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Court orders final forfeiture of Diezani’s Banana Island property

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Court orders final forfeiture of Diezani’s Banana Island property

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday ordered permanent forfeiture of a 37.5m dollars sky-scrapper on the highbrow Banana Island, Lagos, belonging to former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, to the Federal Government.

Justice Chuka Obiozor, who gave the ruling, also ordered that the sums of 2.7 million dollars and N84.5 million realised as rents on the property should equally be forfeited to the Federal Government.

Obiozor, a professor of law, gave the orders following a motion on notice argued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission’s counsel.

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

The court had directed that the temporary forfeiture order be published in a newspaper and fixed Aug. 7 to enable anyone interested in the property and funds to appear to convince the court why they should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

At the hearing of the case on Monday, the EFCC lawyer, Mr Anselem Ozioko, told the court that the publication order had been complied with and said no one had contested the forfeiture order.

He said:“ In summary, it appears as if they are not willing to contest this application.”

Ozioko urged Justice Obiozor to go ahead and order the permanent forfeiture of the property and the funds.

Obiozor, in his ruling, granted the orders sought by the EFCC, saying “in the face of the publication,which I find in Exhibit B of the affidavit of compliance before me and there being no responses from any interested party, I have no other option but to grant the orders as prayed.”

The EFCC had earlier told the judge that the Banana Island manson was reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activities by Diezani.

The anti-graft agency said its investigations revealed that Diezani purchased the property sometime in 2013 at a cost of 37.5 million dollars for which she paid in cash.

According to the EFCC, the 37.5 million dollars was moved straight from Diezani’s house in Abuja and paid into the seller’s First Bank account in Abuja.

“Nothing could be more suspicious than someone keeping such huge amounts in her apartment. Why was she doing that? To avoid attention.

“We are convinced beyond reasonable doubt because as of the time this happened, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, was still in public service as the Minister of Petroleum Resources,” Ozioko told Justice Obiozor.

In a 41-paragraph affidavit attached to the application, an investigative officer with the EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, explained that Diezani,in connivance with one Nwokedi purposely incorporated a company — Rusimpex Ltd — on Sept. 11, 2013 to facilitate the alleged fraud scheme.

Bawa said Nwokedi later registered Rusimpex Ltd at the Corporate Affairs Commission, wherein a lawyer in his law firm, and a Russian, Vladmir Jourauleu, were listed as the directors of the company.

The investigator explained further that “sometime in 2013, the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, invited Nwokedi to her house in Abuja for a meeting where she informed him to incorporate a company and use same as a front to manage landed properties on her behalf without using her name in any of the documents.

Diezani was also said to have further directed Nwokedi to meet with Mr Bisi Onasanya, the Group Managing Director of First Bank of Nigeria Plc for that purpose.

“Mr Stephen Onasanya was invited by the commission and he came and volunteered an extra-judicial statement wherein he stated that he marketed a property at Bella Vista, Banana Island, Ikoyi, Lagos, belonging to Mr Youseff Fattau of Ibatex Nigeria Ltd to Diezani Alison-Madueke and she later bought the property from Mr Youseff Fattau, through Nwokedi (who she introduced to him) and that the payment for the said property was made through the Abuja office of First Bank.

“First Bank of Nigeria Plc, through Mr Barau Muazu, wrote to the commission and also volunteered an extrajudicial statement in writing that they made the payments totalling 37.5 million dollars to Ibatex Nigeria Ltd and YF Construction Development and Real Estate Ltd on behalf of Diezani Alison-Madueke.

“They collected the entire cash from her at her residence located at No. 10, Fredrick Chiluba Close of Jose Marti Street, Asokoro, Abuja and paid into the First Bank of Nigeria Plc accounts of Ibatex and YF Construction Development and Real Estate Ltd on her instructions.

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‘Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding’

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‘Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding’

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigerian youths to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage the government in finding solutions.
The president in a recorded national broadcast told the youths that their voice has been heard loud and clear and his administration is responding.
He therefore called for calm amidst the arsons and clashes that have ended the peaceful street protests of young Nigerians protesting against police brutality.
“I would like to appeal to protesters to note and take advantage of the various well-thought-out initiatives of this administration designed to make their lives better and more meaningful and resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating our nascent democracy,”
The President however, downplayed the attack on protesters at Lekki toll gate in Lagos as he failed to mention the episode in his speech.
The government security forces, including the army, alledgelly fired live ammunition on protesters in Lekki toll-gate on Tuesday with fatalities.

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Group clears Bauchi Governor of Corruption allegation

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Group clears Bauchi Governor of
Corruption allegation

From Ali Sara, Bauchi

Corruption allegations against the Bauchi State Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir are false, blatant lies being orchestrated by his political enemies, the Bauchi State Coalition Against Financial Crimes and Injustice (BACAFCI) has said.

The National Chairman of BACAFCI Mallam Bibi Dogo stated this on Sunday while fielding questions from newsmen in Bauchi in reaction to the recent petition  filed by alleged stakeholders from Bauchi State.
The group had accused the Governor of corruptly enriching himself and mal administration in the State as reported in some media.
Dogo indicated that the coalition received a copy of the petition which it has studied but found no tangible evidence but blatant lies with the sole aim of bringing the government to disrepute out of envy of his track records and successes.

