- EFCC to Prosecute INEC Director over N16m Scam
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday said it had concluded arrangements to prosecute a Deputy Director of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Akwa Ibom State and former Electoral Officer in Rivers State, Gogo Anderson Waribo, for allegedly collecting N16 million from the infamous N23 billion linked to former Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, which she has denied belonged to her.
In a statement, EFCC Head of Media and Information, Wilson Uwujaren, said: “Waribo was arrested by operatives of the anti-graft agency following an intelligence report that some INEC officers conspired with some staff a bank to defraud the federal government of several millions of naira.
“Although he has consistently denied involvement in the fraud, investigation revealed that the INEC deputy director’s name is on the list of beneficiaries of the money.
“He was alleged to have received the sum of N16 million through his First Bank account on March 27, 2015. Waribo allegedly gave N5 million from the N16 million to Peter Popnen, an ex- INEC official.”
The suspect is expected to be arraigned as soon as investigation is completed, the EFCC spokesman added.
The EFCC yesterday also arraigned the duo of Usman B Abdurahman (KILISHIN DAS) and Hafizu Dauda of the Bauchi State judiciary before Justice M. A Sambo of the Bauchi State High Court on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining of goods under false pretence and presenting false documents.
The suspects who are secretary and treasurer respectively of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees, (AUPCTRE) judiciary branch, Bauchi State, were arrested following a petition by a top judicial officer in the state, alleging that sometime in 2009, the association entered into contract agreement with De-Damak Nigeria Limited to supply 3,000 unit of motorcycles at the cost of N217,000,000 for distribution to its members, based on management guarantee and irrevocable standing payment order (ISPO) by the High Court of Bauchi State.
According to Uwujaren, “The unionists allegedly diverted many units of the motorcycles and sold them to M. D. Tofa Investment Limited in Kano.
“It was also discovered that even the few names submitted by the union as beneficiaries of the loan for remittance were fictitious; others were either retired or dead, while majority could not be found in the central data base of the Bauchi State civil Service.”
The defendants pleaded ‘not guilty’ to all the charges read against them. In view of their plea, the prosecution counsel Abubakar Aliyu urged the court to fix a date for trial in line with the practice direction of the Bauchi State High Court and also to remand the accused persons in prison custody.
Defence counsel, Y. A Garkuwa, informed the court that he filed a bail application dated March 1, 2017, and served same to prosecution.
Justice Sambo adjoined the case to March 3, 2017, for consideration of bail application, and March 20, 2017, for trial.
Buhari Declares Oct 1 Public Holiday
The Federal Government has declared Thursday, October 1, 2020, as a public holiday to commemorate Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary.
The Minister of Interior, Rauf Aregbesola, who made the declaration, congratulated all Nigerians on the celebration of the country’s Diamond Jubilee while stressing the government’s commitment to the socio-economic transformation of the country.
This was contained in a statement titled, ‘FG Declares Thursday, October 1, 2020, Public Holiday To Mark Nigeria’s 60th Independence Anniversary’ and signed by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Interior, Georgina Ehuriah.
According to the statement, the minister praised Nigerians for the feats in economy, education, the creative sector, amongst others.
The statement also quoted Aregbesola as saying, “Though celebrating sixty years of independence really calls for pomp and pageantry, but with the global COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced all nations in the world to think and act cautiously, we cannot avoid the imperative of a low-keyed celebration at this time.”
It added, “While wishing Nigerians a fruitful independence celebration, he reminded them of the fact that our founding fathers, in spite of the differences in faith, tribe and tongue came together for Nigeria’s independence.”
INEC To Introduce E-voting, Talking to Machine Manufacturers
INEC Commences Process of Introducing E-voting, Discussing With Manufacturers
The Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday said it has commenced plans to replace manual voting with an electronic voting system.
According to Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, who disclosed this during the demonstration of electronic voting machines, the commission has invited manufacturers of electronic voting machines around the world to demonstrate how the machines work and preparatory to the full migration.
He said, “Over the years, the commission has been automating the critical pillars of the process. The biometric register of voters has been updated continuously. At the moment, the INEC register of voters is the largest database of citizens in Nigeria.
“In addition, the combination of biometric voter cards commonly known as the Permanent Voter Card and the Smart Card Reader have revolutionised the accreditation of voters during elections.
“More recently, the introduction of a number of portals has facilitated the seamless nomination of candidates for elective offices by political parties as well as the accreditation of observers and the media.
“Most significantly, the commission now uploads polling unit level results in real-time on Election Day to a portal for public view. These are significant innovations that have deepened the transparency and credibility of elections and the electoral process in Nigeria.
“The commission developed the specifications of the functions required of the machine. After extensive discussion and review, the commission took the decision to invite original manufacturers of electronic voting machines around the world for a virtual or practical demonstration of the machines.”
Yakubu explained that more than 40 companies have indicated interest and would be demonstrating to the commission how the IT solutions meet its specifications.
“The commission is aware that Nigerians want us to deepen the use of technology in elections. Let me reassure Nigerians that the commission is committed to expediting the process leading to the deployment of the EVMs in elections in earnest,” the INEC chairman said.
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.
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