Connect with us

General news

Corruption: NASS urged to pay more attention to oversight functions

Published

on

The National Assembly has been urged to pay more attention to its oversight responsibilities and effectively monitor audit reports on appropriations of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

Mr Dayo Olaide, the Deputy Director, MacArthur Foundation, Nigeria gave the advice at a one-day seminar to mark the House of Representatives Press Corps Day on Wednesday on Abuja.

The event organised in collaboration with Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC, had as its theme: “Fight Against Corruption: Setting Agenda for the 9th House’’.

Olaide said the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended allowed the National Assembly to have oversight functions over institutions of government.

The deputy director added that if the assembly carried out its functions effectively, it would contribute to the ongoing fight against corruption in the country.

“The National Assembly is in a position to actually drive the anti-corruption agencies out of business if it would do its oversight work effectively.

“Because it is not by mistake that the framers of our constitution gave the oversight responsibility and powers to the National Assembly over others.

“It is in recognition of the fact that if you give out and do not pay attention to how appropriations are beings, then it becomes difficult to hold anyone to account.

“Our plea together with Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre is to urge the National Assembly to pay more attention to its oversight responsibilities and to respond to reports that are coming from the field,’’ he said.

Olaide recalled that the audit report of 2016 revealed that some MDAs did not submit their reports, but continued to receive their appropriations.

“In 2016, the audit report said more than 323 MDAs did not submit their audited reports but they still got appropriations.

“About 67 MDAs or agencies were reported not to have submitted their audited reports for more than 10 years and they continued to receive appropriations.

“About another 79 was reported not to have submitted audited reports since their establishment and they have been getting appropriations.

“The fight against corruption requires a strong, measurable commitment and the deliberate attention of the National Assembly.’’

Also speaking, Mr Auwal Musa, the Executive Director, CISLAC urged the 9th Assembly to ensure that it owns the fight against corruption and lead by example by having the “utmost ethics in its conduct’’.

“Currently, Nigerians believe it is only the Executive arm of government that is fighting corruption. It is important that the National Assembly work toward changing the negative perception of the public.

“Our advocacy to you is to mainstream anti-corruption in whatever work you are doing by ensuring that you also lead by example through having utmost ethics in your conduct.

“Because when you lead by example, the Executive, Judiciary and the Nigerian people will follow suit.

“Also, you will gain the confidence of the people and dissolve the negative perception of the National Assembly.’’

He urged the House of Representatives to ensure that it includes an anti-corruption agenda in its reforms for the 9th Assembly.

Earlier in her address, Ms. Grace Ike, Chairman of the House of Representatives Press Corps expressed readiness of the corps to promote the activities of the House and dispel the negative perception of the public against the House.

“The House must involve the media in all its activities to douse the negative public perception,” she said.

 

Foreign

Bosnian interior minister quits amid fights on migration, corruption

Published

on

Bosnian Interior Minister Fahrudin Radoncic has resigned because he is unhappy with the country’s migration policy and because there is opposition to investigating the purchase of faulty respirators for the COVID-19 outbreak.

Radoncic told Klix.ba on Tuesday that top officials, including chief diplomat Bisera Turkovic, “do not understand and identify the security threat’’ that the migrants, massing in Bosnia for an attempt to cross into EU-country Croatia, pose.

According to the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, there are at least 7,200 migrants stranded in Bosnia, the vast majority of them along the border with Croatia in the north-west.

“The crowd remains persistently large, with the central government doing virtually nothing to resolve the problem, leaving everything, from overcrowded shelters to security to be arranged by municipal authorities,” he said.

Radoncic has been vocal with warnings that extremists may be hiding within the crowd.

He also told Klix that elements of the government also blocked his drive to fully investigate a 10.5 million Bosnian mark (6-million-dollar) acquisition of respirators, which turned out to be unusable.

The respirators were bought by the Bosniak-Muslim Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Radoncic accuses the Bosniak side of blocking the investigation to protect themselves.

