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$175m Found in Jonathan’s Wife’s Firm’s Bank Account

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  • $175m Found in Jonathan’s Wife’s Firm’s Bank Account
  • EFCC in Manhunt for Two Suspects

Where is the $175,750,000 deposited in an account linked to former First lady Patience Jonathan?

This is the question the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is battling to answer.

The deposits were found in the account of Pluto Property and Investment Limited, one of the firms linked to Mrs. Jonathan.

The EFCC has launched a manhunt for two suspects, Toru Wonyeng Ibuomo and Friday Davies, linked to the curious deposits in four tranches within 14 months — between February 21, 2014 and April 1, 2015.

The anti-graft agency is probing how the cash was withdrawn from the domiciliary account with Skye Bank Plc without any trace of where it was diverted to.

The deposits are different from the $15.5million over which the ex-First Lady sued the EFCC, which placed No Debit Order on four accounts.

But the company is one of the four convicted on November 2 for laundering the $15.5million, which Mrs. Jonathan insists belongs to her.

The companies convicted by Justice Babs Kuewumi of the Federal High Court are Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited; Seagate Property Development & Investment Co. Limited; Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited and Avalon Global Property Development Company Limited.

Barely two weeks after the conviction of the companies, the EFCC uncovered another $175, 750,000 deposits in the account of Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited.

The cash has, however, vanished from the bank.

EFCC detectives discovered that the account was opened on November 30, 2013 by Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited with number 2110002238.

The company was registered on January 29, 2013 with RC 1092722. The “strange” deposits came within 14 months.

The deposits are:

21/2/2014—$46,500,000
24/2/2014—$31,000,000
31/3/2015—$49,250,000
1/4/ 2015—$49,000,000

“The EFCC is probing how the deposits hit the company’s account barely two years after it was registered and without executing any major contract. We are suspecting that this is another slush account where government funds were diverted to,” a source close to the investigation told The Nation.

The source said: “All the deposits were in cash, a development which showed that it was a pure case of money laundering.

“On the 21st of February, the account was reported to have recorded a cash deposit of $46,500,000 by the General Manager of Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited , Toru Wonyeng Ibuomo.

“Three days after(24th of February, 2014), another cash deposit of $31,000,000 was made by the same General Manager.

“Friday Davies made a cash deposit of $49,250,000 into the same account. The last tranche of $49,000,000 was deposited by Davies on Apri 1, 2015.”

The source, who pleaded not to be named because of what he described as the “sensitivity” of the probe, claimed that the EFCC was on the trail of Ibuomo and Davies.

The source added: “We need the two depositors to assist in the ongoing investigation of the payments into the affected account.

“It is more curious when the bank details did not show evidence of withdrawals. Yet the whereabouts of the cash was unknown. We hope it is not a private banking arrangement to hide slush funds.”

The source confirmed that the EFCC would probe the likely roles of the former First Lady in operating the account of Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited.

“In a matter before the Federal High Court, the ex-First Lady admitted that one of her domiciliary accounts was bearing Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited.

“We are investigating this $175.750million deposits and the extent of the involvement or relationship of the ex-First Lady with the funds. This is a fresh case; it has nothing to do with the $15.5million frozen by the EFCC.”

In an affidavit filed before the Federal High Court in Lagos and deposed to by Sammie Somiari, a lawyer, on behalf of Mrs. Patience Jonathan, the deponent – claimed that the ex-First Lady had been using ATM credit cards of four companies.

Pluto Property and Investment Company Limited; Seagate Property Development & Investment Co. Limited; Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Limited and Development Company Limited and Globus Integrated Service Limited.

The ex-First Lady alleged that the EFCC placed a “No Debit Order” on the four accounts in July in the course of probing Waripamo Dudafa, a former Special Adviser on Domestic Affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Somiari claimed that Dudafa helped Mrs Jonathan to open the four accounts which the EFCC froze.

Somiari added “that Mrs Jonathan complained about this to Honourable Dudafa, who at her prompting and instance promised to effect the change of the said accounts to the applicant’s name; and to effect this change, Honourable Dudafa brought the said bank manager, Mr. Dipo Oshodi, who claimed to have effected the changes. This was about April 2014.

“The bank official, Mr. Dipo Oshodi, as it would appear, did not effect or reflect the instruction of the applicant to change the said accounts to her name(s) despite repeated requests.

”However, since 2010 up until 2014 and thereafter, Mrs Jonathan had been using the cards on the said accounts and operating the said accounts without let or hindrance. Even in May, June and July 2016, the former First Lady travelled overseas for medical treatment and was using the said credit cards abroad up until July 7, 2016 or thereabouts when the cards stopped functioning.”

