of grey paint.

When our correspondent knocked on the gate, three men who attended to him said they acted on the instruction of Mrs Jonathan.

When asked if they had the right to enter the building, one of them said, “Go and ask the EFCC if they had the right to put their sign all over the building in the first place. If you want more information, go and ask madam.”

The spokesman for the EFCC, Mr Wilson Uwujaren, said he did not know much about the seizure of the building and thus could not say if it had been returned to Patience or not.

He said, “I have spoken to the appropriate people but I was not able to get any answer on the matter.”

A source at the EFCC said it was wrong of Patience to have erased the EFCC inscription from the building.

He said, “Sometimes when we are investigating some politically exposed persons, they immediately begin to sell off their buildings in order to cover their tracks and run away with the cash so that is why we put EFCC signs on the buildings so that innocent people will not buy those buildings.

“As it is, she has removed the inscriptions and can quickly sell it off.”

Although the hotel has not been officially valued by the EFCC, some estate agents within the community told our correspondent that the property should be worth about N2bn.

The property, which has not yet been officially opened, has between 50 and 100 rooms, a gym, a fountain and other amenities.

In his reaction, Mrs Jonathan’s lawyer, Ifedayo Adedipe (SAN), said he was not aware of the seizure of the property.

Adedipe said if the hotel in question was indeed seized through a court order, then the removal of the EFCC inscriptions would be of no effect.

He, however, boasted that all properties and funds seized from the former first lady would be returned to her soon.

The senior advocate revealed that Mrs Jonathan had dragged the EFCC before a high court in Abuja and the matter would soon come up for a mention.

Adedipe said, “I am not aware of the seizure of property. If the EFCC seal was removed from the property, let them go and put another one. In any case, we have sued the EFCC for abuse of her human rights and human dignity. The matter is pending before the Federal High Court in Abuja and everything has been included in that suit.

“We are challenging all the seizures because, without prejudice to our case, Mrs Jonathan was neither a public officer nor a contractor. So, the idea of harassing her beats my imagination.

“I don’t see the basis for the EFCC’s harassment of that woman and the case wears a political toga because she was a formidable element during the campaign.”

Patience first came under EFCC investigation in May 2016 when the commission arrested a former Special Adviser to the President on Domestic Affairs, Waripamowei Dudafa.

Mrs Jonathan laid claim to about $15m found in bank accounts allegedly belonging Dudafa’s domestic servants.

She subsequently sued Skye Bank Plc and the EFCC. The commission then went ahead to freeze her personal account with a balance of $5m.

The anti-graft agency had also frozen bank accounts belonging to her relatives and friends including business mogul, Bola Shagaya.

Her husband, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, had complained about the harassment of his wife by the commission while Patience had also written a petition to the House of Representatives asking the lawmakers to caution the EFCC and stop harassing her and her relatives.  (Punchng.com)

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Multi-Billion Naira Loot Allegation: Diezani Seems To Surrender |RN

 

Deziani madueke

Ex-Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke

 

How non-appearance and not making legal representations in court compounded her case

By OMONIYI SALAUDEEN and ONYEDIKA AGBEDO

Former minister of petroleum resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke is arguably facing the greatest travail of her life with allegations of monumental corruption against her by the Federal Government rapidly debasing her reputation. But she appears to have given up rather than put up a fight, a sort of total surrender to fate in the face of imminent destruction. And week in, week out lately, the Federal Government has secured court judgments against her either ordering interim or permanent forfeiture of her ‘hard-earned savings and property’ said to be proceeds of corruption. In the last one month alone, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the government’s anti-graft agency, has got at least three of such judgments against her.

Just last Monday, Justice Abdulazeez Anka of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, ordered the permanent forfeiture of the sum of N7.6 billion suspected to belong to the former minister. Justice Anka gave the ruling sequel to an application filed by the EFCC seeking the final and permanent forfeiture of the said sum to the Federal Government.

  The anti-graft agency had in its supporting affidavit averred that consequent upon the investigation carried out on the intelligence reports received by the commission, it discovered that the sum of N7.6 billion kept in the accounts of some banks were proceeds of unlawful activities.

  The forfeited sum was allegedly laundered through former Group Managing Director, Crude Oil Marketing Division of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Gbenga Olu Komolafe; former Group Managing Director, Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC), Prince Haruna Momoh; and Group Managing Director of Nigerian Products Marketing Company (NPMC), Umar Farouk Ahmed, on behalf of Deziani.

