The Ekiti State Governor, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, has banned grazing and rearing of cattle in the state, saying those interested in cattle farming should get their own private cattle ranches.
The governor announced this when he visited Oke Ako in Ikole Local Government Area of the state where some residents of the town were attacked on Friday night by criminals suspected to be Fulani herdsmen.
Two persons died from the attack while three others are receiving treatment in separate private hospitals in Ikole Ekiti and Ado Ekiti.
Fayose was accompanied by the state Commissioner of Police, Etop James; the Director of Department of State Services; and the state Commandant of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Don Ikemefuna.
He said a bill to criminalise the movement of cattle from one location to another in the state would soon be sent to the Ekiti State House of Assembly.
The governor warned that the government would henceforth confiscate any cattle seen anywhere in the state apart from in ranches created for them by their owners.
He said, “We will not leave our lands for Fulani herdsmen and in a system where the leadership of the country looks the other way while our people are being killed, we will have no option but to defend ourselves by whatever means.
“I have come here to commiserate with the people of Oke Ako over the murder of two of our people by these evil Fulani herdsmen. I am also here to assure the people that this will be the last time your community will be invaded by Fulani herdsmen under whatever guise.
“I have directed that cattle rearing and grazing should stop in Ekiti State and those interested in cattle farming should henceforth do so in their own cattle ranches.
“No more movement of cattle from one location to another in the state and any cattle seen anywhere in Ekiti State apart from the ranch created for them by their owners will be confiscated by the government and their owners will be prosecuted.
“A bill to this effect will be sent to the House of Assembly for passage into law to criminalise cattle owners whose cattle are found moving from one location to the other in the state.”
Fayose alleged that President Muhammadu Buhari, as the patron of the Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria, had refused to caution the herdsmen.
“We, in Ekiti will no longer harbour herdsmen who go about killing our people, destroying our farmlands and raping our women.
“If the same President Buhari that was so concerned about the killing of Fulani herdsmen in Saki, Oke Ogun area of Oyo State, such that he, as a private citizen, led Arewa (Consultative Forum) to Ibadan on October 13, 2000, to confront the then governor of Oyo State, the late Alhaji Lam Adesina, is now keeping silent when the same herdsmen are killing our people, we must rise and defend ourselves.
“It is our duty to protect our people and we are going to do that without fear or favour.”
The Onirele of Irele, Oba Bamidele Adesogan, who spoke on behalf of the kings that received the governor, said the crisis with the herdsmen had been recurring.
“We still need an amendment. There is not much we can do. The idea of the police refusing to go with us into the bush is an impediment. There is no way we can confront these people without some form of violence.
“They rape our women and children, and cut our cassava to feed their cows in our presence and we can’t challenge them. When you meet these people in the forest they are not gentle at all,” he said.
The representative of the Association of Hunters, Joseph Osasona, complained that the police had not allowed them to carry arms.
He said, “We can’t engage these people without carrying arms. We know where the people stay, we know their hideouts.”
The governor announced a donation of N2.5m to the families of the victims and another N2.5m to support the hunters and the vigilance groups.
He also promised to provide a patrol vehicle to the vigilance group to support them in their surveillance duty.
The day of reckoning has finally come for a former Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Raymond Omatseye as the Federal High Court in Lagos yesterday convicted and sentenced him to 120 years imprisonment.
The trial judge, Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia handed down the verdict after founding him guilty of allegations of N1.5bn contract scam brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The judge found Omatseye guilty of 24 out of the 27 counts pressed against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
She discharged and acquitted him on 3 counts bordering on bid rigging.
Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia sentenced him to five years imprisonment for each of the 24 proven counts, holding that the sentences would run concurrently.
Omatseye was first arraigned on January 13, 2011 before Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako on an 11-counts charge that touches on illegal transfer of the agency’s fund and contract splitting was slammed on the ex-NIMASA boss.
