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Ex-Petroleum Minister, Diezani Forfeits $153.3m To FG

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The Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Friday ordered the forfeiture of $153.3 million allegedly embezzled by the embattled former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, to the Federal Government.

The seized money, according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission was stolen from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and stashed in three banks in Nigeria, in US dollars and Naira.

It was gathered that N23.4 billion was kept in Sterling Bank Plc while the sum of  N9.08 billion was deposited in First Bank Plc and $5m in Access Bank Plc.

Justice  Muslim Hassan, who gave the order,  gave Sterling Bank and any other interested parties 14 days to appear before him to prove the legitimacy of the monies, failing which the funds would be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria

The judge made the order in favour of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission which appeared before him today with an ex parte application seeking the temporary forfeiture of the funds.

In a nine-paragraph affidavit  by by EFCC investigator,  Moses Awolusi  and filed in support of the ex parte application,  the anti-graft agency discovered  how sometime in December 2014 Diezani invited a former Managing Director of Fidelity Bank Plc, Nnamdi Okonkwo, to her office. There  they hatched the plan of how  $153,310,000 would be moved from NNPC to Okonkwo to be saved for Diezani.

Diezani, according to Awolusi, instructed Okonkwo to ensure that the money was “neither credited into any known account nor captured in any transaction platforms” of Fidelity Bank.

Okonkwo accepted and implemented the deal leading to the movement of $153,310,000 from NNPC to Fidelity Bank.

He averred  further that two former Group Executive Directors of Finance and Account of NNPC, B.O.N. Otti and Stanley Lawson, helped Diezani to move the cash from NNPC, Abuja to the headquarters of Fidelity Bank in Lagos.

Awolusi said in a desperate bid to conceal the source of the money, Okonkwo, upon receiving it, instructed the Country Head of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Martin Izuogbe, to take $113,310,000 cash out of the money to the Executive Director, Commercial and Institutional Bank, Sterling Bank Plc, Lanre Adesanya, to keep.

He said the remaining $40m was taken in cash to the Executive Director, Public Sector Accountant, First Bank, Dauda Lawal, to keep.

The investigator said out of the $113,310,000 handed over to Adesanya, a sum of $108,310,000 was invested in an off balance sheet investment using Sterling Asset Management Trustees Limited.

The money was  was subsequently converted into N23.4 billion  and saved in Sterling Bank.

Awolusi said the EFCC had recovered the N23.4bn in draft and had registered it as an exhibit marked, EFCC 01.

The investigator said the EFCC had also recovered another $5m out of the money kept with the Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe.

He said the $5m was recovered in draft and had been registered as an exhibit marked, EFCC 02.

According to him, First Bank’s Executive Director, Lawal had  similarly converted the $40m kept with him to N9,080,000,000.

Awolusi, however, said the EFCC had recovered that also in draft and registered it as Exhibit EFCC 03.

Moving the ex parte application today, the EFCC lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, urged Justice Hassan to order the temporary forfeiture of the funds to the Federal Government and to order Sterling Bank and Lawal, who were joined as defendants in the application, as well as any other interested parties, to appear in court within two weeks to show cause why the funds should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government.

Oyedepo, who said the application was brought pursuant to Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act No. 14, 2006 and Section 44(2)(‘) of the 1999 Constitution, said granting the application was in the best interest of justice.

 Justice Hassan granted the order and adjourned till January 24, 2016 for the respondents to appear in court to show cause why the funds should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

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CCB Invitation: Magu Can’t Access Assets’ Documents, Says Lawyer

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CCB Invitation: Magu Can’t Access Assets’ Documents, Says Lawyer

Ibrahim Magu

The suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu has explained why he failed to honour the invitation of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

Recall that it was reported that CCB is planning to charge Magu for failing to declare his assets after failing to honour the invitation of the bureau.

Quoting portions of Magu’s letter in a statement on Sunday titled, ‘CCB invitation: Magu lacks access to relevant documents – Lawyer’ the embattled former EFCC boss lawyer Wahab Shittu said some of the documents requested by the CBB have been seized by the DSS and the retired Justice Ayo Salami-led panel.

Also Read: Corruption Allegation: Salami Panel Submits Investigative Report On Magu

He stated that Magu told the CCB that DSS removed the documents from his office while he was in detention following his suspension from office to pave the way for his probe by the panel.

Mr. Wahab Shittu also asked the CCB to reschedule the invitation till when Magu would have access to his office and the relevant documents.

He said, “We wish to state that our client did not shun the CCB invitation as the media reportage did not reflect the true position of the narrative.

“We wish to state with high sense of responsibility that we have written two letters to the Chairman of the CBB, intimating him about the inability of our client to have access to the relevant documents as required by the CCB.”

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Saraki Reacts To Kidnap, Killing Of Worshippers In Zamfara Mosque

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Saraki Reacts To Kidnap, Killing Of Worshippers In Zamfara Mosque

Bukola Saraki

Former Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki has condemned the recent attack by gunmen on a mosque in Zamfara state which led to the killing of some worshippers.

Saraki in his reaction on Monday, condemned the activities of the criminals in its totality, calling on the government and security agents to step up their game in securing the lives of the citizens.

He added that the frequent cases and reports of insecurity in the country should be a source of concern for all Nigerians.

Recall that gunmen on Friday stormed a Friday mosque in the village of Dutsin Gari in Kanoma, Zamfara State, and abducted about 40 worshipers and an Imam.

Five worshippers were killed while several others were also injured.

Reacting to this development, Saraki wrote on his Twitter page:

 

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Recession: Nigeria’s Economy On Way To Recovery, Says Osinbajo’s Aide

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Recession: Nigeria’s Economy On Way To Recovery, Says Osinbajo’s Aide

Yemi Osinbajo

Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo has stated that the Nigerian economy was already on its way to recovery from its second recession in five years.

Recall that Nigeria on Saturday, November 21, officially went into recession for the second time under President Muhammadu Buhari‘s administration.

But speaking on Sunday on a television programme, Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Osinbajo, said the economy is already on its path to recovery despite predictions by critics.

Akande said, “Let me say very clearly that if you look at the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) figures themselves, there is a clear indication of restoration. For instance, in Q2, the contraction was -6.1 but in Q3 which figures were just released, the contraction is -3. So, clearly, the Nigerian economy is on a rebound.

Also Read: Recession: Nigeria Is Broke, Can’t Afford 2021 Budget – Atiku

“To the question of when we will get out of this situation, the figures bear the truth that the Nigerian economy is on its way to recovery. This is going to be mainly because of the Economic Sustainability Plan that the President had put in place and asked the Vice-President to share its development and implementation.

“The economy is rebounding and this is mainly because of the preemptive action that the Buhari administration had taken even before now to ensure that the situation doesn’t get worse. We have the confidence that the Nigerian economy will bounce back very promptly.”

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