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Get Rid Of The Cabals Around You, Shehu Sani Tells Buhari |The Republican News

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Senator Shehu Sani has advised President Muhammadu Buhari to free himself from cabals in his administration. Sani said this during an interview with a Lagos-based national newspaper, on Monday.

“President Buhari needs to free himself from the cabals around him–the hyenas, the jackals and other predatory animals that are with him,” he said.

According to the senator, the president possesses all the requisite qualities needed to steer the affairs of Nigeria for another four years. Shehu also revealed that he had known Buhari in Kaduna, years before becoming the nation’s president and could vouch for his integrity and competence.

Despite the sterling qualities the president possesses, senator Shehu explained that the nation’s leader should be a team player, who can carry everyone along.

This was just as he criticised the Federal Government for failing to address incessant killings in some northern parts of the country.

He believes that the bloodshed in some regions of the country, coupled with ethnic rivalry, if not addressed, could dent the reputation of the current government.

“There exists also an apparent failure as Nigerians have never been more divided than they are now. People no longer see themselves as Nigerians. They see themselves as northerners, southerners, Muslims and Christians.

“And, the killings going on in the North Central and the northwestern part of Nigeria is a serious dent in the reputation, integrity and competence of Buhari,” Shehu added.

The lawmaker praised the government for improving the economy and the security challenges; with respect to Boko Haram attacks in the North East.

Shehu absolved the National Assembly over non-confirmation for the action of the appointment of the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s boss, Mr Ibrahim Magu. He said the lawmakers acted on a security report from the Department of State Services (DSS) which indicted Magu.   (The Sun)

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Court Convicts Ex-Governor Of Taraba, Nyame |The Republican News

By Tunde Oyesina Abuja

JOLLY-NYAME

An Abuja High Court yesterday convicted a former three-term Governor of Taraba State, Rev. Jolly Nyame of fraud to the tune of N1.64 billion and was consequently sentenced to 14-years imprisonment without an option of fine.
The judgement came about 11 years after the Federal Government docked the former governor.In the 41-count charge dated May 13, 2007, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleged that the former governor perpetuated the fraud between January 2005 and May 2007, through various bogus contracts.
Nyame had pleaded not guilty to the charge which he insisted was not only incompetent but brought against him in bad faith.

The trial emanated from a petition jointly signed by one Umar Baba and Kelas Obadia, entitled “Taraba State in a mess, the Commissioner of Finance goofed” written on behalf of concerned citizens of the state.

However, delivering judgement in the matter, the trial judge, Justice Adebukola Banjoko, in a 300-page judgement that lasted for over six hours, found the defendant guilty on 27 out of the 41-counts.

The court, in its pronouncement, sentenced Nyame to 14 years for criminal breach of trust, two years for misappropriation, seven years for gratification and five years for obtaining valuable public properties without consideration.
Justice Banjoko held that the sentence would run concurrently.

The court, however, discharged the defendant on 14 counts of the charge.

Before the final judgement was given, Nyame had pleaded for leniency.

The trial court, however, turned down the plea for leniency on the ground that the court was “morally outweighed by facts of the case.”

In her judgement, Justice Banjoko held: “Citizens of Taraba had elected the defendant, a clergyman, in three separate occasions to govern them, which shows a constant level of trust. The expectation must have been so high.

“As a Reverend, he must have been seen as an epitome of morality, piety and everything good. How will Reverend Nyame begin to explain to people of Taraba State his actions and inactions?
“How can he justify causing such a colossal loss to the state?”

The judge further held that the defendant committed “catalogue of crimes” a month before he vacated office “while under intense searchlight from security agencies.”
She added that the court would be failing in its responsibility “if it fails to impose the full sanction.

“The evidence before the court showed that while officials that served under the defendant were returning their loot to the EFCC after they were questioned, the defendant was still busy committing more crime.

“One of such crimes included N100 million the defendant withdrew from the state treasury to host former President Olusegun Obasanjo who paid a one-day visit to Taraba State in 2007.

“After a careful examination of all the evidence, prosecution tendered before the court, it is my opinion that either the defendant entered into office without a corrupt mind and became corrupted, or he was corrupted ab initio.

“There was such a crazy level of corruption in the air in Taraba State Ministry of Finance. It is, however, amazing that none of the officials was arraigned,” Justice Banjoko added.

