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UK Freezes Erastus Akinghola’s Assets Globally

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A United Kingdom Court in London has ordered a temporary forfeiture of all assets, both identified and unidentified, belonging to the wanted former group managing director and chief executive officer of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Mr. Erastus Akingbola.

The order, known, as Mareva order, covers all assets traceable to him globally, including his investments, cash in bank accounts and property, among others.

It was granted on December 23, 2009.

The order is used to preserve assets in a situation where there are fears that the other party in a case may waste or dissipate the assets in contention.

It was gathered that the temporary forfeiture order was jointly sought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the new management of Intercontinental Bank, following a tip-off that he was in the process of moving £3.3 million about N858 million from Isle of Man, an Island in the Caribbean to London.

His total investment in the Island is said to be about N12 billion.

The Island is known in the banking world as the safe haven for bankers to hide slush funds.

Before the move by the commission, Akingbola was alleged to have moved a huge sum of money from his investment in the Island to purchase some property in London.

In the Mareva order, which is now in the possession of the anti-corruption agency, property allegedly bought by Akingbola during the initial cash movement reportedly included houses on numbers 17, 18, 19, 20 on Finchey Road, London, as well as the property located at 26, Chesire Terrace, London.

EFCC, which is set for the implementation of the order, was said to have moved in particular for the all-covering order to stop Akingbola from dissipating the assets, which the commission claimed were proceeds of crime.

The commission was said to have convinced the court to grant the global order after it was able to provide evidence that he had initially moved monies from the Island to buy property in London.

In the charge filed against him in a Federal High Court in Lagos by the commission, which is being used to push for his extradition, the property traced to him were described as proceeds of the alleged crime he committed with shareholders’ funds, while at the bank.

Commission’s spokesperson, Mr. Femi Baba-Femi could not be reached on his mobile phone for comments on the development.

Four top management staff of the bank arrested over another alleged N12 billion fraud involving Akingbola are still being detained on court order by the commission.

The affected top officers included Akin Fabunmi, Financial Controller; Toyin Odesilo, Head, Domestic Operations and Toyin Oyelade, Treasurer.

It was gathered that they allegedly removed N12 billion from the bank’s General Legal Account in November and gave some to Akingbola.

According to information from the commission, the affected bank top shots had in November moved N2 billion to a subsidiary of the bank {names withheld}, from where it was moved to a bureau de change where it was converted to Pounds Sterling and wired to Akingbola’s domiciliary account with the bank before it was finally wired to another account of his in the United Kingdom.

He was said to have successfully withdrawn the money before the commission was called into the alleged scam.

In the same month, another N10 billion was reportedly moved by the same people into the accounts of some companies owned by Akingbola domiciled with Access Bank Plc, before it was finally paid to Access Bank to defray the N10 billion debts Akingbola and his companies owed the bank.

Five non-executive directors of the bank were recently fingered in another alleged fresh N50 billion scam.

The money, which was said to have been shared among the five directors, was believed to be part of the missing N1 trillion in the sector.

It was gathered that while N1.2 billion was shared by the five former directors in March, 2008 as bonus, another N1.8 billion was shared among them in the same month.

The commission’s sustained investigation into the books of the troubled bank was said to have uncovered another fresh N31 billion allegedly laundered by Akingbola while at the helms of affairs in the bank.

In May 2009, the probe report stated that Akingbola allegedly used his own registered company, Tropics Properties Ltd, to launder over N13 billion investors’ funds.

The first payment made into Tropics account was N4.5 billion, the second being N4.4 billion, while the third was N4.06 billion.

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FG Hails Rivers Top Spot In Literacy Education Dev

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The Federal Government has commended the Rivers State Government over its concerted efforts in the development of basic education that has guaranteed the state the highest ranking in literacy education in the country.
The state scored 70per cent ahead other states of the federation in a recent national ranking.
The Coordinator in charge of Better Education Service Delivery for All (BESDA), Federal Ministry of Education, MrsAminaHaruna made the commendation, while speaking at a one-day state Technical Workshop on improving BESDA implementation at Bougainvillea Hotels in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Haruna said it was of good note that Rivers State has shifted to where it was before and attained a commendable height in the development of literacy education, adding that such feat was worth celebrating.
The BESDA coordinator, disclosed that Rivers State has also taken the lead to replicate the just concluded performance review meeting held in Abuja, recently, adding that the technical meeting was essentially designed to bring all stakeholders in the BESDA together to brainstorm on way forward.
She said that the Federal Government was committed to ensuring that the menace of out-of-school children in the country was resolved, adding that it was what informed the Federal Government decision to borrow $11million to tackle the menace headlong.
She called on parents to ensure that they give their children the right to education, adding that the importance of education in the society cannot be over-emphasised.
“Rivers State has done well in literacy education, and they are ahead of other states. So, whoever that has done well; praise him or her”, she stated.
Also speaking, the state Commissioner for Education, Prof. Kaniye Ebeku said one of the cardinal policy trusts of the present administration led by Governor Nyesom Wike was to provide access to quality and qualitative education for children in the state, saying that BESDA programme was one of the links to actualise it.
Ebeku thanked the Federal Government and the World Bank for initiating the BESDA programme, adding that it has given hope to many out-of-school children to have access to education literacy, saying that the cult clashes that ravaged some communities was responsible for the over-crowded nature of schools in Port Harcourt and Obio/Akpor local government areas of the state.
He expressed satisfaction with the performance of both teachers and pupils in the BESDA schools in the state, adding that children in the conventional schools were not doing better than the ones in the BESDA schools.
He, therefore, solicited for cooperation among all stakeholders in driving the programme, and assured that the state Ministry of Education would drive the supervision and monitoring to ensure it achieves set objectives.
In his speech, the Executive Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB), Ven. Fyneface Akah said the workshop was organised to replicate the Federal Government’s model on peer review performance by getting all stakeholders involved in achieving gaining more grounds in the BESDA programme in the state.
Akah said the board under his leadership was determined to ensure both children of fishermen and those who are out-of-school have access to quality education, which he said, was essential.
“It is not about the reward but the effort and impact. We are organising literacy content to ensure that those children in the programme read, write and understand numerical skills, and whoever that acquires literary skills has acquired the knowledge for further education”, he stated.
In her remarks, the RSUBEB Director in charge of Physical Planning, Mrs Joy Ojirika, who doubles as the state BESDA focal person, gave a scorecard on the progress of the programme in the state.

