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Court Strikes out Alison-Madueke’s Name from $1.6bn Fraud Trial

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Alison Madueke
  • Court Strikes out Alison-Madueke’s Name from $1.6bn Fraud Trial

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Abuja division of the Federal High Court Wednesday struck out the name of the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the ongoing trial of the Chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept (AEDC) Nigeria Limited, Mr. Jide Omokore, and five others standing trial over their alleged involvement in a $1.6 billion crude oil fraud.

The trial judge struck out her name while delivering ruling on the former minister’s motion seeking to be joined as a defendant in the suit.

Omokore, AEDC, Atlantic Energy Brass Development (AEBD) Ltd., Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere and David Mbanefo are standing trial for their alleged involvement in defrauding the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), the exploration and production subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), of $1.6 billion.

Omokore and his firms – AEDC and AEBD – had entered into a Strategic Alliance Agreement (SAA) in 2010 to provide funding for the development of six joint venture oil blocks operated by NPDC.

The SAA allowed AEDC and AEBD to recover their investments in the oil acreages through crude oil lifting under an agreed sharing formula with NPDC.

However, both firms were alleged to have diverted part of the proceeds from the sale of the crude oil which should have paid to NPDC.

But sources close to AEDC and AEBD have maintained that the amount due to NPDC stood at about $800 million as of 2015, and not $1.6 billion as alleged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which charged the parties to court for alleged fraud early this year.

Of the $800 million, they disclosed that $500 million had been repaid to the NPDC after a reconciliation process.

They have also maintained that the companies had not committed any fraud and the matter was a breach of contract which should have gone to arbitration as provided for in the SAA.

At the resumed trial Wednesday, Alison-Madueke had through her lawyer, Dr. Onyechi Ikpeazu (SAN), applied to Justice Dimgba to be joined as one of the defendants in the suit.

She predicated the request on the grounds that count eight of the nine-count charge proffered against the six defendants had mentioned her name, even though the prosecution did not make her one of the defendants.

In the motion argued before Justice Dimgba, Alison-Madueke maintained that her application would not prejudice the criminal trial but rather afford her the opportunity to be heard in the interest of fair hearing.

Ikpeazu said the applicant would be grossly prejudiced if the application was refused by the court, adding that the refusal would further compound the gross violation of her constitutional rights.

In opposing the application, counsel to the EFCC, Aliyu Yusuf, urged the court to decline her request to be joined as a defendant.

Yusuf told the court that Alison-Madueke was currently under investigation by the Metropolitan Police, London for several crimes and has been admitted to bail in the United Kindom but could not leave the country.

“The applicant seeing that the investigations by the Metropolitan Police had reached advanced stage, and that trial in the instant charge before this honourable court is proceeding smoothly, had designed the instant application to distract and scuttle both her investigation and imminent prosecution in the United Kingdom and the trial before this court,” Yusuf argued.

He further claimed that Alison-Madueke knew she would not be able to leave the United Kingdom, in view of ongoing investigation and imminent prosecution, and was therefore seeking the order to amend the charge for her name to be included on the face of the charge in order “to escape investigation and prosecution in the United Kingdom under the guise that she is coming to face her trial before this court and also scuttle the trial”.

In a brief ruling, Justice Dimgba held that the EFCC could not eat its cake and have it because by including Alison-Madueke’s name in count eight of the charge, the commission ought to have made her one of the defendants.

The judge therefore struck out count eight where Alison-Madueke’s name was mentioned in the suit and adjourned trial of the substantive matter till October 5 and 6.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Fubara Appoints and Swears in Caretaker Chairmen for All 23 Rivers State LGAs

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Siminalayi Fubara

Governor Siminalayi Fubara of Rivers State has appointed and sworn in new caretaker chairmen for all 23 local government areas.

This significant action followed swiftly after the House of Assembly, led by factional Speaker Victor Jumbo, screened and confirmed the nominees earlier in the day.

The process began on Tuesday when Governor Fubara submitted the list of nominees to the state House of Assembly.

According to a statement by the Clerk of the House, G.M. Gillis-West, the nominees were summoned for an early morning screening at 8 a.m. on Wednesday.

The rapid succession of events underscores the urgency of the appointments amid ongoing political unrest in the state.

The political crisis intensified as former council chairmen, whose terms had expired, refused to vacate their offices.

This defiance prompted the need for a swift and firm resolution to ensure continuity and stability in local governance.

The swearing-in ceremony took place under tight security at the Executive Council Chambers of the Government House in Port Harcourt, the state capital.

Governor Fubara administered the oath of office to the first batch of eleven caretaker chairmen, with subsequent batches following promptly.

The newly appointed caretaker chairmen are:

  • Abua/Odua LGA: Madigai Dickson
  • Ahoada East LGA: Happy Benneth
  • Ahoada West LGA: Mr. Daddy John Green
  • Akuku Toru LGA: Otonye Briggs
  • Andoni LGA: Reginald Ekaan
  • Asari Toru LGA: Orolosoma Amachree
  • Bonny LGA: Alabota Anengi Barasua
  • Degema LGA: Anthony Soberekon
  • Eleme LGA: Brain Gokpa
  • Emouha LGA: David Omereji
  • Etche LGA: John Otamiri
  • Gokana LGA: Kenneth Kpeden
  • Ikwerre LGA: Darlington Orji
  • Khana LGA: Marvin Yobana
  • Obio/Akpor LGA: Emmanuel Dogwo
  • Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni LGA: Vincent Anyanwu
  • Ogu/Bolo LGA: Margaret Ezenwa
  • Okrika LGA: Chizoba Onyebuchi
  • Omuma LGA: Cynthia Amadi
  • Opobo/Nkoro LGA: Solomon Dokubo
  • Oyigbo LGA: Chima Nwafor
  • Port Harcourt LGA: Isaac Udochukwu
  • Tai LGA: Ruth Michael

Governor Fubara expressed confidence in the capabilities of the newly appointed chairmen and emphasized the importance of their roles in maintaining stability and driving development at the grassroots level.

