All posts by desireetoby

EFCC arraigns NBA president over alleged N1.4bn fraud

The president of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), Paul Usoro (SAN), pleaded not guilty in a Federal High Court Lagps, to charges bordering on N1.4billion fraud, preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

EFCC preferred a 10 count charge against the accused, which is pending before Justice Muslim Hassan.

Also named in the charge, is the incumbent governor of Akwa Ibom, Emmanuel Udom, who is described in the charge as being “currently constitutionly immune from prosecution”.

Others charged are: The Akwa Ibom state commissioner for finance, Nsikan Nkan; accountant-general of Akwa Ibom state, Mfon Udomah; the Akwa Ibom state attorney-general, Uwemedimo Nwoko and Margaret Ukpe.

The aforementioned accused are said to be at large.

On Tuesday, December 19, Rotimi Oyedepo appeared for the EFCC, while Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN) appeared with six other senior advocates for Usoro.

Oyedepo then informed the court that the anti graft agency had successfully served the criminal charge on the accused on Dec. 10, and sought leave of court for the plea of accused to be taken.

In response. Olanipekun confirmed service of the charge on the NBA President, but hinted the court that after it had directed that the accused be served with the charge at the last adjourned date, the accused was asked to report to the commission’s office for service.

He said that there, at the commission, Usoro was kept for two hours before the charge was handed to him, while he acknowledged same, adding that he was kept at the EFCC for another two hours.

He told the court that the EFCC had earlier informed the accused that he will be detained, but eventually let him go.

Olanopekun, then informed the court that the team of defence counsel has been informed that there is already a letter written to the Chief Judge of the court, seeking a transfer of the case to Uyo, Abuja or any other jurisdiction of the court, apart from him, (Justice Hassan).

Based on parity of reasoning and citing divers judicial and statutory authorities, Olanipekun, urged the court to await the decision of the CJ, rather than proceeding with arraignment.

In response, the prosecutor, argued that the matter was adjourned until Tuesday (today) for arraignment of the accused, adding that there is nothing before the court that can be construed as setting aside that purpose.

Referring to provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA), Oyedepo said that objections can only be raised after the plea of the accused had been taken.

According to him, section 9 governs the place of trial and enquiry, and requires that the charge be filed in the jurisdiction where the alleged offence took place.

He argued that sufficient facts which would lead to a transfer of the case to Uyo or Abuja, were not available.

Besides, he argued that apart from the letter to the CJ, there was no formal application before the court seeking a recuse, adding that the prosecution was entitled to join issues on same.

He urged the court to proceed with arraignment.

In a bench ruling, Justice Hassan held: “I have listened vehemently, to the submissions of counsel, and I have also read the letter written to the CJ.

“The issue in view is narrowed down to whether the defendant can take his plea in the circumstance.”

The court held that although it is not in dispute that the CJ reserved the right to transfer cases, the instant case was already assigned to his court.

He added that it is a rule, that even where such application for transfer exists, the trial judge should continue with hearing of the case, pending any contrary decision.

The court, consequently, called on the accused to take his plea on the charge.

Usoro pleaded not guilty to the charges.

After his plea, Olanipekun moved a bail application on behalf of the accused, urging the court to admit him to bail on liberal terms of self recognizance as President of the NBA.

Besides, he added that the International passport of the accused be deposited with the court as a measure, adding that he will apply for same whenever the need arises. The prosecutor did not oppose the application, but left same at the discretion of the court.

However, the court admitted Usoro to bail in the sum of N250 million, with one surety in like sum.

The court added that the surety must be owner of a landed property within the court’s jurisdiction, or a civil servant not lower than the rank of a Director in the Federal or State civil service.

The court ordered that the accused’s international passport also be deposited with the court’s registry which will be verified if genuine. The court then ordered that Usoro be handed over to a counsel of the inner bar, Mr E.B Effiong (SAN), pending perfection of his bail terms.

He adjourned the case until Feb.5, March 5, and March 6, 2019 for trial. In the charge marked FHC/418c/18, the anti graft agency alleged that the accused committed the offence on May 14, 2016.

The commission alleged that Usoro, conspired with others, to commit the offence within the jurisdiction of the court.

He was alleged to have conspired to convert the sum of N1.4 billion, property of Akwa Ibom Government, which sum they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity.

The prosecution said that the unlawful activity include criminal breach of trust which contravenes the provisions of section 15 (2), 15(3), and 18 (A) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.

It has been reported that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed 59 charges against a former senior special assistant to the president on public affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, following his inability to return N120m allegedly received from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

Okupe would be arraigned before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Maitama in Abuja.

The charges border on money laundering and criminal diversion of public funds and receiving about N120m when he “ought to have known that the said fund formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity of Col. Mohammed Sambo Dasuki (retd.), the then National Security Adviser (NSA), and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As amended in 2012) and punishable under section 15 (3) of the same Act.”


