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Exposed! Nigeria’s Deputy House Speaker In N1.1bn Water Contract Scam (II) |RN

By MOJEED ALABI

 

 

In conclusion of this two-part story, MOJEED ALABI reports the details of the contract scandal involving the Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Lasun Yusuff, who secures contract award from the same government he serves

 

Whereabouts of Nur & Company Nigeria Limited unknown
                                                       
Unlike the Sabbyn Nigeria Limited, it was easier for the camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for our reporter locating the whereabouts of Nur and Company Nigeria Limited. For a company that handled two out of the three projects at combined sum of N1.1 billion, it has neither website nor social media account. At the projects’ sites, the company fails to put up any signpost indicating details of the contracts, the contractors, among other necessary information, as required by law.
                                                       
New Telegraph reporters arrested
On Thursday, February 1, 2018, when our correspondent visited Plot 8, Impressive Close, off Dosumu Street, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos, which Nur and Company Limited quoted as its office in its documents with the contract awarding agency, the guards on duty at the house said there was no company with such name within the compound.
While our reporter, accompanied by his colleague, Mr. Stanley Ihedigbo, was attempting to gain graphic evidence, the security men accused him of taking photographs of the house without authorisation and got him arrested by policemen.
The owner of the building, who was later identified as Mrs. Dupe Dare, and from whose company – Impressive Chemicals – the street’s name was derived, immediately ordered that the reporters be taken to the Alausa Police Station, where they were subjected to embarrassing scrutiny.
The visibly angry Dare had told the police that she suspected the reporters were members of an unnamed syndicate, which she claimed, had fraudulently used her property to secure a loan from two banks without her consent.
In her narrative at the station, Dare said sometimes in 2015, agents of Skye Bank Plc., security men and court bailiffs, had besieged the property, chasing out all her tenants and employees on the allegation that the house was used to obtain a N660 million loan in 2012 without repayment.
“I was shocked to my marrow because I never banked with Skye Bank, and had never taken any loan. For more than six months, we were in court, with my lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana, in charge of the matter,” she said.
Amid sobs, she further narrated her ordeal to both the Divisional Police Officer in charge of the station, Superintendent of Police Bakfur Kyes, and the Divisional Crime Officer, Deputy Superintendent of Police Johnson Domchak.
“I was told the fraudster had taken contracts from the government in 2012 and needed money to execute them. So, that year, the bank claimed the individual had approached it, using a fake version of my property document to secure the loan. The pressure was so much on my family that my mum could not bear it as she died same year.”
She said after about seven months of court processes, and following the presentation of the property’s original documents, the court ruled in her favour, and the premises were reopened to her in 2016.
                                                           
Another bank lays claim to the property
The embattled property owner, who refused to reveal the identity of the individual or company illegally using her property to secure the loan, added that in 2017, another financial institution, again emerged with another court judgement to gain possession of the property.
The troubled Dare said: “And this time it was Heritage Bank Plc. The bank claimed that before it acquired the defunct Enterprise Bank Plc., the suspect had taken a loan of about N70 million from the defunct bank, which he or she failed to service.
“Up till this moment, I cannot fathom why my property should remain the target of such fraudsters, and the way these people came to take photographs of my house, I learnt, was also how those fraudsters kept using the pictures of my property to secure the loan. In fact, we are still in court over this.”
Based on this narration, Dare urged the police to charge the reporters to court to unravel the “real reason” for visiting her property.
However, after many hours of interrogations and cross-examinations, the police granted the reporters bail with the newspaper’s Crime Editor, Mrs Juliana Francis, standing as surety, with the instruction that they must return to the station on Monday, February 5, for further interactions, which they surely did.
 