Justice Chuka Obiozor of another Federal High Court, Lagos, had on August 7, this year, ordered the temporary forfeiture of the monies following an ex-parte application argued before him by the EFCC.

Also on Wednesday, August 22, a Federal High Court in Lagos had ordered that 56 buildings linked to Diezani and her associates be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government. The buildings located in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Lagos and Rivers States and valued at N3.320 billion, were alleged to be proceeds of corruption.

  The court presided over by Justice Abdulaziz Anka gave the order while granting an ex-parte application filed and argued before the court by counsel to the EFCC, Mr Anselm Ozioko.

  The properties ordered to be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government included 21 mixed housing units of eight numbers of four-bedroom penthouse apartments; six numbers of three-bedroom apartments; two numbers of three-bedroom apartments; and one number of a four-bedroom apartment, all en suite and located at 7 Thurnburn Street and 5 Raymond Street, Yaba, Lagos valued at N937 million.

  Other properties included 16 numbers of four-bedroom terraces located at Heritage Court Estate, Omerelu Street, Diobu GRA, Port Harcourt, Rivers State valued at N928 million.

  Also included in the property haul were 13 numbers of three-bedroom terraces, with one-room maid’s quarters, situated at Mabushi Gardens Estate, Plot 1205, Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi, Abuja, valued at N650 million; and six flats of three bedrooms and one-room boy’s quarters, located at Plot 808 (135) Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, valued at N805 million.

  Diezani had also on Monday, August 7, this year, lost a $37.5 million Banana Island mansion to the Federal Government. A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos had ordered that the $37.5 million sky-scrapper on Banana Island, Lagos, belonging to her be finally forfeited to the Federal Government. The trial judge, Justice Chuka Obiozor, also ordered that the sums of $2,740,197.96 and N84,537,840.70 realised as rents on the property should equally be forfeited to the Federal Government. Justice Obiozor made the orders sequel to a motion on notice argued before him by the EFCC.

  The anti-graft agency had on July 19, 2017, obtained a court order to temporarily seize the property located at Building 3, Block B, Bella Vista Plot 1, Zone N, Federal Government Layout, Banana Island Foreshore Estate, which is said to have 24 apartments, 18 flats and six penthouses.

  As the judgments continued coming, the questions on many lips were: Where is Diezani? Where are her lawyers? Why is she just watching as the government keeps linking illicit funds and properties to her and seizing them through the courts? Would these judgments stand the test of time?

  Although the former minister is known to be battling with ill health in the United Kingdom where she has been residing since the early days of the present administration, the fact that she has not made a legal representation in court amidst the allegations and forfeitures is already being interpreted as an admission of guilt and submission to government’s might by many observers. All that has come from her in the recent past was a statement where she denied ownership of $153.3 million recently forfeited to the Federal Government through an order of the Federal High Court, Lagos; and absolved herself of any wrong doing during her tenure as Minister of Petroleum Resources.

  She said: “I am deeply disturbed and bewildered by recent media reports claiming that by virtue of an order of the Federal High Court, I have forfeited to the Federal Government the sum of $153.3 million, which I purportedly stole from the NNPC.

  “Whilst the reasons for my being out of the country are public knowledge, the principle of fair hearing demands that I should have been notified of formal charges if truly there was a prima-facie evidence or indictment against my person linking me with the said issue, so as to ensure that I had adequate legal representation.

  “This was never done. I wish to state that I cannot forfeit what was never mine. I do not know the basis on which the EFCC has chosen to say that I am the owner of these funds as no evidence was provided to me before the order was obtained and they have not, in fact, served me with the order or, any evidence since they obtained it. As of the time of my writing this rebuttal, the EFCC has still not furnished me or my lawyers with a copy of the order.”

  Diezani further denied any involvement with the Malabu oil deal, saying it was not under the direct purview of the Petroleum Ministry when she was the minister.

   “As Minister of Petroleum Resources, I did not participate in any activity relating to financial payments on the Malabu matter, other than those statutorily mandated to the minister of petroleum resources by the Petroleum Act. My role in this matter was a purely statutory one as required by law in the Petroleum Act,” she noted.

  She added that “it is therefore sad and distressing that in spite of all that I tried to do in the best interest of our nation, I continue to be faced with constant demonisation, unproven accusations and deeply personal insults.”