He was later re-arraigned 21, 2013 by the EFCC before Justice Ofili-Ajumogobia on an amended 27 counts after Justice Murtala-Nyako was transferred to the Abuja division of the court.
In the amended charge the EFCC accused him of engaging in contract splitting and bid rigging to the tune of over N1.5bn while in office as the DG of NIMASA.
The offence, the anti-graft agency said, contravened Section 58(4) of the Public Procurement Act 2007.
Omatseye was also accused on breaching the provisions of Section 14(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2004.
He pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The court held in the judgment, “In the instant charge, the defendant testified in his evidence in chief that he was released on administrative bail and asked to come back the following day and in his statement, he responded that his threshold for supply was N2.5 million”
National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, and former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has described former president Goodluck Jonathan’s Sure-P programme as a monumental fraud which only objective was to siphon public funds into the pockets of its architects.
According to Tinubu, the only thing sure about Sure-P was that its architects would siphon the public’s funds to fatten their own wallets. “They wanted to save money (for themselves) yet expend the people for no good reason at all,” he added.
In a statement entitled: Ending Price Fixing, The Making of Economic Sense, released on Thursday, the APC leader commended President Muhammadu Buhari for being courageous in his decision to remove the oil subsidy, adding that the president did what is right.
“President Buhari after carefully weighing the options decided to do what is right. In an act of courage he removed the oil subsidy thereby freeing the downstream component of this strategic sector of the economy from the distortions of price fixing.”
Tinubu’s statement read:
Ending Price Fixing, The Making of Economic Sense
To construct the right building sometimes means we have to tear down the wrong one standing in our way. Our economic development hinges in equal measure on saying good bye to debilitating and corrupted old practices as it does on embracing efficient, wealth creating new ones.
As political progressives, we are anchored by a healthy and strong regard for the positive role government must assume in ensuring fair play and the just allocation of wealth and benefits within our political economy. We understand that the so called free market is not always fair. This is the major reason that we advocate a comprehensive policy of economic development projects coupled with social programs. These development projects will build the infrastructure and create jobs that were beyond the ability and rationale of our private sector to do. The social programs will bring succor to those the dynamics of the free market would have otherwise left behind.
Yet, as progressives we must be pragmatic and not allow ourselves to become blinded by or render ourselves subservient to ideological bias. Ideology is meant to serve us, not us to serve it. As such, we must recognize that there are certain things the workings of the market perform better over the longer arc of time than government may perform. Establishing the most efficient price for what is essentially an economic commodity is one such thing better left to the interplay of supply and demand. While short-term exigencies may at times call for government action to stabilize markets and prices, government’s long-term determination of such economic prices, although initiated with the finest intentions, often contorts into something ugly and callous. It tends to transmute into corruption, waste and distorted pricing signals that cost the economy more than they benefit the people.
Against this background, we must assess the recent decision to allow the workings of supply and demand to determine the price of fuel. Most of us have called this process one of deregulation. This is an inaccuracy that should be promptly corrected. This decision should end arbitrary government price fixing. By ending this price fixing, government regulation of this market will not be eliminated. It will simply change from its emphasis on maintaining a subsidized price to ensuring that the market remains free and devoid of collusion so that sufficient supply is available at a defensible and affordable albeit higher than subsidy price. Government must still monitor this market to ensure against unjust enrichment that comes from attempts at price fixing.
Understandably the new pricing decision elicited mixed reactions from a cross section of Nigerians. This is understandable in view of the fact that the fuel subsidy had been with us for such a long period that it seemed integral to our political and economic life. However, we should not lament the departure of something just because of its longevity particularly when that very policy had ceased to serve us long ago.
