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EFCC returns Kogi’s hidden N19.3bn salary bail-out funds to CBN

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EFCC Chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa
EFCC Chairman Abdulrasheed Bawa

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has revealed that it has returned the sum of N19, 333,333,333.36 (Nineteen Billion, Three Hundred and Thirty-three Million, Three Hundred and Thirty-three Thousand, Three Hundred and Thirty-three Naira, Thirty-six Kobo) retrieved from the Kogi State Salary Bail-out account domiciled in Sterling Bank Plc to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The latest development was disclosed by the agency’s head of media and publicity, Wilson Uwujaren in a statement on Friday.

The statement reads:

“This effectively puts to rest the campaign of misinformation and unconscionable denials by the Kogi State Government that no fund was recovered from its bailout account.

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“The apex bank in a letter referenced, DFD/DIR/CON/EXT/01/099 and dated 9th November 2021 informed the Executive Chairman, EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa that it has received the money.

“The letter reads in part: “We refer to your letter dated November 5, 2021, with Ref. No: CR:3000/EFCC/LS/CMU/REC-STE/VOL.4/047 on the above subject and wish to confirm the details of the receipt of the amount as stated below: Bank: Sterling Bank Plc; Amount: N19, 333, 333,333.36; Date of receipt: 04 November 2021”

“The return of the money to the apex bank complies with the October 15, 2021 Order of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi Lagos directing the unfreezing of the Kogi State Salary Bail-out account to enable Sterling Bank to remit the balance in the account to the Central Bank of Nigeria. Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke gave the Order pursuant to an application filed by the EFCC.

“The Commission had told the court that the management of Sterling Bank Plc, where the account was domiciled had acknowledged the existence of the said account with the staggering sum of N19, 333,333,333.36 in its books.

“The Commission further brought to the attention of the court that “The sum of N19, 333,333,333.36 is still standing in the credit of the account frozen”, adding that “the management of Sterling Bank PIc, has, pursuant to a letter dated 15 September, 2021, signed by its Managing Director, indicated intention to return the total sum of N19, 333,333,333.36 back to the Central Bank of Nigeria.”

“The EFCC prayed The court that it “is expedient for the instant suit to be discontinued and the account unfrozen to enable the management of Sterling Bank PIc effect the transfer/ return of the sum of the sum of N19, 333, 333, 333.36 back to the coffer of the Central Bank of Nigeria , where the said bailout funds was disbursed.”

“The transfer has put paid to any further controversy regarding source and ownership of the funds and most importantly, aborted the funds dissipation.

“On August 31, 2021, Justice Tijani Garba Ringim, a vacation Judge, had ordered the freezing of the account, following an ex-parte application filed by the EFCC.

“The EFCC, in a 13-paragraph affidavit in support of the ex-parte application, had stated that it received a credible and direct intelligence, which led to the tracing of the funds reasonably suspected to be proceeds of unlawful activities in account No. 0073572696 domiciled in Sterling Bank, Plc with the name Kogi State Salary Bailout Account.

“After listening to the EFCC application, Justice Ringim on August 31, 2021, ordered the freezing of the account and directed the publication of the order in a national newspaper by the EFCC.

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23 Burnt To Death By Bandits In Sokoto Bus Attack

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burning car

At least 23 passengers, including children, were burnt to death when their bus was ambushed by gunmen suspected to be bandits in Sokoto State, police have said.

They were travelling from the town of Sabon Birni to the town of Isa near the border with Niger.

Sokoto police command spokesperson, Sanusi Abubakar, told the BBC that several others are being treated in a hospital for severe burns.

Some reports suggest the number of those killed is around 30.

One of those involved in evacuating the casualties described the scene as “horrendous” and that most of the victims were burnt beyond recognition.

The attack happened late on Monday but details are just emerging due to poor communication services in the area.

Some reports say the attackers deliberately set the vehicle on fire burning the occupants alive while another account indicates the fire ignited on the bus as a result of the attackers’ gunfire.

The police say they are investigating the circumstances of the attack.

Muhammad Bello, the spokesman to Aminu Tambuwal, Governor of Sokoto State, confirmed the development in a statement on Wednesday.

“Contrary to speculations that over 40 people lost their lives in a bandits attack on a 42-seater bus traveling to Kaduna on Monday, facts have emerged that 23 people lost their lives during an attack at Gidan Bawa village in Isa local government area of Sokoto state,” the statement read.

“Security chiefs in Sokoto state, comprising heads of the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Air Force, the Nigeria Police, Department of State Security and the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps as well as the Chairmen of Isa and Sabon Birni local government areas had briefed the state Governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, on the incident at the Government House, Sokoto, Wednesday, pledging to work with it on modalities to checkmate future occurrences.”

While commiserating with the families of the victims, the state government added that strategies are being put in place to prevent a reoccurrence.

Travellers are frequently targeted as the region continues to grapple with a wave of violence by armed gangs carrying out kidnappings for ransom as well as killings.

Additional reporting from the BBC and TheCable

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Senate urges FG to review payments under debt issuance programme

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Nigerian Senate e1618410666305

The Senate has called on the executive arm of government to review the outstanding payments under the Promissory Notes and Debt Issuance Programme of the Federal Government for submission to the National Assembly.