  To many analysts, the press statement does not equate for a legal defence in any way and as such, they believe that the former minister should have sought redress in the courts if she felt her rights and reputation were being trampled upon. And until she does that, the “constant demonisation, unproven accusations and deeply personal insults” against her might continue till the government becomes satisfied that Nigeria’s stolen funds allegedly in her custody have been substantially retrieved.

  The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay, provides further insight into the issue in the interview below:

There is this public concern about the forfeiture of Diezani’s property by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).  What is the propriety or otherwise of the seizure of her property without her appearance in court?

  Who stops her from coming to court to defend herself? Who stops her from engaging a lawyer and briefing him to argue on her behalf? I think people who say that are either mentally retarded or simply corruption trying to fight back. Those who have such a monumental level of bad faith for this country, who hates Nigeria so much and would not even mind, if looters who stole billions upon billions of naira are allowed to get away with it are either themselves beneficiaries of corruption or they are mentally retarded because they don’t know what is good for themselves and for Nigeria. Why can’t Diezani engage a lawyer to represent her interest here? That is all she needs to do. Supply a lawyer with the facts; he will go to court and defend her property. We must disregard such people; they don’t mean well for the country.

What about the possibility of her turning around to challenge these seizures?

It is not possible. The only thing she can do is to go to the Court of Appeal. She can never challenge it. She had the opportunity to defend her property but she didn’t. We advertised for over two weeks, and she had the opportunity of engaging a lawyer to defend herself but she did not. What it means is that she cannot explain how she acquired the money because it is clearly Nigeria’s money.  We all know it. Why are we pretending? Where will Diezani get 52 houses? What job does she do? Does NNPC money belong to her privately? Is NNPC not a Nigerian institution? Those who are pretending about it are beneficiaries of corruption. The best I can say about them is that they are mentally retarded. That is the most charitable thing I can say about it.

Isn’t it possible for the Federal Government to extradite her back to Nigeria to answers these charges?

  Well, it is a possibility. But she has charges to answer also in England. For me, personally, I am not speaking for the government because that is not the priority for now. I think it is urgent to recover all assets that are stolen first so that we can make use of what belongs to us so that we can make use of what we have been deprived of. They have caused a huge level of unemployment for the youth; they have caused kidnapping and armed robbery with their reckless looting. It is the money they have stolen that has almost rendered this country bankrupt. So, let’s get our money back and restore the welfare and well-being of Nigerians. After we have done that or while we are doing that, we can go to prosecution side and prosecute them. For me, the priority is for us to recover assets that have been stolen.

You said she could go to the Appeal Court. What is she going to make out of it, if she chooses to do so?

  She can appeal against the decision of High Court if she is so minded. If she loses at the Court of Appeal, she can go to the Supreme Court.

Must she necessarily be present in Nigeria for her to do that?

  No, she doesn’t necessarily have to be present. It is a civil case. She can hire a lawyer to defend her. She doesn’t have to appear in court.  (The Sun)

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In Over Two Years Buhari Hasn’t Locked Up A Single Corrupt Cabal |The Republican News

 

Buhariworksfromhome

President Muhammadu Buhari

EFCC chairman Ibrahim Magu lamented last Wednesday that Nigeria was losing the war on corruption. It was an honest deposition.

 

Over two years after being sworn in, despite much talk and relentless over pouring of public support and encouragement, the Buhari-Osinbajo government has failed to lock up a single corrupt politician or their businessmen cronies. Not one. The closest Buhari came to locking someone up was with former Adamawa state governor Ngilari, but he was soon acquitted of all charges.

They say corruption is fighting back. If this is a war then corruption has won. And if this was England, the Prime minister would have resigned. But alas, it is not. It is Nigeria and we must trudge on.

I’ll list ten notable failures of the Buhari government in tackling corruption and cases where this administration in itself appears to be fighting back on behalf of corruption.

  1. The Buhari government has adamantly refused to release names of looters who have refunded parts of their stash in return for a secret amnesty of sorts. In spite of a court order compelling the Buhari government to do so, it has persistently defended these corrupt cabal by concealing their identities.
  2. While the Obasanjo government as criticized as it was, was quite successful in locking up dozens on charges of corruption, including Inspector General’s of the Police, and even state governors by first impeaching them and then incarcerating them, the Buhari government appears to lack even a fragment of such capabilities or interests.

