Sunday , 8 December 2019
Latest
Home » 2019 » December » 01

Daily Archives: December 1, 2019

Dino: Adeyemi remains my political wife — Smart: Melaye is my political houseboy

Dino Melaye and Smart Adeyemi have launched into a war of words after the Kogi west senatorial election rerun.

Adeyemi defeated Melaye on Saturday after a court-ordered rerun, unseating Melaye who had previously been declared winner in the general election.

Melaye, via his twitter handle, remarked: “The reaction of men and women of goodwill all over Nigeria especially the wonderful people of Kogi west who truly voted for me is a testimony that God is with me and with us all. I won the election and Adeyemi remain my political wife,” he said.

Senator Dino Melaye. (SDM)@dino_melaye

The reaction of men and women of goodwill all over Nigeria especially the wonderful people of Kogi west who truly voted for me is a testimony that God is with me and with us all. I won the election and Adeyemi remain my political wife. Thank you Nigerians. Victory is certain- SDM

217 people are talking about this

Adeyemi, in an interview with journalists, described Melaye as his “political houseboy”.

“When a servant steals the garment of his master, the garment will be too big for the servant… the joy of having his master’s garment will cause the servant to misbehave to people he ordinarily could have respected. The over-sized garment made Melaye to misbehave while in the senate,” he added.

Melaye, meanwhile, also said he has survived five assassination attempts.

“I want to specially thank God almighty that he preserved my life after five attempted assassination, combined forces of security agencies, INEC, federal, state and LG powers,” he said.

“I was fought on land, in the air and spiritually. It was not about election but my life. God I thank you. The forces against me are not beyound God. People should not worry about me, i am fine and will always be. I just thank God that the plan to kill me did not succeed. A living Dog is better than a dead Lion. I thank God for life. My name is Daniel i can not fall or fail.”

Melaye, who was of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in 2015, had defeated Adeyemi, then of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Both men swapped parties in 2019, with Adeyemi losing but getting the result annulled by the tribunal which ordered a rerun.

The rerun was conducted on November 16 but declared inconclusive and INEC conducted a supplementary election.

Adeyemi got 88,373 votes to defeat Melaye who polled 62,133.

Melaye, however, has vowed to contest Adeyemi’s victory at the tribunal.

“I will challenge the temporal and evaporative victory of Adeyemi at the Tribunal. Victory attained by violence and fraud is tantamount to defeat, for it is momentary. It is not about Dino Melaye, it is about Nigeria and our electoral system. I stay the course. Not over yet,” he tweeted.

EFCC quizzes Air Peace boss Onyema over alleged $44.9m wire deals

As part of the ongoing probe of alleged $44.9 million wire deals, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has interrogated the Chief Executive Officer of Air Peace, Allen Ifechukwu Onyema.

Also, there were strong indications last night that the EFCC may watch-list a former Special Adviser/Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme Office.

It was learnt that the ex-Special Adviser might be placed on INTERPOL red alert list.

Investigation revealed that Onyema, who was quizzed on Wednesday, has been placed on administrative bail.

It was, however, learnt that his activities are under the anti-graft commission’s surveillance.

A reliable source said the invitation of Onyema was part of the ongoing collaboration with the FBI and other security networks working on the alleged $44.9 million wire deals in which Onyema, his Finance Officer Ejiroghene Eghagha and two banks were implicated.

“Our team of detectives on Wednesday interacted with Onyema in our Lagos office on the wire deals, especially on issues involving money laundering.

“The questioning was part of our ongoing collaboration with the FBI and other agencies in line with the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) between Nigeria and the United States.

“We decided to release Onyema on administrative bail in deference to his constitutional right of innocence until proven guilty.

“But Onyema is on surveillance by the EFCC pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation.”

Asked why the EFCC opted to interrogate Onyema after charges have been preferred against him and Ejiroghene Eghagha in the United States, the source added: “There are vital Nigerian components of the indictment and demands of the US Government.

