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Lai Mohammed To Appear In Court Over N2.5bn NBC Fraud Case |The Republican News

Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed

Olufemi Atoyebi, Abuja

The immediate-past Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, will appear before a Federal High Court in Abuja over his role in the payment of N2.5bn by the National Broadcasting Commission for the Federal Government Digital Switch-Over programme.

According to a statement signed by the spokesperson for the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, Rasheedat Okoduwa, the ICPC had filed 12 counts before Justice Folashade Ogunbanjo-Giwa, against the Director General of NBC, Modibbo Kawu, the Chairman of Pinnacle Communications Limited, Lucky Omoluwa, and the Chief Operating Officer of the company, Dipo Onifade.

He added that the NBC DG misled the former minister into approving government funds to a private company.

The ICPC is also prosecuting Kawu over alleged abuse of office and money laundering.

The commission said, “The former minister’s involvement had come under questioning following discovery by the ICPC during investigations, that a government White Paper that governs the execution of the DSO programme was allegedly flouted by the head of the NBC.

“Mohammed had however admitted in a statement to the commission that he was misled by Kawu, as opined in court by a witness from the ICPC, Osanato Olugbemi. Olugbemi, led in evidence by counsel for the ICPC, Henry Emore, also told the court that the payment of N2.5bn from the NBC to Pinnacle Communications Limited as seed grant was suspicious because only government-owned company was approved to benefit from the grant according to the White Paper.

“The court also heard that the processes that led to the final payment of the fund to the private company were shrouded in secrecy as revealed by the minutes of an NBC emergency board management meeting where issues of carriage fees owed Pinnacle and not seed grant was discussed.”

The statement said 47 suspicious transactions were originated by the chairman of Pinnacle Communications, Omoluwa, immediately after the receipt of the funds on June 2, 2017.

“The transactions include payments of N363m to one Idowu Olatunde, N274.4m to one James Segun and N127 m to Onifade. Onifade explained that he received the money as legal fee he rendered to the company.

“A Bureau de change operator, Salisu Daura, who also testified in court, said he received N167m in two installments of N97m and N70m. Daura added that the sums were converted into $265,000 and $195,735 at the rate of N360 to US dollar, and handed the cash to one Alhaji Sabo, supposedly on behalf of Pinnacle Communications,” the commission noted. (Punch)

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Buhari Reinstates NHIS Boss,Usman Yusuf Under Probe For Alleged N919m Fraud

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NHIS Boss, Prof. Usman Yusuf

President Muhammadu Buhari has recalled the Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme, Prof. Usman Yusuf, who was suspended by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, on July 6, 2017, has learnt.
In a letter with reference number, ‘SH/COS/10/6/A/29’, signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, the President informed the minister of Yusuf’s recall, adding that he (Yusuf) had been “admonished to work harmoniously with the minister.”
The letter, it was learnt, was sent to the minister on Tuesday evening. When our correspondent called the minister to confirm the new development, Adewole only said, “Yes, what you have heard is true.” He refused to answer any further inquiries about the issue.
Sources at the federal Ministry of Health also confirmed Yusuf’s reinstatement. They did not, however, disclose when the NHIS boss would resume.
The letter made no mention of the probe Yusuf was facing at the EFCC.
Incidentally, Yusuf was being grilled by the men of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday when his letter of reinstatement was sent to the Federal Ministry of Health.
Yusuf, who is being probed by the EFCC and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, was accused of perpetrating fraud to the tune of N919m.
A committee set up by the minister had submitted a probe report to the President last September accusing Yusuf of abuse of office.
In the report which was compiled by senior officials of the health ministry, the Department of State Services and the ICPC, the panel described Yusuf as a public servant who “portrayed a holier than thou attitude but at the background, milked the agency dry” by conniving with others to perpetrate fraud to the tune of over N919m.
According to the panel, the N919m was dubiously given as payment to consultants for staff training.
The committee said as the head of the agency, Yusuf was personally responsible for all administrative, procurement and financial lapses.
According to the report, “His (Yusuf’s) deceitful attitude coupled with ‘name dropping’ of Mr. President as having sent him to sanitise the NHIS but he caused more harm than good to the scheme.”
The committee, therefore, recommended that the EFCC probe the agency for diversion of funds and contravention of the Procurement Act of 2007.
The report stated that Yusuf contravened the Procurement Act of 2007 through nepotism and other irregular award of contracts and should be sanctioned in line with the provision of the Act.
Explaining how the alleged staff training scam took place, the committee said in some instances, the number of trainees was far more than the entire number of employees at the agency while in some other instances, some employees were registered for the same training in two different states at the same time.
Most of the consultants were said to have charged about N250, 000 per participant.
The PUNCH had exclusively reported in December that Yusuf, who is close to the cabal in the Presidency, had been making moves to return to his post.
When our correspondent reached out to him to respond to the allegations levelled against him last December, Yusuf had said, “Fck you, and fck the minister.”
Meanwhile, it was learnt that Yusuf was grilled for over 12 hours at the EFCC on Monday and Tuesday.
A source at the EFCC said, “The NHIS boss was with us all through Monday and returned on Tuesday for more questioning. His passport was also seized. He will return on another day for more questioning.” (Punch)

