Mary Robinson To Lead Probe Into African Development Bank Chief, Adesina

 

Ireland’s former president Mary Robinson will lead a panel to investigate the leader of the African Development Bank (AfDB), accused by whistleblowers of corruption, the bank said.

Akinwumi Adesina, 60, a charismatic speaker known for his elegant suits and bow ties, became the first Nigerian to helm the AfDB in 2015 — but a 15-page report earlier this year claimed that under his watch the bank had been tarred by poor governance, impunity, personal enrichment, and favouritism.

He was cleared by the organisation’s ethics committee, but international pressure has mounted with the United States calling in May for an independent investigation.

Robinson will lead the probe, alongside Gambia’s Chief Justice Hassan Jallow and the World Bank’s integrity vice president Leonard McCarthy, the bank’s board of governors said in a release on Wednesday.

The governors of the AfDB, one of the world’s five largest multilateral development lenders, expressed “their complete confidence” in the panel.

Robinson — a barrister by training — led Ireland from 1990 to 1997 before serving as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights until 2002.

The inquiry is due to deliver its findings in two to four weeks.

The AfDB plays an important if largely behind-the-scenes role in African economies, financing projects in agriculture, health, energy, education, transport, and other development sectors.

NUT Suspends Kwara Chairman Over Corruption Allegations

The suspended NUT Chairman in Kwara State, Toyin Salihu.

 

The Nigeria Union of Teachers (NUT), has suspended the Chairman of its Kwara State chapter, Toyin Salihu, following accusations of corrupt practices running into N30million.

NUT first Vice President, Kayode Akoshile, revealed this on Wednesday during a press conference in Ilorin, the state capital.

Salihu is being paraded by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on the accusation of diverting the salary meant for 400 teachers.

READ ALSO: Two Arrested Over Demolition Of Nigeria Building In Ghana

According to the NUT leader, the union will not condone any act of financial misconduct by any of its members or executives.

He claimed that the former chairman connived with some officials of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB).

Akoshile who announced the suspension of the chairman and two other staff of the union, maintained that the national body frowns at the practices which it considers an embarrassment to the union.

Zimbabwe Health Minister Arrested Over Coronavirus Supplies Scandal

At Least 31 Dead As Cyclone Idai Hits Eastern Zimbabwe

 

Zimbabwe’s health minister Obadiah Moyo was arrested Friday for alleged corruption related to the supply of medical materials to combat the coronavirus pandemic, the anti-graft agency said.

He was being held at a Harare police station and is likely to appear in court on Saturday.

“I can confirm that the minister of health and child welfare has been arrested and is being detained at Rhodesville police station,” John Makamure, spokesman for the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission, told AFP.

“It’s to do with the procurement of COVID-19 materials,” he added.

The government did not immediately comment on the arrest, which came a day after the country’s main opposition condemned alleged state corruption following suspicions over a $2-million-dollar payment to a medical company contracted to provide anti-coronavirus equipment.

Harare has come under fire for granting two-month-old company Drax Consult SAGL a contract to supply $20 million worth of drugs, personal protective equipment and COVID-19 test kits.

The deal was allegedly signed without the legal consent of Zimbabwe’s procurement registration authority.

In March, authorities in Hungary — where Drax Consult SAGL is registered — flagged a suspicious $2 million deposit into the company’s accounts, drawing anger from the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Local media reported last week the arrest of businessman Delish Nguwaya, believed to be Drax’s local representative, in connection with the same case.

The government last week ordered the cancellation of all contracts for the supply of medicines and sundries by Drax, according to the state-run Herald newspaper.

The country has detected 479 virus cases, including four deaths, although that figure is believed to be underestimated due to a lack of testing.

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China Jails Quality Control Official For Life In Bribery Case

A picture of the Chinese flag.
A picture of the Chinese flag.

 

A former official in charge of China’s quality control agency was sentenced to life behind bars on Friday for accepting more than $17 million in bribes, the court said. 

Wei Chuanzhong was the deputy director of the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, which was responsible for standards on internationally traded goods.