  3. One of the reasons that have been attributed to the Buhari-Osinbajo government’s failures in fighting the corrupt is its open partiality. The Judiciary is not persuaded to fulfill its obligations when it sees that all you need to do is switch to the ruling party to be protected from probe. The examples are too many to mention. Allegations that Buhari removed the names of Dambazau and Buratai from an army probe report, did not help matters.

  4. The cases of SGF Babachir Lawal the “grasscutter” and NIA boss Ayodele Oke are perhaps two highly prominent and globally noticed examples of Buhari and Osinbajo’s shamelessness in protecting the corrupt. Buhari has so far shielded these accused individuals from EFCC investigation and punishment for almost a year and continues to. This is a most serious blow to the supposed war against corruption.

  5. As I have repeatedly mentioned, Buhari cannot and will never prosecute former NSA Dasuki outside of the media conviction. For the two plus years Buhari has been in office, he has kept Dasuki in an unprecedented state of limbo: locked in house arrest and never brought to court. The case continues to be adjourned indefinitely. An alleged illegal deal negotiated by the Dangotes, Abdulsalamis and Kukahs which granted Amnesty to Goodluck Jonathan is believed to be part of the reason Buhari cannot try Dasuki. Dasuki cannot go down without taking Jonathan with him. And then perhaps Buhari does not wish to prosecute a son of the Sokoto caliphate, regardless of tens of thousands of Nigerians that supposedly died due to his gravid corruption.

  6. The games Buhari played on the Halliburton corruption case involving APC party sponsor Atiku Abubakar and cabals Obasanjo, IBB, Abdulsalami and the like, leave little doubt that while tens of thousands of Nigerians are locked up for petty theft, the cabal will go scot free under Buhari. When he was heading to USA, under pressure, Buhari announced the re-opening of the Halliburton case. Upon his return he shut it once again. There is no clearer example of his posture against corruption: the cabal are guaranteed immunity.

  7. The whistleblower program has been destroyed. Firstly, the protection of Ayodele Oke and his wife implicated in the over $43 million stash found in an Ikoyi apartment, discouraged whistle blowers. Secondly cases where money was found but the culprits concealed by the Buhari government, have weakened public trust and hope in the program. The case of N49 million found at the Kaduna airport comes to mind. Thirdly, the EFCC in August conceded that due to the “embarrassment” of misses, it was now reluctant to follow up on blown leads. The program is almost dead.

  8. The FOREX subsidy scam, where cabal received emoluments of billions of dollars from the Buhari government in subsidized FOREX is a major dent on the Buhari government. Reuters reported that PDP and APC sponsor Aliko Dangote received as much as $100 million dollars gift from Buhari in just three months. Extrapolated, the effect of the FOREX subsidy scam rivals the fuel subsidy scam of the previous administration. Former Central bank governor and now Emir, Sanusi II lamented that Buhari and his Apex bank governor Godwin Emefiele were making brand new billionaires daily, by running the scam. Not the posture of a government serious against corruption.

  9. The refusal of the Buhari government to as much as look at the Panama papers which indicted people like senate president Bukola Saraki and business mogul Aliko Dangote among others, makes it hard to say Buhari is serious about fighting corruption.

  10. The ignored cases of Rep member Jubril, Honorable Kopa and Senator Hamma, all openly hounded for exposing suspected cases of corruption in the establishment is a serious dash of the hope in Buhari of fighting corruption. The Buhari-Osinbajo government has not given any support or even faintly resonated with these whistleblowers. Buhari simply turns away, disinterested in investigating the allegations and netting those implicated if guilty. Once you are a government official or power cabal, Buhari will not disturb you, it seems.

In conclusion, perhaps Buhari’s infirmity has left him politically vulnerable and hence afraid to touch the corrupt cabal whose cooperation and support he solicits to retain his office in spite of his being absent form Nigeria for large swaths of time. But for whatever reason, be it by sickness or preference, Nigeria has lost its hope of defeating corruption and seeing the corrupt punished for stealing the future of its citizens.

The starving country must wait till 2019 to fulfil the need to lock up the wicked thieves who have brazenly looted its common wealth and sentenced the masses to pain and death by poverty.

