CCT Fixes September 21 For Judgement On Orubebe’s Case

OrubebeThe Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) Mr Danladi Umar has approved September 21 for the delivery of judgment in the case against a former Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godsday Orubebe.

The judgment is to be delivered in the case of alleged false declaration of assets preferred against the former minister.

The notice of the Tribunal’s sitting schedule for the month of September and October also contains the case of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, whose motion has been slated for ruling on October 5.

Senator Saraki is seeking the withdrawal of the chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal from the trial over alleged bias.

Mr Orubebe has denied the allegations, saying he does not own any property which was not declared in his asset declaration form submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

Led in evidence on June 2 by his lawyer, Larry Selekowei, the former minister told the Tribunal that he did not declare Plot 2057 in Asokoro for which he is standing trial , because as at the time he was leaving the government in 2011, he had sold off the land to pay two years house rent.

Mr Orubebe had in 2015 tried to scuttle the collation process of the Presidential election, accusing the electoral body of being bais.

The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal had in April dismissed the application filed by Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki seeking his withdrawal from the trial, holding that the application lacked merit.

In his ruling, Justice Danladi Umar said that the Attorney-General of the Federation has no powers to investigate any person.

“It is only the security and law enforcement agencies that have that power and it is only when they have concluded their investigation that the Attorney-General can prosecute,” he claimed.

The counsel to the Senate President, Mr Raphael Oluyede, had during the hearing insisted that Mr Danladi was still under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the same agency that allegedly filed the criminal charges against him.

He alleged that it was obvious that the said investigation was used as a bait by the EFCC to get Mr Danladi to do its bidding.

 

 

FG Closes Case Against Orubebe As Court Adjourns Trial Till May 31

OrubebeThe trial of the former Minister for Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe has been adjourned to May 31 to enable the defendant open his defence.

At the continuation of trial on Tuesday, the prosecutor, Mr Mohammed Diri, told the court that he was closing his case, having called one witness as against three witnesses he earlier mentioned.

The defence counsel, Larry Selekowei, however, informed the Tribunal that he intended to call his first defence witness but was taken by surprise that the prosecutor closed his case.

He added that his witnesses were not in court and sought an adjournment to enable him properly open his defence.

The Tribunal Chairman, Justice Umar Danladi, then adjourned till May 31.

At the last sitting, cross examination of the first prosecution witness, Sam Madojemu, ended as he insisted that the former Minister failed to declare his full asset while in office particularly the alleged property in Asokoro, Abuja.

Mr Orubebe is being charged by the Code of Conduct Bureau for alleged failure to declare the landed property.

In the other counts, he is also facing charges for allegedly accepting bribes totalling 70 million Naira from one Pastor Jonathan Alota for the award of contracts in favour of his company.

Network Africa: A Medley Of Lost Jobs, Human Lives And Animal Extinction

Reports from Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory says the Minister for Police Affairs, Navy Captain Caleb Olubolade, the Minister of the Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe, the Minister of State for Finance, Dr.Yerima Ngama and the Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah have been sacked.

The sacking of the ministers came on a day when the Senate screened 12 ministerial nominees sent to it by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Senator Musiliu Obanikoro and Mohammed Wakil both made their presentations and were asked to take their leave without question; while   Ambassador Bashiru Ali was not allowed to leave until he answered questions about his job as Nigeria’s Ambassador to China.

In Central African Republic, it appears the international peacekeepers are having a hard time in preventing the ethnic cleansing of Muslims in the country. Militia attacks have resulted in a series of Muslim exodus and aid groups have warned of a potential food crisis. This is because many of the shops and wholesalers are run by Muslims.

As a result, the UN’s World Food Programme has started a month-long aid airlift. The first flight which was carrying 82 tonnes of rice arrived on Wednesday, February 12; while a further 1,800 tonnes of cereal are expected to follow in the coming weeks.

We spoke with Nadia Bandi of the International Committee of the Red Cross for an update on the humanitarian situation.

In Congo, the former Congolese warlord, Bosco Ntaganda, appeared before the International Criminal Court from February 10 and the judges are trying to decide if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial. The prosecution believes that he played a significant role in planning assaults against the civilian population.

One man who Bosco Ntaganda would certainly be praying to be like is the Rwandan ex-paramilitary Police chief who was initially found guilty of genocide by a UN-backed war crimes tribunal; but now, he’s been acquitted on appeal.

He was one of the most senior figures to be sentenced by the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR).

The General has been living in an ICTR safe house in the Tanzanian town since his release nearly three years ago, after he was sentenced. He is unable to return to Rwanda and no other country will accept him.

In other news, fresh talks to resolve the crisis in South Sudan have opened in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa, more than two weeks after a ceasefire was signed. Rebels agreed to continue the dialogue despite the government’s refusal to release four high-profile detainees.

