Justice D.U Okorowo of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, has convicted and wound up Marqott Nigeria Limited, one of the 30 companies associated with the Process and Industrial Development Limited, P & ID, for money laundering.
The company was convicted on Thursday, June 16, 2022 after being found guilty of four count charges bordering on money laundering preferred against it by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Count one of the charge read: “That you, Marqott Nigeria Limited, being a designated Non-financial Institution; and Giovanni Beccarelli, Valentina Fantoli, and Dimitri Duca, being directors of and signatories to the bank account of Marqott Nigeria Limited, sometime in September 2014, in Abuja, within the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, failed to comply with the requirements of submitting to the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, a declaration of activities of Marqott Nigeria Limited contrary to Section 16(1) (f) read together with Section 5(1)(a)(ii) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011(as amended and you thereby committed an offence punishable under section 16(2)(b) of the same Act.”
Count two read: “That you, Marqott Nigeria Limited, being a designated Non-financial Institution; and Giovanni Beccarelli, Valentina Fantoli, and Dimitri Duca, being directors of and signatories to the bank account of Marqott Nigeria Limited, sometime in September 2014, in Abuja, within the Abuja Judicial Division of the Federal High Court, failed to develop programs to combat money laundering and other illegal acts, to wit: failure to designate at management level a compliance officer within any strata of Marqott Nigeria Limited, contrary to Section 16(1)(f) read together with Section 9(1)(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended) and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 16 (2)(b) of the same Act”.
At the point of first arraignment on February 7, 2022, the defendant pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, setting a stage for full trial.
In the course of the trial, the EFCC presented many witnesses and tendered many documents as exhibits.
In his judgment, Justice Okorowo found Marqott Nigeria Limited guilty of all the four count charges and convicted it accordingly. He also ordered that the company be wound up and its entire assets forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Marqott was first arraigned on Monday, February 7, 2022 for being an accomplice in the $9.6bn Gas Supply and Processing Agreement between the Ministry of Petroleum Resources and P&ID.
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Suspended NBA General Secretary, Joyce Oduah Sues Exco Members, Challenges Suspension
The suspended General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mrs Joyce Oduah has filed a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja against the association, its national executives and the Inspector General of Police.
In the suit filed by her Counsel, Murtala Abdul-Rasheed (SAN), Joyce Oduah is challenging her suspension from office after an emergency meeting held by the National Executive Committee on Monday, the 15th of August, 2022.
She claimed that her purported suspension as the General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) pursuant to the Resolution of the emergency meeting of the National Executive committee of the NBA held on the 15th day of August 2022 is unconstitutional, null, void and of no effect whatsoever for being a gross violation of Section 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Sections 239, 242 and 288 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 and the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association, 2015 (as amended) in 2021.
She is also asking the court to determine five issues, namely:
Whether or not having regards to the provisions of Sections 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Sections 11(9), 20 and 21 of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association, 2015 (as amended in 2021) and Sections 239, 242 and 288 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020, the 3rd – 11th Defendants have the vires to suspend the Plaintiff from the office of the General Secretary of the Nigerian Bar Association, (the 1st Defendant herein).
Whether or not having regards to the provisions of Sections 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Sections 11(9), 20 and 21 of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association 2015 (as amended in 2021 and Sections 239, 242 and 288 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 the purported resolution of the emergency meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association held on the 15th day of August 2022, is null, void, illegal and unconstitutional.
Whether or not having regards to the provisions of Sections 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Sections 11(9), 20 and 21 of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association 2015 (as amended in 2021 and Sections 239, 242 and 288 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 the notice of the meeting of the National Executive Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association held on the 15th day of August 2022 which did not contain the suspension of the Plaintiff as one of its agenda is null and void ab initio and a breach of the Plaintiff’s right to a fair hearing.
Whether having regards to Sections 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Sections 11(9), 20 and 21 of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association 2015 (as amended in 2021), as well as Sections 239, 242 and 288 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 the procedure adopted by the National Executive Committee in the purported suspension of the Plaintiff is not unlawful and a breach of the Plaintiff’s right to a fair hearing;
Whether having regards to Sections 36 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), Sections 11(9), 20 and 21 of the Constitution of the Nigerian Bar Association 2015 (as amended in 2021), as well as Sections 239, 242 and 288 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020), the decision by the NBA-NEC to suspend the Plaintiff was not unjust and done in utmost bad faith.
On Monday, the NBA national officers unanimously suspended the general secretary, Mrs Joyce Oduah from office. Nine of the 11 officers who signed the resolution authorizing the suspension also resolved to refer her to the NBA National Executive Council for disciplinary action and to recommend her removal from office for gross misconduct.
The National Executive Council will sit on the 25th of August at the Annual General Meeting of the Annual General Conference of the Association scheduled to hold in Lagos.
It will be the last sitting under the Akpata administration as the President-elect, Yakubu Maikyau (SAN) and his team will be sworn in on Friday the 26th of August.