The 66-year-old “used his various positions” to take kickbacks in return for help with project bids and professional promotions, according to the court in central Hunan province.

The sentence ordered the seizure of Wei’s property in addition to his prison term, which the court described as “lenient” — implying that his full cooperation in the investigation spared him a possible death sentence.

Millions of officials have been punished for corrupt conduct and numerous senior officials have been sent to prison since Chinese President Xi Jinping inaugurated an anti-corruption campaign after he took office in 2013.

Corruption: FG Recovers Over N800bn, Secured 1,400 Convictions

President Muhammadu Buhari before his Democracy Day broadcast on June 12, 2020.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari says the anti-corruption fight of his administration has continued to yield more positive results.

He revealed that agencies saddled with the task of fighting corruption, such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) have made recoveries in the sum of hundreds of millions of naira.

“Anti-corruption agencies have secured more than 1,400 convictions and also recovered funds in excess of N800 billion.

“These monies are being ploughed into development and infrastructure projects,” the President said on Friday in his Democracy Day speech.

He added, “Government has continued to implement accountability and transparent policies through the Open Government Partnership and the transparency portal on financial transactions.

“Similarly, we have strengthened auditing and accountability mechanisms so as to ensure that rules and regulations are followed strictly.”

 

According to President Buhari, the public service remains the bedrock for the formulation and implementation of policies, programmes, and projects in the country.

He explained that this was why the service has continued to evolve, especially as new socio-economic challenges emerge for the government to address.

The President promised to continue giving all the necessary support for the ongoing reforms designed to return discipline, integrity, and patriotism as the hallmark of the public service.

In the face of dwindling resources and rising cost of governance, he disclosed that he has authorised that the White Paper on the Rationalisation of Government Parastatals and Agencies be reviewed for implementation.

Orji Kalu Returns To Senate After Six Months In Jail

A file photo of former Abia State Governor, Orji Uzor Kalu.

 

Former Governor of Abia State and Chief Whip of the Senate, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu has returned to the Senate after spending six months in jail on allegations of corruption.

Senator Orji arrived at the National Assembly on Tuesday and is attending plenary.

Speaking to journalists before entering the Senate Chamber, the Senator said he was glad to be back to work and that he needs to hit the ground running to cover up for the loss of time to provide quality representation for his constituents in Abia North.

The former governor has been serving a 12-year sentence.

He was released on June 2, 2020, from the Kuje Correctional Centre in Abuja following an order by the Federal High court.

Senator Kalu, a two-term former governor of Abia State, had urged the court to set aside his conviction on December 5, 2019, by Justice Mohammed Idris.

He explained that this became necessary since the Supreme Court, in its verdict delivered on May 8, 2020, held that Justice Idris gave the judgment without jurisdiction.

He was convicted for embezzling N7.65 billion belonging to the Abia state government.

However, the Supreme Court nullified his conviction and ordered a retrial.

FG Confiscates Dan Etete’s $57million Jet In Canada

File photos of Dan Etete

 

The investigation into allegations of corruption and money laundering against Nigeria’s former Minister of Petroleum, Dan Etete has taken a new turn with the tracking and grounding of a private jet which was traced to the former minister.

The jet is believed to have been purchased for 57 million dollars in 2011 as part of the alleged proceeds of the $1.3 billion oil deal in which the prospecting rights to the opl 245 block was awarded to a company, Malabu Oil and Gas, which he secretly controlled.

Asset recovery lawyers acting for the Federal Government swooped after the bombardier 6,000 jet touched down at Montréal-Trudeau International airport in Canada.

The seizure was confirmed to Channels TV’s London correspondent on Saturday by Babatunde Olabode Johnson, one of the lawyers involved in Nigeria’s asset recovery cases.

The order for the seizure according to Mr. Johnson was served on the jet’s owner, a company called Tibit Limited, which has until June 9, to file court papers opposing the seizure.

