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EFCC recovers N220 million in South South – Official

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), says it recovered N220 million from fraud and corrupt cases in the South South zone in the last five months.

Nnagh Itam, the South South Zonal Director of EFCC, said this while briefing journalists in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, on Tuesday

He also said the commission had received about 166 complaints, in addition to already existing cases.

“We received 166 complaints from the zone from January till date and we have charged 28 of the cases to court and secured about 13 convictions.

“Within this period too, we have recovered little above N220 million and $15,000.

“We are still investigating some of the matters we have before us,’’ he said.

The EFCC boss also dismissed claims alleged by the Rivers State Government that the commission was making moves to close some of the state’s accounts.

He explained that the Rivers State House of Assembly was the only office that had the powers to call for probe into the government accounts based on ruling of a court of competent jurisdiction.

“I am not aware that EFCC either at Abuja or here is making any move to block any bank account belonging to the state.

“If there is a subsisting court judgment, it is only the state assembly that can call for investigation if they see that the state fund is not being managed properly,’’ Mr Itam said.

He also noted that the commission was investigating fake contractor syndicates in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

“We have people who had fallen victims and suffered by these fake NDDC contract staff and we expect the victims to come and make complaints.

“When they don’t, there is nothing or little we can do, this is a practice that must stop, its corruption,’’ he said.

He further warned members of the public against giving out their account details or Automated Teller Machine, (ATM) card for illicit transactions.

Mr Itam said that most people who had stolen funds transferred into their accounts did not have any link with the crime.

“We are warning people to stop giving out their account numbers in the name of helping friends or neghbours.

“I wonder why people still give their account numbers and ATM cards to others to receive illicit funds, it is unhealthy to give your account numbers to people for help.

“People who receive this stolen money are not the actual people who commit the crimes.’’

(NAN)

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NEWS

Kano Assembly sets up panel to probe bribery allegations against Gov. Ganduje

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The Kano house of assembly has set up a panel to investigate the bribery allegation against Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of the state, according to DAILY NIGERIAN.

In a video trending online, Ganduje was seen collecting bundles of dollars and putting them into his white dress known as ‘babanriga’ in the northern part of Nigeria.

The video has generated a lot of reactions from Nigerians, with some saying it is a dent on President Muhammadu Buhari’s corruption agenda since the governor is a member of the ruling party.

Raising a motion on Monday, Labaran Madari, a member representing Warawa constituency, said the assembly should investigate the authenticity of the video and take necessary actions.

Madari said the videos had brought the institution of governance in the state to disrepute.

The matter was seconded by Baffa Dan’Agundi, a member representing Kano municipal.

Alhassan Rurum, speaker of the house, therefore, constituted a seven-man committee to investigate the matter and report back to the assembly.

Members of the committee include Baffa Dan’Agundi, Labaran Madari, Garba Gafasa, Zubairu Masu, Ayuba Labaran, Abubakar Galadima, Garba Yau Gwarmai and Mujtafa Amin.

Sources were quoted as saying the assembly is planning to serve the governor impeachment notice as soon as the committee submits its report.

“This is a serious matter that should not be swept under the carpet. We did preliminary investigation and found out the videos are genuine. The committee is just mere formality,” said a member who was said to have preferred anonymity.

“The governor confessed to some of us that it was real but he is now trying to stop us from exercising our constitutional duty.”

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INVESTIGATION

Rivers APC Guber candidate, Tonye Cole reportedly skipped NYSC, omits degrees in nomination forms

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The gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Rivers State, Tonye Cole, is in trouble for skipping the mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) scheme, the NEXT EDITION has found out.

Sources close to the stylish businessman-turned-politician said he is struggling to get the NYSC to help him out with the problem.

The Lagos-based billionaire emerged APC’s gubernatorial candidate for 2019 during the party’s primary in Port Harcourt on October 1.

Lawal Isa, Chairman, Rivers State APC Governorship Primary Election Committee, had said Mr. Cole got 3,329 votes to beat other aspirants.

According to him, Dawari George, a former aide to Rotimi Amaechi, scored 491 votes to come a distant second.

Dumo Lulu-Briggs, another business mogul who stood the election, secured 38 votes while a serving Senator, Magnus Abe, got a single vote.

Mr. Abe was the only person who voted for himself in the primary that was attended by no fewer than 4000 delegates.

But weeks after the primary was conducted and won, Mr. Cole is yet to name his running mate, situation observers blamed on the fear he might be disqualified after all.

