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DSS Clears Saraki, Others over Alleged N310m Theft

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  • DSS Clears Saraki, Others over Alleged N310m Theft

The Department of State Services (DSS) has cleared Senate President Bukola Saraki and members of the National Assembly over what it described as “malicious falsehood’’ being spread around by one of its dismissed officers, Abdulrasheed Maigari, who recently claimed that he and other security personnel, including an army captain stole N310 million from the Senate President while guarding his house in Maitama, Abuja.

“The story making the rounds that the sum of N310 million belonging to the Senate President was stolen in 2015 is a malicious falsehood,’’ a senior officer of DSS stated last night in Abuja.

“From our investigation, the money in question did not belong to the Senate President or any member of the National Assembly for that matter. The investigation conducted by the DSS and the confessional statement made by Abdulrasheed Maigari, a suspect in the case, did not support this claim at all,” he said, adding: “Maigari’s recent claim in the media is nothing but a made up story to achieve a hidden motive.”

He said the fact that Maigari, who is currently standing trial for an armed robbery case, could make up such a false claim was a further indication of how criminally minded he was.

Incidentally, the Chief Press Secretary to the Senate President, Mr. Sanni Ologun, had on Sunday refuted reports linking his principal, Saraki, with the N310 million said to have been stolen from a Bureau de Change (BDC) operator, by suspected operatives of the DSS and some army personnel in November 2015.

Ologun, had in a statement, said the reports were being rehashed by some online media to tarnish the image of Saraki.

Corroborating Saraki’s aide on Sunday, the senior officer of the secret security agency said it was because of the criminal behaviour of Maigari that the DSS dismissed him from the service in 2015 and subsequently charged him to court.

“Any attempt to link the Senate President or any member of the National Assembly with the stolen N310 million will be sheer blackmail and an outright mischief,” the senior DSS official who did not want his name mentioned insisted.

Maigari was recently arrested by combined operatives of the Inspector-General of Police Special Intelligence Response Team IRT and the Anti-Kidnapping Unit from the Abuja Police Command deployed to rescue the Chairman of Gateway Insurance, Alhaji Isa Ozi Salami.

The former DSS operative was arrested alongside the suspected gang leaders, Emeka Kelvin and Ndubuisi Prince Uzor, among others on the March 26, 2017 in Suleja, an outskirt of the Federal Capital Territory.

During their parade before newsmen by the Force Public Relations Officer (FPRO), Jimoh Moshood, at the Force Headquarters, Maigari revealed how he became a kidnapper and also told reporters how he stole N310 million from Saraki’s home in Abuja.

According to the ex-DSS personnel, “I was enlisted into the DSS in 2011 with the rank of a Senior Intelligence Officer 1.

“I served in operations department at Gombe and Osun Commands of the DSS before my dismissal in 2015.

“Before I was dismissed, I was posted to the home of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, in Maitama and in November 2015, I can’t recall the exact date, three vehicles brought in the N310 million into the compound and the Army Captain who was on ground that day ordered that we should take the money away because he suspected the money was government money which could have been wrongly appropriated and could, therefore, be taken.

“We were four DSS operatives and four army officers involved and we drove the three cars to a house in Suleja where the money was shared. I got N30 million and I bought a car and took it to Kaduna State where I hid the rest of my share.’’

Maigari had said that he came back to Abuja, “but on November 28, 2015, I was asked to report at DSS headquarters and when I got there, I was interrogated over the theft and detained for five months, dismissed and charged to court”.

The suspect added that he was remanded in Kuje Prison, where he eventually fell ill after seven months and was later granted bail by the court on health grounds.

The Senate President’s Chief Press Secretary, Ologun, however, in a statement on Sunday, denied Maigari’s claims, recalling that the Senate President’s media office had refuted the report when it first broke that the Senate President had nothing to do with the money, nor did he have army personnel among his security detail.

He said: “We still insist that he has nothing to do with the money and we challenge those still rehashing the stale and fake news to avail themselves of the reports of the police and the DSS on the matter to avoid misleading members of the public unnecessarily.”

He said it was absurd for one of the suspects in a robbery to claim that the money he was found with was brought to the Senate President’s house from where they connived to steal it.

“The report remains a lie which must be disregarded by the public, and should it be recirculated tomorrow, it will still remain a lie. At best we count this unwarranted fake report as part of the April fool ritual. But the public deserves a better deal from its sponsors and purveyors,” he said.

According to Ologun, “The content and intention of the fake report is nothing but baseless allegations emanating from the infantile minds of unreasonable interlopers, hell bent on rubbing mud on the reputation of a distinguished Nigerian, who is today in his capacity as the Senate President, working assiduously with critical stakeholders to stabilise and grow our economy. Enough is enough.”

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

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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