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Shekarau back in Court over N900m money laundering charges

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The Federal High Court sitting in Kano on Thursday adjourned the case of alleged money laundering against former governor of Kano State, Ibrahim Shekarau.

Shekarau was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) alongside former external affairs minister Aminu Wali and one Mansur Ahmad on a six-count charge bordering on conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N950 million.

When the case came up for hearing, the Judge, Justice Lewis Allagoa, who has just assumed duty at the Court, adjourned the trial till Nov. 19, 20, and 21, 2018.

The judge replaced Justice Zainab Bage who was transferred.

Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Johnson Ojogbane, had earlier told the court that the defendants, between March 26 and 27, 2015, conspired among themselves and received the said amount without going through financial institutions.

He said that the money was issued to the defendants by the Peoples Democratic Party and former petroleum minister Diezani Allison-Madueke.

The prosecutor said that the offences contravened sections 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (prohibition) Act 2011 as amended and punishable under section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act and Section 15(1) of money laundering Act.

The trio had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Before the adjournment, the defense counsel, Mr Jibrin Okutekpa (SAN) prayed that the court to extend the bail granted to his clients by the former judge in line with Section 163 of the Criminal Justice Act 2015.

The judge acceded to the request to extend the bail before adjourning to Nov. 19, 201 and 21 for continuation of the trial.

NAN recalls that Bage had granted the defendants bail in the sum of N100 million each with two reliable sureties in like sum.

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THE NATION

Breaking: Protesters clash at APC secretariat in Abuja over ‘Oshiomhole’

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Breaking: Protesters clash at APC secretariat in Abuja over 'Oshiomhole'

Protesters are attacking each other at the National Secretariat of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Nigeria’s ruling party, in Abuja, the nation’s capital, over a yet-to-be ascertained issue.

The Witness understands that the protesters, who had also gathered to protest against Adams Oshiomhole, the APC National Chairman, on Thursday, turned on one another as they matched towards the APC secretariat.

Meanwhile, the timely intervention of officers of the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) on Thursday, however, prevented what would have been a bloody clash between pro and anti-Oshiomhole protest groups at the national Secretariat of the ruling party.

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THE NATION

Reps investigate NIMASA, NDIC over unaudited accounts

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The House of Representatives has placed the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, on full status enquiry.

This followed the non-submission of its audited accounts for years 2015 to 2018 to the Auditor General of the Federation (AGF).

The House Committee on Public Account took the action yesterday.

Also, the committee did not only place the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) on full status enquiry, but also summoned the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, over the unaudited accounts of the corporation.

This was part of the resolution of the House Committee headed by Oluwole Oke at the continued hearing of the “Deliberate and Reckless Refusal By Non-Treasury and Partially-Funded Agencies to render their audited accounts from 2014 to 2018”.

Julius Dung, who represented the Auditor General of the Federation at the session, confirmed the non-receipt of the accounts from both organisations.

Last week, the committee summoned the Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemi Saraki, with the permanent secretary in the ministry, over continued shunning of the invitation of NIMASA Director-General Dakuku Peterside.

Others were also invited.

Peterside was still absent at Tuesday’s session.

Read Also: Reps urge Fed Govt to appoint more Supreme Court justices

But Gambo Ahmed, the agency’s Executive Director of Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, told the committee that Peterside was outside the country on an international assignment.

The committee rejected the excuse for his absence.

The committee rejected Saraki’s explanation for the non-submission of the audited accounts of the agency.

It expressed surprised when NIMASA claimed not to have a management account; hence, could not generate audited accounts for a number of years.

“We cannot submit an audited account from when we started. We must get the closing balance as at the last time we submitted the audit,” the Executive Director, Finance and Accounts, Bashir Jamiu, told the committee yesterday.

“Are you saying you don’t have a management account?” Oke queried.

“We don’t have,” he said.

The committee chairman asked if he was saying the agency did not have the balances to carry on with subsequent years.

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THE NATION

Presidency recalls sacked aides of VP Osinbajo

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Breaking: Presidency recalls sacked aides of VP Osinbajo

The Presidency has recalled some aides of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who were unceremoniously relieved of their duties late last year.

According to a report by Daily Independent revealed that instead of returning to their previous posts in the Pres­idential Villa, the aides have been rede­ployed to various ministries where they were assigned new roles by the supervising ministers.

Speaking on Tuesday evening, February 25, one of the af­fected Vice President Osinbajo aides, said some of them were recalled in December 2019 while some also got redeployed in Janu­ary 2020.

“We have all been recalled but not to our former posts. We have all been redeployed to ministries and we will be reporting to the ministers. We are no longer under the Office of the Vice President. It is not what we expect but it is better than what happened before when our ap­pointments were terminated abruptly.

“Some of us were recalled late last year while some of us got our letters in January this year. I have since returned to Abuja and resumed in my ministry.”

Another of the affected aides, who also spoke on the matter, said it took a serious intervention from prominent Nigerians before they were recalled.

“It was just divine because we have all lost hope. The me­dia also did not help matters as they were reporting that there is a rift between the vice president and the presi­dent and he may resign or be impeached.

“But we thank God for his grace and the intervention of eminent Nigerians including our then-boss, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who really fought for us to be recalled. I have also resumed in a min­istry”, she said.

Sacked Osinbajo Aides

The report said when Daily Independent contacted some ministries, some top officials confirmed that some of the affected aides are in the ministry. A top official in the Minis­try of Information and Cul­ture said, “Yes, some of them are with us here. They re­sumed in January this year”.

Another top official in the Ministry of Transport also confirmed that some of the af­fected aides were redeployed to the ministry.

The names of the affect­ed aides are Ajibola Ajayi, daughter of former governor of Oyo State, Isiaka Abiola Ajimobi. She was appointed Special Assistant (Legal) to the President (VP’s Office) in August 2019. She was a former SA to the President on Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) (VP’s office), from October 2015 to May 2019.

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