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EFCC orders NASS officials to Return vehicles converted for personal use

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EFCC orders NASS officials to Return vehicles converted for personal use

The Economic and Financial Crime Commission ( EFCC) has indicted former NASC Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Fika, and all immediate past commissioners who served with the NASC, for allegedly converting 12 Peugeot 508 vehicles belonging to the National Assembly Service Commission (NASC) for private use and going away with them.

The anti graft body has ordered that the vehicles be immediately returned and the indicted commissioners are to face prosecution for alleged conspiracy and criminal conversion of public property. 
The EFCC is relying on section 38 (1) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004 and section 21 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended.
The anti-graft body is equally questioning the propriety of the approval by National Assembly Presiding Officers, which the indicted retired commissioners relied on to convert the vehicles to their private uses.
It was learned that former Clerk of the National Assembly, Muhammed Ataba Sani Omolori, who left office in July, is also being queried on his alleged involvement in the matter. 
Omolori, had in a letter dated July 18, 2018, conveyed the approval of the Presiding Officers of the Senate and House of Representatives to the effect that the National Assembly Commissioners could go away with their last official vehicles in line with the extant practice at the National Assembly and as requested by the former National Assembly Commissioners. 
Omolori’s letter, which was addressed to the Secretary of NASC, with reference number NASS/ CNA/160/Vol13/582 and titled, ‘Re: Request For Your Clarification Of The Pool Vehicles Of The Outgoing Members Of National Assembly Service Commission,’ read: “I write with reference to your letter NASC/CNA/43/11/37, dated 17th July 2018, on the above subject matter and to confirm that officers who retired from the National Assembly Service Commission at the level of Secretary or Director have always been allowed to go away with their last official vehicle either on payment of fixed prices or for free.
“Further, I wish to convey to you the no objection of the Presiding Officers to allow the present National Assembly Service Commissioners/Secretary go away with their last official vehicles – Peugeot 508. The Procurement Directorate is also being advised to conclude the auctioning of the Hilux to the Commissioners to enable them to pay the auction price and possess the vehicles accordingly.”
However, the EFCC in a counter directive through a letter dated August 20, 2020, to the acting secretary of NASC, and signed by its Abuja zonal head, Ahmad Sa’ad Abubakar, for the Acting Executive Chairman, asked the retired NASC chairman and commissioners to return those vehicles before Thursday, September 3, 2020.

The EFCC’s letter reads: “We refer to the case of the alleged conspiracy and criminal conversion of public property involving the erstwhile chairman and commissioners of your commission. 
“In view of the above, you are kindly requested to inform the under listed former commissioners to return the official vehicles – 508 cars attached to them on or before September 3, 2020. And to those who have already disposed of their cars, your office should value it on its appropriate government value price for repayment to government, pending the conclusion of the investigation into the matter.”
The letter listed those concerned to include the former NASC Chairman, Alhaji Adamu Fika, as well as other former commissioners including Alhaji Aliyu Abubakar, Alhaji Abubakar Garba Rufai, Alhaji Abdulkadir Abugi, Elder Stephen Yepwi, Mrs. Riskat Oyebimpe Alabi, Barrister Oluwafunmilola Lamuye, Hon. Abe Chukwu, Hon. Godfrey Dikeocha, Senator Dahiru Gassol, Mallam Idi Adamu Ningi and Dr. Paul Oweh.
According to the EFCC letter, “This request is made pursuant to section 38 (1) of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, 2004 and section 21 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as amended.”

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Legislature

Kogi Lawmaker applauds Bello for giving automatic employment to constituent

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Governor Yahaya Bello has been commended for giving automatic employment to Miss Egamana Elizabeth Yakpesoko of the department of Science Laboratory Technician who scored 5.0 CGPA from College of Health Sciences and Technology, Idah.

Governor Yahaya Bello had offered Miss Miss Egamana Elizabeth Yakpesoko automatic employment with the Kogi State Specialist Hospital, Lokoja during the convocation of the college after it’s establishment forty five years ago.

A statement by the Member representing Bassa constituency in the state House of Assembly, Mr Rayi Daniyan described the gesture to his constituent as the demonstration of the love he has for the people of Bassa Local Government.

Daniyan who described the gesture of the Governor as second to none in the history of his constituency urged the people of the area to continue in their support for Governor Yahaya Bello.

The Lawmaker said Governor Bello was God sent to Bassa Local Government in view of his proactive step in stopping the insecurity in the Local Government.

He said the automatic employment given Miss Egamana Elizabeth Yakpesoko was a clear demonstration of the fact that Bassa Local Government has a special place in the heart of the Governor.

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Alleged breach of local content act: Senate decries non appearance of NLNG, NCDMB, Saipem, Daewoo

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The Senate Committee on Local Content has expressed concern that organisations handling the Train 7 gas project failed to honor its invitation over issues relating to alleged breach of local content act on implementation of the project.

The organisations invited by the committee, that failed to appear are the Nigerian Liquified Natural Gas (NLNG),Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB),Saipem and Daewoo.
Chairman of the Committee, Sen.Teslim Folarin, (APC -Oyo), while addressing journalists said there were petitions against the running and the promoters of Train 7, Gas Project.

According to him, there are a lot of pressure to escalate the matter to an investigative hearing.

