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N650m Fraud: Former FCT minister not tortured, says EFCC

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Jumoke Akinjide
Jumoke Akinjide

A prosecution witness and also operative of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Usman Zakari, in the ongoing trial of former Federal Capital Territory minister, Ms Jumoke Akinjide, has told the Federal High Court, Lagos that none of the defendants were tortured or induced to make statement.

He stated this while testifying in a trial within trial to determine if statements made by Akinjide and her co-accused were voluntary.

The other defendants were a former Senator representing Oyo Central Senatorial District, Ayo Adeseun, and a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader in Oyo State, Chief Olarenwaju Otiti.

They all claimed that EFCC coerced, induced and tortured them to make their statements on the alleged offence proffered against them at the commission’s office.

Akinjide’s lawyer, Mr. Olusegun Williams opposed moves by EFCC’s counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo to tender the statements in evidence on the basis that they were obtained under duress.

EFCC accused the defendants of conspiring to directly take possession of N650million, which they reasonably ought to have known was part of proceeds of an unlawful act, and without going through a financial institution.

Justice Muslim Hassan had ordered a trial within trial to determine if the statements were made voluntarily.

Led in evidence by prosecuting counsel, Nnaemeka Omenwa, who stood in for Oyedepo Zakari, who heads the commission’s Special Task Force 4, said the defendants were not forced to make a statement.

He said when Adeseun reported at the commission on May 11, 2016, he agreed to make a statement only in his lawyer’s presence.

“We had to wait for his lawyer to come before he made statements. The following day, the second defendant made a statement voluntarily in the presence of his lawyer,” he said.

The witness said Adeseun was granted bail but could not fulfil the conditions, following which EFCC obtained a remand order from a Magisrate Court.

“At the expiration of the remand warrant, he was released to his nephew, a pharmacist who bore the same surname,” Zakari said.

Zakari said Otiti reported at EFCC on December 1, 2016, during which she was interviewed and cautioned.

“After the interview, she volunteered her statement in the presence of her friend. She was granted bail on self-cognisance. She asked to be allowed to go home so she could come up with a list of people she disbursed part of the N650million to. She was not detained.

“In her next reporting date, she came with a list of beneficiaries to whom she disbursed over N90million.

“The second and third defendants’ statements were devoid of any promise, threat or duress.

“The statements were made in the Conference room. It’s a big hall, not a torture chamber. We don’t torture, we don’t threaten. We investigate economic and financial crimes, not violent crimes,” he said.

Zakari said Adeseun also submitted a list of people he shared money to out of the money he received from Akinjide.

“As far as I can say, the second and third defendants volunteered their statements willingly,” the witness said.

The commission said the defendants allegedly received the money from former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, named in the charge as being at large, ahead of the 2015 general elections.

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Satellite Times condemn the assassination of investigative journalist

-calls on journalists in Nigeria to wear black

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Ahmed Hussein-Suale, the Tiger Eye the investigative journalist who was killed by gunmen [Photo credit: Quartz Africa]
Ahmed Hussein-Suale, the Tiger Eye investigative journalist who was killed by gunmen [Photo credit: Quartz Africa]

Nigeria’s frontline investigative newspaper, Satellite Times, has condemned in strong terms the assassination in Ghana of investigative journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale.

Ahmed was killed in a hail of bullets from gunmen on motorbike who aimed at his chest and neck, eventually speeding off without taking any valuables from his car which they had trailed till the attack. The slain journalist was one of the reporters at Tiger Eye, an investigative reporting project founded by ace Ghanaian journalist, Anas Aremeyaw Anas.

Reacting to the murder, Satellite Times’ publisher and multiple award-winning investigative journalist, Emmanuel Mayah, said in a statement that the shooting dead of Ahmed Hussein-Suale is one gruesome attack too many on African journalists doing the difficult work of ridding the continent of corruption, bad governance and political capture.

In the press statement Mayah said:

“I am reeling in shock as I write this. What happened in Ghana is too close to home that it is producing a petrifying aftershock here in Nigeria. Over the years I have received with angst news of killings of journalists across the world but none was as jolting as the slaying of Ahmed Hussein-Suale; maybe because I knew him in person.

“We at Satellite Times newsroom, join our colleagues in the global investigative journalism community in condemning the cowardly killing of this young journalist in Ghana. To Anas: we stand by you and share in your grief in this dark moment. To Ahmed’s family: the pain never goes away. To the government of Ghana we say: Journalists are not public enemy, rather they are protectors of the public interest; the defenders of the social contract between the citizens and the state.

We ask the government of Ghana and indeed those of the other member states of the African Union to recall Article 13 of the United Nations Convention against corruption, which provides that each state party shall take measures to protect “the freedom to seek, receive, publish and disseminate information concerning corruption”. In the spirit of this statute, we call on the government of Ghana to fish out and bring to justice the killers of Ahmed; be they in government or friends of the government.

