Stolen Funds: FG Moves To Recover £200m Stashed In The United States

 

The Federal Government has said it would recover 200 million pounds stashed in the United States, as it embarks on a massive recovery of assets belonging to the country.

This is according to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami who was speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Speaking on the fight against corruption and illicit financial flow in the country, he said,  “We are looking at the possibility of recovering further 200m pounds among others but then, that does not mean they are not other associated assets being pursued, in terms of other countries of the world inclusive of Ireland.

READ ALSO: Buhari Asks Senate To Amend PIA Over ‘Unbalanced Geographical Representation’, Others

“We are pursuing a lot of assets across the globe and then we intend to coordinate further meetings relating to recovery in the United Kingdom which is associated with certain personalities”.

The AGF said he would not like to further disclose the strategy the federal government will use in making the recovery, but noted that the “government is trying to gather international momentum associated with the processes and procedures, in terms of making things easier for countries to recover assets with ease”.

He added that the government is fully committed to its anti-corruption campaign and by extension spreading its dragnet to those who are in the custody of laundered or stolen funds.

 

 

 

Electronic Transmission Of Results: Senate Sets Up Conference Committee On Electoral District

File Photo of Lawmakers during plenary at the Senate chamber in Abuja

 

The Senate on Wednesday set up a 7-member conference committee during plenary, with intent to harmonise positions between it and the House of Representatives on Electronic Transmission of election results.

Earlier in the year, both chambers passed the bill for third readings, however, the 2010 Electoral Act [Amendment] Bill 2021, differed on provisions of clause 52[3] which deals with electronic transmission of election results.

With this discrepancy in focus, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, in line with legislative practices and procedures announced the 7-man conference committee before the commencement of plenary on Wednesday.

Legislators selected include:

Senator Yahaya Abdullahi ( APC Kebbi North); Kabiru Gaya (APC Kano South); Ajibola Basiru (APC Osun Central); Danjuma Goje (APC Gombe Central).

Others are, Uche Ekwunife (PDP Anambra Central); Sani Musa (APC Niger East); and Mathew Urhoghide (PDP Edo South).

COVID-19: Nigeria Records 513 New Cases, Three More Deaths

A file photo of a healthcare worker holding a COVID-19 test kit.

 

Nigeria has recorded 513 new cases of COVID-19 with three deaths across the country.

This is according to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), in its latest update regarding the outbreak of the pandemic on Tuesday night.

The agency disclosed that the infections were recorded in 15 states including the Federal Capital Territory.

Lagos had the highest number of cases (132), followed by FCT (80) and Rivers (70).

Others are Kaduna (43), Edo (40), Ondo (32), Delta (23), Akwa Ibom (21), Kwara (16), Gombe (12), Anambra (9), Benue (9), Kano (7), Oyo (6), Borno (3), Bayelsa (2), Kastina (2), Ogun (2), and Jigawa (1).

Data from the NCDC revealed that Nigeria has confirmed a total of 202,704 cases from the samples collected and tested so far.

{READ ALSO} Stolen Funds: FG Moves To Recover £200m Stashed In The United States

Of the confirmed cases, 191,370 infected people have been recovered from the disease and 2,664 people have died across all 36 states of the Federation and the FCT.

As Nigeria’s confirmed cases rise amid the third wave of the pandemic, authorities have continued to stress the need for people to comply with the measures in place to curb the spread of the disease.

This comes as the Federal Government and some state authorities reintroduce the initially relaxed protocols, including the mandatory use of face masks in public places, maintaining social distancing, and restriction of crowds in places of worship and social gatherings.

Global Update

The coronavirus has killed at least 4,698,462 people since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to an AFP tally from official sources.

The United States is the worst-affected country with 676,092 deaths, followed by Brazil with 590,955, India with 445,385 deaths, Mexico with 271,765 deaths, and Russia with 199,808.

The Johnson & Johnson Covid vaccine, so far administered in a single shot, is more effective when given as a two-dose regime, according to new data released by the company.