“For instance, the US is seeking the forfeiture of over $13 million left in some accounts linked with the suspect in the United States and Canada. The funds are $4,017,852.51 in JP Morgan Chase Bank in the US and $4,593,842.05 and $5,634,842.04 in the Bank of Montreal, Canada.

“We cannot rule out some of the money in some accounts in Nigeria. And our investigation may reveal the identities of other accomplices. Also, two Nigerian banks have been mentioned in the wire deals, especially transactions on purchase of aircraft.

“If there are assets to be seized in Nigeria, we have to collaborate with the US Government on the forfeiture process.”

As at press time, it was learnt that the EFCC was on the trail of a former Special Adviser/ Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme Office.

Another source said: “The suspect has gone underground. We may have no choice but to watch-list the ex-Special Adviser. We will eventually place him on INTERPOL red alert.

“Preliminary findings revealed a nexus between Amnesty Office and the activities of Onyema’s firms/groups/ NGOs as applicable.

“These groups include the Foundation for Ethnic Harmony, International Centre for Non-Violence and Peace Development, All-Time Peace Media Communications Limited and Every Child Limited.

“Our detectives discovered that the Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria (FEHN) handled the training and transformation of some former Niger Delta militants for both the Amnesty Programme Office and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).”

Responding to a question, the source said: “We are probing allegation of money laundering which led to the buying of exotic vehicles by Onyema.

“He blew about N170,100,000 ($472,500) on three vehicles with cash transferred into his BOA 8086 account from Nigerian and other foreign bank accounts. We want him to explain the sources of the cash.”

According to the unsealed indictment, Onyema bought the luxury vehicles as follows: armoured Lexus LX570 ($204,000); Rolls Royce ($180,000); and Mercedez Benz($88,500).

The indictment reads in part: “Between April 2010 and January 2016, Onyema transferred millions of dollars into his BOA 8086 account from Nigerian and other foreign bank accounts, including hundreds of thousands of dollars transferred directly from accounts for Foundation for Ethnic Harmony, International Center for Non-Violence and Peace Development, All-Time Peace Media Communications Limited, and Every Child Limited.

“Onyema used the funds in his BOA 8086 account to pay for personal living expenses, among other purchases. For example, Onyema purchased an armored Lexus LX570 ($204,000.00), using, in part, funds from BOA 8086.

“In or about January 2016, Bank of America closed BOA 8086 and issued a cashier’s cheque in the amount of $4,000,396.43 made payable to Onyema and his wife.

“On or about March 1, 2016, Onyema opened a checking account ending in 3417 (“WF 3417”) and a savings account ending in 8020 (“WF 8020”) at a Wells Fargo Bank branch in Atlanta, Georgia. Both WF 3417 and WF 8020 were opened in the name of Allen I. Onyema, and Onyema was the sole authorised signatory on both accounts.

“Between on or about March 2, 2016, and May 10, 2016, Wells 8020 received numerous wire transfers totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars from his bank accounts domiciled in Nigeria, including but not limited to the bank account for All-Time Peace Media Communications Limited and Foundation for Ethnic Harmony.

“From March through May 2016, Onyema made numerous cash withdrawals from WF 8020 totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. WF 3417 was used to pay for personal expenses, including purchases at Atlanta, Georgia locations of Prada, Neiman Marcus, Macy’s, Louis Vuitton, the Apple Store, and various airlines.

“In March 2016, Onyema also used WF 8020 to purchase luxury cars, including a Roll Royce for $180,000 and a Mercedes for $88,500, among others.

“On or about November 14, 2017, Onyema opened a business savings account ending in 2151 (JPMC 2151) at a JP Morgan Chase Bank branch in Atlanta, Georgia. Both JPMC 5512 and JPMC 2151 were opened in the same name of Springfield Aviation Company, LLC, and Onyema was the sole authorized signatory on both accounts.

“In total, from 2010 through 2018, wire deposits amounting to over $44.9 million transferred from foreign accounts into Onyema’s Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and JP Morgan Chase accounts.”