Radoncic also said that the feuding between Bosniak, Serb and Croat parties  forced to work together under the complex administrative system set up in 1995 to end a war will continue blocking Bosnian institutions “for a long time.’’

The country was effectively split along Muslim Bosniak, Orthodox Serb and Catholic Croat ethnic lines to end bloodshed, with the hope that a system of checks and balances would build trust and develop shared Bosnian institutions.

However, ethnic leaders continued to push nationalist agendas and have, since the start, been blocking virtually any proposal made by their rivals, which leaves the central government with few options.


Edited By: Halima Sheji/Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

 

Continue Reading

Politics

Autonomy: Group endorses Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade

Published

on

Chief Ugochukwu Nnam, the National Coordinator, Initiative for Leadership Development and Change (ILDC), has endorsed President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption strategies.

Nnam told the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja that Buhari’s signing of Executive Order No. 10 of 2020 was demonstration of his courage to strengthen the judicial and legislative independence.

He said the steps taken so far are winning public trust and confidence for Buhari’s commitment to stamping out corruption in the country.

NAN recalls that the president on May 22, signed into law an Executive Order to grant financial autonomy to the legislature and the judiciary.

Executive Order No. 10 of 2020 makes it mandatory that all states of the federation should allocate and fund the legislature and the judiciary in the first-line charge of their budgets.

Nnam described Buhari as a visionary leader whose goal was to completely eliminate all forms fiscal dependence capable of causing fear or favour in discharge of legislative or judicial functions.

“Some the state governors have turned the lawmakers and judges to errand persons just to do their whims and carprices because of lack of fiscal autonomy.

“With this order, state lawmakers and judges will do the needful by being fair because their fund will be coming to them without interference from state executives,” Nnam said.

The ILDC leader called on Nigerians to continue to support Buhari, noting that the president is determined to redeem his campaign promises on corruption.

According to him, Buhari is actually transforming Nigeria with silent laudable policies that some past leaders lacked the courage to do.

Nnam therefore urged Nigerians to jettison destructive criticisms which he said was inimical to development.

NAN reports that the order also mandates the Accountant-General of the Federation to deduct from source amount due to state legislatures and judiciaries from monthly allocation to each state for those that refuse to grant such autonomy.

Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Defiant Netanyahu goes on trial in Israel charged with corruption

Published

on

Defiant Netanyahu goes on trial in Israel charged with corruption

Jerusalem, May 24, 2020   Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday became the first serving Israeli Prime Minister to go on trial, proclaiming his innocence in the corridor before walking into court to face charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) shakes the hand of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo following their meeting in Jerusalem (Photo by Sebastian Scheiner / POOL / AFP)

The trial came a week after Israel’s longest-serving leader was sworn in to a record fifth term, demonstrating his knack for survival by securing an unexpected power-sharing deal with his main opponent after three inconclusive elections in a year.

He says the cases against him are a left-wing plot to unseat him.

Netanyahu, 70, was indicted in November in cases involving gifts from millionaire friends and for allegedly seeking regulatory favours for media tycoons in return for favourable coverage.

He appeared at Jerusalem District Court flanked by a clutch of cabinet ministers from his right-wing Likud party.

In the courtroom, Netanyahu and the judges wore face masks because of the coronavirus crisis.

One of the judges asked Netanyahu whether he had read and understood the indictment. He replied: “Yes, your Honour.”

The hearing lasted an hour. The court excused Netanyahu from appearing in person at the next hearing set for July 19. Israeli analysts say the trial could last months or even years.

Before the hearing, Netanyahu appealed to public opinion, taking off his mask to address television cameras in the courthouse hallway.

“These investigations were tainted and stitched-up from the first moment,” Netanyahu said.

“I am appearing here today as your prime minister, standing tall and with head high,” he said.

