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Fresh trouble for Senate President, Bukola Saraki as witness exposes more atrocities in court

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Bukola-Saraki

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The first prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, Mr. Michael Wetkas, told the Code of Conduct Tribunal on Tuesday that  Saraki bought a property worth N375m in London in 2010 which he did not declare.

Saraki is being prosecuted on 16 counts, including false and anticipatory asset declaration which he allegedly made when he was the governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2007.

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Wetkas said under cross-examination by defence counsel, Mr. Paul Usoro (SAN),  that the Senate President neither declared the London property nor the liability of the loan in his asset declaration form submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau at the end of his second term as governor in 2011.

Usoro disputed Count 11 of the charges, in which Saraki was accused of failing to declare his liability of N375m loan and the London property.

Usoro said the Senate President was not bound to declare the N375m as his liability because as of the time he made his end of tenure asset declaration as governor on June 3, 2011 his debit balance was about N36m.

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But Wetkas said while it was true that that the debit balance on the account was N36m as of May 31, 2011, Saraki failed to declare the property he allegedly acquired in London with the loan.

The witness said, “There are two issues. The issue of the loan and the issue of property he used the loan to buy in London.

“Our position is that we are aware that the outstanding balance was not  N375m but N36,042,202.04 as at that date.

“But if that loan was taken for something else apart from property, we would not have made an issue out of it. But it was taken to buy a property. Our position is that, that property should have been declared in this asset declaration form of 2011. And if it was declared in the asset declaration form, the source of how the property was acquired would have been declared that the money was sourced through loan.”

While fielding questions on the alleged anticipatory asset declaration by Saraki, the witness maintained that 5A and B McDonald Road , Ikoyi, Lagos, on assuming office as the Kwara State governor in 2003 was the same as 15 McDonald Road Ikoyi, Lagos.

He said the Presidential Implementation Committee on the Sale of Federal Government’s Properties confirmed that it sold 15 McDonald Road, Ikoyi, to Saraki through the Senate President’s company, Tiny-Tee Limited, in 2006.

But, the witness said  Saraki claimed in his asset declaration form submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau on assumption of office in 2003 that he acquired 15A and B McDonald Ikoyi, Lagos, through Carlisle Properties Limited in 2006.

He added, “I have always said it in my evidence about 15 McDonald Road, Ikoyi. We maintain our position that that property was one and the same property that the implementation committee wrote to us about.

“The implementation committee did not tell us that there existed15 A and B separately.

“The Managing Director of Carlisle Property, Mr. Izuagbe, also talked about 15 McDonald as the property belonging to the defendant (Saraki) and the defendant in the asset declaration which he made in 2011 and 2015, delcared the property as 15 McDonald Road, Ikoyi; he no longer said 15A and B.

“That is why we maintained the same position that it is the same property.  The nomenclature is just at convenience of the defendant.”

The witness confirmed that the Certificate of Occupancy for the property at 15 McDonald Road, Ikoyi, was issued in the name of Tiny Tee Limited and not in Saraki’s name.

On why he concluded that the property belonged to Saraki, Wetkas said that the asset at 15 McDonald Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, was paid for by Saraki through the bank accounts of two other companies which Saraki had declared its interest in.

He also said the Managing Director of two of Saraki’s companies; Carlisle Properties and Investment Limited and Sky View Properties, Mr. Sule Izuagbe, confirmed that the payment for the property was made on the instruction given by the Senate President.

But Saraki’s lawyer, Usoro, said the defendant being an ordinary shareholder in the companies, he could not have been said to be the owner of the assets acquired by the firms.

Usoro said Carlisle and Skyview were both limited liability companies and thus had separate personalities different from that of Saraki.

In response, the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), said the issue of ownership of the property was clear as Saraki himself had declared the property as his in his asset declaration form.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, revealed that there were attempts to influence the tribunal to rule in a particular way during the trial of a former Governor of Lagos State, and the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu.

Umar said at the opening of the trial of Saraki on charges of false and anticipatory asset declaration, among others, on Tuesday, that despite the pressure mounted on the panel members during Tinubu’s trial, the tribunal ruled on what was put before it.

The CCT chairman said this while allaying the fears of Saraki and his lawyers that the tribunal was being controlled by external influence.

He assured the defence team of the determination of the tribunal to do justice in the case as he and his co-panel member would give account to God.