The United States will announce “additional commitments” on fighting Covid-19 when the White House hosts a summit on the pandemic on Wednesday, President Joe Biden says. He says they will address three key challenges — “saving lives now, vaccinating the world, and building back better.”

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tells the United Nations General Assembly that his government is against health passports, but backs drive to vaccinate against Covid-19 while saying he will be the “last Brazilian” to get jabbed.

 

States AffectedNo. of Cases (Lab Confirmed)No. of Cases (on admission)No. DischargedNo. of Deaths
Lagos76,1123,09872,350664
FCT21,35683020,345181
Rivers11,79948711,159153
Kaduna9,474579,34770
Plateau9,3121019,14863
Oyo8,6266267,810190
Edo6,2907485,326216
Ogun5,353305,24479
Ondo4,4201604,16991
Akwa Ibom4,3055813,68242
Kano4,161503,999112
Kwara3,769583,65061
Delta3,3487072,55685
Osun2,835352,71585
Enugu2,6751122,53429
Nasarawa2,427432,34539
Gombe2,359252,28945
Katsina2,21612,18035
Anambra2,2051292,05719
Ebonyi2,059242,00332
Abia1,914271,86225
Imo1,802841,67840
Ekiti1,6882511,41225
Bauchi1,61251,59017
Benue1,6041621,41824
Borno1,347-51,31438
Bayelsa1,2101351,04728
Adamawa1,157271,09832
Taraba1,092141,05424
Niger1,0212597620
Sokoto796276628
Jigawa574155716
Cross River5691952921
Yobe50124909
Kebbi458943316
Zamfara25322438
Kogi5032

ICPC Arraigns Ex-NIS Officer Over Alleged Certificate Fraud

ICPC Partners OAGF, BPP To Prevent Corruption In MDAs

 

A retired Chief Superintendent of Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Imam Aminu, has been arraigned by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), over alleged forgery of academic certificates.

The commission, in four counts brought before Honourable Justice A.O. Abong of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court 18, sitting in Gwagwalada, Abuja averred that the accused person had forged a National Diploma Certificate in Public Administration from the Kaduna State Polytechnic and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Management from the University of Calabar.

Counsel for the ICPC, Mashkur Salisu Esq, informed the court of how the defendant had used the aforementioned forged certificates to enlist into the NIS as well as advance his career to the rank of a Chief Superintendent.

The ICPC in Charge No: CR/821/2021 told the court that the former Immigration Officer’s action was contrary to Section 364 of the Penal Code, and if he is found guilty, he shall be liable to a prison term of not less than 14 years.

When read to the accused, he pleaded not guilty to all four counts.

The prosecution counsel, thereafter, asked for a date for hearing and for the accused to be remanded in Kuje prison pending the hearing.

Counsel to the defendant, however, moved the bail application in favour of the accused.

The trial court then granted Mr. Aminu bail in the sum of N500,000 and a surety in like sum who must reside within the jurisdiction of the court. He was also ordered to deposit his travel documents at the court’s registry.

The case has been adjourned to the 9th of November 2021 for commencement of trial.

Police Arrest Nine Suspects Linked To Kidnapping, Other Crimes In Katsina

Five Robbery Attacks Foiled, 12 People Rescued In March – Lagos Govt
File Photo of a police van

 

The police have arrested nine suspects linked to kidnapping and supplying of fuel and food items to bandits.

A 22-year-old disabled man identified as Buhari Haruna of Kankia Local Government Area Katsina State was among the suspects.

Haruna was arrested on August 28, 2021, at about 12:00 pm after he was said to have sent a threat message to one Hamisu Saminu demanding the sum of two million naira.

The police spokesman, SP Gambo Isah, while parading the suspect at the Katsina Police Command Headquarters said the victim reported the matter at the Kankia Police Division where preliminary investigations led to the arrest of the suspect.

He said, “What happened was that the police advised the victim to comply with the suspect’s demands, and he mentioned a location where the two million naira ransom would be paid which our men succeeded in arresting him.

“Unfortunately, we saw this man crawling to get the ransom”.