Banks respond to enquiries
When contacted, the concerned financial institutions, which confirmed the development, however, failed to disclose the details of the transactions, claiming it was a confidential matter between the banks and the customers.
In a text message to our correspondent, the spokesperson for the Heritage Bank, Mr. Fela Ibidapo, had written: “Many thanks for your earlier text. Unfortunately, you would agree with me that the information sought is confidential between the bank and the customer, particularly as per pre-signed contract.
“Thus I ask that you permit me to decline any comment in this regard. Nonetheless, please let me know if I can assist in any other way.”
However, when our correspondent reached out to the Head of Information Unit of Skye Bank Plc, Mr. Nduneche Ezurike, he was directed to meet his colleague, Mr. Rasheed Bolarinwa, who, many weeks after messages had been exchanged, could not give a definite response.
                                                                   
Nur & Company Nigeria Limited Officer declines comment
Sometimes in February, the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority made available to New Telegraph mobile telephone number of a representative of the company, who the newspaper later identified as Mr Ebenezer Famgbebe, an engineer.
When called on the phone, the engineer, upon the introduction of our correspondent by name, had mistaken him for another member of the House of Representatives from Osun State, Prof. Mojeed Alabi. He immediately showed courtesies but was astonished to learn that the caller was another person entirely.
He confirmed his relationship with the company but declined to make further comments on all the questions asked including the location of his company’s office.
To all these enquiries, he responded: “Please, I cannot say anything about our projects. Ogun-Osun River Basin is our client and I don’t have any mandate to talk to you. I cannot also tell you our office. Go to Ogun-Osun, you will get whatever you want there. Thank you!”
That was how Famgbebe ended the call.   
 
Corporate Affairs Commission spills the beans
This rather unusual development compelled New Telegraph to apply to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) through a lawyer, request for the company’s details as part of efforts towards ascertaining its authenticity.
On February 12, the CAC released the result of the search conducted listing the company’s shareholders as Mr. Yusuff Sulaimon Lasun of 3, Sarumi Street, Orelope Bus Stop, Egbeda, Lagos; Yusuff Olamide Ayomide, Yusuff Gbemisola Feyisara and Yusuff Omowunmi Rasheeda, all of the same address, as above who New Telegraph found out are the deputy speaker’s wife and children.
It further listed the four individuals as the company’s directors with the addition of Oladimeji Ayodeji Yusuff, with the same address, as the fifth director.
Meanwhile, in another document supplied by the CAC, Mr. Yusuff Rafiu Olalekan, who New Telegraph found out to be the deputy speaker’s immediate younger brother, was listed as a director of the company. His quoted address was Investment House, 2nd Floor, 21/25, Broad Street, Lagos State.
However, in a message addressed to the CAC in 2011, the company conveyed the decision of Mr. Yusuff Rafiu Olalekan to resign as one of its directors, and the appointment of Olamide Ayomide Yusuff, Gbemisola Feyisara Yusuff, Oladimeji Ayodeji Yusuff and Omowunmi Rasheeda Yusuff, all as directors.
A copy of Mr. Rafiu Olalekan Yusuff’s resignation letter, which was attached, was dated April 12, 2011, with the company’s address quoted as Investment House, 2nd Floor, 21/25, Broad Street, Lagos State.
                                                                
Efforts to get deputy speaker’s reaction proved abortive
Through the Special Adviser (Media) to the deputy speaker, Mrs. Lara Owoeye-Wise, New Telegraph made spirited efforts to get the reaction of the parliamentarian but all efforts yielded no fruit.
On January 10, when our correspondent visited the National Assembly, neither the deputy speaker nor his special adviser was on the ground. Mrs. Owoeye-Wise then suggested that a copy of the letter should be photographed and sent to her via WhatsApp which the correspondent did as instructed.
After waiting patiently for days without a response, our correspondent sent a text message to Owoeye-Wise on January 22, for follow-up and she replied via a text message thus; “I’ll give you a response tomorrow, unfailingly. Thank you.”
On January 25, she sent another message, saying; “The Chief Press Secretary (CPS) said he had reached out to your editor. That is what he said when I discussed with him yesterday. Thank you.”
On January 26, Owoeye-Wise advised our correspondent to recompose his message and resend to her via her WhatsApp, promising to forward same to the deputy speaker directly and provide the feedback in less than 24 hours.
Our correspondent’s message had read: “Good morning, Aunty Lara and thanks a lot for your efforts. As a follow-up to my last discussion with you concerning the FoI request letter from New Telegraph Newspapers over the mini-water schemes in Ila Orangun, Ipetu-Ijesha and Ife-Odan, I write to let you know that we are yet to get any response like you promised.
“Recall you said you would discuss with the CPS and that he would contact me after you asked me to make my request official. If you recall ma, I sent the letter to you on January 10 but by Thursday, January 11, I received a call from someone who later identified himself as Mr. Wole Oladimeji and CPS to the DSP (Deputy Speaker). He told me the DSP knows nothing about the project but I simply advised him to discuss with the DSP first. My Editor, Mr. Ayodele Ojo, told me the same person called him and that he was the one who directed him to me. Since then, neither my editor nor myself, have received any response, either in written or verbal form, until I reached out to you again and you told me the CPS had contacted my editor. Your SMS, which claimed my editor has been contacted by the CPS was not only surprising to me but also to my editor.
“However, further investigations have revealed the DSP is linked to one of the companies that handled the projects, especially those of Ife-Odan and Ila-Orangun, that is; Nur and Company Nigeria LTD. All we need is a clarification ma. The other people involved have given their own side of the story ma. Thank you very much ma as I await your intervention to get an official reaction from the DSP.”
Till date, New Telegraph is yet to receive any response from the office of the deputy speaker.         
 