South African Police Clash With ANC Supporters

Things got a tad ugly in  South Africa, When  Police clashed with stone throwing supporters of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) who tried to confront members of the opposition Democratic Alliance Party as they marched in central Johannesburg on Wednesday (February 12).

Algeria In Mourning

Algeria is mourning for 3 days after 77 people were killed in a military passenger plane crash in the North-East of the country. Just one person survived when the Hercules C-130 crashed into a mountain in Oum Al-Bou-A-Ghi province, en route to Constantine.

Most of the 78 passengers were military personnel and their family members. The lone survivor, a soldier, is reportedly being treated for head injuries at a military hospital in Constantine.

Our hearts go out to the families of the dead.

We also featured Wang, which is the very last polar bear in the whole of South Africa. It was brought to Africa 30 years ago, but based on the fact that the African environment is far from conducive, it will die soon and there will no longer be any polar bears in the whole continent.

Okupe Defends Jonathan’s Process of Ministerial Appointments

Special Adviser to the President on Public Affairs, Mr Doyin Okupe, today defended the nomination and sack of ministers by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Mr Okupe, speaking from Channels Television’s Abuja studios, insisted that before the President makes his appointments, he certifies “that this person (nominee) is of a good quality, a good calibre and must possess a reasonable intellect, loyalty and patriotism to serve his country.”

Okupe explained that in a parliamentary system of government, members of parliament are mandated to supervise different ministries “that has nothing to do with their profession.” He added that “a man that is qualified, a graduate with good experience; that has distinguished himself in the society and has some sense of loyalty can run any ministry.”

Mr Okupe also vehemently stated that “anybody running a ministry, is not running it by himself, he is running it for and on behalf of the President who has appointed him…he carries on the programme of Mr President.” He emphasized that “each minister is a representative of the President in his ministry”.

Meanwhile, a legal practitioner, Mr Tokunbo Odutola, speaking from the Lagos studios of the multiple-award winning television station, agreed with Mr Okupe on the selection process but was quick to add that the appointment process was “a three pronged process”.

These processes according to Mr Odutola, are the taken from the “legal, political and moral” perspectives. He explained that the legal aspect, as enshrined in the constitution, is for the President to make sure he appoints ministers with each state represented amongst the nominees.

The political provision, he added, allows the President to assign whomever he so wishes to a ministry “because it is his team” and such “reflects on whom our President is”. On the moral aspect, he said that this has to do with the person being nominated, who must be screened to ensure that he or she had not been involved in any criminal activity.

On the newly nominated ministers, he expressed the view that 2015 being just around the corner, “the President would not want to pick anybody who cannot make sure that, if he intends contesting in 2015, he can help him or his party.”

Earlier in the week, one of the ministerial nominees, Mr. Oyewale Adesiyan, from Osun State, told the Senate that he had been wrongfully accused of having a hand in the murder of a former Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Chief Bola Ige, who was assassinated in his Bodija home, in Ibadan, Oyo State on December 23, 2001, a case for which he was in jail for three and half years.

Although, Adesiyan claimed that his implication in the death was a ‘political blackmail’ by enemies, Mr Odutola said that “morally, the candidate should be dropped”.

Responding to questions from Channels Television viewers via Twitter on whether the President was making the decision to sack some ministers at the right time, Mr Okupe noted that this was “a preposterous question”. He wondered why “Nigerians would vote for a man, if he does not have the capacity to decide what he wants to do, and when he wants to do it.”

He further noted that “the President is the captain of the boat, he knows where he is leading the boat to, and he knows the kind of staff that he needs to assist him to get there.” He insisted that those ministers who were dropped were still useful and they have done nothing wrong.

Cabinet Shuffle: Minister’s Sack Was Expected – Omonhinmi

A Public Affairs Analyst, and former Director of the Federal Ministry of Information, Gabriel Omonhinmi, has said that President Jonathan’s decision to shuffle his cabinet “was not out of place but was expected”.

This is in view of the recent sack of four ministers by the Nigerian President.

Speaking on Channels Television breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Omonhinmi said that in the case of the former Aviation Minister, Stella Oduah, “her team members did not help her, stating that she (Stella) brought her own team to work with the people in the ministry but they could not function well together.

“The people in the ministry didn’t allow the minister to function. Bullet proof scandal was an alleged means for the President to sack the Minister but it didn’t work, then they brought out a plan B, which was the certificate scandal. It was obvious the people in the ministry were working against the Minister”.

He compared the Ministry for Trade and Investment to the Aviation Ministry, stating that the Minister for Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, has carried his team along with him and has been well commended. He said that the Minister of Aviation recruited people who were inexperienced, which created more problems for her. He submitted, “It was clear that President Jonathan needed to let her go.”

