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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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PDP Wins, Obaseki Assures Sustained Dev …Victory Ends Godfatherism In Edo, Wike Declares …Commends INEC, Police For Peaceful, Credible Election

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The Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has hailed Edo people and supporters of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for their display of immense courage and support in the face of threats, intimidation and brutalisation as he emerged victorious in Saturday’s gubernatorial election in the state.
Obaseki defeated his closest rival, Osagie Ize-Iyamu of the All Progressives Congress (APC), polling a total of 307,955 votes against APC’s 223,619 votes.
The governor, in his appreciation message in Benin City, yesterday, hailed President Muhammadu Buhari, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), security agencies and other stakeholders who participated in the conduct of the gubernatorial election for ensuring a free, peaceful, and credible poll in the state.
Obaseki said: “The Great People of Edo State have spoken. They have spoken loud and clear. We thank God Almighty and give him all the glory for this victory.
“Thank you, President Muhammadu Buhari, for defending our democracy and allowing the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies to perform their constitutional functions without interference.
“INEC and the security services have shown to Nigerians and the world that they are capable of conducting free and credible elections.”
The governor continued: “Words fail me in saluting our teeming supporters who displayed immense courage in the face of threats, intimidation, and brutalisation. The collective will of the Edo people made it possible for this triumph over godfatherism.
“I am eternally grateful to my party the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and my brother governors not only for giving me the umbrella during my political storm but for the hard work which has brought me back to the office.
“Our success has reinforced my belief that there is nothing we cannot achieve as a people if we pull forces together and collectively call on God for support.”
“I reiterate that working with my Deputy, Rt. Hon. Philip Shaibu, we are committed to Making Edo Great Again. Thank you for your support,” he added.
Earlier, the Independent National Electoral Commission had declared the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Godwin Obaseki, winner of the governorship election in Edo State.
INEC’s Returning Officer, and Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Petroleum Resources, Effurun, near Warri, Delta State, Prof. Akpofure Rim-Rukeh, announced the result of the election, yesterday.
Obaseki of PDP polled 307,955 votes to defeat his closest rival, Osagie Ize-Iyamu, of the All Progressives Congress, who got 223,619 votes.
Rim-Rukeh, while declaring Obaseki winner, said the incumbent governor was returned elected after satisfying all requirements in line with the law.
Obaseki of PDP ran against APC standard-bearer, Ize-Iyamu and 13 others.
Obaseki was elected on APC’s platform in 2016 but defected to the PDP after being denied the ticket owing to intra-party squabbles.
The results as declared for Igueben LGA show that APC scored 5,179 votes; and PDP got 7, 870 votes.
Igueben Local Government Area has 46,838 register voters, with 13, 404 accredited to vote.
At the end of the exercise, the total valid votes were 13,179; rejected votes 212; and total votes cast stood at 13, 382.
In Esan North East, APC garnered 6,556 votes; PDP 13,579 votes; with 84,241 registered voters.
On Election Day, 20, 825 voters were accredited; with total 20, 369 valid; 361 rejected; out of 20, 730 total votes cast in the local government area.
In Esan Central Local Government, APC scored 6,719 votes; and PDP polled 10,694 votes, out of a total registered 55, 569 voters.
However, 17, 931 voters were accredited; with total 17, 672 valid votes; 242 rejected votes; out of 17, 914 total votes cast in the area.
Results from Ikpoba-Okha Local Government Area show APC with 18,218 votes, PDP 41,030 votes.
Further details show that the LGA has 310, 073 registered voters; with 61,731 accredited to vote, while total valid votes cast stood at 60,052; with 1,378 rejected votes, and 61, 430 total votes cast.
In Uhunmwode LGA, APC scored 5,972, while PDP polled 10,022, just as ZLP got 5 and YPP 2 votes, respectively.
The LG has 73, 416 registered voters; out of which 16, 741 were accredited to vote; while 16,283 total valid votes were cast, with 352 rejected; of 16,635 total votes cast in the area.
In Egor Local Government Area, APC polled 10, 202, and PDP 27, 621.