Other National Assembly members kick
Two months after the inauguration of the projects, and precisely in April 2017, some members of the House of Representatives, who said they were inundated by complaints from the beneficiary communities, had embarked on a tour of the three projects to ascertain the authenticity of the people’s claims.
The House of Representatives Caucus comprising Mrs. Ayo Omidiran from Ayedaade/Irewole/Isokan Federal Constituency; Mr. Yinka Ajayi, representing Boripe/Ifelodun/Odo-Otin Federal Constituency; Mr. Gafar Amere, representing Ayedire/Iwo/Ola-Oluwa Federal constituency and Mr. Ajibola Famurewa of Atakunmosa East/Atakunmosa West/Ilesha East/Ilesa West Federal constituency, visited the locations.
According to Famurewa, officials of the Ogun-Oshun River Basin Development Authority and two representatives of the state Water Corporation were part of the inspection tour.
He told New Telegraph that prior to the inauguration, apparently frustrated by the slow pace of work at the sites, the members of the National Assembly had in 2016 petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to report suspected foul play, even after all the budgeted funds had been released to the contractors.
“But rather than inviting us, we never heard anything from the EFCC till date. The only thing we noticed was that the contractors returned to the sites in a surreptitious manner,” Famurewa added.
When New Telegraph approached the EFCC for details of the matter, its spokesperson, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, demanded an acknowledged copy of the petition to locate the exact unit of the anti-graft body handling the matter. But none of the petitioners could provide a copy.
Meanwhile, Senators Babajide Omoworare and Olusola Adeyeye denied complicity in the matter, saying it was unfortunate that the projects were poorly handled.
Adeyeye said: “Personally, I had suggested that we fixed Ojutu bridge in Ilobu but eventually the governor said we should do water. And to do water, none of us could single-handedly fix the water and so we decided to have three mini-water schemes across the three Senatorial Districts.
“It was Lasun that was given the assignment to link up with the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority for the execution. You know very well that I am neither an engineer nor a contractor. So, when they claimed they had finished it, honestly I thought they had finished, it was later on that we heard that the thing was not working and that the people had done a very shoddy job. I am told that some members of the House of Representatives have written a petition to the EFCC to look into it.
“Let me tell you, the crisis on the matter, I should not intervene for now, because if I do, I will make things worse. Let them handle it because, in the end, it is the people that would be the beneficiaries. But if in the end, they sweep it under the carpet, it can be very dangerous for them. The man, who supervised it at the Ogun-Osun River Basin Development Authority, came into my office and he was crying. But I drove him out. I told him that if he had been given a project and he didn’t do it well or he awarded it to a fraudulent contractor, he should go and fry in his own smoke.”
In a similar vein, Hon. Omidiran also distanced herself from the allegation of fraudulent practices in the execution of the projects, saying she was saddened by the development.
When contacted, the duo of Senator Mudashiru Hussein and Honourable Rotimi Makinde, who had failed to win their re-election bid, said since they are no longer in the parliament, they could hardly give any information on the matter. They directed our correspondents to the incumbent members of the parliament.
 