The decision to end the subsidy was hard but it was also inevitable. It had distorted into a system where wrongdoers benefited at the expense of the innocent. The bogus supplier was paid for supplying nothing while you sweated in long lines for fuel that was never there. The smuggler secreted fuel across the border while our economy crossed the border into fuel scarcity. As the price stayed fixed at a low level, investors were apprehensive about fixing existing or building new refineries. Our petrochemical industry remained unfertilized because potential investors could not decipher how they could make a decent return under such a pricing regime. Because of these imbalances, we were forced to export hard currency and many jobs to purchase fuel and other products abroad.
While the price of fuel was cheap in paper, these were the hidden costs that made the subsidy regime an expensive and heavy yoke the nation could ill continue. With dwindling revenue from oil due to the slump in global oil prices and a dwindling forex reserve, the country could no longer live in denial.
President Buhari after carefully weighing the options decided to do what is right. In an act of courage he removed the oil subsidy thereby freeing the downstream component of this strategic sector of the economy from the distortions of price fixing.
However, this decision was not to be a step toward conservative austerity as practiced by the former government. That government simply wanted to end the program that they may prove obedient to neoliberal economic doctrines. They offered no programs of valid compensation to the people. Instead, they instigated a policy of monumental fraud known as Sure-P. However, the only thing sure about it was that its architects would siphon the public’s funds to fatten their own wallets. They wanted to save money (for themselves) yet expend the people for no good reason at all.
The Buhari government took a vastly different approach. Given the inefficiencies inherent in the pricing regime, this administration asked the fundamental question: could this money be better spent to help the most vulnerable of our people. For it was also recognized that the pricing regime was a regressive feature. Its benefit went disproportionately to the well off who needed no such help. Better to use the sums to more directly and exclusively assist poor and working class Nigerians.
Thus, President Buhari followed through with a 500 billon fund to support a social safety program and empower the poor and needy. Five million School children will be fed for 200 days. Other plans of funding social infrastructure, education, transportation, health and other critical areas needing attention. What the President did is about the future of our country and that of the next generation.
With regard to our petroleum sector, The President’s decision constitutes a major step toward removing the nightmare of fuel importation and its attendant hardships especially to our foreign reserve condition. It was the right choice to make. The club of fuel importers had become a parasite and a drain on our economy. With this decision the exploitation by marketers, the unchecked smuggling, mismanagement, lost of productive man hours with people waiting in fuel queues, traffic congestion and health hazards associated with black market and other desperate practices will steadily pass away.
For almost 3 decades we have entertained distortions in the downstream sector by operating an opaque system susceptible to manipulation and structured in a way that allowed a few people to gain mightily from the system and feed fat on the misery and frustration of millions of Nigerians.
The oil sector became unattractive to both local and foreign investors. Government price pricing was a disincentive. Our oil refineries became epileptic and later comatose. But now investment in the sector will open to all. Instead of fighting this measure, opposing segments of organized labor should consider collective investment in refineries. Such investment will enrich membership and give them a direct interest in the success of refineries crucial to our national growth.
As it now stands, while we were paying on the front end a low price for fuel when it could be gotten, we were being asked to pay too high a price in hidden and indirect costs for such malpractice to continue. Not every cost is defined by what comes out of your pocket. There are times when the greatest cost is the failure to receive a benefit otherwise due.
It is time to come to grips with the hard facts of the price fixing. It cuts and bleeds the economy in ways more numerous and deeper than those it heals.
Moreover, there are vastly better ways to spend the same money and materially improve the wellbeing of millions of our people. This government did not withdraw the subsidy in order to save them but spend the people. It is transferring the funds to better spend them and better save the people.
Nothing in this world is perfect but this decision is a just and correct one aimed at bolstering the economy while better caring for those the system has unfairly treated. I can find little fault in the new policy taken and the reasons for it. When all is placed in the balance, the scales now better tip in favor of better economy and future because of the decision so wisely made.
President Muhammadu Buhari has promised to do everything possible to help rescued Chibok girl, Amina Ali, deal with her horrific experience while under Boko Haram captivity.
Buhari said this when he received the girl, who was rescued in Borno State on Wednesday by members of the Civilian Joint Task Force and Nigerian, at the Presidential Villa.
