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BIG STORY

Implement N30,000 New Minimum Wage Before May Day, Labour Tells FG

Peter Okunoren

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The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) wants the Federal Government to commence the implementation of the new National Minimum Wage for workers in the country before the May Day Celebration.

Mr Najeem Yasin, Acting President of NLC, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Abuja.

He commended the Senate for approving the minimum wage bill of N30,000 on Tuesday and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to quickly sign the bill into law.

NAN recalls that the House of Representatives had earlier approved N30,000 as new national minimum wage before embarking on break for the 2019 general election.

The Nigeria Governors Forum had proposed N24,000 while the Federal Government forwarded N27,000 to the National Assembly.

“We commend the Senate for passing the minimum wage bill of N30,000 but the battle for the minimum wage was not yet over; workers will not rest until the bill is signed and implemented.

“But it is not yet over because we want them to make sure that the process gets to the logical conclusion and for the quick implementation of that N30,000. Nigerian workers are happy and commend them.

“We want the federal government to ensure its implementation before the May Day celebration, which is the Workers Day celebration. Government should greet workers with the commencement of the implementation,” the labour leader said.

Yasin, who is also the National President of National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW), called on the federal government to ensure effective sanctions for employers who refused to implement the N30,000 National Minimum Wage.

“We have been fighting for this N30,000 for a long time and the governors have been opposed to it. But now, it has been passed. Nigerian workers are now looking forward to the signing the bill into law,” Yasin said.

Mr Amechi Asugwuni, NLC Deputy President, also called on President Mohammadu Buhari to follow the path of honour and immediately sign into law the new pay rise document once he received it.

He, however, disagreed on call by the Senate for a review of the Revenue Sharing formulae which gave federal government 56 percent, states 24 and local government 20 percent.

He argued that the minimum wage bill was an independent bill which should not be subjected to adjustments in sharing formulae by the Revenue Mobilization and Fiscal Commission.

According to him, such calls could further slow down the already overdue implementation of the new minimum wage.

Also, Mr Joe Ajaero, President, United Labour Congress (ULC), commended the Senate for the passage of the N30,000 minimum wage.

Ajaero called on the federal government to ensure that the process of the national minimum wage implementation should not be beyond March and April.

“Government should ensure that this year May Day should be a day to celebrate the implementation of the national minimum wage. I want to say that by May 1, all employers of Labour should have implemented it,” he added. (NAN)

BIG STORY

Magu Didn’t Account For N47.8b, Linked With BDC With 158 Accounts, Gave Falana N28m — Probe Panel

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The suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, may be facing fresh cases of alleged re-looting of funds recovered by the commission as well as bribery.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Magu is currently being interrogated by a presidential probe panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami over allegations of mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets by the EFCC.

A final report of the Presidential Investigation Committee on the EFCC Federal Government Recovered Assets and Finances from May 2015 to May 2020, obtained by NAN, had seriously indicted and implicated Magu on various allegations levelled against him.

The investigative committee terms of reference were to:

Investigate, verify, and review the recommendations of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets as it relates to the EFCC, with a view to ascertaining the complicity or otherwise of the Ag. Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, in the mismanagement of the assets recovered by the Commission;
Identify Avenues through which the recovered assets are dissipated and seized, recovered, forfeited (Interim and Final) assets are valued, managed, disposed, and/or mismanaged with a view to ascertaining compliance or otherwise with extant laws, regulations, processes and procedures.

Review the existing procedures on the Management of the seized, recovered, and Forfeited assets (interim and final) and proffer Standard Operational Procedures for the management of seized, recovered and forfeited assets.

Determine whether assets recovered during his tenure, whether locally in Nigeria or abroad, are being kept safely in a manner as to preserve their original value and determine:-

Whether all the assets could be properly accounted for by the Ag. Chairman.

To confirm if any of the assets have been diverted to the benefit of the Ag. Chairman, his family, relation, friends, or favoured staff.

To recover any such diverted assets and return back to the EFCC or appropriate government agency.

The committee was also to investigate and report on corruption and money laundering allegations involving Magu and Bureau De Change operators, as well as some of his associates; as per the intelligence reports and petitions.

It was to audit the Assets and Finances of the EFCC as a legal entity from 2015 to 2020, with a view to establishing compliance or otherwise with procurement procedures of the EFCC in line with the provisions of the Procurement Act.

However, new facts have emerged on how interest rates accruing from N550 billion recovered by the EFCC in the period under review were allegedly re-looted.

Magu is now expected to disclose the whereabouts of the missing interest funds running into millions of naira.

NAN also observed that the Final Report of Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets that covered the period of May 29, 2015, to November 22, 2018, had also confirmed the concerns of the public about contradictory recovery figures emanating from Magu.

The report said: “It is quite disturbing that conflicting figures are being circulated in the public space by EFCC as the amount of recovered funds

“For Foreign currency recoveries, EFCC reported a total naira equivalent of N46,038,882,509.87, while the naira equivalent of the foreign currency lodgements were N37,533,764,195.66, representing a shortfall of N8,505,118,314.21.

“These inconsistencies cast serious doubt on the accuracy of figures submitted by the EFCC. It is the committee’s view that the EFCC cannot be said to have fully accounted for cash recoveries made by it.

“While EFCC reported total Naira recoveries of N504,154,184,744.04, the actual bank lodgements were N543,511,792,863.47. These discrepancies mean that EFCC’s actual lodgement exceeded its reported recoveries by N39,357,608,119.43.

