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Nigeria Police, Judges Highest Bribe-takers, Says UN Agency

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  • Nigeria Police, Judges Highest Bribe-takers

From the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has come a revelation that about N400 billion is spent on bribes each year in Nigeria. This was contained in a report presented to the public yesterday at the stakeholders meeting to mark the end of the agency’s five-year project on corruption in the country.

Although there is still a controversy over this report, it has highlighted the problem corruption poses to development and the need for the government to do more to tackle it. According to the report, which covers between June 2015 and May 2016, law enforcement agencies and the judiciary are the highest receivers of bribes.

The survey titled, “Corruption in Nigeria – Bribery: Public Experience and Response” was presented in partnership with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). It was conducted in the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

“Police officers are the type of public officials to whom bribes are most commonly paid in Nigeria. Of all adult Nigerians, who had direct contact with a police officer in 12 months prior to the survey, about 46.4 per cent paid that officer at least one bribe.

“Although fewer people come in contact with judiciary officials than with police officers over the course of the year, when they do, the risk of bribery is considerable. The prevalence of bribery in relation to prosecutors is the second highest, closely followed by judges and magistrates.

“The experience of corruption in encounters with public officials whose duty it is to uphold the rule of law can lead to the erosion of trust in public authority”, the report held.

In her remarks, the country representative of UNODC, Cristina Albertin, said that the fight against corruption in the country must be in line with the rule of law, human rights and evidence-based policies.

According to her, until offenders are punished accordingly by necessary authorities, and leaders begin to walk their talk, Nigerians might not see the change they eagerly await.Her words: “What matters at this point when the project comes to an end is where we stand now and what needs to be done next. Let me be very clear; while we share all pride and happiness about the result achieved, Nigerian citizens expect eagerly, changes – that offenders be punished properly, that public systems work for them, and that we walk the talk.”

Also, Special Assistance to the President on Prosecution and chairman of the recently inaugurated Public Property Recovery Committee, Okoi Obno-Obla, blamed increase in corrupt practices on successive governments’ lack of political will to address the menace with the urgency it deserved.

According to him, past governments could not implement existing anti-corruption acts because they stipulate life jail and various degrees of punishment for defaulting public officials.He stressed that in spite of the report findings, which observed that about N400 billion is given as bribes each year, the current administration has done so much in the fight against corruption.

Obno-Obla said the committee on recovery of public property would resume work soon and that it had the power to fight corruption.In a reaction to the report, the Secretary General of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Isiaka Olagunju said it could not be correct. He described it as a careless statement.

“How did they know that it was N400billion? That is an assumption and highly speculative. I consider that there are some bad eggs in the judiciary but notwithstanding, we still have some brilliant minds, who are men and women of integrity.

“For them now to say the judiciary is the highest bribe-taker is very unfortunate and actually insulting. It is not true. We are not saying that every thing is perfect, everybody is doing the best to ensure that all is well. For them now to say the judiciary is the highest bribe-taker, how many lawyers have they seen or arrested or convicted on corruption?” he said.

Also, a source within the Nigerian Judicial Commission (NJC), who would not want to be quoted, described the claim as a figment of UNODC’s imagination. The source, who cautioned against unsubstantiated allegations, asked what facts and figures were before the UN agency to prove its claims.

According to the source, a formal statement might be made by the NJC, when it gets a copy of the report.“I know it was based on the raid of judges last year but what is the number of judges that are corrupt when compared to the number of judges in the country?” the source queried.

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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