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How Oduah, others shared N3.9b airports contracts cash



…As Magu says EFCC recovered N473bn, $98.2m, £294,851, others in 2017***

There is N9.4 billion meant for the installation of security devices at the 22 airports?

This is the knot the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is battling to untie.

Its detectives have traced about N3.9billion of the N9.4billion to a company belonging to a former Minister of Aviation, Sen. Stella Oduah and five other firms.

The firms are Broadwaters Resources Company Limited; Sobora International Limited; Global offshore and Marine Limited; Tip Top Global Resources Limited and Crystal TV .

About 61 suspects have been grilled by the anti-graft agency in connection with the alleged diversion of the cash.

The EFCC has obtained a court order to impound six dredging vessels, quarry equipment and some equipment bought for Crystal TV under the Interim Forfeiture clause in its Act.

The commission has raised a team to interrogate Mrs Oduah, a senator.

According to a fact-sheet, which was obtained by our correspondent, Tip Top Global Resources Limited, which is linked with the family of a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, was paid N780million for unknown services.

The document states: “The contract is for the sum of N9,443,549,531.25 for the procurement and installation of equipment in 22 airports. No evidence that due diligence was carried out before the contract was awarded.

“This contract was initially awarded to a company called Cybernetics Limited. Ex- President Goodluck Jonathan approved the award to Cybernetics and  the Bureau of Public Procurement issued a certificate of no objection. But due to the reduction of  the cost from over N10b to N9.4b., Cybernetics rejected the award.

“I-SEC, which was supposed to be technical partner to Cybernetics, was later proposed by the ex-Minister of Aviation for the contract.

”Out of the contract sum, N3, 911, 887, 753.56 was fraudulently diverted, misappropriated and laundered through some companies. Investigators have been able to trace the cash.”

A director of I-SEC is said to have refunded about N240million to EFCC out of the slush funds traced to him. The EFCC has located six dredging vessels, quarry equipment and equipment bought for Crystal TV.  An interim forfeiture order has been obtained on these equipment.

The N3, 911, 887, 753.56 was “paid to other beneficiaries who do not have direct or indirectly connection to the execution of the contract.”

“About N839, 780,738.09 was remitted to Broadwaters Resources Company Limited N839, 780,738.09 which had no relationship with I-SEC.   The cash paid into Broadwaters was later diverted into another firm called Sobora International Limited to liquidate an existing loan into First Bank. The shareholders and signatories to the account are people related to Stella Oduah. Her cousin, who is a staff in her private company called SEA Petroleum and Gas Limited was a signatory into the account.

Another N1, 629,250,000 was paid into the account of Global offshore and Marine Limited out of which about N840m went to Crystal TV Limited. The shareholders and signatories to the account of Crystal TV are related to Stella Oduah and the cash was used to liquidate existing loan by Crystal TV.

“From the same N1.6b, about N780million  was transferred to Tip Top Global Resources Ltd belonging to the family of  a former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim where Anyim’s staff were discovered to be signatories to the account.”

Meanwhile, the EFCC has raised a panel to interrogate Sen. Oduah, who is scheduled to appear before the team on February 19th.

“We are set for the ex-Minister’s grilling, it is left to her to keep to the appointment date which she has fixed,” a top source added.

EFCC said: “Oduah was invited on three occasions to report for interview on the 13th June, 2017, 29th June 2017 and 13th November 2017 but she failed to honour any of the invitations.

Rather than appear to face a panel that was raised by the EFCC to interrogate her, Mrs. Oduah, through a letter dated  January 5, 2018, informed the commission that she would  honour the invite on January 29, 2018.

“The letter was duly acknowledged by the commission and just as the investigators were looking forward to her arrival Oduah played a fast one on the EFCC with another letter indicating that she would no longer be available on January 29.

“She cited an invitation by the Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, to accompany him to London where he was scheduled to deliver a lecture at the House of Commons on January 25.

“Oduah stated that her next convenient date to honour your invitation is 19th February, 2018.”

In the meantime, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission recovered stolen funds totalling N473.065bn in 2017, the Acting Chairman of the commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, told the House of Representatives on Monday in Abuja.

Magu said this when he appeared before the House Committee on Financial Crimes to defend the agency’s 2018 budget proposals and review the performance of the 2017 allocations.

The committee is chaired by an All Progressives Congress member from Ogun State, Mr. Kayode Oladele.

Magu added that other funds recovered in foreign currencies were $98.2m; £294,851; Dirham 443,400; and South African Rand 70, 500.