The court also held that Nyame “behaved like a common thief with unbridled greed,” adding that his sentence would serve as a deterrent to other public office holders.

“With the overwhelming evidence before the court, the court is left with no option than to do justice in this trial. And the justice in this trial is to impose a punishment that will serve as a deterrent to others.

“The defendant is hereby convicted of the charge before the court. He is, therefore, sentenced to 14 years for criminal breach of trust, two years for misappropriation, seven years for gratification and five years for obtaining valuable public properties without consideration.
“The terms are to run concurrently,” the court held.

The court later directed EFCC to return all the funds it recovered in the process of its investigation into the case, to the coffers of Taraba State.

The EFCC had, on November 22, 2016, closed its case after it called 14 witnesses that testified before the court.

Thereafter, the ex-governor testified in defence of himself and called additional three witnesses that attempted to exonerate him of all the allegations against him.

Nyame had, during the pendency of his trial, approached the Supreme Court seeking to quash charges against him.

He was, however, turned down by the apex court on March 5, 2010.

In the charge, he was among other things, accused of diverting N180 million out of N250 million meant for the purchase of stationeries by Taraba State Government between January and February 2005, as a reward for the award of the contract to USAB International (Nig.) Ltd and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 115, 309 and 315 of the Penal Code Act Cap 532 laws of Federation of Nigeria 1990.

Justice Banjoko had earlier noted that there was a nexus between Nyame and the fictitious N250 million contract that was awarded for the bulk purchase of stationaries and office equipment.

The court noted that Nyame had, through his then Commissioner of Finance, Alhaji Abubakar Tutare, approved a memo for that contract which was awarded to a firm, Saman Global Ventures, on January 1, 2005, sidelining key officials of the Ministry of Finance in the process.
“The defendant gave that memo life by giving his approval,” the court held.

The court also noted that N180 million was subsequently diverted from the contract sum and handed to the ex-governor.

Though the court held that the evidence EFCC tendered against the ex-governor in respect of the transaction was “circumstantial” as no other document had his signature apart from the memo, it, however, stressed that the manner funds were approved and released from   the Taraba State treasury, showed that the defendant acted in breach of his oath of office.

“It is disheartening to note that between 2004 to 2005, the Ministry of Finance in Taraba State was especially an enclave, it was a den of criminal activities best illustrated with Ali Baba and the 40 thieves.
“The court finds the defendant guilty as charged.

“The clear purpose of the money was diverted. There was no evidence of purchase of the stationaries,” the court held.

The Judge also held that convict repeatedly approved the release of funds to the firm despite being aware that it neither purchased the stationaries nor executed any contract.

The court held that there was no evidence that Nyame, who had within five weeks, moved over N345 million from the Taraba State coffers for the purchase of stationaries, made any attempt to prosecute the firm or to set up a panel of inquiry when the fraud was brought to his attention.
“The progenitor of this impunity was no one else than the defendant himself. The defendant cannot feign ignorance of this colossal fraud.

“He who approves must be accountable to what he approved. The defendant had the dominion over the state fund and only him could say open-Sesame to the vault of Taraba State.
“The defendant cannot escape responsibility or cling to the thin plank of mere approval,” the court held.

The court also held that the defendant “dishonestly” diverted public funds through the Taraba State Liaison Office, on the guise that it was used for the purchase of rice that was shared with his supporters.

It further held that the defendant committed “criminal breach of trust beyond a reasonable doubt” when he approved N111 million to host guests when the Mambilla Power Project was commissioned, even as it equally found him guilty of receiving gratification to the tune of N80 million.
The court held that it was amazing that Nyame had, in his bid to defend the charge, “provided the entire arsenal for the prosecution.”

Justice Banjoko held that the defendant admitted to certain offences, seeking at the end for a plea bargain.

“He was also very inconsistent, especially regarding the presidential visit and the issue of security votes,” the court said.

Nyame had, after he was found guilty, prayed the court through his counsel, Olalekan Ojo, to temper justice with mercy, insisting he had no previous criminal record.
In his plea, the former governor told the court that he has dependents that rely on him for their subsistence.

Ojo, however, prayed the court to punish the convict by imposing fine rather than imprisonment.

