Supreme Court Rejects Call To Disqualify Pakistan PM

Courtesy: dawn.com

Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Thursday, ruled that there was insufficient evidence to order the removal of Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, from office over corruption allegations leveled by the opposition.

A verdict to dismiss Sharif would have left his party in power but would have brought turmoil at a time when Pakistan is experiencing modest growth and improved security, and the civilian government and powerful military have appeared to come to uneasy terms.

According to Reuters, two of five judges on the court bench recommended Sharif should step down, saying he was dishonest “to the nation as well as to the parliament”, but they were out voted.

Presenting its 549-page judgment amid tight security in the capital Islamabad, the court however, ordered a joint investigation team be formed to look into allegations around three of Sharif’s four children using offshore companies to buy properties in London.

The team has two months to complete its inquiry, after which a special bench will decide what action to take. The court said this in a ruling that opened with the epigraph from Mario Puzo’s novel “The Godfather”: “Behind every great fortune there is a crime”.

The Prime Minister and his children had denied any wrongdoing and have expressed openness towards the court’s latest ruling.

“We are ready for all kinds of investigation,” Defence Minister Khawaja Asif told reporters outside the court.

Justice Nguta Pleads Not Guilty To Eight Charges At CCT

Justice Sylvester Ngwuta has pleaded not guilty to eight charges bordering on false declaration of assets preferred against him by the Federal Government before the tribunal.

According to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, Justice Ngwuta contravened section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, laws of the federation of Nigeria, which is punishable under section 23 (2) of the Act.

The Chairman of the CCT, Justice Danladi Umar, adjourned the matter for hearing to July 12, 2017 after the judge pleaded not guilty.

Justice Ngwuta is one of the judges whose residence was raided in October 2016 by the Department of Security Service, which uncovered huge sums of money in in the process.

He is also standing trial before Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on an amended 16 counts bordering on money laundering.

 

Legal Practitioner Faults FG’s Committee On SGF, NIA DG’s Investigation

A legal practitioner, John Oloyede, has faulted the Federal Government’s idea of setting up a committee to investigate issues surrounding the suspension of the Secretary to the Federal Government, Babachir Lawal and the Director General of the National Intelligence Agency, Ayo Oke.

He said in Nigeria, committees are set up to cover up lies. “There is a lie and you need a bigger lie to cover it up”.

“Why should the Vice President be heading a committee to investigate an allegation of crime against two individuals.

 Dead On Arrival

“Secondly, the Attorney General and even the Presidency authored a response to the allegations by the Senate, giving the Secretary to the Government of the Federation a clean bill of health previously.

“The clean bill of health was on the basis of a report that was submitted by the Attorney General of the Federation. You now set up a committee; that committee is dead on arrival.

“If you suspect that there is some proof that something untoward has been done and is an infraction of the law, the proper procedure is not to set up a committee that is dead on arrival.”

The lawyer therefore stated that the President should have taken a different step, rather than setting up a committee headed by the Vice President.

Let EFCC Investigate

“In Nigeria, you set up institutions and decapitate the institutions,” he said, while also noting that “what Professor Sani said, is playing out. You do not move two different sets of rules to fight corruption.

“If there is an allegation of crime against somebody, first and foremost, where did the first report come from? Now that it has become apparent to you (Mr President), that there is a problem with this particular person or persons, aren’t there institutions that are presently fighting the war on corruption? The EFCC, DSS, Police? He questioned.

“That administrative step should not be in public domain, it is not our business,” Oloyede added.

According to him, “the important thing now is that once a person is suspended, the EFCC should do their work.

“Let them investigate this person, just like they are investigating and charging other people to court. Why have two sets of rules for the same kind of crimes.”

He holds the belief that since the AGF had absolved the SGF before, he could easily do same this time around as he would not want to double speak. However, if he does otherwise, then his previous report would be questioned.

“If he says this man is guilty as charged, then we’ll say where did you get your false report before, why didn’t you do a thorough investigation? The chief law officer, involved in double speak, that is untoward,” he asserted.

Meanwhile, other reactions have continued to trail the suspension. The Chairman of the Senate’s Ad-hoc Committee on Humanitarian crises in the North East, Shehu Sani, however, stated that the suspension of Mr Babachir Lawal will not interrupt its ongoing investigation of the Presidential Initiative on the North East (PINE).

Court Orders Temporary Forfeiture Of LEGICO Mall’s N449.7m

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, has ordered the temporary forfeiture of the sum of 449,750,000 Naira to the Federal Government, found in possession of one Mohammed Tauheed, of the LEGICO Shopping Plaza in Victoria Island.

Justice Rilwan Aikawa, who was sitting as the vacation judge, for the Easter holidays, ordered the forfeiture of the money after listening to an Ex-parte application filed and argued before his court by a counsel to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Rotimi Oyedepo.

The EFCC in an affidavit sworn to by one of its operatives, Moses Awolusi, submitted that the commission received an intelligence report on April 7, 2017, that money in several Ghana must go bags were warehoused in one of the shops located at the LEGICO shopping Plaza.