Buhari said like all Nigerians and many others all over the world, he was delighted that Ali had regained her freedom.
He, however, said his feelings were tinged with deep sadness because of the horrors the girl had had to go through at such an early stage in her life.
The President said although nothing could be done to reverse the horrors of her past, the Federal Government would do everything possible to ensure that the rest of her life take a completely different course.
He said that nobody in Nigeria should be put through the brutality of forced marriage, adding that every girl has a right to education and their choice of life.
He said, “Amina will get the best care that the Nigerian government can afford. We will ensure that she gets the best medical, emotional and whatever care that she requires to get full recovery and be integrated into the society.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), medical personnel from government and other NGOs examined her for a total of about five hours. Trauma experts from UNICEF also met her.
“The Federal Government will assist the Murtala Mohammed Foundation which has already been providing support for the families of the missing Chibok girls and which runs a truama and counseling faciity in Kano, will also be involved in the ongoing work with Amina in monitoring her progress and any additional support she requires.
“The continuation of Amina’s education so abruptly disrupted will definitely be a propriety of the Federal Government.
“Amina must be able go back to school. Nobody in Nigeria should be put through the brutality of forced marriage, every girl has a right to education and their choice of life.”
Dr Doyin Okupe, former Senior Special Assistant to former President Goodluck Jonathan told the Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday that Jonathan told him that he gave the sum of N400 million to Olisa Metuh, the National Publicity Secretary of Peoples Democratic Party.
The funds, he said was to be used to prosecute a publicity blitz for the party ahead of the 2015 general elections.
Okupe was a defence witness in the ongoing trial of criminal breach of trust, money laundering and corruption by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
According to the former presidential aide, Jonathan had earlier promised to give Metuh the funds after a presentation was made to him on the publicity campaign at Aso Rock Presidential Villa.
Speaking while being cross examined by Onyechi Ikpeazu, the lead defence counsel, Okupe said “Yes, around that time (November 2014) there was very deep concern in the presidency and the government about the perception of Mr President and his administration, negative perception by the Nigerian public.
“This also included some perceived ineffectiveness of the administration and also a wrong perception in some parts of the country about the role of government and its actions or activities concerning the very security situation in the country then.
“Therefore, in government, there was a general feeling that some actions needed to be taken urgently to address these issues, especially because of the coming elections.
“It was in the course of my discussion with Mr President when I also expressed my own personal concerns too that he informed me that Chief Olisah Metuh had some suggestions.
“And that he (Jonathan) had instructed him to bring a proposition on what he considered needed to be done and that when this is done, he would inform me so that we can go through it together.
“Shortly after that, I was invited to a meeting in the State house where Chief Metuh in company of some consultants made presentations to the president.
He added that apart from the President, the Vice President, Senate President, the National Chairman of PDP, Chief Tony Anenih, former Gov Liyel Imoke of Cross River State and Peter Obi of Anambra State were also at the meeting.
Metuh continues his evidence in chief: “The President comes in. After the usual exchange of pleasantries, Mr President gave a short briefing in line with what I said earlier.
“He then asked Olisah and his consultant to make their presentation which they did. After the presentation, there were comments form those who attended the meeting to add or improve in certain areas where they felt was important.
“In closing, the presentation was approved for action and the President said Mr. Metuh will be given part of the money that was in budget for the execution of the project. We all left.
On how he knew if Metuh was indeed given the money he was promised by former President, Metuh said: “Yes, I know from two sources. First was the President himself who told me that he had instructed that Chief Metuh be mobilised. And that was during breakfast with Mr President one morning. He told me that he had instructed that Chief Metuh be mobilised with N400 million.
“The following day, very early in the morning, I got a call from Chief Metuh who told me that he has received N400 million from the President.
He added that consequent upon the receipt of the money, Metuh set up a very large committee of various people, former editors, resource persons in line with media, publicity, image management who he said did quite substantial amount of work.
