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EFCC to Seize Diezani’s, Aluko’s Dubai Mansions

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Achike Udenwa
  • EFCC to Seize Diezani’s, Aluko’s Dubai Mansions

Barely 48 hours after the US Department of Justice released details of how part of the $1.5billion oil production contracts funds were laundered, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to seize a mansion belonging to one of the suspects, Kola Aluko, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Besides, the commission will apply for the forfeiture of two houses belonging to a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, who was implicated by the U.S. authorities as a beneficiary of the laundered cash.

About five luxury properties have also been traced to a former official of the defunct Oceanic Bank.

All the properties in question have been identified and documented for forfeiture with the UAE authorities.

Nigeria signed six agreements with the UAE on January 19, 2016 following a state visit by President Muhammadu Buhari.

The pact includes Judicial Agreements on Extradition, Transfer of Sentenced Persons, Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal Matters, and Mutual Legal Assistance on Criminal and Commercial Matters (the recovery and repatriation of stolen wealth).

Besides, the luxury properties in the United States, the EFCC believes Aluko and Mrs. Alison-Madueke allegedly acquired others with the laundered funds.

According to a source, who pleaded not to be named because he is not allowed to talk to the media on the matter, all the suspicious assets have been located in the highbrow Jumeirah, which is the most expensive and exclusive area in Dubai.

But of the eight identified, two apartments linked with Mrs Alison-Madueke are marked as J5 Emirates Hills (30million Dirham) and E146 Emirates Hills valued at 44million Dirham.

For “security reasons”, the addresses of the mansions of Aluko and the ex-Oceanic Bank official, a woman, have not been disclosed.

The EFCC plans to release the details later.

A source in the commission said: “The EFCC still has a valid Mareva Injunction to freeze some foreign accounts and seize some assets linked with Diezani and her business associates in the United Kingdom and some jurisdictions.

“Some of the offshore financial institutions, where accounts are frozen, include BNP Paribas (Switzerland), LGT Bank (Switzerland), Standard Chartered Bank (London),Barclays Bank (London), Standard Energy (Voduz, Switzerland), HSBC (London), Corner Bank (Lugano, Switzerland) and Deutsche Bank (Geneva).

“Besides the luxury properties traced to Diezani and Aluko in the US, we have identified more in Dubai.

“So far, we have commenced the process of ensuring the forfeiture of these assets by the suspects. The EFCC is also verifying the assets linked with Aluko’s business partner, Chief Jide Omokore in Dubai too.

“All the steps taken so far are in line with the relevant laws in the UAE and the six agreements signed with Nigeria when President Buhari went on official trip.”

According to the source, the EFCC believes that “some of the assets were bought with part of the $1.5billion oil production contracts.

”These oil barons and their ilk acquired these properties when Dubai was a safe haven for looted funds. But the UAE has strengthened its laws in a manner that there is no more hidden place for the corrupt,” the source said, adding that the only hurdle the EFCC has to cross is the legal process in the UAE to retrieve the assets. “We are already employing the Mutual Legal Assistance Agreement to get this done.” He said.

The Federal Government has ratified all the agreements with the UAE. This development will hasten asset recovery and retrieval of looted funds.

“We will do our best to comply with their legal procedure,” the source said.

“Statutorily, we have succeeded in establishing that the EFCC is empowered to confiscate the affected assets. We are invoking sections 7 of 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004.”

Section 7 says: “The commission has power to (a) cause any investigations to be conducted as to whether any person, corporate body or organization has committed any offence under this Act or other law relating to economic and financial crimes.

“(b) Cause investigations to be conducted into the properties of any person if it appears to the commission that the person’s lifestyle and extent of the properties are not justified by his source of income.”

Sections 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004 empower the anti-graft agency to invoke Interim Assets Forfeiture Clause.

“Section 28 of the EFCC Act reads: ‘Where a person is arrested for an offence under this Act, the Commission shall immediately trace and attach all the assets and properties of the person acquired as a result of such economic or financial crime and shall thereafter cause to be obtained an interim attachment order from the Court.’

Section 13 of the Federal High Court Act reads in part: “The Court may grant an injunction or appoint a receiver by an interlocutory order in all cases in which it appears to the Court to be just or convenient so to do.

(2) Any such order may be made either unconditionally or on such terms and conditions as the Court thinks just.”

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

Makinde Directs Schools to Reopen After #EndSARS Protest

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education

Schools to Reopen After #EndSARS Protest, Says Governor Makinde

The Executive Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has directed schools across the Ibadan metropolis to resume normal activities immediately after the #EndSARS protest.

Mr Olasunkanmi Olaleye, the commissioner for education, Oyo State, disclosed this in a statement issued on Sunday in Ibadan.

According to Olaleye, the directive was after a careful review of the situation in the Ibadan metropolis as promised by Governor Makinde in a state broadcast on October 20.

This was after the governor ordered the closure of all schools, private and public, in the Ibadan metropolis for three days and promised to review the situation on October 23.

Olaleye said the governor thanks the youths who have been cooperating with security operatives in the state to ensure peace and order.

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Government

NIMC to Register, Issue 2.5 million National Identification Monthly

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NIMC enrolment

The National Identity Management Commission has said it would improve registration and issuance of the National Identification Numbers to both Nigerians and legal residents to the current 500,000 to 2.5 million per month.