(Dr. PerryBrimah.com#CabalMustGo revolution)

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APC, Others Angry As PDP Says Buhari Government Destroyed EFCC |RN

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Special Adviser to the President on Prosecution, Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Okoi Obono-Obla

John Alechenu, Olusola Fabiyi, Eniola Akinkuotu and Ade Adesomoju

The Peoples Democratic Party, on Thursday, accused the All Progressives Congress-led Federal Government of destroying the independence of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission.

The PDP said the EFCC and ICPC were created during its 16-year reign to curb the menace of corruption in the country.

The party said this in a statement by its Head of Publicity Department, Mrs Chinwe Nnorom.

But the APC, the Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla; and the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), berated the PDP for saying that the President Muhammadu Buhari administration destroyed the independence of the anti-graft agencies.

The statement said the PDP, which was established on August 31, 1998, had remained the only viable, prosperous and most visionary political party in Nigeria.

The PDP statement by Nnorom stated, “(The) PDP administration established two major anti-corruption agencies, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission to curb the menace of corruption in the country.

“These efforts reduced corrupt practices and further increased the confidence of foreign investors that resulted in huge investment inflows into the country.

“The APC-led government of today has destroyed the independence of these agencies with their selective approach of using ‘deodorants’ when APC members are involved and ‘insecticides’ when it concerns the PDP members and other Nigerians.”

The statement said the PDP, therefore, remained the best political party in Nigeria.

It, therefore, appealed to Nigerians to return the former ruling party to power in 2019, saying it had learnt from its past mistakes.

The PDP stated that the chairman of the party’s National Caretaker Committee, Senator Ahmed Makarfi, congratulated members and supporters of the former ruling party on the achievement.

“As s a human organisation, there might have been some issues or areas we could not cover when we were governing. We promise to make amends as and when given the opportunity again in 2019,” the statement added.

The former ruling party believes Nigerians have not forgotten the enormous infrastructural developments, policies and programmes developed by it in contrast to the current APC-led government.

It added, “The PDP no doubt, initiated several reforms that transformed the country from the decay of long years of military dictatorship/failed civilian administration and never resorted to self- pity, blame and propaganda as it’s seen today.

“For the record, in 1999 the image of Nigeria internationally was in a deplorable state with very poor human rights records. The PDP took conscious steps to change that perception and within a very short period, it restored the country to its pride of place among the comity of nations. We promise to do it again come 2019.”

It recalled how former President Olusegun Obasanjo “worked diligently with other western powers to settle all our foreign debts accumulated by the military, thereby detaching Nigeria’s economy from the burden.

The PDP noted that Nigeria’s unity remained the core principle of the founding fathers, saying throughout the 16 years of the PDP government, the party took deliberate actions to sustain and maintain this principle by building bridges across the nation.

This, it said, could not be said of the APC-led administration given its alleged lopsided appointments, which it argued had aggravated the agitations for self-determination and secession by some sections of the country.

The PDP, however, declared that the party would not support such agitations.

Disprove allegations of recovered loot, ruling party tells PDP

But, the APC challenged the PDP to first disprove allegations of billions of naira and other foreign currencies recovered from members of the former ruling party by the EFCC.

The National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, stated this in a telephone interview with one of our correspondents in Abuja on Thursday.

Abdullahi stated, “Instead of saying our party has destroyed EFCC’s independence, they should contradict the billions of naira, dollars and pounds recovered from its members who held positions of authority in the past. It is when they provide evidence that this is not true that we can talk.

“If they want to lay any claim to moral superiority, they should refute evidence adduced by the EFCC about the recovery so far made, then, we can talk.

“Let them challenge the verdict of a competent court of our land which recently ordered the permanent forfeiture of property and billions of naira in cash belonging to Diezani Alison- Madueke (former minister of petroleum resources).

“If they can successfully challenge all these, then, they can speak. As for them returning to power, Nigerians are now wiser.”

PDP statement reckless, irresponsible –Junaid Mohammed

Speaking in a similar vein, a Second Republic member of the House of Representatives, Dr Junaid Mohammed, described the PDP statement as “reckless and irresponsible and lacking any empirical evidence.”

He noted that even though it was evident that the EFCC could do better with better attention and support from Buhari, the anti-graft body had not lost any serious thing under this government to justify the PDP’s gloating.