Aisha Buhari indicted the entire political elite — Governors

The Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) says Aisha Buhari, First Lady, did not only indict governors when she lamented that things were getting out of hand in the country.

The First Lady said at a meeting in Abuja on Friday that citizens do not have access to portable water in some states, yet they have governors there.

The forum said the entire political elite are indicted by the statement.

In a statement signed by Abdulrazaque Barkindo, spokesman of the NGF, the forum also said governors are working to lift millions of citizens out of poverty.

“Governors are doing their best to lift Nigerians out of misery and Nigerians are beginning to witness an improvement in their standards of living because of the conscious efforts of state governors throughout the country,” the statement read.

“Public schools in Kaduna state have receive a serious boost, aged women in Ekiti state are receiving stipends from government to keep their bodies and souls together, food security has taken the front burner in Ebonyi, Lagos and Kebbi states, unqualified Permanent Secretaries have been uprooted in Adamawa State and youth empowerment has taken centre stage in Ogun.

“That the nation’s religious leaders have to be told by none other than the first lady, Mrs Aisha Buhari, that things are getting out of hand, is an indictment not just of governors, as the reporters would like the general public to believe, but of the nation’s entire political elite.”

“Unfortunately, the haste to paint state governors with one brush or the race to hit the front pages in this case, destroyed the message that the first lady seeks to convey. Mrs Buhari was sermonising on anyone in a position of power or authority to fear Allah in whatever they do because, according to her, as it is said in the scriptures, everybody would eventually account for his deeds before the Almighty God.

“To insinuate, therefore, that the first lady was referring to governors when she said, ‘People cannot afford potable water in this country while we have governors,’ erroneously suggests that only state governors would meet God on the day of judgment.

“It was in the same breath that she said, “We should either fasten our seat belt (meaning tighten our belts) or do the needful or we will all regret it very soon because, at the rate things are going, things are getting completely out of hand. The VP (Yemi Osinbajo) is here, some ministers are here, they are supposed to do justice to the situation.”

Northern youth group insists EFCC withdrew charges against Diezani, Lawal, others

A Northern civil society group, Northern Youths in Defence of Democracy and Justice, has challenged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over its claims that money laundering charges preferred againat former petroleum minister,  Deizani Alison Madueke and some senior bank executives have not been withdrawn.

In a statement issued on Sunday, signed on its behalf by Abba Yahaya Suleiman, the group maintained that EFCC’s position amounted to a distortion of facts as to what transpired in open court.

It accused the EFCC of attempting to mislead the public about its actions despite being an organisation funded by taxpayer funds and must be held accountable for it’s actions by Nigerians.

The statement said the EFCC on its own accord withdrew the charges, which were filed in 2018 and filed an amended charge which retained only the name of Mr. Lawal contrary to it’s claims.

Below is the full statement:

PRESS STATEMENT: EFCC’S REFUTAL OF ALLEGED WITHDRAWAL OF CASE AGAINST DIEZANI, OTHERS, LAUGHABLE

We have keenly followed the developments in various criminal charges filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against prominent Nigerians in the last four years including the charge of money laundering maintained by the commission against former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison Madueke and four others.

The four others named in this particular charge are former Executive Director of First Bank, Mr. Dauda Lawal, the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo, the former Executive Director of Sterling Bank, Lanre Adesanya and the former Group Executive Director of NNPC, Stanley Lawson.

We are aware that this case has lingered since 2016 when Mr. Lawal was first arrested and detained by the EFCC for allegedly facilitating the transfer of funds on behalf of the ex-minister, now at large, which he collected from Nnamdi Okonkwo, Managing Director of Fidelity Bank and handed over to Lanre Adesanya, former Executive Director, Sterling Bank through a normal banking operation.

We are also aware that the funds were at all times handled in the normal course of banking operations and transferred within the two banks.
Although EFCC has filed a 14-count charge against the former Minister, Diezani Madueke and the four others since 2018, they are yet to be arraigned in court.