Dogo who brought dozens of documents in defense of Governor Bala said the anti graft group BACAFCI cleared Bala on all the allegations after they studied the petitions filed by the socalled stakeholders before the Economic Financial Crime Commission EFCC.
Dogo explained further that the allegations of loans for the Purchase of 3.5bn official vehicles for the Political office holders are unfounded as all due processes were followed in the award of the contract.
He said the contract for their purchase was approved by the State House of Assembly through House resolution via a letter sent by the government and duly signed by the clerk of the House Umar Yusuf Gital with reference number BASHA/POL/S/13/VOL.XIX/203 dated 17/July/2019.
He said  the contract was awarded to an indigene of the State after it followed the normal scrutiny where certificate of no objection was issued to the company before it was awarded the contract.
Dogo observed that from their findings, all cars were supplied and put to use by the beneficiaries in the best interest of the State.

He said the allegations that Governor Bala is a director in one of the companies which Bauchi Government patronized is not true as the Governor had resigned his position in the company on 1st May 2019 adding that he was not a Governor at that time because he had not taken the oath of office.
He said their findings were confirmed through Corporate Affairs Commission CAC form no 51180 on the particulars of Directors.

The Chairman also indicated that allegations of awarding road contracts, Building of Palaces, Workshops, assistance to pilgrims, supply of School Uniforms to out of School children, children meals by the government, are all genuine projects that everyone with sincere mind can see.
“Where anyone is in doubt he can go to the relevant government agencies to confirm and verify.
On the issue of School Uniforms and meals for out of school children he said the contract for the supply of uniforms was awarded to the indigenes of the State after due process and the uniforms was supplied.
Dogo indicated that the project was aimed at reducing the number of out of School children, while the Workshop was carried out in the best interest of the state at minimal cost. 

Even the issue of ghost workers, he pointed out that it was Governor Bala who held a public hearing with all stake holders on the issue he is working hard to bring sanity to the system to free some resources and employ more people in to the state Civil Service. 

He said the petitioners were either ignorant of how government operates or it was born outof malice.
“They just decided to paint the governor black due to the large number of physical projects he has execute that has developed the state.

Bibi Dogo said many of the allegations are not directly linked to the Governor but some Civil Servants whom the petitioners didn’t care to accused but the Governor that is making effort to rebuild the State through the provision of genuine infrastructures.

He advised them to always cross check their facts and offer only constructive criticisms not blatant lies.

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Lawan seeks Pakistan support in capacity building for Nigeria’s Defence Industry

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Lawan seeks Pakistan support in capacity building for Nigeria’s Defence Industry

President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has urged Pakistan to aid Nigeria in the capacity building of her Defence Industry.

Lawan made the call on Friday while receiving in audience a delegation of the Senate of Pakistan which visited him to seek Nigeria’s support for the candidature of the Chairman of the Pakistani Senate for the Presidency of the Inter-Parliamentary Union(IPU).

The Senate President thanked Pakistan for its assistance in the area of training and supply of weapons to Nigeria Armed Forces in the fight against insurgency and other security challenges.
In his words,
“But one area that I think we need to sustain collaboration and partnership is in the area of helping Nigeria to build our Defence Industry.

“We started together in the 70s. For some reasons, we are still struggling to get stronger in the area of manufacturing or producing our needed defence weapons.

“But you have gone higher. We need to learn a lot from you in that respect.

“We have the Defence Industries Corporation of Nigeria located in Kaduna. They are still working hard to see how they can start producing the kind of weapons that we need in Nigeria.
“It’s going to take a while but I believe that you will graciously help us build the capacity of the people working in that place,” Lawan said.

The Senate President said the friendship between Pakistan and Nigeria which dated back to Nigeria’s Independence in 1960 had transformed into brotherhood.

“In all international fora, Pakistan and Nigeria have always been on the same side. Pakistan has been quite supportive of Nigeria in all ramifications.

“Presently, we do a lot together for our security especially the Armed Forces. You also help us with some of the weapons that we need in fighting the insurgency. We appreciate that and we hope that this kind of relationship and brotherhood will continue,” Lawan said

On the primary reason for the visit, the Senate President said the issue of the candidature of the Chairman of the Pakistani Senate, Muhammad Sadiq Sanjrani for the presidency of IPU “is like one of us running for that office.”

“We will give him the support that he needs from us and if we can go beyond what we can offer as an institution to other areas including the African jurisdiction, we will do so, trying to talk to as many of our colleagues in other jurisdiction within the African region, to see if we can get them on board as well.

“But he is eminently qualified. He’s vastly experienced and Pakistan has been quite prominent and visible in the activities of IPU.

“What we require is reforming IPU to make it more robust and vibrant and also provide opportunity for supporting the various chapters across the globe. And I believe that with his experience and expertise, he will be able to do that and for us he has no problem. He has our support.”

Earlier, the Chairman of the Pakistani Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed who led the delegation said the mission was basically to seek the support of Nigeria’s Senate for the candidacy of the Chairman of the Pakistani Senate, for the presidency of IPU.

“The election is scheduled to hold in the first week of November. We feel that Nigeria’s support will be very critical and because Nigeria is a very important player in the international scenes and in particular with reference to Africa.

“It is in that spirit that we have come personally to solicit your support. And we hope that, God’s willing if we are successful, we will be voice, not just for Asia/Pacific, but the voice of Africa and democratic and civilised community of nation’s,” Sayed said.

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