Access Bank: Court Set To Issue Warrant Arrest Against Herbert Wigwe

Justice Hakeem Oshodi of Lagos State High Court, Ikeja division on Monday said a bench warrant would be issued for arrest of Mr Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, and other defendants standing trial over alleged $6.3 million fraud in the court.

The judge’s position was following absence of Wigwe and six other defendants, a situation that has been stalling arraignment of the accused persons whenever the matter came up for hearing.

Other defendants in the matter are Access bank, Titi Oshuntoki, Chinyere Bishop-Adigwe, Cast Oil and Gas Limited, Seyi Sanni, Adekunle Adebayo, Sunny Amos Offiong and Augusta Energy.

Aside Offiong and Access bank, which has been represented by one Robert Imowo, the other defendants have not been present in the court since the commencement of the trial.

They were initially to be arraigned on May 2 this year on four-count of conspiracy to defraud, conspiracy to obtain money by false pretence, obtaining money by false pretence and stealing, but the arraignment was stalled due to the absence in court of Wigwe and six other defendants.

According to the charge sheet, the defendants committed the offences alongside Tunji Amushan who is said to be at large.

The defendants were also alleged to have conspired with Augusta Energy of Geneva, Switzerland, to defraud the complainant, Top Oil and Gas Development Ltd to the tune of over $6.3 million.

The defendants allegedly obtained the funds from Top Oil and Gas Development Ltd, by falsely representing to be the Chairman of the company, Chief Don Obot Etiebet and other officers of the company, that Cast Oil and Gas Ltd had a contract with Augusta Energy of Geneva, Switzerland.

The contract was allegedly for the supply of 10,000 metric tones of Automated Gas Oil (AGO), by Augusta Energy of Geneva to Cast Oil and Gas, the cost price of the product was $6.3 million and Top Oil and Gas Ltd, was the consignee of the products.

It is further alleged that the defendants promised the complainant that Cast Oil and Gas Ltd will sell the said products on its behalf.

The defendants are alleged to have promised to ensure that Top Oil and Gas Development Ltd recovered the money invested for the purchase, supply and importation of the said products.

The prosecution alleges the defendants fraudulently induced the complainant to pay for a product that was not actually supplied nor imported into Nigeria, by Augusta Energy and that the defendants had fraudulently converted the funds to their own use and benefit.

The offences contravene Sections 383 (2)(f), 390 (9) and 422 of the Criminal Code 2004 and Section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act of 2006

During the May 2 proceedings, Mr Paul Usoro (SAN), the defence counsel for Access Bank Plc, had informed the court that the bank had filed a preliminary objection challenging the court’s jurisdiction to hear the case.

However, when the matter came up on July 8, 2019, Pius Akuta, a counsel from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation, had asked the court for permission to take over the matter from the Special Fraud Unit (SFU) of the Nigeria Police Force that earlier prosecuted the matter.

Subsequently, the court ordered the office of the Attorney General of the Federation to take over the prosecution of the matter.

In a twist of development, Akuta, during Monday’s proceedings, informed the court of the prosecutor’s decision to withdraw the matter, hinging on a position that the complainant is averse to continuation of matter.

Insisting on the need to do the “right thing”, the judge adjourned the matter to December 2, 2019 for arraignment of the defendants, threatening to issue bench warrants for arrest of the defendants in event of their absence.

 

 

PM News

President Buhari Sends Condolence Message To EFCC Secretary, Olukoyede

President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday sent a condolence message to the family of the Secretary to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ola Olukoyede, over the death of his mother Mrs Moroluke Marian Fakoyede.

The President through his spokesperson, Femi Adesina, said, “The President condoles with family members, friends and Mrs Fakoyede’s close associates over the sad loss, urging them to take solace in the good works of the God-fearing woman, who treasured love for family and neighbours.”

“As the family prepares for her final journey home on Friday, President Buhari prays that the Almighty God will grant Mrs Fakoyede eternal rest, and comfort all members of the family.”

 

Bill Gates Advices Buhari On Tax Increment

The federal government of Nigeria has been urged to develop more policies that will endear it to citizens and make it easier for them to understand its actions.

Bill Gates, one of the richest men in the World and co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), gave this advice to the government while speaking via a teleconference with select journalists.

He said if the government does this, it will be easier to generate more revenue domestically to fund the nation’s development.

Gates noted that if the government gains credibility with the citizens, it won’t be difficult for them (citizens) to pay taxes, adding that Nigeria still has some of the smallest tax-to-GDP ratios anywhere in the world.

