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Delta Paid Ibori N250m in UK Prison — Investigation

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  • Delta Paid Ibori N250m in UK Prison

The Delta State Government paid former Governor James Ibori N250m while he was in jail in the United Kingdom between 2012 and 2016,an investigation has revealed.

It will be recalled that Ibori was convicted on February 27 2012, after pleading guilty to 10 counts of money laundering and conspiracy to defraud at a Southwark Crown Court, London.

It was learnt that Ibori, who was accused of stealing over £250m, was entitled to life pension being a former governor of the oil-rich state.

The ex-governor, who served between 1999 and 2007, was able to sign into law the Delta State Governor and Deputy Governor Pension Rights and Other Benefits Law 2005 which was later amended in 2009.

The law makes provision for an ex-governor to be paid N50m per year among other perks.

Defending the payment of the money to Ibori in 2012, the then Commissioner for Information, Mr. Chike Ohgeah, said Ibori would continue to be paid N50m until a court nullified his tenure in office.

Ogeah said this in reaction to an affidavit deposed to by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission which accused the state government of enriching the ex-governor.

He said, “The truth is that like every other elected governor who had served the state, Ibori was paid his pension entitlement and other benefits alongside his deputy under existing law. The law is the Delta State Governor and Deputy Governor Pension Rights and Other Benefits Law 2005 and the Delta State Governor and Deputy Governor Pension Rights and Other Benefits (Amendment) Law 2009.”

Calculations by one of our correspondents showed that for the five years Ibori spent in the UK prison, he was paid N250m by the state government.

Delta State is one of the states in the country currently struggling to pay salaries and which received bailout fund from the Federal Government.

According to a report on the bailout funds monitoring of states conducted by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, in February 2016, Delta State had N36, 417,217, 601.53 as total debt value accrued from staff salaries and emoluments. The state was granted N10, 936, 799, 299 as bailout fund from the Federal Government.

Speaking with one of our correspondents on Saturday, human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), said the matter was a structural problem and it would be unfair to single out Ibori.

Falana explained that several states including those who could not pay salaries, were paying pensions to ex-governors who had also looted their state treasuries.

He said, “The matter goes beyond Ibori because he is not the only ex-governor collecting the pension. The law in Delta State does not say an ex-governor should stop receiving pay if he is convicted.

“The matter shows the failure of the Nigerian system. I am not defending Ibori but I don’t think he should be singled out. Pension for ex-governors should be scrapped completely.”

Meanwhile, the Delta State Government on Saturday said it was legal for it to honour the laws of the state by paying severance packages and other entitlements ascribed to former governors and deputies including Ibori.

The state government said it would be flouting the law if it decided not to pay the former governor.

Speaking through his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Charles Aniagwu, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa said on Saturday that if the state government was owing Ibori his severance package, the government would clear the backlogs as clearly stipulated by law.

“If Ibori is entitled to pension by law, we will not take it away from him because that will be breaching the law . Even if he is owed, it is sure that he deserves the entitlements.’’

He also added that Ibori contributed meaningfully to the infrastructural development of the state and laid the foundation upon which successive governments were building on.

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

Abdulaziz Yari, Former Governor of Zamfara State, to Forfeit N270 Million in Zenith, Polaris

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Abdulaziz Yari, Former Governor of Zamfara State, to Forfeit N270 Million in Zenith, Polaris

The former governor of Zamfara State, Mr. Abdulaziz Yari, could forfeit as much as N270 million stashed in Zenith Bank and Polaris Bank, according to Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu said the former governor could not prove how he came about the money legitimately to the court on Tuesday.

Mr. Yari, 52, who served as governor of Zamfara State for eight years between 2011 and 2019, was said to have used his position to amass wealth, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) stated.

Since the court granted an order for interim forfeiture of Yari assets in August 219m he has been unable to explain why the money found in his bank accounts should not be forfeited to the Federal Government.

Justice Ijeoma explained that while there is nothing wrong in having such an amount in one’s bank account, the owner must be able to explain the legitimate source of such funds.

“The respondents, who have been given an opportunity to tell their story, have failed to provide evidence for such legitimate income.

“The respondents have not countered the case and facts presented by the applicants (ICPC).

“The respondents, having failed to establish the legitimate source of the money as stated in this case, this honourable court hereby makes an order of final forfeiture of the following:

“An order of final forfeiture of N12,912,848.68, being proceeds of some unlawful activity stashed in the name of Abdulazeez Abubakar Yari.

“An order of final forfeiture of $57,056.75, being proceeds of some unlawful activity stashed in an account number …in the name of Abdulazeez Abubakar Yari.

“An order of forfeiture of N11,159,674.17, being proceeds stashed in an account in the name of Kayatawa Nigeria Limited.

“An order of final forfeiture of $319,000.91, being proceed of some unlawful activity stashed in the name of Kayatawa Nigeria Limited.

“An order of final forfeiture of N217,000.04, being proceeds of some unlawful activity allegedly stashed in the name of B. T. Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited.

“An order of final forfeiture of $311,817.15, being proceeds of some unlawful activity stashed in the name of BT. Oil and Gas Nigeria Limited,” the judge held.

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45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, Launches ‘office Of The Former President’ In Florida

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45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, Launches ‘office Of The Former President’ In Florida

The former President of the United States, Donald Trump, has launched the “Office of the Former President” in Florida in a move that suggests the 45th President of the world’s most powerful country remained resolute in his fight to return to office in the year 2024.

According to a statement released, the purpose of the office will be to oversee Trump’s post-presidential advocacy, ‘Make America Great Again’.

The Office will be responsible for managing President Trump’s correspondence, public statements, appearances, and official activities to advance the interests of the United States and to carry on the agenda of the Trump Administration through advocacy, organising, and public activism,” an official statement said.

President Trump will always and forever be a champion for the American People,” the statement added.

The former president has not made any public appearances since he left office on January 20, 2021, instead remained inside his luxury Mar-a-Lago resort.

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Government

President Muhammadu Buhari Appoints New Service Chiefs as Buratai, Others Resign

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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.

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