PHOTOS: Electricity Workers Decry Corruption, Demand Review Of Privatisation Process

Some electricity workers holding placards with various inscriptions to protest against the corruption in the sector at a press conference in Abuja on May 11, 2020. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

A coalition of unions of electricity workers in Abuja has called for the immediate review of the privatisation process of the sector.

The group comprises members of the National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) and the Senior Staff Association of Electricity and Allied Companies in the nation’s capital.

At a news conference on Monday in Abuja, the workers insisted that the privatisation process was fraudulent.

According to them, this resulted in the poor quality of service experienced in the electricity sector since its privatisation.

The unions decried that contracts within the sector were being awarded to unqualified individuals, without recourse to in-house capacity to address some of the challenges facing the sector.

They, therefore, called on the new management of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) to block all the loopholes aiding corruption in the sector.

See more photos below:

A picture of the logo of the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) taken in Abuja on May 11, 2020. Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

Israel Postpones Netanyahu Graft Trial By 2 Months Over Virus

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attends the weekly cabinet meeting at his office in Jerusalem, on July 8, 2018. ABIR SULTAN / POOL / AFP

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial has been postponed until May 24 due to concerns about coronavirus, Jerusalem’s District Court said Sunday.

Netanyahu, the first Israeli premier ever to be indicted in office, had been scheduled to stand trial from Tuesday over alleged bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

In a statement, the court noted that given the coronavirus pandemic it had been instructed to hear “only urgent matters”.

“We have decided to postpone the first hearing (in Netanyahu’s trial) until May 24,” the court said.

Israel has 200 confirmed cases of the virus with tens of thousands of people in home quarantine.

Netanyahu has been charged with a range of offences including receiving improper gifts and offering a media mogul lucrative regulatory changes in exchange for favourable coverage.

He denies wrongdoing.

Despite the indictments, Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party won the most seats in March 2 elections and he is aiming to form a new government.

But Likud and its allies fell short of the 61 seats needed for a majority in the Knesset, or parliament. It was Israel’s third inconclusive vote in less than a year.

Netanyahu has called on his main challenger Benny Gantz of the centrist Blue and White party to form an emergency, national unity government to tackle the coronavirus crisis.

Gantz has said he is open to discussing the proposal, with negotiations set for this week.

South African President, Ramaphosa Cleared Of Graft Accusations

President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa addresses a public meeting in the Western Cape Province. RODGER BOSCH / AFP

 

A South African court on Tuesday ruled in favour of President Cyril Ramaphosa in a probe of suspected money laundering and personal enrichment linked to his 2017 party leadership election campaign fund.

Judges dismissed an investigation by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, who had accused Ramaphosa of misleading parliament over his campaign financing.

In a damning report last year, Mkhwebane — South Africa’s ethics watchdog — published findings concerning a 500,000 rand ($31,460) donation to Ramaphosa’s campaign from a company that is facing extensive corruption allegations.

Ramaphosa initially told lawmakers the payment was to his son for consultancy work at the company, now known as African Global Operations (AGO).

He later backtracked and said it was a donation towards his campaign to become ANC party leader — a hard-fought battle in which he beat ex-president Jacob Zuma’s chosen candidate in 2017.

Mkhwebane accused Ramaphosa of deliberately misleading parliament for illegal purposes.

But the president dismissed the report and took the case to the High Court, which on Tuesday declared Mkhwebane’s findings as “unlawful”.

“There is simply no evidence that the president received personal financial benefit from any campaign contributions,” said judge Elias Matojane.

“Her findings on the money laundering issue were not only irrational but indeed reckless,” he said.

Ramaphosa’s office welcomed the sentence and reaffirmed its “commitment to honest and effective governance” on Twitter.

Mkhwebane’s spokesman Oupa Segalwe told AFP the Public Protector would “study the judgement” along with her legal team before “mapping the way forward”.

Mkhwebane was appointed Public Protector in 2016 and her term ends in 2023.

While her position is meant to investigate public corruption and misconduct, she has been criticised for being close to graft-tainted Zuma.

A handful of Mkhwebane’s other investigations have already been dismissed in court, and parliament is currently assessing her competency for the job.