“One challenge that Nigeria has is that the amount of money that the government raises domestically is quite small compared to other countries,” The Cable quotes him as saying.

“A lot of countries at that level will be raising closer to 15 percent of GDP and Nigeria is one of the lowest in the world down at about 6 percent. And so, it is a huge challenge that when you want to fund infrastructure, health, education, all those things, that over time the tax collection, the domestic resources are going to have to go up quite a bit.

“That’s a long-term effort and I think partly by making sure the current resources are spent well like on primary health care, you gain the credibility that the citizens will say, okay, we want more of these things.

“If we don’t raise the quality, you can get into a trap where they don’t feel like paying the taxes actually has that much impact, and so they’re not supportive of that.”

Meanwhile,  an24 reports the federal government recently disclosed plans to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) from its current 5% to 7.5% as from the year 2020.

The proposal is however subject to approval by the country’s lawmakers.

Rivers APC Suspends Congresses

The Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) has suspended the planned ward, local government and state congresses.

This was made known by the Chairman of the APC Caretaker Committee in Rivers State, Isaac Ogbobula.

The National Leadership of the APC had scheduled fresh congresses for September 17 to 28.

It also inaugurated the Ogbobula-led five-member caretaker committee.

However, a governorship aspirant and former lawmaker, Senator Magnus Abe, obtained a court order stopping the congresses and declaring the caretaker committee illegal.

Speaking on the latest development, Ogbobula disclosed that the congresses were suspended by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the APC following the legal dispute.

He, however, assured party faithful that other party activities would continue unhindered.

Sanwo-Olu Seeks Approval For Badagry, Lekki Seaports

Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday called on the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to accelerate the process of giving approval to the State’s request to build two seaports in Lekki and Badagry.

The Governor said the State had already deployed resources and manpower to the construction of the seaports, which, he said, were being initiated to complement the capacities of the existing ports in Apapa and Tin Can Island.

Sanwo-Olu spoke while receiving members of the House of Representatives Ad-Hoc Committee on Ports Decongestion led by Hon. Yusuf Buba Yakub, said Lagos needed two additional ports which would serve the State and also build the national economy.

He said: “Lagos needs to have two other ports which would not only serve us, but also build the national economy. We have initiated the development of Lekki seaport, which has started. We are building another port in Badagry.

“But, we are still in conversation with the NPA to grant the approval, because we have added five developers, financiers and partners on the Badagry port. If we can finish the construction of both seaports, it would free up the congestion in Apapa axis and create new business hub for our people.”

The Governor said the Federal Government’s move to grow non-oil sector and boost the economy would be rewarding if the capacities of existing seaports were efficiently maximised. He pointed out the need to enhance the efficiency of the Apapa and Tin Can Island seaports for improved non-oil revenue generation, stressing that the decongestion of the two ports was long overdue.

Sanwo-Olu said his visit to the two Lagos ports within 48 hours after he assumed office was an indication of the strategic role of the two seaports were playing in sustaining the state’s 24-hour economy.

He said the setting up of a joint Taskforce by the State and the Federal Government to tackle gridlocks along the routes leading to the Ports was a step to prepare the ground for full decongestion of the facilities, urging that the effort should be complemented with a total overhaul of the seaports’ operations for improved efficiency.

He said: “Smooth operation of the Lagos seaports is not only critical to sustaining our commerce in Lagos State, it is also critical to the growth of the national economy. If, in truth, we want to be serious about developing non-oil sector to boost the economy, it is important for us to take proper action and decision on our seaports because they have great potential to completely transform the national economy.

“More importantly, we need to look for solution that will reflect on the two port gateways of this nation, which are the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports. It is clear that those ports are overwhelmed, because the level of yearly turnout coming out of them has since doubled.”

The move by Lagos Government to build two additional ports, Sanwo-Olu pointed out, was part of the measures being undertaken by the State to support the Federal Government’s effort to decongest and reduce pressure on the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports.

Hon. Yakub said the ad-hoc committee was set up by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, to investigate the cause of congestion of the seaports, with the task to give recommendation towards solving the existing challenges for non-oil businesses to thrive.

Describing the seaports as “critical gateways”, the lawmaker promised that the recommendation to be submitted by the committee would lead to the maximum utilisation of the seaports as well as generate jobs for the youths.

He said: “The House of Representatives believes the seaports are critical gateways for exchange of consumer goods. If our seaports are not functioning optimally, our economy would be sick. We will handle this oversight function with the urgency it demands to turn around our ports and make them efficient.”

