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Diezani Removed $70m From NNPC In 12 Bags —– Ex-NNPC GGM

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos heard on Thursday that in 2015, a former Petroleum Resources Minister Diezani Alison-Madueke ordered the removal of $70 million from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 12 padlocked bags.

A former NNPC Group General Manager told Justice Muslim Hassan that he delivered the bags to an Abuja-based banker on Mrs. Alison-Madueke’s instructions.

He testified that he and others “had a command-and-obey relationship and also took an oath of office to obey directives and authority”.

The former GGM appeared as a prosecution witness in the trial of a former Executive Director of a top commercial bank, Dauda Lawal.

Lawal is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged money laundering of N928,000,000

The commission accused him of handling $25 million out of $153 million, which the former minister allegedly doled out to influence the 2015 general elections.

The trial opened on Thursday with the ex-NNPC GGM appearing as the first prosecution witness.

Led in evidence by EFCC Prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness narrated how he delivered the cash-laden bags to the Abuja banker, identified simply as Charles, in the front of Dume Supermarket in Abuja.

The witness said: “My lord, as I can remember, shortly before the 2015 elections, it was the norm for heads of subsidiaries (of the NNPC) to be invited for an undisclosed briefing of activities of their departments to the minister.

“At the end of such briefings, the then Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Alison-Madueke, gave me a GSM number in respect of one Charles, whom I had never met, with a clear instruction that I should convey 12 padlocked bags to the said Charles.

“My lord, the source, the content, and the purpose of the bags were not disclosed to me.

“Thereafter, I called the said Charles, who equally confirmed to me that he had been briefed about the message. I delivered the bags to Charles.

“Much later, my lord, the EFCC invited me for interrogation on the issue and I made a statement to that effect.

“Charles equally confirmed at the EFCC that he received the 12 padlocked bags and the bags contained $70 million.”

Under cross-examination by the defense counsel, Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), the witness said he had never met Lawal before.

Justice Hassan adjourned till July 21, 22, and 23 for the continuation of trial.

BIG STORY

BREAKING: Ogun Politician Buruji Kashamu Dies Of COVID-19

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Buruji Kashamu, a former senator from Ogun state, has died of complications from COVID-19. 

Kashamu, who represented Ogun-East senatorial district between 2015 and 2019, died at First Cardiology Consultants, Lagos.

The hospital is the same facility where a former Governor of Oyo State, Abiola Ajimobi; and the President’s Chief of Staff, Abba Kyari, died.

It was learnt that Kashamu, who had diabetes and high blood pressure, was admitted at the hospital for over a week before giving up the ghost.

Confirming his death, a former lawmaker, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, said the deceased would be sorely missed.

Murray-Bruce wrote on his verified Twitter handle, “I have just lost my good friend of forever to COVID-19. Until his death, Sen. Buruji Kashamu and I were inseparable. He died today at First Cardiology Consultants, in Lagos. May his gentle soul rest in peace. I pray his family and loved ones the fortitude to bear this heavy loss.”

Kashamu, who was the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party in the 2019 election, was facing extradition for alleged drug trafficking before his death.

See tweet by Murray-Bruce;

I have just lost my good friend of forever to #COVID19. Until his death, Sen. Buruji Kashamu and I were inseparable. He died today at First Cardiology Consultants, in Lagos. May his gentle soul rest in peace. I pray his family and loved ones the fortitude to bear this heavy loss. pic.twitter.com/OJGIt0VK3n

— Ben Murray-Bruce (@benmurraybruce) August 8, 2020

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Failed Contracts: NDDC Asks Senator Nwaoboshi To Refund N2.5bn Within Two Weeks

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The Niger Delta Development Commission has demanded refund of N2.5bn from Delta North Senator Peter Nwaoboshi for contracts his companies allegedly failed to execute.

However, the names of the errant firms were not disclosed in the letter addressed to the lawmaker.

The commission asked Nwaoboshi to refund the money within two weeks.