In a statement, Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit said prosecutors “will continue to conduct themselves without fear, even given the preposterous attempt – which should be rejected out of hand – to ascribe ulterior motives to law-enforcement authorities”.

Supporters, some in masks, rallied outside the East Jerusalem building, their chants of “Bibi, King of Israel”, using his nickname, audible in the courthouse.

One supporter’s sign read: “You’ll never walk alone”. Many waved blue-and-white Israeli flags.

Anti-Netanyahu demonstrators gathered outside his residence in central Jerusalem holding up a banner reading “Crime Minister,” a slogan that also appeared on some face masks.

Netanyahu, in power now for 11 straight years plus three in the 1990s, kept the position of prime minister by securing the power-sharing deal last month with his main opponent, the centrist former general Benny Gantz.

The pact also opens the way for Netanyahu to proceed towards a pledged annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank, land that Palestinians envisage as part of a future independent state.

Bribery charges carry a sentence of up to 10 years in jail and/or a fine. Fraud and breach of trust carry a prison sentence of up to three years.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Silas Nwoha (NAN)

Continue Reading

Foreign

2nd LD-Writethru: Opening session of Israel’s Netanyahu corruption trial concludes

Published

on

By

First hearing in Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial was concluded on Sunday afternoon, with defense lawyers asking for a six-month delay in the proceedings.

Live broadcast on all Israel’s main TV channels showed Netanyahu entering the small courtroom, surrounded by his bodyguards. He did not sit down before making sure all the photographers left the room to avoid a picture of him sitting at the defendants’ bench.

At the start of the hour-long session at the Jerusalem District Court, Netanyahu was required to confirm that he had read and understood his indictment.

Netanyahu’s lawyers then asked to delay the discussions for at least six months, saying they need to go through “300 folders” of evidence and require additional time to prepare for the trial. The prosecution objected, saying the defense team had more than a year to read the materials and prepare.

The judges are expected to publish their decision by Tuesday.

Upon arriving at the court, Netanyahu launched an all-out attack against the justice system, charging the trial is a conspiracy by media, police, prosecution, and the left-wing to oust him.

With his right-wing Likud party ministers standing around him, wearing masks, Netanyahu accused the justice system of carrying out “an attempt to eliminate the will of the people” and an “attempt to depose a strong right-wing leader.”

Hundreds have rallied outside the court, protesting in support of Netanyahu and against him.

The opening of the trial marks the first time in Israel’s history that a sitting prime minister is facing criminal trial.

Netanyahu appeared at the hearing after the three-judge panel rejected last week his request to skip the opening hearing.

The unprecedented trial started a week after Israel’s longest-serving leader had been sworn-in for a fifth term.

Netanyahu is indicted with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate cases. In an affair dubbed by the police, “Case 4000,” Netanyahu allegedly took bribes from Shaul Elovitch, a former control-holder of Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecom company, by giving Bezeq financial and regulatory benefits.

During the alleged offenses, Netanyahu was the communication minister in addition to his capacity as prime minister.

In exchange, Elovitch, a close friend of Netanyahu, allegedly required Walla, a news site controlled by Elovitch, to provide favorable coverage of the Netanyahu and his wife Sara.

In “Case 1000,” Netanyahu and his family allegedly received expensive cigars, champagne, and jewelry worth about 1 million new shekels (268,200 U.S. dollars) from the Israeli businessman and Hollywood tycoon, Arnon Milchan, between 2007 and 2016.

In “Case 2000,” Netanyahu and Arnon Mozes, the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth, one of Israel’s largest newspapers, allegedly held talks over an exchange deal, in which Netanyahu would receive favorable coverage in Yedioth Ahronoth.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Israeli PM’s corruption trial opens

Published

on

By

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial opened on Sunday in Jerusalem, marking the first time a sitting prime minister in Israel stands a criminal trial.

As he arrived at the Jerusalem District Court, Netanyahu launched an all-out attack against the justice system, charging the trial is a conspiracy by media, police, prosecution, and leftists to oust him.