Prosecuting counsel, Oluwaleke Atolagbe, urged the court to impose the maximum sanction to serve as a deterrent to other public office holders.

Aside the former finance commissioner in Taraba State during Nyame’s tenure, Tutare, among those that testified before the court included a compliance officer with one of the banks, Mr. Olubunmi Ogunode, as well as the Permanent Secretary to Taraba State government, Mr. Dennis Okuma Nev.
In his own witness, Nev told the court that he was, at a time, compelled to raise three separate memos for the withdrawal of N100 million, which he said was used by Nyame to host former President Olusegun Obasanjo when he visited the state in 2001.

Similarly, an Accountant with the Rural Electrification Board in Jalingo, Taraba State, Mr. Abdulrahman Mohammed, narrated before the court, how the ex-governor used his name to withdraw N282 million from a bank, using 20 separate cheques.

Mohammed said the illicit transactions took place between 2005 and 2007 when he functioned as an accountant in charge of Taraba State liaison office in Abuja.                (New Telegraph)

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Court Cases Hampering Our Operations, Says Innoson Motors |The Republican News

By Wale Elegbede

Innoson-boss-Innocent-Chukwuma

The Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Company (IVM) has said that litigations against the company and its management are hampering its plans to upgrade from manual to automated production.

Addressing newsmen in Lagos, the company’s Head of Corporate Communications, Mr Cornel Osigwe, said the recent suit filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at a Lagos High Court is distracting its upgrade from 10,000 cars production capacity annually to 60,000.

Osigwe, who explained the reason for the absence of Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, the Chairman of IVM, from the court, said workers of the company are in fear of being harassed.

Justice Mojisola Dada of the Ikeja Special Offences Court had, last week, declared Chukwuma wanted for failing to appear before the court for an arraignment over a four-count charge of conspiracy to obtain property by false pretence, obtaining property by false pretences, stealing and forgery preferred against him by the EFCC.

Osigwe said: “Innoson is contesting that the Lagos High court has no jurisdiction to entertain the suit and not afraid of arraignment or running away from the court. He is saying that he must be arraigned through due process of the law.

“There has been an advertorial by the EFFC declaring Dr. Innocent Chukwuma, the Chairman of IVM wanted. That publication has maligned his image and reputation as well as put him in a bad light as somebody who is a criminal. This is not so.

“The fact of the matter is that there has been an abuse of court process by the EFCC over a business disagreement between IVM and Guarantee Trust Bank, which started in 2013.

“This same case instituted by the EFCC is still pending at the Federal High Court, Lagos and at the Court of Appeal, Lagos.

“Recently, the same EFCC filed a fresh charge of the same case and allegation at the Lagos High Court. This is clearly an abuse of court process by the EFCC.”

While stating that the IVM chairman is a law-abiding citizen of Nigeria, Osigwe said Innoson is an entrepreneur whose story and growth replicates the die-hard spirit of Nigerians to make things happen regardless of the challenges.  (New Telegraph)

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2015 Slush Funds Nightmare For PDP Chieftains As EFCC Comes After Them

By FELIX NWANERI

 

It is not the best of time for some chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of receiving various sums of money from the N23 billion allegedly shared by former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, for them to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election. FELIX NWANERI reports

 

Many Nigerians were shocked when pictures of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, were published by an online medium in November 2015. The charming lady, who called the shots in the nation’s oil and gas sector, when his kinsman and immediate past president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, held sway, looked her old self in the pictures. She was said to have been diagnosed with cancer and undergoing chemotherapy in a British hospital.

Before then, the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, which succeeded Jonathan had accused Alison-Madueke of an illegal withdrawal of $6.9 million from the account of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) to fund a “bogus purchase of three stages for Jonathan’s public appearances” when she superintended over the affairs of the Petroleum ministry. Despite her pitiable state, there were divided opinions among Nigerians over the pictures.

While many described the images as a sympathy stunt, others opined that the new look of the former Petroleum minister was saddening. Amidst the doubts, the Madueke family opened up on the former minister’s health and money laundering allegations against her.

The family described reports on the latter as a “smear campaign.” Confirming that the former minister is down with cancer, it urged Nigerians to pray for her recovery. Perhaps, the recovery prayers for the minister were answered, but shocking revelations about her activities, when she presided over the nation’s cash cow – the oil and gas sector paints a picture of one who conducted public affairs for private advantage.

