- EFCC Set to Declare Ex-NNPC Director Wanted
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission may declare wanted a former Deputy Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Ben Otti, if he refuses to make himself available to the commission, the punch reported.
Otti, who also served as Director of Finance and Accounts at the NNPC, is central to the investigation into the $153m that was allegedly diverted from the account of the NNPC by the then Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in 2014.
A report by the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative had, in 2014, noted that the NNPC and its subsidiary, the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company, failed to remit $4.7bn and N318.2bn to the Federation Account.
A Federal High Court in Lagos had, last week, ordered that the $153m, which was allegedly kept by some bank executives, be temporarily forfeited to the Federal Government.
A source within the EFCC told our correspondent that the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo, had told operatives that he received the money from Otti sometime in 2014.
The detective said, “When we arrested Okonkwo last year, we were informed that Otti was the one who brought the money to Okonkwo on the instructions of Diezani.
“We have been looking for Otti for several months but he seems to be out of the country. We believe he might be in London, where Diezani is. He is aware that we are looking for him.
“If he refuses to show up, then, we may have no choice but to declare him wanted.”
In a nine-paragraph affidavit filed in support of the anti-graft agency’s ex parte application for the forfeiture of the $153m, an EFCC investigator, Moses Awolusi, had claimed that the anti-graft agency discovered, through its investigations, how sometime in December, 2014, Diezani invited the Fidelity Bank boss to her office, where they hatched the plan of how a cash sum of $153,310,000 would be moved from the NNPC to Okonkwo to be saved for Diezani.
According to Awolusi, Diezani instructed the banker to ensure that the money was “neither credited into any known account nor captured in any transaction platforms” of Fidelity Bank.
Awolusi said Okonkwo accepted and implemented the deal, leading to the movement of $153,310,000 from the NNPC to the bank.
He said two former Group Executive Directors of Finance and Accounts of the NNPC, B. O. Otti and Stanley Lawson, helped Diezani to move the cash from the NNPC Headquarters, Abuja, to the headquarters of Fidelity Bank in Lagos.
Awolusi said in a desperate bid to conceal the source of the money, Okonkwo, upon receiving it, instructed the Country Head of Fidelity Bank, Mr. Martin Izuogbe, to take $113,310,000 cash out of the money to the Executive Director, Commercial and Institutional Bank, Sterling Bank Plc, Lanre Adesanya, to keep.
He said the remaining $40m was taken in cash to the Executive Director, Public Sector Accountant, First Bank, Dauda Lawal, to keep.
The investigator said out of the $113,310,000 handed over to Adesanya, a sum of $108,310,000 was invested in an off balance sheet investment, using Sterling Asset Management Trustees Limited.
He said the $108,310,000 was subsequently changed to N23,446,300,000 and saved in Sterling Bank.
The investigator said the EFCC had also recovered another $5m out of the money kept with the MD of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Herbert Wigwe.
Meanwhile, sources within the commission have told our correspondent that the EFCC board will meet in the next two weeks to decide the fate of the bank executives who were allegedly involved in the fraud.
Some of the bank heads, who were arrested by the EFCC last year include Okonkwo, Wigwe and the Sterling Bank boss, Mr. Yemi Adeola.
The Executive Director, Public Sector Account, First Bank, Dauda Lawal, was also investigated.
A source at the EFCC said, “In two weeks’ time, the court will decide if the forfeiture of the $153m will be permanent. Once we can secure victory, the next step is for the EFCC board to meet.
“It is the board that will determine the fate of all the bank chiefs that have been indicted.”
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.”
US Congress Declares Joe Biden as The 46th President of The United States After Trump Mob Left
The joint congress of the United States on Thursday, January 7, 2021 certified Joe Biden as the 46th President of the United States following President Trump’s mob action that disrupted the congress joint proceeding on Wednesday.
After ordering his followers to disrupt proceedings on Wednesday, President Trump later announced that there will be an orderly transition on January 20.
“Even though I totally disagree with the outcome of the election, and the facts bear me out, nevertheless there will be an orderly transition on January 20th,” Trump said in a statement issued by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Dan Scavino.
“I have always said we would continue our fight to ensure that only legal votes were counted. While this represents the end of the greatest first term in presidential history, it’s only the beginning of our fight to Make America Great Again!” Trump added.
While the certification was just a mere formality as Biden had secured enough electoral college votes (270) required to clinch the world’s most powerful seat, the refusal of Donald Trump to accept the results of the November 2020 election made the session a keenly watched, especially after Trump mob disrupted a joint session of the Senate.
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