Ecowas Begs Buhari To Reopen Closed Borders

The ECOWAS Parliament has pleaded with the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to open its closed borders.

Africa News24 reports that the parliament stated that the closed borders hampers the implementation of free trade movement within the ECOWAS region.

Speaker of the Parliament, Hon. Moustapha Cisse Lo, made this known while addressing the 2nd Extra-Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Parliament in Monrovia, Liberia.

He urged the federal government to find a permanent solution to the challenge of smuggling, rather than closing the borders.

“In the same vein, the closure of the Nigerian borders with Benin more than a month ago and Niger more recently is a hindrance to the achievement of the Community’s main objective, which is to achieve the creation of a prosperous, borderless West African region where peace and harmony prevail,” Cisse Lo said.

“The ECOWAS Parliament calls for compliance with Community provisions and thus calls for the reopening of borders and a coordinated fight against smuggling in the region;

“The root causes of this recurrent situation must be studied with a view to finding a permanent solution,” he added.

 

Just In: Seun Onigbinde Resigns As Technical Adviser In BudgIT Ministry

Co-founder of BudgIT, Seun Onigbinde, on Monday, announced his resignation as the Technical Adviser to the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba.

He made this announcement on his Medium page, a link of which he shared on his official Twitter handle.

Onigbinde said, “Upon further reflections on the furore that has been generated by my new role as the Technical Adviser to the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, I humbly resign the appointment.”

He thanked the Honourable Minister, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, for believing in my expertise and the privilege to serve.

He said, “I am very grateful to the Honourable Minister, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, for believing in my expertise and I also thank everyone who sent his or her congratulations to me in the short period. I have also been humbled by the faith and belief that numerous persons have expressed in me.

“My sincere interest is to see a Nigeria that grows and optimises resources for the benefits of all Nigerians.

“My loyalty to the good cause of our nation, Nigeria compelled me to accept the call to provide technical skills and this experience has more than strengthened it.

“I also want to wish the Nigerian Government, led by President Muhammadu Buhari, well. I will always be of help to the federal government in my capacity as the Director of BudgIT, a critical fiscal transparency group, as I have been to several agencies. I would also work to ensure that BudgIT continues to build civic awareness on the right of every Nigerian to know how public resources are managed.”

 

 

Source; Punch

Pepper Dem: Biggie Cancels Strikes Issued To Tacha, Mercy, Others

Seventy-seven days into the 2019 Big Brother Naija show, Biggie on Sunday night cancelled all strikes issued to housemates in the “Pepper Dem” edition.

The development was announced by Biggie while the housemates were all gathered in the Arena.

The announcement by Biggie saw some housemates surprised while the likes of Mercy, Ike, Omashola and Tacha were seen jubilating.

Biggie told housemates: “Strikes and warnings have been cancelled. All is forgiven.”

“It’s now a level playing field for the housemates.”

Biggie had earlier issued Tacha a second strike for disobeying BBNaija rules and undermining authorities.

Also, Mercy was given a stern warning for breaking Biggie’s mobile phone weeks ago, while Tacha and Joe were issued a strike.

Omatsola and Ike too were given strikes after they broke rules of the house.

Xenophobia: Fani Kayode Reveals Who Can Save S’Africa Now

Former Minister of Aviation Femi Fani-Kayode has stated that only the leader of the EFF, Julius Malema, can save South Africa.

Africa News24 (an24) reports that recent xenophobic attacks against foreigners in South Africa have lead to the evacuation of individuals from the country.

Nigeria had last week Wednesday evacuated over 84 Nigerians from the country.

Also, South Africa President, Cyril Ramaphosa was on Saturday booed at the burial of the late Zimbabwe President, Robert Mugabe, by other Africans.

In a post on his Twitter page on Sunday evening, Fani-Kayode wrote: “Only one man can save SA.

“His name is Julius Malema. He is the leader of the EFF SouthAfrica and the scourge of the Boers.

“Groomed by the great Nelson and Winnie Mandela, he is the ONLY SA leader that speaks sense today. He is a friend to other Africans and detests xenophobia.”

Pepper Dem: Khafi Evicted From BBNaija Show

Khafi Kareem has been evicted from the ongoing Big Brother Naija (BBNaija), ‘pepper dem’ edition of the reality television show.

Africa News24 (an24) reports Khafi was evicted from the 2019 BNaija after getting the lowest number of votes among the nominated housemates.