This newspaper found out Mr. Cole deliberately omitted his tertiary education qualifications in the nomination forms he submitted to his party and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Under academic records, Mr. Cole indicated he attended Corona School, Victoria Island, Lagos from 1973-1978 and King’s College, Lagos, between 1978 -1983.

This shows in spite of his rich educational background, he only filed his primary school leaving certificate and the ordinary level West African Examination Council General Certificate of Education he obtained in June 1983 from the King’s College.

Apart from the WASCE, Mr. Cole also attached a testimonial from King’s College which showed he was born on January 11, 1967, and had attended the institution from Form One to Five.

With registration number 4107, he was a member of Mckee Wright House as well as the Literary and Debating Club.

The principal of the school at the time, Olapeju Oladele, indicated he held no leadership position but indicated he had a promising career.

“He has very strong personality traits and was well-behaved,” under behavioural traits.

However, under general remarks, Mr. Oladele wrote, “Patrick was a very promising student who has high potential to succeed in his chosen career.”

Based on his WASC attached to his nomination forms, Mr. Cole had credit (4) in English Language, good (3) in Geography, credit (4) in Economic and credit (6) in Mathematics.

Others include Physics – pass (7), Biology – credit (5), Art –credit (5) and Technical Drawing –pass (7).

With only WASC and a testimonial from King’s College attached to his forms, it seemed Mr. Cole, for some undisclosed reasons, deliberately omitted his degrees as contained in his public profiles.

While he failed to indicate his tertiary education qualifications, the APC candidate sumptuously showcased the training he has attended across the globe and the many papers he has presented and positions he has occupied.

But findings by this newspaper showed Mr. Cole went straight to King’s School, Ely, Cambridgeshire, the United Kingdom after he left King’s College, Lagos at age 16.

He is also said to be an alumnus of the University of Lagos and Universidade de Brasilia, Brazil, where he was graduated with merit honours in Architecture.

Curiously, information regarding his tertiary education and the record of his compulsory NYSC participation are all absent in the document he filed with his party and INEC.

 

Given his family background and the age he completed his primary and secondary education, it is very clear Mr. Cole got his first degree before he was 23.

The one-year service, organised by NYSC is compulsory for all Nigerians who graduate from universities or equivalent institutions at less than 30 years of age.

Apart from being a prerequisite for obtaining government and private sector jobs in Nigeria, the NYSC Act prescribes punishment for anyone who absconds from the scheme or forges its certificates.

For instance, eligible persons, who skipped the scheme, are liable to be sentenced to 12 months imprisonment and/or N2, 000 fine, based on Section 13 of the NYSC law.

In Section 13 (3) of the Act, a three-year jail term or option of N5,000 fine is prescribed for anyone who contravenes the provisions of the law.

Subsection 4 of the same section also criminalises giving false information or illegally obtaining the agency’s certificate.

It provides for up to a three-year jail term for such offenders.

NEXT EDITION made several attempts within the last two weeks to speak with Mr. Cole on the issue but failed.

The APC chieftain would not pick calls or respond to text messages from this newspaper.

However, when contacted, on one of his allies, Tonye Princewill, said Mr. Cole could not speak on the issue because the party was yet to set up a campaign structure for the 2019 polls.

All of Mr. Cole’s public profiles show he had tertiary education in Nigeria and in Brazil but none indicates the dates of his graduation.

NEXT EDITION could not also extract any record of where he served in any of such profiles, some of which have been edited recently.

Attempts to speak with the NYSC spokesperson, Adenike Adeyemi, failed as her line was unreachable and text message to her phone was not replied.

But a senior staff of the scheme, who could not be named because he is not authorised to speak on the matter said the NYSC has no record Mr. Cole served or was offered an exemption.

 

*Culled from THE NEXT EDITION

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NEWS

2019: Atiku picks Peter Obi as running mate

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The Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, on Friday picked former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, as his running mate in the 2019 general elections.

This newspaper gathered that Mr Atiku made the choice after narrowing his search for running mate to a politician from the South East.

On Wednesday, ThisDay reported that at least three technocrats and two politicians have been penciled down for the position.

The technocrats include: former governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Charles Soludo; former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Akinwunmi Adesina; and former Managing Director of Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON, Chike Obi.

The politicians are: former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, and the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

The PDP hierarchy are still undecided between the South-West and South-East, on the zone the position should be allotted.

Both zones were believed to have helped Atiku neutralise the Northern zones’ delegates’ votes that went to Sokoto State Governor, Aminu Tambuwal, during the presidential primary on Saturday.

More details soon..

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