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ICPC Seizes 220 Flats, Four Guns, Ammunition From Isa Yuguda’s Aide

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Eniola Akinkuotu and Armstrong Bakam

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related Offences Commission has seized 220 flats, located in 20 estates, allegedly belonging to one Sanusi Mohammed, a former aide to ex-Governor Isa Yuguda of Bauchi State.

It was learnt that 165 rounds of ammunition, a pump action rifle and other weapons were found in some of Mohammed’s properties located at GRA, Bauchi.

A source in Bauchi told one of our correspondents that the ICPC made the discovery following a tip-off by a whistle-blower.

He said, “About 10 days ago, we received a tip-off from a whistle-blower about the lifestyle of one Sanusi Mohammed, a former aide to former Bauchi Governor, Isa Yuguda.

“We traced 220 flats in 20 estates to him. The houses range from two-bedroom to three-bedroom flats. Inside some of the properties, we discovered four sophisticated guns with 165 rounds of ammunition, five exotic cars and 15 new air conditioners. “We believe the air conditioners were donated to the Bauchi State Government by China.

“We also recovered some cash as well as 25 designer watches and 20 bales of brocade.”

It was learnt that Mohammed was arrested by the ICPC and quizzed but was later released on administrative bail.

One of our correspondents visited the residence of Mohammed, a former Senior Special Adviser on Special Duties to Yuguda, twice but was told he was not at home. He was told that the ex-special adviser said he would call him but had yet to do so as of the time of filing this report.

When contacted on the telephone, the spokesperson for the ICPC, Mrs. Rasheedat Okoduwa, said she could not speak on the matter.

She said, “According to the ICPC Act, we are not allowed to divulge details of investigation. I cannot deny or confirm any story. In any case, anyone who is under investigation is presumed innocent until proved otherwise.”

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which is also investigating Yuguda, had sealed his multi-million naira mansion at Sir Kashim Ibrahim Street, GRA, Bauchi.

A committee set up by the current Bauchi State Government to carry out forensic audit of all major contracts awarded by the past administration from June 2007 to May 2015 in the Bauchi State Universal Basic Education Board, Ministry of Local Government Affairs, Bauchi Specialist Hospitals, Ministries, Departments and Agencies, had, in January, asked Yuguda to account for over N212bn expended by his administration within the period under review.

Over N100bn was alleged to have been mismanaged by permanent secretaries, commissioners and aides to the former governor.

Yuguda appointed 20 Special Advisers, 94 Senior Special Assistants and 810 Special Assistants.                     (Punchng.com)

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ICPC Seizes 62 Houses From Female Public Officer |The Republican News

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ICPC chairman, Mr Ekpo Nta

Etim Ekpimah, Uyo

The Chairman, Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission, Mr. Ekpo Nta, says the commission has seized 62 houses from a female public officer.

According to him, the matter is in the court and the property will be confiscated by the Federal Government after litigation.

The ICPC chairman revealed this while fielding questions from journalists at the Akwa Ibom Anti-Corruption Summit in Uyo on Tuesday.

He said, “How would the commission address unexplained wealth by public officers? The commission has a mandate to ask anybody to explain the source of his or her wealth. The commission has the power to issue an interim seizure order to any public officer to explain the source of their wealth.

“Through that order, the commission has seized 62 houses from one female officer, the matter is still in court and the property will be confiscated by the FG after litigation.”

Nta, who spoke on the theme, “Transparency and

Accountability: A Panacea for Good Governance and Sustainable Development,” said the anti-corruption war had yielded good results in the country.

He cautioned public office holders not to live above their incomes.

Nta said, “There are many facets of corruption in Nigeria. The commission will stop at nothing to bring anyone found to have contravened the anti-corruption crusade to book.”

