The Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke, said yesterday that his ministry had recovered more than twenty million pounds allegedly stolen from Nigeria’s coffers.
Adoke, who said this at the 2013 Ministerial Platform in Abuja, noted that the money was recovered from one Raj Arjandes Bhojwani, an Indian national and associate of late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha.
He said that the assets were recovered in 2011, adding that the ministry was able to recover and repatriate the money following its negotiations with the Island of Jersey
“During the period under review, the ministry intensified its efforts to trace and repatriate Nigeria’s stolen assets abroad.
“In this connection, we have maintained effective liaison and communication with targeted jurisdictions to keep pace with assets recovery proceedings in those jurisdictions.
“In 2011, our close liaison and negotiation with the Island of Jersey led to the recovery and repatriation of the sum of £22.5 million confiscated by the Royal Court of Jersey from Raj Arjandes Bhojwani, an Indian national and associate of General Sani Abacha on account of his money laundering transactions from Nigeria.”
Adoke also said that the Principality of Liechtenstein recently confiscated the sum of Euro 175 million from the Abacha family and associate companies in Liechtenstein.
The minister said although Nigeria had not recovered nor repatriated the money following an appeal lodged by the companies involved, the ministry would ensure the repatriation of the money.
“We continued the liaison and negotiations with the Principality of Liechtenstein, which recently confiscated the sum of Euro 175 million from the Abacha family and associated companies in Liechtenstein following a confiscation order by the Supreme Court of Liechtenstein.
“However, the companies involved have lodged an appeal against the decision before the European Court of Justice in Strasburg.
“As soon as the appeal is concluded, firm arrangements consistent with the asset recovery provisions of the United Nations convention against corruption would be made to repatriate the forfeited sums to Nigeria. “
Adoke said that the ministry recorded significant improvement in the institutionalisation of reforms in the justice sector aimed at improving access to justice.
He said that the ministry also made improvement in terms of prosecution of crimes and defence of civil cases.
Adoke also said the ministry had made improvement in mainstreaming the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act as well as effort to reform business and investment laws.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, on Tuesday decried the “evolving internal autocracy in political parties preparatory to 2015 general elections”. Tambuwal said this at the resumption of the house plenary session after its two-week break. He warned that if the development was not checked, it would endanger democracy and frustrate the attempt at providing good governance for the people. The Speaker alleged that in pursuance of 2015 political ambitions of several individuals, some people had introduced “new political doctrines” that were alien to democracy. He said the new political doctrine could be inimical to peaceful co-existence of people in civilised societies. Tambuwal urged Nigerians and politicians in particular to resist the“new political doctrines” before they caused damage to democracy. “Preparatory to 2015, many have started introducing political doctrines that are alien to democracy and destructive to peaceful social coexistence in a civilised society. “They are busy fanning the embers of partisan hate and strife,” he said. According to him, the new doctrines make it a political offence for a member of one political party to exchange greetings with someone in another political party. He added that the doctrines also made it “a heinous crime for one to visit, attend the burial, birthday, coronation wedding or any such ceremony of someone in an opposing political party. “The proponents of these shameful doctrines not only offend our sensibilities, they constitute an affront on the whole essence of democracy and civilised coexistence. “They must be halted before they do incalculable damage to our polity. My dear colleagues, we refuse to be students of this school of thought. “Again, while we are clamouring for the deepening of democracy, including internal party democracy, there has arisen a new group championing the obnoxious cause of the deepening of internal party autocracy and demagoguery. “This is inexcusable, and indeed, reprehensible at this time in our history. Those who equate loyalty to sycophantic followership not only miss the point but put democracy at risk.’’ Tambuwal said that the house would soon embark on oversight to ensure that Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) comply with the implementation of the 2013 budget. He urged the representatives to always remember their duty to promote and protect the interest of the electorate. The speaker stressed the need for the lawmakers to insist on accountability, probity and good governance in running the affairs of the country. He pointed out that the Constitution Amendment Bill, the Petroleum Industry Bill, and the Electoral Act (Amendment) Bill, were some of the critical bills pending in the House. He appealed to them not to allow the politicking in respect of 2015 to overshadow their sense of responsibility. “On our part, we should continue the struggle for the building of strong institutions rather than strong men at the level of government as well as political parties,’’
90% Of Money Laundered Via Real Estate, EFCC Reveals
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says about 90 per cent of money laundering is done through the real estate sector.
The commission’s Chairman, Abdulrasheed Bawa, stated this while featuring on Channels TV’s Sunrise Daily, yesterday,
According to him, although the sector is monitored via the special control unit, more needed to be done.
According to Bawa, “One of the problems we have now is the real estate. 90 to 100 per cent of the resources are being laundered through the real estate.”
He said there are so many issues involved, but that they were working with the National Assembly to stop what he called “the gate keepers” as there would be reduction in looting if there is no one to launder the money.
Bawa, the EFCC boss, gave an example of a minister who expressed interest in a $37.5million property a bank manager put up for sale.
He said, “The bank sent a vehicle to her house and in the first instance $20million was evacuated from her house.
“They paid a developer and a lawyer set up a special purpose vehicle, where the title documents were transferred into.
“And he (the lawyer) is posing as the owner of the property. You see the problem. This is just one of many; it is happening daily.”
The EFCC chairman also revealed that he receives death threats often.
Asked to respond to President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent “Corruption is fighting back” expression, Bawa said he was in New York, USA, last week, when someone called to threaten him.