He said, “I want to say that during Bola Tinubu’s case we were under serious influence. But you saw what happened. We did what we needed to do and discharged based on what was before us.

“So we must be fair to ourselves not to delay this trial.”

 

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Fidelity Bank Commends Air Peace’s Performance

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Fidelity Bank Commends Air Peace’s Performance

 

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Fidelity Bank Commends Air Peace’s Performance

. Celebrates Airline For The Commencement of the Lagos-London Route

LAGOS – Fidelity Bank Plc has commended Air Peace’s performance since it commenced flight operations about 10 years ago.

 

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Fidelity Bank Commends Air Peace’s Performance

Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, the Managing Director, Fidelity Bank Plc gave the commendation over the weekend in Lagos during a special event organised for the airline by the bank to celebrate Air Peace for the milestone of commencement of direct flights from Lagos to London.

According to Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, who doubled as the host at the event, the airline has upheld the principles of financial discipline and good corporate governance since inception, while it has also been very loyal to the bank.

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She expressed delight that the bank had the airline as one of its major clients since inception, stressing that the Bank was celebrating the airline’s milestone of launching direct flight service to London and other developments it would attain in the future.

The event, which held at the Civic Center, Victoria Island, Lagos, had in attendance several bank Managing Directors, stakeholders in the aviation sector, media personalities and well-wishers of both brands.

Speaking at the event, an elated Dr. Allen Onyema, the Chairman, Air Peace, observed that it was not rosy for the airline to attain its status and expressed gratitude to the flying public, the various aviation stakeholders, the media and the government for the continued support since it launched in 2014.

He specifically acknowledged the pivotal role played by Engr. Ben Adeyileka, the former Acting Director-General, Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), in helping the airline secure its Airline Operator Certificate (AOC).

He further commended Fidelity Bank for the consistent support and stressed that the bank had contributed to the success story of the airline.

“I call it our journey with Fidelity Bank. I did not envisage this day would come when an indigenous institution would be celebrating another indigenous institution. Fidelity supports real business. They keep removing people from the streets of poverty. Let other banks emulate Fidelity,” he said.

He reiterated that Air Peace was set up primarily to create employment, not for profitmaking, stressing that the motivation behind the business was to empower Nigerians economically.

“Air Peace was not borne out of the intent to profiteer, but to create jobs. Air Peace was not established because I wanted more money but because of the conviction that running an airline would create massive job opportunities. That was why we went into aviation”, he remarked.

He restated the airline’s belief in the Nigerian project, maintaining that supporting the airline meant supporting the growth of the Nigerian economy.

Onyema further craved for the support of all Nigerians on the Lagos-London route, which it opened on March 30, 2024.

He explained that the airline needed to sustain the route, stressing that this could only be done through support from Nigerians.

He said: “For every penny you pay to Air Peace, you pay to sustain the jobs of thousands of Nigerians and support economic growth.

“Air Peace flies you from any of our domestic routes to London. So, you can fly from Yola to London via Lagos. From the local airport, you are taken to the international airport free of charge with a seamless luggage transfer.”

He pledged that the airline would continue to fully adhere to the standard of safety and lauded the management and staff of Air Peace for their efforts in realising the London dream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dangote Group is the elixir of Gateway int’l Trade Fair – OGUNCCIMA

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Dangote: NANS Write President Tinubu Over mismanagement Of CTIN Funds (Video)

Dangote Group is the elixir of Gateway int’l Trade Fair – OGUNCCIMA

…Subsidiaries hit Ogun trade fair

 

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Ogun State Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (OGUNCCIMA) has described the Dangote Group as the driving force of the Gateway International Trade Fair.

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This is just as companies under the leading African Indigenous Conglomerate, Dangote Industries Limited, hit the trade fair with their various products as part of strategies to increase market share and deepen customers’ affection.

 

 

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The President of the chamber, Engr. Mike Akingbade, stated this when Ogun state governor, Dapo Abiodun officially opened the 13th edition of the Trade Fair at the M.K.O Abiola Trade Fair Complex, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta

Akingbade lauded the support of Dangote Group in sustaining the Trade Fair, which he noted has led to the prosperity of the state and economic freedom for the people.

“A special commendation must be given to Dangote Industries Limited which has remained the major sponsor of the Gateway International Trade Fair for many years. The committed support of the Dangote Group is the elixir with which the trade fair is activated and OGUNCCINA is eternally grateful for the wonderful gesture of the company,” he said.

