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Whistle-Blowers Guide To The $43.6 million EFCC Drama (Updated May 6th, 2017)

All the action, as it happens

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Nairametrics| A whistle blower is defined as someone who raises concerns about a wrongdoing they know about in their workplace, another organization or somewhere else. Whistle blowing has been in practice since the 7th century when the Qui Tam Act in England provided for private citizens to expose any wrongdoing, in exchange for a reward.

The Buhari administration, upon inception, proclaimed that it would spare no effort in ensuring that corruption is eliminated and past offenders be brought to book. In a bid to support its anti-corruption drive, the Federal Government (FG) adopted the whistle blowing policy in December 2016, which allowed for protected disclosure of known corrupt acts. The policy, which explains how whistleblowing will work in the country, also promises a reward of between 2.5% and 5% of the total loot.

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Since the announcement, the rate of discoveries of stashed monies has spiked, and it has now become almost a daily occurrence. In addition, the sums keep getting larger and larger. The latest discovery is that of about $43.6 million or N13 billion found in Flat 7B, No. 13 Osborne road, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), whose Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, has been denied confirmation as Chairman twice by the Nigerian Senate.

The sum was found in 3 different currencies- $38 million, N23 million, and £27,000 on April 11th 2017. Since then, a lot of drama has taken place, with accusations and counter-accusations flying all over.

As usual, Nairametrics brings you all the key actions in one spot. Follow this post for updates as they happen.

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April 11, 2017

  • EFCC raids Flat 7B, No. 13 Osborne road, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos during a sting operation and discover $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218,000.

April 12 2017

  • Initial rumors name Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, an ex-NNPC Managing Director, who was sacked the previous day over another 130 million liters missing petrol case, as the owner of the confiscated loot.
  • Sahara Reporters reveal that former Chairman of National People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu owns the building where the money was found.
  • Muazu denies, despite Etco Nigeria Limited, a construction firm partly owned by an Israeli company, Electral Limited, naming him as owner of the building on their website. “Mr Muazu does not own any house in Ikoyi except his house at Walter Carrington street, Victoria Island Lagos,” Akin Oyegoke, Media and ICT Personal Assistant to Mr. Mu’azu said.
  • Rumors also start to circulate that ex-Rivers State Governor and current Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, owns the flat and the money found in it. Lere Olayinka, an aide to Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State went on social media to write, ”Cover up game has started! Rotimi Amaechi owns the house. Mo Abudu lives in Flat 7A, money found in Flat 7B. I still dey come.” Vanguard published.
  • Former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Mohammed Adoke SAN issued a statement accusing the EFCC of raiding his home without a warrant. People initially think he is referring to the Ikoyi apartment. However, in his statement, he claimed the EFCC found nothing in his home after the search, thereby quenching possible links to the Osborne building apartment.
  • Rumors also begin to circulate that the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) owns the money. NIA does not speak.

April 13, 2017

  • Through a statement from her lawyer, Nnmadi-Ogbue denies ownership of the money. “By this Press Release, we inform the public (especially the News Media) that the said sums of money and/or the apartment where the sums of money were found do not belong to [Esther Nnmadi-Ogbue].” Daily Trust reported. She owns another flat in the said building.
  • ThisDay then reports that Justice Muslim Sule Hassan of a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the temporary forfeiture to the Federal Government. He also granted the EFCC’s prayer to advertise or publish the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper.
  • Muazu finally admits to Sahara Reporters that he actually owns 16, Osborne Road, Ikoyi. According to Sahara Reporters, Muazu said he built and let out the apartments, but some were still vacant. He denies ownership of the money.
  • ThisDay reports that NIA security operatives had earlier informed Magu that the money found was in their custody and kept there with the permission of required authorities. But instead of admitting his blunder, Magu went on to “make a great show of the discovery of another cash haul.”
  • Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, on his Twitter handle, alleges that Amaechi owns the money. Vanguard shows snapshots of Fani-Kayode’s Twitter post.He went further to claim that the statement by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) that the said money belongs to them is fake.
  • Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, in a press conference with journalists at night, says Rivers State owns the money. He claimed that Amaechi laundered the money, which was part of a $319 million payment by Sahara Energy for the sale of gas turbines when Ameachi was the State Governor. “The money in question belongs to the former Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. We want to confirm that the houses in Ikoyi also belong to Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. If you recollect in 2015, we said that gas turbines built by Former Governor Peter Odili were sold to Sahara Energy, business partners of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi at $319million.” Daily Trust reports.
  • Governor Wike then issues a 7-day ultimatum to the FG to return the money to Rivers State otherwise face legal action.