For instance, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said its investigations revealed that the former minister purchased a sky-scrapper on the highbrow Banana Island of Lagos State sometime in 2013 at a cost of $37.5 million for which she paid in cash. Shortly after that was another shocker.

This time, the EFCC revealed that it has so far traced N47.2 billion and $487.5 million in cash and property to the former minister. The anti-graft agency further revealed that a search of one of Alison-Madueke’s palatial residences in Abuja also turned up boxes of gold, silver and diamond jewellery, worth several million pounds. The most numbing record-shattering acquisitions of Alison-Madueke, the EFCC added, were also found in the ritzy Banana Island, Lagos.

It said they consist of two apartments at the Bella Vista Court. The apartments, which have penthouses, are located on Block C-5, Flat 21, Plot 1, Zone N. For them, the commission said a $350 million hole was dug in the Nigerian treasury on November 22, 2011, by Alison-Madueke. Also in Lagos, the former minister was alleged to have bought a block of six units’ serviced apartments at number 135, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi.

The apartment has a standby power generating set, sporting facilities, playground and a water treatment plant and was bought at the rate of N800 million on January 6, 2012. Other properties, the commission said it discovered are located at number 7, Thurnburn Street and 5, Raymond Street. Both properties, worth N1 billion were paid for on May 30, 2012, the same day Alison-Madueke also allegedly splashed N900 million for an estate in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

The EFCC further said it traced to the former minister in Lagos is a twin four-bedroom duplex on Plot 33, Block 112, Lekki Peninsula Residential Scheme Phase 1, with an estimated value of over N200 million; a large expanse of land at Oniru, Victoria Island, bought on February 16, 2012, for N135 million; plot 8, Gerard Road Ikoyi; a penthouse on the 11th Floor in the Block B Wing of the building bought for N12 Million on December 20, 2011.

In Abuja are a duplex on plot 10, Frederick Chiluba Close, Asokoro District acquired in December 2009 at the cost of N400 million; a mini estate located on Plot 1205, Cadastral Zone B06, Mabushi Gardens Estate, purchased on April 2, 2012 at N650 million; a 6-bedroom en-suite apartment in Aso Drive, Maitama bought on July 20, 2011, for N80 million, while in her native Bayelsa State, was an apartment with two blocks of flats on Goodluck Jonathan Road, Yenagoa.

The anti-graft commission added that Alison-Madueke has N23.4 billion and $5 million (about N1.5 billion) in various Nigerian banks. While the former minister, who is still recuperating in London, has persistently claimed that she is a victim of EFCC’s persecution, the claim that she received $115.01million (N23 billion) from three oil marketers ahead of the 2015 general elections and distributed the money to some chieftains of the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for them to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election, has perhaps, dwarfed other allegations against her. Among those presently being tried for allegedly benefiting from the slush fund are former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Jumoke Akinjide; former senator representing Oyo Central Senatorial District, Ayo Adeseun; a PDP leader in Oyo State, Chief Olarenwaju Otiti.

Others are former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau; a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aminu Wali; former deputy governor of Sokoto State, Mukhtar Shagari; former governorship candidate of the party in Edo State, Osagie Ize-Iyamu and chairman of the party in the state, Dan Orbih.

Akinjide, Adeseun and Otiti alleged to have received N650m

An EFCC investigator, Usman Zakari, who testified before a Federal High Court in Lagos, presided by Justice Muslim Hassan, in the trial of former Minister of the FCT, Jumoke Akinjide, charged alongside Senator Adeseun and Chief Otiti, said the accused allegedly received N650 million cash in March 2015 at the Dugbe branch of a bank in Ibadan on Alison-Madueke’s instructions, and that the money was part of N23 billion which the former oil minister kept in the bank.

Led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Zakari said the commission received a “Category A intelligence” about a meeting at Alison-Madueke’s house in December 2014 with the bank’s Managing Director and some oil marketers. According to him, the former minister told the bank chief that the oil marketers would bring hard currencies to the bank and that he should keep the money until further directives.

