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EFCC SEEKS ARREST OF EX-NDDC BOSS, TUOYO OMATSULI FOR ALLEGED N3.6BN FRAUD

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Wednesday, January 31, 2024, prayed Justice Daniel Osiagor of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos to issue a warrant of arrest to compel a former Executive Director on Projects, Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Tuoyo Omatsuli to attend his trial over an alleged N3.6bn fraud.

Omatsuli , alongside Francis Momoh, Don Parker Properties Limited and Building Associates Limited, were initially standing trial on an alleged case of conspiracy and money laundering to the tune of N3,645,000,000 (Three Billion, Six Hundred and Forty-five Million Naira) before retired Justice Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Engr Tuoyo Omatsuli, Don Parker Properties Limited, Francis Momoh and Building Associates Limited, between August 2014 and September 2015 at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired to disguise the illegal origin of N3,645,000,000 (Three Billion Six Hundred and Forty-Five Million Naira), being proceeds of unlawful activity to wit: corruption and gratification; and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 of the Money Laundering Act 2011 as amended by Act No 1 of 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

Another count reads: “That you, Engr Tuoyo Omatsuli, between August 2014 and September 2015 at Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, did procure Francis Momoh and Building Associates Limited to use the total sum of N3,645,000,000 (Three Billion Six Hundred and Forty-Five Million Naira) paid by Starline Consultancy Services into the Diamond Bank Plc Account No. 0023785116 operated by Building Associate Ltd, when you reasonably ought to have known that the said sum formed part of the proceeds of your unlawful activity to wit: Corruption and Gratification; and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 18 of the Money Laundering Act 2011 as amended by Act No 1 of 2012 and punishable under Section 15 (3) of the same Act.”

They pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.

The EFCC, after calling 16 prosecution witnesses, subsequently closed its case against the defendants. However, rather than open their defence, the defendants filed a no-case submission, which was heard on October 12, 2020.

In his ruling on November 11, 2020, Justice Saidu had discharged the first defendant, Omatsuli, saying, “I have gone through the charge preferred against the defendants as well as the evidence of all the 16 prosecution witnesses and I found no reason for the first defendant to enter the defence.”

Consequently, the EFCC vowed to appeal the discharge of the former NDCC boss. On April 13, 2022, a three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, upheld the appeal of the EFCC, and dismissed the ruling of the trial court.

The judgment delivered by Justice Festus Obande Ogbuinya held that the ruling of the lower court dated November 11, 2020 discharging the respondent, Omatsuli, of the money laundering charges “is hereby set aside and he shall enter into his defence accordingly on the same counts.”
The Appellate Court, however, discharged Omatsuli on counts 27, 28 and 29 of the charge. In the course of the trial, Justice Saidu retired and the matter was subsequently re-assigned to Justice Osiagor.

However, at the resumed sitting on Wednesday,counsel to the 2nd defendant, Norrison Quakers, SAN informed the court that Omatsuli was absent in court because he had an appeal pending before the Supreme Court. “The first defendant is on appeal at the Supreme Court. A no- case submission filed by the 1st defendant before the Federal High Court was upheld and EFCC appealed the decision. This decision was, however, reversed at the Appellate court and the no-case submission dismissed. The defendants were ordered to enter into their defence. Dissatisfied with the ruling of the Appeal Court, the 1st defendant appealed to the Supreme Court and the matter is yet to be determined”, he said.

He also told the court that the 1st defendant was not aware of Wednesday’s hearing because he was not represented by a counsel at the last proceedings.
Responding, prosecution counsel, Ekele Iheanacho, said: “At the previous sitting, sometime in November 2023, the matter came up for arraignment, and a counsel appeared on behalf of the 1st defendant. The court then asked us to choose a date for arraignment. On that basis, I didn’t ask for a bench warrant against the defendant.”

He further told the court that “There is no stay of proceedings in the law, according to the Administration of the Criminal Justice Act, ACJA. The pendency of the appeal does not prevent the proceedings at the Federal High Court from going on.” While making reference to S352 of the ACJA, Iheanacho, therefore, applied for a bench warrant against Omatsuli.

Justice Osiagor disagreed with Iheanacho that the 1st defendant was aware of today’s hearing and, therefore, ordered that he be put on notice.
The case was adjourned to March 22, 2024 for re-arraignment and trial.

Society

LP national chairman, Julius Abure, arrested

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Julius Abure the national chairman of the Labour Party (LP), has been arrested by the police in Benin City, Edo State.

It is currently unclear the reason behind his arrest but sources say it may not be unconnected with the recent crisis rocking the party.

Recently, he was accused of forging the signatures of some political aspirants in Ebonyi and Plateau States.

Now, it has taken another dimension. This time around, it is financial allegations. Allegations coming from no other person than the national treasurer of the party, Mrs Oluchi Oparah. The Exchequer of the Labour party who is supposed to be 100% in the know of the party’s finances accused Abure of forging the signatures of the party’s late national chairman, Abdulkadir Abdulsalam to withdraw funds totalling N21 million.

Before this most recent allegation, a governorship aspirant of the party from Ebonyi state, Mr. Eze Oko, had accused the Party’s National Chairman of alleged forgery and conspiracy that led to his replacement few days to the March 18 gubernatorial election.