We recall that at the last sitting of the court and without any prompting from defence counsel, the EFCC, on its own, withdrew charges against all the principal accused persons and filed amended charges against only Mr. Lawal. The details of the proceedings which held on November 5 leading to the withdrawal of the original charge against Diezani Madueke and four others and the filing of a four-count amended charge against Dauda Lawal is already a public knowledge by virtue of media reports last month.

But we were shocked to read, last week, in the media, a rebuttal from the EFCC hours after fresh reports on the withdrawal of the charge against Diezani and others hit the public space, denying that at no time was the charge withdrawn against Diezani and other defendants in the case but that it merely took a prosecutorial decision to split the charge.

Following the controversy trailing the present status of the case in question, we are constrained to issue this public statement as patriotic Nigerians committed to the Nigerian project, who believe that institutions like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, which are funded by taxpayers and are supposed to be answerable to Nigerian citizens, need to be transparent and honest about their actions.

From our findings, we make bold to say that the rebuttal by the EFCC is a deliberate effort to distort the facts and mislead Nigerians as to the event that happened in open court and which was widely reported by several news media.

For instance, in the rebuttal, the EFCC laboured to explain that it never withdrew charges against all the accused persons but that it took a prosecutorial decision to split the charges. Whereas, the truth is that the EFCC withdrew the charge containing all the original names of the defendants and filed an amended charge retaining only the name of Dauda Lawal.

It is elementary that you cannot file an amended charge in court without withdrawing the old charge. It is also elementary that as soon as the court is seized of the amended charge, the old charge becomes non-existent in the face of the law. If EFCC still claims that the charges against Diezani, Okonkwo, Lawson, Adesanya and Mr. Otti are still in place, we ask them to show us the charge sheet.

Again, in its statement, the EFCC claimed that its decision to withdraw against all the other co-accused and retain only Mr. Lawal on the amended charge sheet, was a prosecutorial decision taken in open court, following a spate of adjournments occasioned by non-appearance of one or two of the defendants each time the matter came up which prevented arraignment of the defendants more than one year after the case was listed.

However, we wish to note that contrary to the Agency’s claim, all the accused persons including the discharged persons were in Court on the last two Court dates of 24th May, 2019 and 5th November, 2019, yet no pleas were taken from them, rather, the agency, suo moto, withdraw the charge and substituted it with an amended charge against Lawal.

From the foregoing, we state that the claim by the EFCC that in more than four occasions that the matter was called for arraignment, it was either Lanre Adesanya was sick, bedridden in a London Hospital or Nnamdi Okonkwo was hypertensive and on admission or Stanley Lawson had had domestic accident and could not appear in court is a story for new-born babies.

From all indications, we make bold to say that the history and all developments in this case from inception to date, have shown that EFCC ab initio never had the intention to charge any of the discharged accused persons to Court, rather its sole intention from the start was to harass Mr. Dauda Lawal, bring his name into disrepute and seize his hard earned assets from over 30 years work in the public and private sector (reaching the rank of Executive Director, in Nigeria’s largest bank) for reasons best known to them.

We are therefore demanding that EFCC should retrace its steps and go back to the spirit of the EFCC (Establishment) Act, where the organization was envisaged to be one that will be run devoid of sentiments and personal considerations in fighting financial crime. It is our humble advice that witch-hunting, selective prosecution, cherry picking accused persons and preferential treatment of suspects, will only further confirm the widely held view that EFCC has derailed from its initial mandate.

As for Mr. Dauda Lawal, he is a model and mentor for Northern youths and Nigerian youths at large and we are confident that he is innocent of the charges brought against him and that in no time he will be vindicated. For the general public, we wish to state that we will continue to monitor developments in this case and put out the correct information at all times. May God continue to bless Nigeria.

Signed

Abba Yahaya Suleiman
For: Northern Youths in Defence of Democracy and Justice