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$9.6bn Scam: Court Winds Up P&ID, Orders Forfeiture Of Assets …As Nigeria’s Legal Team Meets In London, Moves For Revocation of Fine

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The Federal High Court in Abuja, yesterday, convicted and subsequently ordered the winding up of Process and Industrial Development Limited and its Nigerian affiliate, P&ID Nigeria Limited, for charges of fraud and tax evasion in respect of the contract leading to the recent controversial judgment of a British court empowering the firm to seize about $9.6billion worth of Nigerian assets.
Justice Inyang Ekwo, in his judgment also ordered the forfeiture of “the assets and properties” of the two firms to the Nigerian government.
The judge made the orders shortly after the two firms, through their representatives, pleaded guilty to the 11 counts instituted against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Relying on provisions of Section 19(2) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011, and Section 10(2) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act, 2006, the court ordered the Federal Government to wind up the two firms and confiscate all their assets in the country.
While P&ID Limited incorporated in British Virgin Island was represented in the dock by its Commercial Director, Mohammad Kuchazi, P&ID Nigeria Limited was represented by Adamu Usman, who is also a lawyer.
Kuchazi was represented by his lawyer, Dandison Akurunwua, while Usman represented himself.
Both men pleaded guilty on behalf of the companies to all the 11 counts read to them before Justice Ekwo, yesterday.
They were accused of among others, fraudulently claiming to have acquired land from the Cross River State Government in 2010 for the gas supply project agreement which led to the $9.6billion judgment.
After the defendants pleaded guilty to the 11 counts, an EFCC investigator, Usman Babangida, was called to the witness box for review of facts which was not opposed by the defence.
Documents relating to the controversial 2010 gas supply contract and EFCC’s investigation activities were tendered and admitted by the judge as exhibits without objection from the defence.
The judge then went on to pronounce the two firms represented by the two men guilty.
Making an allocutus, plea for mercy, P&ID’s lawyer Akurunwua, urged the judge to consider “the forthrightness and candour” of P&ID by pleading guilty and not wasting the time of the court in the trial.
Meanwhile, with the trial and conviction of both the British Virgin Island and the Nigerian affiliate of Process and Industrial Development Limited (P&ID) by a Federal High Court for fraud and corruption, Nigeria is set to present the United Kingdom Appeal Court handling the case, with a new set of pleading to revoke the monumental award against the country.
Beyond the conviction of the company, the Nigerian federal court also ordered the forfeiture of the assets of the company to the Federal Government.
Arising from the judgment, a consortium of Nigeria’s legal team is set to meet in London early next week with a view to reviewing the case and making an appropriate adjustment to its deposition towards the revocation of the award earlier granted by the court to the shadowy company, which has now been convicted.
It was learnt that with the conviction, Nigeria is likely going to argue before the court of appeal that the UK commercial and Arbitration Court was misled by the suspects to grant the huge award and should, therefore, be revoked given the new and better information that was unavailable to the country at the time.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, yesterday, confirmed that the legal team would be converging in London to review the case and take further steps to advance the cause of justice and Nigeria in the case, which has drawn global attention.
Malami said: “Nigeria is expected to review its strategy in view of the unfolding development as it relates to the conviction of some of the suspects that have admitted to fraud and corruption that gave rise to the award.
“The implication of today’s conviction of the suspects by the FHC in Nigeria is that Nigeria has a judicial proof of fraud and corruption as a foundation of the relationship that gave rise to a purported liability and arbitral award.
“From the available evidence, Nigeria now has a cogent ground to ask for the setting aside of the entire liability.

