The Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) says it will soon begin to investigate the ownership of multi-billion Naira housing estates that have been abandoned by anonymous persons in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
Chairman of the commission, Professor Bolaji Owasanoye, made this known when he spoke at a Forum of the Special Anti-Corruption Situation Room, organised by the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) yesterday Monday, April 29th.
Represented at the ocassion by Dr. Esa Onoja, his Chief of Staff, Owasanoye noted that nobody had come forward to claim ownership, even after the commission began Non-Conviction Assets Forfeiture proceedings, in line with Section 17 of the Advanced Free Fraud Act.
“Where nobody comes forward to claim ownership after publication of Temporary Forfeiture Orders from the courts, the assets become the property of the Federal Government. It’s a big problem that requires information from members of the public. We feel that citizens should provide information and after providing information, to act as witnesses. The current administration has a very strong and viable whistleblowing policy.
“Over N.5 trillion has been recovered through this policy. But a lot more information is required. If we can only get just 25 per cent of what has been stolen and if that money is deployed to education, health, security, I think we would be on the road to joining other nations that our citizens will like to fly to and use their resources.” he said
The Kaduna Zonal office of EFCC has arraigned one Joseph Adigizi Anthony before Justice Mallong Peter of the Federal High Court sitting in Kaduna, Kaduna State for a N50 million fraud.
His journey to the dock began when the Kaduna office of the EFCC received a petition alleging that he defrauded members of the public using a business proposal, in which he lured them to invest in Bitcoin through a platform called Bitworld Centre. He promised them good returns on their investment.
A petitioner had alleged that she sold her properties and collected loan from a Microfinance Bank to raise the sum of N1,739,000 (One Million Seven Hundred and Thirty Nine Thousand Naira), which the defendant directed her to pay into his personal bank accounts. She later discovered that the business was a fraud. However, efforts to recover her money proved abortive.
He was on April 30, 2019 charged with a five-count charge.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Joseph Adigizi Anthony, sometimes in 2018 at Kaduna within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court did with intent to defraud through your personal Guaranty Trust Bank and Access Bank accounts over N50,000,000 (Fifty Million Naira) credit turnover as collective investment deposits from one Salome Ambi Mamman and other members of the public by falsely accepting deposits for an unregister business venture with the Security and Exchange Commission of Nigeria called “BITWORLD” using financial proposal documents serving as a “Trainer Bitclub Advantage” and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offence Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the Same Act.”
He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges. Prosecuting counsel, S.H. Sa’ad urged the court to fix a date for the commencement of trial while he prayed the defendant be remanded in prison. “We are ready to commence with the trial, and we have two witnesses already in court,” Sa’ad said.
Defence counsel, Chiedu Gwam, informed the court, that he was not ready for the commencement of trial and pleaded with the court to grant his client bail.
Justice Mallong, however, adjourned to May 13, 2019 for hearing of bail application and commencement of trial. He ordered that the defendant be remanded in prison custody.
Two members of the House of Representatives have insisted on contesting for the position of Speaker of the Ninth National Assembly. They argued that the All Progressives Congress has yet to endorse the Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, as its candidate.
While Mr Chike Okafor from Imo State called for the zoning of the position of the Speaker to the South-East, Mr Mohammed Bago from Niger State said the North-Central had been marginalised in the House of Representatives since 1999.
Addressing journalists in Abuja on Monday, Okafor, who is representing Ehime Mbano/Ihitte Uboma/Obowo Federal Constituency, said while the Senate Presidency had been zoned to the North-East, “We are aware that the party has yet to zone the speakership of the House of Representatives to any zone.”
He added, “You are already aware of the clamour across the country for equitable distribution of the principal offices of the National Assembly and most importantly, the recent push by several APC support groups from across the northern states and the South-East, calling on the party leadership to zone the speakership of the Ninth House of Representatives to the South-East.
“In 2015, the APC denied the South-East principal officer positions in the National Assembly on the ground that we did not have a ranking member on the platform of the APC.
“I was slated for a leadership position then, but I was eventually denied the position of Deputy Whip because I was a first timer. Now I am back and I am a ranking member!
