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Court Refuses to Unfreeze Patience Jonathan’s $15m Account

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  • Court Refuses to Unfreeze Patience Jonathan’s $15m Account

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday refused the request by former First Lady, Patience Jonathan, seeking to unfreeze her accounts with about $15.5 million.

Justice Mohammed Idris ordered parties to file pleadings since issues had been joined as to the ownership of the money.

The judge held that all the defendants formulated different issues from those formulated by the plaintiff (EFCC) in the originating summons, saying it was unacceptable.

“The issues formulated by all the defendants are baseless. They amount to no issue and will be ignored by the court.

“I hold that this court lacks the competence to determine the issues raised by the defendants in their written addresses, having abandoned the specific issues formulated by the plaintiff in the originating summons.

“It is unfortunate. I say this because the issues raised by the defendants appear on the face of it, are good and deserving to be considered on their merit.

“But as I understand it to be the law, sentiment has no basis in the adjudicatory system.”

Justice Idris said where processes were not properly prepared, any defect would render the proceeding fatal as the court cannot “re-formulate” the issues for determination.

He held that there was a contention as to issues and facts in relation to the ownership of the money.

“In respect of this issue, the contention appears divided and there is clearly an air of friction in the proceedings.”

According to him, all the counter-affidavits filed by the defendants contain disputed facts that cannot be decided without oral evidence.

“In the light of the above affidavit evidence, it cannot in my view be rightly contended that there are no disputed facts or substance as to the ownership of the said funds and the law.

“The issues of fact raised by the defendants herein are not spurious or irrelevant. The affidavit of the plaintiff is also not conjectural.

“In my view, the facts are contentious and oral evidence needs to be led by the parties herein. “In the light of the above facts, this case is generally not suitable for an originating summons procedure.

“In the circumstances, the court hereby orders that the parties herein file pleadings in accordance with the Federal High Court Civil Procedure Rules 2009.

“Trial shall then proceed accordingly. This is the order of the court,” Justice Idris held.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that Mrs. Jonathan had prayed the court to order the EFCC to unfreeze her Skye Bank accounts to enable her access the money.

She joined as respondents: EFCC, Skye Bank Plc, Mr. Jonathan’s former aide, Waripamo-Owei Dudafa, Pluto Property and Investment Company Ltd., and Seagate Property Development and Investment Company Ltd.

Also joined are Trans Ocean Property and Investment Company Ltd. and Avalon Global Property Development Ltd. as respondents.

On September 15, 2016, when they were arraigned, the companies, had through their representatives, pleaded guilty before Justice Babs Kuweumi, to laundering the money.

They were charged along with Dudafa, Amajuoyi Briggs and a banker, Adedamola Bolodeoku, for laundering the money.

Unlike the companies, Messrs. Dudafa, Briggs and Bolodeoku pleaded not guilty to the 17-count charge.

In a supporting affidavit to Mrs. Jonathan’s suit, deposed to by one Sammie Somiari, he said that Dudafa helped the former first lady to open the accounts.

He said Dudafa on March 22, 2010, brought two Skye Bank officers, Demola Bolodeoku and Dipo Oshodi, to meet Mrs. Jonathan.

The deponent had claimed that Mrs. Jonathan was the sole signatory to the accounts and that she had no relationship with the companies.

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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