“Death is everyone’s destiny but death for the investigative journalist is a choice. Journalists fought for the independence of nations of Africa. They fought against colonialism, apartheid, military dictatorship and now even in a democracy, they are fighting against bad governance, human rights violations and official brigandage, the last obstacles to the total emancipation of the African continent.

“We ask the African community that we serve to see investigative journalists as freedom fighters in the mould of Steve Biko, Martin Luther King, Patrice Mulumba, Thomas Sankara, Che Guevera, Fela Anikulapo-Kuti, Ken Saro-Wiwa; and of course, Dele Giwa, Norbert Zongo and Anna Politkovskaya.

“Journalists in Satellite Times newsroom will begin today (Friday) to wear black for seven days as we mourn our departed colleague in Ghana.”

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Human Rights

Woman slashes 11-year-old housemaid with kitchen knife

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Woman slashes 11-year-old housemaid with kitchen knife

A young girl only identified as Victoria is currently traumatized and in agonizing pain after she was severely inflicted with knife-injuries by her madam (identified as mummy Pemisire), for allegedly stealing milk.

The attention of this reporter was drawn to this case when a Twitter user, Adex Adebukola Crowngold (@AdexAdebukola) shared a gruesome photo of the child with the caption;

“My attention has just been called to this. The madam did this to her housemaid because she was accused of stealing milk.

“She’s in the hospital and the woman arrested. But justice must prevail. Location is at Ibadan.”

Eyewitness account

Speaking to SATELLITE TIMES newspaper, an eyewitness who begged to remain unnamed, gave an account as it happened on Friday, January 11, in Sanyo area, Ibadan.

“The girl ran out of their apartment with blood stains all over her and madam was still chasing her. The little girl said she tore her body with a knife.”

The 11-year-old victim was eventually rescued by concerned neighbours in Sanyo area, and taken to a nurse for first aid treatment before the Police came to get her the next morning.

When asked about the girl’s current condition and who was responsible for her hospital bill, the eyewitness said “I should think she is fine. I don’t know who is handling her bills. The Police took her to Montana hospital, Challenge area in Ibadan.”

Her madam, Pemisire, was however arrested same night of the incident by the Police and taken to a station in Sanyo, Ibadan.

“The madam should still be in the Police custody. That is if they haven’t released her yet, you know Nigerian Police. She hasn’t returned home since that night,” the witness added.

Efforts to reach the Oyo State Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), Ajisebutu Adekunle via telephone were initially unsuccessful but he later responded with a text saying “the case is currently under investigation. The CP, Abiodun Odude, has directed that the case should be transferred to the state CIID Iyaganku immediately for discreet investigation and prosecution.”

 

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EXCLUSIVE: Inspector General dismisses 160 Policemen for fleeing Boko Haram posting

-Dismissal letter signed on Boxing Day

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A few hours after the force PRO, Jimoh Moshood, vigorously denied that no police officer had absconded from the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), following controversial posting of scores of Mobile Policemen to Boko Haram territories, the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, signed a letter ordering the dismissal of over 160 Policemen for going AWOL (Absent Without Official Leave).

The dismissal letter with reference number CH: 6350/DOPS/PMF/FHQ/ABJ/VOL4/25 and exclusively obtained by SATELLITE TIMES revealed that the officers were dismissed on orders of the Police IG. According to the letter, all affected personnel are to be ejected from the Barracks if occupying any and also to ensure stoppage of salaries.

The over 160 officers were amongst the 2000 policemen recently drafted by the Police IG to help support the Nigerian Army in the fight against insurgency in Nigeria’s war-torn North-east region.

The Nigerian Army on Wednesday however contradicted the Nigerian Police Force who earlier denied that no officer absconded as earlier reported.

Though the Nigerian Army claimed that the fleeing officers were amongst ‘the unruly’ ones who the Special Forces School at Buni-Yudi, some of them were however caught in Damaturu, the Yobe State capital.

Coordinator Nigeria Police Force for Operation Lafiya-Dole (NPFOLD), A. S. Ishaq, in an interview with PRNigeria said “there was nothing like policemen absconding, but just a case of some recalcitrant personnel leaving their training base for a reason which was not cogent”.

“What happened was that some of the police officers insisted on going for the Christmas holiday. But in line with standard military operations, there was no way officers undergoing special training on a combat-operation, could leave their base when the training exercise has not rounded up.

“So, we refused to grant them permission. However, the unruly ones among them left our Special Forces School at Buni-Yudi, venue of the training. But thank God, the unruly personnel were tracked at Damaturu, the state’s capital. Right now, some of them have been brought back to the School.”

A brother to one of the fleeing mobile policemen told Satellite Times what his brother told him from hiding: When it is time for special posting that will be beneficial they select their own people but when it comes to danger they post people from a different part of the country.”
The runaway police officer added: “All you need to do is to look at the list and you will see that over 90 percent of us are Christians and also from the south.”

With varying discrepancies from both the Nigerian Army and the Nigerian Police Force, inside sources told SATELLITE TIMES that the officers fled after they were deployed to Boko Haram territories.

Below is the dismissal letter obtained by this newspaper.

 

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