The ongoing probe into the administration of Gabriel Suswam, former governor has continued to stun the public.
Former Relations Manager of GT Bank, Ms Ajuma Oloko, though said her involvement with the officials of the Benue Government in money transfers was purely official, she shocked the panel as she revealed how different sums of money was laundered for the former governor through various means.
The commission had invited Oloko to explain the whereabouts of N128.8 million she received from the Ministry of Finance and the purpose of the money. Oloko admitted receiving only N70 million from the ministry. “I was directed to deposit it into an account owned by one Mohammed Ragoh for the purpose of obtaining foreign exchange.
On proof of the deposit, she said the lodgments were not done in a single transaction and were made in different names and not directly by her. Oloko, who also admitted receiving N33.8 million from officials of Ministry of Finance for undisclosed reasons, however, denied collecting N16 million cash from the ministry through his account officer at the bank.
She said everything she did was under instructions from then Commissioner for Finance, Mr Omandachi Oklobia, also being investigated by the EFCC along with former Gov. Gabriel Suswam, whose administration is under probe. She explained that the N70 million was collected in different tranches while the N33.8 was also at a different times.
Testifying earlier, an Accounts Officer of the Bank, Mr Abel Musa, said he received monies from officials of the ministry at various times with instructions to handover them to Oloko. According to him, the officials always claim that Oloko knows the purpose for such transactions.
Musa explained that most of the monies were changed into dollars and lodged into a visa credit account belonging to Suswam. The commission has summoned the former governor and other key officers in his administration to appear before it and explain their involvement.
Meanwhile, the Government House Accountant, Mrs. Janet Aluga, told the commission that the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mrs. Ruth Ijir, on April 10 called her to go and collect N100 million from a bank for Suswam, which she did.
She said the permanent secretary asked her to deliver the money to the former governor, who stayed in one of the governor’s lodges, adding that after she collected the money, she handed it over to Suswam in the presence of the cashier, Peter Ochoga and Emmanuel Aorga, now retired.
Mrs. Aluga explained that usually, after approval of request frit the government, monies were taken to the Permanent Secretary, Government House Administration, but in this case, there was a directive from the permanent secretary to give the cash to the governor.
The accountant said there were two ways the Government House used to receive money for expenditure, approvals and security votes from the Ministry of Finance or Bureau of Internal Affairs.
The witness admitted that the money she and her team gave Suswam was not acknowledged.
Another witness, Mr. Peter Ochoga, the Government House cashier from 2009 to date, confirmed that he received N50 million from James Agera of the Ministry of Finance and another N150 million from Zenith Bank, Makurdi and gave the money to the accountant, Government House.
He said they drove to one of the governor’s lodges and the accountant, Mrs. Aluga, entered the money and handed it over to ex-Governor Suswam.
FG Slams Dokpesi with Money Laundering Charges
The Federal Government Tuesday filed charges against businessman and media proprietor, Raymond Dokpesi before the Federal high Court, Abuja in relation to his alleged receipt of about N2.1billion in the from the last administration from funds meant for the purchase of arms.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has filed six counts, marked: FHC/ABJ/CR/380/2015.
Dokpesi is charged along with his company – Daar Holding and Investment Limited.
They are accused of violating the Money Laundering Act, the EFCC Act and the Public Procurement Act. The charge is yet to be assigned to any judge for hearing.
Dokpesi is the second person to be charged among some highly placed Nigerians accused of involvement in the mismanagement funds meant for the purchase of military wares under the Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Already, a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Sambo Mohammed Dasuki is being tried before the Federal High Court, Abuja for illegal possession of firearms and money laundering.
Dokpsi, who is currently on bail from the EFCC, was last Friday ordered to be produced by Justice Gabriel Kolawole (also of the Federal High Court, Abuja)
Minister Unveils Agenda for Roads, Power and Housing
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has officially unveiled his short term plans to address housing deficits, provide good roads and urgently increase power generation in the country with extra 2, 000 megawatts.
Fashola said, during his maiden press briefing in Abuja that the Lagos-Ibadan expressway which has been under construction and the second Niger Bridge are of great importance to the current administration, thus would get urgent attention.
He said year 2002 was the last time the sum of N200 billion was budgeted for road constructions in the country.
The Minister further disclosed that work would soon commence on all roads that link the 36 States of the federation, adding that major roads which had been suspended due to paucity of funds and are vital to boost social economic activities in the country would be quickly revisited.
It was Fashola’s maiden briefing since his resumption to office.
He spoke on plans to partner with the private sector and fully privatise the power sector in order for the country to witness genuine development like the telecommunication.
High Court judge On Trail for Alleged misconduct
The Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Mahmud Mohammed, has sent a memorandum to Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Federal High Court, Lagos, for alleged misconduct.
The memo, dated November 19, was addressed to Justice Yunusa through the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Ibrahim Auta.
The CJN demanded an explanation from Justice Yunusa on a petition sent to the National Judicial Council (NJC) by a businesswoman, Mrs Rachidatou Abdou, who is a party in a suit before the judge.
Justice Yunusa was given 14 days to respond to the CJN’s memorandum.
In her petition of November 11, Mrs. Abdou, a Beninois resident in Nigeria, narrated how Justice Yunusa allegedly connived with the lawyer to her opponent to deny her justice.
The petitioner said she wrote to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) on alleged manipulation of incorporation documents of a company, Rana Prestige Industries Limited, which she co-owned with a fellow Beninois, Mr. Gnahoue Sourton Nazaire.
She said her grouse about the co-director was that he allegedly colluded with the lawyer, who handled the incorporation, to change the share capital holding structure from 50 per cent each between her and Nazaine to 60 per cent and 40 per cent in favour of her partner.
Mrs Abdou said her partner allegedly forged her signature to change the share holding of the company.
