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Witness narrates how Sunrise official paid Agunloye N5.2m in $6bn Mambila project fraud

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A witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has narrated how multiple transfers were made in favour of Olu Agunloye, former minister of power and steel, by Jide Sotirin, an employee of Sunrise Power and Transmission Ltd.

The EFCC is prosecuting Agunloye over a $6 billion Mambilla hydropower contract.

The anti-graft agency said it traced some suspicious payments made by Sunrise Power and Transmission Ltd. to Agunloye’s bank accounts.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo also challenged Agunloye to tell Nigerians where he derived the authority to award a $6 billion contract to Sunrise for the Mambilla hydropower project in 2003.

On January 11, Agunloye was arraigned by the EFCC on a seven-count charge bordering on fraudulent award of contract and official corruption.

A statement by Dele Oyewale, spokesperson of the EFCC, said Adebayo Ilori, a compliance officer with Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), gave evidence at the court session on Monday.

Led in evidence by Abba Mohammed, the prosecution counsel, the witness said GTB received a letter from the EFCC sometime in October 2022 requesting some information on the account opening package, statement of account, and certificate of identification of two customers – Agunloye and Sotirin.

“Upon receiving the letter, Wale Agunbiade, head of the unit, went ahead to generate the statement of account from the computer system of the bank,” the witness said.

“Upon receiving the account opening package and statement of account, we compared the information generated because the statement of account was generated from the bank’s application by imputing the customer’s details on the computer system and all the parameters requested, which was then printed out.

“Then the bank compared what was printed and what was on the system to ascertain the accuracy of documents.

“The bank further prepared a covering letter and certificate of identification with the requested documents, which was signed by Wale Agunbiade and then dispatched to the EFCC.”

Testifying further, the witness stated that Sotirin was the signatory to the account from which he transferred N5,221,000 to Agunloye, allegedly concerning the Mambila Power Project contract award.

Oyewale also said the witness established that Sotirin, on August 10, 2019, transferred N3,600,000 from his account to Agunloye.

The EFCC spokesperson added that on October 22, 2019, Sotirin transferred N500,000 to Agunloye and wired N1,121,000 to the same account on November 13, 2019.

“On exhibit EFCC (1b), the name of the account holder is Agunloye Olu, and it is a naira account. On 10 August 2019, there was a transfer credit of N3,600,000 from Sotirin Jide Abiodun in favour of Agunloye Olu,” the witness was quoted as saying.

“Also, on 22 October 2019, there was a credit transfer of N500,000 from Sotirin Jide Abiodun to Olu Agunloye, and on 13 Nov 2019, there was a credit transfer of N1,121,000 from Jide Sotirin Abiodun to Agunloye Olu.”

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Court grants ex-minister Mamman ₦10 billion bail in money laundering trial

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A Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday, admitted former Minister of Power, Saleh Mamman, to a ₦10 billion bail with two sureties.

Justice James Omotosho, in a ruling on Mamman’s bail application moved by his counsel, Femi Ate, SAN, held that alternatively, the former minister shall enter into a bond or agreement of ₦10 billion with a bank.

The judge held that the sureties must have landed property within the jurisdiction of the court. Justice Omotosho also held that the sureties’ property, which must have title registers, must be worth ₦750 million valuation.

Moreover, the judge said that the sureties must present an affidavit of means and three years of tax evidence which would be verified by the court registrar. He ordered that sureties must produce a passport photograph each while Mamman must submit his international passport to the court registry.

Justice Omotosho, who ordered Mamman to remain in Kuje Correctional Centre pending the perfection of his bail, adjourned the matter until September 25 for trial.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Justice Omotosho had, on Thursday, ordered the remand of ex-minister in the correctional centre pending the hearing of his bail application.

The judge gave the order after Mamman pleaded not guilty to a 12-count amended charge bordering on money laundering offences. Upon hearing the bail application on Friday, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)’s lawyer, A.O. Mohammed, did not oppose Mamman’s bail plea.

Delivering the ruling, the judge said granting bail is a constitutional right of the defendant which must be exercised judicially and judiciously. He said the defendant is innocent until proven guilty by law.

NAN reports that the EFCC had filed a 12-count money laundering charge against the Mamman.