Mohammed added, “The PDP ought to shut up and spare Nigerians. I don’t believe that the EFCC has lost anything under this administration. When the EFCC started, frankly speaking, both Nuhu Ribadu and Ibrahim Lamorde had their challenges. President Obasanjo was in the habit of conniving with them to achieve his aims.

“This is not to say that the attitude and the management of the economy between the EFCC and the current administration is what it ought to be.

“Sometimes, you have to give political direction to some of these agencies. And of course, you have to assure them that you will be with them should they get into trouble; that has not been the attitude of the Buhari Presidency.”

Claim is nonsensical, says Presidential aide

Also, Obono-Obla, in an interview with The PUNCH on Thursday, described the PDP’s claim as “nonsensical”.

He said contrary to the opposition party’s claim, the EFCC had become more efficient under the current administration.

He argued that the independence of the EFCC was completely eroded under the PDP government to the extent that the anti-corruption agency was unable to charge any politically-exposed person under former President Goodluck Jonathan administration.

Obono-Obla described the PDP government as “chronically and scandalously corrupt” to the extent that “a minister was able to steal the equivalent of the allocation of 19 northern states in four years.”

He explained that neither Buhari nor those connected to the President interfered with the activities of the anti-graft agencies.

The President’s aide added that the APC-led government had charged “very prominent, highly influential and highly connected politically-exposed persons” with various offences.

Obono-Obla added, “The claim by PDP is nonsensical. It is hogwash and balderdash.

“The PDP does not have any argument because since the APC government came on board, the EFCC has become so efficient.

“In the first quarter of this year, the EFCC secured more than 200 convictions and recovered over N400bn.

“How much was recovered by the EFCC when the PDP was in government or when Goodluck Jonathan was in office?

“The independence of the EFCC was completely eroded to the extent that no politically-exposed person was charged to court. But we can see that they have charged very prominent, highly influential and highly connected politically-exposed persons, which is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria.

“So, the PDP does not know what it’s talking about.

“Talk about the ICPC, it has recovered billions of naira. The ICPC has also secured the conviction of many politically-exposed persons.

“The PDP should shut up. The PDP was chronically and scandalously corrupt to the extent that one minister stole the equivalent of the allocations of 19 northern states in four years.

“Up to $20bn was unaccounted for. The foreign reserves were deflated. The late President (Umaru) Yar’Adua left $48bn in the foreign reserves; all the money was deflated.

“So what is the PDP talking about? We don’t interfere, the President does not interfere and the people connected to the President do not interfere with EFCC’s activities, unlike when the agency ceased to function under the PDP government.”

Diezani is your legacy, Sagay tells opposition party

On his part, Sagay asked the PDP to mark its 19th anniversary with sober reflection instead of boasting about its “achievements.”

Sagay told the former ruling party to remember that embattled Alison-Madueke was one of its products.

The senior advocate said this during an interview with The PUNCHon Thursday.

Sagay admitted that the EFCC and the ICPC were created by Obasanjo but added that these two agencies were weakened after Obasanjo left office.

He said the Buhari administration had recovered nearly a trillion naira alone this year from officials who served under the PDP.

The PACAC chairman asked the PDP to apologise to Nigerians and turn a new leaf as this was the only way to regain the confidence of Nigerians.

Sagay added, “I am disappointed in the PDP. If they are celebrating 19 years, they should celebrate with caution and give the nation an assurance that they would not bring such negative impact on our nation again and they have turned a new leaf.

“Yes, President Obasanjo was the one who proposed the establishment of the EFCC and the ICPC? After Nuhu Ribadu left the EFCC, what became of the EFCC? These people just neutralised these agencies and turned this country into an ATM from which they kept on withdrawing money until there was nothing left.

“So, they destroyed our economy; their greed was overwhelming. If you look at Diezani for instance, there is no day that goes by that money is not recovered from her. In Thursday’s papers, it was reported that the EFCC had recovered about half a trillion naira from these people.”

PDP can only talk of impunity

–CACOL

In a similar vein, the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders said the only legacy the PDP could talk about was the promotion of criminality and impunity.

The Executive Chairman, CACOL, Debo Adeniran, said although the PDP created the EFCC and the ICPC, the party frustrated the war against corruption.     (Punchng.com)

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Magu, AGF May Clash Over Corrupt Ex-Governors, Senators |The Republican News

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Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN) and EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu

LEKE BAIYEWU,  ENIOLA AKINKUOTU and OLALEYE ALUKO

The Special Assistant to the President on Prosecutions, Chief Okoi Obono-Obla, on Saturday, said the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), may report the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu; and Chairman of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, Ekpo Nta, to the Presidency.