The letter dated July 5 signed by the Director, Legal Services of the NDDC, Peter Okoro, asked the senator to pay back the money meant for the supply of plastic chairs and desks for primary and secondary schools in the Niger Delta region in 2017.

It read, “Instead of supplying the chairs and desks to the Commission’s warehouse in Port Harcourt or to any of the NDDC offices in the nine Niger Delta states, the items were supplied to a warehouse described as Akuede Akwis’ located at Benin Expressway, Okpanam, before Wichetech Aluminum Company.”

According to the letter, the lawmaker’s firms were paid to supply the plastic chairs and desks to schools in Delta North Senatorial District, including desks and benches to selected schools in the Niger Delta.

The NDDC noted, “Despite having fully paid for the 2017 contracts for the production of chairs and desks, the items have not been supplied to the commission.

“The resultant effect is that the commission and the Niger Delta region have been deprived of the use of the desks and chairs.”

The NDDC spokesperson, Charles Odili, confirmed the authenticity of the letter.

Matter in court, unsigned letter not delivered to me –Nwaoboshi

But Nwaoboshi in a statement by his media aide, Awele Onokwai, on Friday, said the matter was already before a competent court of law and that he had yet to receive a copy of the letter purportedly addressed to him from the NDDC.

Nwaoboshi described the letter as fake as it was not officially addressed or signed.

He also said that the letter did not link him to any of the contracts.

The statement read in part, “Our attention has been drawn to the purported subject matter above, credited to one Peter Claver Okoro, Esq, posing as the Director, Legal Services of the Niger Delta Development Commission and we make bold to state the following:

“That the purported matter is sub judice as it is already before two law courts of competent jurisdiction in Nigeria, wherein, Distinguished Senator Peter Nwaoboshi sued the NDDC, Mr Charles Odili and relevant newspapers for defamation of character.

“The purported letter addressed to the Senator Peter Nwaoboshi was written on the 5th of July 2020 and as of today, 7th of August 2020, the said letter has not reached Senator Peter Nwaoboshi – either in person or office or by substitution.

“The purported letter, unlike any formal letter emanating from a recognized government Ministry, Agency or Department is not signed, therefore, can easily be denied.

“Nowhere in the contents of the purported letter was it stated that the contractor is directly linked to Distinguished Senator Peter Nwaoboshi.

“Nowhere in the purported letter was it stated that the warehouse, where the plastic chairs were domiciled, belongs to Distinguished Senator Peter Nwaoboshi.”

Nwabaoshi, his colleagues in the National Assembly and some former ex-governors have denied being contractors to the NDDC.

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BIG STORY

Union Bank’s Edu360: The Search For The Next Robotics Legend Is On!!!

Gbemileke Ajayi

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The Next Robotics Legend is an initiative designed by Edu360, Union Bank’s education platform, in collaboration with Awarri, a pan-African technology company, to infuse Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI) into the education of the Nigerian child. This stems from the realization that the solutions to some of our most complicated problems as a nation lie in the education of our children today.

This first-of-its-kind robotics training and competition for students aged 11 to 16 will focus on identifying and nurturing young potential inventors and creators who will receive the necessary training to solve some of the challenges facing the Nigerian society with the aid of robotics and AI.

To enter, take a 30-second video of your child telling us what they like about robots. Upload on www.edu360.ng and fill the accompanying consent form. 25 of the most creative and passionate entries will be selected to participate in robotics training.

At the end of the free training programme, participants will be required to identify a need in their community, and apply the skills learned to proffer a solution. The student with the best solution will be admitted for a mentorship program with Awarri, the advanced AI and robotics company owned by Silas Adekunle – top international robotics engineer renowned for creating the world’s first intelligent gaming robot.

Schools are not left out! To ensure the sustenance of the initiative, Edu360 will partner with four secondary schools by providing robotics toolkits and training for their teachers to enable them to include robotics in their curriculum.

Entries will be received from August 7th to 21st, 2020.  Visit  www.edu360.ng for more information.

#NextRoboticsLegend

Terms and conditions apply.

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