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EXCLUSIVE: Tinubu, Amaechi in a N750m deal………..+ Many Dirty Details Revealed!

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Details are beginning to emerge on some of the sweetheart deals that cemented the relationships of the old guard of the All Peoples Congress (APC) and Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State.

As the dust from the tremors of the political landscape settled back in 2013 with the defection of the five Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors to the APC, what followed were weeks of getting-to-know-deals in the APC.

“Finding their feet in the new environment had huge financial implications for the newcomers. Behind the photo opportunities that the country was treated to, the sharks among them moved in quickly,” a source involved in the exchanges told the Nigerian Times.

To the delight of the APC top brass, Amaechi who appeared in a hurry to acclimatize started picking the tabs of many party programmes. We learnt that even the publicity arm of the party had a new lease of life on account of Amaechi’s generosity. Lai Mohammed, the APC’s publicity czar, became a frequent flyer on the Lagos/Port Harcourt, Abuja/Port Harcourt routes.

That was when Bola Tinubu, the ultimate power broker in APC, moved in. No governor in the Class of ’99 comes close to Bola Tinubu in privatising public resources. Lagos has been such a boon that almost a decade since he left office, he has been a central figure in all the political intrigues.

Those abreast of the early days of the relationship characterize it thus: “Amaechi was the political orphan on the prowl with plenty of cash buying up affection and influence in the new political family. Too many doors opened up to him because the party, in many respects, was poorly funded and too often, depended on Tinubu’s mood swings. Tinubu on his part was seeing beyond Amaechi’s new convert’s zeal; he had his eyes fixed on the honey pot that was Rivers State. They hit it off”.

Tinubu owns both TV Continental (TVC) and Radio Continental (RC); companies that have always been run by a few journalist friends of his. But a few years ago, he brought in a former top shot of Qatar based Aljazeera to rejig the place. Part of the reforms was the launch of a pay TV arm called Consat TV (Continental Satellite Television). Since he had his fingers burnt in the defunct HiTV, Tinubu had always dreamt of a business to rival South African owned DSTV. Consat was his answer and the service launched in June.

His next move was to tie up Consat and the Rivers State Government. Consat TV and the Rivers State Government entered a deal for the purchase of fifty thousand decoders at the premium rate of fifteen thousand Naira per decoder. The deal set the Rivers State treasury back by seven hundred and fifty million Naira. Nigerian Times can report that since the signing of the deal and full payment was effected, less than ten percent of the decoders have been supplied.

Why a government would want to buy decoders for its citizens remains unclear, but watchers of the Rivers State treasury say it is one of the “transfer of wealth” cases they have been witnessing since the governor decamped to APC.”

The relationship had recorded its first victim almost immediately. In a classic case of journalism misreading the dark art of a proprietor’s interest , Bola Tinubu’s TVC, or more precisely, Oluchi, who was TVC’s correspondent in Port Harcourt ,when the Rivers State House of Assembly crisis began, was to pay a steep price. Her crime was that bit of the trade every journalist lives for, a scoop.

On the day Chidi Llyod, the governor’s supporter went wild, bludgeoning another member on the head with the mace, it was Oluchi and her crew that brought the scenes across homes in the country. But because of the limited coverage of TVC not many people saw the video that night. Indeed the government and many media houses had eggshells on their faces in the intervening twenty four hours.

The governor’s propaganda machine got all the newspapers to report the event as one more instance of Wike’s supporters’ belligerence. Unknown to them, Oluchi had reported the event as it unfolded, correctly identifying Chidi Llyod as the villain and properly situating him between the warring camps. It took twenty four hours for other media houses, especially the newspapers to realise that they have been badly used.

TVC, itself, was forced to stop running the story the following day. By then the video had gone viral. Miss Oluchi was declared persona non grata in Port Harcourt. Her company could not protect her and fearing for her safety she escaped to Owerri. Her cameraman returned home late one night to find his house ransacked. He fled Port Harcourt too. After many months of idling away in Owerri, and the company ignoring her, she resigned.

RIVERS STATE GOVERNMENT REACTS

In her reaction, the Information Commissioner in Rivers State, Ibim Semenitari, admitted that though such a deal exists between Consat TV and the state government, the agreement was never about Governor Rotimi Amaechi, but about the good of the people of the state.

She told the us that it was wrong to say that just 10 percent of the decoders had been supplied, adding that 50 percent of the product (the quantity which the state government paid for) had been delivered.

While defending the agreement for the supply of the product, the Commissioner noted that the deal was important given that the Federal Government’s digitization policy would soon take off and the state government needed to comply.

“First, your figures are wrong, but to your question, 50 percent has been supplied and that is all we have paid for. What we are doing is not about the purchase of the decoders, but about the digitization policy which will commence soon’’, she explained.

Semenitari added, “We are getting the decoders because we need to migrate to the new platform and we are also grooming installers for the project which will in turn empower our youths by way of providing job opportunities’’.

According to her, since the state owned television station and radio station were in the process of joining the rest of the world in migrating to the new platform, it was important that the purchase was made to enhance the penetration of information to the remotest parts of the state.

“The penetration into the villages will not exist since we want to reach the largest mass of the people if we do not do this migration,’’ she explained.

The Devil in the Detail of the Government’s Defence.

Consat TV which launched in June this year is one of three pay TV firms apart from the popular but expensive DSTV.

GOtv is a cheaper offering from Multichoice and StarTimes which is a joint venture between the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Chinese investors.

The NTA StarTimes, the biggest player in the direct to home television service sector is offering free decoders ahead of the 2015 digital migration.