Similarly, five commercial drivers were arrested for buying fuel in large quantities with the intent to take it to the forest to sell to some suspected bandits at an exorbitant price in the forest.

The command has also rearrested another suspect with a sack containing bread meant to be supplied to some suspected bandits after being warned severally to stop the business.

Furthermore, two youths have also been arrested for vandalising a transformer in the Bindawa Local Government Area of the state.

They were arrested after they stole an armoured cable valued at over ₦250,000.

Isah, however, called on the good people of the state to always report to the police or any other security agencies whenever they come across any threat of being kidnapped for immediate action.

All the suspects have confessed to their crimes pleading with the authorities to temper justice with mercy.

South Africa’s Zuma Absent From Graft Hearing

Former South Africa’s President,  Jacob Zuma

 

South Africa’s Jacob Zuma, recently granted medical parole, on Tuesday failed to appear in court for the resumption of a graft trial, as prosecutors argued ill health did not justify his absence.

Two weeks ago, Zuma, 79, was released on medical parole two months into a 15-month prison sentence for refusing to answer questions in a separate corruption probe into his 2009-18 presidency.

He was due in court on Tuesday for the resumption of the trial involving an arms purchase in 1999, when he was deputy president.

But the ex-leader was nowhere to be seen when proceedings kicked off at the Pietermaritzburg High Court in the southeastern KwaZulu-Natal province, stoking ire among fed-up prosecutors.

“Attendance in court is not optional,” said state advocate Wim Trengove, contesting an instruction from Zuma to “carry on with his case without him”.

Details of Zuma’s medical condition have been kept confidential. He was hospitalised from jail in early August and underwent surgery later that month.

Tuesday’s hearings resumed after a 10-day delay to allow state-appointed doctors to assess evidence of Zuma’s condition alongside his own medical team.

Trengove noted a “difference of opinion” between doctors, with state medics finding Zuma “fit to stand trial”.

He asked Judge Piet Koen to request the confidential documents and assess their findings in order to rule on the next course of action.

“They are going to be handed in and I’m going to lock them away,” Koen replied.

Zuma’s lawyer Dali Mpofu argued for confidentiality and privacy, accusing the prosecution of being “vultures… hovering” over the ailing Zuma by seeking to have their doctors physically examine him.

Zuma faces 16 counts of fraud, graft and racketeering related to the purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats and equipment from five European arms firms.

He is accused of taking bribes from one of the firms, French defence giant Thales, which has also been charged with corruption and money laundering.

Both have denied wrongdoing.

The trial started in May after numerous postponements as Zuma’s legal team battled to have the charges dropped.

They have also unsuccessfully asked the Constitutional Court to rescind his prison sentence.

On Monday evening, Zuma slammed South Africa’s “constitutional dictatorship” and vowed to fight “injustice”.

The hearing continues on Wednesday.

Google To Spend $2bn On New York City Office

In this file photo taken on February 20, 2015, the Google logo features the Eiffel Tower at the Google campus in Mountain View, California. 

 

Google announced on Tuesday plans to buy a New York City office building for $2.1 billion, confirming its push into America’s largest city despite the pandemic teleworking trend.

According to Real Capital Analytics, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, this is the largest real estate purchase in the United States for an office building since the beginning of the global spread of Covid-19.

Google already rents the premises in Manhattan, which are located on the site of a former railroad terminal in the Hudson Square neighborhood.

The Silicon Valley giant envisions a campus with a total surface area of 1.7 million square feet (160,000 square meters) by mid-2023 that will serve as its New York headquarters for sales and partnerships.

The final site is to be spread over three buildings between Hudson Street and Washington Street, with the construction of two of them already completed.

The company, whose headquarters are in Mountain View, California, has made other billion-dollar purchases in New York City, including the $2.4 billion it plunked down on the Chelsea Market building.

“Google has been fortunate to call New York City home for more than 20 years, during which time we have grown to 12,000 employees,” said the group’s CFO Ruth Porat in a statement.

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio welcomed the news saying, “Google is leading the way here in our economic comeback.”