“Some of the substantial results were security related but others that have to do with image and perception yielded result because we have a feedback mechanism. We call him (Metuh) to say who moved you guys on and why did you have to wait for this long. We know that the outreach programmes were successful.”
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has seized the passport belonging to a former Minister of Aviation, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, The PUNCH has learnt.
The former minister, who served as the Director of Publicity of the Goodluck Jonathan during the 2015 presidential election, was arrested on Monday last week for receiving N840m.
The money, which Fani-Kayode admitted to receiving, was said to have emanated from the account of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The ex-minister had, however, insisted that he did not know that the money emanated from the CBN because he was assured by the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party that the money was sourced from private individuals.
A spokesman for Fani-Kayode, Mr. Jude Ndukwe, confirmed to our correspondent that the ex-minister had submitted his passport to the EFCC.
Ndukwe said the EFCC had given the ex-minister bail conditions but had refused to release him despite meeting the conditions.
He said, “The EFCC gave him two bail conditions. The first condition was that he would hand over his passport while the second condition was for him to provide two sureties. The two sureties must be at least directors in the civil service and must have properties in AMAC (Abuja Municipal Area Council).
“Five days after meeting the conditions, the EFCC has refused to release him.”
In a related development, the EFCC has arrested a former Principal Private Secretary, to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Hassan Tukur.
Tukur, it was learnt, was arrested by operatives of the EFCC in Abuja on Monday.
It was, however, not clear as of press time, why the ex-aide was being detained.
However, Tukur had been on the radar of the EFCC for several months over the alleged $15bn arms scam.
He was said to have been given money to help negotiate a peace deal with Boko Haram during the Jonathan administration.
Meanwhile, the immediate past Governor of Kaduna State, Ramalan Yero, has a guest of the EFCC for the last 48 hours where he is being quizzed for allegedly receiving N700m.
Sources at the EFCC told our correspondent that Yero was being investigated for his alleged role in the $115m shared by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The money, which was handled by Fidelity Bank Plc, was said to have been used in bribing several officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission during the build-up to the 2015 presidential election.
A reliable source at the EFCC told our correspondent that Yero was still being grilled as of 8pm on Tuesday.
The source said, “He was arrested after two officials of the Peoples Democratic Party in Kaduna State implicated him. We were told that he personally handled N700m during the election. However, he said all the money was distributed to party members during the election.
“He is still in our Kano zonal office.”
All attempts to speak with the spokesman for the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, proved abortive.
• Says pipeline saboteurs, killer herdsmen won’t go unpunished
President Muhammadu Buhari said in London yesterday that the names of corrupt Nigerians will be made public in a speech he intends to deliver on May 29.
He also said that such corrupt individuals will be prosecuted.
Besides, all those involved in blowing up oil installations and sabotaging investments in the Niger Delta region will not go unpunished.
He spoke with journalists on the sideline of the Anti-Corruption Summit.
Buhari said that he has already directed the Chief of Naval Staff and other service chiefs to fish out the brains behind the attacks.
He said: “What I know is that I was elected by the whole country and the least I can do is to keep the country together somehow. I assure you we will develop the capacity to do it.
“If you can recall, the militants, I appointed a retired Brigadier General (Boroh). When I give people assignment, I develop terms of reference for them and I allow them to do their work. I understand the problem. I spoke with the Chief of Naval Staff and other service chiefs to work with him and help him to make sure that those who are blowing the installations, sabotaging investments in Nigeria, we will deal with them eventually.”
The President also said the Federal Government is investigating allegations that it has reneged on the amnesty programme.
“They are saying that the agreement on amnesty, including payment and training and employment were not being met. These are their allegations.
“So we put this officer who is from there to revisit the agreement and get them and see which part of the agreement the Federal Government needs to fulfill.