Cover Photo: EFCC arraigns NBA president over alleged N1.4bn fraud. Photo: Naij.com.

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I’m yet to get National Assembly nod on 2019 budget, says Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari says he is yet to get a date from the National Assembly for the presentation of the 2019 appropriation bill.

The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Udoma Udo Udoma, who made the disclosure yesterday in Abuja, explained that sequel to the Federal Executive Council’s (FEC) approval at a special session last Friday, the president was ready to present the fiscal document to a joint session of the parliament.

Buhari had last week transmitted the budget proposals to the legislature, but the minister noted that the delay was due to the inability of the federal lawmakers to give their green light for the presentation.
Udoma, who was briefing State House Correspondents alongside his Information and Transportation counterparts, Lai Mohammed, and Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi, after the end of the FEC meeting presided over by the president, said his boss was prepared for the exercise, insisting that the choice of date falls within the purview of the legislators. He said: “As you already know, the budget is ready. We are liaising with the National Assembly because they are to give us a date. If they say today, we will go.”

On the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Udoma said it grew at 1.81per cent in the third quarter of this year compared to the 1.5 per cent result of the preceding quarter.

Regarding claims that portfolio investors were skeptical of the country’s economic environment, the minister submitted that it was natural to be cautious while making investment decisions especially in periods of general elections. He, however, urged investors not be apprehensive about the coming polls, assuring them that the country remains a safe haven for businesses.

On his part, Amaechi said FEC approved $22.995 million for enhancement of security in the maritime sector.Also speaking, Mohammed pledged the president’s commitment to free, free and peaceful elections next year.Besides, the Minister of State for Environment, Ibrahim Usman Jibrin, has resigned his appointment to take up a monarchial post in his home state of Nasarawa.

He told FEC that he had been named the 13th emir of Nasarawa, in Nasarawa Local Council of the state.In a statement, the president described the new first class traditional ruler as a “wise choice and worthy successor.”


Cover Photo; President Muhammadu Buhari. Photo; Bayo Omoboriowo.

Oil rises for a fourth day, buoyed by OPEC supply plans

Oil rose for a fourth session in a row on Monday buoyed by the prospect that top exporter Saudi Arabia will push OPEC and may be Russia to cut supply towards the end of this year.Brent crude futures were up 24 cents at $67.00 a barrel by 1000 GMT, while U.S. futures rose 38 cents to $56.84.

“Oil prices continued to recover … (as) the market will be watching closely for the possible impact of a (supply) cut,” said Sukrit Vijayakar, director of Indian energy consultancy, Trifecta.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, led by Saudi Arabia, is pushing for the group and its partners to reduce output by one million to 1.4 million barrels per day to prevent a build-up of unused fuel.

“It appears that the market takes a production cut for granted. We’ll see if it is right after the next OPEC meeting on December 6.

“It is not unreasonable to anticipate stable prices until then,” PVM Oil Associates strategist Tamas Varga said.

Russian Energy Minister, Alexander Novak, said on Monday that Russia, which is not an OPEC member, planned to sign a partnership agreement with the group, and that details would be discussed at OPEC’s Dec. 6 meeting in Vienna.

Despite Monday’s gains, Brent is almost 25 per cent below early October’s 2018 peak of $86.74, as evidence of slowing demand has materialised and output from the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia hit historic highs.

A U.S. decision to grant waivers to some of Iran’s oil customers, who faced the prospect of a drop-off in supply from sanctions that came into force in early November, has also helped soothe concern about availability of crude.

A trade dispute between the United States and China is one reason investors are a lot warier about the outlook for oil demand growth next year.

Fund managers cut their bullish exposure to crude futures and options to the lowest since around mid-2017 this month.

Weekly exchange data shows money managers hold a combined net long position equivalent to around 364 million barrels of U.S. and Brent crude futures and options, down from over 800 million barrels two months ago.

“The main trend remains bearish as investors no longer believe in a risk of supply tightness for crude,” ActivTrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa said.


Cover Photo: Oil refinery. Photo: The Guardian.

UI International School shut down over Hijab

The University of Ibadan International School has been shut down indefinitely, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports.

The school was shut down early on Monday, following the lingering crisis over the wearing of Hijab by female Muslim students in the school.

A statement posted on the main gate of the school said that the school had been shut down until further notice.

The statement, signed by the management of the school, advised parents and guardians to take note of the clossure.

“Notice: The International School, University of Ibadan has been closed dow until further notice. Please, take note,” the statement read.

The Principal of the school, Mrs Phebean Olowe, was not available for comments when a NAN correspondents visited her office.


Cover Photo: UI International school shut down over hijab controversies. Photo: Daily Post.

