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Isa Ibrahim Pantami: The IT sector’s anti-corruption czar

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By Lukman Oladokun
The recent ‘hurricane’ in the Nigerian political landscape which ushered in President Muhammadu Buhari as well as other prominent political leaders in the 2015 elections -which is still considered to be the most keenly contested election in the history of Nigeria, also cuts across all aspects of the government sector with the aim of injecting a new form of leadership whose vision is in agreement with the government of the day.
Accordingly, the National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA) was not spared in this transformation process.

Dr. Pantami and President Muhammadu Buhari

This is perhaps owed to the strategic roles which the Agency is expected to play in transforming Nigeria into a knowledge-based economy and also help in diversifying the nation’s economy from the monolithic economy; which is one of the cardinal points the current administration seeks to achieve which hitherto have suffered neglect.
It is based on this note that Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, FBCS, an Associate Professor of Computer Science was brought in to re-engineer the Agency in order to achieve the purpose of the agency’s establishment and thus make it more efficient, effective and responsive.

Dr. Pantami with EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu

Shortly after being appointed, Dr Pantami swung into action to drive home his views. It is however highly commendable how well articulated his plans for the Agency are. And as such he didn’t waste time to implement these plans for the Agency and Nigerians at large. At the topmost of his agenda to ensure the growth of the IT industry in Nigeria, is to reduce or eradicate the scourge of corruption in the sector.
In his inaugural address to the staff of the Agency, Dr. Pantami declared that, corruption is a hydra-headed monster Nigerians should strive to eradicate. He admonished the staff of the agency to step up their integrity level and work hand in hand with him to rid the nation of the menace especially in the IT sector. In his word “I am allergic to corruption and what can build your confidence in me is your professionalism, integrity, and dedication.”
The rate at which he strives to fight corruption in the IT sector is rare and thus applaudable. Asides from his prompt identification of corruption as the bane to development and problem to how IT projects are being used as a conduit pipe for siphoning public fund, Dr Pantami possesses a well-defined and feasible roadmap which he is following to achieve his zero tolerance for corruption.
The strategy which has proven to work well for him in his fight against corruption. He is however in collaboration with institutions which are saddled with the responsibilities of ensuring transparency in government procurements. Without being prejudice to National Assembly’s screening of MDAs’ budget proposals, Dr Pantami knows that little is being achieved from the legislative arms of government in their struggles to reduce corruption in the country, as the technicalities involved in scrutinizing IT projects might not be available.
His first place of call was the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) because he knows the key role the Commission could play in this regard. For the war against corruption to be won, he enjoined on the management of the Commission the importance of partnering with NITDA in achieving its regulatory function.
As an ICT stakeholder, he has stressed the blatant disobedience shown to the section 6 of the NITDA act which empowers the Agency to be the clearing house of all government IT projects. He therefore appealed to the commission to always request for NITDA clearance from any MDAs that is under its investigation especially IT related cases. He said that “this strategy will reverse the trend of using IT as a cash cow by unscrupulous public officials. “Collaboration between our agencies would ensure accountability and professionalism within the industry; checkmate widespread corruption; save the country billions of naira and help tremendously in developing and promoting the IT local content policy.”
Seeing the wisdom in Dr Pantami’s initiative, the Ag. Chairman of the Commission, Mr. Ibrahim Magu pledged his support and went further to commence the enforcement of the act during the investigation of MDAs.
Magu declared that “this strategic partnership is timely and an indication that the current administration of NITDA is focused and determined. We will also comply immediately with all the guidelines in procuring IT products and services so we can practice what we preach”.
His anti-corruption acumen also led him to the office of Auditor General of the Federation where he requested for support of the “Audit House” in insisting on IT clearance while auditing the account records of government establishments. Pantami hinted that both organizations needed to collaborate while auditing the accounts of MDAs especially as regards IT projects. He stated that the purpose of insisting on clearance before procuring IT products and services for government is to review, justify and analyse the projects’ values for money and sustainability. “We want your office to always request for clearance obtained from NITDA by MDAs whenever you are auditing them.”
In his reaction to the request, the Auditor General of the Federation, Mr. Anthony Ayine gave instantaneous approval and pressed it upon his staff to henceforth commence requesting for NITDA clearance.
Dr Pantami’s insistence on MDAs to seek NITDA clearance has also saved the Country billions of naira. The Federal Executive Council has rejected several memoranda that failed to seek NITDA clearance.
In addition to this, he has been a lone voice in ensuring that IT infrastructure deployment is in accordance with the needs of the nation. He has never hidden his reservation for the mismanagement of public fund shrouded on the pretense of development like the case of the Close Circuit Television deployed to Abuja.
He holds the view that before deploying any technology, we must consider our peculiarity and identify the challenges that could inhibit the benefits accruable to such projects. He once remarked that failure to identify our IT challenges has impacted negatively on our IT development and it is the bane of moribund projects we have all around.
The prognostic consequence of this uncommon trait in fighting corruption comes with attendant effects. As expected, people whose toes have been stepped upon must fight back. You can’t block the means of “livelihood” of these unscrupulous elements and expect to go untouched.
Dr Pantami has been maligned by these sects of people who surfaced when the heat was more on them but he still remains unruffled. A faceless group accused him of “promoting unwholesome practices in the award of contract for 2017 budget an allegation they have failed to substantiate.
Dr Pantami is focused and determined. His steadfastness in ensuring that Nigerian commonwealth benefits all and sundry remains unshakable and he will not compromise. He is prepared for the battle ahead because according to him “anything that you do in the aspect of anti-corruption will surely elicit retaliation by perpetrators but as long as legal is made illegal and legitimate is made illegitimate, it is corruption and no effort must be spared to fight it.”
Lukman Oladokun is a Principal Executive Officer II with National Information Technology Development Agency, (NITDA)
Edited & Published by: YBTCMEDIA
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INVESTIGATION