“It must be pointed out that the discrepancy of more than thirty-nine billion naira does not include interest accrued in this account since it was opened.

“It, therefore, cast serious doubt on the credibility of the figures and means that a substantial amount of money has not been accurately accounted for.

“Failure to report on the interest on actual lodgements clearly establishes that interest element of over N550 billion has been re-looted relating to the period under review.

“This is an apparent case of manipulation of data in a very brazen and unprofessional manner and this has greatly eroded the public confidence in the anti-corruption efforts.”

NAN also reports that the PCARA revealed how the investigative reports on EFCC’s activities by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit exposed acts of corruption and money laundering against some EFCC officials, including Magu.

The report added: “The NFIU reports established that the Acting Chairman has been using different sources to siphon money from the EFCC, and in some cases collecting bribes from suspects.

“The report has shown that a particular Bureau de Change, owned by Ahmed Ibrahim Shanono linked to the Acting Chairman based in Kaduna has more than 158 accounts and has been receiving huge sums of funds.

“The link to Magu was also established by the payment of N28 million to FALANA who is a close associate and ally of the Acting Chairman.”

NAN reports that the Salami probe panel is expected to continue sitting on Monday while Magu’s lawyer, Oluwatosin Ojaomo, had on Friday applied for an administrative bail for his client, who is facing corruption and other charges before the panel.

NAN.




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Manhunt Launched For Pastor Allegedly Used By Magu To Buy N573m Land In Dubai —Probe Panel

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A report by the Presidential Probe Panel has revealed details of how the suspended acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ibrahim Magu, allegedly used a cleric to launder funds abroad.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Magu is currently being interrogated by the panel headed by retired Justice Ayo Salami over allegations of mismanagement and lack of transparency in managing recovered assets by the commission.

A copy of the report made available to NAN on Saturday in Abuja said one Pastor Emmanuel Omale of Hand of God Prophetic Ministry was used by Magu in laundering the funds.

Omale’s name was uncovered through an investigative report on EFCC’s activities by the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit and mentioned in the final report of the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets.

According to the report, the unknown clergy is alleged to have bought a landed property on behalf of Magu worth N573 million in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The report added: “Another individual who is helping in laundering funds for the Acting Chairman and who has been referred to in several petitions is one Pastor Emmanuel Omale (Hand of God Prophetic Ministry).

“He is reported to have travelled to Dubai with Mr Magu and his name was used in purchasing a property in Dubai for Mr Magu.

“As an unknown pastor, the NFIU’s report showed the huge movement of funds ranging from N573,228,040.41.”

NAN also gathered that efforts had been intensified to expose the real identity of the Pastor with a view to arraigning him for prosecution if found culpable.

On the Diezani Alison-Madueke case, the PCARA report accused Magu of failure to cooperate with authorities in the United Kingdom to facilitate effective prosecution of the case.

The report said: “In the Diezani Alison Madueke case, the Acting Chairman is failing to further cooperate with the UK NCA to enable them to charge the Former Minister to court in the UK.

“The Acting Chairman despite his knowledge that Mrs Madueke will not be extradited to Nigeria until after her trial in the UK has consistently been accusing the UK government on the pages of print and electronic media of not wanting to extradite her to Nigeria.”

Magu was also accused of deliberately refusing to provide documentary evidence that would make the office of the nation’s Attorney-General to commence the extradition process of Alison-Madueke.

“This has strained the EFCC relationship with Europe most strategic partner,” the report further observed.

NAN reports that Magu, who is being held at the Police Headquarters in Abuja, is expected to reappear before the Salami probe panel on Monday to defend himself against several allegations.

NAN.




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NFIU Office Vandalized As N510bn Is Traced To Kaduna-Based BDC ‘With Links To Magu’

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The offices of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) were vandalized on Thursday night after the presidential panel probing Ibrahim Magu requested for the transaction history of a Kaduna-based bureau de change (BDC), online news medium, TheCable is reporting.

The panel was told that the BDC, which allegedly has links to the suspended acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has recently transacted businesses worth over N500 billion in different currencies — N336 billion, $435 million and €14 million.

However, there was a twist in the tale when the panel asked that the transaction history of the BDC be made available by NFIU, the central national agency that handles disclosures and intelligence in the financial sector.

Its offices were then vandalized, forcing members of the panel to seek an audience with President Muhammadu Buhari, who immediately approved the suspension of Magu from office and the overhaul of EFCC security personnel to avoid interference with the investigations.

Magu had been suspended by Abubakar Malami, the attorney-general of the federation, since Monday with the tacit approval of Buhari but it was not officially announced.

There is an unresolved controversy on the extent of the supervisory powers of the AGF over the EFCC — which is one of the grievances Malami listed in his memo to the president — but Buhari’s approval has finally sealed Magu’s fate.

The panel, led by Ayo Salami, former president of the court of appeal, was also told that an unknown Lagos-based pastor who is very close to Magu has N573 million in his bank account.

The pastor will be invited and questioned by the panel, TheCable learnt.

Magu was arrested on Monday by a combined team of officials of the Department of State Services (DSS) and force criminal investigation department (FCID) after failing to honor two invitations from the panel.

He has been detained since then and the police authorities on Thursday withdrew his security.

Magu is a commissioner of police by rank.




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