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$15b Arms Cash: Judges in Trouble Over Stipends

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  • $15b Arms Cash: Judges in Trouble Over Stipends

More judges are under probe by security and anti-graft agencies for allegedly receiving monthly stipends from the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA).

The stipends were allegedly paid from the $15billion meant for arms procurement, which was mismanaged by the administration of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

It was also learnt that the National Judicial Council (NJC) has received more than 20 petitions against some judges.

A  Preliminary Complaint Assessment Committee is said to be sieving the petitions to establish whether or not there are prima facie evidence against their Lordships.

But the committee has found no merit in the four petitions against Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court because “he acted within the law”.

According to sources, security and anti-graft agencies are looking into the activities and conduct of more judges bordering on abuse of oath.

The NJC has sanctioned more than nine judges this year for some infractions.

They are: Justice O. Gbajabiamila (Lagos State High Court); Justice Idris M. J. Evuti (Niger State High Court); Justice Tanko Yusuf Usman (Niger State High Court); Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia; Justice Mohammed Yunusa of the Enugu Division of the Federal High Court; Justice Olamide Oloyede (Osun State High Court); Justice Ladan Tsamiya of the Ilorin division of the Court of Appeal; JusticeI. A. Umezulike, Chief Judge of Enugu State; and Justice Kabiru Auta of Kano State High Court.

But many more judges may be shown the way out of the bench for corrupt practices.

It was learnt that security and anti-corruption agencies have stumbled on documents showing that some judges were on monthly stipends from the ONSA.

The said stipends were disbursed from an account which was tagged “Security Vote”.

Some judges benefited from the account in form of “assistance”;  others were bought Sports Utility Vehicles (SUVs) for official purpose, it was learnt.

A source, who spoke in confidence, said: “In one instance, there were allegations that some outstanding allowances and SUVs were purchased from the account for judges based on a request by some heads of some courts.

“Many contingency requests were accommodated from the three arms of government by ONSA under the guise of Security Vote. This is one of the reasons why the prosecution is opposed to the open trial of ex-National Security Adviser, Mr. Sambo Dasuki.”

Another source said since May, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had been watching four high court judges in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) who allegedly frustrate the probe of high-profile corruption cases.

The judges were said to have developed a penchant for going soft with suspects who approach their courts to stop their trial by the EFCC for corruption.

“The affected judges have been indulging in ‘arrangee’ injunctions,”  the source added.

Meanwhile, the NJC has more than 20 petitions against judges in the lower and appellate courts.

A member  of the NJC said: “There are many outstanding petitions before the NJC against more judges. These allegations border on delay in delivering judgment, abuse of judicial oath, request for bribe and others.

“But the Preliminary Complaint Assessment Committee is going through the claims, affidavits in support and evidence against the judges.

“It is when a prima facie case is established against them that a report will be tabled before the NJC for investigation and disciplinary action.

“The process is cumbersome and painstaking. Those behind these petitions owe the NJC a duty to prove their allegations beyond reasonable doubt. Otherwise, petitions without evidence won’t be considered by the council.”

The source added: “For instance, four petitions were filed against Justice Okon Abang of the Federal High Court but all the allegations were frivolous.

“The committee discovered that the judge discharged his duties within the law; he committed no infractions and the petitions were dismissed at the preliminary stage.”

According to the rules, the Chairman of NJC may “ assess a complaint or may, at his discretion, refer it to  a  Preliminary  Complaint  Assessment  Committee  where  such  has been  established.

“The  Preliminary  Complaint  Assessment  Committee  shall  review  the complaint referred  to  it  and advise the  Council whether the  complaint should  be: • dismissed; • terminated  and  not  proceeded  with because  an  intervening event  has  taken  the  complaint; • terminated  because  remedial  action  has  been  taken  that  makes  action  on  the  complaint  no  longer  necessary; • referred  to  the  subject  Judicial  Officer  for  his  response; • referred  to  an  investigation  committee  should  his  response not  be  sufficient  to  dispose  of  the  matter  without  an investigation.”