“I have continued with consultations as I am still in the race for the speakership of the Ninth House of Representatives.”
The lawmaker argued that the South-East, which was denied a leadership position in the Eighth Assembly, deserved compensation in the present one.
Okafor added, “We are aware of some of the things you may have heard before now and the name that is already in circulation as the automatic beneficiary of the speakership position, and the seeming exclusion of the South-East.
“It is, however, unthinkable that the APC will abandon the more than 400,000 of its supporters who voted for the party across the South-East, to cede the speakership to a zone that already has the Vice-President, the national leader of the APC and multiple Grade-A appointments.
“A ruling party doesn’t just look at the numbers alone, it also looks at national interest. It looks at social justice; considers political stability and harmony in the body politics of the country; it feels the pulse of the nation and weighs in on equitable inclusion of the federating units of the country, in line with the provisions of the Constitution of the country and the party.
“Even as it affects sharing of political offices and looking at all these indices, as a party, we have not given the South-East a fair deal. Not yet.”
Bago, who spoke to The Punch, alleged that the North-Central was scheduled to get the speakership seat before the 2019 general elections. He accused the APC of forcing a candidate on the lawmakers.
He said, “It is beyond my aspiration, it is about my people. The party on its own decided to zone speakership to the North-Central because we wanted to dislodge Yakubu Dogara from the North-East. We are taking the Senate Presidency from the North-Central to the North-East. Even if they had won their elections, these things will work against them.
“Now that (Senate President, Bukola) Saraki did not make it back and Dogara made it, they have already removed the North-Central, which has enjoyed relative patronage in the Senate.
“There is nobody or any other zone in this country that is contesting for Senate Presidency outside the people of the North-East. That is macro-managing.
“Don’t force a candidate on us. The same attitude that marred our primary elections is the same attitude they are exhibiting here, and they are not repentant about it.”
He also dismissed the zoning of Deputy Speaker to the North-Central, saying, “That offer is fallacy.”
Dipo Olorunrinu, the lone Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) member in the Lagos state house, has defected to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Olorunrinu, who represented Amuwo-Odofin constituency I, lost his re-election bid to Mojisola Alli-Macaulay, APC candidate, in March 9 house of assembly election with just 278 votes.
He, however, vowed not to challenge the result at the election tribunal.
The lawmaker informed the house of his defection on Monday at the plenary through a letter titled: “Letter of Defection from PDP to APC,” and addressed to Mudashiru Obasa, the speaker.
The letter was read by Azeez Sanni, the clerk of the assembly.
“I have been a young progressive-minded person and I have decided to realign with the APC based on moving trend and party to reckon with taking Lagos State to the next level,” the letter read in part.
Recall that in 2015, there were eight PDP members in the house but seven defected.
Traders in Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos, on Tuesday shut down activities to protest the planned installation of female and male market leaders “Iyaoloja” and “Babaloja” respectively in the hub.
The traders told NAN during the protest that the computer village was an international market that did not need such imposition of Iyaoloja as if they are pepper sellers.
Mr Wasiu Agbaje, an Information Communication Technology Engineer, insisted that the hub was not like the regular markets where such should be imposed.
Agbaje said that installing such would undermine the hub as there was no relationship between technology and Iyaoloja.
“What do the Iyaoloja and Babaloja have to offer, what value are they going to add to the hub? And what technological innovations are they bringing?
‘“The computer village is not like any other street market where pepper and other things are sold. It is an international technology hub and it should be treated as such,” he said.
Also, a businessman who preferred anonymity said the computer village was an international market.
According to him, it will undermine the position of computer village internationally as the biggest technological hub in West Africa.
He said installing such Iyaoloja and Babaloja would contradict what the hub was known for and breach the peace there because it was not a regular market.
A Software developer, Mr Joseph Efosa, said that such installation would disturb the 25 years of peaceful existence of the hub. He said that the computer village was not a regular market and such installation was not needed.
The Ondo State Police Command on Monday arrested Deji Adenuga, the man who allegedly killed eight family members after setting ablaze their house at Igbodigo, in the Okitipupa area.
He reportedly committed the act after his estranged lover, Titi Sanumi, who was a member of the family, ended their relationship and the man felt cheated.