Folarin, however, said the committee thought, it would be nice to hear from the four organisations involved, hence their invitation.

“We invited the four of them today, but as you can see, non of them honoured our invitation,” he said.

Senator Sabi Abdullahi(APC- Niger) and Vice Chairman of the committee, speaking further on the position of the committee said, the matter boarded on implementation of Nigeria’s local content policy.

Abdullahi said Train 7 gas project, which centred on increasig the nation’s output on liquified natural gas was an issue that was critical, given the increasing price of cooking gas.

He said given the huge deposite of gas, the National Assembly was interested on how the companies could make life meaningful to Nigerians in their participation on the train 7 project and on increasing the local capacity.

Abdullahi said the Senate had invited the companies to know what was happening on implementation of the project, but they had all surreptitiously failed to honour the senate invitation.

He said the committee resolved that given non appearance of the four organisations on the next invitation slated for Dec 2, the committee would excalate the matter to a full public investigation.

He said the attitude of the four organisations was an insult on the parliament as a whole, as they found it convienient on themselves not to appear before the senate committee.

Abdullahi said the parliament would not abdicate its responsibility of ensuring compliance to set local content rules and regulations,noting that it was committed to ensuring success of the Train 7 gas project.

He said it was the duty of the parliament to ensure that Nigerians were not short changed and taken for granted, while expressing hope that the concearned organisations would honour the next invitation slated for Dec 2.

He said with all the challenges of the economy, the matter was not what the senate would fold its arms and allow Nigerians to be short changed on the project.

He, however, said the Train 7 gas project was an attempt by the NLNG to increase Nigeria’s output from the current level to tap from the abundant natural gas resources in the country.

Abdullahi, who did not disclose further details, on the pertitions against the companies given its sensitive nature, said the committee would want to hear from the organisations.

He said it was too early to give further details until after engaging the companies.

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Senate panel makes case for N10b increase in 2022 judiciary budget

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**Insists terrorism taking its toll on the arm of Government

The Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters has made a case for an addition of N10b to the judiciary in next year’s budget.
Senator representing Ekiti Central and Chairman of the Committee, Michael Opeyemi Bamidele presented the request before the Senate Committee on Appropriation on Thursday at the National Assembly complex.
The Executive had made provision of N120 billion for the judiciary in the 2022 Budget.
Speaking with newsmen after his presentation before the Senator Jibrin Barau led Appropriation Committee, Senator Bamidele who disclosed that his Committee made a request for additional N10billion for the judiciary maintained that the budget estimate was inadequate, considering the enormous responsibilities before the judiciary.
“To begin with the Federal Government on its own in the 2022 budget proposal on its own had proposed and increased the budget by N10b for the judiciary. “Recall that the amount budgeted for the judiciary in the year 2021 budget was a sum of N110b. So on their own Government had proposed additional N10b subject to the approval of the national assembly, that is why we are talking about N120b with the N10b increase by the Federal Government.
Senator Bamidele indicated apart from the challenge thrown up by terrorism, there is the need to deploy technology in the dispensation of Justice.
“As we speak there are people awaiting trial as a result of the various insecurity problems that we have in the country, whether you call them bandits whether you call them terrorists, whether you call them gunmen or women the truth about the matter is there is insecurity in the country.
“This has brought additional burden on the judiciary to the extent that our constitution still guarantee right to freedom of fair hearing for everyone who is alleged, once he is arrested apprehended and bought to court.”
He said all that underscored the need for more money to be made available for the judiciary.

“So we are convinced as a committee that there is a need to give more money to the judiciary. Second reason why we are convinced that judiciary deserve to have more money is the fact that COVID-19 opened the eyes of everybody to the need for every court to be placed in a position where there can be virtual heating.
“You must be ready to deploy technology, all manners of technology that will make it possible for lawyers to electronically file their cases, that will make it possible for lawyers to be able to engage in virtual hearing.
“To make it possible for court to be able to sit virtually. All of these require deployment of technology and they don’t come cheap.
“We are talking of all levels of courts, from the magistrate court to the State high court to the Federal High court, to the court of Appeal to the supreme Court.
“There are other specialised courts like industrial court and the Code of Conduct tribunal and others. So definitely there is need to give money to the judiciary to respond to the global best practice standard needs that are confronting them today.
“It is for all of these things that as a committee both chambers we are asking that the senate committee on appropriation should take it beyond the N120b by the Federal Government for the year 2022 to a sum of N130b.
“We have also added the list of the courts and other judicial bodies like the Judicial service commission, judicial justice committee of FCT and all the other relevant ones.”

Asked about the secrecy surrounding the budget of the judiciary, the Chairman,
Senate Committee on Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters dismissed it as a non issue as he noted that it was not peculiar to the judiciary.
“It isn’t our responsibility to monitor their expenditure but it is important that whatever is allocated under the National Judicial Commission is judiciously used.
“The secrecy you talked about isn’t peculiar to the judiciary. No one is asking about the budget of the Department of State Serviced or National Intelligence Agency.
Their budget (judiciary) isn’t up to one percent of the entire budget. We may choose to sensationalise it, but public interest is better served if the budget of the judiciary is at least one percent of the entire budget. We need a well funded judiciary so that it’s independence isn’t compromised.”

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