EFCC Chairman Appears As Star Witness In N761m Subsidy Fraud Trial

File Photo of EFCC Chairman, AbdulRasheed Bawa

 

The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, AbdulRasheed Bawa was at the Lagos High Court in Ikeja on Tuesday for the trial of an oil marketer, Abubakar Ali Peters over an alleged N761m fuel subsidy.

Bawa is the star witness in the case of Abubakar who is being tried by the EFCC alongside his company, Nadabo Energy Limited before Justice Sedoten Ogunsanya.

But the proceedings could not go on today, owing to the absence of the defence counsel.

The EFCC prosecutor, Seidu Atteh told the court that the matter which commenced in 2015 has suffered many adjournments owing to the absence of the defence.

Atteh also said the prosecution’s star witness was in court and that he was ready to proceed with the trial.

The defendant, Abubakar who was present in court told the judge that his counsel was to fly into Lagos from Kaduna but he could not tell why he was not in court.

He said he called his counsel just before the court sat but that his phone was switched off.

While answering questions from the judge, Abubakar expressed the hope that his counsel would be in court tomorrow.

Justice Ogunsanya has adjourned the matter till tomorrow, Wednesday, for the continuation of trial.

The EFCC had arraigned Abubakar and his company Nadabo Energy Limited on a 21-count charge bordering on obtaining money under false pretence, diversion of Federal Government funds and forgery.

Abubakar is also facing a similar charge brought against him by the anti-graft agency before Justice Christopher Balogun of the same Lagos High Court.

The anti-graft agency accused the defendants of allegedly obtaining the sum N761,628,993.84 from the Federal Government under the Petroleum Support Fund for the purpose of importing 16,808,064 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) but fraudulently imported only 7, 953,962 litres and diverted the rest of the product and its proceeds for personal use.

Count one of the charges reads, “ that, you Nadabo Energy limited on or about 26th day of September 2011 in Lagos within the Ikeja judicial division fraudulently obtained the sum of N761,628,993.84 from the Federal Government by falsely representing that the sum represented the subsidy accrued to Nadabo Energy Limited under the Petroleum Support Fund for the importation of 16,808,064 litres of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS) which Nadabo Energy limited purported to have purchased from Delano Petroleum Corporation Akara Tortola British Virgin Island, and transported the 16,808,064 through MT Gotland Carolina (mother vessel) and MT Sonia (daughter vessel) to Nigeria.

Whereas Nadabo Energy limited only imported 7, 953,962 litres of PMS from Delany Petroleum Corporation Akara Tortola British Virgin Island and transported 7,953,962 litres of PMS through MT Gotland Carolina (mother vessel) and MT Songa (daughter vessel) to Nigeria.

Abubakar and his company however pleaded not guilty.

UNILAG Visitation Panel: FG Denies Reports Of Indictment On Management

 

The Federal Government has denied reports that a Presidential University Visitation Panel has indicted the management of the University of Lagos (UNILAG), on allegations of misappropriation of funds and maladministration. 

The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Education, Mr Sunny Echeono, denied the claims on Monday at a news conference in Abuja.

He explained that the latest report by the University Visitation Panel has nothing to do with the Special Presidential Visitation Panel that was set up by President Muhammadu Buhari in August 2020, to address the crisis in UNILAG.

Echeono stated that there was a crisis at the university in 2020 and a special presidential visitation panel was set up with very specific terms of reference.

“Most of the ideas dealt with were issues of process. The panel submitted their report, the government considered their report and issued a white paper, and we have implemented the white paper for the Special Presidential Visiting Panel.

“The Governing Council was dissolved, the vice-chancellor was reinstated; we have gone ahead subsequently to reappoint and inaugurate a new governing council,” he said.

According to the permanent secretary, the government does not set up another panel to review the work of a previous panel, except where it outrightly rejects the report of such panel.

“It is not done in government anywhere,” said Echeono who insisted that the indictment claims were false.

Volcano Destroys 100 Homes In Spain

Mount Cumbre Vieja erupts spewing a column of smoke and ash as seen from Los Llanos de Aridane on the Canary island of La Palma on September 20, 2021.
DESIREE MARTIN / AFP

 

 

A surge of lava destroyed around 100 homes on Spain’s Canary Islands a day after a volcano erupted, forcing 5,000 people to leave the area, local authorities said on Monday.

