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We Have Fresh Evidence of Corruption Against Atiku, Says FG

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  • We Have Fresh Evidence of Corruption Against Atiku, Says FG

The Federal Government said on Friday it was in possession of fresh evidence allegedly linking the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, to the collapse of Bank PHB.

It stated that Abubakar had questions to answer in connection with an alleged N156m slush fund that he took from the bank through Claremont Management Services Account on 13th January, 2009.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, made the allegation in Abuja while speaking with State House correspondents on whether the government was disturbed that the former VP got a United States visa and travelled to the US on Thursday.

Mohammed claimed the government was not bothered about the trip but added that he must clear his name of corruption allegations, especially his alleged role in the collapse of Bank PHB.

The minister said, “I have come to make few remarks about the recent visit of the presidential candidate of the PDP to the US. You can recall that a few weeks ago, I did issue a statement advising the US Government not to issue a visa to Atiku.

“Remember also that in that same press conference, I also stated that it remained the prerogative of the US government to issue visa to anyone it deemed fit.

“Let me say right away that we are not perturbed one bit that Alhaji Atiku Abukakar was able to secure a visa to the US. As a matter of fact, he can go ahead and get the US Green Card; that will not save him from imminent defeat in the forthcoming election.

He added, “I want to remind Abubakar that the elections will be right here in Nigeria and not in the US. In any event, any time Abubakar returns home, he has questions to answer following the fresh evidence that we have that he benefited from slush funds that led to the collapse of former Bank PHB.

“The document we have shows he benefited to the tune of N156m from that slush fund.

“The paper which we have here started from an internal memo on January 13, 2009, which reads, ‘Please refer for discussion, your requested overdraft in favour of Atiku Abubakar for N156m and deliver same to me.

“Please note that it must be delivered today (January 13) on the same date.’’’

The minister stated that there was a second memo, which confirmed the receipt of the money requested.

He quoted from the second memo, which reads, “Please confirm that the amount stated below be issued from Claremont Management Services account.”

He said, “And we have evidence here of the account mandate, the name of Atiku Abubakar; we also have a copy of the cheque in which the sum of N156m was issued to Atiku Abubakar, dated January 13, 2009.

“And of course, we also have a statement of account within that period that confirms that this sum was actually paid into his account.

“These are fresh evidence as to his involvement in the collapse of Bank PHB. So, we want him to stay as long as he wants in the US, but as soon as he comes back, he has to explain to the electorate and to Nigerians what his role was in the collapse of the former Bank PHB.”

Mohammed, however, observed that the visa the US gave to Abubakar was an indirect endorsement of Abubakar for the February 16 polls by the US government.

Allegation of corruption by FG is cock and bull story -Atiku

In his reaction, Atiku mocked the Federal Government for failing to stop the United States government from granting him visa, saying with or without a trip to the US, the PDP would dislodge the President Muhammadu Buhari-led All Progressives Congress at next month’s election.

The former vice-president also dismissed as cock and bull story, the allegation by Lai Mohammed that he had a case to answer over the collapse of Bank PHB (Platinum Habib Bank).

In a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, Atiku’s Special Assistant on Public Communication, Mr Phrank Shaibu, said the Federal Government should bury its head in shame having failed to stop him from travelling to the US.

He said it was shameful that the governing APC took it upon itself to call on the authorities of another country not to grant a private citizen entry visa, which ordinarily should not be its business.

Atiku who arrived in the US on Thursday said the APC was jittery knowing that its government had failed.

He stressed that Buhari’s days as President of Nigeria were numbered, adding that members of the ruling party had been running from pillar to post.

Atiku challenged the Federal Government to either prove his alleged corrupt activities or forever remain quiet.

He said, “It is disgusting to continue to spin allegations of corruption against me by people who have failed to come forward with a single shred of evidence of my misconduct while in office.

“Isn’t it a shame that the ruling party, which National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, only on Thursday gave official confirmation to the general belief that even if Lawrence Anini becomes an APC member today, Buhari will forgive and consecrate him, can turn around to accuse me of corruption today?

“They just suddenly woke up to the reality that their lies about Atiku being corrupt can no longer hold?”

he had added, “I challenge the Federal Government to come up with evidence that I benefitted from N156m slush funds through Claremont Management Services Account on 13th January, 2009 as well as the collapse of Bank PHB as they have alleged.

“It is instructive to note that the same Bank PHB is now Keystone Bank, which was said to have been acquired by Buhari’s cronies through AMCON last year.”

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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Government

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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