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THE NATION

Court acquits, discharges suspended SEC DG, Gwarzo

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A Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court on Tuesday discharged the suspended Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mounir Gwarzo, of the charge of fraud filed against him.

Mr Gwarzo’s co-defendant, Zakwanu Garba, who was the Executive Commissioner of the commission, was also discharged and acquitted.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) had arraigned the two officials before Justice Husseini Baba-Yusuf on a five-count charge bordering on fraud.

The former Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, suspended Messrs Gwarzo and Garba from their positions in November 2017 over allegations of corruption.

The minister then set up a panel to investigate the alleged issues, after which the ICPC arraigned them in court.

Delivering judgment on the case on Tuesday, the judge, Mr Baba-Yusuf, held that the prosecution did not prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused persons committed the offence for which they were charged.

The judge said by its own admission, the prosecution through its witnesses and evidence confirmed that the action of the defendant was by a decision of the governing board of SEC, which is the highest decision-making body of the commission.

Ruling on the first count of a five charge of use of office for personal enrichment against Mr Gwarzo, the judge said the ICPC did not prove its allegation.

He held that while the first prosecution did not implicate the first defendant in her testimony, the remaining witnesses who are operatives of the ICPC contradicted themselves.

“Furthermore, exhibit 19, which is a memo from the governing board of SEC, has clearly demonstrated that the decisions of the board of SEC as the highest decision and policy-making body of commission is legal.

“As a result of this, the first defendant is acquitted on the first charge,” the judge ruled.

The judge also absolved Mr Gwarzo of the allegations that he used his official position to corruptly enrich himself by using the monies paid to him as car grant as the DG of SEC.

Mr Baba-Yusuf held that: “The burden of proof was on the prosecution but through its own exhibit, which includes a board resolution which approved the car benefit for an executive director who had spent more than two years in office, the charge against Mister Gwarzo has not been established,” he said.

He said the fourth witness under cross-examination agreed that the board resolution was lawful and that the car grant was non-refundable.

Mr Baba-Yusuf held that the testimony of Prosecution Witness Two clearly showed that the first defendant had no role in deciding what he was entitled to and as such could not have used his office to enrich himself.

The judge, however, concluded that the evidence as a whole cannot be used by any court or tribunal to convict him.

He, therefore, discharged and acquitted him.

The court in the fourth count also discharged Mr Garba on the grounds that the evidence that he aided the suspended director-general of SEC to use his office to corruptly enrich himself was not proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

The judge then held that no prima facie case was established against Mr Garba who acted based on a decision of the governing board of SEC, which is the highest decision-making body of SEC.

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THE NATION

Communications minister, Pantami hails ICT’s contribution to GDP

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The Honourable Minister of Communications, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, has hailed ICT’s contribution GDP in the second quarter. In the report released by National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the contribution of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) surpassed that of Oil and Gas in the second quarter of 2019.

The report, released on Tuesday 2nd September, 2019, observed that the country’s GDP grew by 1.94% (year-on-year) in real terms in the second quarter of 2019 compared to the second quarter of 2018, which recorded a growth of 1.50%. Furthermore, the non-oil sector contributed 91.18% to the nation’s GDP in the second quarter of 2019 as opposed to the 8.82% contributed to total real GP by the oil sector. Particularly, the ICT sector contributed 13.85% to total nominal GDP in the second quarter of 2019 which is much higher than the 11.22% contributed in the same period in 2018.

The Honourable Minister observed that the significant contribution of the ICT sector to the GDP is as a result of the concerted efforts of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR, especially the manner in which the implementation of the administration’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) is being pursued. These efforts, he said, led to a sustained focus on growing the non-oil sector of the economy, especially ICT and the results witnessed are testimonies of impact of these efforts.

The Honourable Minister reiterated the Communications Ministry’s commitment to the economic diversification efforts of the present administration and called on all stakeholders to support Mr President’s laudable initiatives aimed at taking Nigeria to the next level.

 

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THE NATION

FMBN to provide affordable homes for Nigerian workers

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FMBN CEO, Ahmed Dangiwa

The managing director and chief executive officer of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), Arc. Ahmed Musa Dangiwa said the Bank is committed to providing affordable mortgages to drive home ownership among Nigerian workers.

Dangiwa was speaking when the Director-General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Sir Joseph N. Ari and his team paid him a courtesy call in the bank’s headquarters in Abuja.

In a statement, Dangiwa said providing affordable mortgages to Nigerian workers is done through the National Housing Fund(NHF) Scheme into which Nigerian workers both in public and private sectors contribute 2.5% of their monthly income.

“Through the scheme, the bank has continued to provide affordable mortgage to Nigerian workers and construction finance for housing development. Our National Housing Fund (NHF) individual mortgage loan, granted at 6%, is the most affordable in the country” Dangiwa said.

In his response, the Director-General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Sir Joseph N Ari, commended FMBN on the giant strides in reforming the bank under the present management.

Ari said the purpose of the visit was to provide a platform that the two organisations will work together for their mutual benefits.

He called on FMBN to arrange for a sensitisation workshop for the staff of ITF.

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NURTW members protest Oluomo’s emergence as caretaker committee chair

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Some members of the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) in Lagos State on Wednesday marched on the premises of the Lagos State House of Assembly in Alausa, Ikeja.

They protested the emergence of Musiliu Akinsanya aka MC Oluomo as the chairman of the caretaker committee of the union.

The protesters carried placards with inscriptions such as: ‘We say yes to union constitution, we want the government to save our soul in Lagos’, ‘We say no to Lagos NURTW, we say no to imposition’, ‘We say no to self-imposition as NURTW Lagos State chairman’, ‘We say no to thuggery in Lagos NURTW’, and others.

NURTW National President Alhaji Tajudeen Ibikunle Baruwa appointed MC Oluomo as the caretaker chairman, Lagos State chapter of the union.

It was gathered that Baruwa issued a statement on Tuesday dissolving the executive committee of the state chapter hitherto headed by Comrade Tajudeen Agbede, who is now Baruwa’s deputy, and replaced it with an 18- member caretaker committee led by MC Oluomo.

MC Oluomo, the chairman of Oshodi branch, Lagos chapter of the union, is one of those contesting for the Lagos State NURTW chairmanship.

Speaking during the protest, one of the leaders, the Chairman of Ojuwoye NURTW branch, Ademola Olanrewaju, alleged that MC Oluomo’s emergence would cause chaos.

“A meeting was held yesterday and after the meeting, it was decided that MC Oluomo should emerge as the chairman of the caretaker committee.

“Directly or indirectly, they are trying to impose him on us because there was fracas in Abuja and both parties were supposed to be dealt with, but MC Oluomo’s group was exonerated.

“What we are agitating for is that we don’t want MC’s government in Lagos State.

“Lagos State has given us the little it can in terms of empowerment, by giving us what to eat.”

At press time, no government official had addressed the protesters.

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