More Reactions Trail Sanusi’s Sack; Amaechi Condemns Suspension Order …Action Has Negative Implication On Transparency – APC …Ploy To Sweep Missing Oil Funds Under The Carpet – APC
More reactions have continued to trail President Goodluck Jonathan’s sudden suspension of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi from office last Thursday.
Speaking on the president’s action, Rivers State Governor and Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi condemned the sudden suspension of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, describing the action as arbitrary and against the law.
Amaechi spoke yesterday at Christ Church, Port Harcourt during a service organized for the induction of the resident minister and reception of assistant resident ministers.
The Rivers State chief executive officer said that President Goodluck Jonathan does not have such powers to suspend the CBN governor.
“You can imagine how President Jonathan announced the sudden removal (suspension) of the CBN governor. He does not have such powers. He knows that nothing will happen, that was why he took that action.
“So, I think the preachers should begin to preach what we call the liberation theology. You (church leaders) are supposed to have more responsibilities to hold government accountable,” Amaechi said.
Governor Amaechi equally advised members of the Christ Church, Port Harcourt to accord more trust, confidence and encouragement to the newly inducted Resident Minister, Reverend Kaleb Kay Uche and the Assistant Resident Ministers, Rev. Canon Inuma T. Davies and the Reverend Victor Ben.
“I urge the church to keep to their vows as it is in page 26 of the programme. By our training in the Catholic Church, the priest does not lack anything. The church members buy them cars, clothing, food etc. That is why when they die, we bury them in the church premises. You can never disrespect the Catholic Priests,” Amaechi said.
He further promised to commence the building of a model primary school in the church premises.
Earlier in his message, the Prelate and moderator of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Nigeria to Christ Church, Port Harcourt, His Eminence, Reverend Emele Mba Uka explained on the significance of the induction of the resident ministers and their services to the church and humanity.
Similarly, The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) has challenged President Goodluck Jonathan over suspension of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and the worsening insecurity in Borno and other parts of the North.
A statement signed by the National Publicity Secretary of the ACF, Muhammad Ibrahim, and issued yesterday in Kaduna, said Sanusi’s suspension has negative implication on transparency and good governance.
“It also negates the principle of separation of power.
“Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi is the governor of CBN duly and properly appointed according to law,” the statement said, adding:
“The executive has reportedly suspended him, appointed somebody in acting capacity and submitted the name of his replacement to the Senate. This shows that the government has already decided to sack him.
“ACF wishes to remind the government that only the Senate has the power to dismiss or remove the CBN Governor with a 2/3 majority vote following due process.
“ACF wishes to advise the government and all concerned to avoid doing anything that will tarnish the image and refrain from exposing Nigeria to ridicule at the international level.”
On insecurity, ACF said: “The incessant attacks by the Boko Haram has continued unabated, thereby leaving the people in a state of despair, despite the deployment of military and security agencies in the affected areas.
“The governor of Borno State, who is the chief security officer of his state, has been alive to his responsibility, to the extent of briefing Mr. President on the problems of the state on daily basis.
Also, the incessant ethnic/communal clashes in Benue, Plateau, Nassarawa and other states of the North are gradually undermining the long existing cordial relationship and harmony amongst the various ethnic groups.
“The bad governance resulting in rampant poverty, unemployment, disease, ignorance, etc, remains the major reason for under development and insecurity in the North,” the AFC added.
Meanwhile, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has accused the presidency of seeking to use its illegal suspension of Malam Lamido Sanusi Lamido as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to divert attention from the allegation of missing 20 billion dollars in oil funds.
In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said the way the presidency has been campaigning to malign Sanusi, using the report of the obscure Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, shows that it is working hard to sweep the issue of the missing funds under the carpet and punish Sanusi for daring to expose the fraud.
It said if the federal government had used half the energy it has been deploying to discredit Sanusi toward the investigation of the missing oil funds, the monumental corruption case would have been solved by now.
“Irrespective of the tepid and unconvincing denial by the presidency, it is clear that the main reason the presidency moved against Sanusi is because he blew the lid on the 20 billion dollars funds which the NNPC allegedly failed to remit to the Federation Account.
“Fortunately, discerning Nigerians are not hoodwinked by the Presidency’s choreographed mudslinging against a whistle blower, and the sponsored campaign that amounts to shooting the messenger just because his message is not palatable.
“While the presidency has chosen to pull the wool over the eyes of Nigerians over the missing oil funds, we call on the National Assembly to get to the bottom of Sanusi’s allegation and save Nigerians from a rapacious and a rampaging cabal that is hell bent on bringing Nigeria to its knees through runaway corruption,” APC said.
The party said the questions that are begging for answers include: What happened to the missing 20 billion dollars? If indeed a part of the funds has been used for kerosene subsidy, who authorized the spending of money that was not appropriated, in violation of the nation’s constitution? Who reinstated the subsidy that had been removed by a presidential directive? If $8.76 billion of the missing money was used for kerosene subsidy, who and who are the beneficiaries, since it is clear that Nigerians are not enjoying any subsidy on kerosene for which they are shelling out at least 150 Naira per litre?
