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Court Freezes N9.9bn Accounts Linked To Ambode

Peter Okunoren

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The Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday ordered the freezing of three bank accounts allegedly belonging to the Lagos State Government over alleged N9.9bn fraud.

The accounts domiciled in First City Monument Bank, Access Bank and Zenith Bank are numbered 5617984012, 0060949275 and 1011691254, respectively.

Justice Chuka Obiozor ordered the “suspension” of the accounts following an ex parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The EFCC had prayed the judge to freeze the accounts pending the conclusion of investigations and possible prosecution of the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Chief of Staff to the Governor of Lagos State, Adewale Adesanya, for money laundering.

In an affidavit filed in support of the ex parte application, a member of the EFCC investigating team, Kungmi Daniel, said the commission discovered “a huge inflow of N9,927,714,443.29” from the state accounts into an FCMB bank account opened on September 17, 2018 during the Akinwunmi Ambode administration operated by Adesanya.

Daniel said the schedule of the FCMB account showed how Adesanya and the other signatories to the account made fraudulent transfers from the accounts of the Lagos State Government and dissipated the funds in the said accounts.

“The trend in the account is that the account always witnessed a huge inflow from Lagos State Government into the above-scheduled accounts managed by the respondent (Adesanya),” the investigator said.

He said upon the receipt of intelligence, the EFCC analyzed it and found it worthy of investigation.

The EFCC prayed the court to grant them an order to temporarily take over the accounts to enable them to conclude their investigations.

The EFCC said, “There have been concerted efforts and attempts to dissipate the contents of the accounts listed in the schedule to this application.

“Without freezing the nominated accounts and temporarily forfeiting the money to the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, there is no way the fraud being perpetrated using the scheduled accounts can be stopped.”

After listening to submission by the lawyer for the EFCC, Mohammed Abbas, Justice Obiozor granted the prayers.

He adjourned further proceedings in the matter till September 9, 2019.

The EFCC later on Tuesday issued a statement saying they had secured a freezing order by the court on an account allegedly linked to Ambode.

The PUNCH had exclusively reported in June that loyalists of the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, were dragging Ambode to the EFCC for investigation.

A spokesman for the EFCC, Tony Orilade, said in a statement titled, ‘EFCC Secures Freezing Order on Accounts Linked to Ex-Gov. Ambode over Alleged N9.9bn Fraud’, said Justice Obiozor of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, on Tuesday ordered the freezing of the sum of N9.9bn belonging to the Lagos State Government.

The money was domiciled in First City Monument Bank account number 5617984012; Access Bank account number 0060949275 and Zenith Bank account number 1011691254, respectively, according to the statement.

A source, however, told one of the correspondents that the accounts had nothing to do with Ambode.

“It is a mischief. The bank accounts are not the former governor’s personal accounts; they belong to the Lagos State Government and were used by the previous and present administrations for state administrative purposes,” the source added.

Ex-Chief Press Secretary to Ambode, Habib Haruna, did not take his calls, which rang out several times.

A text message requesting his response to the allegations was also not replied to as of the time of filing this report.

 

 

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We Can Treat COVID-19 Patient In Our State, Akeredolu Boasts

Peter Okunoren

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Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has said that the state is well equipped to treat the only COVID-19 patient it currently has.

Governor Akeredolu said the patient would not be transferred to Lagos State.

Speaking at a world press conference in Akure, Governor Akeredolu said the state’s own Infectious Disease Hospital where the patient is currently admitted has all the needed facilities.

The Ondo Governor urged the people not to be scared as the patient did not leave the premises of a military barrack when he returned from Indian.

Akeredolu stated that the military officer returned from Indian on an official assignment and was placed on self-isolation but developed symptoms on Friday which made his samples to be collected and tested positive.

He said they have begun contact tracing and told those traced to self-isolate in the barracks.

According to him, “We have moved the patient to our Infectious Disease Hospital (IDH). He has been receiving treatment and has been stable.

“If you trace the history of the officer, it leaves us with little or no potential of expansion. The man came in from Indian and on his return placed himself on self-isolation. Whatever it is, all we have to do to prevent the spread has been done with this man being in self-isolation

“We have contained it within a room or the barrack. There was never a time the man left the barrack. Our people have no reason to fear. We want to strengthen our precautionary measures. The school’s closure will remain until further notice. We have suspended public gatherings and social activities that will involve a crowd. We scaled down physical activities at the secretariat. We have to close done our markets. We directed a lockdown of our borders. This became necessary because we discovered a high movement of people from states that closed their borders.

