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Army, DSS, Police, Others Collected From Diezani’s $115m Bribe — Witness

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  • Army, DSS, Police, Others Collected From Diezani’s $115m Bribe

The Economic and Financial Commission on Thursday named some of the individuals and public officials who collected from an alleged bribe of $115m doled out by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, to compromise the 2015 general elections.

In a document tendered by the anti-graft agency before the Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday, it stated that the Resident Assistant Inspector-General of Police in Kwara State at the time received N1m cash.

The document stated that while the Commissioner of Police in Kwara State at the time received N10m cash, the Deputy Commissioner of Police in charge of Operations got N2m cash.

Similarly, both the Assistant Commissioners of Police in charge of operations and administration in Kwara State, according to the document, received N1m cash each.

The document also showed that the Resident Electoral Commissioner in Kwara State for the 2015 general elections was also given a cash of N10m, while the Independent National Electoral Commission’s Administrative Secretary in Kwara State at the time received N5m cash.

The INEC Head of Department, Operations and “his boys” were given N5m, while “other officers” received and shared N2m among themselves.

Also listed as beneficiaries of the Diezani bribe in Kwara State were OC Mopol and “his men”, who got N7m; 21c Mopol and men in the state, who got N10m; the Director of the DSS and his men, who got N2.5m.

The military in Kwara State was bribed with N50m, according to the document, while other security agencies including the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps and the Federal Road Safety Corps got N20m.

An investigator with the EFCC, Usman Zakari, who brought the document to court on Thursday, told Justice Rilwan Aikawa that it was recovered from a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Mr. Dele Belgore.

Belgore is standing trial before Justice Aikawa for allegedly collecting N450m from Diezani and distributing same to beneficiaries in Kwara State.

The EFCC accused him of handling the money in cash without going through any financial institution, an act said to be an offence under sections 1(a), 16(d), 15(2)(d) and 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.

The EFCC said Belgore is liable to be punished under sections 15(3)(4), and 16(2)(b) of the same Act.

Standing trial along with Belgore for the offence is a former Minister of National Planning, Prof. Abubakar Suleiman.

The SAN and the don were arraigned on charges of money laundering on February 8, 2017 but they pleaded not guilty.

Zakari is the second witness to be called by the EFCC in its efforts to prove its case.

Testifying before Justice Aikawa on Thursday, Zakari explained that Belgore volunteered the list to the EFCC when he was invited and interrogated by the anti-graft agency.

The investigator pointed out to the court Belgore’s endorsement on the document titled, “Security and Transportation per State,” stating: “document supplied by me, Mohammed Dele Belgore (SAN).”

Equally, the EFCC exhibited another document recovered from Belgore also showing other beneficiaries.

The document simply titled “Kwara State” showed beneficiaries of a sum of N155,220,000 and the breakdown of what they got.

Among them were 15 electoral officers who each received, 250,000; 15 supervisors, who got N100,000 each; the state Returning Officer, who got N1m, among others.

The two documents were tendered by the EFCC prosecutor, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, and admitted in evidence as Exhibit 7 and 7A, against Belgore and Suleiman, as their lawyers, Mr. Ebun Shofunde (SAN) and Mr. Olatunji Ayanlaja (SAN), raised no objection.

In his evidence, Zakari told the court that the EFCC’s findings showed that the money was disbursed in cash to the beneficiaries.

“My Lord, the mode of payment, as contained in Exhibit 7, is cash payment. The payments were not done through any financial institution,” Zakari said.

The case was adjourned till July 7.

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

INEC Plans Expansion Of Polling Units For 2023 General Election

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Ahead of 2023 general elections, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has promised to make polling units accessible to the electorate to remove voter apathy during elections.

INEC Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) in Kwara, Malam Garba Attahiru-Madami, made this known on Monday in Ilorin while declaring open two-day training on “Implementation of expansion of voters’ access to polling units”.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the training was for Electoral Officers (EOs) and Assistant Electoral Officers (AEOs) in charge of Administration, Operations and Cluster Registration areas drawn from the 16 local government areas of Kwara.

He noted that many eligible voters refused to vote on election day because of the distance of polling units to their residences.

The REC told the participants that the training was very important to INEC, just as election was important, adding that without polling unit, there would be no election.

“Election start from polling unit, if there is no polling unit, there would be no election and collation, that is how important polling unit is,” he added.

He therefore charged the participants to take the training very serious as the outcome of the training would offer opportunity on what they would do on the field.

“I don’t need to re-emphasise why access to polling unit is very important. We already know that this exercise was carried out in 1996 and it was to serve 50 million voters.

“In 2019 election, we have greater voters of 84 million; you can see that the polling units now are grossly inadequate.

“By the time general election will take place in 2023, our projection is to have over 120 million voters.

“The number of polling units we have now cannot serve the 120 million voters, so the training is very important,” he said.

According to the REC, one of the reasons for voter apathy is because the polling unit was not accessible to them.

He said that some polling units have over 1,000 to 5,000 voters that were spread to polling points.

“So, we want to see how we can convert some of these voting points to polling units to meet the need of the people on election day.

“In some communities with communal clash, having their own polling unit would solve such conflict, because you will see a villager that will say, I will not go to that village to vote,” he added.