The Cumbre Vieja erupted around 3:00 pm (1400 GMT) on Sunday, sending vast plumes of thick black smoke into the sky and belching molten lava that oozed down the mountainside on the island of La Palma.

The island is one of the most westerly of the Atlantic archipelago off the coast of Morocco.

“Right now we have evacuated 5,000 people and around 100 homes have been destroyed,” said Lorena Hernandez Labrador, a councillor in Los Llanos de Ariadne, a town several kilometres from the volcano.

Images on Twitter showed slow-moving lava creeping down the mountainside, pockets of flame erupting as it rumbled ever closer towards a group of homes standing just metres away.

Elsewhere, piles of glowing lava surged onto the patio of a house.

Describing the scene as “desolate”, La Palma’s top official Mariano Hernandez Zapata said the lava “on average about six metres (20 feet) high”.

“This tongue of lava is engulfing everything in its path. It’s tragic to see how many homes have just gone up in smoke,” he told Spain’s public television.

It also consumed a local primary school where 25 children were enrolled, the headmistress told Cadena Ser radio.

“Up to about two hours ago, we thought it was going to be saved, but unfortunately it has been completely engulfed. It’s totally destroyed,” said Angeles Nieves, her voice breaking.

There was huge anguish among the thousands of people evacuated from their homes, with many wondering if they would have anything to go back to.

– ‘You have three minutes’ –
“Right now, we’re watching the news and the lava is 700 metres from our home. I’m really worried because we don’t know I don’t know what’s going to happen to it,” Angie Chaux, 27, who left with her husband and three-year-old son, told AFP.

“The police gave us three minutes to get our things. It was all very fast.”

La Cumbre Vieja straddles a ridge in the south of La Palma, which is home to around 80,000 people.

Experts had been keeping a close watch on the volcano after observing a recent upsurge in seismic activity and magma displacements.

An “earthquake swarm” — a sequence of seismic events occurring over a short period — began on September 11.

Since then, there have been tens of thousands of tremors, the strongest with a magnitude of nearly four, the Involcan volcanology institute said.

The last eruption on La Palma was in 1971 when another part of the same volcanic range — a vent known as Tenegia — erupted on the southern side of the island.

– Fleeing to safety –
Yahaira Garcia, 34, who runs a winery in the northwestern foothills of the volcano, decided to leave just before the eruption after a night of continuous quakes.

“My house shook so much it felt like it was going to collapse,” she told AFP, saying she had rushed over to her parent’s house to help them get out.

“With us, we took four goats, two pigs, 20 chickens, 10 rabbits, four dogs and a turtle,” she said.

“The images are really disturbing. Now they are saying the volcano could continue erupting for three months.

“I haven’t slept for two nights, I can’t even shut my eyes.”

Local officials believe the lava was likely to move southwest towards inhabited and wooded areas, before reaching the coast.

According to Involcan, the lava flows were moving at about 700 metres per hour and had a temperature of nearly 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,830 degrees Fahrenheit).

Ahead of the eruption, local authorities had urged the public to stay away from the areas surrounding the volcano.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez cancelled a scheduled trip to New York for the United Nations General Assembly after the eruption.

He arrived at the scene late Sunday evening to assess the situation.

The Canaries last recorded a volcanic eruption in 2011, undersea off El Hierro Island.

Osaka Drops Out Of Top Five In WTA Rankings

File Photo of Japan’s Naomi Osaka as she reacts during her 2021 US Open Tennis tournament women’s singles third round match against Canada’s Leylah Fernandez at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on September 3, 2021. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)

 

Naomi Osaka slipped out of the top five in the WTA rankings on Monday while Simona Halep, another former world number one, continued her slide by also dropping three places.

Four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka fell from fifth to eighth as Halep, who married boyfriend Toni Iuruc last week in a civil ceremony in her hometown of Constanta, tumbled down to 14th.

