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HOW EFCC DISGRACED EX-ENUGU FINANCE COMMISSIONER PETER MBAH ON N830M CONTRACT

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Facts have emerged on how the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) disgraced a former Commissioner of Finance, Enugu State, Mr. Peter Mbah over a petition which misled the commission.

Mbah, who owns Pinnacle and Gas Oil Limited, had in a petition accused a civil engineering firm,
Olyton Nigeria Limited and it’s owner Mr. Oliver Okeregwu, of “criminally diverting” N829.6 million he (Mbah) paid for the construction of a tank farm in Warri, Delta State.

In the petition dated July 17, 2014, and with reference number PLG/17072014/EFCC/0001, Mbah claimed he overpaid Oyton N301.1 million for the tank farm, but that the engineering firm failed to deliver on the project.

He alleged that Olyton initially agreed to build the tank farm for N652.8 million, but later began making further financial demands without completing the contract.

Officials of the EFCC conversant with the issue told
Pointblanknews.com that on receiving the petition, they knew it was a civil matter, but nonetheless invited Olyton’s CEO Oliver Okeregwu for questioning.

“We get hundreds of such petitions everyday. Some people think the EFCC is an agency for-hire to settle personal scores. That’s why we are often very careful whenever we receive such petitions. Most times, it is the case of petitioners trying to dodge financial obligations running to us for cover,” offered a top official.

He continued, “When Olyton CEO Oliver Okeregwu honoured our invitation, we discovered that his company indeed completed the tank farm, but that a disagreement arose over how much Pinnacle Oil should pay for additional civil works such as access roads.

“Rather than settle with Olyton Ltd., the Pinacle Oil boss Mr. Peter Mbah, we believe, managed to hire soldiers guarding neighbouring oil installations to forcefully chase out Olyton workers on their site, seizing their equipment.”

He explained, “When we visited Pinacle Oil and Gas site in Warri, we saw several earthmoving equipment of Olyton submerged in water, with armed soldiers, who initially didn’t want to give us access, standing guard. I doubt if such machines will ever be used again,” stressing, “we wondered why Mbah, who is a lawyer, could so resort to self-help.”

Pointblanknews.com gathered that, upon returning from inspecting the tank farm in Warri, EFCC officials chided Mbah for using a frivolous petition to waste the time and resources of the commission.

“We advised him to settle his outstanding liabilities with the contractor, and that as a young businessman, he should refrain from using backhand tactics to deal with his business associates,” added the official.

Contacted, Olyton MD, Okeregwu affirmed that his company had a disagreement with Pinacle Oil and Gas, and that he lost “so much money and equipment” in the process. He, however, stressed that “we are in court and as a law-abiding citizen, I would rather await the decision of the court than comment on the pages of newspapers.”

Efforts by Pointblanknews.com to get the management of Pinacle Oil officially respond to the matter didn’t yield results. Several text messages and telephone calls to the CEO of the firm weren’t responded to.

However, an official of the company who didn’t want to be quoted, conceded that they used soldiers to chase away Olyton workers, but described the disagreement as “unfortunate.”

He said, “our MD and that of Olyton have been friends right from our MD’s days as Chief of State, and, later, Finance Commissioner in Enugu State. I know that Olyton delivered several fantastic jobs for our MD. I was therefore shocked that this tank farm deal went awry, and the relationship between them so quickly degenerated.

“I think my boss (Mbah) was misled, and I believe he’s since realized that. It is a disagreement between two former close friends. I strongly believe they will reconcile their differences, and whatever my boss owes Olyton will be fully settled,” he assured.

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Between Gov. Hope Uzodimma And Imo Hoteliers…….

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Governor Hope Uzodimma has prevented the proposed strike by the Imo Hoteliers Association.

The strike was scheduled to commence on Tuesday but the Chairman of the association, Mr. Chima Chukwunyere announced in Owerri that the strike has been suspended.

Chukwunyere said that the proposed strike was suspended after due consultations with Gov. Uzodimma.

According to him, Uzodimma promised to personally intervene to solve all the outstanding issues raised by the association.

“The governor condemned the actions of sealing and looting of the hotels illegally and directed that no ministry should use consultants in revenue collection.

” He promised to convene a meeting of the executives of the Imo Internal Revenue Service and those of the Nigeria Hotel Association, Imo chapter, to harmonize the demand notice issued to the hoteliers.“

Chukwunyere said that the governor also advised members to pay taxes to enable the Imo government to function and serve the state better.

The association on Sept. 10 threatened to embark on strike over alleged multiple taxations, illegal sealing of hotels, and unprofessional conduct of revenue collectors.

