Pope’s Bodyguard Resigns Over Scandal

Roman Catholic Pontiff, Pope Francis

 

Pope Francis’ main bodyguard Domenico Giani, the Vatican’s security chief, resigned Monday over a leak to the media of details of a financial wrongdoing probe.

Francis accepted Giani’s resignation while noting he “bears no personal responsibility” for the leak, the Vatican said.

The Argentine pontiff was furious over the publication of an internal police notice which featured the photographs of five Vatican employees — including two senior figures — targeted in a probe reportedly into a real estate deal.

The notice, addressed to the Swiss guards and Vatican policemen who guard the gates of the tiny city state, said they had been suspended “as a precaution” while the investigation was carried out.

“This publication was prejudicial to the dignity of the people involved and to the image of the Gendarmerie (police),” said the Vatican, which has opened a probe into the leak.

Giani was dubbed the pope’s “guardian angel” by the media.

He served three pontiffs and could be seen on papal trips, dressed in a dark suit, standing close to the head of the Catholic Church or running beside the popemobile.

The 57-year old began his career in the Italian secret service, before joining the Vatican security forces 20 years ago and taking over as chief in 2006.

Vatican police earlier this month raided the offices of the Secretariat of State — the central governing office of the Catholic Church — and the Financial Information Authority (AIF), an independent anti-money laundering authority.

Prosecutors seized documents and electronic devices from the offices.

The five suspended included the number two at AIF and a monsignor in the Secretariat of State.

The Vatican had said the raids were linked to complaints presented by the Vatican bank and the Office of the Auditor General regarding financial transactions “carried out over time”.

The Italian Espresso magazine said the probe was into “real estate operations abroad,” notably in London.

Macron’s Aide Probed Over ‘False Testimony’ In Bodyguard Scandal

In this video grab taken on July 19, 2018 a man is identified as Elysee Chief Security Officer Alexandre Benalla wearing a police visor as he drags away a demonstrator during May 1 protests in Paris.  Tahar Bouhafs / AFP

 

Paris prosecutors Monday opened a probe into alleged false testimony in the case of French President Emmanuel Macron’s former bodyguard who was filmed hitting protesters at last year’s May Day rally.

Those targeted include the president’s cabinet chief Patrick Strzoda, prosecutors said in a statement.

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The scandal — which saw Alexandre Benalla fired last year after a video emerged of him roughing up protestors — continues to overshadow the Macron presidency.

A perjury probe has been opened targeting Benalla as well as Vincent Crase, a former staffer of Macron’s ruling party, and Strzoda, prosecutors said in a statement.

It comes after several protagonists in the case testified before the commission of inquiry of France’s upper house, the Senate.

The investigations were opened after the Senate signalled deficiencies in testimony to the Paris prosecutors.

The Senate complained of “incoherence and contradictions” in the testimony of Strzoda and two other top aides of Macron, chief of staff Alexis Kohler and presidential security chief Lionel Lavergne.

A former bouncer, Benalla began working as a bodyguard for Macron during the young candidate’s election campaign in 2016 before being promoted to a senior security role in the presidential palace following Macron’s election in May 2017.

After being given leave by the presidency to attend the May Day protest as an observer, he waded into the fray wearing a police helmet, grabbing a female demonstrator by the neck and hitting a male demonstrator.

The presidency initially held off reporting Benalla to the authorities.

Benalla was fired and placed under investigation after Le Monde newspaper broke the story in July 2018. It was Strzoda who authorised Benalla to attend the demonstration.

A French Senate commission of inquiry found “major flaws” in the government’s handling of the affair and said it suspected Macron’s aides of trying to cover up some of the details.

Perjury can be punished in France with up to five years in jail.

AFP

Governor Okowa’s Aide Killed In Delta

 

A Special Assistant on Youth Development to the Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has been reportedly killed in Ekpan in Uvwie local government area of the state.

The victim, identified as Ngozi Lawrence Ijei, was said to have been shot dead on Friday night after being ambushed by the attackers while returning from an outing.

It was gathered that after killing their target, the assailants made away with a huge sum of money found in his possession, although it was not clear if the attackers trailed him over the said money found on him.

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Meanwhile, Governor Okowa has condemned the killing, saying he was deeply saddened over the incident.

In a statement, the governor said, “On behalf of the government and people of Delta State, I mourn the death of Mr Lawrence Ngozi Ijei, who was my aide until his untimely demise.

“I condole with his wife and family and urge security agencies to investigate the unfortunate incident with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice.”

The governor said the security agencies had been alerted over some disturbing security situation in parts of the state, wondering why they had failed to work on the information made available to them.

He also called on the security agencies to dig deep into the unfortunate incident and apprehend those behind the action.