It re-stated its earlier stand that Sanusi’s suspension is unlawful and that it is another dangerous turn in the Jonathan administration’s journey of impunity, lawlessness and double standard.
APC said the drop in the value of the Naira and the fact that the banking sector and other stocks spiralled into the negative, in the aftermath of the ego-driven and illegal suspension of Sanusi, have shown the dangers inherent in politicizing an office that should be insulated from political pressure
“There are just short-term repercussions. The long-term fallout may be the scaring off of foreign investors by the perception of instability in the financial sector and the erosion of the CBN’s autonomy. If and when that happens, a President who has so far failed to uplift his nation’s economy would have succeeded in sabotaging it,” the party said.
On the allegations against Sanusi, it said the federal government should charge him to court, if indeed it is convinced of the veracity of the allegations, instead of convicting him on the pages of newspapers and mob-lynching him through paid hatchet men.
Again, RSG Begins Unveiling, Flag-Off Of Nine Key Projects, ’Morrow
The Rivers State Government has rolled out the drums to herald another phase of official commissioning of key projects embarked upon by the Governor Nyesom Wike-led administration in the state.
A statement by the state government said that the process is in continuation of the commissioning and flag-off of projects by Governor Nyesom Wike.
It indicated that Rumuola flyover would be commissioned tomorrow, while the GRA flyover would be commissioned on Saturday.
The also stated that the government would commission the Ezimgbu Road on Monday, December 13, 2021; with another commissioning of Tombia Road Extension scheduled for Tuesday, December 14, 2021.
The statement said that the governor would commission the Safe Home, Borikiri, Port Harcourt on Wednesday, December 15; while on Thursday, December 16, 2021, the governor would commission the Odokwu internal roads.
Also, the governor would continue the flag-off of key infrastructure projects with Chokocho-Igbodo Road slated for Monday, December 20, 2021; Oyigbo-Okoloma Road on Wednesday, December 22, 2021; and Magistrates’ Court Complex, Port Harcourt on Thursday, December 23, 2021.
Wike Justifies N7bn Libel Suit Against THISDAY
Rivers State Governor, Chief Nyesom Wike, yesterday, appeared before the state High Court in Port Harcourt, to testify as a witness in an N7billion libel suit against THISDAY Newspaper.
Wike said he was in court to seek justice and clear his name as a person from the malicious publication by THISDAY Newspaper, which portrayed him as deceitful, untrustworthy person, who exerts subterranean influences on judicial matters and over court sittings in Port Harcourt.
It would be recalled that Wike had in August, 2020, slammed a N7billion suit being damages for libel written and published in THISDAY’s Tuesday, June 23, 2020 edition captioned, “With Wike, Obaseki Meets His PDP’s Waterloo; Almost.”
The defendants in the suit are THISDAY Newspapers Limited, Leaders and Company Limited, Davidson Iriekpan, Chuks Okocha and Adibe Emenyonu.
Wike, while testifying as witness in suit No. PHC/1505/CS/2020 before the court presided over by Justice A. Enebeli, asserted that the defendants maliciously and falsely portrayed him as an unreliable friend/person.
“When you say somebody cannot be trusted; that cannot be a fair comment. When you say somebody is influencing the Judiciary, that cannot be a fair comment”, the governor said.
In his written statement on oath, Wike had stated that the defendants had accused him of influencing the decision of the court sitting in Port Harcourt that granted an injunction restraining Godwin Obaseki from participating in the primaries of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Edo State in 2020.
He stated that the defendants maliciously accused him of undemocratically exerting influence on the primaries process of PDP in Edo State in aid of his ally, Omoregie Ogbeide-Ihama, who was the beneficiary of the court order restraining Obaseki from participating in the PDP primaries.
The governor, who told the court that he was not even aware of the aforementioned suit by Ogbeide-Ihama against Obaseki, said the publication was reckless, false and without regards for the truth.
According to him, contrary to well-known journalistic tradition and practices, the defendants did not investigate properly to ensure the information they relied on was accurate.
“They did not seek to verify the facts from me or in any manner oblige me with the opportunity to state my own side of the story before proceeding to make the false publication” the governor argued.
Wike stated that the defendants further denigrated him before the entire world as a fake democrat, who engages in meddling in the internal affairs of All Progressives Congress (APC) in order to get at his political foe, Chibuike Amaechi.
The governor explained that he was not a member of the APC and has had no hand in the internal crisis which has bedevilled the party both in Rivers State and all over Nigeria.
“By the letter of Messrs E.C. Ukala and Co., Solicitors, under the hand of Emmanuel C. Ukala, SAN, dated 23rd June, 2020, the defendants were given opportunity to retract, and recant the publication as well as to offer apology for the false publication but the defendants spurned the opportunity and ignored the letter completely.”