Heart breaking! Honduras goalkeeper shot dead during night out with friends

Honduran football fraternity has been thrown to mourning following the death of Club Deportivo Vida goalkeeper Oscar Sein Munguia Zelaya.

According to local media reports, Zelaya was shot alongside a friend outside a bar in La Ceiba on Sunday, November 18 during a night out.

Honduran news channel Hoy Mismo further reported the goalkeeper was allegedly shot by a stranger who fled on a motorcycle.

Club Deportivo Vida have since confirmed the death of their team member via a Twitter post.

“We regret the death of our goalkeeper Oscar Munguia, who died tragically in the early hours of Sunday morning,” the club wrote on Twitter.

“Our condolences to your relatives,” they added.

Zelaya sat out during his side’s most recent game against Olimpia where they claimed a 1-0 victory.

Honduras authorities are now said to have launched a probe into the murder of the 27-year-old footballer.

It was earlier reported that Brazil midfielder Daniel Correa Freitas has been reportedly found dead in the southern part of the south American country.

The 24-year-old Sao Paulo star joined second-division side Sao Bento on a loan deal in 2018 and was only able to make two appearances with the club.

Authorities in the country have now launched an investigation into the cause of the death of the attacking midfielder, who died was found dead on Saturday.


Cover Photo: Oscar Sein Munguia Zelaya. Photo: Legit.ng

Electronic fraud in banking hits N6.1trn by 2021 – CBN

Mr Sunday Salam-Alada, Director, Consumer Protection Department, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said electronic fraud losses in the banking system are projected to reach N6.1 trillion by 2021. Salam-Alada disclosed this at the ongoing workshop for Business Editors and Finance Correspondents, organised by Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) in Benin.
According to him, the volume and value of e-transactions are projected to continue to increase nationally and globally.

Salam-Alada, represented by Mr Ibrahim Hassan, Director, Research, Policy, International Relations Department (RPIRD) NDIC, said it was due to broader ecosystem scope, the evolution of channels, adaptability to disruptive innovations and modes payment.
He said other reasons included increased inclusion and evolving technologies.
The director also said that the CBN, through its Consumer Protection Department (CPD), had resolved over 13,715 complaints.
Salam-Alada added that this resulted in a refund of about N72.2 billion to customers by the commercial banks based on 25,043 cases of fraud in 2017.

He said the amount represented a 28 per cent increase if compared to 19,531 cases recorded in 2016. Salam-Alada said there was a 24 per cent reduction in actual fraud loss value in 2017 with N1.63 billion as against the to 2016 figure
According to him, the statistics provided by the CBN shows there is a significant increase in the year-on-year volume and value of transactions across all payment channels in Nigeria.
Consequently, 1.4 billion transactions with a value of N97.4 trillion were processed in 2017 as against 869 million transactions with a value of N69.1 trillion recorded in 2016. He said the increase of 59.7 per cent and 40.9 per cent were recorded in the volume and value of transactions in 2017.

The director hinted that the CBN would soon issue a framework on consumer protection. Salam-Alada said the CPD conducted a mapping exercise of financial literacy activities in the country. He added that it was one of the achievements of the department.
He said the achievements also included the biannual consumer protection compliance exams and review of the guide to banks’ charges
Cover Photo; Mr Sunday Salam-Alada, Director, Consumer Protection Department, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). Photo; The Guardian.

Raab resigns as Britain’s Brexit minister

British leader Theresa May suffered a huge blow on Thursday when a series of ministers including her Brexit secretary quit as she tried to sell her proposed EU withdrawal agreement to a divided parliament.

Dominic Raab resigned from his role at the Brexit ministry while a second cabinet minister and two junior government ministers also walked out over the draft deal.

But May insisted that while the negotiations had not been comfortable, it was the best Britain could hope for when it leaves the EU on March 29.

“If we get behind a deal we can bring our country back together and seize the opportunities that lie ahead,” she told lawmakers.

“The British people want us to get this done.

“The course is clear: we can choose to leave with no deal, we can risk no Brexit at all or we can choose to unite and support the best deal that can be negotiated.”

‘I must resign’ 
EU leaders will hold an extraordinary Brexit summit on November 25.

If they approve the agreement, the British parliament is scheduled to vote on it in early December.

But May faces stiff opposition to her agreement in the legislature from Brexit hardliners who see the deal as conceding too much to Brussels and EU supporters who want closer ties to the EU or a second referendum.

Before May spoke to MPs, Raab said he could not back the draft deal.

“I cannot reconcile the terms of the proposed deal with the promises we made to the country in our manifesto,” he said.

“You deserve a Brexit secretary who can make the case for the deal you are pursuing with conviction.

“I must resign.”

Brexit hardliner Esther McVey also quit as the work and pensions secretary.

“We have gone from no deal is better than a bad deal, to any deal is better than no deal. I cannot defend this, and I cannot vote for this deal,” she said.