He said the idea of expansion of polling units was to remove voter apathy and reduce distance from home to the polling unit. (NAN)

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African Union Holds Global Conference to Accelerate African Vaccine Development and Manufacturing Capacity

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African leaders assembled at a global meeting to discuss the status of local pharmaceutical manufacturing on the continent, underscored the need to increase local production of vaccines and therapeutics to achieve greater public-health security.

“The production of vaccines and access to vaccines is an absolute priority,” Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa, said Monday in opening remarks at the start of the two-day virtual meeting, convened by the African Union.

The meeting was attended by several African heads of state, health, finance and trade ministers from across the continent, as well as officials from global financial institutions, foundations, pharmaceutical manufacturers, business leaders, and the general public. The African Development Bank was represented by Solomon Quaynor, Vice President Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization.

Although Africa consumes approximately one-quarter of global vaccines by volume, it manufactures less than 1% of its routine vaccines, with almost no outbreak vaccine manufacturing in place. The region lags behind in procuring vaccines amid a global scramble for the medicines among wealthier nations. Thus far, only around 2% of the world’s vaccination against Covid-19 has taken place in Africa.

The need for a new public health order in Africa, which promotes domestic vaccine manufacturing, epidemic preparedness and upgraded healthcare systems to meet the needs of the world’s fastest-growing population, was the conference’s main objective.

The African Union and the Africa CDC said they would continue to work with all stakeholders to identify implementable actions, financing needs and timelines to competitively produce vaccines in Africa.

Quaynor noted that the current undertaking would require immense investment. “Vaccine manufacturing, because of its complexity, is not really an entrepreneurial drive but actually an institutional drive,” he added.

The African Development Bank is working with global and African stakeholders, to articulate a 2030 vision for Africa’s Pharmaceutical Industry in response to several calls received from African Heads of State, who have expressed a strong political will. This vision aligns with its “industrialize Africa” priority strategy.

The vision will build on previous efforts to produce a continental plan of action to boost local African pharmaceutical manufacturing capacity, such as the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa adopted in Abuja in January 2005 and the Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Plan for Africa (PMPA), prepared by the African Union Commission and the United Nations in 2012, to assist local manufacturers with pharmaceutical production.

Quaynor said Africa could count on the African Development Bank’s support to secure Africa’s health defense system. “Leveraging on our comparative advantages, we will both provide upstream support to governments on the enabling environment, as well as provide financing to private sector and PPPs both indirectly through some of our private equity investee funds and directly through lending, and credit and risk guarantees. We will also use the Africa Investment Forum to bring in all relevant stakeholders and partner DFIs into bankable opportunities…”

The 2030 vision for Africa’s pharmaceutical industry would also work with pharmaceutical industry associations in Africa to create capacity development links between universities and industry in Africa, and work with African scientists in the diaspora, Quaynor said in remarks made on behalf of African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina.

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ITF, Nigerian Air Force, Others, Sign MOU To Advance Research

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The Industrial Training Fund, ITF has signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Nigerian Air Force, NAF, and Equipment and Protective Application International Limited to establish the framework that will give room for optimal performance as well as enhance productivity.

The Director General, Industrial Training Fund, Sir Joseph Ari while speaking at the NAF headquarters in Abuja, said the MOU will be pursued with vigour and all the seriousness it deserves so that greater success would be the catalyst that will drive their intentions.

He explained that over the years, ITF had redirected its focus on technical, vocational training and education noting that developed nations are where they are today because of the initiative.

According to him, “even here in Abuja, we have a model of a skills training centre and the model was brought in from the Singaporean experience of the institute for technical education and services of Singapore”.

“We brought a semblance of it here to experience with five trade areas, Mechatronics and Autotronics, Computer Networking, ICT, Facility Technology as well as culinary in both African and Western cuisine is right there in the heart of Abuja in the ITF house, it is like a university”.

“The ITF is well positioned to work hand in hand with the Nigerian Air Force,” he said

The ITF boss added; “I must say that the Chief of Air Staff has a lot of foresight with his men to think about this Memorandum of Understanding because I deed, ITF is where you should be”.

“The ITF came into contact with the Nigerian Air Force even though a lot of the officers of the Air Force might have participated in its programmes in the past and since then I have noticed that NAF has not relented in its efforts to equipped it’s workforce and also upgrade and retrain its people,” Sir Ari added.

He also commended the men and officers of the NAF for their sacrifice in keeping the nation safe.

The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal, Oladayo Amao said the Nigerian Air Force has a highly technical Service and technology is the bedrock of all its operations.

Represented by the Chief of Standards and Evaluation, Air Vice Marshal, Olusegun Philip, Amao noted that in line with the focus of the Federal Government in promoting indigenous technology, the Nigerian Air Force has been looking inwards to gradually wean itself of overdependence on foreign technology and to become more innovative and resourceful.

“Therefore, in order to advance the Nigerian Air Force’s Research and Development efforts, we have deemed it necessary to formally collaborate with indigenous organizations through the signing of Memorandum of Understanding,” Amao stated.

“These collaborative efforts provide pedestals to leapfrog capability as well as a repertoire of capabilities that can be harnessed”.

“The collaborative efforts also provide platforms to synergise ideas for innovations that are key to achieving meaningful results to solve the technological challenges we currently face in a cost effective manner,” he said.

The Managing Director, Equipment and Protective Application International Limited, Engineer, Kola Balogun however, assured that the MOU entered would be for the overall economic benefit and development of the nation.

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