He was alleged to have committed money laundering offences to the tune of ₦33 billion. The former minister served under former President Buhari from 2019 to 2021.

On May 10, 2021, he was arrested and detained at the headquarters of the anti-graft agency in Abuja. Buhari had September 1, 2021, sacked Mamman and the then Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Sabo Nanono, in what was called a cabinet restructuring.

Mamman was accused of conspiring with staff of the ministry in charge of the accounts of the Zungeru and Mambilla Hydro Electric Power projects to divert billions of naira.

The investigations uncovered property in Nigeria and overseas allegedly linked to the suspects, while millions of naira and dollars had reportedly been recovered.

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Lagos state government announces 10-day traffic diversion for Oniru Road construction

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The Lagos State Government has announced a traffic diversion at the Akiogun/Market Road Junction towards Admiralty Circle from Monday, July 15th to Thursday, July 25th, 2024, due to construction on Oniru Road.

The Lagos State Ministry of Transportation shared this update on Friday via their official X (formerly Twitter) account.

They stated that the diversion is necessary for rehabilitation works on the asphalt pavement by the State Ministry of Works and Infrastructure.

“In light of the ongoing construction of Oniru Road to Admiralty Circle, the Lagos State Government has announced that traffic will be diverted at Akiogun/Market Road Junction inward Admiralty Circle from Monday, 15th July to Thursday, 25th July, 2024,” the statement read in part.

The statement also noted that the Commissioner for Transportation, Mr. Oluwaseun Osiyemi, assured the public that State Traffic Management Personnel will be on site to manage traffic flow and minimize inconvenience.

He mentioned that the diversion plan is weather-dependent, and prolonged rainfall could extend the duration of the traffic diversion.

Alternative routes for Oniru Road traffic diversion

In light of the traffic diversion for asphalt pavement rehabilitation on Oniru Road, the Lagos State Ministry of Transportation recommends that motorists use the following alternative routes:

  • Scene 1: Motorists traveling to Akiogun/Market Road from Lekki First Junction along the Lekki/Epe Expressway are advised to take Maruwa Junction. From there, they should proceed to Remi Olowude Street and then connect to T.F Kuboye Street, which will lead them to Akiogun/Market Street, allowing them to continue their journeys smoothly.
  • Scene 2: Motorists traveling to the Lekki-Epe Expressway from Akiogun/Market Road should utilize T.F Kuboye Street. They can then link up with Remi Olowude Street near the Pinnacle Station, which will connect them to the Lekki/Epe Corridor, enabling them to reach their intended destinations efficiently.
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Labour insists on N250,000 minimum wage, to meet Tinubu again in seven days

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Organised labour will meet President Bola Tinubu again in seven days to continue discussions on the minimum wage for workers.

Speaking with State House correspondents in Abuja on Thursday, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha, minister of state for labour, expressed confidence that the minimum wage issue would soon be resolved.

The minister spoke shortly after President Bola Tinubu met with the leaders of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC).

“It is a fruitful meeting, father and children. I think we are hopeful that very soon everything will be resolved,” she said.

“Of course, when father and children talk, you know what it is. That’s just exactly what has happened. It took us almost about an hour. I believe that it’s all for good.”

On his part, Joe Ajaero, NLC president, said the meeting was not a negotiation but a discussion with the president.

“In a real sense, it wasn’t a negotiation but a discussion, and we have had that discussion,” Ajaero said.

“We agreed to look at the real terms probably and reconvene in the next one week.

“So that’s where we are. We didn’t go down there to talk naira and kobo. At least there were some basic issues that we agreed on.

“We didn’t go into naira and kobo discussions. Now the status quo in terms of the amount N250,000 and N62,000 remains until we finish this conversation.”

Festus Osifo, TUC president, said the meeting looked at the issues “bothering and biting Nigerians today”.

On June 3, the NLC and TUC embarked on a nationwide indefinite strike over the failure of the federal government to agree to their demand for the minimum wage.

The labour bodies proposed N494,000 as the new minimum wage, citing inflation and the prevailing economic hardship in the country while rejecting the federal government’s N60,000 offer.

On June 7, the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) said a N60,000 minimum wage would prove unsustainable.

At the last meeting of the tripartite committee set up to negotiate the minimum wage, labour rejected the N62,000 proposed by the government and lowered its demand to N250,000.

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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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