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EFCC Gets Court Approval to Prosecute Diezani, Begins Extradition Process

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Money laundering
  • EFCC Gets Court Approval to Prosecute Diezani, Begins Extradition Process

Indications emerged on Monday that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had finally commenced moves to extradite former Minster of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, from the United Kingdom to face corruption charges in Nigeria.

Acting EFCC Chairman, Mr Ibrahim Magu, said recently the commission was planning to extradite Alison-Madueke from the UK to the country following the commission’s dissatisfaction with the handling of the corruption case against her by the UK government.

The commencement of the extradition moves was confirmed on Monday with the leave granted the EFCC by the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Apo, Abuja, to arraign the former minister and one of her associates, Mr. Jide Omokore, before the court on February 25.

Acting spokesman for the anti-graft agency, Mr. Tony Orilade, confirmed that the charges were filed to initiate the process of extraditing Alison-Madueke from the UK to Nigeria.

To initiate an extradition process, the country requesting the extradition of a suspect must have a pending charge against them.

“Yes, it is to initiate the process of extraditing her to the country,” he said.

Asked if the Attorney General of the Federation, Mr. Abubakar Malami, whose office has the exclusive power to formally ask the UK to send Alison-Madueke back to Nigeria, was involved in the process so far, Orilade said, “The AGF is cooperating very well with the commission.”

In a statement he issued also on Monday, Orilade said the EFCC had filed an application for warrant for arrest against the ex-minister.

He said the request was also “a condition precedent for Deziani’s extradition protocol to bring her back home to face trail.”

He added, “A motion ex parte would be filed tomorrow (December 4, 2018) deposing to the facts given on Diezani by the commission.”

Alison-Madueke’s co-accused in the new case, Omokore, who is a former Chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling company, and others are already being prosecuted for various charges, which had been linked to the ex-minister, before the Federal High Court in Abuja.

The five counts newly filed by the EFCC against the ex-minister and Omokore bordered on conspiracy and illegal act of accepting and giving gratifications.

They allegedly accepted and gave gifts of properties described as penthouse 22, Block B, Admiralty Estate, Ikoyi, and penthouse 21, building 5, block C, Banana Island, Lagos as gratifications.

The EFCC said the alleged offence, contravened the provisions of Sections 26(1) and 17 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000.

Requesting the court to grant the leave for the arraignment of the duo during the Monday’s proceedings, EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Faruk Abdullahi, said Alison-Madueke left the country for the UK while investigations into the allegations against her were ongoing.

Abdullahi said she had since refused to honour the EFCC’s invitation to return to the country to be prosecuted.

But a defence counsel, Tayo Adeniyo (SAN), said his client was not served with the charges and his client was ready to clear his name.

Justice Valentine Ashi granted the EFCC’s request and February 25 for the arraignment of the defendants.

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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