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Boko Haram Killed 847 Soldiers, Buried In Borno Cemetery, Ndume Reveals …48 Doctors Abducted In Two Years, NMA Laments

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The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, said on yesterday that 847 Nigerian soldiers killed by the Boko Haram terrorists from 2013 till date were buried in the Military cemetery located in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
He said the figure did not include other soldiers killed by the insurgents and buried in other military cemeteries located in other parts of the North-East geopolitical zone.
Ndume, who stated this while briefing journalists in Abuja on the findings by his colleagues who recently returned from Maiduguri, however, denied reports of mass burial of soldiers killed by the terrorists.
He also said the Senate panel was already investigating allegations that some non-governmental agencies operating in the North-East were providing useful information to the Boko Haram leaders.
Ndume also dismissed claims of the existence of mass graves where soldiers killed by Boko Haram insurgents had been buried.
He said during the visit of his committee to theatre commands in Borno State, it was discovered that soldiers were under-equipped to confront the insurgents.
Ndume also decried the inadequate number of soldiers confronting insurgents.
He called on the government to recruit more men into the service to aid the fight.
However, as the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Senator Ali Ndume, yesterday, alleged that a total number of 847 soldiers were killed and buried in the military cemetery in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital, the Nigerian Army has challenged him to provide a proof to substantiate his statement.
Ndume had reported that 840 Nigerian soldiers were killed by Boko Haram terrorists from 2013 till date, noting that other soldiers killed by the same insurgents, and were buried in other military cemeteries are not inclusive.
But in a repost by Army’s spokesman, Col Sagir Musa, the Nigerian Army quashed the allegation, and challenged Ndume to provide a proof to substantiate his statement.
Musa said, “If he says so, then, he should substantiate. What is his source? Let him provide it”.
Similarly, the Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) has raised the alarm that no fewer than 48 medical doctors have been abducted across the country in the last two years.
Its National President, Dr Francis Faduyile, who said this in Akure during the association’s 2019 Physicians Week, described the development as worrisome and unacceptable.
Faduyile lamented that “Some of our members that were kidnapped in some cases even died in the kidnappers’ den.
“At least, two doctors have been kidnapped in two-third of the states across the country within the last two years.
“It is worthy of note that all is not well with Nigerian doctors, the kidnapping of our members in the course of discharging their duties to the Nigerian state with some still in captivity.
“Incessant harassment/assaults by patients and their relations and the unfortunate maltreatment by employers (government), ranging from poor general working environment and emoluments to irregular payment of salaries with arrears running to 12 months or more in some states.
“Our members, two in number, kidnapped in Taraba in the last six months have not been released by their abductors.
Faduyile, therefore, appealed to government at all level to be more responsive and responsible to the welfare of Nigerian physicians who are making selfless sacrifices to sustain healthcare delivery in the country amidst challenges, including incessant harassment, kidnapping in the line of duty.
“The abysmal physicians to patients ratio and rise in brain drain brought about mainly by the poor general working condition in the health sector”.
He said the theme of this year’s Physicians Week, “Care of the Unknown Patient” was chosen to bring to fore issues affecting Nigerians who suddenly find themselves in an unconscious state from traumatic cause to majorly road traffic accident or medical conditions.
The NMA regretted that the government “has not deemed it pertinent to accord the desired attention and value to this category of patients.
“There is a lack of commitment to the implementation of the National Health Act which provides for the care of patients in an emergency situation.
“There is no enduring policy to cater for victims of a road traffic accident which accounts for large numbers of unknown patients”.
Faduyile equally lamented that there is no policy statement that clearly addresses the various components of the emergency care service for victims of gunshot injury.
The association, therefore, called for “an enduring and unambiguous policy statement that takes into consideration the critical aspects of care in an emergency.
“We advocate for the provision of defibrillators at the strategic public arena and health facilities for the prompt care of patients with a heart attack and related conditions either in the hospital setting or before taking such patients to a health care facilities for proper care”, he added.

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Recover Govt Property From Illegal Occupants, Wike Charges Task Force …Explains Focus On Massive Urban Renewal

