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UK moves to seize $39 million from Ibori’s lawyer over role in former Governor’s case

The lawyer who was convicted alongside Ibori may lose his financial asset to the British government.

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British prosecutors have moved to seize about $39.3 million (30.8 million pounds) from a London lawyer, who helped former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, in looting and laundering illegal funds from the oil-rich state.

The British lawyer, Bhadresh Gohil, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, following his conviction in 2010 on 13 counts of money-laundering, and other offenses, over his role in the fraud and money laundering case of James Ibori, who was the former governor of Delta State, from 1999 to 2007.

It can be recalled that the former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, was extradited to the United Kingdom from the United Arab Emirates in 2011, and subsequently got convicted on 10 counts of fraud and money laundering. He was handed a 13-year jail term.

Gohil, who was then a partner at a firm in the London district of Mayfair, helped Ibori siphon these stolen funds, through shell companies and offshore accounts. He bought assets such as an English country house and a $20 million private jet. However, the police authorities caught up with the men before the jet was delivered.

The lawyer was also said to have masterminded a fraud, in which $37 million in fake consultancy fees was stolen from two Nigerian states, in connection with the sale of their stakes in a telecoms company in the country.

The outcome of the case was hailed in Britain and described as a victory for the fight against corruption, while also pledging to return stolen funds to the Nigerian government.

However, the confiscation proceedings against the two culprits have dragged on for almost 10 years, and repeatedly delayed by appeals and complications.

In Ibori’s case, the hearing took place at London’s Southwark Crown Court in January, and prosecutors asked the court to make a confiscation order of 117.7 million pounds against Ibori. The judge has yet to hand down his decision.

A hearing on Gohil’s case is ongoing at the same court. Lead prosecution counsel, Jonathan Kinnear, on Thursday began setting out the details of what he said was Gohil’s criminal benefit. He will have a chance later in the hearing to call witnesses, and give evidence to dispute the prosecution case.

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Governor Obaseki extends ultimatum to fleeing prisoners in Edo state

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Governor Godwin Obaseki has extended the ultimatum he gave to prisoners who escaped in the recent jail breaks recorded in two prison facilities in Edo state he governs.

Obaseki who had initially given the fleeing inmates until Friday October 23 to return, extended the ultimatum by one week.

In a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media and Communication Strategy Crusoe Osagie, it was was gathered that the decision was taken after a security meeting held with heads of security agencies in the state yesterday October 23.

It read;

“The extension of the ultimatum is as a result of the positive response from the prisoners, as a good number of them have since returned to the two correctional facilities. The new window is to allow more prisoners to return to the centres willingly.

“The governor has reviewed the curfew time in the state to commence from 6pm to 6am daily, as against 4pm to 6am. The adjustment will take effect from Saturday, October 24, 2020. The security situation in the state is seen to be improving and we appreciate Edo people for adhering to government’s directives.”

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FFK slams President Buhari over speech on #EndSARS protest

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Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode has slammed President Muhammadu Buhari over his speech on the widespread #EndSARS protest.

FFK described the President as a ”dictator, a disgrace to humanity and a stench in the nostrils of God for allegedly issuing threats and serving warnings in his speech.”

He added that it is left for the Nigerian peope to either stand down, bow their heads in shame, tuck their tail between their legs and run away or either stand up, hold their heads up high, knuckle down, dig deep and insist on their rights.

The PDP Chieftain tweeted;

Buhari’s speech was an insult to our people, a disgrace to humanity & a stench in the nostrils of God. He is not warm, he is cold. He is not kind, he is cruel. He is not empathetic, he is sociopathic. He is not a President,he is a dictator. He is not a man, he is a monster.

He has issued his threat &served his warning. It is left to the Nig. people to either stand down, bow their heads in shame, tuck their tail between their legs & run away or stand up, hold their heads up high, knuckle down, dig deep, insist on their rights & refuse to budge

The next few days will reveal which choice they have made.

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FG and ASUU disagree on payment platform for N30bn allowances

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The Federal Government and the Academic Staff Union of Universities have again disagreed on the payment platform which will be used in disbursing the salary arrears and the N30 billion earned allowance of university lecturers.

While the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige offered to pay the salary arrears and the N30 billion Earned Allowances of the university lecturers through the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System platform at the meeting which ended in a deadlock on Wednesday October 22, ASUU delegation led by its National President, Prof Biodun Ogunyemi reportedly insisted that lecturers would not enrol on the government salary platform.

It is expected that both parties will reconvene on Monday October 26, to decide on the platform for the disbursement of the funds pledged by the FG.

Recall that the federal government had agreed to pay N40 billion, being the pending Earned Academic Allowance of the university teachers overdue since November 2019. N30 billion would be paid on or before November 6, while the remaining N10 billion would be spread equally over two tranches to be paid in May 2021 and February 2022.

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