Speaking further, he told the committee that final forfeiture of N32bn and $5m recovered from the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, had been secured for the Federal Government.

He added, “Recovery and final forfeiture of N449m discovered at Legico Plaza in Victoria Island, Lagos. Final forfeiture of $43m discovered in the Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos; recovery of over N329bn from petroleum marketers by the commission’s Kano office; withholding tax recovery of over N27.7bn from banks; recovery of over €6.6m from the Nigerian Port Authority; recoveries of about N1.1bn on behalf of AMCON and recovery of subsidy fraud of over N4bn.”

Lawmakers showed much interest in the Osborne Towers’ recovery, asking Magu whether the commission eventually identified the owner of the money.

He replied that nobody came forward to claim ownership of the money after the agency advertised it along with the building.

Magu stated that the EFCC later went to court to obtain a final forfeiture order of the money and the property for the government.

He disclosed that documents recovered from the building indicated that companies belonging to the son of a former Director General of the National Intelligence Agency  owned property there.

However, Magu said the ex-DG’s son, who was a director in the companies, also later denied ownership of the building.

“Since no owner came up, they were forfeited to the Federal Government by the orders of court,” he added.

The EFCC is proposing to spend N21.2bn in 2018, up from the N17.2bn it budgeted in 2017.

Magu explained that the “27 per cent” increase was to cover a raise in personnel expenditure from N7.1bn in 2017 to N11bn in 2018.

He also complained that prosecution of cases was taking a large chunk of the agency’s budget, with as many as 189 convictions secured in 2017.

Some members, including the Chairman, House Committee on Public Petitions, Mr. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta, grilled Magu over the recruitment process in the EFCC, which they said did not reflect federal character.

They alleged that states in the South-South and the South-East were not adequately represented in the personnel roll of the EFCC.

But, Magu disagreed, insisting that there was fair representation of every geopolitical zone.

On several occasions, Oladele had to intervene to douse tension as more and more members took Magu up on the staff roll of the agency.

Nation with additional report from Punch

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Tinubu To Adopt Price Control Mechanism For Agro Products



… Vows to Defend Nigeria From Terror, Criminality – Tinubu***

President Bola Tinubu says he will take steps to ensure price control for agricultural products.

Tinubu said this in his inaugural address on Monday in Abuja.

According to him, rural income shall be secured by commodity exchange boards guaranteeing minimal prices for certain crops and animal products.

He said that agricultural hubs would be created throughout the nation to increase production and engage in value-added processes.

“The livestock sector will be introduced to best modern practices and steps taken to minimise the perennial conflict over land and water resources in the sector.

“Through these actions, food shall be made more abundant yet less costly. Farmers shall earn more while the average Nigerian pays less,” he said.

On foreign policy, Tinubu said that the crisis in Sudan and the turn from democracy by several nations in “our immediate neighbourhood were of pressing concern”.

He said that his primary foreign policy objective would be the peace and stability of the West African continent.

“We shall work with ECOWAS, the AU, and willing partners in the international community to end extant conflicts and to resolve new ones.

“As we contain threats to peace, we shall also retool our foreign policy to more actively lead the regional and continental quest for collective prosperity, ” he said.

The President called on all Nigerians, irrespective of political affiliations, to support his government in his bid to take Nigeria to greater heights.

“Our administration will govern on your behalf but never rule over you.

“We shall consult and dialogue with, but never dictate. We shall reach out to all but never put down a single person for holding views contrary to our own.

“We are here to further mend and heal this nation not tear and injure it,” he said.

In the meantime, President, Bola Tinubu, has promised to defend Nigeria from terror and all forms of criminality threatening the peace and stability of the country and the sub-region.

Tinubu said this in his inaugural address after he was sworn in as the 16th democratically elected president of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja.

He said that security shall be the top priority of his administration, saying that neither prosperity nor justice could prevail amidst insecurity and violence.

“To effectively tackle this menace, we shall reform both our security Doctrine and its Architecture.

“We shall invest more in our security personnel, and this means more than an increase in number.

“We shall provide, better training, equipment, pay and firepower,” he said.

Tinubu said his mission was to improve the lives of Nigerians in a manner that nurtured humanity, encourage compassion toward one another, and duly rewards collective effort to resolve the social ills that sought to divide the nation.

“Our constitution and laws give us a nation on paper, saying we must work harder at bringing these noble documents to life by strengthening the bonds of economic collaboration, social cohesion, and cultural understanding,” he said.

He called for the development of a shared sense of fairness and equity, adding that the South must not only seek good for itself but must understand that its interests were served when good come to the North.