Again, Bet9ja customers accuse company of reneging on payment of winnings

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Two Bet9ja customers, Dennis Dickson and Orazurume Jude Mary, have called on the company to pay them their dues.

They expressed their grievances to The Eagle Online on Monday, lamenting the “unprofessional behaviour” of the company.

Dickson stated that he has been deprived of his winning twice by the company.

He said: “The first instance occurred during the 2018 World Cup, when I staked a bet with the company on the option that some selected players will not score more than 2 to 3 goals per match, all of a sudden after winning the ticket the company void it and said the option was meant to run for the whole of the tournament.

“The second time, I staked on some players that during the transfer window they will not change club without loan deals included, after winning my ticket the company on the 31st night of August 2018 changed the optioned and said that loan deals are also included. Whereas, a loaned player is still the property of the parent club and can be recalled at any time even before the expiration of the loan deal.

Dickson stated that his tickets are: B93ECCWRTQZPE-675035 and B959ECCWERAWTT-68445.

Orazurume Jude Mary Tochi also stated that he played the game in Ekwulobia, Anambra State and the company reneged on the initial agreement that was reached earlier and that was not part of the initial agreement.

Tochi said: “I entered a bet with Bet9ja company under the category of transfer market with bet placed on whether a player would go on transfer to another club or not.

“Loan deal did not count at the time of this deal, but Bet9ja suddenly turned around and reversed the rule of the transfer market, stating that loan deal now counts after we agreed on transfer or no transfer.

“The sudden change was not acceptable as it was against the terms and conditions given to customers, after predicting players who will not change club.

“This amounted to N16,000,000 and N200,000.

“Two players are on loan, which is NOT transfer to the best of knowledge.

“Players on loan still belong to their parent. I went to my game its shows its lost, am not happy.”
Tochi gave his ticket number as B928SPPRCWPPSC-211061.

The Eagle Online reports that Bet9ja is an online bookmaker company that deals on major sporting events according to Alexa.com.

It is the second most visited website in Nigeria, only next to Google.com and it is owned by Kunle Soname, who is also its Chairman. Soname is also the Chairman of Remo Stars Football Club.

It will also be recalled that three customers of Bet9ja had before now petitioned the National Lottery Regulatory Commission claiming the betting company had not paid the over N3 million stake owed them.

The petition was obtained by the News Agency of Nigeria at the Zonal Office of the NLRC in Ilorin, Kwara State.
The petition was signed by the contact persons of the affected customers, Emmanuel Ajiboye.

The petition stated that the trio had entered into a bet with the company under the category of “Transfer Market”, with bets placed on whether a player would go on transfer to another club or not.

The petitioners said a “Loan Deals Do Not Count’’ transaction was confirmed in an email by Bet9ja on August 28.
They, however, expressed dismay that on August 31, Bet9ja “suddenly’’ turned around and reversed the rule of the transfer market by stating that “Loan Deals Now Count’’ as contained in a mail the same day.

The petitioners expressed the belief that this was done in order to renege on payment to customers who had played and were going to win.

They described the company’s “contradictory” statements as unprofessional by a leading bookmaker.

The aggrieved petitioners said it was in their knowledge that players on loans still belong to their parent clubs and could still be recalled before the end of their loan deal.

They said that the sudden change was not acceptable as it was against the terms and conditions given to customers.
The petitioners also threatened to explore legal action should Bet9ja refuse to respond favourably to their complaint.
They urged the commission to look into the development and ensure justice was done.

Yinka Salau, an official of the zonal office of the commission in Ilorin, confirmed the receipt of the petition.

He said the petition had been forwarded to the commission’s head office in Abuja for further investigation.

Salau explained that the management of Bet9ja would be invited to state its own side of the case.