Giving a breakdown of how the money was raised, Zakari said Autus Integrated Ltd took $17.8 million to the bank, Northern Belt Oil and Gas lodged $60 million, while Mid-Western Oil Services Ltd paid $9.5 million. “An individual, Lano Adesanya, brought the sum of $1.8 million.

Our findings further revealed that the three oil marketers made payment of the sum of $89 million and some fractions. Investigations further revealed that the then petroleum minister’s aides made available $25 million and some fractions in suitcases,” the witness said, adding that Alison-Madueke later directed the bank to convert the dollars to naira, which was complied with, after which she allegedly directed that the defendants be paid.

They accused had pleaded not guilty to the charge and were granted bail. At the commencement of trial, the defence counsel had objected to the admissibility of the statement of the first accused on the grounds that same was not voluntarily obtained. Consequently, the court ordered a trial within- trial to test the voluntariness of the statement obtained by the EFCC.

Shekarau, Wali and Ahmad accused of collecting N950m

Malam Ibrahim Shekarau, a former governor of Kano State and ex-minister of Education was last week Tuesday quizzed by the EFCC alongside former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Aminu Wali and Engr Mansur Ahmad for laundering N950 million, funds earmarked for 2015 general elections logistics.

The anti-graft agency had invited the trio in preparation for their arraignment last Thursday. Counsel to Shekarau, Abdul Fage, who briefed newsmen shortly after the arrival of the former minister at the EFCC’s office, said: “Shekarau is being accused of collecting N25 million as a person from the total sum N950 million.

We are here to honour their invitation after we received their letter about a week ago demanding that our clients should be available today for further questioning in preparation for Thursday arraignment.”

The former governor in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Malam Sule Ya’u Sule, said: “the EFCC despite lack of evidence is insisting on prosecuting the former Minister of Education Mal Ibrahim Shekarau over the N25 million 2015 election logistics fund allegedly given to him.

Since 2016, when the issue of election fund came up, Shekarau was invited by the EFCC to explain the amount given to him along with other stakeholders of the party in Kano to prosecute the election, but he denied ever receiving such amount and challenged EFCC to produce anyone who has given him the money or any evidence to prove that he actually collected the money.

“Based on this, the former minister was asked to go, however, surprisingly, for reason best known to EFCC, we received communication from the agency that the former minister is to be arraigned before a Federal High Court in Kano on Thursday this week over the same alleged N25 million election fund.”

But the EFCC was not swayed by political meanings read about its invitation to the former governor given that he has declared an intention to contest the 2019 presidential election as it went ahead to arraign him alongside Wali and Ahmad as scheduled on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N950 million.

Counsel to the EFCC, Johnson Ojoghame, told the court that the defendants had between March 26 and 27, 2015 in Kano, conspired between themselves and received various sums of money without going through financial institutions.

He told the court that the money was issued out to the defendants by the PDP and Alison- Madueke. The prosecutor said that the offences contravened sections 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act 2011 as amended and punishable under section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act and Section 15(1) of money laundering Act.

The trio pleaded not guilty to the charges and their counsel, Mr Ologunolisa Sam (SAN), made a written bail application in respect of the defendants under Section 163 of the Criminal Justice Act 2015. He said: “The defendants were, early in May 2016, invited by the EFCC and at no time were they found wanting when they were granted bail. If granted bail, the defendants would not jump bail, nor commit any offence and would not tamper with a police investigation.”

The Judge, Justice Zainab Abubakar- Bage granted the defendants bail in the sum of N100 million each with two reliable sureties in like sum. She said that the first surety should have landed property within the jurisdiction of the court while the second surety should not be below the rank of a director.

The judge ordered the defendants to surrender their international passports and two recent passport size photographs to the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court while adjourning to June 26, for trial.

Ize-Iyamu, Orbih, three orders remanded over alleged complicity in N700m

In Edo State, the PDP’s candidate in the 2016 governorship election, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, the state chairman of the party, Chief Dan Orbih; former Deputy Governor of the state, who is now a chieftain of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mr. Lucky Imasuen; a former member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Tony Azegbemi and one Efe Anthony, were also last Thursday arraigned before Federal High Court sitting in Benin over their alleged complicity in N700 million campaign funds.