The number of registered voters stood at 219,841 on Election Day, with 39, 709 accredited to vote; out of which 38,396 total valid votes were cast; resulting in 955 rejected votes; and 39, 351 total votes cast.
Owan East Local Government Area results show APC scoring 19,295 votes and PDP polling 14,762 votes.
In the LGA, they were 91, 769 registered voters; out of which 34, 819 were accredited to vote; with 34, 246 total valid votes; 515 rejected votes and 34, 761 total votes cast.
In Owan West Local Government Area, APC recorded 11,193 votes, PDP 11,485 votes.
In the LGA, they are 61,193 registered voters; but 23, 294 were accredited; 22, 849 total valid votes were cast; with 404 rejected; leaving a total 23, 253 votes cast.
In Esan South East LGA, APC scooped 9,237, while PDP cruised to victory with 10,563 votes.
They were 73,907 registered voters; with 20, 274 accredited; 19, 896 total valid votes; 307 votes rejected; and 20, 203 total votes cast.
In Ovia North East LGA, APC recorded 9,907 votes, and PDP 16,987.
With 143,009 registered voters, it appears a low turnout had marred the poll; with 28, 607 accredited to vote; 27, 437 total valid votes recorded; 934 votes rejected and 28, 371 total votes cast.
In Etsako West LGA, APC scored 26,140, and PDP 17,959, out of 48, 846 accredited voters.
In the LGA, there are 158,899 registered voters; with 44, 539 total valid votes cast; 2,828 votes rejected; and 47, 367 total votes cast.
In Oredo LGA, INEC declared 18, 365 votes for APC; and 43, 498 votes for PDP out of a total valid 62, 578 votes.
There are 309,968 registered voters in the LGA; out of which only 64, 783 voters were accredited; with 1,302 rejected votes; and 63, 880 total votes cast.
In Esan West LGA, APC scored 7,189, and PDP won with 17,434 votes; out of 24,880 total valid votes cast.
The LGA has 99,983 registered voters, but 25, 530 were accredited; while 579 votes were rejected; of the total 25,459 votes cast.
In Akoko Edo, APC scored 22, 963 while PDP scored 20, 101 votes.
In Etsako Central, APC garnered 8,359 while PDP polled 7,478 votes.
In Etsako East, the APC scored 17,011 while the PDP got 10,668 votes.
In Orhionmwon, APC scored APC 10, 458 votes while PDP polled 13,445 votes.
In Ovia South West, APC polled 10,636 just as PDP garnered 12,659 votes.
Reacting, the Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Campaign Council for Edo Election, Governor Nyesom Wike said that the electoral victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki has ended godfatherism in Edo State.
Wike made the assertion at a press conference in Benin City shortly after the declaration of Governor Obaseki as the winner of Edo Governorship Election by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
Wike acknowledged that Edo people spoke vehemently with their votes by re-electing Governor Obaseki.
He noted that with the outcome of the election, Edo people would no longer put their fate in the hands of one man.
“If for nothing, we have made the point that there is nothing called godfatherism again in Edo State politics.
“I thank Governor Obaseki for volunteering to be used to fight for the interest of Edo State,” he said.
The governor thanked members of the PDP National Campaign Council and those who also served in the Edo Campaign Committee for the sacrifices made.
He said the two groups synergised to achieve the electoral victory for the party.
“I want to particularly thank my colleagues, the governors of Delta State, Oyo State and all other persons who served in the National Campaign Council. We succeeded working as a team.
“Let me also thank the governor of Edo State. He gave us the necessary support that has led to this victory.
“Also, we thank all those who worked in the campaign train in Edo State. We also appreciate the media for the positive coverage of the election,” he stated.
The re-elected Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki said the collective will of Edo people made the electoral victory possible.
“Edo people have spoken and they have spoken loud and clear. We thank God Almighty and give Him all the glory for this victory.
“The collective will of Edo people made it possible for us to triumph over godfatherism.
“Our success has reinforced my belief that there is nothing we cannot achieve as a people. This is because we pulled forces together and collectively called on God for support.
Obaseki thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for ensuring that INEC and the security agencies performed their functions.
On behalf of his deputy, Obaseki reiterated his commitment to make Edo State great again.
