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Court acquits  Aminu Wali of N950m campaign fund charges

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Nasiru Yusuf

The Federal High Court in Kano has on Friday discharged and acquitted former minister of foreign affairs Aminu Wali accused with receiving N950 campaign fund from PDP during 2015 presidential election.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is prosecuting Mr Wali and Mansur Ahmed with three count charges bordering around 950 million Naira campaign fund received from People Democratic Party PDP in 2015, an act that contravened Section 1 of money laundering prohibition Act 2011.

Delivering the judgement, the trial judge Lewis Allagoa said the prosecution has failed to probe their case beyond reasonable doubt.

Mr Allagoa averred that the prosecution though established that the money  950 million was received beyond the threshold allowed by law,It failed to establish the money was received outside a financial institution an ingredient of probing the case beyond reasonable doubt.

The court said that while the defendants have admitted to have collected the said money from a financial institution, EFCC couldn’t not prove the money laundering charge against them.

He therefore discharged and acquitted the defendants.

Reacting to the judgment, counsel to EFCC Cosmos Ugwu described the judgment as “a well considered judgment.”

Mr Ugwu said, “we will take it as delivered, we will go back and study it and see what to do hereafter.

“I do not think the EFCC has gotten it wrongly because we charge base on the provision of the law. It doesn’t necessarily means that party was malicious in it prosecution, it only means that the element of the offense that ought to have been proved were not proved.

“The central issue was that whether there was transaction through a financial institution or not. Our argument was that it was not because you cannot go to Fidelity Bank and say give me the account from which this money was paid and you will get it.

“But, it is a new area of law so we would continue to work towards developing it so that subsequently when this kind of matter comes up we would have authority, we would have authorities to quickly bring to the aide of the court to say this is what the supreme has said.

“I am sure if the appeal court or supreme Court had interpreted the phrase ‘through a financial institution’ we wouldn’t have had the difficulties we had in trying to prove that it was not through a financial institution,” Mr Ugu said.

Commenting on the judgement, counsel to Messrs Wali and Ahmed, Sam Olagunorisa commended the judge for exhibiting erudition of law in his final verdict.

According to him “His lordship showed his erudition. He went through the law, and at the end of the day, it was very clear that, the entire transaction in this charge went through financial institution, which is one of the major cardinal ingredients before you can find anybody guilty for an offence of money laundering.

” Both the prosecution and defence agreed that the money went through Fidelity Bank. Fidelity Bank is the  financial institution within the laws of Federal Republic of Nigeria. To that extent, one of the cardinal ingredients for which the prosecution must probe was found not existing. That account for the reason why the defendants were discharged and acquitted.

Reacting to the judgement Mr Wali expressed gratitude to God for vindicating him despite three years of litigation.

“God is there. God will never allow injustice to persist. I thanked Him and I thanked all for the support and the believed had in me that this thing never really happened, is all political,” Mr Wali said.

Messrs Wali and Ahmed were arraigned alongside former governor of Kano, Ibrahim Shekarau by EFCC before the court on May 24, 2018 on six count charges that the trio received the money on March 25, 2015 from PDP without transacting through a financial institution contrary to section 1(a) of Money Laundering Act 2011, punishable under section 16 (2b) of same act.

Mr Shekarau was later discharged and acquitted by the same court after he filed and won a case of no submission at the court of appeal leaving Wali and Ahmed with a three count charges before the Federal High court.

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EFCC Grills Rabiu Kwankwaso

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Rabiu Kwankwaso

Nasiru Yusuf

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Saturday grilled former governor of Kano State, Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso over allegations of abuse of office, diversion of public funds and fraudulent allocation of government properties to cronies.

KANO FOCUS reports that Kwankwaso, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party, was first invited by the EFCC in September but failed to honour the invitation as reported by Channels TV.

An associate of the politician informed Channels Television that Kwankwanso may have been invited in relation to a petition by some retired employees of the Kano State Government.

The retired employees had told the EFCC that the former governor mismanaged pension remittances to the tune of N10 billion between 2011 and 2015, to fund a housing project for his cronies.