“We have set up a special relief distribution committee. The committee is to purchase and share food through the local government.

“There is no way we can list how many contacts we are tracing. We have a well-equipped facility here in Ondo. We believe it will be enough for us. We will treat people here in our facilities. we pray there will not be any expansion. The module we have adopted is to have isolation centers in senatorial districts.

“If we have the means, we are going to spend millions of naira on palliatives. We are going to reach as many people as possible. There is no cause for fear. We should live a normal life. People should stay more at home.”

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Federal Government Seeks NASS Approval To Establish N500bn COVID-19 Intervention Fund

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Saturday, met with the leadership of the National Assembly to intimate it on an Executive proposal to establish a N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund.

Ola Awoniyi, the Special Adviser to the President of Senate, Ahmad Lawan, in a statement said that the minister held the meeting with the President of the Senate and senior officials of the ministry at the National Assembly Complex in the Federal Capital Territory.

Also in attendance were the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila, Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ovie Omo-Agege; Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, and some principal officers of both Chambers.

The meeting is a follow-up to another one held on March 25 between the National Assembly leadership and members of the Presidential Committee set up for the management of the COVID-19 crisis.

“What we are proposing is the establishment of a N500 billion COVID-19 Crisis Intervention Fund.

“This Fund that we are proposing should be created will involve mopping up resources from various special accounts that the government, as well as the Federation, have to be able to pull this N500 billion,” the minister said.

Ahmed added that in addition to the identified special accounts from where the money would be drawn as loans, the proposed intervention fund would also be sourced from grants being expected and loans from multilateral institutions.

“Our general view is that this crisis intervention fund is to be utilised to upgrade healthcare facilities as earlier identified.

“The Federal Government also needs to be in a position to improve health care facilities not only in the states but to provide intervention to the states,’’ she said.

Ahmed explained to the lawmakers that the Fund if approved, would also take care of special Public Work Programmes currently being implemented by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE).

“We know that there will be a need for the parliament to agree and approve the taking of loans from these special accounts and we will be coming back with a proposed bill in that regard that will define what the fund will be used for,’’ the minister said.

Earlier in his remarks, the Senate President said the meeting was in fulfilment of an earlier promise to provide support as the need arises in this time of crisis.

“Just like we told Nigerians when there is need for us to meet or to take legislative action in support of ensuring that the government responds appropriately to development issues and challenges in the country, we will do so.

“This meeting, the second in the series after we shut down the National Assembly for two weeks, is a clear testimony of what we have said.

“Governance requires that we work together, so we want to listen to those things that you have on your side and how we can also play our constitutional role in ensuring that Nigerians continue to benefit from governance.

“And to also see how we are able to weather the storm created by COVID-19.

“Going forward, we need to interact more because very fundamental decisions will need to be taken, and these decisions can only be said to be constitutionally legal if the legislature gives its stamp of authority for the executive to implement and execute.

“I think coming to us for those loans is critical because we are in an emergency and time is of the essence.

“So, we must work as expeditiously as possible to ensure that we place the request before the National Assembly.

“I think time has come for us to redefine the implementation of the Social Intervention Programme, because probably going out to communities to give them N20,000 per person might not be the best way to go.

“It is still an effort, but I think we need a better approach that will be more efficient,’’ Lawan said. (NAN)

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BREAKING: Lagos Deputy Governor, Obafemi Hamzat Tests Negative For COVID-19

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The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr Obafemi Hamzat, has tested negative for Coronavirus.

Hamzat stated the result of his status through his twitter handle on Saturday.

He said that the COVID-19 test was not a pleasant experience.

He said that it was important for him to do it because as a leader nothing should distract him from his role at this period.

He thanked all health workers and appealed to the residents of the state to play their role and ended the tweet with the hashtag #StayHomeSaveLives.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a breakdown of the cases by states shows that Lagos now has 109 cases; Abuja- 41; Osun- 22; Oyo- eight; Edo- seven; Akwa Ibom- five; Ogun and Kaduna have four cases each.

Others are: Bauchi- three; Enugu and Ekiti- two cases each, while Rivers, Benue and Ondo States have one case respectively.

(NAN)

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