Nigeria Air Force Confirms Release Of Kidnapped Aide To Ex-CDS, Alex Badeh

Badeh Was Provided With ‘Full Security Personnel’, Says Air Force
A file photo of Air Chief Marshal, Alex Badeh

The Nigerian Airforce has confirmed the release of an aide to the former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh who was gunned down by unknown gunmen.

Badeh died from gunshot wounds sustained when his vehicle was attacked while he was returning from his farm along Abuja-Keffi Road.

NAF Director of Public Relations and Information, Air Commodore Ibikunle Daramola said the aide was kidnapped by the gunmen during the attack.

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According to him, the released aide is assisting the Force with an ongoing investigation into the incident with a view to bringing the perpetrator to book.

The Airforce spokesman promised that a full report of the incident will be released in due course.

Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has ordered security agencies to find the killers of a former Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh (rtd) describing his death as “very sad and unfortunate.”

In a statement signed on Wednesday by his spokesperson, Femi Adesina, President Buhari also commiserated with the family of the late four-star general, his friends and professional colleagues in the military, and the people and government of Adamawa State.

Similarly, the National Assembly has called for an investigation into the killing of former Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), Air Chief Marshal Alex Badeh.

Two separate motions were moved in the Senate and the House of Representatives on Thursday condemning the murder.

The lawmakers called on the Federal Government to immediately commence an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident.

Trump Slams Former White house Aide Omarosa As ‘Dog’

US President, Donald Trump seen discussing with a former White House aide, Omarosa Manigault. Credit: AFP

 

President Donald Trump on Tuesday lashed out at his former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman in especially angry terms, slamming her as a “dog” and “crazed” as their mud-slinging match escalated.

Manigault Newman — who gained fame as a contestant on Trump’s reality TV show “The Apprentice,” and then secured a $180,000-a-year staff job at the White House — on Monday released a recording of a private conversation she had with the president after she was fired.

Trump had already branded “Omarosa” — as she is commonly known in America — a “lowlife” after she released a recording of her firing by chief of staff John Kelly, seemingly recorded in the White House Situation Room.

But on Tuesday, he ratcheted up the war of words — to a level of nastiness rarely seen, even from a president who has shown he doesn’t pull punches when insulting his critics.

“When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!” Trump tweeted.

The recordings by the disgruntled 44-year-old Manigault Newman, once an ardent Trump ally, represents a stunning breach of presidential trust.

On Tuesday, she explained to CBS News why she made the recordings: “I’m the kind of person who covers her own back. In Trump World, everyone lies.”

“Everyone says one thing one day and they change their story the next day. I wanted to have this type of documentation… in the event, I found myself in this position where, as you said, they’re questioning my credibility.”

Manigault Newman’s tell-all book, “Unhinged,” hits bookstores on Tuesday.

AFP

Macron’s Chief Of Staff To Face Corruption Probe

Secretary-General of the Elysee Presidential Palace, Alexis Kohler, arrives for a joint cabinet meeting of the French and German governments at the Elysee Presidential Palace in Paris. T
Patrick KOVARIK / AFP

 

French anti-corruption prosecutors have opened an investigation into French President Emmanuel Macron’s chief of staff, Alexis Kohler, focused on his links to Italian shipping giant MSC, a statement said on Monday.

Kohler and the president’s office denied the allegations, which were first reported by French investigative media group Mediapart.

AFP

Why Okorocha Endorsed Son-In-Law As Governor – Aide

Special Adviser to Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State on Electoral matters, Mr Steve Nwosu

 

Special Adviser to Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State on Electoral matters, Mr Steve Asimobi, has explained why the governor endorsed his Son-in-law, Mr Uche Nwosu, as the next governor of the state.

Asimobi, who featured as a guest on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily, Thursday, said the governor is making the decision in the interest of the people.

According to him, age limitations were also part of the reasons he made the decision.

“The governor said: I became governor before I became 50. So, I want anybody who wants to be governor not to exceed 50 years,” he said.

Mr Okorocha had said earlier that he would support his son-in-law who also doubles as his Chief of Staff should he decide to run.

He has since come under major criticism as many Nigerians have accused the governor of attempting to turn the state into his family business.

Asimobi, however, holds the same view with his principal that Nwosu has the requirements for such position.

“Uche Nwosu has wide acceptability because of who he is (and) his competence. Even up till yesterday, people were still endorsing.

“Uche Nwosu has been winning the best Appointee Award as Deputy Chief of Staff when he did the Urban Renewal Programme of the government, as Commissioner for Lands, now as the Chief of Staff,” he said.

The governor’s aide further explained that the state is in the know of Nwosu possessing sterling qualities like competency, character and content.

While the residents await the outcome of the 2019 general elections, Nwosu still has other candidates to contend with in the primaries before being considered as the party’s flagbearer for the governorship election.