“The fundamental thing is that we have to secure Nigeria before we can manage it efficiently. I assure you that we are going to do that. Try and develop confidence in our ability to do it eventually.”
On the killer herdsmen, Buhari said they are non-Nigerians who came into Nigeria from Libya.
His words:” because of what happened in Libya, when Ghadaffi, during his 43 year-regime, trained some people from the Sahel militarily. When his regime was overthrown, those people were dispatched to their countries. They found themselves in the Boko Haram and others.
“It is a major regional and virtually African problem now. There is one called Al Qaeda, there is Boko Haram and so on. It is a governmental project now to trace them, disarm them, try them and discipline them.”
He said the Fulani herdsmen “culturally do not stay in one place; they move with the season.
“Normally, harvest is complete much earlier in the North. They have to go southwards for greener pasture.
“Initially, there was what they call cattle routes and grazing areas. They were marked. Infrastructures were put in terms of dams and veterinary clinics.
“Later, the big ogas that came, took over these places and turned them to farms. If we have like 500 cattle, if they do not eat for 24 hours or they want water, you can’t stop them.
“But what they used to do then, if anybody goes outside, he would be arrested, taken before a court and he is fined. If he can pay, the money is taken and given to the farmer. If he can’t pay, the cattle is sold and the farmer is paid. So, people are behaving well.
“So, when people came and took away the land for the cattle route and grazing area, you find out that from Kaduna to Bayelsa, Nigerians are fighting cattle rearers now.
“When I was in PTF, we made a comprehensive study of cattle routes and grazing areas throughout Nigeria. So, I am referring the Governors’ Forum to it and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. Let them see what they can do and save the situation.”
He said: “So far, what has come out, what has been recovered in whatever currency from each ministries, departments and individuals, I intend on the 29th to speak on this because all Nigerians are getting from the mass media because of the number of people arrested either by the EFCC, DSS. But we want to make a comprehensive report on the 29th.
On whether the names of those indicted will be published, he said: “Yes, eventually, it has to be done because we want to successfully prosecute them. But you know you cannot go to the courts unless you have documents for prosecution.
“People signed for these monies into their personal accounts, their banks gave statements that the money is there, when it came, how much and so on.”
Also speaking on allegation of selective prosecution, Buhari said: “That is an accusation against the law enforcement agencies. But I assure you that we do not interfere. Try and get those who are now under arrest, you will find out it is across the board.”
On 2016 Budget implementation, he said: “It depends on the efficiency of the technocrats. Yes, we have six months to implement the budget. You know why there was a delay. There is something called padding. I have been in government since 1975. I was governor of what is now six states: Borno, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe, Adamawa, Taraba, that used to be North East. Then I was in Obasanjo’s cabinet, Petroleum for three and a quarter years. I was Head of State for 20 months.
“I hadnever heard about that one padding until this year. And what does it mean? It means that the technocrats just allowed the government to make its noise, to go and make the presentation to the National Assembly. They will remove it and put in their own.
“When we uncovered this, we just had to go back to the basics again. Ministers had to go again and appear before the Minister of Budget and National Planning and make presentations again. This was clearly brought out by the Minister of Health.
“I saw with my own eyes, nobody told me. I was watching NTA and he appeared before a committee that said the minister should come and defend his budget. He looked at what was presented to him as his budget and he said he had nothing to defend, that that was not what he presented.
“Subsequently, we discovered that it was not only the ministry of health. So they allowed us to talk rubbish as government and they do what they like.”
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has detained a former Minister of Finance, Amb. Bashir Yuguda, over his alleged involvement in the $115m (N23bn) bribe which was distributed by a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.
The EFCC said in a statement that the ex-minister who is a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, allegedly diverted N450m out of the money.
The money, which was distributed through Fidelity Bank Plc, was said to have been used in bribing officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission during the 2015 presidential election.