Also, the Rivers State governor commended the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the Police over their conduct during the Edo Governorship Election.
Wike, who is the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Campaign Council made the commendation while addressing a mammoth crowd of party supporters at the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
He stated that the conduct of INEC and the police showed that they were ready to correct the mistakes of the past.
The governor also commended the people of Edo State for ending godfatherism with the re-election of Governor Godwin Obaseki.
“With the re-election of Governor Obaseki, the entire South-South region is now completely PDP.
“What this means is that the entire South-South can now speak with one voice on issues concerning us,” he stated.
Wike thanked the people of the state for their prayers that led to the Edo State victory.
At a brief reception by party leaders at Government House, Wike said with the conduct of INEC, there is hope for the country’s democracy.
According to him, the neutrality of the electoral body and security agencies will make one to say the election was free and fair.
He thanked the party leaders for their solidarity throughout the election period, and urged them to maintain the spirit.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Elders Advisory Council of the PDP, Chief Ferdinand Alabraba, commended Wike for leading a successful campaign.
Alabraba said the victory at Edo State has proved that the governor was always committed to any assignment that he is given.
Earlier, the National Chairman of the Edo State Campaign Council of the Peoples Democratic Party and Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, had warned the Independent National Electoral Commission against declaring the governorship election inconclusive.
Wike, who gave the warning in Benin City, last Saturday, during an interview in the Edo 2020 Situation Room streamed on Governor Godwin Obaseki’s Youtube Channel and monitored by our correspondent, said INEC must keep to its promise of a transparent process.
He noted that the collation of results was the most critical stage, and urged security personnel to prevent breaches, adding that the people of the state should defend their votes up to the collation centres.
Wike said, “We have results from about 2,000 polling units from the various wards and from the intelligence we have gathered, I do believe that INEC will keep to that promise of being transparent.
“But we are getting a bit worried that INEC said they have 700 unit results, which is not correct, and that calls for concern. We don’t believe that INEC has only 700. It is more than 2,000 that we have.
“Again, as we speak, they ought to have moved to the ward collation centres before they move to the local government collation centres. But we cannot find the security personnel around the ward collation centres and that gives us concern.
“Why is it that the security personnel are not at the ward collation centres? So, I urge the Inspector-General of Police to move his men to the ward collation centres.
“They must not allow miscreants to disrupt the electoral process. I believe that the commission will continue with what they have done.
“Like we have said, we don’t want this election to be inconclusive. This is the critical stage where you may see disruptions and then it will be declared inconclusive. INEC should fulfil its promise that this election will be transparent. We don’t want to hear inconclusive.”
Also, in the Situation Room, the Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, and the Oyo State Governor, Engr Seyi Makinde, added that it was surprising that the PDP got polling unit results faster than the electoral commission.
They insisted that the people’s votes must count.
Wike also noted with pleasure the turnout of people to vote for candidates of their choice in the Edo Governorship Election.
The governor made the observation in reaction to the general conduct of the election.
He said there was minimal violence recorded because of the proactive measures deployed by the security agencies.
Wike stated that election does not end with voting because it is a process that also includes counting of votes and collation.
He said with the voting concluded, there was need for both the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) and the security agencies to ensure that nothing scuttles the remaining stages.
“Like I have said before, election is not only about voting, the votes should be counted, then you proceed to collation stages: ward, local and state government levels. The collation stage is the critical period.
“So, I urge both INEC and security agencies to protect all the collation centres. When that is done, everybody who has voted will be happy to see that their will has prevailed,” he said.
The governor said when an electoral process is transparent with less violence and disenfranchisement, every participating political party will gladly accept its outcome.
“This may likely be the best election ever conducted in the history of Nigeria. But they must allow the process to continue to the end. Otherwise they will destroy it.

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Insecurity: Buhari’s Excuses No Longer Acceptable -Northern Elders

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The North East elders under the aegis of Coalition of North East Elders for Peace and Development, (CNEEPD), havve tackled President Muhammadu Buhari and the service chiefs over the rising cases of kidnapping and killings ravaging the country, lamenting that their excuses were no longer acceptable.