April 15, 2017

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  • Mo Abudu, comes out to deny living in the flat or owning the money. Her lawyers claim she does not own any flat in Lagos State. Through her lawyers, she also denied receiving the apartment as a gift from Amaechi. The statement goes on to threaten legal action against anyone falsely accusing her.
  • Amaechi dares Wike to go to court if he has any shred of evidence linking the found money to the proceeds from the gas turbine sale.

April 16, 2017

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  • Vanguard reports that the NIA has begun moves to officially reclaim the money. According to the report, both President Muhammadu Buhari and Ibrahim Magu know about the money, with the latter having a one-hour conversation with the Director-General of NIA, during which Magu was asked to suspend the invasion, but which he chose to ignore.
  • Wike insists that the money should be returned to Rivers State government, asking Christians to pray for the return. He however refutes claims that he would wage war with the FG if the money is not returned

April 17,2017

  • Amaechi gives 7-day ultimatum to Olayinka and Fani-Kayode for them to retract their posts, publish apologies in at least 5 dailies and pay him N500 million and N750 million respectively.
  • Fani-Kayode replies saying he ‘is not losing any sleep over Amaechi’s threat’
  • According to Daily Post, the EFCC has invited a former governor and several other owners and tenants of apartments in the building in relation to how the money was moved in.
  • The CBN denies knowing who owns the money. Daily Post says Okarafor, spokesman of the apex bank, claimed that CBN issues serial currencies to banks, who were then free to give such currencies to their clients.

April 24, 2017

  • The suspended Ayodele Oke appears before Osinbajo’s committee to answer questions regarding the allegations along with other finance officials and Oke’s aides, Sun News reports

April 29, 2017

  • CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, also appears before the committee to answer questions regarding how such huge sums were released and why the CBN earlier denied releasing the funds to the NIA.

May 5, 2017

  • The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, produces evidence to show that wife of suspended Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Folashade Okebought the flat in Ikoyi through her company, Choba Ventures, from Fine & Country, a real estate firm.
  • EFCC prays the Court to grant a permanent forfeiture of the money to the FG. Court reserves ruling until June 6.

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Chacha Wabara-Ogbobine is a Legal practitioner with over 9years post call experience. A research Consultant, professional writer and a blogger at heart,owner of four thriving websites with well over 10years of experience. Totally in love with keeping fit and coaching weight loss enthusiasts. I love my quiet time, being with my kids, watching TV series for hours on end.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Anodebenze

    May 6, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    This issue of whistle blower does not exist in Nigeria,in context or in legal term.WE NIGERIANS EXPECT OUR LEADERS AND PUBLIC FUNCTIONARIES TO LVE UP TO THEIR JOB AND RESPONSIBILITIES TO THEMSELVES AND THE COUNTRY.they get paid to do their job,if efcc icpc or police,do not do their job,that is hard luck.
    we have a free press,nobody have been jailed in Nigeria for expressing their opinion,even during military regime,nigerians still expresses their opinion,except during the brief regime of maj-gen Buhari military dictatorship or Gen Abacha regime,the people are free to file complaint against any group,people are free to right petition against anybody.under Gen babangida people were calling names in his face e.g maradona,evil genius,he did not jail anybody.
    We uses to have a sort of national complaint board,i do not what happened to it now.legistilator have at least 2 assistant, the public are free to see their representative,during the regime of Gen Abacha,the deputy governor of cbn called usman did blocked and questioned some forex,which abacha wanted to used.now you are talking rubbish

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Business News

Oil & Gas: DPR announces 2020 marginal field licensing round

While we see the need for these asset sales to generate much-needed revenue for the Federal Government, we are concerned that a bidding process under the current environment will be fraught with difficulties.

