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‘N35bn for senate’, ‘N12.3 bn for general services’ — N’assembly releases details of its 2018 budget

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The national assembly has released details of its 2018 budget.

The office of the senate president released details of the budget in a tweet on Friday.

Senate President Bukola Saraki had promised that details of the budget would be made public following pressure from human rights activists and civil society groups.

Of the N139 billion earmarked for the legislature, N35 billion was the total for the senate, while the house of representatives had N57 billion.

While legislative aides got N10 billion, the national assembly office and commission got N15 billion and N2 billion respectively.

The national assembly legislative institute got N4 billion while N1.1 billion was appropriated for service wide vote of the legislature.

The public accounts committee (PAC) of the senate and the house got N118 million and N142 million respectively. N12.3 billion was earmarked for “general services.”

TheCable observed that the 2018 budget of the legislature was not as detailed as that of 2017 as there were no figures affixed to the line items in the details of the budget released.

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Crime

Alleged N650m fraud: EFCC rearaigned Ex-minister, Jumoke Akinjide, two other PDP chieftains.

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A former Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Mrs. Jumoke Akinjide, and two other chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Oyo State have been re-arraigned before justice Chukwujeku Aneke by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday 26th of June. 

The trio of Akinjide, a daughter to a former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation during the second republic, Chief Richard Akinjide and Senator Ayo Adeseun who represented Oyo Central Senatorial District between 2011 and 2015 and Mrs. Olanrewaju Otiti a chieftain of the people democratic party in Oyo state were charged with N650 million alleged fraud.

At the resume of proceedings today before justice Aneke, counsel to EFCC Rotimi Oyedepo informed the court of the 24 amended counts charge preferred against the defendants and urged the court to cause a fresh plea of the defendants to be taken. 

However, the defendants pleaded not guilty to the charges. 

Subsequently, chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN )who is representing oloye jumoke Akinjide made an oral application that the court should allow his client to continue on the existing bail granted to her by the previous court.

Michael Lana and Oladiji Akinola who appeared for senator Adeseun and Mr Olarewaju Otiti respectively made the same prayer to the court and urge the court allow them continue on the existing bail conditions. 

But Rotimi applied that the court should impose fresh bail conditions that will ensure the presence of defendants to stand their trial.

My Lord the prosecution is worried about how this case has travelled from Ibadan to Lagos and my Lord will be the fourth judge that will handle this case at the instant of the defence. 

Our fear is that these defendants are interfering with the quick dispensation of justice in this case and the interest of justice will be better served if defendants file motion for bail, so that we can respond to it by placing the reasons why this defendants should not be granted bail and we can only place that fact before my Lord by way of affidavit. 

Justice Aneke in his short ruling granted the oral application of the defendants to continue on the existing bail earlier granted to them by the former trial judge. 

” I have perused the submissions of the respective counsels, I am of the view that bail should not be used to serve as punishment on the defendants whom the constitution presume innocent until otherwise is proven”. 

“Consequently I ordered that the defendants should continue on the existing bail earlier granted to them by justice Muslim Sule Hassan”.

The defendants also informed the court of their motion challenging the constitutionality of the charge. 

Justice Aneke adjourned trial in the case to 30th of September and 11th October respectively 

Akinjide was first arraigned on January 16, 2018, before Justice Sule Hassan alongside Adeseun and Otiti, on an amended 24-count charge bordering on fraud and money laundering.

They, however, pleaded not guilty, and were granted bail.

Trial began before justice Hassan, with witnesses testifying, but midway, the case was transferred to justice Aneke.

One of the charges read, “That you, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke (still at large), Oloye Jumoke Akinjide, Senator Ayo Ademola Adeseun and Chief Olanrewaju Otiti, on or about the 26th day of March, 2015, in Nigeria, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired amongst yourselves to directly take possession of a N650,000,000, which sum you reasonably ought to have known formed part of  proceeds of an unlawful act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) and 4 of the same Act.”

The EFCC claimed that the defendants received money from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke, in the build-up to the 2015 general elections.

The money was part of the funds allegedly shared by the PDP stalwarts during the 2015 campaigns.

The money, according to the anti-graft agency, was said to form part of a total sum of 115 million dollars allegedly disbursed by Alison-Madueke to influence the outcome of the 2015 Presidential Election. 

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Governor Okorocha, wife carted away 67 vehicles – Imo task force alleges

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Chairman of the Imo State Task Force on Recovery of Government Assets, Jasper Ndubuaku, has alleged that the immediate past governor of the state, Rochas Okorocha and members of his family carted away 67 vehicles belonging to the state.

Speaking to newsmen yesterday June 26th, Ndubuaku said that Okorocha’s ADC took away five vehicles while his driver went home with one Prado Jeep.  He lamented that other goods carted away from government house, ministries and parastatals included generating sets, chairs, television sets, kitchen utensils, buddings and cutleries all valued at over N50 billion

.

Giving a breakdown of what was allegedly taken by the outgone administration, Ndubuaku said that the 27 local government chairmen, all the 30 commissioners and special advisers went away with government property. 

He alleged that the former governor went home with all functional vehicles in Government House including bullet proof cars, back-up cars and outriders motorcycles, while his wife went home with one bullet proof vehicle. Ndubuaku said that all the 27 payloaders for construction and 27 graders bought by the Ikedi Ohakim administration were carted away by the Okorocha administration. The chairman expressed shock and alleged that it was one of Okorocha’s sisters, who got the contract to equip each of the offices at N5 million each, all the offices were stripped bare.

Ndubuaku said

“The looting spree was unprecedented. It was as if government never existed as all paraphernalia of government were carted away. Even the 150 transformers bought by Okorocha for electioneering stunt all disappeared to thin air.” “Some of them told us that the cars were accidented somewhere in Abuja and Jos and we have told them to take us there.”

He said that all the alleged looted property and their custodians have been identified, stressing that the essence of the briefing was to warn them to bring the property back before members of the task force swoop on them. He said that if the advice were not heeded, government would have no option but go to their houses and take anything insight, including criminalising their action and prosecuting them accordingly.

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I spent only N1.2bn on funerals not N2.3bn – Bauchi ex-gov, Mohammed Abubakar tells successor Bala Mohammed

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Former governor of Bauchi State, Mohammed Abubakar, has denied claims he spent N2.3 billion to organise funerals for some of the indigenes of the state. The former governor said he only spent N1.2 billion on funeral materials and not N2.3 billion as alleged. Abubakar said this in a statement released by his media aide, Mukhtar Jibril.

The former governor was reacting to claims made by his successor, Bala Mohammed, that he spent N2.3 billion on funeral materials in five months.

Abubakar in a statement said the purchase for the Funeral materials passed through “due process” and awarded to qualified contractors.

“In response to media reports on the issue of mahogany and shrouds procured for burials, we want to state that this is a practice inherited by the government of Abubakar from its predecessors. Considering its significance and impact on the people, especially the bereaved, it decided to continue with it.

“However, the project, like any other of the same magnitude, was awarded to qualified contractors. Based on the available verifiable record, N1,270,743,520 had been expended since its inception and not the exaggerated figure of N2.3 billion mischievously posted on the social media by critics. We urge the good people of the state to disregard this insinuation as an act of desperation by elements of retrogression.

Besides, every contract awarded was subjected to the scrutiny and appraisal of the due process agency in accordance with public procurement law, contract agreement, payment of tax due on such contracts and other requirements”.

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