His arrest came a week after the suspect escaped after allegedly committing the crime.
Adenuga, last Tuesday allegedly set the members of his estrange lover’s family ablaze in a one room apartment on Adetuwo Street in the town. He was alleged to have carried out the act while the family slept around 2am.
Five members of the family died on the spot, while the remaining three members gave up the ghost at a hospital they were taken to for treatment.
A source said the suspect, an ex-convict, was arrested in Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, and had been handed over to the Ondo State Police Command.
Four companies, two with foreign ownership, that deal in importation of electronic and household appliances have exploited a defective import tariff waiver policy of Nigerian government and special forex allocation to manufacturers by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to make billions of naira through fraudulent claims.
One of the companies, Somotex Nigeria Limited, is a shadow business of an offshore company registered in British Virgin Islands, a well-known tax heaven. The other three companies are Sims Nigeria Limited, Fouani Nigeria Limited and Dee Kay Nigeria limited. These companies have exclusive dealership into the importation of global brands, such as LG and Samsung electronics.
A joint investigation by OrderPaperNG and The ICIR shows that while these companies enjoy the status and privilege accorded to manufacturers that import raw materials, they are mere traders. Nevertheless, they are given forex concessions at CBN rate for manufacturers. They also get duty waivers, normally given to manufacturers that import raw materials.
The import duty waivers involve Completely Knocked Down (CKD) and Semi Knocked Down (SKD) goods, a controversial policy that gives tax concessions to importers who are willing to import products in parts to be assembled locally in Nigeria. By this policy, government aims to create jobs through manufacturing as well as accelerate transfer of technologies. An initial investigation by OrderPaperNG published in July 2018 had exposed this import waiver fraud involving same companies which have continued according to impeccable sources, to engage in the scheme.
Those who import goods in CKD/SKD obtain tax waivers from the ministry of finance and pay lesser import tariff. Instead of the usual 20-35 per cent duty on such products, they pay just 5 per cent with the belief that the importers have assembling plants where they couple the items, and employ Nigerians and create opportunity for transfer of technology.
The federal government justifies these waivers based on the provisions of the Customs and Excise Tariff Act and the Finance Miscellaneous Act 39 of 1990, among other legal and administrative instruments. Import waivers are issued by the Ministry of Finance and implemented by the Customs Service.
But investigations show that the four companies import fully built products and still claim duty waivers as if they brought in CKD/SKD. Customs documents obtained by OrderPaperNg and also analysed with The ICIR revealed that the four electronic dealers defrauded Nigeria of over N25 billion in CKD/SKD waiver claims between 2010 and 2018.
THE PANAMA PAPERS LINK
Curiously, Somotex Nigeria Limited is owned by an offshore company, Conifer Holdings Limited, a company registered in British Virgin Islands with Mossack Fonseca as the agent.
A trove of papers leak from Mossack Fonseca, a Panama-based law firm, revealed astonishing web of individuals and businesses that hide their wealth in tax haven through shell companies. The gigantic leak obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, ICIJ, became known as Panama Papers.
Conifer Holdings Limited was registered in British Virgin Islands in 1995. Two years later, the company incorporated Somotex in Nigeria with 99.9 per cent shares belonging to the offshore company. The individuals behind the offshore company – Ram Udharam Mohiani, Ramchand Mohinani Ashok, and Anil Ramchand Mohinani – are also three of the four directors of Somotex Nigeria Limited.
The fourth director, Nkiru Nzegwu-Danjuma, not associated with the offshore company, was not a shareholder in Somotex. Findings showed that Nkiru was the wife of Musa Danjuma, younger brother to Theophilus Danguma, former Nigerian Army chief of staff and Minister of Defense. Nkiru, a lawyer, died in 2016 at the age of 57 after protracted illness.
But further digging into the company by The ICIR uncovered a mischief in its incorporation in Nigeria. While it appeared that Somotex had not broken Nigerian laws by being incorporated by an offshore company, the owners used the discredited Mossack Fonseca to register the parent company in British Virgin Islands, two years before incorporating Somotex in Nigeria.
