- Lagarde Tells Trial She Acted in Interests of France
IMF boss Christine Lagarde told her trial Friday she had acted in good faith in the case of a massive state payout to a tycoon when she was French finance minister.
Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was questioned about a state payout she had authorised for flamboyant businessman Bernard Tapie.
She is accused of failing to contest the payout over Tapie’s sale of the Adidas sports brand in 1993 to the Credit Lyonnais bank when he went bankrupt.
“In this case, as in all other cases, I acted according to trust and with the knowledge of the facts and my sole aim was to defend the general interest,” Lagarde told the court.
The court will give its verdict at 1400 GMT on Monday.
Lagarde, 60, said her trial at the Court of Justice of the Republic — a tribunal that hears cases against ministers accused of wrongdoing in office — had put an end to a “testing” time for her family.
“These five days of hearings represent the end of five testing years for my partner, my sons and my brothers who are in the courtroom,” she said.
If convicted, she could face a year in prison and a 15,000 euro ($16,700) fine.
The case also threatens the credibility of the International Monetary Fund, as the former high-flying corporate lawyer is the third IMF chief to face trial.
The prosecutor in the case said Thursday he was opposed to convicting her, judging the evidence to support the charge of negligence as too weak.
“The hearings have not backed up a very weak charge,” Jean-Claude Marin told the court.
The prosecutor’s office had advised against bringing the case to trial.
– Sarkozy links –
In her role as France’s finance minister in 2008, Lagarde stands accused of waving through a 404-million-euro settlement with Tapie, a businessman close to her then boss, ex-president Nicolas Sarkozy.
The payout was subsequently cancelled by the courts.
Tapie sold Adidas to state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais for 315.5 million euros in 1993. The bank sold it again the year after for 701 million euros, leading Tapie to claim he had been cheated.
Lagarde has been in court every day since Monday to face accusations that she failed to stand in the way of a “colossal” drain on state resources.
She has told the court she trusted the judgement of her subordinates in the process and she had been out of the loop for some negotiations in the ministry and in the president’s office.
Another former IMF chief, Spaniard Rodrigo Rato, is currently standing trial for misusing funds when he was head of Spanish lender Bankia.
President Muhammadu Buhari Appoints New Service Chiefs as Buratai, Others Resign
President Muhammadu Buhari has appointed new service chiefs in an effort to bring the growing insecurities in Nigeria to an end.
The appointed service chiefs are Major-General Leo Irabor, Chief of Defence Staff; Major-General I. Attahiru, Chief of Army Staff; Rear Admiral A.Z Gambo, Chief of Naval Staff; and Air-Vice Marshal I.O Amao, Chief of Air Staff.
Femi Adesina, a presidential spokesman, stated in a statement issued on Tuesday.
According to him, the appointment was after Buratai and other service chiefs resigned and immediately retired from service.
The resigned and retired service chief were the Chief of Defence Staff, General Abayomi Olonisakin; Chief of Army Staff, Lt-Gen. Tukur Buratai; Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Admiral Ibok Ekwe Ibas; and Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar.
President Buhari thanked the outgone service chiefs for their dedication and commitment towards securing and protecting the lives of Nigerians.
University Of Ibadan (UI) Goes Digital, Releases Timetable for Virtual Academic Session
University of Ibadan (UI) on Friday announced it is going ahead with resumption on February 20 despite the second wave of COVID-19.
In a statement released by the school, the First Semester of the 2020/2021 academic session will commence virtually on February 20, 2021.
The virtual academic session will last for 13 straight weeks and end on Friday May 12, 2021, while the matriculation ceremony will hold on Tuesday March 16, 2021.
The University of Ibadan also scheduled one week for the Finalization of Continuous Assessment, to begin from Mon. 17 May and ends Friday 21 May.
The rising number of COVID-19 cases has compelled the Senate to approve the virtual academic session in an effort to ensure the tertiary institution abides by the protocols established by the Federal Government to curb the spread of the pandemic.
“It, therefore, agreed that the 2020/2021 First Semester lectures will be delivered online. In this regard, students will not be accommodated on campus,” a statement from the school said.
“Senate also approved the cancellation of the 2019/2020 session. The next session is, therefore, renamed 2020/2021 Academic Session. Consequently, students who have been admitted for the 2019/2020 session will now be regarded as the 2020/2021 intakes.
“Kindly note that online opening of Registration Portal and Orientation Programme for the 2020/2021 intakes may commence ahead of the Sat 20/02/21 date indicated above,” the statement said.
House of Representatives Impeached Trump Over Capitol Invasion
The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday impeached President Trump for the second time after instigating the US Capitol invasion.
Led by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, 232 representatives, including 10 Republicans, voted to impeach the outgoing president against 197 that voted for him to remain in the office for the next six days when he would handover to the president-elect, Joe Biden.
The ten Republicans were Representatives Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the party’s No. 3 leader in the House; Jaime Herrera Beutler of Washington; John Katko of New York; Adam Kinzinger of Illinois; Fred Upton of Michigan; Dan Newhouse of Washington; Peter Meijer of Michigan; Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio; David Valadao of California; and Tom Rice of South Carolina.
Speaking before the vote, Pelosi said “a constitutional remedy that will ensure that the Republic will be safe from this man who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together.”
“He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love,” she said, adding later, “It gives me no pleasure to say this — it breaks my heart.”
Republicans, who unanimously stood behind president Trump in 2019 during his first impeachment, were divided this time over the attack on Capitol.
A Republican representative from California, Kevin McCarthy, said “The president bears responsibility for Wednesday’s attack on Congress by mob rioters,” Mr. McCarthy said. “He should have immediately denounced the mob when he saw what was unfolding.”
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