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Witness reveals how Dikko converted NAF’s N1.2bn to private use

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Hammadama Bello, the 9th prosecution witness, in the ongoing trial of former Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Mohammed Umar Dikko, before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja, on Thursday, told the court that the defendant allegedly converted the sum of N1.2 billion, belonging Nigerian Air Force to his personal use.

Dikko is being prosecuted by the EFCC, on seven-count charge bordering on money laundering and procurement fraud to the tune of N9.7 billion.

Details of the court proceeding were contained in a statement by the spokesperson of the anti-graft agency, EFCC.

The retired air vice marshal is being prosecuted at the Federal High Court, Maitama, Abuja, presided by Nnamdi Dimgba.

Mr Dikko is being prosecuted by the EFCC on a seven-count charge bordering on money laundering and procurement fraud to the tune of N9.7 billion.

Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Onyeachi Ikpeazu, the witness who is an investigator with the EFCC, said that funds meant for air force’s operational purpose were diverted by Mr Dikko to his personal use.

The witness further revealed that not all the capital projects like building of and equipping of hospitals, Comprehensive School, Kano; Comprehensive School, Yola; the building of Conference Centre in Kado, Abuja and the renovation of barracks, as well as the Air Force barricade, were sponsored from the tranche, earmarked for them.

“In addition to the project listed above, the defendant Air Marshal Umar Dikko, helped himself by carrying out some project for himself, like his house in Maitama, which amounts to almost a billion naira,” Mr Bello was quoted as saying.

He further noted that a case of alleged money laundering was established against the defendant following the results of investigations into properties linked to the former Chief of Air Staff.

Mr Bello said that all directives regarding the disbursement of NAF’s funds came from Mr Dikko to the Director of Finance and Accounts, who was assisted by the chief finance officer, Bukar Abubakar.

He stated that Mr Abubakar was in turn assisted by a Squadron Leader, Emmanuel Agbor, and a number of other junior cashiers, adding that the former air chief gave directives in the absence of the Director, Finance and Accounts.

At the previous court sitting, Mr Bello had told the court how some properties were allegedly purchased by the defendant.

“Although the defendant (Dikko) claimed he bought the property for N35 million, investigations revealed that the property was originally a guest house of the Nigerian Air Force, which was sold to one AVM Lex.

“Upon questioning, AVM Lex confirmed that he had been approached by one Yushau, who told him that the buyer preferred to stay anonymous and N85 million (Eighty-five Million Naira), was paid to AVM Lex, for the property and another N75 million paid for renovation of the same,” Mr Bello added.

According to the witness, the investigations also revealed that the former Chief of Air Staff came from a humble background, rising from the position of a teacher, then a library assistant, before becoming a serving officer and then the Chief of Air Staff and wondered how he could have acquired such properties.

“He (Dikko) was not a businessman while in service and would have to be Chief of Air Staff (at his last grade level) for 250 years to be able to afford the properties linked to him.

“Investigations revealed that during Mr Dikko’s tenure as Chief of Air Staff, he received N558.2 million on a monthly basis, which he converted into dollars,” Bello stated.

According to the witness, searches conducted on companies linked to the defendant at the Corporate Affairs Commission, (CAC), and several bank accounts, revealed that none of the accounts of these companies were used directly or indirectly for the purchase of the properties.

“On the monies transferred to the account of Capital Law Firm, the legal agent engaged for the purchase of the defendant’s Asokoro property, Mr Bello stated that investigations revealed a trail of about N900 million, which was paid in cash, as being payment for the property and N40 million in legal fees and additional monies (in dollars), were paid to the agent’s account for the renovation of the property,” the EFCC stated.

With the conclusion of cross-examination, Mr Dimgba discharged the witness and adjourned the matter till November 1 for continuation of hearing.

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THE NATION

Cool FM’s Amin Mousalli, Allon Nelken, Kavitta Chellaram, Diana Chan, others for Ethnic Business Awards

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Nigeria-based foreigners who’re contributing to the nation’s economy in terms of visible investments and employment generation will be honoured and celebrated during the Ethnic Business Awards (www.theethnicbusinessawards.com) on Valentine’s day, February 14th, 2020 at the prestigious Oriental hotel Lagos.

These diaspora foreigners who have chosen Nigeria as home despite the stormy waters, according to the organizers of the epoch making event deserve more than celebration and will be honoured in different categories such as Ethnic Man of The Year, Woman of The Year, Entrepreneur of The Year, CSR Brand, Beauty Brand, Financial Institution to mention but a few.