Procurement Laws bar public officers from taking government contracts
An officer of the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), a non-governmental organisation, focused on procurement monitoring, Samuel Offia, has explained reasons government officials are banned by law from taking government contracts.
According to Offia, towards promoting transparency, fairness and accountability, and to avoid unholy interference in procurement processes, Sections 58 and 59 of the Public Procurement Act 2007, forbids public officials from participating in or awarding contracts.
Citing specific laws, Offia said: “Part 5 (VI) that is, from Section 25 down to Section 38 of the Public Procurement Act 2007 provides for the steps, conditions/due processes to be followed in the award of contracts. So contract offence(s) are clearly itemised in Section 58 of the Act. 
“One of the ways we can curb this menace of corruption rubbing our nation is to have the system open at all times, and by so doing, citizens will get to know what is being done or was left undone and then ask questions at every stage of the process.”    
 
Constituents should recall representatives –SERAP boss
The Executive Director of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), Mr. Adetokunbo Mumuni, has described as an impeachable offence the use of companies belonging to public officials to execute government contracts.
In an interview with New Telegraph, Mumuni said the rot in the National Assembly could be stopped when the people show concern about how they are governed and they realised their power to determine the fate of elected officers.
He said: “If the allegations are found to be true, it is enough for the constituents to initiate recall process and seek for the prosecution of the concerned representative(s).”
 
•This is the concluding part of an investigative budget tracking report with the support of Macarthur Foundation and the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR)  (New Telegraph)

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Paul Kagame Closes 6000 Churches, Mosques In Rwanda |The Republican News

 

 

Rwanda’s government has closed thousands of churches and dozens of mosques as it seeks to assert more control over a vibrant religious community whose sometimes makeshift operations, authorities say, have threatened the lives of followers.

President Paul Kagame has said he was shocked by the high number of churches in this small East African country. “700 churches in Kigali?” he said of houses of worship in the nation’s capital in March. “Are these boreholes (deep wells) that give people water? I don’t think we have as many boreholes. Do we even have as many factories? This has been a mess!”

Kagame said Rwanda doesn’t need so many houses of worship, claiming that such a high number is only fit for bigger, more developed economies that have the means to sustain them.

The closings are bringing mixed reactions in Rwanda, where human rights groups have long accused Kagame’s government of clamping down on freedom of expression, which the president has denied. Six Pentecostal pastors who protested the church closures were arrested and accused of “illegal meetings with bad intentions,” and since then other critics have refused to discuss the issue with The Associated Press.

While Rwanda’s government describes the closures as tackling churches that have failed to comply with building safety standards, it is taking other steps to oversee the religious community in the largely Christian nation of 12 million people.

Proposed legislation aims to regulate faith-based organisations separately from civil society organizations, said Alexis Nkurunziza, president of the private Rwanda Religious Leaders Forum. Suggestions from religious leaders soon will be forwarded to the Rwanda Law Reform Commission for scrutiny and later to parliament, he said. The legislation is expected to be passed as the ruling party holds a majority of parliamentary seats.

The new legislation would require pastors to have a theology degree before they start their own churches so that they teach correct doctrine, said those familiar with the discussions. The aim is to regulate the Pentecostal churches that often spring up under leaders who claim to have received a call to preach. Not everyone, however, has the money to such a degree, some observers have said.

The majority of churches that have been closed are said to be small Pentecostal prayer houses, with some preachers suspected of growing rich off often impoverished followers. Some churches meet in tents or houses that cannot accommodate crowds and noise pollution from nighttime gatherings is a concern, authorities said.

“The prayer houses were found in such poor physical conditions, and we are not targeting any religion,” Anastase Shyaka, the head of the Rwanda Governance Board that regulates faith-based organizations, told the AP. “We are closing prayer houses of all different denominations and asking them to meet existing health and safety standards for their followers.”

