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Alleged N1.4bn Fraud: Gov loses bid to quash charge against NBA President, Usoro

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Justice Rilwan Aikawa of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Thursday, dismissed an application filed by Akwa Ibom State Governor, Emmanuel Udom, seeking to quash the entire charge preferred against Paul Usoro, SAN, President, Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Usoro was charged alongside Udom and others in a case of money laundering to the tune of N1.4 billion, belonging to the Akwa Ibom State government.

The NBA President was first arraigned before Justice Muslim Hassan of the same court on December 18, 2018.

He was later re-arraigned before Justice Aikawa on a 10- count charge.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Paul Usoro, SAN, Emmanuel Udom (currently constitutionally immune against criminal prosecution), Uwemedimo Thomas Nwoko (still at large), Nsikan Linus Nkan, Commissioner of Finance, Akwa Ibom State (still at large), Mfon Jacobson Udomah, Accountant-General, Akwa Ibom State (still at large) and Margaret Thompson Ukpe (still at large) sometime in 2015 in Nigerian, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable court, conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: conversion of the sum of N1.4 billion, property of the Government of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria, which sum you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful activity to wit: criminal breach of trust and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as amended and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”

At Thursday’s sitting, Justice Aikawa, in his ruling, held that the application filed by Udom lacked merit due to the fact that the charge before the court did not include the Governor and his aides as defendants.

The Judge held that “In a criminal suit, there are two segments: the complainant and the defendant(s).

“In this charge before me, the complainant is the EFCC and the defendant is Paul Usoro.

“Given the fact that the name of the applicant was mentioned in counts one to four does not make him a defendant in this case.

“It is also unconstitutional for the Federal Government to investigate and prosecute a serving governor. Gov. Udom cannot be charged in view of the immunity he enjoys, including his aides, and also due to the fact that the N1.4 billion were funds belonging to Akwa Ibom State and not Federal Government.”

The Judge further held that the applicant could not apply to the court to quash the charge or seek fair hearing as prayed in the application because he is not a defendant in the case.

Justice Aikawa, therefore, ordered the prosecution to serve the defence team with the “proof of evidence”, prosecution witnesses’ statements and letters from both Access Bank and Diamond Bank.

The prosecution was also ordered to furnish the defence team with the documents within seven days.

Justice Aikawa adjourned the case to June 3, 2019 for continuation of trial.

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Edwards Adamu Replaces Muiz Banire As AMCON chairman

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President Muhammadu Buhari has sacked Muiz Banire as the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, appointing Edward Lametek Adamu as new chairman of the Corporation.

This was contained in a letter read on the floor of the Senate by the Senate President, Senator Ahmad Lawan.

The letter, dated December 9, 2019, reads: “In accordance with Section 10(1) of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Act, 2010, I hereby present Mr. Edward Lametek Adamu for confirmation as Chairman of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria by the Distinguished Senate.

“While hoping that this request will receive the usual expeditious consideration of the Senate, please accept, Distinguished Senate President, the assurances of my highest consideration.

”Banire was appointed as AMCON Chairman in 2018

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Lagos Matters

How Wife Of MAERSK Nigeria MD Was Killed By Daredevil Armed Robbers

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The Lugard Road, Lagos home of the Managing Director of MAERSK Nigeria, Mr Gildas Tohouo was invaded by daredevil armed robbers on Sunday 8th December, 2019.

During the invasion, Tohouo was stabbed by the assailants alongside his Hungarian wife, who died from the incident.

The MD is said to be a Cameroonian.

However, Mr Tohouo, who survived the attack, is said to be in a very critical situation at an undisclosed hospital in Victoria Island, not too far from their Ikoyi residence.

It was revealed that the incident occurred at about 8 – 9pm on the fateful day, while an expert in the same building was having a party.

Sources stated that the building maintenance man/ electrician brought in an accomplice under the guise of being a guest at the party.

“Once in and plan finalized, he tripped off the light to the victims’ residence and asked for access to the victims’ apartment to resolve the fault.

“Being a known person, Tohouo gave access and the two culprits proceeded to stab his wife fatally.

“The MD was able to send SOS text before he was accosted and also stabbed severally. MAERSK team received the SOS and mobilized policemen to the location in Ikoyi.

“Some suspects were arrested after a thorough search of the premises and the death of the deceased was confirmed, while Tohouo is responding to treatment,” said a source..

It was gathered that two of the domestic staff present, when the unfortunate incident occurred have been arrested by men of the Lagos Command of the Nigeria Police and are being interrogated.

The suspects, Olamide Goke and Ade Akanbi, who were allegedly found with the knife believed to have been used during the operation, were reportedly helping security operatives get to the root of the matter.

Reports say none of the couple’s three children was attacked by the hoodlums during the invasion.

Confirming the attack, a statement issued by MAERSK Nigeria and signed by one Mr Richard Smith, quoted the Regional Managing Director of Africa for A.P. Moller, MAERSK, Mr David Williams, saying that, “We are very sorry to confirm that a colleague and his family have been attacked in their residence in Lagos, Nigeria.

“Tragically, the wife of our colleague passed away at the scene. Our colleague is in the hospital, where his condition is critical, but stable. The three children are all safe and accounted for.

“Our thoughts and deepest sympathy goes to the family. We will do whatever we can to support them in this tragedy.

“The relatives of the family are in the process of being notified. Relevant authorities are investigating the incident. Maersk is supporting the investigation in every possible way.”

Completely sick. It was a robbery organised by some maintenance guys working in his compound at Lugard Road. They’ve been apprehended.”

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Muhammad Nami Takes Over from Fowler as FIRS Chairman

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President Muhammadu Buhari has named Mr. Muhammad M. Nami as the new chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service.

He replaces Mr. Tunde Fowler, whose tenure expired on Monday.

He is a tax consultant and graduate of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna State.

“Mr. Muhammad, a well-trained tax, accounting and management professional with highly rated qualifications and professional practice and licenses from relevant professional bodies, has almost three decades of practical work experience in Auditing, Tax Management and Advisory and Management services to clients in the banking, manufacturing, services and public sectors as well as non-profit organisations,” the Presidency said in statement by spokesperson, Garba Shehu.

Buhari also approved the composition of the board of FIRS.

-NAN

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