He urged them to prioritize the needs of their communities and work diligently towards improving the quality of life for all residents of Rivers State.

The appointment of the caretaker chairmen is expected to quell the political tensions that have recently plagued the state, ensuring that local governance continues smoothly and efficiently.

As Rivers State navigates this transitional period, the administration remains committed to fostering a stable and prosperous environment for its citizens.

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FG Declares June 12 Public Holiday for Democracy Day Celebration

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The Federal Government has declared Wednesday, June 12, a public holiday in commemoration of this year’s Democracy Day celebration.

The announcement was made in a statement signed by Aishetu Ndayako, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Interior, on behalf of Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, the Minister of Interior.

The statement urged Nigerians to reflect on the struggles and sacrifices of the nation’s founding fathers and to ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secure, peaceful, and indivisible entity.

“As we mark another Democracy Day in the history of our dear country, let us all reflect on the efforts of our founding fathers and ensure that Nigeria remains a united, secured, peaceful, and indivisible entity,” the statement read.

A Historic Shift

The designation of June 12 as Democracy Day dates back to June 7, 2018, when former President Muhammadu Buhari announced that the day would henceforth be celebrated as Democracy Day.

Prior to this declaration, Democracy Day was observed on May 29, the date marking the inauguration of the Fourth Republic in 1999.

President Buhari’s decision was rooted in the historical significance of June 12, 1993, the day of what is widely regarded as Nigeria’s freest and fairest presidential election.

Despite the election’s annulment by the then-military government, Buhari emphasized that the democratic credentials of the process should be honored.

Honoring a Legacy

To further commemorate the significance of June 12, Buhari posthumously awarded Chief Moshood Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled 1993 election, with the nation’s highest honor, Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR).

The statement from the Ministry of Interior also highlighted President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to implementing positive reforms aimed at reviving Nigeria’s economy and enhancing national security.

A Call for Unity

The Minister of Interior, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo, called on all citizens and friends of Nigeria to appreciate the progress that has been made in the country’s democratic journey and to look forward to a brighter future.

“As we celebrate Democracy Day, we must appreciate the progress that has been made and remain hopeful for a better future for Nigeria’s democracy,” the minister said.

This year’s Democracy Day comes at a crucial time as Nigeria continues to navigate economic challenges and security concerns. The public holiday on June 12 provides an opportunity for Nigerians to reflect on the importance of democracy and the ongoing efforts to strengthen the nation’s democratic institutions.

As the nation prepares to observe the public holiday, there is a sense of anticipation and hope that the values of democracy will continue to guide Nigeria towards a prosperous and harmonious future.

The government’s declaration serves as a reminder of the enduring legacy of June 12 and the importance of upholding democratic principles.

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Guilty on All 34 Counts: Trump Convicted in Hush Money Case

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donald-trump

In a historic and unprecedented legal decision, former President Donald Trump was found guilty on all 34 counts in his “hush money” trial, making him the first former U.S. president to be convicted of a crime.

The verdict was delivered by a jury of 12 New Yorkers on Wednesday, concluding a six-week trial in Manhattan.

The charges against Trump centered around falsifying business records to cover up a $130,000 payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels before the 2016 presidential election.

The jury found Trump guilty on all counts, concluding that he authorized a scheme to falsify checks and related documents to keep the alleged affair from becoming public knowledge.

Prosecutors from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office presented evidence showing that the conspiracy to cover up the payment began during Trump’s 2016 campaign and continued into his first year in the White House.

They argued that Trump, along with his associates, created false records to mislead voters and conceal the payment.

Trump, who has consistently denied having any sexual encounter with Daniels, responded angrily to the verdict. Speaking to reporters outside the courtroom, he called the trial “a disgrace” and accused the judge of bias.

“This was a rigged trial by a conflicted judge who was corrupt,” Trump stated.

He vowed to continue fighting the verdict, saying, “The real verdict is going to be Nov. 5 by the people, and they know what happened here and everybody knows what happened here. We’ll fight to the end.”

The conviction comes at a critical time for Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president in the 2024 election. Despite the conviction, there is no constitutional barrier preventing him from running for office again.

Legal experts note that the Constitution’s requirements for presidential candidates—being at least 35 years old, a natural-born citizen, and a U.S. resident for 14 years—do not include any disqualification for being a convicted felon.

Judge Juan Merchan has scheduled Trump’s sentencing for July 11. The defense has until June 13 to submit any motions, with the prosecution required to respond by June 27.

Trump’s legal team indicated they would prefer a sentencing date in mid to late July.

Trump’s conviction adds to the already intense political climate as the nation prepares for the 2024 elections. The trial has drawn significant media attention and public scrutiny, reflecting deep divisions within American society.

The trial highlighted broader issues regarding campaign finance and the use of hush money in politics. It also raises questions about the integrity of presidential candidates and the lengths to which they might go to protect their public image.

As the legal and political ramifications of this verdict unfold, Trump’s conviction on all 34 counts marks a significant chapter in U.S. history.

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