Local media in the capital have reported that over 6 000 churches have been closed so far across the country, but Shaka said the actual number was still being compiled.            (Times Africa)

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EFCC Detains Nwaoboshi While Police Hunts For Melaye |The Republican News

By Onwuka Nzeshi, Chukwu David and Emmanuel Onani Abuja

This is not the best of time for some members of the Senate. Two of the senators are now in the eyes of the storm.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has for about eight days detained Senator Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP, Delta North) over alleged fraud.

Also, Senator Dino Melaye (APC, Kogi West) was yesterday prevented from travelling abroad while armed policemen laid siege to his Abuja residence.

Nwaoboshi was arrested over the purchase of a 12-storey “Guinea House” in Lagos and alleged corruption in the equipment contract he got from the Delta State Government.

The building was owned by Delta State before the sale.

The lawmaker purchased the building for N805 million through his company, Golden Touch Construction Project Limited.

Nwaoboshi, who represents Delta North Senatorial District, was detained after interrogation on April 17.

EFCC’s spokesman, Wilson Uwajare, confirmed that the senator is in custody.

The Delta lawmaker has asked supporters to be calm and law-abiding, saying his ordeal was the handiwork of “detractors”.

A statement by his media aide, Hon. Andy Onyemeziem, read thus: “We hereby bring to the notice of the general public that on Tuesday, April 17, 2018, Senator (Barr.) Peter Onyeluka Nwaoboshi was detained by the EFCC after series of interrogation over some pending issues part of which is already before the court.

“While, formal charges have been filed against him by the Commission, however, attention is drawn to the ill-treatment meted against his person.

“As a law-abiding citizen, who believes fervently in the rule of law, the senator urges his teeming supporters and well-wishers to remain calm and steadfast to the laws of the land as this is the handwork of detractors, who are bent on tainting the senator’s image and throwing cogs in the wheels of his good works for the Anioma people, the Niger Delta and Nigeria in general.”

Meanwhile, it was a day of drama yesterday as armed policemen laid siege to the residence of Senator Melaye, the vocal lawmaker who has been very critical of President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration in recent months.

Hordes of policemen barricaded the entrance to the palatial Signature House located on Sangha Street, Maitama and prevented human and vehicular movement in and out of the mansion.

They also blocked the street with their patrol van while a number of the armed policemen took strategic positions beside the perimeter fence of the building.

A few hours after the Police arrived the building, a group of protesters also besieged the lawmaker’s residence in protest and offered to be arrested along with Melaye.

Melaye was earlier yesterday arrested and prevented from travelling abroad by men of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja. The lawmaker, who was on his way to Morocco to attend a Federal Government-sponsored programme was briefly detained at the airport before he was released.

New Telegraph learnt that following his encounter with the immigration officials, Melaye returned to his home in Abuja only for the armed policemen to arrive there seeking to arrest him.

The leader of the Police Squad, an Assistant Commissioner of Police dressed in plain clothes declined to state the reason behind the siege.

The man who also declined to give his name was courteous when our correspondent approached him but he declined to comment on the reason for the siege and how long it would last.

When New Telegraph asked him what their mission was he said: “We are here to do our job. I know why we are here but I have to keep that close to my chest.

If you want details, you can go to the Force Headquarters or call the Force PRO,” he said

Addressing journalists at the venue, the Senate Minority Whip, Philip Aduda, condemned the development.

He said he had visited the house in order to report back to the presiding and principal officers of the Senate.

Aduda said: “Some of us came here with a view to reporting to the presiding officers and principal officers on what we have seen.

“I will report appropriately on what I saw, but I  don’t believe this should happen.” Director, Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER), Mr Frank Tietie, who addressed journalists at the scene of the siege, expressed disappointment at the action of the Police, describing it as an attempt by the Federal Government to silence critics and intimidate all dissenting voices in the country.

Tietie, a human rights activist and lawyer, said it was disheartening that while Nigerians were being killed every day in different theatres of conflict, the security agencies have chosen to silence the lone voice that has been speaking against the killings and injustice in the land.

Tietie challenged the Nigeria Police to tender a court order or any other legal instrument which justifies the invasion of Melaye’s residence and holding him to ransom.