A few months after winning the ANC leadership, Ramaphosa went on to become president after Zuma was entangled in graft scandals that forced him to step down in February 2018.

Ramaphosa led the ruling African National Congress (ANC) in the May 2019 national elections where the party won with a reduced majority.

He has vowed to crack down on high-level corruption that looted state coffers during Zuma’s nine-year administration.

The ANC remains bitterly split between Zuma and Ramaphosa’s supporters.

AFP

Kano Anti-Corruption Agency Invites Emir Sanusi Over Fresh Allegations

Emir Of Kano Decries North's Poor Educational System
Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II (file photo)

 

The Kano State Public Complaint and Anti-Corruption Commission has ordered the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II, to appear before it on Monday, March 9, 2020.

The anti-graft agency said this in a statement on Thursday as the Kano Emirate requested for another day for the monarch to appear before the body.

Emir Sanusi was supposed to appear before the agency on Thursday to answer questions on alleged illegal sales of land belonging to the emirate.

According to the Chairman of the Commission, Barr. Muhuyi Rimingado, the investigations are not related to any other probe of the Emir.

He said: “Preliminary findings suggest that a company, Country Wide House Ltd. served as a corporate vehicle to allegedly launder the sum of over N2bn being proceeds of several hectares of land in Darmanawa phase I and II and Bubbugaji, under the former right of occupancy CON-RESS 2016-503 illegally sold to Messer family home fund limited at the alleged instance of His Highness the Emir of Kano.”

Rimingado also claimed that “Investigation further revealed that some of the proceeds of the sales remitted to the Emirate Council’s bank account can be traced to the companies of interest to His Highness.”

According to the body, the investigation of the Emir followed information brought to it by a whistleblower, on the 29th of December 2019.

I’m Not Afraid Of Prison, Says Zuma After Medical Trip

In this file photo taken on July 27, 2018 former South African president Jacob Zuma stands in the dock of the High Court of Pietermaritzburg during his hearing over 16 corruption charges. Former South African president Jacob Zuma must pay back state funds and cover his own costs, a court ruled on December 13, 2018, leaving him facing massive legal bills as he fights graft charges.
Phill MAGAKOE / POOL / AFP

 

South Africa’s graft-accused former president Jacob Zuma returned home on Saturday after a month-long trip to Cuba for medical treatment and declared he was not afraid of prison.

Zuma, 77, was slapped with an arrest warrant earlier this month after his lawyers claimed he was too ill to travel back to South Africa for a pre-trial hearing on corruption charges.

A high court issued the warrant after it questioned the authenticity of his sick note, but said it would not be executed until the case is set to resume on May 6.

A crowd of people gathered at Johannesburg’s OR Tambo international airport to welcome Zuma, the former ANC leader who ruled South Africa from 2009 to 2018.

“I am not afraid of prison,” Zuma told his supporters in Zulu before being ushered out of the arrivals hall.

READ ALSO: S.Sudan Rebel Leader Machar Sworn In As Vice President

He raised his thumbs and grinned from behind a pair of dark glasses as a singing crowd gathered around him.

Zuma is alleged to have taken bribes of four million rand (about $267,000) related to a $3.4 billion arms deal in 1999 when he was deputy president.

In all, he faces 16 charges of fraud, graft and racketeering related to the purchase of fighter jets, patrol boats, and military equipment.

The arrest warrant was just the latest twist in a case that has seen many legal turns over the past decade and a half.

Critics have dubbed Zuma the “Teflon president” for his reputed ability to evade judicial reckoning.

He has also been accused of orchestrating the systematic plunder of government coffers during his rule in a scandal known as “state capture”.

“(Zuma) has always respected the courts,” supporter Carl Niehaus told reporters before the ex-president’s arrivals.

“There is no need to vilify him and try and turn him into a fugitive of justice.”

Little has been disclosed about the current state of Zuma’s health or the type of treatment he has been receiving.

He was forced to step down in 2018 by the ruling African National Congress (ANC) after a nine-year reign marked by corruption allegations and dwindling popularity.

AFP