Newly released emails from Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state have revealed that Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire Mr. Gilbert Chagoury used his relationship with the Clinton Foundation set up by her husband former President Bill Clinton to seek for favours from the US State Department.
Chagoury is a close friend of the former US president and a top donor to the Clinton Foundation. He has appeared near the top of the Foundation’s donor list as a $1 million to $5 million contributor, according to foundation documents. He also pledged $1 billion to the Clinton Global Initiative.
The revelation has raised questions about the nature of the State Department’s relationship with the Clinton Foundation, when she was secretary of state.
CNN reported yesterday that Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, released 296 pages of emails from the Democratic presidential nominee, including 44 that Judicial Watch says were not previously handed over to the State Department by Clinton.
The emails, many of which are heavily redacted, raise questions about the Clinton Foundation’s influence on the State Department and its relations during her tenure.
In one instance, top Clinton Foundation official Doug Band lobbied Clinton aides for a job for someone else in the State Department. In the email, Band tells Hillary Clinton’s former aides at the department — Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin — that it is “important to take care of (redacted).” Band is reassured by Abedin that “Personnel has been sending him options.”
The emails were obtained by the group through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch against the State Department in 2015.
The Trump campaign seized at the new batch of emails, citing them as evidence of Clinton being corrupt.
The prolonged investigations into her use of a private email server while at the State Department has fuelled public distrust of her and plagued her presidential bid.
But the Justice Department declined to press charges against Clinton for her handling of classified information related to the server earlier this year, with FBI Director James Comey saying while she was “extremely careless,” it was his judgment that “no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.”
In a 2009 email, Band directs Abedin and Mills to put Chagoury, a Lebanese-Nigerian billionaire and Clinton Foundation donor, in contact with the State Department’s “substance person” on Lebanon.
“We need Gilbert Chagoury to speak to the substance person re Lebanon,” Band wrote. “As you know, he’s a key guy there and to us and is loved in Lebanon. Very imp.”
“It’s jeff feltman,” Abedin responded, referring to Jeffrey Feltman, who was the US ambassador to Lebanon at the time. “I’m sure he knows him. I’ll talk to jeff.”
Feltman told CNN yesterday that he never met with Chagoury.
“I have never met nor spoken with Mr Chagoury. I was not aware of the proposal that he speak to me until this email exchange was released, but in any case we never spoke,” he said.
Judicial Watch President Tom Filton said in a press release that Clinton “hid” the 44 emails on purpose.
“No wonder Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin hid emails from the American people, the courts and Congress,” he said in a press release. “They show the Clinton Foundation, Clinton donors, and operatives worked with Hillary Clinton in potential violation of the law.”
Clinton’s campaign said the emails didn’t relate to her work at the Clinton Foundation.
“Neither of these emails involve the secretary or relate to the Foundation’s work,” said an emailed statement from Clinton campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin. “They are communications between her aides and the President’s personal aide, and indeed the recommendation was for one of the Secretary’s former staffers who was not employed by the Foundation.”
The Clinton campaign said yesterday that Chagoury only wanted to offer insights on the then-upcoming Lebanese election and was not looking for any specific action from the State Department.
“The right-wing organization behind this lawsuit has been attacking the Clintons since the 1990s and no matter how this group tries to mischaracterize these documents, the fact remains that Hillary Clinton never took action as secretary of state because of donations to the Clinton Foundation,” Schwerin said in a statement.
GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump sought to use the emails to paint Clinton as corrupt.
The Clinton Foundation was not part of the recent investigation into her private server; it was separate. The FBI went to Justice Department earlier this year asking for it to open a case into the foundation, but the public integrity unit declined.
The Justice Department had looked into whether it should open a case on the foundation a year prior and found it didn’t have sufficient evidence to do so.
Yesterday, Judicial Watch released written testimony from Mills, in which she provides further detail on how Clinton’s private email server was set up to address potentially security concerns.
Mills told the attorneys she spoke with a Clinton IT staffer in 2013, after learning the email account of a close Clinton confidante, Sidney Blumenthal, had been compromised by a hacker.
“As I recall, these discussions involved whether this event might affect Secretary Clinton’s email,” Mills said in follow-up answers to an earlier deposition given to Judicial Watch.
Mills also said she recalls speaking to the same staffer — Bryan Pagliano — about the company overseeing the server set up.
“As I recall, these discussions involved whether Platte River Networks would have the technical capacity and be the appropriate source from which to gather Secretary Clinton’s email from the clintonemail.com system,” Mills said.
As Abuja-Kaduna Train Service Resumes, FG pledges Security of Lives
The federal government of Nigeria has said the Abuja-Kaduna is set for resumption after being suspended for almost two months.
Spokesperson of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), Yakubu Mahmood said in a statement on Monday that the “decision to resume operations by the government does not mean efforts to secure the safe release of those abducted would be shelved.”
“The government wishes to assure the relatives of the abducted citizens still in captivity that the safe rescue of these passengers is a top priority and not to misconstrue the resumption of train services, like abandonment or nonchalant attitude of the government towards their plight,” the statement reads.
“The federal government will never abdicate its responsibility in rescuing these valuable citizens, however, the government assures of its resolve not to succumb to threats by any faceless group.”
“The resolve to resume train services on the route was reached even as most of the kidnapped passengers are still held captive by abductors,” it added.
Relatives of the abducted passengers had warned the federal government against resuming operations along the route until their loved ones were rescued.
Earlier on Monday, reports have it that one of the kidnap victims of the train attack was freed by bandits on compassionate ground.
Eight passengers died in the attack, while over 60 people still remain with the kidnappers.