Its Chairman, Engr. Zana Goni, in a statement, yesterday, called on Buhari, to, as a matter of urgency, listen to Nigerians and implement the recent resolution of both chambers of the National Assembly by rejigging the country’s security architecture with a view to improving the security of Nigeria.
Goni said: “We are stating our position this day with deep and unbearable pains given the lingering and unabated insecurity on our land.
“There is no doubt that ten years down the line, the situation is worsening by the day.
“This is unacceptable considering the efforts Mr President has put in so far to arrest the situation.
“While we sincerely appreciate the president’s efforts in trying to secure our land and the country at large, we must be bold to state the obvious that his service chiefs who are the drivers of his vision on security have ran out of ideas to end the war, and need to be shown the way out.
“As elders, we can no longer sit on the fence over the issue which is the nightmare of every Nigerian. We wonder why Mr President is still keeping the service chiefs despite call from every quota for them to go.
“We wish to remind our dear president that Nigerians are so tired of excuses of insecurity. They want to see changes.
“Nigerians voted for you massively because of your vast experience in security but as it stands today, they are fed up and want to see a secured North East and Nigeria.
“Mr President Sir, sacking the chiefs and appointing new and younger officers into the system will naturally restore lost morale, zeal, hope and confidence in the Armed Forces and the entire security architecture of the country.
“It is obvious that the current service chiefs have overstayed and have run out of ideas to win the war against insurgents.
“Mr President must show them the way out, our ways of livelihood in the North East have been destroyed by the insurgents, and the poverty level in our zone now is so high. It is on these premise that we are calling on President Muhammedu Buhari to sack the service chiefs without further delay.”

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Buhari Hails Obaseki, Commends Electoral Process

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President Muhammadu Buhari has commended the electoral process in Edo State which led to the victory of Governor Godwin Obaseki as declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The president’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, in a Tweet, yesterday, said Buhari also “commended the people of Edo State, the parties, candidates and security agencies for conducting themselves responsibly.”
In his reaction to the outcome of the election as announced by INEC, Buhari said: “My commitment to free and fair elections is firm, because without free and fair elections, the foundation of our political and moral authority will be weak.”
The President added: “I have consistently advocated for free and fair elections in the country because it is the bedrock of true democratic order.
“Democracy will mean nothing if the votes of the people don’t count or if their mandate is fraudulently tampered with,” he said in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.
He commended the people of Edo State, the parties, candidates and security agencies for conducting themselves responsibly.
Speaking, the former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar congratulated Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki for his re-election victory in Saturday’s election, describing it as an end to godfatherism in the nation’s political system.
In a statement he personally signed, yesterday, the PDP 2019 Presidential candidate congratulated the good people of Edo State for their resilience before and during the exercise which held across the 18 local government areas of the state.
The statement read: “There is a new dawn in Edo State, and the hard won victory of Governor Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki is not just a victory, but a declaration of independence from the anti-democratic forces of godfatherism and militarism.
“No victory could be sweeter than this, and I heartily congratulate the governor, and the good people of Edo State for their resilience in the face of the forces arrayed against them.
“Edo has a rich history as the centre of Black civilisation, and to this, she is adding a new history as the bastion of Nigerian democracy. This double whammy of ancient and modern glories is a testament to a people who have for centuries set the pace as a beacon of light on the African continent.
“I most heartily congratulate the Peoples Democratic Party, who stood shoulder to shoulder, with the people of Edo and their government, in good times and bad. We, in the PDP, have shown that we are not fair-weather friends to the good people of Edo.
“In good times, we will walk beside you. In bad times, we will be your true ‘comrade’. We will never be a turncoat. We will never abandon the principles we once espoused, so we can dine with our nemesis. Democracy has no nemesis. And this, the PDP has again proved.
“I look forward to the continuation of four more years of tangible development, and people-centred leadership from Governor Obaseki. I also seize this opportunity to thank His Royal Highness, the Oba of Benin, Omo N’oba N’Edo Uku Akpolopkolo, Ewuare II, for the fatherly role he played as a neutral catalyst for peace. That this election was, by and large, free from violence, is a testament of the long and effective shadow he casts over his domain.

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