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ASUU-FG Meeting Ends In Deadlock, Strike To Continue
Tuesday’s meeting between the leadership of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) and the Federal Government has again ended without an agreement.
This means the six-month old strike by public university lecturers is set to continue.
The striking lecturers had met with the Professor Nimi Briggs Committee on Tuesday at the National University Commission in Abuja with high hopes of resolving the impasse.
A senior member of ASUU, who craved anonymity told Channels Television that members of the Briggs renegotiation committee did not come with any new offer on the table.
Instead, the ASUU source said, the committee plead with the lecturers to suspend the ongoing strike, with promises that their concerns will be included in the 2023 budget.
According to the source, the meeting, which started at about 12pm, lasted for about three hours without any agreement reached.
ASUU embarked on a four-week warning strike on February 14.
On March 14, the union extended the industrial action by another two months to allow the government meet all of its demands. A 12-week extension was announced on May 9.
Since May 9, the union has remained on strike, vowing to persist until its demands are met.
The academics are seeking improved welfare, revitalisation of public universities and academic autonomy among other demands.
One bone of contention for the academics is the non-payment of university revitalisation funds, which amounts to about N1.1 trillion.
But the Federal Government has said it doesn’t have the money to pay such an amount, citing low oil prices during the Muhammadu Buhari administration.
The agreement was struck in 2009.
Another is the issue of the Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS).
The academics have proposed an alternative payroll system, the University Transparency and Accountability Solution (UTAS).
1,497 total views, 1,369 views today
Flush Out Every Criminal Elements In Imo, IGP Charges Officers
The Inspector General of Police, Baba Alkali, on Tuesday, ordered security operatives in the state to decimate the “enemies” of the state.
The IGP, who gave the charge at the state government House while inaugurating the Amorured Personnel Carriers procured by the state government to aid the fight against banditry, said that the state was strategic in the economy of the South-East zone.
Alkali said that the procurement of APCs would serve as a morale booster for his men in fighting criminals in the state.
He said that his office was always ready to collaborate with the state government to get the state rid of criminal elements in the state.
“With utmost professionalism and absolute synergy among security agencies in the fight against criminality, the people believe unwarranted attacks by criminals will soon be brought to the bearest in Imo State,” he said.
The state governor, Hope Uzodimma, said that his administration was committed to the security and prosperity of the state.
Uzodiinma said, “Although security is in the exclusive list of the Federal Government, the reality is that all tiers of government must synergize to ensure the protection of property and lives of the citizenry. Since the inception of my administration, I have always worked with the federal government and the security agencies to ensure that Imo Stare is safe for our people, residents, and visitors.
“Therefore, what we are doing today is not a coincidence but a deliberate and sustainable effort aimed at enhancing the capacity of the police to execute their constitutional law enforcement mandate.
“You will recall that shortly after I assumed office, I procured more than 100 patrol vehicles equipped with modern communication gadgets for the police and other security agencies to help them fight crime and criminality in the state. We followed that up with the donation of the first set of Armoured Personnel Carriers.
“Today, on behalf of the state government, I am presenting for the commissioning and immediate deployment of additional 10 numbers of Armoured Personal Carriers and other vehicles to further strengthen the effectiveness of the police force in the state. This latest donation has been necessitated by the fact that the police have become targets of attacks across the country, including here in Imo State. They are intended to protect the Police from such heartless attacks, to enable them to protect us.
“Conscious of the fact that the price of peace is eternal vigilance, it is only fit and proper that we should provide the police with the necessary equipment to maintain the peace we need.
“As I have always said, there can be no development without peace. Let me reiterate the fact that the government under my watch will do all we can to protect the lives and property of all citizens and residents of Imo state. I am aware that the sponsors of insecurity in the state are not tired of trying to make the state ungovernable for us.
“They continue to deploy every instrument at their disposal, including sheer blackmail, propaganda which they easily spread via Social Media to misinform and incite the public against my administration. They even went as far as trying to set the state against the federal government and other ethnic groups by engaging in all manner of propaganda. But, they will continue to fail because they do not mean well to the people, and the victory of good over evil is always assured.
“Those who will stop at nothing, including shedding the blood of innocent citizens, to get to power must know that they will be held accountable for their evil deeds either here on earth or hereafter. Let me, therefore, use this auspicious occasion to once again call on such people to always remember that the need to secure the collective peace of Imo people should always come before our personal ambitions. They should give peace a chance it deserves.
“As the Governor of the state, let me assure the good people of Imo state that I will continue to do my utmost best to ensure that Imo remains safe for everyone, including investors. I hereby reiterate my appeal to our youths to shun violence in any form and embrace the empowerment programmes of the state government. Always remember crime does not pay. Don’t ever allow any politician to use you for his selfish purposes.
“To our security agencies, especially the police, the state government under my watch will continue to make your jobs easier. As you continue to diligently and gallantly serve the country, always know that you are not alone.”
1,573 total views, 893 views today
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