The governor, while responding to claim by lawyer to the defendants, Turudu Ede, SAN, that the essence of the lawsuit was to intimidate and harass his clients, said the whole essence of the suit was to get justice and clear his name as a man of substantial character, honour and repute.
“The essence of the suit is to get justice since they (defendants) refused to retract the publication or apologise. So, I sued them to clear my name.”
Speaking to journalists outside the court, one of the lawyers to Wike, Mr. Mark Agwu said his client was in court to seek legal redress.
“To challenge him as a person, it means you have made him untrustworthy, a deceit, a cheat, an influencer of the court, because the publication they made was that he had a role to play in influencing the outcome of that Federal High Court case. Nobody will take that lightly, and especially for a man who believes in the rule of law”, Agwu added.
The court adjourned the matter for further hearing to 12th, 13th and 14th of January, 2022.
$130m Fraud: Rivers Sues Saipem SPA, Saipem Contracting Firm, Others
The Rivers State Government has charged two construction firms, Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd, to court over an alleged conspiracy to cheat and with intent to defraud the state of the sum of $130million, being advanced payment for the construction of the OCGT power plant in Port Harcourt.
In a 16-count criminal charge filed by the Director of Public Prosecution, C.F. Amadi for the Rivers State Attorney General, the state alleged that after collecting the said sum as advanced payment between 2011 and 2018, the defendants have not kept their obligation under the contract.
Others charged alongside the companies were Walter Peviana; Kelechi Sinteh Chinakwe; Giandomenico Zingali; Vitto Testaguzza and Davide Anelli, who are directors and officers of the companies.
The defendants are charged with various offences ranging from conspiracy, cheating and obtaining credit by false pretence, contrary to Section 518 (6) and (7) and punishable under Section 518 of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria, 1999, section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) of the Criminal Code, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State, amongst others.
Already, the Rivers State Government has issued a fiat to the law firm of Godwin Obla (SAN) to prosecute the matter before the state High court.
The defendants are equally charged for the offence of false Statements by Officials of Companies contrary to and punishable under Section 436 (b).
The prosecution specifically accused the defendants of obtaining credit of $130million by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $20,467,942.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b), obtaining credit of N7,000,000,000.00 only by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b).
They are charged for obtaining credit of N318,640,173.54, by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); attempt to cheat $97million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; attempt to cheat $15million contrary to Section 508 and punishable under Section 509; conspiracy to receive a credit of $97million by false pretences contrary to Section 518 (6) and punishable under Section 518; cheating $11million contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating N110, 097, 416.51 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; cheating by collecting sums attributable to shared facilities already paid for in AFAM Phase I in AFAM Phase II contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421.
Obtaining N20, 467, 942 contrary to Section 421 and punishable under Section 421; obtaining credit of $60,168,936.00 by false pretences or other fraud, contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b); obtaining credit of $1,512,034.00 by false pretences or other fraud contrary to Section 419A and punishable under Section 419 (A) (1) (b) all of the Criminal Code Law of Rivers State, Cap 37 Vol. 2 Laws of Rivers State of Nigeria 1999.
According to the Proof of Evidence attached to the charge and the statement made by the Head, Power Generation/Mechanical of the Rivers State Ministry of Power, one Mr Temple Azunda M., the facts constituting the case in hand are as follows:
Saipem SPA and Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited and other officers of the duo, herein the Defendants, are Italian companies which services have been retained by the Rivers State Government, herein RSG, in several projects, prominent amongst which is the AFAM Phase II Power Plant Project.
By an initial tripartite agreement made on the January 20, 2010, the RSG under the auspices of the Rivers State Ministry of Power entered a contract with Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited, Saipem SPA for the construction of the OGCT power plant in Port Harcourt at a total cost of $119million consequent upon which the Rivers State Government made advance payments, in instalments, to Saipem Contracting Nigeria Ltd and Saipem SPA amounting in total to a sum of $130million in all which the Defendants have acknowledged receipt of.
The Defendants were to be given an initial mobilization of 20per cent of the total contract sum which the RSG paid.
It was part of the initial agreement – and indeed a condition sine qua non – that, to access the 2nd tranche of payment of 25per cent from the Rivers State Government, the Defendants would mandatorily have installed the Gas Turbine into the foundations as referenced in ATTACHMENT 1 to VO 007 which states that:
CONTRACTOR shall be entitled to a payment corresponding to 20per cent of the VO No. 007 LS PRICE upon mobilisation to site and commencement of bush clearing activities at SITE.
Upon commencement of bush clearing activities at the site, the contractor shall issue the invoice relevant to the above payment and the owner shall pay such invoice within 14 days from its issuance.
The parties agree that no deduction for recovery of advance payment shall apply on the payment due to the contractor for invoices issued by the contractor in accordance with this paragraph.
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