With his right-wing Likud party ministers standing around him, Netanyahu accused the justice system of carrying out “an attempt to eliminate the will of the people” and an “attempt to depose a strong right-wing leader.”

Hundreds have rallied outside the court, protesting in support of Netanyahu and against him.

The first session of the unprecedented trial, in which Netanyahu is facing charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust, opened a week after Israel’s longest-serving leader was sworn in for a fifth term.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Urgent: Israeli PM’s corruption trial opens

Published

on

By

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trial over charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust opened on Sunday in the Jerusalem District Court, a week after he was sworn-in for a fifth term, marking the first time a sitting Israeli prime minister stands criminal trial.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Israel’s longest-serving PM Netanyahu to stand trial for suspected corruption

Published

on

By

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s long-awaited criminal trial is set to begin in a Jerusalem courtroom on Sunday, marking the first time Israel will see an incumbent prime minster stand trial.

Netanyahu will face the opening hearing of his corruption trial at the Jerusalem District Court at 3 p.m. local time (1200 GMT), after a three-judge panel rejected last week his request to skip the opening hearing.

His charges on bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate cases will be read and he will be requested to announce his understanding of them, as part of the regular procedure in Israeli proceedings.

Even before its opening, the trial has become a clashing point between Netanyahu and his supporters and Israel’s legal system.

Netanyahu and his allies frequently lash out at the legal system over the trial, with much of the fire focusing on Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit.

The 56-year-old official was a close ally of Netanyahu when the prime minister nominated him as the attorney general in 2016, but after he took the unprecedented move and pressed charges against a sitting leader, he became a frequent target of attacks by Netanyahu’s supporters.

On Thursday, Minister for Cyber and National Digital Matters, David Amsalem, a close ally of Netanyahu, slammed Mandelblit, calling him an “alleged criminal.”

In an interview for Israel’s Army Radio, Amsalem called on to launch an investigation against Mandelblit, charging the attorney general was involved in illegalities around the appointment of the military’s chief 10 years ago.

Yariv Levin, Likud’s speaker of the parliament and Netanyahu close associate, said in a statement on Sunday that the opening of the trial “will be remembered as one of the low points of the Israeli legal system.”

“Likud voters don’t believe the premise created by prosecutors,” Amir Ohana, public security minister and one of the ministers who plan to accompany Netanyahu, told Channel 12 TV news.

Channel 12 TV reported that “thousands” of Netanyahu’s supporters plan to rally outside the court and in several locations in Jerusalem to protest against the opening of the trial.

According to the indictment, in a corruption affair dubbed “Case 4000,” Netanyahu allegedly took bribes from Shaul Elovitch, a former control-holder of Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecom company, by giving Bezeq financial and regulatory benefits.

During the alleged offenses, Netanyahu was the communication minister in addition to his capacity as prime minister.

In exchange, Elovitch, a close friend of Netanyahu, allegedly required Walla, a news site controlled by Elovitch, to provide favorable coverage of the Netanyahu and his wife Sara.

In “Case 1000,” Netanyahu and his family allegedly received expensive cigars, champagne, and jewellery worth about 1 million new shekels (268,200 U.S. dollars) from the Israeli businessman and Hollywood tycoon, Arnon Milchan, between 2007 and 2016.

In “Case 2000,” Netanyahu and Arnon Mozes, the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth, one of Israel’s largest newspapers, allegedly held talks over an exchange deal, in which Netanyahu would receive favorable coverage in Yedioth Ahronoth.

Netanyahu, the first prime minister in Israel’s history to stand trial while in office, denies the allegations, charging they are part of “a witch hunt.”

The trial, including the expected appeals, could take several years.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Israel’s longest-serving PM to stand trial for suspected corruption

Published

on

By

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s long-awaited criminal trial is set to begin in a Jerusalem courtroom on Sunday, marking the first time Israel will see an incumbent prime minster stand trial.