On the argument that Melaye was being hounded by the security agencies because of a pending case against him in Lokoja, Kogi State, the human right activist said the lawmaker cannot answer to the charges because the Police had failed to guarantee his safety in Kogi State.

Meanwhile, some protesters have also besieged the same residence of the embattled lawmaker, vowing to go into detention with him if the Police arrest him.

The protesters numbering over 40 were said to have been drawn from the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Camp in Abuja.

Melaye has been having a running battle with the Kogi State Governor, Yahaya Bello, and the Federal Government, leading to the Police declaring him wanted on an allegation that he was sponsoring some armed criminals and gun runners in Kogi State.               (New Telegraph)

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MMM Founder, Sergei Mavrodi, Dies Of Heart Attack At Age Of 62 |RN

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                    Founder of MMM scheme, Sergei Mavrodi

Russian businessman Sergei Mavrodi, whose MMM pyramid scheme deprived millions of Russians of their savings in the 1990s, has died of a heart attack, according to Russia media.

Reports said the 62-year-old was rushed to the hospital late on March 25 with pain in his chest and died several hours later.

Mavrodi’s MMM financial pyramid was a typical Ponzi scheme in which earlier investors receive their profits from subsequent investors. Mavrodi promised returns of 20 percent to 75 percent a month, as well as lotteries and bonuses for investors.

As soon as the number of new clients stopped growing, the pyramid collapsed, causing huge financial losses for at least 10 million people, in some cases leaving them destitute.

In 1994, Mavrodi was elected as a lawmaker, a decision he later said was to ensure he received immunity from prosecution. In 1996, he lost his parliamentary mandate.

In 2007, a Moscow court found him guilty of financial fraud and sentenced him to 4 1/2 years in a penal colony.

In 2011, Mavrodi launched another pyramid scheme called MMM-2011, calling on investors to purchase so-called Mavro currency units in a bid to get rid of the “unfair” financial system. Some 15 months later, Mavrodi halted the project.

From 2011-16, Mavrodi launched Ponzi schemes under the MMM brand in India, China, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Nigeria.

In many of those countries, Mavrodi’s operations were subsequently shut down or suspended.

(Radio Liberty)

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N24bn Pension Fraud: Appeal Court Jails Yakubu Yusuf Six Years, Fines Him N22.9bn

Yakubu-Yesufu-pension-fraud
                                                         Yakubu Yusuf

Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

The Abuja Division of the Court of Appeal on Wednesday quashed the sentence of two years imprisonment with an option of N750,000 fine imposed by the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on a former official of the Police Pension Office, Yakubu Yusuf,  for stealing N24bn pension funds.

A three-man panel of the Court of Appeal headed by Justice Abdu Aboki, in a unanimous judgment, described the High Court’s sentence as unreasonable and substituted it with a total of six years’ imprisonment with an addition of N22.9bn fine.

Justice Emmanuel Agim, who delivered the lead judgment of the court, ruled that “the sentences levied” by the High Court “are clearly light and lenient ones.”

The justice ruled that this allowed “the convict, who had admitted misappropriating or stealing N24bn, the option to pay the sum of N250,000 per count of offence in lieu of serving a prison term of two years for the offence,” to enjoy the huge balance he had in his possession.

He added that the “amount” of the sentences “is paltry, a pittance and unreasonably low.”

Justice Agim noted that it was “disproportionate to the amount stolen and therefore can comfortably and quickly be paid by the convict from the humongous amount stolen.”

He added that with the sentence, the convict would be left with “a huge balance of the stolen funds in his possession and without really causing him any pain of punishment.”

Justice Abubakar Talba of the Federal High Court in Gudu, Abuja, had in his judgment delivered on January 28,  2013, convicted Yusuf and sentenced him to two years imprisonment with an option of N750,000 fine.

Yusufu, had after pleading guilty to three of the counts preferred against him and others, was convicted and sentenced to two years imprisonment on each count with an option of paying N250, 000 fine on each of the three counts.

Although, two years imprisonment was the maximum jail term with an option of undisclosed fine prescribed as punishment by Section 309 of the Penal Code Act, under which Yusufu and his co-defendants were charged, Justice Talba ordered that the two years imprisonment imposed on the convict should run concurrently with the option of paying the N750,000 fine.