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DPR

The Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) on Monday announced the commencement of the 2020 marginal field bid round. This bid round is coming 18 years after the last bid round in 2002 and is open to indigenous oil & gas companies and investors interested in participating in the exploration and production business in Nigeria. Marginal fields are known oil or gas discoveries on an IOC-owned block and where there has been no activity in at least the last 10 years. With the agreement of the IOC, the DPR carves-out a piece of land surrounding the discovery and this becomes a Marginal field. On this occasion, there are 57 marginal fields available for bidding, including 11 fields revoked by the DPR.

The exercise would be conducted electronically and would include expression of interest/registration, pre-qualification, technical and commercial bid submission, and bid evaluation. The process is expected to be completed in six months. The first bid round that was formally organised by the FGN began in 2001 and was concluded in 2003. At the end of the bid round, 24 licenses were awarded to 31 indigenous companies. Another bid round was proposed in 2013 with a lot of preparation and guidelines released. Unfortunately, it never held.

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Flagging off this bid round under the current economic situation points to the government’s urgent need for funds. According to the DPR guidelines, interested bidders will be required to pay a total of US$115,000 and N5m in non-refundable statutory fees comprising an application fee of N2 million per field, Bid Processing Fee of N3million per field, Data Prying fee of $15,000 per field, Data Leasing fee of $25,000 per field, Competent Persons Report of $50,000 and $25,000 for Fields Specific Report.

While we see the need for these asset sales to generate much-needed revenue for the Federal Government, we are concerned that a bidding process under the current environment will be fraught with difficulties. Firstly, the current fluctuations in oil prices may mean that intending investors may base their valuations on pricing models that can become unrealistic in the near term and then are unable to develop such fields acquired. Many local companies have been hard hit by the effects of covid -19 and the ensuing significant decline in oil prices, hence they may not have sufficient cash flows nor be able to raise needed funds from both local and international banks.

In addition, we see regulatory difficulties hampering interest in the fields. For example, the lack of passage of the long awaited Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) remains a significant deter. Furthermore, the recently passed Deep Offshore and Inland Basis Production Sharing Contracts (Amendment) Act (DOA) has made investments in Nigeria oil & gas assets less attractive. These negative regulatory sentiments has led to many IOCs decreasing investments in the Nigerian oil & gas industry. Overall, we think this may result in many of the fields ending up in the hands of individuals with cash but with no industry expertise. Again, with the current economic crunch, many of the fields may be sold significantly below their fair value.

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May Output Cut: OPEC+ records 86% compliance as Nigeria beats expectation

Some of the non-OPEC member countries recorded less than impressive compliance rates. Kazakhstan, Brunei, and South Sudan recorded 47%, 22%, and 13% compliance respectively.

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OPEC+ output cut: The oil cartel records 86% compliance as Nigeria beats expectation

As OPEC+ pushes for an extension of the current output cut of 9.7 million barrels beyond June, a new report suggests that the alliance may have achieved a fairly impressive level of compliance in May, the first month of the biggest global effort to curtail oil production.

Energy Intelligence estimates that the alliance achieved an 86% compliance rate (in May) with the production cut of 9.7 million barrels per day that was agreed for both May and June. This contradicts the 74% compliance rate that was earlier reported by a Reuters survey.

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The massive output cut is intended to counter the dramatic slump in global oil prices which was triggered by the coronavirus pandemic and supply glut. The output cut has since helped to move up prices well above the April lows.

