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Senate Orders Arrest Of NIMASA DG, Bashir Jamoh Over $5m Fraud

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The Nigerian senate panel on public accounts has ordered the arrest of Dr Bashir Jamoh, the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime and Safety Agency (NIMASA), for allegedly paying $5 million to a legal firm as a professional fee for the recovery of a $9.3bn loss.

The $5m was paid for the intelligence-based tracking of a global movement of Nigerian hydrocarbon and recovery of loss by the Federal Government of Nigeria in the sum of $9.3bn between 2013 and 2014.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Matthew Urhogbide, at a briefing on Sunday, berated the agency over the failure of NIMASA to appear before the panel, saying that the panel had no other option than to issue a warrant of arrest on the DG of NIMASA.

He said, “We have invited NIMASA up to three times, but they have failed to honour our invitations. This committee has no other option than to issue a warrant of arrest against the Director General of the agency. They can come to the National Assembly for fund appropriation, but when it is time to give account they will be nowhere to be found.

“The committee had invited NIMASA up to three times for the explanation on the payment of $5 million as professional fee and details of $9.3bn loss by the Federal government, but the agency declined the invitation.”

The Auditor General’s report showed that all efforts by the Auditor General of the Federation to get the details of the $9.3bn loss by the Federal government for thorough scrutiny were not granted by NIMASA.

According to AuGF report, the money was paid from Zenith Bank (UK)’s dollar account.

The query read, “Audit observed that the agency engaged the service of a legal firm through a letter with reference number NIMASA/DG/KP/2014/001, dated 24th January 2014 for the intelligence-based tracking of a global movement of Nigerian Hydro-Carbon and recovery of loss by the Federal Government of Nigeria in the sum of $9.3bn between 2013 and 2014, with a start-off cost of $5m and five per cent of all sums recovered.

“Payment instruction with reference number NIMASA/2007/DFS/WJ/5.500/VOL.11/341 dated April 2014 showed that the firm was paid the sum of $4,523,809.52 (Four million five hundred and twenty-three thousand eight hundred and nine dollars fifty-two cents only) net as professional fees from Zenith Bank (UK) Dollar account.

“The naira equivalent of this amount was N741,904,761.28 at an exchange rate of N164 to a dollar as of that date.

“No evidence of recovery of either part or the entire sum of the 9.3 Billion US Dollars was presented at the time of the periodic check-in in February 2018, despite the huge amount of money already paid to this effect.

“It is instructive to note that details of the transaction leading to the loss of $9.3bn to the Federal Government which only came to audit attention through the review of the letter from the agency to the legal firm so as to ascertain what could have transpired, resulting in such a huge loss were not presented for audit.”

“Ordinarily, the firm should have deducted its fees from the amounts recovered for the FGN, and not receive fees in advance in lieu of the recoveries.

It added, “Audit is concerned that payments were made for service not rendered and this may be a deliberate attempt to divert government funds for personal use.

“The Director-General is required to justify the payment for service not rendered, failing which the sum of N741,904,761.28 should be recovered from the legal firm and paid into the CRF, forwarding evidence of payment to the Public Account Committees of the National Assembly and to the Office of Auditor-General for the Federation for verification. Sanctions stated in FR 3104 should apply. He is also required to provide details of the transaction(s) leading to the loss of 9.3 Billion US Dollars for thorough scrutiny”

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PDP NWC Rejects Wike’s Demands, reiterates confidence in Ayu – Official

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee has rejected the demand 

by Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers State for the removal of Senator Iyorchia Ayu, the party’s national chairman. 

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, made this known on Thursday at the party’s headquarters in Wadata Plaza, Abuja.

The leadership of the chairman was ratified in a vote of confidence despite disputations from some sections of the party and yearnings for him to step aside as the national chairman.

Wike met with some PDP serving, former governors, and other party stakeholders on Sunday.

The Rivers governor has been in disagreement with the party’s flag-bearer, Atiku Abubakar, in the fallout of the party’s special convention last May and the subsequent nomination of the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as the party’s vice-presidential running mate.

The development didn’t go well with the Rivers State governor and his camp, prompting calls for the chairman of the party to step aside, including the reorganisation of the executive arm of the party.

However, barely 24 hours after setting up a committee by the party’s Board of Trustees to wade into the disagreement between Atiku and Wike, the duo reportedly met at the residence of Jerry Gana, a pundit of the party.

According to the outcome of the meeting, Debo stated that the PDP has resolved to “restate confidence in the National Chairman, Sen. Iyorchia Ayu, and the National Working Committee NWC in running the affairs of the Party.

The party also “restates confidence in the capacity, experience, and competence of H.E Atiku Abubakar to rescue, redirect and rebuild this country to earn the respect of the international community.”

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EFCC To Quiz Jaiz Bank CEO, Hassan Usman, Others, Over AGF’S Alleged N109bn Fraud

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EFCC will question Hassan Usman, CEO of Jaiz Bank, and others for suspected N109 billion theft by AGF.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, or EFCC, may soon summon Hassan Usman, the managing director of Jaiz Bank Plc, and other senior members of the Islamic bank for questioning regarding their alleged roles in the N109 billion thatAhmed Idris, the disgraced former Accountant General of the Federation, is accused of stealing, according to sources in the commission.