Source: The Eagle Online

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INVESTIGATION

Tinubu’s Alphabeta Consulting firm in alleged money laundering scandal

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  • Ex-MD, Dapo Apara petitions EFCC

 

These are not the best of times for the Doherty Akin-led Alphabeta Consulting Limited and Alphabeta Consulting LLP, a Lagos-based management, information systems and technology consulting firm allegedly owned by the national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

The immediate past Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the organization, Mr. Dapo Apara, has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), concerning the activities of the organization which border on money laundering.

In a petition to the EFCC through his lawyer (Adetunji Shoyoye & Associates) and made available to the THE WITNESS, Apara accused the consulting firm of laundering over a N100 billion (One Hundred Billion Naira) for top government officials.

According to Apara, Alphabeta Consulting LLP, which is the revenue mobilization and collection advisor to the Lagos State Government has become an avenue for official corruption of government official, a conduit pipe for massive money laundering scheme, tax evasion, amongst other vices.

The former head-huncho of the company further called on the anti-graft agency to cause a holistic investigation into the firm.

Efforts by THE WITNESS to reach Mr. Doherty Akin for the company’s angle to the allegations proved futile as calls and text messages sent to his mobile number were not responded to as at press time.

 

Read the full petition below:

 

The Executive Chairman

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission

5 Formela Crescent, off Ademola Adetokunbo Street,

Wuse 2

Abuja.

 

Sir,

PETITION OF A CASE OF MONEY LAUNDERING, TAX EVASION, FRAUD RUNNING INTO OVER N100,000,000 (ONE HUNDRED BILLION NAIRA) AGAINST ALPHA BETA CONSULTING LIMITED AND ALPHA BETA LLP

The above subject matter refers.

We are solicitors to MR DAPO APARA, hereinafter referred to as our client, and we have his full consent and instruction to write you this petition.

We must first of all thank you and your great organization for the good work you are doing in our country to rid it of corruption, fraud and other vices.

It is however sad that as much as you are trying, some people are hell bent on continually giving the country a bad name and bringing discredit to the Nation and well-meaning Nigerians. One of such is ALPHABETA CONSULTING LIMITED AND ALPHABETA LLP.

The company was incorporated in the year 2002 to carry on the business of Tax Consulting amongst others and our client was the originator of the laudable business idea.

It is sad however that years down the line, the company has become an avenue for official corruption of government officials, a conduit pipe for massive money laundering scheme, tax evasion amongst other vices.

Over the years, the company is being protected and shielded by some powerful politicians and people in the society which made them to always boast of being untouchable, but our client feeling the need not to keep quiet again and strengthened by his believe in the fact that the government of President Muhammed Buhari is keen on fighting corruption which has been the bane  of our country, is of the firm believe that its time to expose and open the can of worm called ALPHABETA CONSULTING.

Our client is of the firm believe that it is time for the Commission to step in and conduct a holistic investigation into the activities of ALPHABETA CONSULTING LIMITED AND ALPHABETA LLP, with a view to uncovering the massive corruption, money laundering, tax evasion etc going on in the company. Kindly note that one of the companies being used to perpetrate money laundering by the company is still another company named Ocean Trust Limited.

The only hope of our Client and indeed the teeming Nigerians who are victims of the crimes being perpetrated by these companies, in seeking justice is the Commission which we strongly believe in and therefore call on the commission to cause a holistic investigation into this case and all involved with the aim of bringing these criminals to justice, and not allow their claims of being untouchable to evalidated.

Kindly note sir that as our client is willing and able to provide information to substantiate the claims, though we will plead for these to be done through us as he is presently fearing for his life having been receiving death threat from a lot of quarters because of this case.

 

The details and address of the company is:

 

ALPHABETA CONSULTING LLP

WATER HOUSE HEADQUARTERS 1ST FLOOR

LAGOS STATE WATER CORPORATION

IJORA CAUSE WAY.

IJORA LAGOS

 

While thanking you for your continual cooperation, kindly accept the assurances of our highest esteem.

 

Yours faithfully

ADETUNJI ADEGBOYEGA ESQ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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INVESTIGATION

Revealed! Meet Madina Bala Hassan, the face behind ‘Hausaroom’

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Unveiling the owner of a popular blogging site in Northern Nigeria, ‘Hausaroom,’ was a herculean task, but the mask has finally been removed from the face of the masquerade as ‘Hausaroom’ has been traced to a beautiful young lady, Madina Bala Hassan.

For the curious ones, If you doubt our story, check with the CAC and you’ll search no further as she is the owner of Hausaroom with her passport data page and number registered with.

Here’s a little about Madina Bala Hassan, she’s the daughter of retired AIG Bala Hassan. She went to the University of Dundee for masters in Human Anatomy. She is happily married with two beautiful kids.

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