He said the 13th Gateway International Trade Fair with the theme: “Achieving Economic Prosperity through Business Connection, Trade and Investment, “is aimed among others, to allow businesses to expand their reach, access new markets, and diversify their customer base. He emphasized that forging robust business connections, participating in trade activities, and making strategic investments will unlock new markets, stimulate economic growth, and enhance overall prosperity.

The Regional Sales Director, Dangote Cement PLC, Lagos/Ogun, Mr Tunde Mabogunje in his goodwill address, assured Ogun state government and OGUNCIMMA of the continuous support of the company, noting that the Group is dedicated to enhancing the prosperity of Nigeria by creating opportunities for Nigerians and businesses in the country.

Mabogunje said visitors to the Dangote Group’s pavilion at the fair will have the opportunity of buying products of these companies at reasonably reduced prices as the Dangote businesses will be selling at discounted prices.

He also hinted that the Dangote Refinery will be part of the next edition of the Trade Fair.

“We want to appreciate Ogun state for bringing us as a partner. We want to assure you that we will be here next year bigger. By next year, our refinery will be part of the Trade Fair,” he said.

Governor Dapo Abiodun who visited the Dangote pavilion immediately after performing the ribbon-cutting ceremony, commended the company and others for supporting the Trade Fair which he noted is aimed at stimulating economic growth.

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Nigeria Launches New Fiscal Incentives to Revitalise Oil & Gas Sector, Aiming to Attract $10 Billion Investment

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Nigeria Launches New Fiscal Incentives to Revitalise Oil & Gas Sector, Aiming to Attract $10 Billion Investment

Nigeria Launches New Fiscal Incentives to Revitalise Oil & Gas Sector, Aiming to Attract $10 Billion Investment

 

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… as FG endorses consolidated guidelines

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sahara Weekly Reports That Today, in a move to further revitalise the oil and gas industry’s contribution to the Nigerian Economy, Wale Edun, OFR, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, presided over a signing ceremony at the Federal Ministry of Finance headquarters in Abuja endorsing the Consolidated Guidelines for the implementation of Fiscal Incentives for the Oil & Gas Sector – a cornerstone of the Presidential Directive aimed at enhancing the Nigerian oil & gas sector’s global competitiveness whilst stimulating economic growth.

 

 

 

 

Nigeria Launches New Fiscal Incentives to Revitalise Oil & Gas Sector, Aiming to Attract $10 Billion Investment

 

 

 

 

 

As disclosed during the signing, the Presidential Directives were developed and coordinated by the Special Adviser to the President on Energy, Mrs. Olu Verheijen to ensure a competitive framework for the Nigerian oil & gas industry. These Consolidated guidelines for the fiscal incentives are based on extensive collaboration across Finance and Petroleum Ministries and involved several key regulatory bodies including the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission (NUPRC), and the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority (NMDPRA).

 

According to Mrs. Verheijen, these new measures have been designed to deliver a competitive Internal Rate of Return (IRR) for Oil & Gas Projects and attract over $10 billion in new investments within the next 12-18 months. They also underscore Nigeria’s commitment to reaching its long term oil production target of 4 million barrels per day whilst enhancing the reliability of gas supply for to boost export earnings and fuel Nigeria’s industrialization.

 

Mrs. Verheijen disclosed that among the guidelines signed were the NUPRC Guideline on Hydrocarbon Liquids Content in a Non-Associated Gas (NAG) Field, essential for accurately categorising and quantifying the hydrocarbon liquid content in these fields. Additional guidelines focused on the applicability of tax credits and allowances for Non-Associated Gas Greenfield Development and the Midstream Capital and Gas Utilization Allowance, providing taxpayers with clarity on the computation of these benefits.

 

HM Edun, in his remarks, thanked President Bola Ahmed Tinubu for signing the directive in February 2024 to engender growth in the Nigerian oil and gas sector, which had stagnated for over the last decade. He also emphasised the potential of the guidelines, saying, “The idea is to create an atmosphere conducive to international competitiveness such that investment comes in. And in this case, we know it’s foreign direct investment”.

 

The signing ceremony was attended by various stakeholders, including NNPC Limited, Oil Producers Trade Section (OPTS) and the Independent Petroleum Producers Group (IPPG), further highlighting Nigeria’s unified approach toward reinvigorating its oil and gas sector.

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