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Brazil Fan’s Village Scam Latest: Sally Mbanefo shuns probe panel!!!

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Embattled Director General of the Nigeria Tourism Development Commission (NTDC) Mrs. Sally Uwechue-Mbanefo may have settled for more controversies as she has refused to honour invitations to appear before a probe panel set up to investigate her role in the failed Brazil 2014 Fan’s village.

The Minister of Culture, Tourism & National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke had on the accusation of financial impropriety and betrayal of trust against the DG by President of Za Entertainment, Mr. Azania Omo-Agege set up a probe panel to unearth the truth of the matter and report back to him.

The four member panel is co-chaired by the Director General of National Commission for Museum and Monuments, Mallam Yusuf Usman and Director of Human Resources Management in the Ministry Dr. Ochapa Ogenyi.

We learnt that Mbanefo believes that since she was appointed by the President of Nigeria the same way the Minister was appointed, the minister has no right to set up a panel to investigate her. She also believes she cannot appear before a panel headed by her colleagues in the ministry.

Our source in the NTDC disclosed that the panel also invited the Directors of Administration, Marketing, HTT, Finance and head of project unit; Fatimah Obadakin who were initially restrained from appearing before the panel because the NTDC DG ceased their invitation letters but after some other developments were released to honour the invitation.

The President of Za entertainment has told us that he and other parties in the case have since appeared before the panel and were awaiting their decisions on the matter. He also confirmed that Mbanefo was invited by the panel twice but refused to show up.

Our source informed us that while the NTDC DG informed the panel that she couldn’t appear before it on health grounds, she was busy travelling and paying courtesy calls on other agencies.

“That was the time she paid a courtesy visit on the National Planning Commission and so cannot claim to be sick,” the source said.

It is however unclear what the minister may have decided to do with this case as there are insinuations that she is relying on other contacts in the presidency strong enough to sway any recommendation from him to the President.

Society Reporters NG had reported the scuffle between Uwechue-Mbanefo and Omo-Agege in Brazil over the proposed Nigerian Fans Village which never took off. Omo-Agege claimed the DG never kept her own side of the bargain after collecting money from sponsors, while she in turn accused him of trying to defraud her. The controversy got worse when Omo-Agege alleged that the DG wanted to destroy the agreement both parties had, which led to the fight in a hotel lobby in Brazil.

In another development, we discovered that the relationship between the NTDC DG and her staff is deteriorating everyday as she deals with them without regard for the laws and regulations guiding the Federal Civil Service of Nigeria.

In a set of documents made available to us, her Personal Assistant, Mrs Ewuzie Patricia who is also an Assistant Director on August 6, 2014 in a memo (NTDC/PR 1872/1) was queried on an accusation of emotional outburst which was alleged to have embarrassed the DG and ridiculed her office.

The query signed by Acting Director Admin and Supply, B.O Eboka read: “such acts are scandalous and they constitute unruly behavior (PSR 030301 a (II) and acts unbecoming of a public officer (PSR 030402) respectively.

“You are therefore expected to make a defence within 48 hours why disciplinary action should not be taken against you.”

Ewuzie in her reply on August 7, 2014 stated that: “I wish to state that I was asked by the DG to explain why I did not inform her of the courtesy visit of Abuja Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, so that she can be officially dressed for the occasion.

“I responded that I had informed her by text on 5th August 2014 by 9.58am and the 6th morning by 9.20am. I also explained that I had reminded her verbally of the courtesy call on the evening of the 5th before she left office. The text messages are all in my phone and that is the mode of communication with my DG over similar matters.

“There was no outburst on my part; I was only trying to explain to my DG regarding the courtesy visit and her not dressing to suit the occasion.”

As the reply was received, in utter disregard for the rules, Ewuzie was suspended from office.

It reads: “In view of the seriousness of the offence, you are hereby suspended from office for one week with effect from Monday, 11th August to allow for further investigation.”

When we called Mrs Ewuzie to hear the case directly from her, the understandably terrified civil servant said: “I don’t know who told you and I don’t know you. It is a family matter and I don’t want to get into more trouble.”

When we then contacted Mbanefo to get an explanation to these allegations, she asked to be excused for an hour since she can’t talk where she was. Afterwards calls and messages made to her were not responded to.

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Contempt: Again, court commits EFCC boss, Abdulrasheed Bawa, to prison

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The Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Abdulrasheed Bawa, has been committed to prison for allegedly disobeying court order.

The court also directed the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to effect Bawa’s arrest and remand him in Kuje prison for the next 14 days until he purges himself of the contempt.

