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Judge withdraws from justice Nganjiwa’s N81m bribery case

The trial of Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa of the Federal High Court, in the Bayelsa Division was halted abruptly as the trial judge, Justice Adedayo Akintoye of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Igbosere, disclosed that the case file had been transferred to another court.
Justice Nganjiwa is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFFC, for unlawful enrichment to the tune of $260, 000 and N8.65million (about N81, 705,000).
Explaining the reason for the development, Justice Akintoye said she resolved to withdraw from the case following a petition written by Justice Nganjiwa alleging bias and seeking the transfer of the case to another judge.
EFCC Spokesman Wilson Uwujaren said “In view of the letter written by the defence to the administrative judge, the case file is no longer with me. It has been transferred to another court,” she said.
He also reported that the defendant and his counsel were absent in court.

Justice Nganjiwa had been granted bail on self-recognition after he pleaded not guilty to the 14-count charge preferred against him.

Thereafter, counsel to the accused, Chief Robert Clarke, SAN, had filed a motion on notice dated October 4, 2017 seeking a stay of proceedings.

Moving his application on October 6, 2017, Clarke had said: “”My Lord, after an appeal has been entered at the Court of Appeal, a date has been given for hearing. My Lord, in the interest of Justice and the Constitution of Nigeria, I urge you to grant this application.”
However, the prosecution counsel, Wahab Shittu, had opposed the application based on the provision of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA.
“We strongly oppose this application based on the ACJA. It’s incompetent because the law does not allow it. My Lord, this will cause delay. Our courts frown on delay tactics by defence counsel.
“The fact that defendant has taken his plea means that he has surrendered himself to the jurisdiction of the court. This application is incomplete; it’s designed to delay proceedings. I urge my Lord to dismiss the application and order the prosecution to commerce its case. In fact, my Lord, our witnesses are ready.”
In her short ruling, Justice Akintoye had dismissed the application, saying, “The application before the court is motion of notice, asking the court for stay of proceedings.
“The judiciary system has moved away from delay tactics. As a result, this matter will continue today. The application is hereby dismissed. We will proceed with the trial.”
Following the ruling, counsel to the defendant had pleaded with the court for more time to go through the proof of evidence served on him by the prosecution.
Consequently, Justice Akintoye had adjourned the case to November 13, 15 and 22, 2017 for continuation of trial, after dismissing Nganjiwa’s application for stay of proceedings.
This is just as the federal government anti corruption agency, on Wednesday commenced this year’s International Anti-Corruption Day kicked off at its Academy, Karu, Abuja,
Seven out of the eight schools invited, turned up, including, the Roberto Secondary school, Wuse 2; Aduvie International School, Jabi; Funtaj International School, Apo; Starville School, Gwarimpa; Lavogue International School, Karu; Olumawu School, Wuse 2 and Shining Star College, Kubwa, all in Abuja.
Students from the participating schools debated the topics – “Poverty Fuels Corruption More Than Greed”, and “Preventing Corruption from Happening is More Effective than Arrest and Prosecution of Offenders”.

During arguments for and against the topics at the knock out session, the students described corruption as a menace that negatively affects the socio-economic well being of the people. They called for more proactive measures to be taken in tackling it.

Ibrahim Magu, Acting Chairman of the EFCC, while speaking through Zainab Bello Tifi, Desk Officer, EFCC Integrity Club, reiterated the Commission’s resolve to vigorously enforce its mandate alongside preventive initiatives with a view to effectively tackle corruption in Nigeria.

He identified the role of the youths as strategic to winning the war against graft, while stressing the need to give children a platform to share their thoughts about corruption and what could be done to tame it.

“It is important to nip the tree of corruption at the bud by catching them young”, he said.

The event is a build up to the grand event coming up at the Musa Yar’Adua Center, Abuja on December 11, 2017.
According to Tifi, there are about twenty two other agencies actively involved in the planning and execution of the activities to commemorate the International Anti-Corruption Day.

Also speaking, Jane Onwumere, of the Technical Unit on Governance and Anti-Corruption Reforms, TUGAR, which is the secretariat for the Inter-Agency Task Team of Anti-Corruption Agencies, said that the debate competition is an annual event organized by the Inter-Agency Task Team to commemorate the Anti- Corruption day.

While noting that this year’s December 9 fell on a Saturday, Onwumere invited the schools to be present at the debate finale which would hold on December 11, 2017 at the Yar’dua Center, Abuja.

Tony Ailemen, Abuja

The post Judge withdraws from justice Nganjiwa’s N81m bribery case appeared first on BusinessDay : News you can trust.

