EFCC Names Diezani In Alleged 450million Naira Fraud

Court Orders Forfeiture Of Diezani's Allegedly Stolen FundsThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has named former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, in the five count amended charge made against a former governorship candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Mohammed Dele Belgore (SAN), and a former Minister of Planning, Professor Abubakar Sulaiman.

At the resumed trial of the two defendants before a Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday, the EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo urged the court to allow the amended charge be read for a fresh plea to be taken.

In the five count charges, Mrs Allison-Madueke was alleged to have conspired with Belgore and Sulaiman on or about March 27, 2015, to directly take possession of 450 million Naira, which they reasonably ought to have known, forms part of the proceeds of unlawful act.

The trio were also alleged to have taken the said funds in cash, which exceeded the amount authorized by law, without going through the financial institutions.

Belgore and Sulaiman were also alleged to have paid the 50 million Naira to Sheriff Shagaya, without going through the banks.

The offences according to the prosecutor, Mr. Oyedepo, are contrary to Sections 18(a), 15(2)(d),1(a), 16(d) and punishable under sections 15(3) and 4, 16 (2)(b), and 16(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the charges and the EFCC swiftly called its first witness, Timothy Olaobaju, a banker.

In his evidence, the witness, Olaobaju told the court that the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, stashed a sum of $115,010,000 in his bank with instructions for the money to be changed it into naira and distributed among certain individuals in the 36 states of the federation.

The beneficiaries according to the witness included the two defendants who both received 450million Naira and filled a receipt form to acknowledge the payment.

The receipt form filled by the defendants were then tendered by the EFCC and admitted by the courts as exhibits in the case.

Lawyers to the defendants took turns to plead with the court for an adjournment, to enable them adequately prepare for the cross-examination of the witness.

The court granted their request and adjourned the matter till Tuesday, March 14, 2017 for cross-examination of the witness, and continuation of trial.

EFCC Urges Final Forfeiture Of Funds Allegedly Diverted By Allison-Madueke

Diezani Allison-Madueke, EFCC, Court, Diverted Funds, Dauda LawalThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has told a Federal High Court in Lagos State that an Executive Director of First Bank Plc, Mr Dauda Lawal, allegedly laundered funds on behalf of former Minister of Petroleum, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke.

The counsel representing the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, made the revelation on Tuesday while responding to a counter affidavit by the bank official.

Mr Lawal is seeking to discharge an interim forfeiture order of the sum of 9.08 billion naira.

About three weeks ago, Justice Muslim Hassan issued an interim order of forfeiture of the sum of $153 million to the Federal Government, following an ‘exparte application’ filed by the EFCC.

The EFCC linked the funds to Mrs Allison-Madueke.

The court had also issued 14 days to any interested party to appear and prove the legitimacy of the monies, failing which the funds would be permanently forfeited to the government.

At the resumed hearing of the case on Tuesday, Mr Charles Adeogun-Phillips announced appearance for Mr Lawal who is joined as respondent in the suit.

In his arguments before the court, Mr Adeogun-Phillips challenged the forfeiture order and urged the court to issue an order, directing a refund of the sum of 9.08 billion naira to his client, on the grounds that same was obtained by coercion.

He argued that his client admitted having received the sum of $25 million in clear dispensation of his duties, but was purportedly coerced by the commission to further admit receiving a total of $65 million.

The 9.08 billion naira represents the naira equivalent of the difference of $40 million which Mr Lawal said he was also made to give up after being coerced.

EFCC Counsel, Mr Oyedepo, however, challenged the claims and insisted that the First Bank boss allegedly conspired with some other persons to launder funds on behalf of Mrs Allison-Madueke.

He urged the court to order a final forfeiture of the $153 million and the 9.08 billion naira already surrendered by the respondent, to the government.

After listening to all the lawyers, Justice Hassan fixed the February 16 for judgment.

Nigeria’s Petroleum Minister, Alison-Madueke Elected OPEC President

OPECNigeria’s Petroleum Minister, Mrs Diezani Allison Madueke, has been elected as President of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

Alison-Madueke’s election as President of OPEC took place on Thursday at the ongoing 166th ordinary meeting of the Organisation, taking place in Vienna, Austria.

She becomes the first female to be elected into that position, and replaces Libya’s Vice Prime Minister for Corporations, Abdourhman Atahar Al-Ahirish, who was occupying the position.

Before her election, Mrs Alison-Madueke was the alternate president of OPEC and is expected to immediately begin to serve her one-year term at the helm of OPEC affairs.

It is expected that OPEC, during its ongoing 166th meeting, would make key decisions that could halt the dwindling price of crude oil.

Diezani K. Alison-Madueke, born 6 December 1960, became Nigeria’s Minister of Transportation on July 26, 2007. She was moved to Mines and Steel Development in 2008, and in April 2010 was appointed Minister of Petroleum Resources.

In accordance with its Statute, the mission of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC, is to coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its Member Countries and ensure the stabilization of oil markets in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry.

Lawmakers Summon PPMC Boss Over 10bn Naira Chartered Jets

house_of_repsThe House of Representatives’ committee on Public Accounts on Tuesday summoned the Pipelines and Product Marketing Company (PPMC) and its managing director, Mr Haruna Momoh, to appear before it, as it continues its investigation on the charter of the 850 challenger aircraft by the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke.

