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N109.4bn fraud: EFCC never promised not to prosecute Ahmed Idris, official tells court



Mahmoud Tukur, an official of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), told an Abuja court that the commission did not promise not to prosecute Ahmed Idris, former accountant-general of the federation (AGF).

Tukur said this while giving evidence as a witness on Wednesday in a trial-within-trial to verify the willingness of a statements made by Idris.

Idris is standing trial on a 14-count charge alongside Geoffrey Akindele, Mohammed Kudu Usman, and a firm — Gezawa Commodity Market and Exchange Limited — before a high court of the federal capital territory (FCT) in Maitama.

Idris was arrested on May 16, 2022, by the EFCC over alleged diversion of funds and money laundering.

Halilu Yusuf, the presiding judge, had ordered a trial-within-trial in the matter to enable the court to determine whether all the extra-judicial statements made by the former AGF to the EFCC should be admitted in evidence.

Chris Uche, counsel to Idris, alleged that the EFCC had assured the defendant that he would not be subjected to any trial if he gave details that would implicate a former minister of finance and some governors.

Led in evidence by Oluwaleke Atolagbe, prosecution counsel, the witness said Idris’ first statement was voluntarily made on January 22, 2022.

“This statement was at the preliminary stage of the investigation and it was the 1st defendant that approached the commission himself requesting to be heard on January 22, 2022,” he said.

“Although the team was not ready for such, the commission, however, obliged him. We listened to him and told him whatever he said would be documented.

“Two other operatives were with me. He came to our office without a lawyer.

“By my thinking, coming without a lawyer means he was waiving his rights.”

Tukur told the court that Idris was given administrative bail.

He said Idris was arrested in Kano on May 16, 2022, and brought to Abuja because he refused to respond to messages and calls put across to him by the EFCC.

The witness added that Idris came in the company of his security officer, Yusuf Aro, wrote a statement and was detained.

He said on May 17, Haruna Isa, a director of legal services from the AGF’s office, was present and he wrote his statements.

He said the defendant also wrote statements on May 21, 23, 25, 26 and 31, 2022, in the presence of Odudu Ituen, a lawyer from Paul Erokoro’s chambers.

Under cross-examination by defence counsel, the witness insisted that he never promised not to prosecute the defendant.

He said cautionary words were issued to the defendant by an EFCC officer.

After the cross-examination of the witness, Atolagbe, the prosecution counsel, told the court he had two more witnesses to call.

He, however, told the court that the witnesses were not available and prayed for an adjournment.

Yusuf Halilu, presiding judge, then adjourned until May 15 for the witnesses to testify.


JUST IN: CBN reduces banks’ LDR to 50%




The Central Bank of Nigeria has announced a review of the loan-to-deposit ratio (LDR) for banks, from 65 percent to 50 percent to align with the current monetary tightening.

LDR is used to assess a bank’s liquidity by comparing its total loans to its total deposits.

An increase in the loan-to-deposit ratio allows banks to expand their credits to businesses and individuals, however, a decline in LDR reduces their ability to loan customers from depositors’ funds.

The CBN disclosed the increase in a circular on Wednesday titled ‘Re: Regulatory Measures to Improve Lending to the Sector of the Nigerian Economy’, signed by Adetona Adedeji, its acting director of the banking supervision department.

“Following a shift in the Bank’s policy stance towards a more contractionary approach, it is imperative to review the loan-to-deposit ratio (LDR) policy to align with the current monetary tightening by the CBN,” the apex bank said.

“Accordingly, the CBN has decided to reduce the LDR by 15 percentage points to 50%, in a similar proportion to the increase in the CRR rate for banks.

“All DMBs are required to maintain this level and are further advised that average daily figures shall continue to be applied to assess compliance.

“While DMBs are encouraged to maintain strong risk management practices regarding their lending operations, the CBN shall continue to monitor compliance, review market developments, and make alterations in the LDR as it deems appropriate.”

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WhatsApp launches chat filters to allow users find messages faster




WhatsApp, the messaging app, has introduced chat filters to allow users to navigate through messages faster and more efficiently.

The Meta-owned platform announced the new feature in a blog post on Tuesday.

WhatsApp said it launched the new feature so that users can get to their important messages without having to scroll through their full inbox.

The social media service said the chat filters have three different features: “All, Unread, and Groups”.

It added that users can choose between any of the three filters that will appear at the top of their chat list.

“Opening WhatsApp and finding the right conversation should feel quick, seamless, and simple,” the post reads.

“As people increasingly do more on WhatsApp, it’s more important than ever before to be able to get to your messages fast.

“We believe filters will make it easier for people to stay organized and find their most important conversations and help navigate through messages more efficiently.

“We will continue to build more options to help you focus on what matters most.”

In recent times, WhatsApp has been actively rolling out new features to enhance user experiences and keep up with evolving communication trends.

In July last year, the Meta-owned firm unveiled an instant video messaging feature.

On August 8, the social network introduced a screen-sharing feature to enhance the video calling experience on its platform.

WhatsApp also introduced a feature that allows users to operate multiple accounts on a single device.

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NCAA suspends three private jet operators for engaging in commercial flights




The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) says it has suspended the permit of three private jet operators for engaging in commercial flights.

Chris Najomo, acting director general of the NCAA, announced the suspension of the three private operators in a statement read to all airlines on Tuesday.

This is coming a day after Festus Keyamo, minister of aviation and aerospace, said the federal government would arrest and sanction illegal flights and non-certified personnel.

Najomo said the use of private jets for commercial purposes got Keyamo’s attention in November 2023, prompting the minister to issue directives for the cessation of such activities.

“Subsequently, in March 2024, the NCAA had issued a stern warning to holders of the permit for noncommercial flight (PNCF) against engaging the carriage of passengers, cargo or meal for hire reward,” Najomo said.

“The authority had also deployed its official to monitor activities of private jet terminals across airports in Nigeria. As a consequence of this heightened surveillance, no fewer than three private operators have been found to be in violation of the annexure provision of the PNCF and part 9114 of the NCAA regulations.

“In line with our zero tolerance for violation of regulations, the authority has suspended the PNCF of these operators.

“To further sanitise the general aviation sector, I have directed that a reevaluation of all orders of PNCF be carried out on or before the 19th of April 2024 to ascertain compliance with regulatory requirements.”

Najomo also said all PNCF holders will be required to submit relevant documents to the authority within the next 72 hours.

“This riot act is also directed at existing air operators certificate (AOC) holders who utilise aircraft listed on the PNCF for commercial chatter operations,” Najomo said.

“It must be emphasised that only aircraft listed in the operation specifications of the AOC are authorised to be used in the provision of such charter services.

“Any of those AOC holders who wish to use the aircraft for charter operations must apply to the NCAA to delist it from their PNCF and include it into the AOC operations specifications.”

The NCAA also urged travellers not to patronise any airline or charter operator who does not hold a valid AOC issued by the NCAA when they wish to procure chartered operation services.

Najomo also encouraged legitimate players in the aviation industry to report the activities of such “unscrupulous” elements to the authorities promptly for necessary action.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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