Meanwhile, some West African OPEC members fell short of their pledged output cuts, with Angola and Congo recording compliance rates of 54% and 20%, respectively. Gabon’s May output actually exceeded its volumes in October 2018, which was chosen as the baseline month against which the cuts are measured.

(READ MORE: Oil prices hit 2-months high as Bonny light rises to $33.9/barrel over vaccine test optimism)

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However, the compliance by Nigeria for the month of May was better than the expected 83% after its output fell by around 260,000 barrels per day between April and May. This is, however, at variance with 52% compliance that was disclosed by Nigeria’s Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.

Worry for Nigeria as forecast shows OPEC countries will face a challenging 2020 , Why OPEC may not change output cut soon, Weaker oil demand overshadows proposed OPEC output cuts, as oil price dips , Nigeria tops compliance list, as OPEC’s December crude output drops, OPEC, Russia planning biggest oil cut ever, OPEC+ output cut: The oil cartel records 86% compliance as Nigeria beats expectation

Some of the non-OPEC member countries recorded less than impressive compliance rates. Kazakhstan, Brunei, and South Sudan recorded 47%, 22%, and 13% compliance respectively.

The OPEC+ alliance’s overall compliance rate was lifted by the performances from four of its top five producers, which were close to 100%. Among these heavyweights, only Iraq lagged well behind with a compliance level of less than 50%.

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Russia failed to live up to its obligations under previous OPEC+ deal. But after removing condensate, which is not counted as part of its current quota, its oil output is 8.6 million barrels per day in the month of May; indicating an impressive 96% compliance rate.

Patricia

Compliance is expected to improve in the month of June.

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COVID-19 palliative: Sanwo-Olu concludes Homegrown School Feeding Programme

The homegrown school feeding programme, was targeted at providing food packages for 37,589 households of pupils in Public Primary Schools years 1-3

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Sanwo-Olu, COVID-19: Lagos ramps up measure to smash disease as it begins fumigation, Covid-19: Total lockdowm imminent as Lagos fears confirmed cases could hit 39,000, Hotels to remain shut in Lagos, as manufacturing and construction companies get conditional waivers, COVID-19 palliative: Sanwo-Olu concludes Homegrown School Feeding Programme

The modified homegrown school feeding programme, launched on May 21, as part of palliatives offered by the Lagos state government to cushion the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, has been concluded.

The programme, which basically modified the already existing school feeding programme, was targeted at providing food packages for 37,589 households of pupils in Public Primary Schools years 1-3.

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According to an official tweet from the Lagos state government, the programme was concluded on Tuesday, June 2, 2020.

The Executive Chairman of Lagos State Universal Basic Education Board, LASUBEB, Mr. Wahab Alawiye-King, noted that the distribution of the packages to the beneficiary households took off on May 21, and was spread across 202 centres across the 20 Local Government Education Authorities in the State.

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(READ MORE:COVID-19: Lagos receives N200 Million, 5 ambulances from BUA Foundation)

Items contained in the Take-home rations:

Each beneficiary of the packages received a take-home ration made up of “5kg Bag of Rice; 5kg Bag of Beans; 500 ml Vegetable Oil; 750ml Palm Oil; 500mg Salt; 15 pieces of eggs and 140gm Tomato Paste,” which is expected to assist the parents and guardians feed the children as they remain at home during the prolonged holiday.

What you should know:

The Federal government also introduced a modified homegrown school feeding programme on May 15 to be coordinated by the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Sadiya Umar Farouq.

Farouq noted during one of the Presidential Task Force media briefings that the distribution of Take-Home Rations (THR) to the households of the children on the programme as a feasible method, after exploring several options of reaching children in vulnerable households.

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Each Take-Home Ration is said to be worth N4,200, although the Minister has not released full details of the programme.

Patricia

According to the World Food programme, there are 17 countries currently distributing Take-Home rations to school children. In Liberia, Take Home Rations have been distributed since 2019.

 

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