In the suit, Mrs. Jonathan urged the court to compel the EFCC to immediately vacate the “No Debit Order” placed on her accounts.

On November 2, Justice Babs Kuewumi convicted the four companies of laundering the $15.5m.

The companies had on September 15, 2016 pleaded guilty to laundering the money when they were arraigned by the EFCC along with Dudafa, a lawyer, Amajuoyi Briggs; and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku.

But Dudafa, Briggs and Bolodeoku pleaded not guilty.

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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Envoy Considers Establishment Of Chinese Banks In Nigeria To Boost Economy

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Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria- Investors king

Mr Cui Jianchun, the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, says he is in talks with Chinese owned Banks to establish operations in Nigeria.

This, the envoy said, is to boost Nigeria’s economy and expand trade relations between the two nations.

Cui made this known on Tuesday in Abuja while addressing Journalists during the commemoration of the 2021 Chinese Moon Festival and China-Nigeria Cultural week.

According to Cui, the establishment of Chinese Banks in Nigeria will also be one of the key areas of discussion during the China-Nigeria Binational Committee meeting, which he is also pushing for the establishment.

He said that an efficient financial institution was a key driver to achieving a strong economy, one Nigeria can learn from China’s experience.

“Before my departure from Beijing to Abuja, I talked to several banks in China. When you list the World’s 10 big banks, six are in China.

“The Banking sector is very important, because, without money, we cannot build our industries.

“What I am thinking here is best to talk to the governor of Central Bank and how we can allow the Chinese Banks to run office here and now, they are doing the feasibility studies on that.

“I am working hard that in the Bi-national meeting, I hope we can make a big decision and give a big push to let the banking industry and insurance industry because financial integration and institutions are key.

“If you go to China, you will find our banking industry is very powerful, not only for business but the change in the way of life.

“Because of the COVID-19, the Banking Industry is a little hesitant, but I told them Nigeria has a lot of human resources and as long as we work together, we can do big things.

“And that is why it is important to invest in the banking industry, to solve this problem,” Cui said.

Extolling the extant China-Nigeria trade relations, Cui noted that the volume of trade between China and Nigeria is nearly 20 billion US Dollars, with an increase from 2020’s 19.2 billion dollars.

Cui said the Chinese economy is restoring to the normal post-COVID-19 pandemic and both governments are working hard on how to expand imports and exports.

Speaking on the event, Cui said the China’s moon festival is a very important and significant one for China as it symbolises family reunion, national peace and social harmony.

The envoy said the 2021 celebration is also a special one as it coincides with the 50th Anniversary of China-Nigeria’s bilateral relations.

He said that both countries also share Oct. 1 as their National Days.

He said it is also on that note that the Chinese Embassy is honouring 50 Nigerian employees of Chinese Companies in Nigeria for their outstanding performance and contribution to strengthening diplomatic ties.

Dr Ifeoma Anyanwutaku, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, also lauded the Nigeria-China relations.

She said the relations had recorded great successes over the past five decades.

“The five decades of co-operation had since witnessed several cultural activities and exchanges in the spheres of arts, music, dance, exhibition, cultural administration, training and capacity building of cultural officers.

“And recently, the development of Cultural Industries centres in Nigeria, among others.

“I must add that China, through the youth-oriented programmes such as the photos competition and similar activities in the past is surely a dependable ally.

“In redirecting the energy and mind of our youth to creative ventures, thereby furthering the Nigerian government’s policy of lifting a hundred million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years”, Anyanwukatu said. (NAN)

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Lagos Prohibits Open Cattle Grazing, Sanwo-Olu Signs Bill Into Law

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herdsmen

Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Monday, assented to the bill prohibiting Open Cattle Grazing and Trespass of Cattle on Land, signing the legislation into law 11 days after it was unanimously passed by the State House of Assembly and transmitted to the Executive arm for authorisation.

By implication, it is now criminal in Lagos for cattle rearers to occupy unapproved public areas and private land with their livestock for grazing. The law also prohibits the act of moving cattle round public places by herders.

The signing of the anti-open grazing law by the Governor followed the decision of Southern Governors’ Forum last August, setting the September deadline to pass the law across member States.

There have been crises witnessed in some States, resulting from alleged open grazing.

Although farmer-herder crisis is not pronounced in Lagos, the anti-open grazing law is expected to prevent the spillover of the menace into the State.