He noted that the commission had retrieved 40 vehicles that were stolen by some retired directors of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and warned against trivialising the anti-graft war.

Nta explained that the commission was prosecuting over 400 corruption cases in different courts in the country, noting that those found guilty at the end of the trial would be made to face the full wrath of the law.

He added that the commission had taken a step further by launching the anti-corruption campaign in institutions of higher learning and among the members of the National Youth Service Corps.

He said that an anti-corruption module had long been introduced into the curriculum of the University of Calabar, maintaining that such a measure would go a long way in entrenching moral values in students.

Nta explained that the ICPC had inaugurated anti-corruption clubs in orientation camps, noting that such measures had assisted the commission in detecting and arresting about 42 fake corps members at orientation camps recently.

The Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, lamented that corruption had eaten deep into the fabrics of the Nigerian society.

Emmanuel advised all and sundry to be in the vanguard of curbing the menace of corruption if the country must move forward.

“We must change our mindsets about the way we do things in the country,” Emmanuel said.

The governor frowned on what he described as illicit cash running into over $157bn leaving the shores of Nigeria through fraudulent practices.

He identified corruption as the greatest enemy of development, noting that the repatriation of illicit funds across Nigeria’s borders to developed nations was regrettable.

He said if such funds were used within the shore of the country, the socio-economic life of Nigeria would have been positively impacted.

The governor enjoined all well-meaning Nigerians to join the ongoing crusade to rid the system of corruption and other economic crimes plaguing the country.  (Punchng.com)

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ICPC To Prosecute Ex-directors Of Ministry Of Water Resources For Stealing 40 Vehicles

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Eniola Akinkuotu, Abuja

The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission says it will soon prosecute 40 retiring directors and deputy directors, who allegedly stole 40 vehicles from the Ministry of Water Resources.

The Chairman of the ICPC, Mr. Ekpo Nta, said this in Abuja on Wednesday while returning the recovered vehicles to the ministry.

Among the vehicles recovered are eight Toyota Prado, two Toyota RAV4, one Audi Q7, one Ford Explorer, one Land Rover, one Nissan Patrol; three Toyota Avensis; 14 Hilux Pick-up; seven Toyota Corolla; one Toyota Camry and one Audi A6.

Nta, who was represented by a commissioner, Bako Abdullahi, stated, “This formality should not just be for handing over of recovered vehicles from one anti-corruption agency to another public institution. Rather, it should be a moment for solemn reflection on our avowed commitment to public service and the thought processes of the public servant going into retirement.

“It is not so much that official vehicles of the Federal Ministry of Water Resources were dishonestly made away with by retiring public servants. However, what is more significant is the need to ask some questions and consistently interrogate how 40 government vehicles were removed without authorisation?”

The vehicles, which were handed over to the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, were recovered by a crack team of the ICPC, led by the Director of Assets Tracing, Mr. Frank Nanakumo.

While noting that the retired workers would be prosecuted according to relevant laws, the ICPC chairman also warned that those who saw the vehicles being carted away and said nothing were also part of the conspiracy.

Speaking on behalf of the Minister of Water Resources, the Permanent Secretary, Rabi Jimeta, noted that recovering 40 vehicles at a time, when the ministry was lacking operational vehicles, was highly appreciated.

Jimeta pledged to ensure that the vehicles were properly put to good use and warned civil servants against corruption.   (Punchng.com)

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ICPC Stops Univeristy From Exploiting Students |The Republican News

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC),  yesterday said its intervention stopped the exploitation of students by the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.

A statement by the commission’s spokesperson, Mrs Rasheedat Okoduwa, said fresh undergraduates of the university who were allegedly exploited by the school authority to the tune of N4.76 million were refunded their money.

According to the statement, the refund is as a result of the intervention of the ICPC, following a petition by one of the students.

It noted that the student alleged that fresh undergraduates were made to pay an additional N5, 000 as fee for ICT training.

It said the student in his petition, told the commission that they had earlier paid N2,500 before they were asked to pay the additional N5,000.

It noted that upon receipt of the petition, the operatives of the commission swung into action, while investigations revealed that the students were levied twice for the same training.

“The commission, after bringing the issue to the attention of the management of the university, directed it to resolve it within a stipulated period.

“ Following that directive, the affected students were requested by the school to provide evidence of payment of the said N5, 000 to the college accountants to facilitate a refund.

It said random telephone calls from the affected students to the commission confirmed the refund.  (The Nation)

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