Such obscure parent company in a tax heaven is usually used to engage in money laundering. However, Peter Ubani, a lawyer, said Somotex has to still operate under the Nigeria’s financial regulations despite being owned by an offshore company.
“Irrespective of the status of one of the offshore companies, the one in Nigeria is subject to the laws of the country. It is subject to the company income tax law, even if the majority ownership belongs to the offshore company. As long as it does business here, it will pay tax. It has to pay company income tax,” he explained.
But the problem, Ubani said, is that such offshore company can be used to hide the real owners of the company in Nigeria and launder money. “They shield their owners, and they can repatriate the profit offshore. The profit will not be subject to Nigeria laws. Sometimes they use it for slush fund, such as laundering.”
Frank TieTie, another lawyer, activist and executive director of Citizens Advocacy for Social and Economic Rights (CASER), said even the repatriation of profit by foreign company must be within the Nigerian regulations. “Section 54 of the company allied matters act makes it mandatory for any company, whether it’s a Nigeria company or not, to be registered in Nigeria before it commences business in Nigeria,” TieTie said, adding: “Repatriation of profit is subject to Nigeria law. Such law as Foreign Exchange Monitoring Act, and other financial laws are applicable to foreign ownership and other repatriation of legitimate proceeds.”
TOP SECRETS ON ASSEMBLY PLANTS
On March 15, 2018, the chairman of the senate committee on customs and excise, Hope Uzodima, accused the importers of defrauding the government billions of naira through false declarations on CKD/SKD, adding that the companies had no assembling plants, a major criterion to qualify for the import duty waivers.
Uzodima said that during oversight visit to the supposed assembling plant of Somotex, his committee discovered that the so-called plant was just a warehouse.
When a reporter was first sent to the head office of Somotex in Lagos last October, he could not immediately ascertain whether the company had an assembling plant or warehouse as claimed by the senator. While there appeared to be lots of activities around the complex, the organisation refused to allow him entrance into the premises.
The receptionist claimed that everyone in the department that ought to give approval to receive a visitor into the purported assembling plant were on leave. After lengthy persuasion, a call was placed to the head of the legal team, Erhuanga Odion Erabai, who said that the company was not given enough notice before visiting. He said that the company could only welcome the visit the following week.
“This is not how things are done,” Erbai said. “You cannot just come in to our organization without informing us and be demanding for answers. This is a private firm. You have to give us enough advance notice and we will decide if we want to give you information or not.”
The brands declined to respond to inquiries on whether their products are exported to Nigeria on CKD/SKD.
Although two staff of Somotex who spoke to the reporter said the company assembled television and other electronics. But there was no evidence of such activities during the two-time visit to the company.
Official documents show that Somotex had been importing fully built products and still claimed CKD. On January 6, 2014, the company imported twelve 40 feet containers of fully built television sets as CKD with Customs Reference C674 through the Apapa Port. It paid 5 per cent import tax of N17, 757,486.00, instead of 20 per cent for the consignment valued at N146.12 million. By claiming CKD on fully built television sets, Somotex made N24.6 million on that particular transaction.
Again on September 9, 2013, Somotex imported fully built television sets as CKD and paid 5 per cent import tariff, instead of 20 per cent, depriving Nigeria of N3, 614,809.27 in revenue.
The fraud of underpaying import duty for fully built products under the guise of CKD/SKD is dubbed “wrong classification” within Customs. Wrong or false classification occurs when the nature of the goods indicated in the manifest before shipment is different from what arrives in the country.
BILLIONS IN WAIVERS TO GENERATE N15,200-A-MONTH MENIAL JOBS
Along the untarred road leading to Irede community in Amuwo Odo, lies the LG assembling plant managed by Fouani Nigeria limited. Fouani is a major beneficiary of CKD/SKD duty waivers and the teenagers assemble electronic parts imported by the company. Most of the workers in the plant are secondary school leavers without requite knowledge to acquire technology transfer through the process of assembling as envisaged in the import tariff waiver policy.
They work from 7:30am to 5pm Monday to Saturday on monthly salary of N15, 200 for new entrants and N17, 500 for line supervisor. They do not have any insurance and they do not run shifts.
