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Contractor Denies Collecting N3.48bn Mobilisation Fee for Jos Stadium

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  • Contractor Denies Collecting N3.48bn Mobilisation Fee for Jos Stadium

The Contractor constructing the multi-billion Naira Jos Stadium, BCC Tropical Nigeria Ltd., on Tuesday denied collecting N3.48 billion mobilisation fee to complete the facility.

The contractor denied collecting the money when he spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Jos on the allegation that had been paid N3.48 billion mobilisation fee at the start of the project of N11.4 billion.

NAN reports that a Six-man Commission of Inquiry was set up by Gov. Simon Lalong of Plateau, chaired by Justice Stephen Adah, to probe his predecessor, former Gov. Jonah Jang’s administration.

The allegation followed a petition to the commission by an undisclosed petitioner who alleged that the contractor had collected the said amount.

Mr Plamen Iliiev, the firm’s Managing Director (MD), told NAN that the petition was “the mastermind of mischief makers who were all out to tarnish the company’s image.

“The only mobilisation fee BCC Tropical Nig. Ltd ever received was N463, 214, 216.99.

“This accounted for 15 per cent of the initial contract sum of N3, 088, 094, 779.93 before the variation which raised the contract sum to N11.412 billion.

“I have seen the figures the petitioner presented to the commission and the said N3.48 billion paid to us as mobilisation fee had no date at all, while the one (N463, 214, 216.99) we know was paid to us on March 17, 2011, ’’ he said.

Iliev also pointed out that “the petitioner equally displayed mischief when he alleged that the contract for N11.4 billion was only for the laying of Synthetic track and Artificial Football Pitch only’’.

According to him, the contract variation included two volleyball courts, two basketball courts, a swimming pool and others as well as the complete cover for the entire stadium.

“We are through with the synthetic track and artificial football pitch and we are about to cover the roof of the stadium.’’

Iliev said that when he got the contract, his firm had to redesign the stadium because the initial consultant left with the design.

“We have to engage Afro Sports Promotion, the Technical Advisers and Sports Facility Consultant to FIFA, who redesigned the stadium for us and paid the consultant from our post.

“I have to tell the commission that the total sum we have collected from the state government is N7.1 billion only and once more money is made available to us, we shall go for the roof and cover the stadium,’’ he said.

Reacting, the Commissioner for Sports, Mr Danladi Mann, said only the ministry of Finance could come out with the true position of the payments made to the contractor.
Mann expressed doubt over the capability of the then Government to have paid N3.4 billion at a go as claimed by the petitioner.

“Remember, sometimes back, I told you that what I saw in the handing over note was something close to N6 billion that was paid to the contractor.

“But mind you, at the coming of this APC-led government by Gov. Simon Lalong, some monies have been paid to the contractor to return to site and continue with the construction which probably brought the amount to the said N7.1 billion,’’ he said.

According to him, the Commission of Inquiry has ordered the finance ministry to come up with details of all payments made, which will help to clarify issues on the stadium.

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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