The accused had been in the custody of EFCC for 11 days before their arraignment before Justice P. I. Adjokwu on an eight-count charge of money laundering. According to the EFCC charge sheet, Ize-Iyamu and others were accused of taking possession and control of the sum of N700 million without any contract award, which they ought to have known to form part of proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit; fraud and corruption; and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended in 2012, and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.

However, they pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them by counsel to the EFCC, Larry Peters Aso. Justice Adjokwu later granted them bail in the sum of N10 million each and a surety in like sum, who must be Grade Level 16 public servants or above, and should deposit the Certificate of Occupancy of their building with the Deputy Chief Registrar of the court.

Earlier in their arguments for bail applications, counsels to the accused, Charles Edosomwan (for Ize-Iyamu); Dr O.G Izevbuwa (Mr Imasuen); Kehinde Ogunsumi (Azegbemi); Ferdinand Orbih (for Chief Dan Orbih) and Prof. Jim Akhere Akhere, pleaded that their clients be granted bail on self-recognizance. On his part, counsel to the EFCC, Aso, noted that the bio-data of the suspects had not been captured and requested the court to order stringent bail conditions and money to ensure the defendants are in court.

But, Justice Adjokwu, in her ruling, said she only exercised her discretion in granting the accused person bail. The judge, however, ordered that they should be remanded in prison custody pending when they would have met the bail conditions, while adjourning sitting on the matter to July 4, 2018.

Shagari, four others were tried for N500m

Mukhtar Shagari, a deputy governor of Sokoto State and ex-Minister of Water Resources, was arraigned last week Tuesday before Justice Idrissa Kolo of the Federal High Court Sokoto on a five-count charge of conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N500 million. Charged alongside the former minister was Senator Abdallah Wali, a PDP governorship candidate in 2015; Alhaji Ibrahim Gidado, a former commissioner of information; Alhaji Ibrahim Milgoma, PDP State Chairman and Treasurer of the party, Alhaji Nasiru Dalhatu Bafarawa. According to the anti-graft agency, the defendants allegedly benefited from the slush cash to senior members of the PDP to influence the outcome of the 2015 presidential election, which was not distributed through any financial institution in flagrant violation of provisions of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.

One of the charges preferred against Shagari read:“You Mukhtar Shehu Shagari, Ibrahim Gidado and Ibrahim Milgoma sometime in March 2015, within the justification of this honourable court did conspire among yourselves to receive cash payment of the sum of N500 million from one Abdulrahaman Ibrahim without transacting through a financial institution and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under section 16(2) of the same Act.”

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them. Prosecution counsel Johnson Ojogbane requested a date for trial in view of the plea of the defendants and also asked that the defendants be remanded in prison custody. Counsel representing the 1st, 3rd and 4th defendants, Ibrahim Abdulaziz, as well as counsel for the 2nd and 5th defendants Ibrahim Idris, and L.A Abdulkadir, respectively applied for bail of their clients pending the determination of the case.

Responding, Ojogbane confirmed that he was served with the various bail applications by the applicants but also reminded the court that he was only served on May 21 and therefore needed time to respond. Justice Idrissa after listening to the arguments of both parties remanded the defendants in police custody till Thursday, May 24 for the hearing and determination of bail, which they were granted in the tune of N25 million each. In his ruling on the bail applications, Justice Idrissa Sale Kogo said they should equally provide two sureties who must be civil servants of grade level 13 and residing within the jurisdiction of the court.

The judge further directed that the five defendants deposit their international passports in the court, while their sureties must have properties worth the amount of bail and must depose to an affidavit before the court.   (New Telegraph)

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US Says Impunity, Massive Corruption Still Rife In Nigeria Under Buhari|RN

                                   President Buhari

• Shiite, IPOB extrajudicial killings, Dasuki’s detention cited as rights abuses, violation of rule of law

Tobi Soniyi in Lagos

The United States Department of State has again issued a damning assessment of Nigeria under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari in its 2017 Country Report on Human Rights released last Friday in Washington D.C.

In the 48-page report posted on the website of the State Department, the U.S. government said impunity remained widespread at all levels of government in Nigeria, further noting that the Buhari-led administration lacked transparency.

A copy of the report obtained by THISDAY added that government officials engaged in massive corruption.
Corruption, the report said, was not limited to government officials but very rampant among the security agencies.