Fouani workers said the core staff are foreigners (Lebanese), with few Nigerians to complement their work. Munirat, a former worker in Fouani said, “in terms of pay, it’s not that great. If you resume by 7:40am, you are late, and you close by 5pm, Monday to Friday. I cannot really tell on the number of persons working in the plant, but maybe like 300 or so.”
The reporter was prevented from entering the premises, but from outside, some of the workers could be seen playing during the lunch period. A Fouani staff took extra measures in checking the credential of the journalist. His picture and ID card were taken and sent to an unknown person for verification, and he was asked to wait. After two hours, the Lebanese man in-charge came out to ask the journalist to leave.
In June 2018, Fouani, the sole distributor of LG products in Nigeria imported goods worth billions of naira, including refrigerators, air conditioners, LCD TVs and washing machines. These goods which normally should attract import tariff of between 20-35 per cent, the company paid just 5 per cent tariff on the fully built products through false classification.
With its Form M application MF20180041207 to import air conditions worth $2,204,132 (N674,464,392), Fouani’s goods with Container Tracking Number MAEU576853985 were conveyed through MAERSK COPENHAGEN shipping line and cleared at the Apapa Seaport. While the air conditioning machines were fully built units, the company got import duty waivers for CKD.
Fouani also imported $1,512,000 worth of fully built LCD television sets from China with Form M number MF2018004142 and falsely classified them as CKD. Instead of paying 20 per cent import duty, the company paid just five per cent.
On the same Vessel Maersk Copenhagen Voyage 1805, Fouani claimed CKD for importing 910 fully built sets of refrigerators with tracking number MAEU964879324 and Form M number MF20180041306. The company also claimed CKD for another 3870 sets of fully built refrigerators with Form M number MF20180041299. The products had combined value of $891,750 (N272, 875,500).
Under the same shady importations were 324 sets of refrigerators, 1150 sets of fully built refrigerators and 1100 sets of washing machines at the value of $229,680, $227,090 and $65,850 respectively that the company claimed CKD.
DELIBERATE WRONG CLASSIFICATION
Sims Nigeria Limited, on May 5, 2018, got forest under the CBN rate to import air conditioning machines valued at $308,471 and paid through Fidelity Bank with Form M number MF20180030886.
According to Costco Shipping Lines’ manifest, the cargo arrived Tin Can Island Port from China filled with air-conditioning machines. Sims claimed that the goods were CKD, but the merchandise was fully built products. Nevertheless, Sims paid 5 per cent import tariff instead of 35 per cent for the refrigerators.
With its head office in Victoria Island, Lagos, Sims declined to respond to email inquiries. On the day that the reporter visited the company, the person in charge of public relations who might have been receiving previous emails from the reporter was said to have been sacked a week earlier. The person that spoke to the reporter claimed that no one else was in charge of public relations at the company.
The reporter was later introduced to a man, who said he was responsible for logistics at Sims. He claimed that the company has an assembling plant.
“For me in my own capacity, I only liaise with agents who deliver products. But if you want to see our factory, we have a big factory at Amuwo Odofin industrial estate. That is where they manufacture all these items you are seeing,” he said.
He insisted that Sims has an assembling plant. “Customs should know the people they are referring to. Most of the times, they make those wild allegations. They should improve. We have our factory at Amuwo Odofin. You can go there; we couple TV there. We do refrigerators, and ACs. You people should work from there and see who are those who have factories, and those who do not.”
When the reporter asked to see the factory, the man said: “they just want me to find out what you want.”
Another staff of Sims who works at the human resource department of the company and who introduced himself as Chuka declined to answer questions. “You cannot just come and tell us something and expect us to act on it, even if you are journalist,” he said. “You cannot just bring your ID card, and expect us to just give information. Bring valid paper work.”
SECRETIVE ASSEMBLING PLANTS
Posing as a prospective customer could not get the reporter into the purported assembling plant of Dee Kay Nigeria Limited. All conversations around having access to the building was quickly turned down.
A marketing representative of Dee Kay told the reporter that the company’s assembling plant is located within the premises, but there was little or no significant activities to suggest that the work of such magnitude was going on.