Until the Christmas promotion started, the decoders went for N3, 900 with one month free subscription and offering 35 to 70 channels at 1,000 Naira monthly or up to 3,000 Naira monthly.

NTA Startimes is currently available in Lagos, Abuja, Kano, Aba, Benin, Enugu, Ilorin, Jos, Kaduna, Kano, Markurdi, Onitsha, Port Harcourt, Sokoto, Uyo, Yola, and Ibadan.

GOtv owned by Multichoice Africa with some channels from the DSTV bouquet offers a similar service to StarTimes and is a direct competitor. For N2, 900 subscribers get a GOtv decoder including one month subscription to GOtv Plus – which gives them access to over 41 local and international channels.

But until the recent promotion, Gotv access cost was 6,900 Naira for decoder, outdoor antenna, remote, and 1 month free Gotv plus package.

However, consat TV is one of the new Nigeria pay TV which offers subscribers only 24 channels at a cost of N15, 000 for dish and accessories and subscription price of N4000 per month.

And very crucially, both Startimes and Gotv are plug and play. No installation fees.

So, far from Mrs Semenitari’s pro-poor fibbing, this is a deal done at the behest of the mafia don.

 

Additional Info from Nig Times

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Controversial Sterling Bank caught in the act! CBN sanctions, parades officials for hoarding new naira notes [VIDEO]

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Officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) have discovered N6 million of the new naira notes hoarded in Sterling Bank Plc, Ado Ekiti branch on Bank Road, Ado Ekiti in Ekiti State, having received the funds for over two weeks, THE WITNESS reports.

 

In a trending video on social media, seen by THE WITNESS, a man who identified himself as Oluwole Owoeye, a deputy director of CBN, while monitoring the distribution of the new naira notes in the state, was seen questioning the bank officials as to why they have not uploaded the funds into their Automated Teller Machines, (ATMs), despite having six of the machines in place.

 

The CBN director also announced a fine of N1 million for each day the fund was in the bank’s custody.

 

The CBN official said, “I am currently at Sterling Bank, on Bank Road as part of the new naira notes monitoring compliance with the guidelines by CBN. They have N6 million, which they collected from the bank for almost two weeks, they have not disbursed any. They said they are yet to configure their ATMs, I do not know why that and I have brought attention to the penalty clause of N1 million per day, because they have five ATMs here, they have no reason for keeping this money.

 

“The zonal service manager, Tunde Onipede promised that by 10:00am latest tomorrow (Monday), because I told him by latest 10:00 am I’ll be here and I want to see the machine dispensing this money.

 

“What is the name again? Olumide Owolabi (Service Manager, Ado) & Motunrayo Babayele. My name is Oluwole Owoeye and I am a deputy director of CBN.”

 

WATCH VIDEO HERE:

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FCMB Manager Arrested For Hoarding New Naira Notes

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A manager of the First City Monument Bank (FCMB) branch in Osogbo, Osun State capital, has been arrested for allegedly preventing Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) loaded with cash from dispensing money to customers.

The spokesperson of the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offenses Commission (ICPC), Azuka Ogugua, in a statement on Friday said the cash bundles were loaded into the ATMs while still wrapped, and as such, could not be dispensed through the machines

“The ICPC Compliance Team in Osogbo has busted an FCMB in Osogbo, Osun State, where some ATMs were loaded with cash with their wrappers un-removed, thus preventing the cash from being dispensed.

“The Team, therefore, directed that the wrappers be removed, and the cash loaded properly’.

Similarly, seven Point of Sale (POS) operators as well as a security guard were arrested during the ongoing exercise in Osun State for charging exorbitant commissions for cash.

Investigations, however, revealed that they got the money from Filling Stations that collect new notes from fuel buyers, but they then resell the cash to the public at exorbitant rates.

The arrested persons are helping the Commission with information to assist investigations and bust any syndicates involved in the hoarding or sales of the redesigned notes.

 

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New naira: ICPC arrests Stanbic IBTC Bank manager over sabotage

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), has arrested an official of Stanbic IBTC Bank in Abuja for alleged sabotage.

The ICPC spokesperson, Azuka Ogugua, said the development was in continuation of ICPC’s clampdown on elements frustrating efforts in making the redesigned Naira notes available to members of the public.

The bank official, who is the branch service head of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Deidei Branch in Abuja, was taken into custody for her deliberate refusal to upload cash into the branch’s Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) even when the cash was available and people were queuing at the ATM points.

The statement reads: “When the ICPC monitoring team stormed the bank at about 1:30pm on Friday to ensure compliance, and demanded explanation as to why all the ATMs were not dispensing cash, the team was informed by the branch’s head of operations that the bank just got delivery of the cash.

“However, facts available to the ICPC operatives indicated that the branch took delivery of the cash earlier around 11:58am and either willfully or maliciously refused to feed the ATMs with the cash.

“Against this backdrop, the ICPC team compelled the bank to load the ATMs with the redesigned Naira notes and ensured that they were all dispensing before arresting the culprit.

“The ICPC said investigations were still ongoing and the Commission will take appropriate actions as soon they are concluded.

“Similarly, seven Point of Sale (PoS) operators as well as a security guard were arrested during an ongoing exercise in Osun State for charging exorbitant commissions for cash.

“Investigations, however, revealed that they got the money from Filling Stations that collect new notes from fuel buyers, but they then resell the cash to the public at exorbitant rates.

“The arrested persons were helping the anti-graft commission with information to assist investigations and bust other syndicates involved in the hoarding and sales of the redesigned Naira notes,” the anti-graft agency said.

 

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