Lagos State Bans Okada in Six Local Councils, Nine LCDAs
Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has banned the operations of motorcycles, otherwise known as Okada in six local councils and Nine LCDAs. This comes on the heels of the growing menace and nuisance constituted by the motorcyclists.
The directive was issued at a meeting in the State House in Alausa to the Commissioner of Police, Area Commanders, and Divisional Police Officers on Wednesday.
The six local councils listed by the governor are Ikeja, Surulere, Eti-Osa, Lagos Mainland, Lagos Island, and Apapa.
Effective from June 1, 2022, the Governor directed security operatives to enforce the proscription order across the listed councils. According to the Governor, the ban is indefinite and total.
Recall that about a year ago, Investors King reported Lagos Government’s plan to execute a complete ban on okada, Keke, and introduce their own mini-buses. While the introduction of mini-buses might not be the major factor for this ban, the aim still remained the same – to reduce the lawlessness and crime rate across the state.
Sanwo-Olu said the Government took the decision in line with the State’s Transport Sector Reform Law of 2018 to immediately address the chaos and menace created by the operations of Okada in the listed areas.
“After critical review of our restriction on Okada activities in the first six Local Government Areas where we restricted them on February 1, 2020, we have seen that the menace has not abated. We are now directing a total ban on Okada activities across the highways and bridges within these six Local Government and their Local Council Development Areas, effective from June 1, 2022.
“This is a phased ban we are embarking on this period, and we expect that within the short while when this ban will be enforced, Okada riders in other places where their activities are yet to be banned can find something else to do. We have given the notice now and we expect all commercial motorcycles plying the routes in the listed councils and areas to vacate the highways before enforcement begins. The enforcement will be total,” he said.
As a matter of fact, the Governor recommended residents who patronize Okada riders on highways to use the government’s alternative transportation initiatives to organize their journey. He stated that the government has rolled out Last Mile Buses, medium-capacity and high-capacity buses to commuters in the impacted districts.
After Six Years of Promise, Power Generation in Nigeria Hits Low Again
Despite promises made by President Muhammadu Buhari to provide Nigerians with 10,000 Megawatts of electricity in 2016, power generation still stands at 3,871MW.
Investors King gathered that the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) failed to allocate 1,357MW of electricity from a paltry 3, 871MW generated on Sunday to power distribution companies (DisCos).
In a data report generated by Punch from the division of TCN, Nigerian Electricity System Operator, nine DisCos out of 11 were on Sunday allocated a total of 2, 514MW, leaving 1,357 unallocated.
A breakdown of the allocation for Sunday showed that Abuja DisCo received a total of 289.92MW; Benin DisCo, 226.89; Eko DisCo, 377.31MW; while 251.89MW was allocated to Enugu DisCo. Ibadan DisCos got an allocation of 348.73MW while Ikeja DisCo received the highest load of 478.15MW.
Jos DisCos got the lowest allocation of 138.66MW, Kaduna DisCos received 201.68MW, while Kano DisCos got 201.68MW.
In the last two years, Nigeria’s power generation has been on a record low of not up to 4000MW. The DisCos have most times, dragged TCN for weak transmission lines, low allocation, liquidity gap and others. The TCN, on the other hand, sometimes accuses the DisCos of load rejection.
Although the country’s national grid has a 13,014.14MW capacity, the GenCos generate a meagre 7,652.6MW, while TCN has capacity to wheel 8,100MW.
Experts say Nigeria needs at least 30, 000MW electricity for its over 200 million population to reach sufficiency. The national peak forecast is 19,798MW.
The highest generation ever achieved was 5801.6MW, and that was two years ago.
In a relative situation, the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) has decried the incessant attacks on its facilities in the four states under its jurisdiction.
The company said it was bothered by the recent damage of electrical facilities belonging to the Transmission Company of Nigeria in Cross River State. The Head, Corporate Communications, PHED, John Anonyai, in a statement released in Port Harcourt on Tuesday, stated that the damage caused blackouts in some parts of Calabar, the state capital.
The statement read: “The management of the Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution (PHED) Plc uses this medium to express her displeasure over the incessant vandalism of electric power facilities in its franchise, particularly the recent case responsible for the power outage in Cross Rivers State.
“This shameful act of vandalism that has rocked Calabar and its metropolis occurred about a month ago and has completely deprived deserving customers access to electricity services across the state.
“Historically, this is not the first time that heartless vandals are targeting such facilities without fear of being caught or electrocuted despite the heavy radiation of power transmitted from the towers.
“Painfully, for every act of vandalism which interrupts service delivery abruptly, PHED is always held liable with different sides to the story without facts as we currently experience in Calabar over this incident.”
According to Anonyai, residents of Calabar had been enjoying relative supply before the black-out as opposed to the current falsehood peddled by a sect of unknown faces whose plan was to trigger an unwarranted backlash against the company.
“It is pertinent to give a clue that the vandalized facilities at Oku Iboku belong to the Transmission Company of Nigeria.
“This, notwithstanding, as a responsible company that values the needs and comfort of her esteemed customers particularly in times like this, the company has been collaborating with TCN to restore supply.”
“It is no longer business as usual as the company will explore every single regulatory window to ensure collections and will only resort to disconnection where customers have clearly demonstrated recalcitrance by disregard to repeated demand and reminders to pay their bills,” PHED Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Dr Henry Ajagbawa said in a statement.
“We therefore appeal to our esteemed customers to ensure they pay their bills as at when due while hands are on deck to ensure continuous supply of uninterrupted power to the people of Cross River State and other franchise areas,” he added.
With almost nine years of privatisation, the Federal Government said it had spent over N2tn on resolving decades of rot in the power.
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