The statement read in part, “The EFCC has detained the former Minister finance, Amb. Bashir Yuguda, over his involvement in 23bn bribery poll. Amb. Yuguda in his statement admitted collecting a total of N450m in his capacity as a senior executive of the PDP chieftain in his state.”
Yuguda had been arrested by the EFCC last year after he allegedly received suspicious payments from a former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki (retd.), who has been embroiled in the scam.
Yuguda allegedly received N1.5bn from the former NSA’s office through an unnamed company, for unstated purpose.
He also alleged received N1.275bn from Stallion Group during the campaign for the last general election.
Another N775m was also allegedly paid to him from the office of the Accountant General of the Federation for unstated purpose.
All the monies were allegedly paid to him between December 2014 and May, 2015.
Peter Clark, a retired detective constable with the UK Metropolitan Police, on May 9, 2016, told a Federal Capital Territory, FCT, High Court, sitting in Gudu, Abuja, that a former governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye, is still wanted in the United Kingdom for money laundering charges.
Dariye, who is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a 23-count charge bordering on money laundering and diversion of funds before Justice Adebukola Banjoko, is alleged to have siphoned the state’s ecological fund to the tune of N1.162 billion.
Clark gave a blow-by-blow account of how £11,560 cash found on Christopher Mekwunye, an aide of Dariye, who is allegedly involved in a credit card fraud, was traced to the former governor, making him a suspect of money laundering.
Led in evidence by prosecuting witness, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), Clark told the court that Mekwunye had under interrogation confessed that the money was given to him to deposit on behalf of Dariye into his Barclays Bank account.
He said: “In 2004, officers of the Met Police involved in investigating a large credit card fraud had, during search of a number of houses, found the cash on Christopher Mekwunye at 127 Chilton House, Portland Street, SW London.
“I asked him about Dariye and he told me that he was a politician and governor of Plateau State in Nigeria. I then left him with the other officers working on the credit card fraud and made several inquiries with the Barclays Bank, where they informed me that Dariye was a customer with the bank with an account that was operated in a suspicious way.”
Clark , who retired on March 9, 2015 after 28 years in service, thereafter, obtained a court order to enable him obtain more information about the said account.
He added: “After I got the court order, I was able to gain access to the accounts operated by Dariye. I received the bank statement, the personal customer profile, which is the information provided to the bank, while the account was operated by Dariye.
“He first operated the account in 1995 and he told the bank that he was employed as a manager for Benue Cement Company, and that he was on a £500,000 yearly salary.
“There were nine bank accounts operated by him. Some of them were dormant, but some were high interest- bearing accounts, which showed a £816,000 balance. Closer examination of the account showed that money was being transferred into the account from a company called Ebenezer Retnan Ventures (ERV) with about £440,000, and the bank sending in the money was All States Trust Bank in Nigeria.
“There were a number of other electronic transfers directly made by Joshua Dariye himself; and from memory, I remember Lion bank. Mr. Dariye also operated a credit card and all the accounts were registered at one address: Flat 28, Regent Plaza Apartments, 8 Greville Road.”
He further told the court that investigations showed that one Joyce Oyebanjo was also paying into the account, issuing cheques from her bank account at National Westminster Bank.
According to him, “I discovered from the account that in October 2003, she received more than £1 million through electronic transfers from Nigerian companies. She was also responsible for paying money into Dean Close School in the UK for three of Dariye’s children.”
Clark further told the court that he thereafter requested for the assistance of the EFCC to help in unravelling evidence linked to ERV.
While giving further testimony, he said: “In July 2004, Joyce Oyebanjo was arrested; and in a prepared statement, she stated that all the monies that were sent to her from Nigeria came from Mr. Dariye and were being sent to her for the upkeep of his children and the maintenance of his property in the UK.
“In September, 2004, I received information that Dariye was at Marriott Hotel, George Street and on the 2nd of September, around 8.20am, I went to Rm 1208 ,which was occupied by Dariye.