With head office in Ikeja, Lagos, Dee Kay described itself as a “leading importer of all types of finished goods into Nigeria”. Yet, the company made over 153 importations under wrong classification between 2015 and 2018. By importing fully-built fridges, freezers and other electronic products, the company claimed CKD for these importations and shortchanged Nigeria of over N800 million in revenue.
In 2010, Customs issued a circular that ordered all units at the ports to charge full tariff for any import that fails to meet the CKD/SKD standard, regardless of import tariff waivers from the Ministry of Finance. Despite the directive, the importers have continued to underpay import tax on fully built products under the pretense of CKD/SKD.
Terminal operators at the Lagos port said that the importers could only have succeeded in defrauding Nigeria with the connivance of Customs officials. A terminal operator who preferred anonymity pointed out that certificate of waiver is not a ground for false declaration, adding that it is impossible to get away with false declaration if there are no connivance with Customs.
“Look, the Customs is under the Ministry of finance, so the chances of collusion on waiver certificate and under declaration is very slim,” he said. “If there are any form of under declaration going on, it’s either they have collected bribe or some powerful people are involved.”
Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State has declined assent to the bill seeking life pension for former lawmakers from the state as proposed and passed by the state House of Assembly last week.
The controversial bill has attracted condemnation from Bayelsans, including civil society groups who were planning a showdown with the lawmakers.
He said the governor held consultations with the Assembly members in Toru-Orua, where he explained his reason for rejecting the bill to the lawmakers.
Iworiso-Markson quoted the governor as having said that the bill was inconsistent with Section 124 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended.
Dickson said he was of the view that the state Assembly lacked the powers to expand the categories of public servants who should be entitled to pension.
He stressed that he had to withhold assent to the bill because the state, which was bedevilled with a lot of challenges in spite of its low Internally Generated Revenue base and unstable earnings from the oil economy, was the only state in Nigeria to come up with such a bill.
The governor stressed that he was guided in the decision by the principle that government should not be for a select privileged few in the society.
He said the lawmakers and indeed the Nigerian populace would attest to the fact that all the decisions of his administration were guided by the urge “to protect public interest and promote the general good.”
“I am not convinced about the legality of this bill which seeks to expand the categories of persons entitled to pension. While I agree that the Assembly can adjust the quantum of pension payable to persons entitled to pension, I am not convinced that the House has powers to add to the categories of pensionable public officers.
“Evidently, there is no record of any other state in this country that has expanded the categories of pensionable public officers to include lawmakers. I do not agree that Bayelsa, which is coping with all the myriads of issues and challenges, with our low Internally Generated Revenue base and the unpredictable oil economy, should be the first to initiate this.
“Honourable members of this Assembly, Bayelsans and other Nigerians following our progress as a government would clearly attest to the fact that my entire public service, actions and decisions are marked by what is in the public interest, particularly the interest of the vulnerable, ordinary people. It is in the service of this category of people that in the last seven years, I have, in an unprecedented manner, which only history will record and reward, extended the frontiers of the benefits of purposeful democratic governance.
“It is my philosophy that government should not be for a select few. In the last seven years, my actions and decisions, which have sometimes elicited opposition from the elite who have been feeding fat on the resources of our state, have been marked by this singular disposition of mine.
“And I do not intend at this point to abandon that. Rather, I intend to do more to consolidate on the policies and actions which have been taken to protect the vulnerable. Therefore, I am unable to assent to this bill which in my view aims to expand and consolidate the class interest of a privileged few.”
The governor said the quest to protect the vulnerable against the privileged few inspired the populist programmes of his administration.
These, he said, included the Bayelsa Health Insurance Scheme with over 150, 000 beneficiaries, the Education Trust Fund, local and foreign scholarship programmes, empowerment schemes, support for the aged, the most vulnerable, employment, public housing and a number of other social intervention programmes.
He commended the leadership of the House for the healthy relationship with the executive and the high level of productivity as shown by the high number of bills and motions passed during the period.
Dickson said notwithstanding his decision to decline assent to the bill, he still “holds the Assembly in very high esteem.”