Mr Omonhinmi also referred to the position of the Minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe, as inactive, equally discrediting the Ministry of Police Affairs as one that was not needed, as he argued that “with the IG of Police you can run an effective Police system.” He further questioned the functions of both ministries, claiming that they “barely had jobs to do.

“These are all political manoeuvres, I’m surprised they stayed this long” he added.

 

Maku Names Replacement Of Sacked Ministers

Nigeria’s Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku, has explained the circumstances surrounding the sacking of four ministers in the cabinet of President Goodluck Jonathan, saying they were sacked in order to pursue other goals.

Mr Maku announced the names of serving ministers to take charge of the ministries of the sacked ministers, stating that the Minister of State for Trade and Investments, Mr Samuel Ortom, will take charge of the Ministry of Aviation pending the appointment of a new minister, while Mr Darius Isiaku takes over as the Minister of Niger Delta Affiars.

The Minister of State for the FCT, Missus Olajumoke Akinjide, will now oversee the Ministry of Police Affairs vacated by Capt. Caleb Olubolade (Rtd).

Briefing State House correspondents after the council meeting, Mr Maku said: “The ministers had indicated their interest to pursue other goals in the country and so President Goodluck Jonathan asked them to go”.

The ministers include the Minister of State for Finance, Dr Yerima Ngama, Minister of Police Affairs, Captain Caleb Olubolade (Rtd), the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Mr Godsday Orubebe, and the Minister of Aviation, Ms Stella Oduah.

The president was said to have thanked them for the job they have done in assisting the government to realise the transformation Agenda.

Maku also said that the former Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Mike Oghiadome, contrary to the reports in the social media, resigned to go and pursue his interest in politics.

He said the former Chief of Staff has nothing to do with the investigations going on in the NNPC.

Jonathan Sacks Stella Oduah, Three Other Ministers

Four Nigerian ministers, including the Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, have been sacked by the Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan.

Other ministers are Minister of the Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe, Minister of Police Affairs, Caleb Olubolade and Minister of State For Finance, Yerima Ngama.

2010 Independence Day Bombing: Court Finds Okah Guilty

A Johannesburg Magistrate court in South African found Henry Okah guilty of terrorism charges levelled against him by the federal government of Nigeria.

The sentence includes a life jail term. The sentence will be carried out on January 31st or February 1st. The judge however gave Okah room for mitigation.

Mr Okah is accused of masterminding two car bombings in Abuja on October 1 in 2010.

12 people were killed and 36 were injured. He was arrested in Johannesburg the following day.

The Presiding Judge Neels Claassen, said Mr Okah was found guilty on 13 counts ranging from conspiracy to commit terrorism to detonating explosives.

“I have come to the conclusion that the State proved beyond reasonable doubt the guilt of the accused,” Judge Neels Claassen said when handing down judgment.

“The evidence of all the accomplices that worked with him was not contradicted… I found that (Okah is the) leader, planner, funder, supplier… of car bombs used in Warri in March 2010 and on October 1, 2010.”

Claassen said Okah’s failure to testify meant evidence against him remained uncontested.

Okah was allegedly the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) that claimed responsibility for the blasts.

He was charged with engaging in terrorist activities, conspiracy to engage in terrorist activity, and delivering, placing, and detonating an explosive device.

Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe, who was first to give evidence at the opening of Okah’s trial said Okah was a “key figure in the Niger Delta struggle and the militants had a lot of respect for him”.

Okah denied involvement in the attacks and also denies being the leader of the group.

State prosecutor Shaun Abrahams said justice had been done. The ruling showed South African and foreign law enforcement agencies could work together.

“There is no safe haven in South Africa.”

Abrahams said legislation provided for a minimum sentence of life imprisonment for Okah’s crimes.

After the guilty finding, Okah was taken to the court holding cells under heavy police guard.

Meanwhile, Lagos based lawyer, Festus Keyamo has argued that the conviction of Henry Okah is flawed.

Explaining the flaws, Mr Keyamo stated that the convict was not given adequate facility and opportunity to defend himself.

The lawyer claimed he had written a letter to the Attorney-General of the Federation seeking approval for witnesses to the case, including some government officials and it was approved only two weeks ago.

“But unfortunately without giving Henry Okah’s counsel in South Africa adequate time and facilities to follow the directives, the South African court foreclosed this opportunity to call witnesses and rushed to convict him.”

Mr Keyamo also said the terrorism charges are politically motivated and legally incorrect.

Reps to investigate allegations of corruption against Orubebe

The House of Representatives on Thursday directed two of its standing committees to commence an investigation into allegations of corrupt practices brought against the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Godsday Orubebe.

The Minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe

The motion presented by a member of the House, Olesegun Odeneye (Ogun State) reminded the House of allegations that the minister has paid for many phantom projects, and is presently residing in a house, built and handed over to him by a construction company which he has failed to declare in his asset declaration.

“A case has been made against the minister as it relates to a house built for him by Setraco Construction Company at Mabushi district here in Abuja. It has been found that he failed to declare the house in his asset declaration form with the Code of Conduct Bureau,” Mr Odeneye said.
The House subsequently mandated its committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes to investigate the matter and make appropriate recommendations to the House within 21 days.

The House further directed the ministry of Finance, the Central Bank and the Accountant General of the federation to suspend all payments into the ministry over what it described as bogus contracts, except the East West road projects until the completion of investigation to verify the authenticity of certificates pending for payment.

The deputy speaker, who presided, ruled that the motion should not be debated until investigations are completed.

A non-governmental organisation, Anti-Corruption Network, led by former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye had accused Mr Orubebe of using his office to divert public fund for his personal use. The organisation provided photos of a residence it claimed was built for the Minister in the Mabushi area of Abuja.

Leader of the group had alleged that Setraco built and delivered the new mansion to Mr Orubebe in less than six months after the company benefitted from contracts to build part of the East-West highway in the Delta region.

Niger Delta Ministry: Orubebe denies Melaye’s allegations of inflating contract cost

The Minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe on Tuesday dismissed allegations by the anti-corruption network led by a former member of the House of Representatives, Dino Melaye that the ministry awards and pays for non-existent and over inflated contracts.

The Minister of Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe

Reacting to the allegations, Mr Orubebe said all projects initiated by the ministry are verifiable and exist in communities traceable by anyone who is serious on getting facts.

He said all projects are mandated to go through the due process office and the ministry only deals with existing files of projects approved by the due process office and not with contractors as the allegations suggest.

“What they have said is total fallacy,” the Minister said.

In a telephone interview with Channels Television, Mr Orubebe, who travelled out of Nigeria, promised to furnish the media with the “facts and figures” of the contracts.

Mr Melaye, who is the Secretary of the anti-corruption network, had alleged spurious award of contracts in the Niger Delta by the ministry threating to file legal action against the Minister of finance and her Mr Orubebe.

Also reacting to the allegations by the former lawmaker, the chairman of the House of Representatives’ committee on the Niger Delta, Warman Ogoriba said he is not aware of any petition to his committee on projects in the region and advised Mr Melaye to desist from misleading the public with his unverified records.

Some of the allegedly phantom projects which the group said have been exhaustively investigated and found fraudulent are the contract for the channelization of the Odoubou-Bololou creek project in Ogbaba-Gbene, Brutu Local government area, costing N1.2 billion; contract for the land reclamation and shoreline protection at Ogboba-Gbene and channelization of Foupolo-Bunu ndoro creek both above N2 billion each.

Both Misters Orubebe and Ogoriba however said the former lawmaker and his group are only being mischievous and crying woof over nothing.

Independence Day bombing: Henry Okah’s trial begins in South Africa

The trial of the leader of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND) and alleged mastermind of the October 1, 2010 bombing in Abuja, Mr Henry Okah, began on Monday, in South Africa.

Mr Okah is facing a 15-count charge for the twin bomb blast that killed more than 10 people in the nation’s capital during the elaborate celebration of the nation’s 50th independence anniversary, on October 1, 2010.

His initial 5-count charge was on Monday, amended to 15, as the trial proceeding commenced amid tight security. The streets adjourning the courts in Johannesburg, were reportedly cordoned off as thorough screening was carried out within the court premises.

Briefing the new presiding judge, the lead prosecuting counsel, Shaun Abrahams revealed that he has formal confirmation from Nigeria’s Attorney-General and Minister of Justice that there would be no extradition request for the defendant.

He also revealed a pledge by the Federal Government to fully cooperate with the trial.

First to be called to the witness stand by the prosecutor was the Minister for the Niger Delta, Godsday Orubebe, referred to as Witness 17.

He gave the  historical perspective of the agitation of the Niger Delta people leading to the amnesty programme for militants in the region.

He identified the amnesty documents relating to the defendant, which Mr Okah who was also present in court, said he has no problem with.

Mr Orubebe was further questioned on his visits and dealings with the defendant which ranged from business to issues on the Niger Delta.

The Minister however denied having anything to do with a document on a quotation for the purchase of arms by Mr Okah.

The Judge adjourned the case till Tuesday, owing to the fact that the day was far gone and the inadequate time for the defence counsel, Lucky Mahlala, to cross examine the witness.

With regard to Mr Okah’s bail application, his counsel expressed the hope to get the response of the prosecution by midweek before it can be taken further.

This trial is said to be expected to last about 18months as more than 100 witnesses are expected from both sides collectively.