“I introduced myself and told him I’d been investigating his bank accounts and had suspicion that the money he had received in the account was stolen. As a result, I arrested and cautioned him on suspicion of money laundering. He made no reply to the caution.”
Clark revealed further that on searching his room, £43,000 cash was found and seized. Various denominations, including Euros, sterling, dollars and Scottish bank notes were found in the room and confiscated. Also a Mont Blanc pen worth £7,000 and Louis Vuitton branded shoes worth £700 a pair, were among properties found in his room.
Oyebanjo, according to Clark, already served a three-and-a-half jail term in the UK for involvement in the money laundering offence.
The photograph of the seized bank notes were presented in court and accepted as exhibits against Dariye.
Enquiry at the hotel counter, according to Clark, revealed that contrary to Dariye’s claim that he only booked one room, he actually booked another, which was occupied by one Chrystabel Bentu.
He said: “I asked him if he had travelled to London on his own, which he informed me that he had. However, I had information from the hotel that he booked two rooms. The other was Rm 1220 occupied by Chyrstabel Bentu, who claimed to be Dariye’s Personal Assistant.”
Clark told the court that when her room was searched, £50,000 cash was found in her safe, including Dariye’s international passport and flight ticket.
Bentu, according to him, was subsequently arrested on suspicion of money laundering.
Dariye, according to Clark, was served with a notice which he signed , warning him not to move any money again as part of the money laundering offences already committed.
The notice, which stated that Dariye must return to the UK by December 14, 2004, was signed, dated and agreed to by Dariye.
The documents were presented in court as exhibits.
Clark, however, told the court that if he had got wind of the revelations of money laundering unearthed before September 2004 by the EFCC, he would not have granted him bail, but would have “charged him with criminal offences”.
He said: “On September 22, 2004, my colleagues searched Flat 28, a property bought by Dariye, and found £11,995 in his pocket, which was seized. There were also three Barclays Bank cheques of £57,000 each.
“Immediately after he failed to answer his bail, I made an application for a warrant of his arrest; that warrant for his arrest was granted and is still valid today; he was circulated as wanted on our computer system and he remains wanted in London as of today.”
Justice Banjoko has adjourned till June 6, 2016 for continuation of trial.
A British newspaper this morning questioned President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption credentials.
The Mail Online said President Buhari who is typecast as the People’s President may be waging a war against corruption but that his critics have described the war as a witch hunt.
The paper said Buhari sends his daughter to a £26,000-a-year English school.
and that in April the opposition PDP party unearthed a ticket stub showing Hanan, 16, had flown first-class from London to Nigeria, despite her father’s ban on officials using premium travel.
The report quoted a Nigerian newspaper alleging Buhari had spent £150,000 on educating his daughter Zahra, a Surrey University student.
The paper also reported Buhari’s failure to give a full account of his worth, and that even his partial admission included more than £1million in the bank, five houses and two plots of land.
The publication comes 72 hours before President Buhari’s scheduled arrival in London for a world anti-corruption summit, to be hosted by UK’s prime minister, David Cameron. In his company, will be the attorney-general, Abubakar Malami and EFCC chairman, Ibrahim Magu.
But to the Mail Online, “The presence of Nigeria’s president at David Cameron’s anti-corruption summit this week may surprise many in his nation – which receives vast amounts of UK aid.
“Self-proclaimed ‘People’s President’ Muhammadu Buhari began a war on corruption after taking power last year, but critics allege it is a political witch-hunt.
“The Government is giving nearly £250million in the coming year to oil-rich Nigeria..
“Supporters say 49 arrests of members of the previous regime show the anti-corruption war is genuine, but opponents say it is politically driven.
“Nigeria has the highest-paid government officials in the world but is one of the largest beneficiaries of UK foreign aid.
“The president of its senate, Bukola Saraki, is due to face trial on corruption charges after it emerged he has a £6million London property in his wife’s name.
“The Nigerian Embassy did not comment”, it said.