The governor also noted that he had to set up a committee on the contributory pension scheme to make it workable so that interested assembly members and other appointees at the state and local government levels could take advantage of it.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has accused the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) of replacing electronic servers in its headquarters and state offices.
The party, which has gone to court to challenge the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari in the February 23 election, said INEC is replacing the servers to obliterate the actual presidential election results transmitted from the polling centres.
A statement yesterday by PDP’s spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, described the development as “completely reprehensible”, saying it further exposed INEC’s culpability in the alleged manipulation and rigging of the 2019 presidential election.
The statement reads: “The PDP has been well briefed on how INEC’s leadership and officials of the Buhari Presidency became jittery and resorted to the desperate measure, after they realised that the servers have information of Atiku Abubakar’s victory at the election.
“Our party also has details of how INEC leadership and the Presidency agents procured and detailed computer experts to the commission’s offices to switch the servers, mutilate vital information in the system and attempt to erase all trails of transmitted results to the main server.
“Moreover, our party has been informed about how INEC’s leadership, several weeks after the election, used some compromised officials to manipulate voters register in some states by ticking names of individuals who did not participate in the election as having voted. This is to use such to cover the fictitious results it wrote for the APC.
“What INEC and the Buhari Presidency do not understand is that computer software and applications leave traces, signatures as well as footmark. Forensic investigation of the system will reveal the real votes transmitted from the polling centres, which show Atiku Abubakar as the winner of the election.
“The PDP has, therefore, insisted on forensic examination of all relevant documents and equipment used for the presidential election. Our party will continue to be at alert as we stand with Nigerians to reclaim our stolen mandate at the tribunal, and no amount of manipulation by INEC will detract us from this national resolve.”
But Chief Press Secretary to the INEC chairman, Rotimi Oyekanmi, described the allegation as baseless and uncalled for. He also urged the party to allow the legal process run its full course.
Oyekanmi said: “The allegation is baseless and uncalled for. The commission has maintained that it will not join issues with the PDP on a petition that the party had already filed in court in respect of the presidential election.
“Rather than issuing statements and addressing news conferences on the same petition, the PDP should allow the legal process run its full course.”
Leading Pan-African Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) PLC in partnership with leading global payments and technology company, Mastercard, have announced they are giving away all-expenses paid trips to the Semi-Finals and Finals of the 2019 UEFA Champions League to 12 lucky UBA Mastercard holders and their plus ones.
Open to all existing and new UBA Platinum Mastercard holders, this amazing giveaway is an opportunity to pamper customers and give them a unique, unforgettable and priceless experience including flights, visas, 5-star accommodation, tickets to watch either the semi-finals or final matches of the UEFA Champions League and so much more with their MasterCard Platinum Access.
A total of 12 UBA Platinum Mastercard holders from Nigeria and 11 other African countries will share the enthralling experience of watching the finals live with a loved one as well as enjoy the great ambience of host city of the Semi-Finals or Finals (Madrid). The participating countries are Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Congo Brazzaville, Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia.
“As we celebrate our 70 years of Banking and excellence, this is our way of rewarding customers for their continued patronage to the UBA brand. There will be many more this year as we want to continue to appreciate all our customers … for now. Customers who qualify should get a UBA Platinum Mastercard and spend a minimum of $10,000 or its equivalent in his or her local currency to stand a chance to win the all-expense paid package. To get your UBA Platinum Mastercard at any UBA Branch, a customer simply needs to contact his or her relationship manager at any UBA branch office” the Group Head, Marketing, UBA Plc, Mrs. Dupe Olusola said.
She said, “The UEFA Champions League is the most sought-after trophy in club football competition, and one of the most followed sporting spectacles in the world. To this end, we decided to partner Mastercard and UEFA in bringing the most iconic and cherished moments in the history of football to our esteemed and loyal customers who are the reason
why we are so successful.
“We realize that, a lot of our customers love football and we feel giving them this treasured experience while they are pampered in far-away Spain is the way to go. These are the moments that make football such a passionate sport and we want to share these moments and experiences with our loyal customers across Nigeria and Africa,” Olusola said.
United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading pan-African financial services group, operating in 20 African countries, as well as the United Kingdom, the United States of America and with presence in France.