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EFCC, Customs Place Fayose on Watch List, to Prevent Foreign Trip

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  • EFCC, Customs Place Fayose on Watch List, to Prevent Foreign Trip

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has written to the Nigeria Customs Service to place the outgoing Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, on its watch list and prevent the governor from leaving the country through any land, air or sea borders.

The NCS has granted the request and circulated the EFCC directive to its area and zonal commands, directing that “you are to monitor the suspect and report to the EFCC through the provided contact details if sighted.”

The EFCC Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, in a letter dated September 12 to the Customs’ Comptroller General’s office, stated that Fayose was under investigation and there was a suspicion that he might leave the country to evade the commission’s investigations.

Fayose, whose tenure will end on Monday, October 15, had last Monday written to the EFCC chairman, agreeing to report at the EFCC office on October 16 “to clarify issues or answer questions on issues within my knowledge.”

The governor’s letter was titled, “Notification of my decision to make myself available in your office to clarify issues or answer questions on issues within my knowledge” in which he noted that the EFCC was at liberty to pick another date if it was not satisfied with an October 16 appointment.

The EFCC had replied Fayose in a report on Saturday that he could report at the commission’s headquarters on September 20 for questioning, instead of waiting till his immunity lapsed on October 16.

In the letter with a reference number, ‘EFCC/EC/GC/31/2173’, and signed by the EFCC’s Director of Operations, Umar Mohammed, the anti-graft agency asked the governor to be obliged to come to the EFCC before the expiration of his tenure.

Our correspondent learnt on Sunday that the EFCC acting Chairman, Magu, had written to the Customs to place Fayose on its watch list and prevent any attempt by the governor to leave the country through air, land or sea borders.

Magu’s letter with a reference number, CR:3000/EFCC/ABJ/EG/TA/VOL.59 and dated September 12, is titled, “Request for watch-listing of persons, the case of conspiracy, abuse of office, official corruption, theft and money laundering.”

The commission wrote, “The under listed suspect is under investigation in connection with the above-mentioned offences and there is reasonable suspicion suggesting that he may likely leave the country either through the land borders, airports, seaports in order to evade investigation. Hence, you are requested to watch-list and arrest him.

“You are further requested to contact the commission through the following numbers in the event of his arrest. Name of the suspect: Fayose Ayodele Peter, Address: Ekiti State Government House, Ekiti State.”

The NCS in a letter, dated September 14, to its zonal coordinators, Customs area controllers, granted the request.

“Consequently, you are requested to monitor the suspect and report to the EFCC through the provided contact details if sighted,” the NCS letter partly said.

It was also learnt that apart from the Customs, the EFCC has also reached out to the police, the Nigerian Immigration Service and the Department of State Services to monitor Governor Fayose’s movements and arrest him in case he attempts to leave the country.

A source in the EFCC said, “The letter was copied to the police and the DSS. So, all the security agencies and border authorities have been notified about the governor in order to ensure that he does not flee the country.”

However, Fayose has berated the EFCC for putting his name on the watch list describing such move as political and petty.

A press statement issued by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr Idowu Adelusi, in Ado Ekiti on Sunday, quoted Fayose as saying he was in the Peoples Democratic Party and would remain there not minding any form of intimidation.

Fayose said he was not among those who were afraid to face tomorrow, reminding the anti-graft agency that nobody was God and God was not a man that He would condone injustice.

The governor stated that he had earlier informed the EFCC through a letter that he would come to their office on October 16, 2018. He wondered why the desperation, insisting that he would report on that day.

The statement read, “EFCC, when a woman is being brought to you as a wife, you don’t have to peep through the window to see her. As I said in my letter, Insha Allah, I will be in your office on October 16, a day after the expiration of my tenure.

“Putting my name on a watch list after notification of my coming is not only political but petty. I’m not among those who are afraid to face tomorrow. Nobody is God. They should expect me on October 16, 2018. I will remain in the PDP not minding their intimidation.”

Meanwhile, Fayose has said that he has neither obtained loans from any bank or bonds from the capital market since he assumed office on October 16, 2014.

He challenged the Debt Management Office and the All Progressives Congress to publish such record if available.

The governor also took a swipe at the Federal Government for releasing N16.6bn Paris Club Refund to Osun State about two weeks to the governorship election when that of Ekiti was withheld in a similar circumstance.

He said the refusal of the Federal Government to pay Ekiti the refund of the money spent on federal projects and withholding the Paris Club refund accounted for why workers’ salaries were not paid.

Fayose stated these on Sunday in a reaction to an allegation by the Transition Committee set up by the APC Governor-elect, Dr Kayode Fayemi, claiming that the state’s debt profile stood at N117bn.

He said, “I have not committed Ekiti to one Naira since I assumed office as governor for the second term. I haven’t borrowed from any financial institution. The DMO and the Federal Ministry of Finance are the approving authorities. Fayemi should publish any document from these approving authorities showing any money borrowed by my administration.

“I did not borrow from any financial institution or take any bond from the capital market. The figure which Fayemi is talking about is the money his administration borrowed which was restructured as it was done for other states.

“The administration of Fayemi brought Ekiti to N25bn bond and N32bn commercial loan and the state will pay the bond until year 2022. The commercial loan was restructured like it was done for other states,” he claimed.

The governor also justified the purchase of a new vehicle for himself and approval of the severance packages of his deputy and himself.

“When Fayemi was leaving as governor in 2014, he left with a car which he bought for himself and so did other governors before him. So, you can’t expect me also not to have a befitting car when I am leaving office. Fayemi is only displaying hypocrisy.

“Fayemi himself ordered a Jeep of almost N70m when l was still Governor-elect in 2014, but he didn’t pay for it. I had also bought a Jeep for former Governor Niyi Adebayo to honour him. That is how it is done every four years.”

On why he owes workers, he said, “If the Federal Government has paid all the outstanding debt it owes Ekiti, l would not owe salary now. The Federal Government owes Ekiti budget support of two months now, the Paris Club refund was withheld and they have refused to also pay the refund of N11bn for the federal roads which the state constructed.

“If they had paid these outstanding, I wouldn’t owe Ekiti workers any salary now. Deliberately, they withheld them so that I am not able to offset the four months workers’ salaries before the Ekiti election. Still, Ekiti people voted for the Peoples Democratic Party.”

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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