He revealed that the heads of the agencies could be sanctioned for insubordination for withholding the case files of more than 35 ex-governors and senators from the AGF.

The case files requested by the AGF in separate letters to both agencies were for ex-governors, including Bukola Saraki (Kwara, now Senate President); Ali Modu Sheriff (Borno);  Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Orji Uzor Kalu (Abia); Chimaroke Nnamani (Enugu); Saminu Turaki (Jigawa); Sule Lamido (Jigawa); Joshua Dariye (Plateau); Ahmed Yerima (Zamfara); Gabriel Suswam (Benue); James Ibori (Delta); Martin Elechi (Ebonyi); Danjuma Goje (Gombe); Murtala Nyako (Adamawa); Ikedi Ohakim (Imo); Gbenga Daniel (Ogun); Achike Udenwa (Imo); Ubong Victor Attah (Akwa Ibom); Jolly Nyame (Taraba); Rasheed Ladoja (Oyo); Adebayo Alao-Akala (Oyo); Adamu Mu’azu (Bauchi); Lucky Igbinedion (Edo) and Peter Odili (Rivers).

Senators on the list included Stella Oduah and George Akume.

Obono-Obla said the refusal of the two anti-corruption agencies to forward the files to the AGF since July 2016 when the request was made had caused a setback to the anti-graft campaign of the Federal Government.

He had on Tuesday alleged that the EFCC and ICPC were not cooperating with Malami, which had led to the loss of some high-profile corruption cases.

Speaking on Saturday, Obono-Obla said, “When this administration came on board, one of the reforms that were initiated was the setting up of a National Prosecution Committee to complement the efforts of the anti-corruption agencies and the Department of Public Prosecution.

“A team of highly motivated lawyers, investigators and policy makers were brought in. The committee was inaugurated on May 27, 2016, by the then Vice  President, now acting President.

“The essence of the committee was for us to take on the looters of our treasury and we have to ask the heads of the anti-corruption agencies to furnish us with case files starting from 2006.

“You remember that former EFCC chairman, Nuhu Ribadu, had told the National Assembly at a time that 32 former governors were being investigated by the commission. So, we demanded the reports so that we could file criminal proceedings against those ex-governors indicted in those reports. I also made a similar application to the ICPC, but they refused to comply.

“Most important, we asked them to give us the files of senators under investigation. We wanted to, after getting those files, file an order of interim attachment of properties belonging to the suspects under investigation. This is because under Section 28.4 of the EFCC Act when suspects are arrested, the commission attaches all the properties acquired under that financial crime.

“So, we wanted to really wage a war, get those files and carry out those attachments so that Nigerians will know we are really serious about this war on corruption. And disappointedly, they refused to hand over those files and have refused to work with the AGF.

“The AGF is the chief prosecutor of the country and I see no reason why agencies under his supervision should not cooperate with him.

“The AGF is bothered and he may likely take a definite position. What the bosses of the agencies have done amounts to insubordination under the public service rule because the AGF is a chief legal officer and the agencies under him are to respect him. The AGF’s position may be to report the heads to the Presidency.”

The Special Assistant to the AGF on Media and Publicity, Salihu Isah, told SUNDAY PUNCH in Abuja that the office of the AGF would keep the pressure on based on heads of the anti-corruption agencies to release the case files.

He said, “Everything we are doing is the official procedure. We are not relenting. We have decided to put further pressure on the agencies. That is the best option for now.

“If the pressure doesn’t work, we know how to handle the situation.”

When contacted, the spokesman for the EFCC,  Wilson Uwujaren, referred one of our correspondents to the official response to the commission last week.

The  EFCC’s Head of Legal Department, G.K. Latona,  had last week denied claims that the commission was not cooperating with the AGF.

He said, “We are not working at cross purposes with the office of the Attorney General of the Federation; we are cooperating with them. We have a wide range of corruption cases in concert with state agencies.

“The Attorney General’s office has the right to initiate new high-profile corruption cases and investigate them without waiting for cases initiated by the EFCC. We are also working on best practices manuals for the prosecutors and investigators. If we want a corruption-free society, we must all work towards it.”