The company was given one week to submit in written form all they know about the issue.

Despite the court case instituted against the House by the Minister to stop them from probing the alleged 10 billion Naira (about 62.5 million dollars) expenses on chartered jets, the House seems to be forging ahead with the investigation.

In a letter, the chairman of the committee, Solomon Olamilekan, said the committee issued the memo as a result of new information from Vistajet International Limited, one of the companies involved in the transactions which showed that the PPMC and its boss played a central role in the charter of the challenger aircraft.

The committee in the memo requested for the following; details of the financial transaction on the amount paid by NNPC/PPMC to Vistajet International Limited for the charter, maintenance of the 850 challenger aircraft and other related aircraft from January 2012 till date as well as details of any financial liabilities that may be currently outstanding on the charter among other issues.

The committee said that failure of both the organisation and its boss to submit the memorandum requested and appear before it on a date yet to be communicated would be treated as a criminal offence.

Last week, there were reports that an Abuja High Court issued an order of interim injunction restraining the National Assembly from compelling the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, to appear before it for an investigative public hearing on the lease of aircraft by the Minister.

But the court denied such decision, summoning the House of Representatives to explain how it came about the purported order.

In the heat of the controversy, the House of Representatives insisted that it would continue with the investigation, accusing the Minister of reckless use of public funds for personal businesses.

Nigeria’s President To Meet With Investors In London

President Goodluck Jonathan will be visiting the United Kingdom on Wednesday for a three-day meeting with foreign investors.

The meeting is aimed at attracting more investments to Nigeria.

Issues that would be discussed at the meeting of Nigeria’s Honourary International Investors’ Council include generating long-term affordable finance for Nigeria’s real sector, developing Nigeria’s private equity and venture capital sectors to attract more foreign investments and Nigeria’s information and communications technology master-plan.

The government’s spokesman, Ruben Abati, said that the council’s meeting, coordinated by Baroness Lynda Chalker, would also feature a review of Nigeria’s existing investment policies by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the Paris-based international organization dedicated to the promotion of policies that would improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

“President Jonathan will be accompanied by Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State, Senator Emmanuel Paulker, Senator Nenadi Usman, Hon. Sylvester Ogbaga, Hon. Isiaka Bawa, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investments, Dr. Olusegun Aganga and the Governor of the Central Bank, Mr. Lamido Sanusi.

Others on the President’s entourage include the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, the Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, the Minister of Power, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, the Minister of Special Duties, Mr. Kabiru Turaki, the Minister of State (Foreign Affairs), Prof. Viola Onwuliri and heads of relevant government agencies”, Abati said in a statement on Tuesday.

The accompanying Ministers and heads of agencies will brief the gathering on developments in their areas of responsibility, and also lead discussions on proposals for overcoming identified challenges.

Some members of the council are the CEO of the Investment Corporation of Dubai, Mr. Mohammed al Shaibani, a former South African Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr. Alec Erwin and the Vice President of Hewlett-Packard’s Enterprise Group in Europe and Middle-East and Africa, Mr. Olivier Suinat.

The President is expected back in Nigeria at the weekend.

Jonathan To Lead Dangote, Otudeko And Others On Economic Mission

President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria will on Monday lead a team of key members of Nigeria’s Economic Management Team to the World Economic Forum on Africa holding in Cape Town, South Africa.

The Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity), Reuben Abati in a press release described the trip as part of the president’s efforts to promote rapid national economic growth and development; as well as an opportunity to assemble with global leaders to brainstorm on new strategies for accelerating economic diversification and the availability of essential infrastructure in Africa.

“President Jonathan is scheduled to leave Abuja for Cape Town tomorrow and will, at the invitation of President Jacob Zuma, undertake a state visit to South Africa ahead of the opening of the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.” Abati said.

The Forum themed “Delivering on Africa’s Promise” is expected to provide a platform for African leaders in government, business and civil society and their counterparts from other regions of the world to discuss further on the continent’s integration agenda and “renew their commitment to a sustainable path of growth and development that will further unlock Africa’s potentials and talents.”

The President will be accompanied on the trip by the Governors of Zamfara, Anambra and Bayelsa states, Senator Smart Adeyemi, Honourable Abubakar Momoh, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr. Jim Ovia, Chief Oba Otudeko and Mr. Tony Elumelu.

Several ministers including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina and the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Musa Mohammed Sada will also be on the presidential delegation.

The President will also participate in the Grow Africa Investment Forum and thereafter honour an invitation by his South African counterpart, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma to discuss ways of improving trade and economic relations between Nigeria and South Africa.

During the visit, he will also deliver an address to the South African Parliament, co-chair a meeting of the South Africa/Nigeria Business Forum with President Zuma and hold separate meetings with the Chairmen of the Management Boards of MTN, Toyota and Nissan in South Africa.

At the conclusion of his visit to South Africa on Thursday, President Jonathan will proceed to Namibia for a one-day state visit to hold talks with President Hifikepunye Pohamba and attend a meeting with the country’s business community.

President Jonathan is expected to return to Nigeria on Friday, May 10.