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has inaugurated the state Task Force for the Recovery of Government Properties, with a charge to members of the task force to work diligently for the state.
Inaugurating the committee in Government House, Port Harcourt, last Monday, Wike said several permanent secretaries and top civil servants have retired from service, but were still illegally occupying government quarters.
Wike noted that several attempts to ensure that they vacate government quarters, so that serving officers can reside in such houses have met with resistance from the retired senior civil servants.
“You are by this inauguration required to recover all government properties illegally occupied by some persons.
“There are many civil servants who have retired from service, but are still occupying government buildings several years after retirement. This has made it difficult for those in service to have official quarters allocated to them”, he said.
The governor told members of the task force that they would face challenges while carrying out their responsibilities, and advised them to be firm.
He assured that the Rivers State Government would provide the required security and logistical support for them to carry out their functions.
Wike said that some top civil servants have gone as far as taking illegal measures to own government properties, noting that in some blocks of flats, some have gone to illegally acquire Certificates of Occupancy (CoOs).
“If you are a civil servant, you already know when you are to retire. Therefore, you have to plan for retirement.
“It is regrettable that some civil servants even fail to maintain government buildings where they reside. Do this assignment diligently. Except there is a clear court order, recover government buildings that have been illegally occupied”, he directed members of the task force.
The governor also charged the task force to locate government lands that have been illegally occupied and recover same.
Responding, Chairman of the Task Force for the Recovery of Government Properties, Barrister Rufus Godwins appreciated the governor for the confidence reposed in the members to carry out the important responsibility.
Godwins, who is also the Head of Service, assured the Rivers State governor that the task force would locate, identify and recover all government properties illegally occupied.
He said where the task force meets resistance; it would recommend prosecution of the affected persons to the office of the Attorney General of Rivers State.
Meanwhile, the Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike has explained that the ongoing urban renewal of Port Harcourt City and adjoining towns of the state capital was aimed at returning the city to its Garden City status.
Speaking after inspecting ongoing projects, last Monday, Wike said that his administration was committed to reconstructing key roads in the state capital to ease traffic congestion and boost the economy.
He said because his administration was committed to constructing roads that would last, adding that 70 per cent of the urban renewal scheme would be handled by a Nigerian-based international construction company.
“We are working hard to return Port Harcourt City to its Garden City status. That is why we have embarked on massive urban renewal across the state capital.
“Seventy per cent of the roads under construction will be handled by international construction company, Julius Berger. We are committed to delivering roads that will last for the people of the state”, he said.
On one of the roads under construction near the Polo Club, Port Harcourt, Wike said that he would invite the management of Polo Club to work towards removing the shanties that deface the area.
He said if the management of Polo Club fails to act, the state government would be compelled to take tough action.
“We cannot allow the kind of shanties that I am seeing here. I have sent for the President of Port Harcourt Polo Club to come and give them notice to quit”, he said.
The governor said that the Judges’ Quarters have already been completed, while contractors were concluding work on the external services, especially the drainage system.
He said that the Mother and Child Hospital would be completed by the end of the year, and commended the quality of work done by the contractors.
Wike was accompanied on the project inspection by the Rivers State Chairman of PDP, Bro Felix Obuah and Senator Olaka Nwogu.

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Super Eagles’ Future Very Bright -Rohr

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Nigeria national team coach, Gernot Rohr, believes that the Super Eagles have ‘good future’ after they played out a 1-1 draw against Brazil in last Sunday’s international friendly in Singapore.
The 66-year-old German tactician paraded a young team against the five-time world champions, following a spate of withdrawals by some of his experienced players, including Captain Ahmed Musa.
The team, however, gave a good account of themselves with Joe Aribo, making his second appearance for the Super Eagles, scoring the opening goal in the 35th minute before Casemiro’s second-half effort saved the South American champions from defeat.
The draw is the second in a row for the Brazilians after they were held by Senegal in last week’s friendly outing.
Rohr is impressed with the performance of his side but admitted the three-time African champions still have to improve.
“It was tough for us as the second game because Brazil would not have wanted to leave Singapore without winning, and it feels very good to know that we can play so well against some of the biggest names in football,” Rohr said in a post-match press conference.
“We didn’t have our best team here, but our wingers gave Brazil a lot of problems on the counter-attack and I am proud of our players. They can have a good future.
“We can still improve in defending set-pieces. We have height, with players as tall as two metres, but we have to be better in the air.
“It is not enough just to have good size, they need to jump well with good timing.”
Rohr believes African football is improving after both Nigeria and Senegal avoided defeat against the world number three.
“These results are good for African football when Senegal and Nigeria did not lose to Brazil, one of the strongest teams in the world,” he added.
Nigeria will hope to secure good results when they take on Benin Republic and Lesotho in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying games in November.

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