Netanyahu will face the opening hearing of his corruption trial at the Jerusalem District Court at 3 p.m. local time (1200 GMT), after a three-judge panel rejected last week his request to skip the opening hearing.

His charges on bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate cases will be read and he will be requested to announce his understanding of them, as part of the regular procedure in Israeli proceedings.

Even before its opening, the trial has become a clashing point between Netanyahu and his supporters and Israel’s legal system.

Netanyahu and his allies frequently lash out at the legal system over the trial, with much of the fire focusing on Attorney General Avihai Mandelblit.

The 56-year-old official was a close ally of Netanyahu when the prime minister nominated him as the attorney general in 2016, but after he took the unprecedented move and pressed charges against a sitting leader, he became a frequent target of attacks by Netanyahu’s supporters.

On Thursday, Minister for Cyber and National Digital Matters, David Amsalem, a close ally of Netanyahu, slammed Mandelblit, calling him an “alleged criminal.”

In an interview for Israel’s Army Radio, Amsalem called on to launch an investigation against Mandelblit, charging the attorney general was involved in illegalities around the appointment of the military’s chief 10 years ago.

Yariv Levin, Likud’s speaker of the parliament and Netanyahu close associate, said in a statement on Sunday that the opening of the trial “will be remembered as one of the low points of the Israeli legal system.”

“Likud voters don’t believe the premise created by prosecutors,” Amir Ohana, public security minister and one of the ministers who plan to accompany Netanyahu, told Channel 12 TV news.

Channel 12 TV reported that “thousands” of Netanyahu’s supporters plan to rally outside the court and in several locations in Jerusalem to protest against the opening of the trial.

According to the indictment, in a corruption affair dubbed “Case 4000,” Netanyahu allegedly took bribes from Shaul Elovitch, a former control-holder of Bezeq, Israel’s largest telecom company, by giving Bezeq financial and regulatory benefits.

During the alleged offenses, Netanyahu was the communication minister in addition to his capacity as prime minister.

In exchange, Elovitch, a close friend of Netanyahu, allegedly required Walla, a news site controlled by Elovitch, to provide favorable coverage of the Netanyahu and his wife Sara.

In “Case 1000,” Netanyahu and his family allegedly received expensive cigars, champagne, and jewellery worth about 1 million new shekels (268,200 U.S. dollars) from the Israeli businessman and Hollywood tycoon, Arnon Milchan, between 2007 and 2016.

In “Case 2000,” Netanyahu and Arnon Mozes, the publisher of Yedioth Ahronoth, one of Israel’s largest newspapers, allegedly held talks over an exchange deal, in which Netanyahu would receive favorable coverage in Yedioth Ahronoth.

Netanyahu, the first prime minister in Israel’s history to stand trial while in office, denies the allegations, charging they are part of “a witch hunt.”

The trial, including the expected appeals, could take several years.

(XINHUA)

Continue Reading

Foreign

Bolivia’s health minister sacked, arrested for coronavirus-related corruption

Published

on

Bolivia’s health minister was sacked and arrested on Wednesday on corruption charges related to the alleged purchase of ventilators to fight COVID-19 at over-inflated prices, the national news agency, ABI reported.

Marcelo Navas was removed from office to prevent him from interfering with an investigation into the purchase of 170 Spanish ventilators, government spokeswoman Isabel Fernandez was quoted as saying.

Navas was replaced by his deputy Eidy Roca.

He and two other people have been arrested, police chief Ivan Rojas said, adding that investigators would search Navas’ office.

The ventilators were reportedly vastly overpriced and found to be unsuitable for intensive care units.

The South American country has confirmed about 4,500 COVID-19 infections and around 190 deaths.

Edited By: Emmanuel Yashim (NAN)

Continue Reading

Contact US: editor @nnn.com.ng, nnnnews247 @gmail.com

Read Also