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Patience Jonathan Probe: EFCC Freezes Socialite, Bola Shagaya’s N500m Account

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  • Patience Jonathan Probe: EFCC Freezes Socialite, Bola Shagaya’s N500m Account

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has frozen a bank account belonging to Mrs. Bola Shagaya, a businesswoman which Forbes Magazine described as one of the wealthiest in Africa.

It was learnt that Shagaya, who is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bolmus Group International – a diversified Nigerian conglomerate with interests in oil, real estate, banking, communications and photography – had become a subject of investigation due to her links to Dame Patience Jonathan, the wife of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Sources within the EFCC said that Shagaya’s account with Unity Bank with a balance of N500m was frozen.

The business tycoon, who is also the Managing Director of Practoil Limited, one of the largest importers and distributors of base oil in Nigeria, was said to have made suspicious payments into bank accounts belonging to Patience, who has been under EFCC investigation for about six months.

A source at the EFCC said, “When we were investigating Patience and looking into her accounts, we discovered that Bola Shagaya had been making huge and regular payments into her (Patience’s) bank account.

“We then discovered that the monies were kickbacks. The Ministry of Trade and Investment gave suspicious commission to Shagaya’s company on every crude oil sent abroad. The commission was put in an account for Bola Shagaya. The money will then go to Patience’s account. So we started investigating her.

“We were able to trace the N500m to her account at Unity Bank. So, we placed a ‘No Debit Order’ on the account.”

The source said when Shagaya realised that her account had been frozen, she rushed down to the bank and tried to use her position as a board member of the bank to lift the restriction.

The detective added, “When she heard about the restriction, she ran down to the bank to stop the order from being carried out. We then called the bank to let them know that doing such would amount to a criminal conspiracy. At that point, she had no choice.”

When contacted on Saturday night, Shagaya said, “Please, don’t call this number. I am sleeping. Write anything you want to write.”

The Head of Corporate Communications, Unity Bank, Matthew Obiazikwor, could not be reached for comments as his phone line was switched off and a text message sent to him had not been responded to as of the time of filing this report.

Patience attempts to withdraw $5m from frozen account

Sources within the EFCC also told our correspondent that it foiled a fresh attempt by Patience Jonathan to withdraw $5m from her frozen account during the week.

The source said the commission was informed by Skye Bank that Patience had placed a standing order for $5m to be withdrawn from the account but it was stopped.

The detective added, “We received an alert from Skye Bank during the week that Patience attempted to withdraw $5m from her personal account titled Patience Ibifaka Jonathan which is domiciled at the bank.

“We immediately told the bank not to allow any withdrawal because a ‘No Debit Order’ had been placed on the account.”

It will be recalled that the EFCC had frozen four other company accounts with a balance of $15m. The accounts were linked to a former Special Adviser to Jonathan on Domestic Affairs, Waripamowei Dudafa.

However, during the arraignment of Dudafa and the directors of the companies, Patience filed an application claiming ownership of the money.

She subsequently asked the court to lift the restriction on the accounts.

On Wednesday the directors of the companies pleaded guilty to money laundering. The EFCC applied for the money to be permanently forfeited to the Federal Government, a request which has been deferred by the Federal High Court.

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.

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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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