Ashleigh Barty remains top and French Open winner Barbora Krejcikova climbed to a career-high of fifth.

Danish teenager Clara Tauson rose 18 places to 52nd after capturing her second title of the year in Luxembourg.

Italy’s Jasmine Paolini jumped from 87th to 64th following her first WTA title at Portoroz, Slovenia.

WTA rankings as of September 20:

1. Ashleigh Barty (AUS) 10075 pts

2. Aryna Sabalenka (BLR) 7720

3. Karolina Pliskova (CZE) 5315

4. Elina Svitolina (UKR) 4860

5. Barbora Krejcikova (CZE) 4668 (+2)

6. Iga Swiatek (POL) 4571 (+2)

7. Sofia Kenin (USA) 4413 (-1)

8. Naomi Osaka (JPN) 4326 (-3)

9. Garbine Muguruza (ESP) 4135

10. Petra Kvitova (CZE) 4060

11. Belinda Bencic (SUI) 3820 (+1)

12. Maria Sakkari (GRE) 3750 (+1)

13. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) 3285 (+1)

14. Simona Halep (ROM) 3152 (-3)

15. Angelique Kerber (GER) 3115

16. Elena Rybakina (KAZ) 3068 (+1)

17. Ons Jabeur (TUN) 2975 (+1)

18. Elise Mertens (BEL) 2890 (-2)

19. Coco Gauff (USA) 2815

20. Bianca Andreescu (CAN) 2777

Selected:

52. Clara Tauson (DEN) 1300 (+18)

64. Jasmine Paolini (ITA) 1075 (+23)

COVID Jab Safe For Children Aged 5-11, Says Pfizer

This file photo taken on May 8, 2021, shows vials of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine at a Covid-19 vaccination center in Paris, amid the campaign of vaccination against the coronavirus.

 

Pfizer and BioNTech on Monday said trial results showed their coronavirus vaccine was safe and produced a robust immune response in children aged five to 11, adding that they would seek regulatory approval shortly.

The vaccine would be administered at a lower dosage than for people over 12, they said.

“In participants five to 11 years of age, the vaccine was safe, well tolerated and showed robust neutralising antibody responses,” US giant Pfizer and its German partner said in a joint statement.

They plan to submit their data to regulatory bodies in the European Union, the United States and around the world “as soon as possible”.

The trial results are the first of their kind for children under 12, with a Moderna trial for six-11 year olds still ongoing.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna jabs are already being administered to adolescents over 12 and adults in countries around the globe.

Although children are considered less at risk of severe Covid, there are concerns that the highly contagious Delta variant could lead to more serious cases.

Innoculating children is also seen as key to keeping schools open and helping end the pandemic.

“We are eager to extend the protection afforded by the vaccine to this younger population,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla, noting that “since July, paediatric cases of COVID-19 have risen by about 240 percent in the US”.

Kids in the 5-11 age trial group received a two-dose regimen of 10 microgrammes in the trial, compared with 30 microgrammes for older age groups, the companies said. The shots were given 21 days apart.

The 10 microgramme dose was “carefully selected as the preferred dose for safety, tolerability and immunogenicity” for that age group, the statement said.

– Under-5s before year-end –
The side effects were “generally comparable to those observed in participants 16 to 25 years of age”, it added.

Among the most commonly reported side effects in the past have been pain and swelling at the injection site as well as headache, chills and fever.

Israel has already given special authorisation to vaccinate children aged 5-11 who are “at significant risk of serious illness or death” from Covid, using the Pfizer jab at the lower dosage.

Pfizer and BioNTech are also trialling their vaccine on infants aged six months to two years, and on children aged two to five.

The topline results for those trials are expected “as soon as” the fourth quarter of this year, the companies said.

All together, up to 4,500 children aged six months to 11 years have enrolled in the Pfizer-BioNTech trials in the US, Finland, Poland and Spain.

Like its Moderna rival, the Pfizer jab is based on novel mRNA technology that delivers genetic instructions to cells to build the coronavirus spike protein, in order to evoke antibodies when bodies encounter the real virus.