“The North must see the South likewise.

“Whether from the winding creeks of the Niger Delta, the vastness of the northern savannah, the boardrooms of Lagos, the bustling capital of Abuja, or the busy markets of Onitsha, you are all my people.

“As your president, I shall serve with prejudice toward none but compassion and amity towards all.

“In the coming days and weeks, my team will publicly detail key aspects of our programme,” he said.

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We‘ll Revisit Naira Redesign Policy, Says Tinubu; Takes Over As Nigeria’s 16th President



Tinubu vows to sustain Nigeria’s progressive agenda beyond 2023

… Says Subsidy is gone

 President Bola Tinubu, has promised to revisit the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

Tinubu, who said this in his inaugural speech in Abuja on Monday, however, said that his administration would treat both the old and the new naira notes as legal tender.

He said that the policy was harshly applied by CBN, given the number of unbanked Nigerians.

“Whatever merits it had in concept, the currency swap was too harshly applied by the CBN,” he said.

Tinubu said that the country’s monetary policy needed thorough housecleaning.

He urged the CBN to work toward a unified exchange rate.

Tinubu vows to sustain Nigeria’s progressive agenda beyond 2023
Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu

“This will direct funds away from arbitrage into meaningful investment in the plant, equipment and jobs that power the real economy.

“The interest rate needs to be reduced to increase investment and consumer purchasing in ways that sustain the economy,” he said.

In the meantime, Sen. Bola Tinubu on Monday, has finally been sworn in, as the 16th Nigeria’s President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces amidst pomp and page

This followed his swearing-in at  10:37 a.m at a Presidential Inauguration held at the Eagle Square in Abuja.

Sen. Kashim Shettima was also sworn-in as the Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria at about 10:30 a.m.

The President shortly after taking the Oath of Office proceeded to inspect the Brigade of Guards.
This was closely followed by a ceremonial parade, air display by the Nigerian Airforce, cultural display as well as 21 Gun Salute. 

Meanwhile, President Bola Tinubu has declared that the subsidy regime will end with the commencement of his administration.

He made the declaration during his inauguration as the 16th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja, stressing that subsidy has over the years favoured the rich more than the poor.

The president commended the decision of the outgoing administration in phasing out the petrol subsidy regime.

“Subsidy can no longer justify its ever-increasing costs in the wake of drying resources.

“We shall instead re-channel the funds into better investment in public infrastructure, education, healthcare and jobs that will materially improve the lives of millions,” he said.

On job creation, the president said his administration would create meaningful opportunities for the youth.

He said his administration would honour the campaign commitment of one million new jobs in the digital economy.

Tinubu said: “Our government also shall work with the National Assembly to fashion an Omnibus Jobs and Prosperity Bill.

“This Bill will give our administration the policy space to embark on labour-intensive infrastructural improvements.

“The Bill will also encourage light industry and provide improved social services for the poor, elderly and vulnerable.”

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Tinubu took his oath of office amidst pomp and pageantry at the Eagle Square in Abuja.

He was sworn-in at 10.37 a.m, while, Sen. Kashim Shettima was equally sworn-in as the 16th Vice President at exactly 10:30 a.m.

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Ganduje Leaves N241bn Debts, After Collecting N1.2trn in Eight Years



Ganduje pledges to support NAPTIP to end human trafficking

The outgoing Governor of Kano State, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje, on Monday handed over the state administration to his successor, Malam Abba Yusuf, including only N241 billion in debts.

The event took place at the Government House, Kano.

Ganduje was represented at the occasion by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Usman Alhaji, who said his principal left for Abuja to attend the inauguration of President-elect, Sen. Bola Tinubu.

According to Ganduje, his administration collected N1.2  trillion in the last eight years and spent the amount, leaving behind about N241 billion in debts.

He explained that the debts comprised of loans, contractual obligations, and other liabilities.

Receiving the handover notes, the governor-elect expressed dismay over the debt profile left for the incoming administration.

“We will carefully study the reports and come out with our position on the debt and other matters.

“I am surprised that the outgoing governor is not around to hand over to me as a democratically elected governor, which has been the tradition.

“However, we will carefully study the reports and come out with our positions,” Yusuf stated.

He called on the people of the state to pray for the success of his administration and to ensure it met the expectation of the governed through good democratic governance.

Present at the event were Sen. Kawu Sumaila; Prof. Hafiz Abubakar, a former deputy governor; the state Head of Service, Alhaji Usman Bala; and state Chairman of NNPP, Alhaji Umar Doguwa, among other dignitaries.

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