“Last week, I was in New York when a senior citizen received a phone call from somebody that is not even under investigation.
“The young man said, ‘I am going to kill him (Bawa), I am going to kill him’.
“I get death threats. So, it is real. Corruption can fight back,” he said.
On corruption in the civil service, he said there were a lot of gaps, especially in contracts processing, naming “emergency contracts” as one.
Bawa said, “A particular agency is notorious for that. They have turned all their contracts to emergency contracts.”
However, he said, EFCC has strategies in place to check corruptions, one of which is “corruption risk assessments of MDAs”.
According to him, “I have written to the minister and would soon commence the process of corruption risk assessments of all the parastatals and agencies under the Ministry of Petroleum Resources to look at their vulnerability to fraud and advise them accordingly.”
Asked if the scope of corruption in the country overwhelms him, Bawa, the EFCC boss said, “Yes, and no.”
We’ve Spent N9bn To Upgrade RSUTH, Wike Confirms
The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, says his administration has spent N9billion in upgrading structures and installation of new equipment at the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH).
He said the fact that 40 per cent of the 2021 budget of the state is dedicated to provision of quality healthcare delivery was a further demonstration of the priority placed on the sector.
Wike made the explanation at the foundation laying ceremony for the construction of a Renal Centre at RSUTH, last Friday.
The governor said he made promise to Rivers people that the best would be provided to them in all sectors of the society within his capability because of the mandate they gave to him.
“As we came on here, I just looked around and I see the changes in this teaching hospital. I can say that we have put not less than N9billion in this teaching hospital.
“If you look at the budget, the health sector alone, what it’s taking from the Rivers State Government is not less than 40 percent of the 2021 budget.”
Speaking further, Wike said the state government cannot afford to implement free medical service programme in the present economic circumstance.
While dismissing the request for a subvention for RSUTH, Wike, however, commended the chief medical director and his team for their commitment to turnaround the fortunes of RSUTH.
“I have never seen anywhere that health services can be totally free. They’re telling me that people who come here can’t pay. I have never declared that this state is going to take over the health fees of anybody.”
Also speaking, the former Minister of Transport, Dr. Abiye Sekibo, who performed the flag-off, noted that Wike’s achievements in the health sector in particular, surpass what former governors of the state had done.
Sekibo said that the governor has given equal attention to every section of the health sector by providing complete health infrastructure that was positioning the state as a medical tourism destination in Nigeria.
Earlier, the Rivers State Commissioner for Health, Prof Princewill Chike, lauded Governor Nyesom Wike for his interest in the health of Rivers people.
He noted that the renal centre, when completed, would become another landmark development project in the health sector that would handle and manage all kidney-related ailments.
In his remarks, the Chief Medical Director of the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital, Dr. Friday Aaron, commended Wike for approving the renal centre.
Aaron explained that chronic kidney disease was a major burden globally with estimated 14 million cases in Nigeria.
According to him, over 240,000 of these cases require renal replacement therapy in the form of dialysis and renal transplant.
The CMD said the building that would house the centre was expected to be completed in six months and consists of two floors.
The ground floor, according to him, would house the haemodialysis unit with eight haemodialysis machines.
He further explained that the first floor of the centre would house the surgical component where most of the sophisticated equipment for kidney transplant would be installed.
Aaron said Wike has released the funds required to build, equip the centre as well as for the training of personnel locally and internationally.
Power Generation Falls 23% To 3,172MW
Power supply in Nigeria has failed to improve on last week’s performance, as it fell by 22.9 per cent from peak generation of 4,115Megawatts on Saturday to 3,172.20MW as at 5pm, yesterday, latest data from the System Operator has shown.
According to the data, most power plants were operating far below capacity due to gas shortage with Olorunsogo Power Plant 335MW capacity; and Sapele Power Plant, 450MW capacity; completely out.
Egbin was generating at 746MW; Omoku 37.20; Omotosho (NIPP) at 105MW; while Afam was generating at 80MW.
The data showed that on the average power generation in the past seven days were 4,120.9MW on Sunday, June 6; 4,249.4 on Monday, June 7; 4,000.9MW on Tuesday, June 8; 3,720.7 on Wednesday, June 9; 3,517 on Thursday, June 10; 3,765MW on Friday, June 11; and 4,115MW on Saturday, June 12.
The International Oil Companies (IOCs), had last warned that despite Nigeria’s huge gas reserves a lot needs to be done to attract investment to the sector to develop gas reserves to boost power generation in the country.
Speaking at the just concluded Nigeria International Petroleum Summit, the Chair, Shell Companies in Nigeria/MD SPDC, Osagie Okunbor, said with 203trillion Cubic Feet of gas reserves, what was needed in the country is to deliver projects that would produce the gas.
“The challenge is not just growing the reserves but in producing these reserves for the benefits of our country. Essentially growing the reserves and delivering on the production is a function of two or three elements.
“I like to see infrastructure that is required for the development of these resources at two levels. Soft infrastructure is often the one that is more important than and that is the one that is actually drives most of what you see at site.”
“Soft infrastructure refers to the enabling environment and nothing pleases me as much seeing both the Senate President and the speaker of the house give very firm commitments about trying to pass the PIB this month.
“That is probably the big one of the enabling environment to provide the kind of stability we also need all sorts of other issues we need to that we have discussed severally in terms of sanctity of contract, stable policies and collaboration and I think we are well on our way there”, he added.
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