Sanwo-Olu, who assented to the bill during the State’s Executive Council meeting in Alausa, directed the security agencies to swing immediately into action and enforce provisions of the law.

He said: “By the powers vested in me as the Governor of Lagos State, I am signing the bill on Open Cattle Grazing and Trespass of Cattle on Land into law to prohibit issues associated with open grazing of livestock.”

The Governor also signed legislation transforming the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team (DSVRT) into a full-blown agency.

The development coincided with the commemorative month dedicated to raising awareness on gender-based violence in the State. The Governor and members of the State’s cabinet wore attire with purple shades to support the campaign against sexual violence.

The DSVRT legislation provides for the establishment of Sexual Offenders’ Register that would help the State efficiently tackle violations in the communities.

After signing the law, Sanwo-Olu said: “Raising awareness about domestic and sexual violence is an important piece of working to end the cycle of violence. It is important to reiterate the State Government’s zero tolerance to all forms of sexual and gender-based violence. We will not rest on our oars until the menace is reduced to the barest minimum in Lagos.”

The Governor appointed Mrs. Titilola Vivour-Adeniyi as the Executive Secretary of the new agency.

Vivour-Adeniyi was the coordinator of the response team before the legislation was signed into law.

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ECOWAS Imposes Sanctions on Guinea Junta Over Coups

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ECOWAS Bans Junta-Investors King

West African leaders have decided to impose travel bans and freeze the financial assets of members of Guinea’s ruling junta and their families after a coup more than a week ago.

The decisions were announced Thursday after an Extraordinary Summit on Guinea in Ghana’s capital, Accra. Mediators with the regional group had traveled to Guinea to meet with junta leaders and check on the condition of deposed President Alpha Conde.

ECOWAS president Jean Claude Brou said the West African leaders have also insisted that there should be no “need for very long transition for the country to return to democratic order.”

The targeted sanctions come after Guinea’s coup leaders set a number of conditions for releasing Conde, according to the foreign minister of Ghana.

ECOWAS had already warned it will impose penalties on the junta in Guinea unless it immediately releases Conde, who has been held at an undisclosed location since being detained during the Sept. 5 coup in Conakry.

“We are coming to address a burning issue in the region,” said Ghana’s President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the current chair of the regional bloc, ahead of the summit. He was joined by presidents or high-ranking officials from eight of the other 15 ECOWAS countries.

Members of the ECOWAS delegation that visited Conakry after the coup presented their reports at Thursday’s meeting, said Ghanaian Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway. The junta has set a number of conditions for complying with the demands of regional mediators, she said but declined to disclose what they are.

The delegation has spoken with Conde’s doctor “who ascertained that indeed physically, he’s very well,” she said. However, she said, the ex-president is still coming to terms with the fact that his government has been toppled after more than a decade in power.

“For anybody who has gone through such a traumatic experience like he did, mentally, it’s not the best, not to say that mentally we found anything wrong, but he was quite shocked; he’s still in a state of shock,” she added.

Meanwhile, in Conakry, junta leaders were also set to meet with mining company representatives on the third day of a special summit to chart Guinea’s political future. Junta leader Col. Mamady Doumbouya has sought to reassure the country’s most vital economic sector that the political changes will not impact existing mining projects in the country, which has the world’s largest reserves of bauxite.

Guinea’s coup leaders have yet to make public their proposed timeframe for handing over power to a civilian transitional government, nor have they outlined how quickly new elections can be organized.

Conde had sparked violent street demonstrations last year after he pushed for a constitutional referendum that he used to justify running for a third term, saying term limits no longer applied to him. He ultimately won another five years in office last October, only to be toppled by the coup 10 months later.

At the time he came to power in 2010, he was Guinea’s first democratically elected leader since independence from France in 1958.

The regional bloc also planned to tackle concerns over whether a second member state, Mali, is making enough progress toward a return to democracy more than a year after a military takeover there.

In Mali, the ruling junta led by Col. Assimi Goita has committed to holding new elections by February 2022, though mediators who recently visited have expressed concern about whether that deadline now can be met.

Goita overthrew Mali’s president in August 2020 and then agreed to a civilian transitional government and an 18-month timeframe for holding a vote. However, only nine months after the first coup he effectively staged a second one, firing the civilian interim leaders and ultimately naming himself as president of the transition.

ECOWAS has not reinstated Mali’s membership in the bloc, marking the first time since 2012 that two of the 15 member states are suspended concurrently.

ECOWAS President Brou said there was the need to revisit the organization’s 2001 protocol on good governance “because a lot of things have changed or improved.”

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