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Senate wants Petroleum Ministry under Buhari’s care to refund N98.4m collected for flyers

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Leaking National Assembly Justified N37b Budget For Repairs - Lawan

The Senate has frowned at the Ministry of Petroleum Resources for spending, without due process, N98.4 million to supposedly print leaflets.

The leaflets were said to have been printed as part of an awareness campaign programme for the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

President Muhamamdu Buhari is the sudstantive minister of Petroleum Resources ministry, a portfolio he has held since coming to office in 2015, while he also appointed a minister of state for the ministry, to oversee the days to day running of affairs.

The lawmakers unsatisfied with the explanation offered by the ministry, ordered it to return the money to the federation account.

It also asked the ministry to refund another N39 million paid into two personal accounts to monitor the project within Abuja.

The Senate Committee on Public Accounts (SPAC’s) gave the order following a query issued by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation in the 2015 report and brought before it for probe and presentation to the plenary of the Senate.

The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Mathew Uroghide (PDP Edo South) made this known to newsmen on Saturday.

The queries which were made available to newsmen read:

“Contrary to the procurement process, an entry in the cash book for the sum of N98.4 million was made in favour of a company for printing of leaflets for awareness campaign programme for the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).

“There was no formal award of contract and it was also observed that the approval for the payment was via memo presented by the Director (Press) to Ministerial Tender Board meeting of 9th and 11th October 2013.

“The permanent secretary had been requested to take procedural disciplinary measures against the erring officers in line with the provision with extant regulation.”

In its written response, the ministry replied that it made adequate publicity for the project.

“M/s Dangrace and partners Ltd were selected based on proven capabilities and competence.

“It should be stated that veritable costing proposals were submitted and approved before the Authorization for the award and production of Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) leaflets.

“The Department complied with necessary rule and procedure,” it said.

Another query to the ministry read, “Contrary to the e-payment policy of the Federal government the total sum of N39.7 million was paid to 178 staff of the ministry for project monitoring and evaluation in 2014.

“Instead of direct payment to individual accounts, the disbursement was paid 2 (two) accounts vide PV. Nos. MPR/CAP/828/2014 and MPR/CAP/826/2014 of 02/12/14.

“It was curious that 178 officers in the division of the Ministry could be involved in project monitoring and evaluation at the same time. Other irregularities observed duplication of officers names, duplication of locations, monitoring of projects outside the statutory purview of the Ministry and its parastatals, payment of DTA, and other traveling allowances to staff for monitoring parastatals located in Abuja.

“There was no evidence presented for audit review by the M & E division for the project monitoring exercise carried out by the 178 officers despite the payment of N1.4 million to coordinating secretariat for such purpose.

“To all intent and purpose, this expenditure cannot be accepted as a legitimate charge against public funds.”

The ministry replied, “The two staff were appointed as the project Accountants for the project. People were grouped and assigned to various projects for prudence and accountability.

“Reports were submitted to the appropriate Department which DPRD

“Due process and procedure were followed in the best interest of the service.

“Duplication of officers’ names and locations were due to officers visiting different places after grouping. No officer was paid DTA for monitoring parastatals within Abuja UT they were paid to monitor those outside Abuja.”

But the Senate committee, not satisfied, asked the officers of the ministry concerned to return the money to the federation account.

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Court Jails APC Senator Seven Years For Fraud

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Court Jails APC Senator Seven Years For Fraud

The Senator representing Delta North Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Peter Nwaoboshi of the All Progressives Congress (APC) , has been sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment.

The Court of Appeal in Lagos on Friday also ordered that the senator’s two companies, Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd and Suiming Electrical Ltd, be wound up in line with the provisions of Section 22 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2021.

The court’s ruling was delivered in an appeal challenging the judgment of Justice Chukwujekwu Aneke of the Federal High Court which on June 18, 2021, discharged and acquitted the defendants on two counts of fraud and money laundering. The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which arraigned him however challenged the lower court’s decision.

EFCC had arraigned the three defendants over the acquisition of a property named Guinea House, Marine Road, in Apapa, Lagos, for N805 million.

 READ ALSO: Why Move To Impeach Senate President Will Fail – Nwaboshi

Part of the money paid to the vendor – N322 million transferred by Suiming Electrical Ltd on behalf of Nwaoboshi and Golden Touch Construction Project Ltd – was alleged to be part of proceeds of fraud.

Earlier in his judgment, Justice Aneke said the evidence of the prosecutor “proved that the third defendant obtained a loan of N1.2 billion from Zenith Bank to purchase additional equipment and as provision of working capital”.

“It also proved that the loan of N1.2 billion together with interest of N24 million was properly granted to the third defendant .Nothing else was proved by the complainant or prosecutor in this case,” the EFCC quoted the judge as saying in a statement.

The high court judge was also quoted as claiming that a fatal blow was dealt to the case of the prosecution by its failure to call officials of Sterling Bank “to testify and probably tender exhibits F and F10. Consequently, he discharged and acquitted the defendants”.

However, ruling on the EFCC’s appeal on Friday, the Court of Appeal held that the trial judge erred in dismissing the charges against the respondents.

“The court said the prosecution had proved the ingredients of the offence and consequently found the defendants guilty as charged,” EFCC said.

 

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Drama In Court As Lawyer Appears In Priestly Attire

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VIDEO: Drama As Lawyer In Priestly Attire Appears In Court

By John Michael Ojo
There was a mild drama today at the Okpoko Magistrate Court in the Ogbaru Local Government Area of Anambra State, as a lawyer simply identified as Ogbachalu Goshen appeared before the court in a pastoral robe.

But Ogbachalu who was standing before the magistrate, CB Mbaegbu, was denied  hearing on the ground that he was not properly attired, leading to a minor incident in the court.

READ ALSO: Female Students Can Wear Hijab To Lagos Schools – Supreme Court

However,  citing a recent Supreme Court’s judgment which supported the wearing of hijab by female students in public schools as a reference point, Ogbachalu reminded the court that it was his right to dress in his priestly attire as he was an ordained pastor and that the objection by the court to hear him, was an infringement on his fundamental human right as enshrined in section 38 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria

The magistrate however disagreed his submission which only forced the court to dismiss.

 

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Court Orders Immigration, Banks To Release David Ukpo’s Details To Ekweremadu

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Court Orders Immigration, Banks To Release David Ukpo's Details To Ekweremadu

To enable detained former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu to effectively defend himself in London, a Federal High Court in Abuja on Friday ordered the Nigerian Immigration Service and three banks to immediately release details of David Ukpo to him.

Justice Inyang Ekwo issued the order while delivering judgment in a suit instituted by Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice.

The judgment against the defendants followed their non-appearance in court to defend the suit.

By the court order, all official information including the account opening package in relation to Ukpo are to be released to Senator Ekweremadu to ascertain the real age of the said Ukpo.

READ ALSO: Real Age Of Ekweremadu’s Kidney Donor – Immigration

Ukpo had claimed at a London court that he was a minor of 15 years old which led to the arrest and detention of the Nigerian Senator.

Other defendants are the Comptroller General (C-G), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS); Stanbic-IBTC Bank, United Bank of Africa (UBA), and Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc as 2nd to 5th respondents, respectively.

 

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