Paragraph 21 of Part One of the Third Schedule to the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria( as amended) says: “The National Judicial Council shall have the power to:

  1. Recommend to the President from among the list of persons submitted to it by the Federal Judicial Service Commission, persons for appointment to the Offices of the Chief Justice of Nigeria, the Justices of the Supreme Court, the President and Justices of the Court of Appeal, the Chief Judge and Judges of the Federal High Court, and the Judicial Service Committee of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, persons for appointment to the Offices of the Chief Judge and Judges of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, the Grand Kadi and Kadis of the Sharia Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja and the President and Judges of the Customary Court of Appeal of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja;
  2. recommend to the President the removal from office of the Judicial Officers specified in sub-paragraph (a) of this paragraph, and to exercise disciplinary control over such Officers;
  3. recommend to the Governors from among the list of persons submitted to it by the State Judicial Service Commissions persons for appointments to the Offices of the Chief Judges of the States and Judges of the High Courts of the States, the Grand Kadis and Kadis of the Sharia Courts of Appeal of the States; and President and Judges of the Customary Courts of Appeal of the States;
  4. recommend to the Governors the removal from office of the Judicial Officers specified in sub-paragraph (c) of this paragraph, and to exercise disciplinary control over such officers;
  5. collect, control and disburse all moneys, capital and recurrent, for the judiciary;
  6. advise the President and Governors in any matter pertaining to the judiciary as may be referred to the Council by the President or the Governors;
  7. appoint, dismiss and exercise disciplinary control over members and staff of the Council;
  8. control and disburse all monies, capital and recurrent, for the services of the Council; and
  9. deal with all other matters relating to broad issues of policy and administration.

BACKGROUND ON THOSE SANCTIONED

  1. Justice Gbajabiamila allegedly delivered judgment in a matter before him 22 months after written addresses were adopted by all the parties and 35 months after the close of evidence in the suit.
  2. Justices Evuti and Tanko Yusuf Usman, guilty of allegations that they falsified their dates of birth.
  3. Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court barred from elevation to the appellate court for allegedly adjourning pre-Election matter severally until the termination of the life span of the Ogun State House of Assembly.
  4. Justice Mohammed Yunusa was recommended for compulsory retirement for making orders restraining the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission and other law enforcement agencies from investigating some persons, including a former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah.
  5. Hon. Justice Mohammed Ladan Tsamiya thrice, in his residence in Sokoto, Gwarinpa, Abuja and Owerri where on each occasion, he demanded from him the sum of N200, 000.000 (Two Hundred Million Naira) to influence the Court of Appeal Panel in Owerri or risk losing the case.
  6. Justice Oloyede was sanctioned because of the petition she wrote to the Osun State House of Assembly against Governor Rauf Aregbesola, and failure to conduct herself in such a manner as to preserve the dignity of her office and impartiality and independence of the judiciary.”
  7. The Chief Judge of Enugu State failed to deliver Judgment in Suit No E/13/2008: Ajogwu V Nigerian Bottling Company Limited in which final addresses were adopted on 23rd October, 2014. The judgment was however delivered on 9th March, 2015, about 126 days after addresses were adopted, contrary to constitutional provisions that judgment should be delivered within a period of 90 days.
  8. Justice Kabiru Auta allegedly received N125million from a litigant through an account approved by him.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Government

1.7 million People Registered to vote in Edo, Says INEC

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INEC Says 1.7 million Voters Registered to vote in Edo

No fewer than 1.72 million persons are eligible to vote in the September 19, Edo governorship polls while 483,796 eligible voters will not participate.

This is according to a document obtained from the Independent National Electoral Commission titled, ‘Delimitation of Edo State’.

The document shows that the identified ineligible voters in Edo failed to collect their Permanent Voter Cards.

The document further showed that as of August 2018 there are 2,210,534 registered voters in the state,

However, only 1,726,738 collected their PVCs.

It also indicated that the election will hold in 18 Local Government Areas, 192 Wards, and 2,627 polling units.

A further breakdown of the registered voters shows that male accounts for 1,159,325 (representing 52 per cent), while 1,051,209 (48 percent) are female.

Similarly, from the total registered voters, the youth (18 – 35 years) account for 50 per cent (1,105,338); Middle Aged (36 – 50 years), 29.1 per cent (643,551); and Elderly (51 – 70 years) has 15.99 per cent (353,508).

Eligible voters classified as the Old (70 years and above) account for 4.89 per cent (108,137).

According to the number of collected PVCs, Oredo zone has 240,197; Ikpoba-Okha, 214,882; Egor, 158,817; Etsako West, 128,188 and Akoko Edo, 115,343.

Further distribution of registered voters in the three senatorial districts of the state shows that Edo South has the highest figure of 1,281,414; the North with 564,122; and Central senatorial district has 364,998.

Edo South has seven council areas, the North has six, while Central has five Local Government Areas.

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Government

Kenya Partners Private Sector and Development Partners to Outline Roadmap towards Achieving Energy Efficiency Goals

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Barclays Plaza, Kenya

The Kenyan Government through the Ministry of Energy (MOE) today launched the Kenya National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Strategy (KNEECS or The Strategy) placing Kenya firmly on track toward sustainable consumption and production including renewable energy generation.