Justice R.O. Ayoola of the Kogi State High Court, in his judgement on Monday, granted the application for committal to prison of the EFCC chairman for disobeying a court ruling delivered on November 30, 2022, wherein the EFCC chairman was directed to produce the applicant in the case, Ali Bello.

Ali Bello had dragged Bawa to court for arresting and detaining him illegally, with the court ruling in his favour, only for the EFCC to arraign him for alleged money laundering three days after the ruling.

The EFCC’s applications for setting aside and stay of execution of the ruling were refused for want of merit.

The Court had, in Form 49, Order IX, Rule 13, marked, “HCL/697M/2022” and titled, “Notice to Show Cause Why Order of Committal Should not be Made,” asked the EFCC Chairman to appear before it on January 18, 2022 to explain why he should not be jailed for flouting the order given on December 12, 2022 in a case filed by Ali Bello against the EFCC and Bawa, as the 1st and 2nd respondents, respectively.

The court ordered that the EFCC and Bawa be served the motion of notice together with Form 49 by substituted means.

The court had declared the arrest and detention of the applicant in the face of a subsisting court order made by a court of competent jurisdiction and without a warrant of arrest “or being informed of the offence for which he was arrested” as unlawful, unconstitutional, and in contravention of the personal liberty and dignity of human person guaranteed under Chapter IV of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended).

The court had also ordered the respondents to tender an apology to the applicant in a national newspaper and awarded N10 million compensation for him.

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Fidelity grows profit to N52 billion for FY 2022 

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Fidelity Bank Plc has announced an impressive growth in Profit Before Tax to N52 bn for the Full Year 2022. This was made known in the Bank’s unaudited statement of account presented to the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) on Wednesday, 31 January 2023.

 

According to the regulatory filing, the bank grew Gross Earnings by 33.9% to N335.897 billion (from N250.774 billion in FY 2021) and Net Interest Income by 61.1% to N152.813 billion (from N94.877 billion in FY 2021) leading to a Profit After Tax of N47.163billion for FY 2022 (from N35.579billion in FY 2021).

 

Similarly, Total Assets for the Bank now stand at N3.999trillion (from N3.289trillion in FY 2021) and Deposit from Customers is now at N2.591trillion (from N2.024trillion in FY 2021).

 

Analysts posit that this is yet another strong showing for the tier-one bank having sustained impressive performance year-on-year even in the face of the headwinds in the economy. Despite growing its Gross Earnings at an impressive rate, the bank has managed to record one of the lowest Non-Performing Loans (NPL) ratios in the Nigerian banking industry, for instance.

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Petition signatures to Emefiele over new naira hit 1653..

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Petition signatures to Emefiele over new naira hit 1653

 

Following the crisis over the non-availability of the redesigned N100, N200, N500 and N1000, over 1653 Nigerians have petitioned the Central Bank Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, to end what they termed ‘hardship’ on the citizens.

 

The petition, hoisted on the global change website, change.org, which was started on Friday, garnered over 1653 signatures on Saturday.

 

As of the time of filing this report, many bank customers have yet to access the new notes as many automated teller machines are either not dispensing cash or completely shut down because of the crowd.

 

Protests have erupted over the situation in some parts of the country and some banks vandalised by hoodlums, demanding access to their money lodged in several accounts.

 

 

 

There have also been controversial videos showing bank officials sabotaging the process by hiding the new notes behind old ones in vaults.

 

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), has requested seven days from Nigerians to fix the mess.

 

Part of the petition stated, “The recent shortage of physical cash in Nigeria has caused major untold hardship to Nigerians. People are spending hours in long lines at banks just to withdraw cash, and many are forced to rely more on digital transactions which tend to be unreliable due to poor bank networks.

 

POS operators also charge outrageous amounts; as much as N1000 for a N10,000 withdrawal. The Central Bank of Nigeria has stated that the shortage is temporary, but it is causing serious disruption to the daily lives of many Nigerians.

 

“We call on the government, stakeholders, law enforcement agencies and the CBN to take urgent action to address the cash shortage crisis in Nigeria. We demand that the CBN increase the distribution of physical cash to meet the demand, and also any POS operator found charging outrageous amounts for withdrawal should be arrested.’’

 

Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Students has expressed displeasure over the issue, noting that the process was not only ill-timed but also not well thought out.

 

Speaking to Sunday PUNCH during a telephone interview on Friday, National Vice President (External Affairs), Akinteye Afeez-Babatunde, said, “The whole situation is crazy. We are tired. Students are crying and complaining. They can’t get cash. The leaders have confirmed to us that they don’t care for the people. The policy is fine but the process to get it done is to the detriment of our own lives as Nigerians. Our day-to-day activities have been disrupted. Nigerians are suffering.’

 

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