Specifically, Oko alleged that at the heat of political activities leading to the gubernatorial election in Ebonyi state, the national chairman initiated moves to illegally remove him as the gubernatorial candidate with an alleged forged withdrawal letter submitted to the Independent National Electoral Commission, (INEC).

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Energy Mogul, Adewale Tinubu, takes Centre Stage at Guyana Energy Conference

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Adewale Tinubu, CON, boss of energy giant, Oando Group, is always a delight to watch when in the boardroom or engaged in anything concerning business.

He usually leaves his watchers and admirers enthralled by his articulation and aplomb. He is always graceful in his fine grasp of business intricacies, with a very strong sense of deep erudition in discussions, especially in the area of economic development in Nigeria.

Of course, the foregoing may not be news to many. But what many may not know about this technocrat is that beyond his feats in the oil sector, he is endowed with oratorical power.

 That excellent trait was much on display at the ongoing Guyana Energy Conference, where the top oil player once again showcased his God-given talent.

While speaking on the topic, ‘Upstream Activities Required for a Resilient Oil and Gas Value Chain, the oil and gas mogul received intermittent standing ovations, accompanied with several rounds of applause for his dazzling and awe-inspiring speech.

Oando, Africa’s largest integrated energy solutions provider, is diamond sponsor of the third edition of the Guyana Energy Conference and Supply Chain Expo, which started on Monday, 19th February to Thursday, 22nd, 2024, attracted participation, at the highest level, from more than 21 countries also drawn in 19 sectors – outside of the energy sector.

 Participating companies at the conference tackled important concerns affecting the energy sector, as well as the challenges of climate change mitigation and maximizing the benefits of local content development in Guyana and the region.

Commenting on the conference, Mr. Tinubu posted on his social media handles.

He wrote:

 ‘’Spent the last two days at the Energy Guyana Conference and Supply Chain Expo – a first time attendee and 3rd time visitor to this beautiful country.

Myself and the #HumansofOando welcomed the President of Guyana, Dr Mohamed Irfaa1, the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr Keith Rowley and the Minister of Petroleum, (Trinidad and Tobago) Stuart RYoung 1 to our exhibition booth, where we walked them through Oando’s journey to date in curating Nigeria’s energy mix.

The oil and gas industry in Guyana is rapidly evolving, thus the importance of creating an enabling environment for growth cannot be understated.

Yesterday, I delivered a keynote address to industry leaders and other esteemed guests explaining the winning Oil and Gas Industry Strategy.

With the warm welcome we received we are assured of promising collaboration towards successful oil and gas venturing in Guyana’’.

Other speakers at the event include His Excellency, Dr Mohamed Irfan Ali, President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana; Bharrat Jagdeo, Vice President, The Cooperative Republic of Guyana; the Honourable Vickram Bharrat, Minister of Natural Resources, The Co-operative Republic of Guyana; Stuart Young, Minister of Energy and Energy Industries, the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; Antonio Almonte, Minister of Energy and Mines, the Dominican Republic; His Excellency, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Bin Jassim Al Thani, Prime Minister of the State of Qatar; Alistair Routledge, President, Exxonmobil Guyana and Her Excellency Jane Miller OBE, British High Commissioner to the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, among several other world class personalities.

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Hope In Time Of Crisis: A Call For Unwaivering Faith In Nigeria.

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By: Ayobami Ladipo

 

 

Dear Nigerian Youths, Friends and The Social Media Community.

 

I feel the need to share some words with you this morning, not just for communication sake but because it’s the right thing to do at a time like this when we’re all groaning in pains.

 

Indeed, times are hard, the pain is unbearable, the cost of living has tripled and ripple effect of the current economic hardship on the common man can only be imagined.

 

Truth be told, we are all SUFFERING!

 

Let’s take a moment to situate this correctly, especially for those of us who are not public office holders but campaigned for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, believed in the manifesto and still optimistic that he’ll deliver his good promises to Nigerians, it’s not been easy.

 

Believing in a mantra or giving support to the president at a time like this does not take away the pain, it doesn’t not alienate me or any of his supporters from the people or the present economic hardship, it just shows that we still believe that pain is normal when something good is about to be spring forth.

 

Standing on the mandate no mean say leg no dey pain oh, but just like Isaac believed in Abraham his father to the point of death when he had thought he would be slaughtered as a sacrifice to God before the Almighty provided a ram, we also believe that the ongoing reforms will yield a great result and restore our country’s lost glory.

 

When we stop believing, hope fades away and nothing good will come through, hence the PLEA for calm and for us all to put aside our political or ethnic differences right now, let’s persevere a little more and keep up the conversation for a better and working Nigeria.

 

We won’t stop talking, we won’t stop engaging government, we won’t stop registering our displeasure via the right channels but PLEASE let’s come together as one and show some love to one another at this trying time.

 

Just like the Bible says, weeping may endure for the night but joy cometh in the morning, May the joy of Nigeria come so quick and May we all be alive to witness a new Nigeria that’ll be full of prosperity and greatness .

 

As I conclude, I want to plead with you all that we refrain from the needless curses, insults and abuse, WE ARE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER and TOGETHER shall we witness greatness at the end.

 

Naija Shi Ma Dun

 

God Bless Nigeria 🇳🇬🙏🇳🇬

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