Connect with us

Government

CBN Testifies Against Dokpesi on N2.1bn ONSA’s Cash

Published

on

Chief Raymond Dokpesi
  • CBN Testifies Against Dokpesi on N2.1bn ONSA’s Cash

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday opened its case against a businessman and former Chairman of Daar Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, at the Federal High Court, Abuja, by calling its first witness.

Dokpesi and his firm, Daar Investment Holdings Limited, are being prosecuted on charges relating to the sum of N2.1bn the EFCC alleged that he received from the Office of National Security Adviser between 2014 and 2015.

The accused are facing six counts of money laundering and other charges relating to procurement fraud for allegedly receiving the N2.1bn to prosecute the Peoples Democratic Party’s 2015 presidential media campaign.

Led by the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), a manager in the payment department of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Mukados Mohammed, testifying as the first prosecution witness, narrated how the N2.1bn was paid to Dokpesi between January 21, 2015 and March 19, 2015.

He also narrated how the then NSA, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), and the then Director of Finance and Administration in the Office of the NSA, Shuaibu Salisu, authorised the payment of about N4.1bn to various companies within the same period.

The witness said his office was saddled with the responsibility of verifying the e-payment schedules/mandates and the signatures on them as forwarded to him by the ONSA.

He said the NSA and the ONSA’s Director of Finance were usually the two signatories to the ONSA’s account with the CBN.

He said the N2.1bn and the rest of the N4.1bn were paid to Dokpesi’s firm and other companies through four mandates signed by Dasuki and Salisu.

The four mandates were admitted by the trial judge, Justice John Tsoho, as Exhibits A1 – A4 without any objection from the defence team, led by Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN).

“After verification, then we effected the payment.

“We debited the account of ONSA and then credited the account of beneficiary as instructed.

“Exhibit A1 is payment mandate dated January 21, 2015, covering the payment of N500m. The purpose was for payment for media campaign.

“The persons who signed it were M. S. Dasuki and S. A. Salisu.

“Exhibit A2 is mandate dated February 2, 2015. The amount covered by the mandate was N500m.

“The purpose for payment was media campaign.

“Exhibit A3 is dated February 9, 2015, and the mandate covered the payment of N620m.

“Exhibit A4 is dated March 19, 2015. It covered N500m.

“The purposes are for media campaign.”

He confirmed that the payments were effected to the beneficiary.

Under cross-examination by Olanipekun, the witness confirmed that the ONSA account with the CBN was being funded by the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation.

When asked by Olanipekun to read other payment instructions apart from the ones meant for Dokpesi, Mohammed gave a breakdown of how a total of N4.1bn was paid to other companies for various purposes.

The trial is to continue on November 18.

 

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

COVID-19 Vaccine: African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) to Purchase 270 Million Doses for Nigeria, Other African Nations

Published

on

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) Approves $2 Billion for the Purchase of 270 million Doses for African Nations

African Export-Import Bank (Afrexim) said it has approved $2 billion for the purchase of 270 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for African nations, including Nigeria.

Prof. Benedict Oramah, the President of the Bank, disclosed this at a virtual Africa Soft Power Series held on Tuesday.

He, however, stated that the lender is looking to raise more funds for the COVID-19 vaccines’ acquisition.

He said: “The African Union knows that unless you put the virus away, your economy can’t come back. If Africa didn’t do anything, it would become a COVID-19 continent when other parts of the world have already moved on.
“Recall that it took seven years during the heat of HIV for them to come to Africa after 12 million people had died.

“With the assistance of the AU, we were able to get 270 million vaccines and financing need of about $2 billion. Afreximbank then went ahead to secure the $2 billion. But that money for the 270 million doses could only add 15 per cent to the 20 per cent that Covax was bringing.

He added that this is not the time to wait for handouts or free vaccines as other countries will naturally sort themselves out before African nations.

Continue Reading

Government

China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

Published

on

China Calls for China-U.S. Relations

Senior Chinese diplomat Wang Yi said on Monday the United States and China could work together on issues like climate change and the coronavirus pandemic if they repaired their damaged bilateral relationship.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang, a Chinese state councillor and foreign minister, said Beijing stood ready to reopen constructive dialogue with Washington after relations between the two countries sank to their lowest in decades under former president Donald Trump.

Wang called on Washington to remove tariffs on Chinese goods and abandon what he said was an irrational suppression of the Chinese tech sector, steps he said would create the “necessary conditions” for cooperation.

Before Wang spoke at a forum sponsored by the foreign ministry, officials played footage of the “ping-pong diplomacy” of 1972 when an exchange of table tennis players cleared the way for then U.S. President Richard Nixon to visit China.

Wang urged Washington to respect China’s core interests, stop “smearing” the ruling Communist Party, stop interfering in Beijing’s internal affairs and stop “conniving” with separatist forces for Taiwan’s independence.

“Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels,” Wang said in prepared remarks translated into English.

“We stand ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.”

Wang pointed to a recent call between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden as a positive step.

Washington and Beijing have clashed on multiple fronts including trade, accusations of human rights crimes against the Uighur Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region and Beijing’s territorial claims in the resources-rich South China Sea.

The Biden administration has, however, signalled it will maintain pressure on Beijing. Biden has voiced concern about Beijing’s “coercive and unfair” trade practices and endorsed of a Trump administration determination that China has committed genocide in Xinjiang.

Continue Reading

Government

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

Published

on

President Trump Signs Executive Order In Oval Office Of The White House

U.S. Supreme Court Allows Release of Trump Tax Returns

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday paved the way for a New York City prosecutor to obtain former President Donald Trump’s tax returns and other financial records as part of a criminal investigation, a blow to his quest to conceal details of his finances.

The justices without comment rebuffed Trump’s request to put on hold an Oct. 7 lower court ruling directing the former Republican president’s longtime accounting firm, Mazars USA, to comply with a subpoena to turn over the materials to a grand jury convened by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, a Democrat.

“The work continues,” Vance said in a statement issued after the court’s action.

Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump’s lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump’s request.

A lawyer for Trump did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority included three Trump appointees, had already ruled once in the dispute, last July rejecting Trump’s broad argument that he was immune from criminal probes as a sitting president.

Unlike all other recent U.S. presidents, Trump refused during his four years in office to make his tax returns public. The data could provide details on his wealth and the activities of his family real-estate company, the Trump Organization.

Trump, who left office on Jan. 20 after being defeated in his Nov. 3 re-election bid by Democrat Joe Biden, continues to face an array of legal issues concerning his personal and business conduct.

Vance issued a subpoena to Mazars in August 2019 seeking Trump’s corporate and personal tax returns from 2011 to 2018. Trump’s lawyers sued to block the subpoena, arguing that as a sitting president, Trump had absolute immunity from state criminal investigations.

The Supreme Court in its July ruling rejected those arguments but said Trump could raise other objections to the subpoena. Trump’s lawyers then argued before lower courts that the subpoena was overly broad and amounted to political harassment, but U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in August and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in October rejected those claims.

Vance’s investigation, which began more than two years ago, had focused on hush money payments that the president’s former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen made before the 2016 election to two women – adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal – who said they had sexual encounters with Trump.

In recent court filings, Vance has suggested that the probe is now broader and could focus on potential bank, tax and insurance fraud, as well as falsification of business records.

In separate litigation, the Democratic-led U.S. House of Representatives was seeking to subpoena similar records. The Supreme Court in July sent that matter back to lower courts for further review.

Continue Reading

Trending