Recalls that Khafi was nominated alongside Mike, Tacha, and Omashola who replaced himself with Seyi.

Khafi’s eviction comes in few weeks after Biggie evicted 15 housemates including Venita last week.

This online news platform understands the Pepper Dem edition which is hosted by former Big Brother contestant, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, is taking place in Lagos, Nigeria after the last two editions were filmed in South Africa.

See vote scores below;

Khafi announced that she would be moving to Lagos from London and plans to go into anything she lays her hand on.

During her stint in the house, Khafi was Head of House, won one million Naira and part of Team Lagos and a car.

Ebuka announced that there will be no eviction next week, although the veto power of chance task will still hold.

Power Minister Reveals When Nigeria’s Power Supply Will Be Better

The Minister of Power, Engr. Sale Mamman has said, the Muhammadu Buhari next level administration will deliver uninterrupted power supply to Nigeria when all major power projects are completed before the end of its tenure.

He stated this after inspection of the 215 MW Kaduna Power Plant, 132/33KV Kudenda Substation and Mando transmission line in Kaduna at the weekend.

Engr. Saleh Mamman who was in company of the Minister of State, Mr. Goddy Jedy Agba,said aside from increasing generation capacity, the Kudenda Substation would be providing voltage support to Kaduna, Kano and Jos which would improve the quality of electricity distributed to the public.

Mamman who expressed satisfaction with the level and quality of work done on the projects, warns contractors against any delay in completion of the projects.

“We are here to inspect the level of work done on the project and i can tell you that i am very sure Nigerians, particularly those in Kaduna, Kano, Jos and environment would begin to enjoy not only stable but quality power supply, when these projects are fully completed and put into use “.

He reiterated the commitment of the Muhammadu Buhari led Administration to achieve its mandate of economic growth and development, as well as job creation in the country.

The Minister of State, Jeddy Agba on his part said they are taking stock of the progress of all power projects across the country, stressing their commitment in ensuring that all projects are delivered according to its contracts timeline.

The Ministers were told that the Kaduna Power project which is 95 percent completed would reduce power outage and reduce system losses thereby increasing economic and social activities in Kaduna.

The project would harness power generation from Kaduna Power Plant, Gurara Hydro Power Plant and the Mando Grid at 135 KV in order to supply industrial and domestic conumers of Kaduna from 132/33KV Kudenda Substation.

Governor Makinde vs Adelabu: Tribunal Delivers Guber Election Judgement Today

Oyo state Governorship and National Assembly Election Petition Tribunal will on today, Monday deliver judgement on the petition filed by the All Progressives Congress (APC) and its governorship candidate, Chief Adebayo Adelabu, challenging the victory of Governor Seyi Makinde in the March 9 election.

After many weeks of legal fireworks, the guber election petition tribunal recently accepted the final written addresses filed by Makinde, Adelabu, PDP and INEC.

Adopting his final written address, the counsel to INEC, Akinolu Kehinde (SAN), urged the tribunal to cancel the petition for being grossly unmeritorious and lacking in substance.

Kehinde had said that the petitioners erroneously put the burden of proof on INEC whereas the responsibility of proof lies on the petitioners.

He had said that the petitioners complained of irregularities in 1,334 polling units and only called 38 polling unit agents out of which majority of them confirmed that the election conducted by INEC complied strictly with the Electoral Act.

Kehinde had said that it was the responsibility of the petitioners to bring at least one witness from the 1,334 polling units, they complained about and urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition.

Makinde’s counsel, Dr Omyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), had said that the reliefs sought by the petitioners were faulty and evidences of the other witnesses not called amount to hearsay and urged the court to cancel the petition.

Adopting his final written address, counsel to PDP, Nathaniel Oke (SAN), had urged the tribunal to dismiss the petition on the ground of inadequacy of evidence and for lacking in merit.

But the counsel to Adelabu and APC, Yusuf Alli (SAN), had urged the court to hold that the petition was meritorious and that other witness not called have their statement properly laid before the tribunal.

Alli had said that under the law the number of witnesses called cannot override what had been properly laid before the tribunal.

According to him, cases were not won on the quantum of witnesses called but on the quality of testimony of the witnesses called, adding that the testimony of petitioners’ witness number 62 (PW62) speaks volume.

Alli had said that there were massive electoral infractions in 28 out of the 33 Local Government Areas called and a document spoke for itself after being adopted.

He had said that a certified true copy of a document could be tendered by anybody and not only the maker, urging the tribunal to find merit in it.