The petitioner also said her co-director allegedly connived with his younger brother, Mr. Denon Modeste, who she described as an employee of the company, to divert the company’s funds while she was in France for six years.
She accused Justice Yunusa of conniving with the lawyer to her opponent to frustrate EFCC’s probe of her petition.
Mrs Abdou said her opponent, through their lawyer, filed three suits to stop EFCC’s investigation of her petition.
The petitioner expressed shock that Justice Yunusa had allegedly been communicating with the lawyer to her opponent before the suits were filed and when they were still pending, contrary to judicial officers’ ethics.
She averred that Justice Yunusa spoke severally with the lawyer to her opponent and exchanged Short Messaging Service (SMS) with him.
Mrs Abdou vowed to expose the alleged conversation anytime she is invited.
The petitioner alleged that her co-director had been boasting in Cotonou that he had pocketed the judge in the matter.
She also said Justice Yunusa’s judgment in a suit delivered on August 18, confirmed her worst fear and confirmed her allegation when she was fined N6, 000, 000 as damages.
NITEL House on Fire!
There were indications last night that the popular NITEL building on Marina Street Lagos has been engulfed by fire. Though details were sketchy as time of going to press, the building was sighted from the top floor emitting thick black smoke. The cause of the fire is not yet known.
Father Docked Over Alleged Defilement of Daughter
A 35-year-old father of three, was on Tuesday arraigned in an Ikeja Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos, for allegedly defiling his six-year-old daughter.
The accused, Harrison Agu, who resides at No.23, Rotimi Omotosho St., Isheri Osun, Lagos, is facing a charge of indecent treatment of a minor.
Although the accused entered a not guilty plea, the prosecutor, Insp. Simon Imhonwa, told the court that the accused had regularly defiled his 6-year-old daughter within the last 36 months.
“The accused began the assault in 2013 when the child’s mother was away for the compulsory one year NYSC.
“It was during this period that the child fell ill with a serious infection in her genitals for the first time.
“Thereafter, the mother of the child observed that the child’s genitals regularly produced a foul smell with discharges,” the prosecutor said.
Imhonwa said that the mother took the child to the hospital where it was confirmed that the child had been defiled.
According to the prosecutor, the six-year-old told her mother that her father always asked her to remove her pants and then deep his fingers into her private part.
“The mother said her child told her that Agu always asked her to remove her jeans and pants and then he will put his hand in her ‘bum bum’ (virgina) and if she refuses, he beats her,” Imhonwa said.
The prosecutor said investigation revealed that the child had been physically and emotionally abused since she was aged 3.
He said that the offence contravened Section 135 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.
The Magistrate, Mrs Bola Osunsanmi, admitted the accused to bail in the sum of N500, 000, with two sureties in like sum.
The magistrate ordered that the file be forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for advice.
The offense carries seven-year imprisonment as penalty if found guilty.
Nigeria Troops Intercept, Kill Terrorists
The Ag. Army Nigerian PR Director, Col. Sani Usman disclosed yesterday that Nigeria troops intercepted, and killed many Boko Haram terrorists fleeing Sambisa Forest.
He said fleeing members of the Boko Haram sect were intercepted at Pulka while attempting to escape the ongoing military onslaught in Sambisa forest.
This is contained in a statement by Colonel Usman, when he disclosed that troops arrested one of the insurgents during the encounter, while many others were killed.
According to the Colonel, the troops also recovered a General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG), 47 rifle magazines, 36 hand grenades, several rounds of 7.62mm (NATO) ammunitions and quite a number of Shilka gun empty shells.
Similarly, the troops recovered 2 boxes of 7.62mm ammunitions, a Toyota Hilux, and some Improvised Explosive making Devices cords, during another encounter with the sect at Buni Yadi general area.
Recovered N29bn Police Pension Fund Returned to FG
The Director-General, Pension Transition Administrative Directorate (PTAD), Nellie Mayshak, has revealed that the N29 billion recovered from the Police pension fund has been returned to the coffers of federal government
She made the disclosure when she appeared before the House Committee on Police Affairs yesterday.
She noted, though the police pension was adequately funded by previous administrations, the previous police pension managers misappropriated the excessive fund through inclusion of ghost pensioners.
She however noted that the agency which was saddled with the responsibility of handling old pension scheme of various federal agencies, civil service, parastatals including police during the last nationwide verification exercise for the police,
She said about 2,800 ghost pensioners were discovered out of the 18,000 officers on the pension payroll, and that of the additional 16,000 names of pensioners not captured in the pension scheme submitted to PTAD, only 3,128 appeared during the verification exercise.
While giving a further breakdown, she said civil service pensioners were 105,000 while 13,000 pensioners were from Customs, Immigration and Prisons.
The PTAD Director- General said the issue of fraud in the pension administration is a bygone, adding that a report of authentic federal pensioners would be submitted to National Assembly and other relevant authorities. Fraud, Mayshak said, was the major challenge confronting the pension scheme.
IGP Appoints new Deputy Force PRO
The Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Mr Solomon Arase, has appointed Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) Sogbeba West as the new Deputy Force Public Relations Officer.
This is contained in a statement issued by the Force Public Relations Officer, Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP Olabisi Kolawole, in Abuja on Tuesday.
The statement said that West, who holds a diploma in Security Strategies, hails from Rivers.
It said that West served in Enugu Command as a Personal Assistant to the then Commissioner of Police of the Command.
He had also headed the Special Anti-robbery Squad, Enugu, as well as worked in Taraba Command.
The statement said that West also served in the United Nations Peacekeeping Missions in Kosovo and East Timor.
“His experience in policing has seen him through in Nasarawa, Rivers and Kogi Commands,“ it said.
He replaces CSP Abayomi Shogunle who now heads the Crime Response Unit (CRU)