The EFCC on Wednesday re-arraigned a member of the Presidential Committee on procurement of arms and equipment in the Armed Forces, Air Commodore Umar Mohammed (Rtd) in a Federal High Court in Abuja.
Mohammed was rearraigned with his company, Easy Jet Integrated Services Limited before Justice Inyang Ekwo.
They were rearraigned on an amended five-count charge bordering on money laundering, illegal possession of firearms and possession of official documents without lawful authority.
Mohammed pleaded not guilty to all counts just as a not guilty plea was entered for his company.
Following the not guilty plea, prosecuting counsel, Mr Sanusi Dakat prayed the court for a date to commence trial.
Dakat also told the court that he would call seven witnesses who were all within the jurisdiction of the court to prove his case.
Counsel to the defendant, Mr Y.D. Dangana prayed the court to re-admit Mohammed to bail on the conditions earlier granted by the previous judges he was arraigned before.
In his ruling, the trial judge, justice Inyang Ekwo admitted Mohammed to bail on the terms earlier granted and adjourned the matter until Oct. 12 to 15 for trial.
Mohammed and his company had been previously arraigned before Justices Nnamdi Dimgba and John Tsoho of the same court and were admitted to bail.
Mohammed’s rearraignment was informed by the transfer of the case to another judge and the amendment of the earlier charge by the prosecution.
Mohammed and his company are accused of conspiracy to commit money laundering, money laundering, illegal possession of firearms and secret act violation.
The Department of State Service (DSS) arrested Umar in June 2016 for allegedly fronting for other members of the Presidential Arms Panel in receiving large sums of money from certain individuals and companies in order to evade prosecution.
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)
Shipping Institute urges FG to re-engage Global West in fight against piracy
Onogharigho stated this in a statement made available to the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
He hinged the appeal on the recent acquittal of Chief Government Ekpemupolo and Capt. Enusoh Warredi of charges of corruption and seizure of their maritime security assets, including the surveillance and combat vessels, belonging to GWSV.
NAN also reports that the company and its operators were accused of embezzlement in 2015, while their assets, including vessels, were confiscated by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).
According to him, re-engaging will not only be a resounding political score for the present government, but one that will timely address the challenges of piracy and maritime insecurity.
“The deployment of GWSV was an impressive outing within the period it partnered the Federal Government to combat piracy and maritime insecurity.
“This will reassure the international shipping community and international oil companies that this government can deliver on its assurance for safety of foreign investments and international merchant shipping,” he said.
“We thank God that Tompolo and Warredi have been acquitted of the charges of corruption filed against them.
“Global West was doing a very wonderful job in partnership with all the security agencies: EFCC, Navy, Marine Police and the Air Force. It was the best combination ever this country has put together to combat piracy and maritime insecurity.
“Now that they have been acquitted, my appeal to President Muhammadu Buhari is to re-engage Global West so that they can return to the sea, clean up the place and rid it of pirates.
“National security should not be politicized. It is a shame that Tompolo, who invested his money and his civilian partners like Warredi, were slammed with frivolous charges.
“Now that the court has acquitted them, Mr President should prevail on EFCC to release their seized vessels and platforms, and make them to return to sea.
“Global West was doing a great job by arresting sea robbers and pirates and bringing money for NIMASA.
“Working with Global West, Tompolo and his men will be one of the best political and security decisions the country will make,” he said.
Edited By: Nkiru Ifeajuna and (NAN)‘Wale Sadeeq
COVID-19 an opportunity to repent of our sins – Bishop Kaigama
Kaigama said this at his first Interaction Session with newsmen Abuja, since he became the substantive Catholic Archbishop of the Archdiocese.
He said: “God is giving us a second chance to begin again. If we sincerely repent and turn to God, just as He forgave the people of Nineveh, He will forgive and heal us.
“We should not be blind to our personal sins and the sins of the world.
“Let us turn the positive experiences being garnered during this pandemic, like the sense of solidarity, selflessness and community into policy and practice and be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers.
“The all too familiar bad news about social maladies such as embezzlement of public funds, kidnaping, banditry, militancy unemployment, cybercrime, immortality, violence and killings are still with us.
“We must ask the question whether all these leave our youths with any decent future.
“We can certainly do something differently and positively for Nigeria and Nigerians. The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Let us all take that little but significant step forward.’’
According to him, COVID-19 has led us to the realisation that we are not masters of our fate and that ultimately, our lives are in God’s hands, which means far better hands than our own.
“In the midst of all the harshness the pandemic poses, perhaps we might feel a gentle nudge that will help dispel the illusion that we are in control.
“God wants us to draw lessons out of the evil of COVID-19.
“Nigeria is blessed with enormous natural and human resources and should be very ready at such critical times to provide and efficiently distribute palliative to the poor and the needy.
“Our politics must be further refined, to include high principles and values, and must become an offer of self to serve the people.
“The social cancer of corruption must give way for Nigeria to speed up her journey to join the league of developed nations.