The report stated: “Although the law provides criminal penalties for conviction of official corruption, the government did not implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity.
“Massive, widespread, and pervasive corruption affected all levels of government and the security services.”

On the anti-corruption agencies, the report noted that although the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) efforts remained largely focused on low – and mid-level government officials, following the 2015 presidential election both organisations started investigations into and brought indictments against various active and former high-level government officials.

It, however, observed that the EFCC often did not observe all due process safeguards and refused to obey court orders granting bail to the former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Dasuki.
“Many of these cases were pending in court. According to both ICPC and EFCC, the delays were the result of a lack of judges and the widespread practice of filing for and granting multiple adjournments.

“EFCC’s arrests and indictments of politicians continued throughout the year, implicating a significant number of opposition political figures and leading to allegations of partisan motivations on the part of the EFCC.

“In a case brought by the EFCC, in November a federal court convicted four firms allegedly used by a former aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan of laundering 1.67 billion naira ($$55.3 million) in stolen funds.

“In its pursuit of corruption, the EFCC often did not observe all pertinent due process safeguards. In November, the Economic Community of West African States Court of Justice declared unlawful the arrest and detention in 2015 of former national security adviser, Sambo Dasuki.

“A court ordered him released on bail in a case brought by the EFCC for the alleged diversion of 13.6 billion naira ($$443.2 million) intended to purchase military material during the Jonathan administration. Despite the court order, he remained in detention,” said the report.

In support of the claim that impunity remains the order of the day in Nigeria, the report further noted that government did not often take steps to prosecute officials who perpetuated impunity whether in the security forces or elsewhere in government.
It, however, acknowledged that government did take steps to investigate such impunity but failed to bring to book those who violated the law.

The report cited various instances including the atrocities allegedly committed in the North-east by members of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) and the refusal to bring to justice military men who killed members of the Shia group Islamic Movement of Nigeria in 2015 in circumstances adjudged to be extrajudicial.

“As of November, the government had not adequately investigated or held police or military personnel accountable for extrajudicial killings of supporters of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra,” the report added.

Excerpts from the report added: “Authorities generally did not hold police, military, or other security force personnel accountable for the use of excessive or deadly force or for the deaths of persons in custody.

“State and federal panels of inquiry investigating suspicious deaths generally did not make their findings public.
“In August, the acting president (Yemi Osinbajo) convened a civilian-led presidential investigative panel to review compliance of the armed forces with human rights obligations and rules of engagement. As of November, the panel had not issued a report.”

The state department report stated that respect for human rights generally remained appalling in Nigeria.
The report identified the following as the most significant human rights abuses: extrajudicial and arbitrary killings; disappearances and arbitrary detentions; torture, particularly in detention facilities, including sexual exploitation and abuse; use of children by some security elements, looting, and destruction of property; civilian detentions in military facilities, often based on flimsy evidence; denial of fair public trial; executive influence on the judiciary; infringement on citizens’ privacy rights; restrictions on freedoms of speech, press, assembly, and movement; official corruption; lack of accountability in cases involving violence against women and children, including female genital mutilation/cutting and sexual exploitation of children; trafficking in persons; early and forced marriages; criminalisation of status and same-sex sexual conduct based on sexual orientation and gender identity; and forced and bonded labour.

Speaking during the official release of the report, the Acting Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labour of the US Department of State, Mr Michael Kozak, said the 2017 report marked the 42nd year that the U.S. has published the country-specific annual Human Rights Reports.

He said the law requires the U.S. executive to produce the report every year.
According to him, “This goes back to the 1970s when Congress said to the Executive Branch, ‘When we’re making decisions about foreign assistance and security assistance and trade agreements and all of that, we’d really like to know: what is the human rights situation in the countries that we’re dealing with’.”

He said the U.S. did not produce the report to pass judgment “on other countries or to name and shame”.
“It’s to fulfil a statutory responsibility to our Congress to try to produce the most accurate description of what we find is going on in other countries so that they can use that in making decisions,” he explained.
Efforts to get the Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, to react to the report proved abortive as his phone was switched off.  (THISDAY)

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EFCC Grills Former Kaduna Governor For 4 Hours Over N700m Campaign Fund |RN

By Agency Report

Former governor of Kaduna state, Ramalan Yero

 

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on Friday interrogated Ramalan Yero, former governor of Kaduna state, for four hours at the commission’s office in Kaduna.