FG takes proactive measure to check mining sector bleeding 

Despite the positive statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi, said the country lost 9 billion U. S dollars between 2014 and 2015.
Fayemi while briefing State House Correspondents after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC), revealed however stated that there has been significant improvements in industrial contribution after agriculture
The recent reports from the National Bureau for Statistics, (NBS ) shows that  8.97 percent increase with the bulk of the contribution coming from the industry in contributed by “mining and quarry activities”
In the latest reports from the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency initiative, (NEITI ), made it clear that in 2014 and 2015, the country lost to illegal mining operation was somewhere in the region of about  $9 billion particularly from gold illegal exportation.
Other areas that had been very attractive to illegal Miners according to the NEITI report, include lead,  zinc, tin and coal.
This memo that went to Council requested from Council the approval of the procurement of 50 Hilux Vehicles for the Special Mines Surveillance Task Force to capacitate them in their work to monitor and curb illegal mining activities in all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory and then to support the collaboration between the State and federal governments via the Mineral Resources and Environmental Committees that the Mining Act has allowed to set up in all the states.
Federal government had under the 2018 budget and subsequent one ahead said it is targeting greater contributions from the non oil sector, as oil sector income shrinks on the global market.
Fayemi announced that “government  approval to the Ministry for procurement of 50 Toyota Hilux Vans for the sum of N987 million at a set piece of about N19.3 million per a vehicle”
The one vehicle per State is described “as overarching framework because Council also underscores the fact that this one vehicle per state cannot solve all the problems but in order to begin to tackle the issues, we need to start from somewhere and ultimately the goal is to ensure that we deploy technology to monitor the illegal activities across the length and breadth of the country and through that capacitate the security services”
BusinessDay sees the Special Mines Surveillance Task Force, which brings together DSS,  the Police, the Civil Defence, EFCC and the National Security Adviser’s Office, which was approved by FEC, as having a Herculean, following current unresolved bickering involving the DSS and EFCC.
Fayemi noted that Police have also established Mines Police and we now have a Commissioner of Police in-charge of Mines Police. We have a Commandant from the Civil Defence also exclusively deployed for mines activities.
“This is just for the monitoring and curbing side of that work. The other side of reducing illegal and informal activities is the formalisation of small scale miners and artisan miners and you may all be aware that recently, we placed N5 billion in the Bank of Industry to support the activities of Artisanal and small scale miners to formalise their operations, form into cooperatives and then get more capacitated by government.”
The Minister of Industries Trade and Investment Okechukwu Enelemah said FEC also granted approvals for ease of doing business and for the 2nd National Action Plan and the Integrated Operationalization for Executive Order 1 Plan.
The Minister of Water Resources Alhaji Suleman Adamu said council approved 606 million naira to the contractor of the 75km Gurara-Abuja Water pipelines for operating and maintaining it for 8-9 years.

 

Tony Ailemen, Abuja

The post FG takes proactive measure to check mining sector bleeding  appeared first on BusinessDay : News you can trust.

PSG owner Al-Khelaifi alleged buying sports company linked to bribes

Nasser al-Khelaifi, president of the big-spending Paris St.-Germain soccer team, had been negotiating to buy a majority stake in the Argentina-based Full Play Group before the company and its founders were among those charged in the United States Department of Justice’s soccer corruption investigation.

In testimony at the trial of three former Latin American soccer officials, Santiago Peña, a former Full Play executive-turned state’s witness, said al-Khelaifi was involved in secret negotiations to acquire 51 percent of the sports marketing company. The talks were code-named “the New York project” because the purchase under consideration was valued at $212 million, a figure synonymous with the New York area code.

Al-Khelaifi is one of soccer’s most influential figures and a confidant of Qatar’s emir. He is chief executive of BeIN Sports, a state-backed sports network that has spent billions on sports rights since its start in 2012. A spokesman for BeIN confirmed the talks.

“Qatar regularly look at investment with their funds,” the spokesman said. “This investment was proposed and considered. After a review it was decided not to pursue it. This happens very often.”

Qatar Sports Investments, a sovereign wealth fund chaired by al-Khelaifi, had looked at assets including the Formula One motor racing series and David Beckham’s possible venture with Major League Soccer before deciding against those deals.

Peña, who kept a ledger of what bribes were paid to which soccer executives, described in court how he gave officials code names linked to car brands. During his testimony he revealed that two of the payments were labeled “Q2022”, a possible link to Qatar’s successful bid for the 2022 World Cup. Further details of those payments were not outlined.

Qatar’s bid team has for years denied accusations of wrongdoing. Another government witness, Alejandro Burzaco, the former chief executive of Torneos y Competencias, one of Full Play’s partners in the bribery scheme, testified earlier in the trial about possible bribes related to Qatar’s bid. He said last week that Julio Grondona, the head of Argentina’s soccer federation, and then the senior vice president of FIFA, had complained that the Qataris owed him millions for his vote.

Grondona confronted a Qatari delegation at a FIFA meeting in 2011. He started “insulting them and complaining,” according to Burzaco, who has pleaded guilty in the case in which more than 40 individuals and companies have been charged. “And basically, Grondona told them, you either pay me $80 million or you issue me a letter by print or by top authorities saying that you never pay me a bribe.”