“With the advent of pandemic, it became obvious that our medical facilities are highly insufficient to cater for emergencies like this; they are also below standard and need to be upgraded.
“Ideally, well equipped and functional medical facilities should be available and accessible in all the 774 Local Government Areas of the nation.
“We must resolve, as a country, to make access to health care possible for all.’’
In the same vein, he said the educational facilities in many of the public schools and institutions were not in line with global best practices.
The archbishop said that COVID-19 pandemic had forced schools globally to switch to online learning, saying that Nigeria must not be left behind.
“Education should be given a high priority, even though educating our students in the present circumstance will not be easy.
“It is good news that government is allowing the exit classes to resume and to sit for their final exams; all precautionary measures against COVID-19 must, however, be put in place.
“I believe strongly that the needed funds could come from the generous donations received, part sacrifice of salaries lavishly used by political parties before and during elections, recovered “looted’’ funds, etc.
“These could be used to improve or create structures for our students in public, private and faith based schools so that their academic life is not truncated.
“We cannot afford the adverse consequences of leaving our students idle for such an undetermined period of time,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Kaigama, who succeeded John Cardinal Onaiyekan, resumed his pastoral assignment in March during the lockdown from Archdiocese of Jos, where he had served for close to 20 years.
Kaigama has also celebrated his 39th anniversary as a Catholic Priest and clocked 62 years on Friday – July 31st, being a feast day of his Patron Saints, St Ignatius of Loyola.
Corruption: Buhari reacts to investigations in NDDC, EFCC, says appointees abused trust
President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday in Abuja reacted for the first time on the allegations of corruption leveled against the leaderships of some Federal Government Agencies and Commissions.
The president, who spoke after observing his Eid prayers at the fore court of the presidential villa, observed that some appointees of the government in both his administration and the previous one have abused their trust.
He, however, expressed delight that some stolen assets are being recovered, sold and proceeds put into the Single Treasury Account (TSA), which is inaccessible to the corrupt persons involved.
“There has been abuse of trust by people trusted by previous administration and this administration.
“A number of assets have been recovered and some money.
“But we have introduced TSA where all the monies are taken and I said asset should be sold and the money be put through TSA so that it can be identified at any level and I will see who will come after us and take it back again to those who misappropriated public funds.”
While assuring that all past and present cases would be fully investigated, he said: “This is why we put the commission (of investigation) in place.”
He stressed that all of such cases would be uncovered and firmly dealt with by his government.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports Senate and House of Representatives are currently investigating how the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) allegedly squandered N40 billion within few months.
NAN also reports that the Presidency had instituted a Presidential Probe Panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami to investigate allegations of gross misconduct against the suspended acting Chairman of the EFCC, Ibrahim Magu.
Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)
Alleged NDDC fraud: No contract awarded to Justice Dimgba, firm clarifies
A company, Eve-Rite Logistics Ltd., on Tuesday, said that Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court did not get any contract from the Niger Delta Development Commission contrary to the media reports.
The company’s Secretary, Aghogho Akpojotor., gave the clarification in a statement made available to journalists in Abuja with the title: “Re: Judge, Reps, EFCC, Army, Police Officers, APC Chieftain Ex-governors, others, listed as Alleged Beneficiaries in NDDC Contracts.”
The secretary, who said the contract linked to Justice Dimgba was awarded to Eve-Rite Logistics Ltd., described the allegation as “despicable.”
According to her, not only does the judge have nothing to do with the award or execution of the contract by us, he also has no interest in our company.
“Our attention has been drawn to various publications in the social media alleging that Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court (FHC) got a contract worth N249,555,206.25 awarded to him by the NDDC.
“We initially did not think much about the publication until we realised that the amount of the contract N249,555,206.25 and the description of the location was the same amount as the contract awarded to and executed by our company in his hometown (community), Uturu, in Abia State.
“The allegation that the contract was awarded to the judge was therefore nothing but a mischievous attempt not only to malign the judge but to imply that our company was involved in some fraudulent and corrupt contract scheme.
“The contract in Uturu, Abia State, was awarded to our company, Eve-Rite Logistics Ltd, by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), for the rehabilitation of the road.
“Uturu, where the job was executed is in Abia State, one of the states that constitute the NDDC,” she said.
The secretary pointed out that even though the company had completed the job, “we were neither paid any mobilisations fee nor paid any money at all for the job.
“The company undertook the execution of the job at its expense.”
She said the publication was misleading and capable of lowering the organisation in the estimation of right-thinking members of the public, “by giving the impression to all those who are aware that our company executed the contract, that our company is a front for some other person.
“To suggest that such a person is a judge, makes the story much more damaging to our hard-earned reputation.
“We consider it defamatory of the media media outfits to have inferentially made the statement with respect to us.”
Akpojotor, therefore, demanded all media outfits that had published the story to pull the same down and desist from publishing “the unfounded allegations.”
Edited By: Sadiya Hamza (NAN)