By: Akujobi Amadi

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Wike, Okonjo-Iweala, Others For 4th DAAR Awards, Dec 6

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The Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, the Director-General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala; and Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa; are among those to be honoured at the fourth edition of the DAAR Awards.
The DAAR Awards, scheduled to take place on December 6, 2021 in Lagos, is organised by DAAR Communication Plc, which owns RayPower broadcasting station and African Independent Television.
At the ceremony, Wike would be honoured with the DAAR’s Man of the Year Award, while Okonjo-Iweala would be honoured with DAAR’s Woman of the Year Award, just as Okowa would receive award for outstanding leadership in public service.
In a letter to the recipients by the Group Managing Director of DAAR Communications Plc, Tony Akiotu, said the awardees were selected for their exemplary qualities and immeasurable contributions to the sustainable development and progress of humanity in various sectors.
On the criteria for selecting Rivers State governor,Akiotu said, “The Editorial Board and DAAR Communications panel of assessors for the 4th DAAR Awards had unanimously voted to confer the award of Man of the Year 2021 on Wike for his giant strides in infrastructural development of Rivers State and deepening of Nigeria’s democracy”.
Akiotu said that Deputy Senate President, OvieOmo-Agege would also receive award for Outstanding Leadership in Public Service along with Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum; Oyo State Governor, Engr. OluseyiMakinde; and Osun State Governor, Prof. Adegboyega Oyetola.
Also to be honoured are the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, who would receive award for Outstanding Performance in the Academia, and Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Prof. Akin Abayomi, who would receive Outstanding Performance on COVID-19 Pandemicaward.
According to DAAR CommunicationsPlc, it would honour Ogundipe for extensive work on molecular systematics, plant anatomy, food security, natural resource management and biodiversity conservation.

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Senate Blasts Saipem Over Breach Of Local Content Act On NLNG Train-7

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The Senate Committee on Local Content has expressed displeasure at Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, a company handling the Train-7 gas project, for what it termed “deliberate breach” of Nigeria’s Local Content Act.
The company’s management has been evading appearances before the committee until last Wednesday after the panel threatened to compel their appearance with sanction.
However, the panel, chaired by Senator Teslim Folarin, after inference from evidence made available to the panel, demanded an explanation from Saipem Contracting Company why the gas project company awards contracts to foreign companies for supply of steel, rods, among other materials for execution of the project contrary to local firms in clear breach of LCA.
According to the committee, they have been flooded with petitions from the public over the sharp practices of the company in connivance with some Nigerians.
The committee said it was based on that the Train -7 gas project was invited while pointing out the breach of the local content act on the award of contract for the purchase of items for the gas project.
The committee, however, regretted the non-appearance of Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Saipem and Daewoo, which they said their appearances would have deepened investigation on why foreign firms habitually shortchange the nation.
It rescheduled the meeting and asked the committee clerk to issue fresh letter of invitation to the absentee organisations.
Senators Folarin and Sabi Abdullahi in reference to a petition pointed out that Saipem management is aware of contracts to foreign firms than Nigerian companies for supply of materials running into millions of euros in breach of the provision of the local content act.
Teslim said: “Can you explain, how you came about awarding the contract for the supply of steel for €4million, to TK Corporation, a Korean company, and €4.27million, contract to another Korean company for pipes, €3.86million to an Italian company and another €5.5million.
“All these are not Nigerian companies.”
He said the local content act provided for 50percent Nigerian content in the execution of the project.
In his response, the Managing Director of Saipem, Mr Walter Peviani said execution of the project by the company was based on a contractual agreement, and documents presented to the company by the NLNG and the NCDMB.
“Within the contractual documents, which we received, entailed, a project Nigerian content plan and entry procedures for Nigerian companies compliance certificate,” he said.
Unfortunately, the Executive Secretary of the National Content Development Management Board was absent despite invitations, a development, the committee said was deliberate and suspicious.

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