 

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Despite his “expulsion”, ADC presidential candidate, Kachikwu, makes INEC list

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Mr Kachikwu was expelled from the party last Friday by the Ralph Nwosu-led NWC.

The embattled presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC), Dumebi Kachikwu, has been named among candidates validly nominated by political parties for the 2023 presidential election despite his “expulsion” from the party.

Mr Kachikwu was among the 18 presidential candidates approved by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday.

The Ralph Nwosu-led National Working Committee (NWC) of the party announced the expulsion of Mr Kachikwu from the party last Friday for alleged anti-party activities.

He was expelled along with seven other key party leaders following the recommendation of a seven-member disciplinary committee earlier set up by the ADC NWC. The NWC had earlier on 2 September placed the presidential candidate on suspension.

Mr Nwosu, in a statement issued late Friday, said the disciplinary committee found Mr Kachikwu guilty of allegations of gross misconduct, and gross violations of its constitution, among others.

But in its reaction the following day, the interim leadership of the ADC dismissed Mr Kachikwu’s purported expulsion.

The interim National Chairman of the Party, Patricia Akwashiki, in a statement, described the action of the erstwhile chairman, Mr Nwosu, as the antics of a sinking man clutching at straws.

The crisis rocking the ADC has its genesis in the call for the resignation of the national chairman by 27 state chairmen of the party, having spent 17 years in the office.

At the time of filing this report, we could not confirm if the party’s leadership had made formal or legal requests to the commission to remove the candidate from the list.

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Stella Obasanjo’s brother, John Abebe, arraigned for fraud

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Dr. John Abebe, the younger brother of a former First Lady, Stella Obasanjo, was on Monday arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Monday before the Lagos State Special Offences Court in Ikeja over allegations of fraud.

Abebe was arraigned alongside a former Head of Firstbank Plc, United Kingdom Correspondent Office, Kamoru Alade Oladimeji, before Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe on six charges of conspiracy, stealing, and obtaining money under pretence.

Part of the counts against the defendants read: “That you, Dr. John Abebe and Kamoru Alade Oladimeji, on or about the 4th day of June 2013 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit; stealing the sum of N120 million worth of property of Arsenal Technologies Limited.”

“That you, Dr. John Abebe and Kamoru Alade Oladimeji, on or about the 4th day of June 2013, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court conspired amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit; obtaining by false pretence the sum of N120 million property of Arsenal Technologies Limited under the pretence that your property lying being and situate at 9, Magbon Close, Ikoyi-Lagos State, which you pledged as the security to the Arsenal Technologies Limited was unencumbered, which representation you knew to be false.”

“That you Dr. John Abebe and Inducon Nigeria Limited, on or about the 4th day of June 2013, in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud and to gain for yourself the sum of $1,000,000.00 or its Naira equivalent from Arsenal Technologies Limited by false pretence to procure the execution of valuable security to wit; a deed of assignment between Inducon Nigeria Limited and Arsenal Technologies Limited, wherein you falsely claimed that the property lying being and situate at No. 9, Magbon Close, Ikoyi-Lagos was unencumbered and that you have full powers to assign and transfer the said property to the assignor; Arsenal Technologies Limited.

According to EFCC, the offences committed are contrary to Sections 280(1), (12), 8 (7), 285(1) and 278(1)(b) of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2011.

The defendants, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Following their plea, the prosecutor, Sulaimon urged the court to fix a trial date and to remand the defendants in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services until the hearing and determination of the charge.

However, the defense counsel, Anthony Popo and Sam Etaifo urged the court to grant their clients bail in the most liberal terms.

While moving the bail application on behalf of Abebe, Popo told the judge that the matter before her is a commercial transaction between the first defendant and the nominal complainant, which he is ready to settle out of court.

He also claimed that Abebe had paid back the sums of $100,000 and N30 million to the complainant and had also deposited the title document of 26 acres of land and the documents of a property in London to show his seriousness to resolve the matter.

The lawyer further submitted that the defendant would not jump bail since he never violated the terms of the administrative bail granted to him by the EFCC.

The prosecutor did not oppose the application but urged the court to impose stringent terms that will ensure the defendant’s appearance in court for their trial.

In her ruling, Justice Abike-Fadipe granted the first defendant bail in the sum of N20 million with one surety in like sum.

She directed that the surety must be a resident of Lagos and must deposit the title document of a land property whose value must not be less than N20m

The judge also admitted the second defendant to bail in the sum of N10m with one surety in like sum, who must be a resident of the state.

Justice Abike-Fadipe further ordered that the defendant shall continue to enjoy the administrative bail earlier granted to them by the EFCC but if they failed after seven days to perfect the terms of the bail she granted them, they shall be arrested and remanded in prison.

She adjourned the case to December 6 for commencement of trial.

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