Suella Braverman quit as a junior Brexit minister and Shailesh Vara resigned as a junior Northern Ireland minister over the draft accord.

In parliament, Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the main opposition Labour Party, told May: “The government must now withdraw this half-baked deal”.

“This is not the deal the country was promised,” he said.

Pound plunges 
The pound plunged against the dollar and euro as Britain’s business sector gave a lukewarm verdict to the proposed agreement.

At 1000 GMT, the pound was worth around $1.2784, compared with almost $1.30 late Wednesday. The euro meanwhile jumped to 88.26 pence, a gain of 1.3 percent.

May had secured her cabinet’s collective approval for the agreement during a five-hour meeting on Wednesday, an important step that helped allay growing fears in the business community of a disorderly divorce.

May’s governing centre-right Conservative Party — which does not command a Commons majority — was already split between Brexiteers and those who wanted to remain in the union, and now many on both sides of that divide oppose her deal.

The outraged response by many MPs to the deal has heightened concerns that even when finalised, it will not pass parliament.

May told MPs: “Delivering Brexit involves difficult choices for all of us.

“What we agreed yesterday was not the final deal. It is a draft treaty that means that we will leave the EU in a smooth and orderly way.

“I do not pretend that this has been a comfortable process or that either we or the EU are entirely happy.”

Special summit planned 
Speaking in Brussels, EU President Donald Tusk said EU member states would have until Tuesday next week to examine the deal and to agree the wording of a parallel political statement setting out goals for the bloc’s future relations with London.

Ater that, preparations will begin for an EU summit on the following Sunday to sign the deal.

“As much as I am sad to see you leave, I will do everything to make this farewell the least painful possible, both for you and for us,” said Tusk.

The deal covers citizens’ rights, Britain’s financial settlement and plans for a post-Brexit transition period during which both sides hope to agree a new trade deal.

The most controversial element is the “backstop” plan to keep Britain in a customs union with the EU until a trade deal is agreed that avoids the need for border checks with Ireland.

Many Brexiteers fear this would leave Britain a “vassal state”, tied to the bloc indefinite


Cover Photo; In this file photo taken on August 31, 2018 Britain’s Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab gives a joint press conference with EU Chief Brexit Negotiator at the European Commission in Brussels. – British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a huge blow on November 15, 2018 as Dominic Raab quit as her Brexit secretary, saying he “must resign” over the proposed EU withdrawal agreement. Photo;  Emmanuel DUNAND / AFP.

88m Nigerians Now Living in Extreme Poverty, Says Report

Over 1.1 million Nigerians have slipped into extreme poverty in just four months, a report by the World Poverty Clock, a Vienna-based World Data Lab, has said.


The latest report according to The Cable, has brought the number of Nigerians living in extreme poverty – or below $1.90 per day, to 88 million.

In June 2018, the Brookings Institution named Nigeria as the poverty capital of the world, with 86.9 million extremely poor people.

Nigeria overtook India as the world poverty capital, despite being six times smaller in population than the Asian country.

According to the World Poverty Clock, created by Vienna-based World Data Lab, 88,011,759 Nigerians are currently living in extreme poverty.

The World Bank, IMF, United Nations, and major development institutions across the world forecast that Nigeria will not attai the 2030 target for ending global poverty.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also suggest that West Africa, primarily, Nigeria will host 40 percent of the world’s poorest people by 2030.


Cover Photo: Poverty amid plenty. Photo: This Day.

‘I don’t know if Messi will be on Ballon d’Or podium this time’

Cristiano Ronaldo admits he has plenty of contenders capable of taking his Ballon D’Or crown this year, but doesn’t believe Lionel Messi is one of them.

The Juventus striker is looking to claim his third title in a row, and what would a record-breaking sixth for an individual.

He is currently tied on five with the Barcelona striker, who has been overshadowed by some World Cup stars, including the likes of Croatia’s Luka Modric and France’s Antoine Griezmann.

Ronaldo admits that he is desperate to lift the golden trophy for a sixth time, but is more concerned about French stars than Messi when it comes to who is standing in his way.

‘Of course I want to win, this sixth Ballon d’Or,’ Ronaldo told France Football. ‘It would be a lie to tell you the opposite.’

Asked who he thought would challenge, he added: ‘The same as usual, even if I don’t know if Messi will be on the podium this time.

‘So, let’s say Salah, Modric, Griezmann, Varane, Mbappe — the French in general because they are world champions.

‘But I will wait and see if all these players are still at the top in 10 years, like Messi and I have done, and like we continue to do.

‘Still there, on the podium, since more than 10 years.’


Cover Photo: Barcelona’s Argentinian forward Lionel Messi leavs the field after sustaining an injury during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona against Sevilla FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on October 20, 2018. Photo: The Guardian.