The intelligence report according to the EFCC, was analysed and found worthy of investigation.

Upon inquires into the ownership of the shop (number LS64) where the exhibit was recovered, the EFCC said their investigations indicated that the shop had not been opened for close to two years.

Also, according to the commission, the Chairman and Vice Chairman of the plaza, Mr Sulaiman Mukthar Daba and Alhaji Ishaq Ayandiran, could also not trace the identity of the owner of the shop, but came to EFCC’s office with one Mohammed Tauheed, who claimed ownership of the money.

He then informed the EFCC that he received the money in cash from a serving Government official whose name he would not disclose for security reasons.

The EFCC further stated that thereafter, Mohammed Tauheed in the presence of his lawyer agreed to return the money back to Federal Government of Nigeria who is the rightful owner of the money.

The anti-graft agency then concluded that Mohammed Tauheed who has been arrested in connection with the money, criminally conspired with the owner of the shop (now at large) to launder the said funds.

After laying all its facts before the court, the EFCC told Justice Aikawa that it would be in the interest of Justice if the court could, in the interim, make an order of forfeiture of the money to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The EFCC also requested that the court allows Tauheed or any other person to be put on notice and appear before the court within 14 days to state reasons why the money found in their possession should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Justice Aikawa granted the request and also ordered the EFCC to advertise the order of the court within 14 days for any interested party to come forward and convince the court as to why the money should not be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The matter was subsequently adjourned till May 19.

Ondo Police Command Deploys Officers To Highways

Police Denies Reported Closure Of Ondo AssemblyOfficers and men of the Ondo State Police Command have been deployed to the Akure-Ilesa and the Owo- Ikare-Akoko Highways as well as some other roads across the state in order to combat criminal activities such as armed robbery and kidnapping.

Speaking to journalists during one of her visits to supervise operations on the highway, the State Commissioner of Police, Hilda Ibifuro- Harrison disclosed that the essence of the deployment is to ensure that the lives and property of people travelling on the road are safe and well secured.

The CP expressed sadness on the incident of armed robbery that took place on the highway in March, in which a former Managing Director of Daily Times, Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo, lost his life.

She however thanked all stakeholders in the state including the government, traditional rulers, hunters, vigilanté groups and all security agencies for their support for the police in ensuring security.

Harrison also noted that the deployment of police on the Owo-Ikare roads in stop and search duties has actually helped in putting pressure on the abductors of a traditional ruler in the state, Oba Joel Sunday Daodu, the Oniyani of Iyani- Akoko, leading to his release by his captors.

FG Restates Commitment To Improving Standard Of Education

Nigeria, Education, Adamu Adamu,, Minister Explains Ten Pillars Of Nigerian Education ReformNigeria’s Minister of Education, Mr Adamu Adamu, says the government will not lower the admission cut-off mark for the 78,000 candidates that sat for the National Common Entrance Examination on April 8, 2017.

Adamu, shortly after monitoring the exams in Abuja, reaffirmed the government’s commitment to providing quality education at all levels.

On his part, the Registrar of the National Examination Council of Nigeria, Professor Charles Uwakwe, who accompanied the Minister, expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the examination.

Meanwhile, the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), has announced an extension of the registration for the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

The development follows a call by the House of Representatives for a one-month extension to the deadline given to candidates.

The call was made in view of the difficulties being faced by some prospective candidates of the UTME in the process of registration, who had complained of inadequate bank staff to issue registration pins.

Russia To Suspend Communications Hotline With Pentagon From April 8

http://tass.com/defense/

Russian news agency, TASS, says the Russian Defense Ministry has suspended the operations of a communications hotline with the pentagon, a day after the President, Donald Trump, ordered airstrikes on the airbase of the Syrian air force in Shayrat.

Russia and the U.S. established the link in 2015 as part of measures to prevent incidents and ensure flight safety in Syrian airspace.

This decision was taken after the U.S. military attaché in Moscow was summoned to the Defense Ministry to get Russia’s official note on the matter.

Russia’s Defense Ministry’s official spokesman, Major Gen Igor Konashenkov, made this known to reporters, refuting U.S. media reports claiming Russia had decided to keep the hotline open.

The U.S. is accusing Russia of complicity in the chemical attack by Syrian government forces in Idlib province.

Analysts Forecast March Inflation At 16.4%

EFCC Discovers 49m Naira At Kaduna AirportNigeria’s headline inflation for the month of March is expected to fall for the second time in 2017, to 16.4 per cent.

This is according to Lagos-based financial and economic research firm, Financial Derivatives Company.

Earlier in the week, the purchasing manager’s index of the Central Bank, and FBN quest, revealed a modest increase in domestic manufacturing in March, indicating that Nigeria is gradually climbing out of recession.

The National Bureau of Statistics is expected to release the official March inflation data next week.