Aliya Aziz, Director-General, NIMC, said this was the commission’s renewed commitment towards the provision of identity services to the nation.

He gave the assurance while playing host to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, who was on an official visit to the commission’s head office in Abuja.

Aziz said in a statement issued in Abuja by the Head, Corporate Communication, NIMC, Kayode Adegoke, that the commission would meet and surpass the monthly target.

This, he said, would be part of the policy statements in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy.

The NIMC boss told his guest that the commission had competent human resources and was looking forward to government support and intervention in injecting the much needed material resources to realise the set objectives.

Pantami charged the commission to increase and improve its performance with regards to NIN registration and issuance, as he also reiterated the target of 2.5 million monthly enrolments.

The minister told his host that the importance of digital identity in actualising the digital economy goals could not be overemphasised and commended the strides recorded by the NIMC despite limited resources.

He assured the commission of government’s support and guidance towards ensuring the fulfilment of its mandate, adding that he had initiated moves to improve staff welfare at the NIMC.

Pantami also assured the NIMC management and staff of his resolve to improve the state of the current infrastructure and equipment to enable the commission to sustain its performance.

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#EndSARS: Here is the Complete Speech of President Buhari

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Muhammadu Buhari

The Complete Speech of President Muhammadu Buhari

Following the Lekki Massacre, president Muhammadu Buhari delivered the much-awaited speech. However, the speech failed to touch on the massacre or the people affected, infuriating millions of Nigerian youths that have committed so much to the struggle and lost so much.

Below is the complete speech.

“Fellow Nigerians,

It has become necessary for me to address you having heard from many concerned Nigerians and having concluded a meeting with all the Security Chiefs.

As a democratic government, we listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters. And, having accepted them, we immediately scrapped SARS, and put measures in place to address the other demands of our youth.

On approving the termination of SARS I already made it clear that it was in line with our commitment to the implementation of extensive Police reforms.

Sadly, the promptness with which we have acted seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests.

The result of this is clear to all observers: human lives have been lost; acts of sexual violence have been reported; two major correctional facilities were attacked and convicts freed; public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalised; the sanctity of the Palace of a peace-maker, the Oba of Lagos has been violated. So-called protesters have invaded an International Airport and in the process disrupted the travel plans of fellow Nigerians and our visitors.

All these executed in the name of the ENDSARS protests. I am indeed deeply pained that innocent lives have been lost. These tragedies are uncalled for and unnecessary.

Certainly, there is no way whatsoever to connect these bad acts to legitimate expression of grievance of the youth of our country.

The spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the social media in particular, that this government is oblivious to the pains and plight of its citizens, is a ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgement and disruptive behaviour.

On the contrary, both our deeds and words have shown how committed this administration has been to the well being and welfare of citizens, even with the steadily dwindling revenues, and the added responsibilities and restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Government has put in place measures and initiatives principally targeted at youths, women and the most vulnerable groups in our society. These included our broad plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years; the creation of N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund to provide opportunities for the youths, and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund, through which government is:

a. paying 3-months salaries of the staff of 100,000 micro, small- and medium- enterprises
b. paying for the registration of 250,000 businesses at the Corporate Affairs Commission
c. giving a grant of N30,000 to 100,000 artisans
d. guaranteeing market for the products of traders

These are in addition to many other initiatives such as:

a. Farmermoni,
b. Tradermoni,
c. Marketmoni,
d. N-Power,
e. N-Tech and
f. N-Agro.

No Nigerian Government in the past has methodically and seriously approached poverty-alleviation like we have done.

With regard to the welfare of police personnel, the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission has been directed to expedite action on the finalization of the new salary structure of members of the Nigeria Police Force.

The emoluments of other paramilitary services are also being reviewed upwards.

In order to underscore the importance of education in preparing youths for the future, this administration has come up with a new salary structure and other incentives for our teachers.

Let me at this point reaffirm the Federal Government’s commitment to preserving the unity of this country.

We will continue to improve good governance and our democratic process, including through sustained engagement.

We shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens, are protected.

But remember that government also has the obligation to protect lives and properties, as well as the right of citizens to go about their daily businesses freely and protected from acts of violence.

To our neighbours in particular, and members of the international community, many of whom have expressed concern about the ongoing development in Nigeria, we thank you and urge you all to seek to know all the facts available before taking a position or rushing to judgement and making hasty pronouncements.

In the circumstances, I would like to appeal to protesters to note and take advantage of the various well-thought-out initiatives of this administration designed to make their lives better and more meaningful, and resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating our nascent democracy.

For you to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security and the law and order situation. Under no circumstances will this be tolerated.

I therefore call on our youths to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage government in finding solutions.

Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding.

And I call on all Nigerians to go about their normal businesses, and enjoin security agencies to protect lives and properties of all law-abiding citizens without doing harm to those they are meant to protect.

Let me pay tribute to officers of the Nigeria Police Force who have tragically lost their lives in the line of duty.

I would like to thank those State Governors, traditional and religious leaders who have appealed for calm and restraint.

I also thank youth leaders who have restrained their followers from taking the law into their hands.

This government respects and will continue to respect all the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people, but it will not allow anybody or groups to disrupt the peace of our nation.

Thank you all. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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