The convict had promptly paid the fine and walked free shortly after the judgment was delivered.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had through its private prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), appealed against the High Court judgment.

Delivering the Court of Appeal’s lead judgment on the appeal on Wednesday, Justice Agim held that the considerations of the High Court in imposing the light sentence were contrary to judicially established principles.

He noted that there was no monetary value of the properties already forfeited by the convict to justify the light sentence imposed on him by the High Court.

“I hold that the sentence of fine of N250,000 in lieu of imprisonment for a term of two years for each offence is unreasonable, unjust, unfair, irrational, arbitrary, and contrary to judicially established principles as it is not the result of a judicious and judicial exercise of the trial court’s sentence discretion,” he said.

He held that considering the humungous amount stolen, the nature and gravity of the offence, its destructive effect on the country, and its impact on retired police officers, the trial court ought to have imposed a severe sentence that would deter further commission of such crime and prevent the convict from retaining any part of the proceeds of the crime.

In passing a fresh sentence on Yusufu on Wednesday, Justice Agim imposed two years imprisonment on the convict on each of the three counts and in addition a fine of N20bn on the first count, N1.4bn on the second count and N1.5bn on the third count.

Justice Agim held that while the monetary fines on each of the counts amounting to N2.9bn would “run cumulatively,” the two years jail terms on each of the three counts would run “consecutively,” giving rise to a total of six years imprisonment.

He held, “In reviewing the sentence of imprisonment with an option to pay fine, as in this case, this court can vary the sentence to one of both imprisonment and fine or imprisonment without the option to pay fine.

“Considering the humongous amount stolen, the nature and gravity of the crime and its destructive effect on the country and its impact on retired police officers and the grave breach of public trust, a severe sentence that would deter the further commission of such a crime and prevent the convict from retaining any part of what he stole to avoid him obtaining financial benefit from his crime should be imposed.

“The sole issue raised for determination in the appellant’s (EFCC) brief is resolved in favour of the appellant.

“On the whole, this appeal succeeds as it has merit.

“I hereby quash the sentences of two years imprisonment or a fine of N250,000 for each of the offences in counts 18, 19 and 20 and substitute them with the following sentences for each count as follows:

“Count 18: The convict is sentenced to two years imprisonment and in addition a fine of N20bn.

“Count 19: The convict is sentenced to two years imprisonment and in addition a fine of N1.4bn.

“Count 20: The convict is sentenced to two years imprisonment and in addition a fine of N1.5bn.

“The prison terms shall run consecutively and the monetary fines cumulatively.”

Expressing concerns over the plight of the retired police officers who must have been at the receiving end of the massive theft of the pension funds, Justice Agim noted, “The offence committed by the respondent, by its nature, involves a grave breach of trust, erodes public confidence in public governance and causes retired police officers hardship and suffering.

“The funds stolen or misappropriated by the convict are police pension funds for the payment of monthly pensions and other retirement benefits of police officers nationwide.

“The theft or misappropriation of over N24bn of that fund would make the prompt payment of monthly pensions to retired police officers very difficult, if not impossible, with attendant hardship and suffering inflicted on such retired officers who rely on their monthly pensions as their only means or source of sustenance in retirement.

“The hopeless, helpless and dehumanising conditions the retired police officers have been put into by this offence that has become habitual and widespread amongst government officials in pensions departments of government whose duties are to be in custody of pension funds and process the payment of gratuities, monthly pensions and other retirement benefits to retired public servants is obvious.”

Justice Abdu Aboki, who led the three-man panel, and another member of the panel, Justice Mohammed Mustapha, agreed with the lead judgment.  (Punch)

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JAMB: EFCC Vows To Deal With Money-Swallowing Snake |The Republican News

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                                  EFCC Boss, Ibrahim Magu

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has said that it will “show no mercy” to the alleged ‘snake’ that recently “swallowed” the sum of N36m at the Makurdi, Benue State office of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board.

An employee of JAMB, Philomina Chieshe, had, during an interrogation by a committee set up to audit the sale of UTME forms before the board started online sales, said that a “mystery snake” sneaked into its accounts office and made away with the cash.