 

Idris, who is currently facing charges from the EFCC along with two other conspirators, Godfrey Olusegun Akindele and Mohammed Kudu, allegedly stole the enormous sums of money by hacking into the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), and smuggled away billions of naira that belonged to the government.

 

The group was last week charged before Justice A. O. Adeyemi Ajayi of the Maitama, Abuja-based Federal Capital Territory High Court.

Investigative work by the EFCC revealed that the former Accountant General had opened bank accounts with an Islamic bank and utilized those accounts to refine his money-laundering techniques.

 

Investigations indicated that the bank was used to launder a sizable amount of money to high government officials at the federal and state levels, while the magazine is unable to determine the extent of some bank employees’ involvement in the crime.

 

According to information obtained by The Source Magazine, the commission is currently working to uncover any shady dealings the former AGoF may have had with some Islamic bank executives, which may have “enabled him to use the bank to launder public monies.” The bank must respond to important queries, according to an EFCC source.

The Accountant General and his accomplices must have chosen Jaiz bank, in order not to draw any suspicion from the public and banking regulators. But it’s now obvious that there’s no hidden place for the bank and greedy government officials who committed the fraud. The EFCC will get to the bottom of the fraud and expose those involved” another EFCC top official said on Tuesday.

“There is a need to question more top officials of the bank apart from the chief executive who must be privy to how and when huge sums of money were moved without deeming it fit to alert constituted authority in the country and EFCC. There’s no way huge sums will be moved without the MD’s knowledge, and we are quite sure these officials are not unaware of the money laundering law,” the official said.

The EFCC claimed that Idris utilized a substantial portion of the stolen money to launch businesses and buy real estate in Kano, where he is from, as well as Abuja and other places.

These properties include, among others, the Kano City Mall, the Gezawa Exchange Limited, and the Gezawa Integrated Farms.

 

A portion of the earnings from the theft were also utilized by the disgraced former accountant general to bribe important members of the state and federal governments, including former governor Abdul’Aziz Yari of Zamfara state, who was at the time the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).

 

During the trial last week, an EFCC prosecution witness Hayatu Ahmed, said Idris has accounts with Jaiz Bank which he used to make payments to individuals and companies, including a N280 million he paid into “Gezawa Commodity Market with Jaiz Bank.”

 

Additionally, it was discovered from EFCC sources that the bank was used in a large number of transactions that the disgraced Idris conducted with bureau de change. Several bureau de change in Kano and Abuja were paid via the bank, according to credible proof. The source stated that the dollar equivalent was then collected in cash and afterwards paid directly to people who had benefited from the crime.

 

Giving an overview of the fraud last week, the EFCC witness claimed that three groups shared the stolen money, including members of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), including one of its commissioners, Peace Akomas, a former deputy governor of the Abia State who is accused of collecting N18.8 billion.

The second group is the AGF group, and it got a total sum of N18.01 billion.

 

“The third group, the Commissioners of Finance in the nine oil producing states, received N21.4 billion. The money was withdrawn by Akindele, converted to US dollars, and handed over to Akomas on behalf of the group.

 

“The fourth group is called the Yari group. This group received N17.15 billion. The entirety of the sum was transferred to the account of Fimex Professional Services on the instruction of the representative of this group – Abdul’Aziz Yari, former Zamfara state governor.

 

“The remaining N8.9 billion was retained by the second defendant. Furthermore, N4.29 billion was converted to US dollars by Akindele as appreciation for the consultancy contract, and the balance of N4.6 billion was given to Akindele,” the EFCC witness said in court.

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LIRS Set To Launch Whistle-Blower Initiative August 5

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The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) is set to launch its Whistle-Blower initiative, a state-wide project, introduced to provide a platform for employees, stakeholders and the general public to report any observed violation, misconduct, or unethical behaviour across the state on Friday, August 5, 2022.

 

In a public notice signed by the LIRS Executive Chairman, Ayodele Subair, the Whistle-Blower initiative is a public policy of the State Government to encourage reporting of illegal actions or financial crimes, through the appropriate channel, with a view to correcting the violations or non-compliance.

 

According to the LIRS boss, “In line with the LIRS core values of integrity and accountability and our commitment to uphold the highest standards of openness, probity and accountability in our dealings with stakeholders, the platform is anonymous and confidential and it is independently managed by Deloitte, a globally accredited company.”

 

“The objective of the Whistle-Blower initiative is to guarantee transparency, accountability, and confidentiality to all taxpayers and stakeholders in general.

 

“The policy is designed to protect whistle-blowers from victimization and to encourage them to freely report without fear,” Subair submitted.

 

The launch of the Whistle-Blower initiative is scheduled to take place at the Protea Select Hotel, Assibifi Road, Alausa-Ikeja, Lagos.

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