Yero was at the EFCC Kaduna office from around 9 am till around 1:30 pm, when he walked out smiling.

The former governor thanked his supporters who were outside the EFCC office, for their solidarity and asked them to go to the mosques for Juma’at prayer.

He, however, declined to make comment to the press.

His spokesman, Yakubu Lere, told NAN that the ex-governor was invited in connection with the N700 million campaign funds released to the state by the People Democratic Party headquarters in 2015.

Lere recalled that the former governor was at the EFCC office in Kano two years ago over the matter and was granted administrative bail.

“At that time, he explained during the interrogation that the N700 million was PDP money sent to him as the then governor of Kaduna state to finance 2015 general election with instructions, which he judiciously followed,” he said.

“What they are holding against him was that he kept the money in the office of the secretary to the state government instead of in a bank.

“Even last week he was here on the same issue, but as you can see, he came out smiling, meaning the commission has found nothing to hold against him for now.”

The spokesman urged Yero supporters to remain calm and be law abiding, adding that the struggle to “rescue the state from collapse” has started. (New Telegraph)

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Court Grants Jang Bail With N100m Surety |The Republican News

By Musa Pam

 

  • I hold no grudge against my oppressors, says ex-gov

A High Court sitting in Jos, the Plateau State capital, yesterday granted bail to the immediate past governor of the state, Senator Jonah Jang and a former cashier in the Office of the Secretary to Plateau State Government, Mr. Yusuf Pam, with two sureties each in the sum of N100 million and N50 million respectively. Jang is facing a 12-count charge bordering on alleged corruption and misappropriation.

The former governor is alleged to have misappropriated over N6 billion, two months to the end of his tenure as governor of Plateau in 2015. According to the charges, the former governor also embezzled over N4 billion from the state coffers through Pam Yusuf, who was a cashier in the office of the Secretary to the State Government.

Yusuf, who is a co-defendant in the suit against Jang, is also facing another case of allegedly enriching himself to the tune of N11 million. Counsel to the accused persons, Robert Clarke (SAN) had, on May 16, in a written application during their arraignment, prayed the court to grant his clients bail based on self-recognition, after both accused persons, Jang and Pam, pleaded not guilty to the crime. This was as the former governor yesterday said he was not holding any grudge against his oppressors.

While responding to the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), prayed the court not to grant the accused person bail, stating that section 341 (2) of the 1999 Constitution said an offence which attracts an imprisonment of more than three years, was not bailable. The presiding judge, Justice Daniel Longji, while ruling on the bail application by the lead accused counsel, Clarke, said the first accused and former governor was to provide two sureties with the sum of N100 million only, among which one must be a first class traditional ruler within the jurisdiction of the court.

On the second accused, Mr Yusuf Pam, a former cashier in the Office of the Secretary to the State Government, Justice Longji also granted him bail to provide two sureties in which one must be a permanent secretary in the civil service or anybody of that rank.

Justice Longji also directed the first and the second accused to submit their international passports to the chief registrar of the court. The judge had, however, adjourned the case to 17th, 18th and 19th of July, 2018 for definite hearing. Meanwhile, Jang yesterday said in a statement that the burden he was carrying in his heart was not of grudges against those against him. He said: “The burden I carry in my heart is not of grudges against those against me, but of gratitude for those who have endured difficult conditions to stand with me through this ordeal.

“I am convinced beyond doubts that your labour of love shall not be in vain. May God bless you for remembering me in my hour of distress.” Jang, who was the former governor of Plateau State from 2007 to 2015, said: “For over a week, I was kept in detention by the EFCC, deprived of the inalienable right to personal freedom and association.

” The senator said his lawyers had instituted a case at the FCT High Court and that he would pursue the matter to its logical conclusion. According to him, “If the laws of our country are still potent under the current circumstances, my detention constitutes a gross abuse of the fundamental rights guaranteed me as a law-abiding citizen as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as amended.

“Where the constitution provides for an accused person to be charged to court within one day, I was held by the EFCC for over a week in flagrant disregard to the letters and spirit of the supreme document which legitimises the very existence of our country.”  (New Telegraph)

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