Full Play’s controlling principals, father and son Hugo and Mariano Jinkis, have evaded United States law enforcement by remaining in their native Argentina. They are accused of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracy related to millions of dollars in payments to soccer officials in return for lucrative broadcast and marketing contracts.

Swiss prosecutors in October named al-Khelaifi a criminal suspect, accusing him of bribing the former FIFA secretary general Jérôme Valcke to secure World Cup 2026 and 2030 rights for BeIN Sports. Al-Khelaifi has denied the accusations and voluntarily met with the Swiss authorities.

Al-Khelaifi’s negotiations with Full Play were cloaked in secrecy, according to Peña. He told the court that only he, Hugo and Mariano Jinkis and the Full Play accountant Sergio Rabinovich were aware of the talks. Peña testified that he deleted any emails that pertained to the sale to the Qatari businessman.

“I did it in order to protect the company,” Peña said.

Juan Angel Napout, the former president of Paraguay’s soccer federation; Jose Maria Marin, the former president of Brazil’s soccer federation; and Manuel Burga, the former head of Peru’s soccer federation, are on trial in federal court in Brooklyn for racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy and money laundering conspiracy.

The post PSG owner Al-Khelaifi alleged buying sports company linked to bribes appeared first on BusinessDay : News you can trust.

AFCAC Scribe advocates clear aviation action plan in Africa

Iyabo Sosina, the Secretary General, African Civil Aviation Commission (AFCAC) has called for clear action plans by governments of African states to encourage investment into the sector.

Sosina made the call at the ongoing third International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) World Aviation Forum (IWAF/3) on Wednesday in Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the forum is “Financing the Development of Aviation Infrastructure.”

Sosina said there was infrastructure deficit in the African aviation sector and could only be addressed through private investment.

She then urged governments of African states to develop effective plan of action toward developing the aviation sector, saying that only good projects would attract investors.

According to her, there is need for Africa’s civil aviation infrastructure to be as efficient, effective and sustainable as their counterparts elsewhere, in terms of reliability and versatility of operations.

She also urged African states to utilise the African Civil Aviation Policy (AFCAP) to support safe, functional, cost-effective and user-friendly airports in terms of airport planning, infrastructure development and maintenance.

She said “AFCAP is a common policy which provides framework and platform for the formulation, collaboration and integration of national and multinational initiatives and programmes.

“It covers various aspects of civil aviation including safety, security, environmental protection and sustainable development of air transport in Africa.

“Furthermore, within the air transport value chain, there is room for improvement through innovation and collaboration among stakeholders for improved efficiency and effectiveness in the industry.

Sosina disclosed that the infrastructure deficit in the sector was so glaring in many African airports, saying that about 50 airports in the continent needed rehabilitation.

The post AFCAC Scribe advocates clear aviation action plan in Africa appeared first on BusinessDay : News you can trust.

Why 2018 budget can’t be passed by December 31st- Senate

The Senate has expressed concern that the absence of chief executives of revenue generating agencies before its panel could delay the passage of the 2018 budget by December 31st, 2017.

This, the Senate said, has made the January to December budget timeframe unrealistic.

Addressing journalists on Wednesday, Senate Spokesman, Aliyu Sabi said the upper legislative chamber is worried about how some heads of key agencies deliberately refuse to honour Senate invitation to discuss the budget.

Those accused are Group Managing Director, Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, (NNPC) Baru Maikanti; Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele; Comptroller General of the Customs Service, Hamed Ali.
Others include Director-General, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Yemi Kale and Director, Department of Petroleum Resources, Mordecai Baba Ladan.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Finance, John Enoh, laid the report on the 2018 to 2020 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) to the Senate on Wednesday, in readiness for consideration and approval at Thursday plenary.

The Senate spokesperson, who is also a member of the Appropriations Committee, lamented that the absence of chief executives of key agencies are making the work of the joint committee difficult.

He cited the interactive session with agencies which witnessed the absence of heads of agencies like the CBN, NNPC, DPR, NIS, NBS among others.

His words: “The Senate is disturbed by a new trend where heads or chief executives of critical institutions who should play a critical role in this budget process but who choose to ignore the invitation by the Senate to appear before it for deliberation.

“Specifically, yesterday (Tuesday) when we had a deliberation, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning was around. But based on the discussion we were supposed to have; to look at the revenue projections which are the basis for the MTEF, I want to report here that the GMD of NNPC refused to show up. Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria refused to show up. The Comptroller General of Customs refused to show up. The Director General of the National Bureau of Statistics refuse to show up. And the Director of DPR refused to show up.

“The question to ask here is this: if the national budget is very important and all of us depend on the resources of the country to run our businesses, what other business could be more important than looking at this very critical assignment for this country?”

Recall that Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had revealed that the Senate would approve the MTEF/FSP this week, while debate on general principles of the N8.612 trillion 2018 budget earlier scheduled for this week had been shifted to Tuesday and Wednesday next week.

 

OWEDE AGBAJILEKE, Abuja

The post Why 2018 budget can’t be passed by December 31st- Senate appeared first on BusinessDay : News you can trust.

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