Nigerians Call For Cease Fire Between Executive And Legislature

nigerians-call-cease-fire-executive-arm-legislatureAs the face-off between the executive and legislature arms of Government continues, Nigerians are asking that the arms of government settle their differences for the good of the growth and development of the country.

Speaking to Channels Television, some aggrieved Nigerians have called on the presidency to “put their house in order and go back to their drawing boards, pick up their manifestos and look at what they promised Nigerians and begin to do serious delivery to the people.”

Several weeks after the Senate’s second rejection of President Buhari’s nomination of Ibrahim Magu as the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), there has been no response on the part of the executive.

Mr Magu, has however remained in acting capacity; a situation which had received much criticism from some citizens.

The Senate’s suspension of Senator Ali Ndume for six months for allegedly bringing the institution to an unbearable disrepute, the summoning of the Professor Itse Sagay for allegedly saying that the Senate was filled with people of questionable character, as well as Customs Boss, are among the issues which have drawn the attention of well meaning Nigerians.

Among those who spoke on the matter was a former Senator, Dr. Olorunnibe Mamora, who however, sees the situation as normal for the level of democracy which Nigeria is practicing.

Motorists Call For Police Presence On Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Bridge

Motorists Call For Police Presence On Lagos-Ibadan Expressway Bridge Following reported cases of armed robbery on the long bridge bordering Ogun and Lagos state on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway, motorists are calling for increased police presence on it, especially at night.

The robbers purportedly take advantage of the poor state of the road, which is riddled with potholes, slowing down vehicular movement and causing gridlock, to attack motorists and dispose them of their belongings.

A staff of Channels Television had earlier in the week, fallen victim after being held up in the traffic.

He was approached by the robbers who were wielding dangerous weapons. They forced him out of his car and he was thrown off the bridge into the swampy surrounding where other members of the gang were stationed.

He was beaten and disposed of cash and other valuables. While he managed to escape, some other victims have not been so lucky to escape alive.

The motorists who could not speak on camera, asked security operatives to provide surveillance on the bridge, and undertake a clean sweep of the area to avoid further attacks and loss of life

JAMB Extends Registration Deadline For 2017 UTME

The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), has announced an extension of the registration for the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME).

The JAMB registrar, Professor Ishaq Oloyede, made this known while addressing a news conference in Abuja. He also spoke on the mock examination earlier scheduled to hold on Saturday and the need for the extension.

“The Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), wishes to apologise to candidates and other stakeholders on the fact that we could not go on as planned with the mock examination.

“We are hereby announcing the extension of the registration exercise of the 2017 UTME. Instead of the earlier announced April 19, the deadline for the sale of forms and registrations will now extend to Friday May 5 2017.

“Consequently, the 2017 UTME, the examination proper, has also been postponed to start from Saturday 13th to 20th of May 2017. Meanwhile, the mock examinations earlier slated for April 8, 2017 has been put on hold and the new date will be announced soon.”

The development follows a call by the House of Representatives for a one-month extension to the deadline given to candidates.

The call was made in view of the difficulties being faced by some prospective candidates of the UTME in the process of registration, who had complained of inadequate bank staff to issue registration pins.

Professor Oloyede, had on the other hand, attributed the current challenges being faced by applicants across registration centres to the uncooperative posture of some centres.

The board had innovated a contemporary sale of application method, which led to the elimination of scratch cards.

It also adopted a cost saving procedure, the ‘PIN Vending System’, which is said to be a secured system that has redressed the sharp practices associated with the use of scratch cards.

With the development, prospective candidates seeking to write the UTME can now heave a sigh of relief.

Mo Ibrahim Foundation Advocates Good Governance

Holding leaders accountable, in order to fulfill promises of good governance, rule of law, and provision of basic necessities for development, has been the focus of discussions at the Mo Ibrahim Governance Weekend.

Speakers at the 2017 edition of the event holding in Morocco, include: former presidents, academics, rights activists, and business people.

King Mohammed (VI) of Morocco was represented by his Adviser, Andrey Azoulay, who set the tone for the conversation.

Dr Mohammed “Mo” Ibrahim – Founder

Also speaking at the event, Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, Dr Mohammed Ibrahim, noted that Africans have failed to acknowledge the good leaders, adding that part of the aim of the event was to bring them out of the shadows.

“The problem with Africa is that you don’t know your heroes, you only know your bad leaders – As a role model we need to know our heroes, we need to write our own history.”

Amina Mohammed

The UN Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed, who also shared her story, noted that although she had an educational set back, she had to challenge herself to do more and use her story to make a difference.

“If I don’t use my story to make a difference, then I think I have no business being in a place where it is demanded of me that I show leadership because we know we have to make a difference today and not tomorrow.”

Former President of German, also speaking, noted that leaders do not have to be perfect, neither do they have to accept the idea that they should be selfish or mean.

“Imperfection is human, it is recognising ones own imperfections that makes a good leader.”

Rounding off the conversation were musical performances from some of Africa’s best.