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EFCC Re-arrest Fani-Kayode in Court

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Fani-Kayode
  • EFCC Re-arrest Fani-Kayode in Court

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Friday re-arrested Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, after he emerged from trial before a Federal High Court in Lagos.

Fani-Kayode, who is former Director of Media and Publicity, campaign committee of ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, is charged alongside a former Minister of Finance, Nenandi Usman and Danjuma Yusuf.

Also charged with them is a company, Joint Trust Dimension Nigeria Ltd.

They were arraigned on a 17-count charge bordering on unlawful retention, unlawful use and unlawful payment of money to the tune of about N4.9 billion.

They each pleaded not guilty to the charge and were granted bail.

On Friday, after the Prosecutor, Mr Rotimi Oyedepo, opened the case and had wrapped up the witness’ evidence for the day, the court adjourned the case to Nov. 14 and Nov. 15 for continuation of trial and rose.

However, shortly after the accused left the courtroom, two officers of the EFCC dressed in white Kaftans, flanked his sides and requested that he followed them to the commission.

Immediately, the court’s gate was barricaded by a Toyota Hiace bus and Fani-Kayode was arrested and taken away by the EFCC.

Meanwhile, when the case was mentioned on Friday, Oyedepo had opened the case for the prosecution and called his first witness, a Media Consultant, Mr Idowu Olusegun.

Leading him in evidence, the witness, a media Consultant for Paste Posters Company Ltd., told the court that N30 million was paid in cash to him.

Olusegun said that the money was paid by the office of the Director of Media and Publicity, PDP Campaign Organisation.

According to him, he had reached an agreement with the organisation whose office is situate at 14B, Samora Micheal Avenue, Asokoro FCT, for the sum of N24 million for media consultancy services.

He said that a further negotiation was reached in which N50 would be paid for each size of A2 posters, while N20 would be paid for each size of A4 flyers.

Olusegun told the court that after the printing job for the posters and flyers was done, he was invited to the office of the organisation and given N30 million in cash.

He told the court that he had demanded to know why payments was made in cash and was informed by one Mr Oke, that cash was the approved means of payment.

He said that Oke had been the person communicating with him throughout the pendency of his engagement to do the media jobs.

The witness also told the court that apart from the N30 million paid to him, there is also an outstanding payment of N24 million which was not paid to his company.

After his testimony, and based on agreements of counsels, the court fixed Nov. 14 and 15 for continuation of trial.

Meanwhile, a mild drama unfolded in the court during trial when the trial judge, Justice Sule Hassan, ordered the seizure of the mobile phone of Fani-Kayode.

The accused had held his phones and suddenly, the phone rang out loud and the judge asked: “Who is doing that?’’

He spontaneously, ordered the court’s registrar to seize the phone.

Similarly, the trial judge also issued a warning to counsel representing the accused when he sighted him sipping bottle water during proceedings.

The judge warned the counsel to seek the permission of the court, whenever his client was pressed to drink water.

According to Hassan, the court is not a market place; there must be order and sanity.

In the charge, the accused were alleged to have committed the offences between January and March 2015.

In counts one to seven, they were alleged to have unlawfully retained over N3.8 billion which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of the proceeds of an unlawful act of stealing and corruption.

In counts eight to 14, the accused were alleged to have unlawfully used over N970 million which they reasonably ought to have known formed part of an unlawful act of corruption.

Meanwhile in counts 15 to17, Fani-Kayode and Olubode Oke, who is said to be at large, were alleged to have made cash payments of about N30 million in excess of the amount allowed by law without going through a financial institution.

Besides, Fani-Kayode was alleged to have made payments to Paste Poster Co (PPC) of No 125, Lewis St., Lagos, in excess of amounts allowed by law.

All offences were said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (3) (4), 16 (2) (b) and 16 (5) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act. 2012.

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

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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.

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China Calls for Better China-U.S. Relations

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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.

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

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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.

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