The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has focused its attention on developers and primary mortgage banks that obtained housing loans to the tune of N100bn from the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, but misappropriated the funds.
The Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, promised the FMBN that the anti-graft agency would help the bank to recover the funds when the acting Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the bank, Richard Esin, led his team to the corporate headquarters of the EFCC in Abuja.
The EFCC said on its official Facebook page that Esin applauded Magu for his achievements in the fight against corruption.
The statement read in part, “He (Esin) said the bank had come to identify with the commission and to also plea for the assistance of the EFCC to intervene and recover about N100bn which is in the hands of developers and primary mortgage banks.
“Magu appreciated the management of the bank for the visit and assured them that the commission would do everything within its mandate to assist the bank and prevent it from going under.”
In a separate statement, Esin informed the anti-graft boss that but for the resilience of the bank, it would not have been able to meet the financial requests of Nigerians, including employees of the EFCC, because of fraudulent partner developers.
According to FMBN’s acting MD, fraudulent partner developers have a huge debt overhang with the bank, explaining that they obtained construction finance from the bank to build estates, but diverted the funds into other non-productive and non-regenerative activities.
He further stated that some developers completed the estates, sold the housing units and failed to remit the sales proceeds to the bank.
Esin said some primary mortgage banks, which obtained funds from the bank for mortgage finances for on-lending to qualified National Housing Fund contributors, failed to disburse the funds to the applicants, while others obtained equity contribution from would-be mortgagors but refused to deploy same in the provision of mortgage finances to the applicants’ benefit.
The bank MD expressed worry that despite the revocation of their operation alliances, some of the operators of the primary mortgage banks were still deceptively encouraging innocent and unsuspecting mortgagors to continue to repay their mortgages to them through fictitious accounts with no intention of remitting same to the FMBN.
He appealed to Magu to assist in the recovery of bank funds from contractors and vendors who were mobilised to execute various contracts for the bank, but failed to execute same and misappropriated the bank’s money.
He said, “Their activities are fraudulent, and constitute financial crimes. We, therefore, seek the EFCC’s kind assistance in the recovery of these funds which belong to the Nigerian workers.”
Speaking further, Esin informed Magu that his management was committed to helping the workers of the commission to own houses, noting that after the Memorandum of Understanding between both organisations, the FMBN had disbursed N3bn in 10 batches to 156 employees of the EFCC.
He added that N1.6bn worth of NHF loans for 113 workers of the EFCC packaged by the FGMB were awaiting board approval, while N1.3bn had been approved as NHF loans for EFCC workers, but not disbursed because the targeted houses were no longer available.
Mali Sworn In Bah Ndaw as Transition President
Mali’s interim president, Bah Ndaw, chosen to head a transitional government following a coup last month, was sworn in during ceremonies in the capital Bamako on Friday, AFP journalists witnessed.
A committee appointed by the junta which seized power on August 18, toppling President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, selected Ndaw, a 70-year-old retired colonel, as interim president.
Ndaw is due to lead a transition government for a maximum of 18 months before organising national elections.
Colonel Assimi Goita, who led the military junta, was also sworn in as interim vice president.
The ceremony on Friday took place in a theatre filled with officials dressed in military fatigues, senior judges, and foreign diplomats.
During the ceremony, Supreme Court Chief Prosecutor Boya Dembele said the challenges facing both men were “enormous”.
“It will truly require a reformulation of the state,” said the judge, dressed in red fur-lined robes.
The swearing-in comes as the fragile Sahel state’s neighbours have leaned on the military junta to appoint civilians as interim president and prime minister.
The 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) slapped sanctions on the poor country on August 20 to push for a swift return to civilian rule.
A decision by the bloc on whether to ease the measure is possible on Friday, according to former Nigerian president and ECOWAS mediator Goodluck Jonathan.
“We are optimistic that this event will signal the beginning of the return to normalcy in Mali,” he said on Twitter on Thursday night, referring to the swearing in of interim-government leaders.
Last month’s coup followed weeks of mass protests against Keita, spurred by frustrations over a brutal jihadist conflict, perceived corruption and the country’s slumping economy.
Mali has struggled to quell an eight-year-old Islamist insurgency which has claimed thousands of military and civilian lives.
Imo State Bans Traffic Agents, Task Forces Over Bribery
Uzodinma Bans Traffic Agents, Task Forces Over Bribery
The Executive Governor of Imo State, Hope Uzodinma, has restricted all traffic agents and task forces from operating in the state over bribery and extortions.
Declan Emelumba, the state commissioner for Information and Strategy, disclosed this at the Government House in Owerri on Thursday.
Checks revealed that the task force team that operates from Heroes’ Square still demands as much as N27,000 fines from people arrested. A shocking situation that has plunged the limited resources of hardworking Imo people.
However, the information commissioner, who described the task force as “illegal”, said the state government has sanctioned its personnel.
Emelumba said, “The governor has since banned all traffic agents and task forces in line with the desire of the people.”
FG Puts Nine-year Presidential Jet Up For Sale
The Federal Government has put up for sale a jet in the presidential fleet, Hawker 4000 aircraft with registration number, 5N-FGX/: RC 066.
The business-size jet which entered into service in December 2011, has capacity for nine passengers and three crew members.
Findings indicate that only 73 Hawker 4000 aircraft were manufactured by Hawker Beechcraft between 2001 and 2013 and they were sold for $22.91m each as of 2012.
The FG in a published advert on Wednesday disclosed that the aircraft with a range of 3,190-nautical mile had flown for 1,768 hours.
It said the aircraft could be inspected at the Presidential Air Fleet’s hangar located at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Interested buyers were requested to submit their closed bid to the Chairman, Committee for Sale of Aircraft, Office of the National Security Adviser, care of Special Services Office, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation.
In an advertisement published in some national dailies on Wednesday, prospective buyers were directed to submit a refundable bank draft for $50,000 to the committee with the bid.
It also said that all the bids should be quoted in dollars.
The notice read, “Please note that all bids must be submitted within one week of this publication.
“Background check is required as a pre-qualification for the bid. Prospective bidders who want to inspect the aircraft will be granted access within one week from this advertisement.”
The Presidency had similarly in 2016 put up for sale two presidential aircraft, a Falcon 7X executive jet and Hawker 4000, in line with the directive of the president, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), that aircraft in the Presidential Air Fleet should be reduced to cut down on waste.
The government also said some aircraft in the fleet would be handed over to the Nigeria Air Force for its operations. It could not be confirmed if this had been done.
According to the Presidency, the PAF has 10 aircraft and they include Boeing Business Jet (Boeing 737-800 or Air Force One), one Gulfstream 550, one Gulfstream V (Gulfstream 500), two Falcons 7X, one Hawker Sidley 4000, two AgustaWestland AW 139 helicopters and two AgustaWestland AW 101 helicopters.
Reports said each of the two Falcon 7X jets were purchased in 2010 for $51.1m, while the Gulfstream 550 costs $53.3m.
The Senior Special Assistant, (Media and Publicity) to the President, Garba Shehu, had yet to respond to inquiries on the number of presidential aircraft sold so far, as of the time of filing this report.
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