On the Ethnic Man of The Year category are revered international business tycoon such Alli Mousalli of Cool FM, Allon Nelken, (Mega Plaza), Benoy Berry (Contec Group), Robert Tung (Wempco), Mann Lababidi of Crown Flour Mills to mention but a few while the nominees for Ethnic Woman of The Year are Diana Chan (GAC Motors), Kavita Chellaram (ArtHouse Contemporary) and Caterina Bortolussi of Kinabuti Fashions.

Diana Chan (GAC Motors)

Other interesting categories are the Ethnic Financial Institutions where the likes of Stanbic IBTC, Standard Chartered and Citi Bank are being nominated.

Foreign entertainers who’re making waves in the Nigerian showbiz industry will also be honoured in the catrgories itemized as Cross-Over Actors, Actress and Musician of The Year. Prominent African stars such as Juliet Ibrahim (Ghana), Princess Shyngle (Gambia), Cynthia Emade (Cameroun), Ela Mensah (Ghana), Okawa Shaznay among others.

Ella Mensah

The Ethnic Business Awards is aimed at recognizing and appreciating the outstanding contributions of foreign businesses, organisations, individuals and communities to corporate Nigeria, “this is like thinking outside the box, the awards is designed to reward and encourage innovations and excellence among Nigeria-based foreigners in enterprise”.

Inspired by the growing population of foreign investors, organisations, individuals and migrants communities who have impressed with remarkable inputs into the growth of the Nigerian economy, the Ethnic Business Awards [EBA] seeks to reward the best practices in commerce, international diplomacy and excellence across other industries.

Nigeria became Africa’s largest economy for the second year in a row according to a multinational professional services network, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), in 2019. Beyond doubts, this feat would have been impossible without the faith reposed in her by men and women of other nationalities who have defied doom prediction to swarm Nigeria to grow her commerce.

The EBA (www.theethnicbusinessawards.com) pays very special attention to promising and established foreign companies, missions, communities, organisations and individuals of sterling qualities all of whom have been identified and grouped into different categories following a public opinion poll and wide consultations with some of the industry’s finest experts.

The event holds on St. Valentine’s Day, February 14th, 2020 at the prestigious Oriental hotel Lagos.

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THE NATION

We’re not recruiting, Nigeria Immigration warns

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The Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) has warned applicants against patronising fake recruitment sites as the Service was not recruiting.

A statement by its spokesperson, Sunday James, said on Tuesday in Abuja that the NIS Comptroller-General, Muhammad Babandede, issued the warning while reacting to the reported existence of fake NIS websites across the country.

It particularly noted that the website – https/nis/recruitmentname.ng – where unsuspected Nigerians were being duped, was fake.

“The service is hereby disassociating itself from the fake claims and advising Nigerians against subscribing to it as no recruitment is ongoing in the service.

“The service recruitment exercise is always advertised in reputable national dailies, televisions and on its website – www.immigration.gov.ng – and it is usually free,“ the statement noted.

He advised the general public to desist from patronising fraudsters and report any suspected case to the following platform and telephone number – nis.servicom@nigeriaimmigration.gov.ng. and 07080607900.

(NAN)

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THE NATION

UNILAG VC, Prof Ogundipe eulogises Pantami, says he is a man of integrity

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L-R: University of Lagos Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ogundipe with the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami when the latter paid him a visit in Abuja on Tuesday

The Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe has described the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM as a man of unquestionable integrity who keeps to his promise.

The Vice Chancellor made his position known on Tuesday when he led the management of the institution to a courtesy visit to appreciate the Honourable Minister for the various IT intervention projects donated to the institution aimed at enhancing research and learning.

The VC also invited the Honourable Minister, Dr Pantami to deliver a lecture at the upcoming convocation ceremony of the institution scheduled to hold in March.

In his remarks, the ‘Next Level’ vibrant, energetic and focused Minister, Dr Pantami pledged the Ministry’s commitment under his watch to bridge the gap between academia and industry, stressing that skills are very important and critical in driving a digital economy in Nigeria.

The Honourable Minister said “in Nigeria today, we are producing many potential employees and fewer potential employers”, adding that “in technology and most importantly in digital technology, if you can marry both degrees and skills that is the best, however, if it’s only one, then skills have priority over certificates”.

Dr. Pantami maintained that there is a need to think outside the box and enhance the skills of the younger generation through mentorship to drive a digital economy and position the country on the path of prosperity.

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