The Strategy was developed in collaboration with key stakeholders including the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) with support from the World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

To date, Kenya has made significant progress in energy efficiency and conservation. In 2006, MOE and KAM signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a Centre for Energy Efficiency and Conservation (CEEC). Its activities include undertaking energy audits of industries, SMEs and public institutions on behalf of MoE, provision of capacity-building in energy efficiency and conservation, public education and awareness activities and administration of the annual Energy Management Awards (EMA). CEEC has achieved over KES 13 billion (USD 152.8 Million) in energy cost saving equivalent to 2014.8 GWh, translating into a deferment of a 230 MW power plant.

The Strategy now seeks to guide the country further towards achieving its established Energy Efficiency (EE) goals within a defined timeframe. These goals are reducing the national energy intensity by 2.8% per year, and enabling the country achieve a 30 per cent greenhouse gas emission reduction by 2030 relative to Business as Usual (143 MtCO2e) and meet its national targets for Sustainable Development Goal 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) by 2030.

Through the adoption of The Strategy, the country is expected to use less energy to produce goods and services without compromising on quality and quantity. Further, The Strategy will promote the use of technology that requires minimum energy to perform the same function and adoption of changes in behavior that encourage citizens to use a reduced amount of energy in their daily undertakings.

The Strategy sets targets for five key sectors to achieve its objectives, all of which are to be accomplished within a five-year timeline up to 2025: Households, Power Utilities, Transport, Buildings and Industry & Agriculture. Under the Households Sector, energy efficiency in domestic power consumption is expected to increase by 3%. This will be realized by increasing the number of household appliances such as television sets, subjected to Minimum Energy Performable Standards (MEPS) from the current six to ten and increasing the use of improved efficient biomass cook stoves by 50% of all households currently using biomass cook stoves. In the Utilities Sector, the strategy focuses on reducing transmission and distribution system losses from 23 to 15 % .The Strategy recommends the installation of 1 MW of energy storage facilities, whereby a total KSH. 5 Billion in investments will be required for implementation of energy conservation measures. Further, in the Transport Sector, improvement of fuel economy, increasing the share of electric vehicles to reach five per cent and raising the number of passengers using commuter trains from 116,000 to 150,000 per day are proposes. Similarly, the Building Sector has six targets while the Industry & Agriculture Sector has two.

Alongside these sectoral targets, Kenya aspires to strengthen implementation of energy efficiency and conservation measures. All involved agencies will mobilize resources to improve access to finance for energy efficiency projects and accelerate actualization of the Strategy, particularly the Directorate of Renewable Energy and CEEC. Gender-focused and targeted approaches will be implemented for inclusive participation and benefit. Additionally, awareness creation, citizen engagement, training and capacity-building will be implemented. This Strategy, therefore, calls for private and public sector players to mainstream energy efficiency and conservation in education by establishing a long-term mechanism to achieve a high level of government and public awareness on their importance. This will be accomplished by bolstering relationships and engagements among ministries, inter-ministerial forums, county governments, national governments and climate change units countrywide.

Ultimately, the KNEECS will contribute significantly to the essential areas outlined in the Big Four Agenda of food security, affordable housing, manufacturing and affordable healthcare for all.

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Government

Nigerians Say No to Fuel, Electricity Hike, Stage Protest

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Nigerians Protest Increase in Fuel and Electricity Prices

Following the decision of the Federal Government to increase fuel price and raise electricity tariff after increasing Value Added Tax (VAT) by 50 percent, Nigerians have taken to the street of Lagos, the commercial capital of Nigeria, to protest the persistent increase in prices despite low earnings and global pandemic that have rendered most Nigerians jobless.

This is coming a day after the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reported that the nation’s inflation rate increased by 13.22 percent in the month of August.

The protesters called the government’s recent hikes despite the negative impacts of COVID19 and surged in the unemployment rate to over 27 percent an anti-people policy and therefore demanded a revised policy.

The protesters, who gathered at the Ojuelegba area of Lagos, said while nations are injecting funds into their economies to ease the effect of COVID-19 on their citizens, Buhari led government is compounding Nigerians suffering amid insecurities.

Experts have blamed the decision to raise prices on the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. According to economic experts, the two multilateral financial institutions do not loan nations fund without forcing them to adopt their policy.

They identified some of the policies directed Buhari to implement as the unification of the foreign exchange market, Electricity tariff increase and subsidy removal even though Nigeria’s macro fundamentals are presently weak with foreign revenue falling with weak oil price and plunge in demand for the commodity.

 

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