Reacting to the development on its verified Twitter handle on Monday, the EFCC vowed to ensure a thorough investigation of the case.

At 6.30pm on Monday, the tweet had attracted 5,349 retweets, 5,286 likes and over 1,000 comments.

The post, which has generated intense debate among Nigerians on Twitter, was accompanied with the image of an eagle preying on a snake.

Some Nigerians who reacted to the tweet urged the EFCC not to be political in its investigation of the matter.

While some hailed the agency, others warned that the ‘snake’ should not be allowed to defeat the eagle.

One of them, who tweeted as @UtdFan4, wrote, “The eagle picks its prey and then flies to a safe location. If it eats the prey, we don’t know. If the prey gives the eagle bribe, we don’t know. If it’s all a camouflage, we still don’t know. In everything let’s just give thanks and appreciate nature.”

Another commentator, identified as Yucan Fukof, pleaded that the “swallowed money” should be recovered. He tweeted, “So the eagle will eat the snake with the money?”

The comments were, however, flooded with pictures showing snakes supposedly having money in their wombs and pictures of snakes clashing with an eagle, among others.

Meanwhile, the JAMB through its Head of Information, Fabian Benjamin, said that it had suspended Chieshe over the matter.  (Punch)

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Nigerian Girl Quits Relationship With Boyfriend Who Eats Human Feces For Success In Online Fraud

Human-feces

Human feces

By Ike A. Offor

A Nigerian girl has shocked the Nigerian online community with a very disturbing confession from her date, who apparently eats human feces, recommended by native doctors, for success in online scam, known as Yahoo Plus.

Barbie Ulonna who posted the narrative of ordeal to Rant HQ, a Nigerian group forum on Facebook, shocked many readers with her story.

In her own story as posted in the Facebook group she belongs to:

I posted a story sometime ago, about kissing someone I just started dating and when I got home, I had sores all over my gum, I didn’t think it was something serious since the first sore went away after 2 days.

Well, reading comments here made me really scared, some people suggested I had herpes, so I had to rush to the hospital the next day…. Doctor ran a check on me, and thankfully, it wasn’t herpes but oral thrush..

Now, here’s the main gist…

I visited le boo (now ex boyfriend or date), with the intention of discussing what I noticed with him, and to know what he actually eats that causes me to have those sores.
On my way to his house, I perceived a very awful smell at just outside the gate, I felt that it’s normal refuge smell, so I didn’t take it to mean anything.

Few minutes after I visited, his friend also came visiting, and we were all just in the parlour (living room) gisting, before the power outage. Lee boo went to turn on the generator and his friend went with him, I also decided to go to the kitchen to find something to drink, that was when I overheard their discussion.

My people, it turned out Lee boo was telling his friend that the last excreta (shit or feces) they brought was smelling very terribly, he said he just managed to use little amount to eat bread and then threw away the remaining in the neighbour’s trash. His friend was laughing and then told him to just tell the guys that bring it not to bring the one that smells too much.
I fainted and woke up, I couldn’t believe my ears, what????

He was into Yahoo plus???? I don’t understand, I know where he works and besides, I wasn’t even dating him for money, I was devastated, it didn’t make sense, why would he be involved in such?

Anyway, I quickly ran back to the parlour, sat down and pretended not to have heard anything. As soon as he came out, I just told him I needed to go, he was surprised because I only just got there. But, I gave one excuse and he let me go, with promise I was to see him the next day. He saw me off to the car and I drove off, that’s the last time I’d ever see set my eyes on him again, thank God he doesn’t know my house. God forbid bad thing.

I’m still petrified, may God save us ladies from evil ooh, there’s a lot out there, one can’t be too sure anymore.

But you see, before I date anybody again; he has to do HIV test, mouth swab, mental check and spiritual check. I’m done with relationships for now.

This was the recount by Barbie Ulonna to her Facebook group about dating a guy who eats human feces for success in online scam known as Yahoo Plus. it is really inconceivable and must be shocking to many readers.

http://www.twitter.com/RNNetwork1

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