The spokesperson for the ICPC, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, did not respond to calls or text messages sent to her by one of our correspondents.

Arrest lawmakers ignoring invitation, Sagay tells EFCC

The Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption, Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), however, asked the EFCC to arrest any lawmaker that refused to honour the commission’s invitation when he spoke with SUNDAY PUNCH on Saturday.

The lawmaker representing Anambra North Senatorial District, Senator Stella Oduah, was invited by the EFCC on June 20, but refused to honour the invitation.

It was learnt that she also did not write any letter to the commission stating reasons for not honouring the invitation.

Oduah, a source said, was invited over some petitions bordering on the purchase of two armoured BMW vehicles at N255m by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority during her tenure as aviation minister in 2013 and the N9bn contract for the remodelling of some airports.

She had filed a fundamental rights enforcement suit, asking the court to stop the Attorney General of the Federation’s office, the EFCC, and the police from inviting, arresting, investigating or prosecuting her but the court denied her request on October 6, 2016.

Oduah, it was learnt, was emboldened by a Senate resolution three weeks ago in which the senators resolved not to recognise the authority of the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr Ibrahim Magu until he stepped aside, having been rejected twice by the Senate.

Similarly, the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Leo Ogor, who was invited by the EFCC as part of investigations into the N284bn budget padding, refused to honour the invitation.

The Clerk of the House said in a letter that he was directed by the Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, to tell the EFCC that Ogor or any representative be invited through Dogara.

However, Sagay said the EFCC should not hesitate to arrest anybody who failed to cooperate.

He added that the commission had the power to arrest anyone without an arrest warrant.

He said, “The EFCC is an institution; so, recognising Magu or not is totally irrelevant and until the Supreme Court says Magu is no longer chairman or acting chairman, the Senate cannot refuse to recognise Magu or the EFCC as an institution.

“If the EFCC invites you, you must go. There is no law that says invitation letters must come from the leadership of the National Assembly. The EFCC can inform the leadership as a matter of courtesy but letters should go directly to the person being invited.

“The danger now is that if they keep insisting on this, the EFCC will arrest her (Oduah).

“In fact, the law allows the EFCC to make arrests without a warrant if it has a reasonable suspicion that the person has committed a crime. So, I think the woman is taking a risk.”

Similarly, a human rights advocate, Femi Falana (SAN), said no one had the right to ignore an EFCC invitation.

Falana said, “The EFCC does not need to go through the leadership of the National Assembly because they are like other members of the public. There is no law that says letters must come from the leadership of the National Assembly.

“Whether you recognise Magu or not, what of the institution and other staff in EFCC? Are they not doing their work? So, if you say you don’t recognise the Inspector General of Police, wouldn’t you recognise the commissioners of police in every state? Doesn’t the EFCC have zonal heads in every state?”

Sagay should contest in 2019 or keep quiet –Senate

The Senate on Saturday replied Sagay, asking him to stop making ‘nonsensical statements’ capable of denigrating the nation’s parliament.

The red chamber stated this while reacting to a statement credited to the professor of law, which was widely published in the mass media on Saturday.

Sagay had described the 8th Senate as the worst in the history of Nigeria, adding that its members would be kicked out in 2019 general election.

He also described the ongoing constitution amendment by the National Assembly as a hypocritical exercise, which would lead nowhere.

He further lambasted the Bukola Saraki-led Senate for refusing to devolve power to the states, scrapping the State Independent Electoral Commission and for refusing to ensure 35 per cent affirmative action for women.

But the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Aliyu Sabi-Abdullahi, asked Sagay to go back to the classroom if he had become overwhelmed by the national assignment given to him.

Sabi-Abdullahi said, “He (Sagay) is entitled to his opinion. That people can make nonsensical statements is the beauty of democracy but to be totally irresponsible in denigrating state and democratic institutions is definitely unacceptable. He is not speaking as a private citizen, given his position in this government.

“He needs to guard his utterances. He is in a democratically elected government brought about by the electoral victory of our great party made possible by the collective efforts of party members, including members of the Senate and House of Representatives.

“If he does not understand the decorum and values of democracy, let him go back to the classroom; if he is still needed there. His disdain for the National Assembly surely makes him anti-democratic. In the alternative, I challenge him to contest in 2019 or forever remain silent.” (Punchng.com)

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