EFCC spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren did not comment on the interrogation of the former governor when contacted on Saturday.

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Crisis rocks Kano APC as Ganduje, Shekarau hold parallel Congress

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Aminu Abdullahi

Crisis rocked Kano chapter of All Progressive Congress (APC), as Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje and faction loyal to former governor of Kano and serving Senator Ibrahim Shekarau held parallel state congress.

KANO FOCUS reports that while Ganduje group held their congress at Sani Abacha stadium, faction loyal to Shekarau had their own at Janguza town, Tofa local government area.

Ganduje’s led group endorsed Abdullahi Abbas as state chairman of APC for a second term in a consensus arrangement, while the faction loyal to Shekarau announced Ahmadu Haruna Zago as newly elected chairman of APC in Kano state.

Reports shows that the security have earlier disrupted Shekarau’s camp congress at Sani Abacha youth centre and sealed the premises before they moved to Janguza where they held the election.

Below are some pictures of the parallel Congress.

Governor Abdullahi Ganduje while voting at Sani Abacha stadium

 

Governor Abdullahi Ganduje with APC chieftains

 

Delegates at Sani Abacha stadium

Ballot box

Factional chairman of Kano APC Ahmadu Haruna Zago

Ahmadu Haruna Zago and Abdilkadir Jobe

APC factional congress at Janguza

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NCC moves to address poor network service at densely populated Kano markets – Prof Danbatta.

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Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta

Nasiru Yusuf

 

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) Umar Garba Danbatta says the commission will address the poor network at Kantin Kwari, Sabongari Singer and Kurmi markets.

KANO FOCUS reports that Danbatta announced revealed this while responding to complaint raised by a participant at a two day stakeholders consultative meeting tagged ‘talk to the regulator’ organised by Nigerian Communications Commission in Kano.

The complainer noted that that there is poor telecommunications service in Kantin Kwari, Sabongari, Singer and Kurmi markets in Kano metropolitan area.

Danbatta responded that the commission will deploy investigative team to determine the nature of the problem and proffer solution.

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta

“We have the capacity to monitor the performance of MNOs, that is the most important thing. Because of this valid observation by our stakeholder, we are going to direct our searchlight in those areas where we think the quality of service needs to improve.

“And if it is necessary, we will send the investigative team what is the nature of the quality of service in such places with a view to improve the quality of the service,” Danbatta said.

The Executive Vice Chairman explained that the commission considers stakeholder feedback “as a critical component of our forward – looking regulatory model.”

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta with senior management staff of NCC

“Hence, the overarching objective of this forum is to get direct feedback from our licensees on how we, as a regulator, are meeting your expectations, and on areas where we can improve our regulatory service, particularly those that have to do with licensing.

“We also intend to use this forum to seek your support for the several initiatives that the commission has carefully developed in our quest to enhance market opportunities for all our licensees.”

Danbatta added that the commission will focus it’s energies for the next five years on five strategic pillars.

Participants

The pillars according to him include “organisational renewal for operational efficiency and regulatory excellence.

“Facilitate the provision of infrastructure for a digital economy which fosters national development.

“Improve quality service (QoS) for enhanced consumer quality of experience (QoE).

“Promote fair competition, inclusive growth, increased investment and innovative services as well facilitate strategic collaboration and partnership.”

Participants

He disclosed that the federal government has articulated a number of critical policy objectives for the sector such as those articulated in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025), the Revised National Digital Identity Policy for SIM Registration among others.

He added that the instruments require the full and unalloyed commitment of all stakeholders to ensure their successful implementation, and the meeting in Kano would provide a veritable channel for licensees’ buy-in.

Participants

In his address the Director of Licensing and Authorisation Department, Mohammed Babajika, said the commission is further liberalising the telecoms industry by finalising the framework for Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) and is currently reviewing existing regulations.

“The Commission is also finalising the Information Memorandum (IM) for 5G deployment, emerging trends like Internet of Things (loT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Over The Top (OTT) Services and Big Data Analytics, all aimed at initiating strategies to improve service delivery that is accessible and affordable.

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