The call was made on Wednesday during plenary sequel to the consideration of a motion to that effect.

The motion was sponsored by Senator Yahaya Oloriegbe (Kwara Central).

Oloriegbe, in his presentation, recalled that in order to address the burning issue of mounting obligations of the Federal Government inherited by the present Administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Executive Council in July 2017 approved a Promissory Note and Bond issuance programme to clear the arrears of outstanding obligations.

According to the lawmaker, the Federal Government set up a Verification committee chaired by the then Minister of Power, Works and Housing to verify all claims submitted by the Ministry of Finance under the Promissory Notes and Bond Issuance Programme.

He noted that the report of the verification was again subjected to Audit by the Presidential Committee on Continuous Audit (PICA) before a final amount was arrived at after rounds of negotiations and discount schemes agreed with proposed beneficiaries.

He recalled further that in March 2018, the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria sent a request to the Senate for approval by the National Assembly to commence a N2,697,820,794,305.91 Promissory note and Bond issuance Programme to clear outstanding obligations inherited by President Buhari’s Administration.

These included unpaid obligations to pensioners, salaries and promotional arrears to civil servants in the sum of N740,752,291,351.91; Obligation to Petroleum marketers on Subsidy in the sum of N429, 054,203,228; Federal Government Major Contractors and Supplier debts and outsourced liabilities of N654, 536, 409, 687.60.

Others are unpaid power bills and obligations from tariff reversal in 2014 to DISCO’s and GENCO’s N496,775,452,038.61; Export Expansion Grant (EEG) Scheme debts N350,383,295,143.23; Judgement debts N112,958,703,764.45; and Refunds to State Governments for projects undertaken on behalf of the Federal Government N584,983, 966, 973.18.

Oloriegbe noted that, “the 8th National Assembly approved some of the promissory notes and Bond issuance in the following amounts: N573, 494, 697, 133.63 as payment of refunds to 25 State Governments for Federal Highway Projects executed on behalf of the Federal Government; N206,065,107,252.69 as payment to various major contractors; N348,003, 054,975 as payment to Petroleum Marketers for arrears of subsidy; and N195,089,234,808.63 as payment to exporters as Export Expansion Grant.

“Concerned that in spite of the above approvals in the sum of N1,322,652,094,169.95, a considerable number of these outstanding obligations which accrued from periods ranging from year 2000 to year 2017 (and now till date) still remain unpaid.

“Disturbed that from the last figures published by the Debt Management office on its official Website in February 2020, only the sum of N914,212,563,852 (Nine Hundred and Fourteen Billion) has been issued under the Federal Government of Nigeria Promissory notes programmne as at December 31, 2019.

“Worried that after the approval of the N1.3 Trillion Naira from the total sum of 2.6 trillion by the 8th National Assembly, nothing has been done in respect of approvals of the outstanding balance of N1.3Trillion by the Senate.

“Troubled that the long term debt effect on the various corporate entities whose monies still remains unpaid after several years, with the attendant financial consequences including interest accruals, loss of jobs and often failed companies.

“Further troubled that various Companies have legitimate claims for interest and or penalty payments due to them as contained in the various contract agreements signed with the Federal Government, an issue which will require serious consideration, dialogue and negotiations between Federal Government, the contractors and the financial institutions involved;

“Observes also that for example, the outstanding claims in respect of the incentive and result based Export Expansion Grant Scheme covers a period from 2007 – 2016, clearly showing that some of the accruals are at least 14 years past due.

“Worried that job losses, failed banks and companies going under which is a daily occurrence in Nigeria are occasioned by failure of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies to meet financial obligations as contained in contractual agreements.

“Concerned that the amount of outstanding liabilities of the Federal Government ordinarily would have soared from the March 2018 figures and would require an update of figure from the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.”

Accordingly, the Senate it its resolution, the Senate urged the Executive arm of government to review the outstanding payments under the Promissory Notes and Debt Issuance Programme of the Federal Government and prepare a fresh submission to the National Assembly for consideration.

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India’s Top Defence Chief Dies In Helicopter Crash

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Bipin Rawat Indias Defence Chief






























India’s Top Defence Chief Dies In Helicopter Crash




















India’s top military commander has been killed in a helicopter crash in the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the country’s Air Force has said.

Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife and 11 others died after the Mi-17V5 helicopter came down in hills near Coonoor city on Wednesday morning.

One survivor is being treated for his injuries in hospital.

The sole survivor of the crash was a captain working at the DSSC.

Gen Rawat, 63, was appointed India’s first-ever Chief of Defence Staff in January 2019.

This brought together the Army, the Navy and the Air Force, and Gen Rawat had been in charge of a range of operations including in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The Indian Air Force said it had ordered an investigation into the accident, which happened in foggy weather. A cabinet security committee is holding an emergency session, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

On Twitter, Mr Modi said: “[Gen Rawat] brought with him a rich experience of serving in the Army. India will never forget his exceptional service.

“A true patriot, he greatly contributed to modernising our armed forces and security apparatus. His insights and perspectives on strategic matters were exceptions. His passing away has saddened me deeply.”

Images from the crash site showed thick plumes of smoke billowing from the mangled remains of the helicopter, and local people trying to put out the fire.

BBC


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