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Breaking: EFCC Speaks More On Why Okorocha Was Arrested

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Senator Rochas Okorocha was grilled at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday for “suspected multiple cases of fraud and money laundering during his tenure as governor”.

Okorocha, representing Imo West in the Senate, was governor between 2011 and 2019.

He was arrested about 4pm according to a source in the anti-graft agency to answer questions on various allegations leveled against him including alleged N7.9 billion fraud.

The ex-governor is also being probed for another N1.5 billion hospital linked to one of his former aides.

The EFCC had secured a final forfeiture order on the hospital in the court of Justice T G Ringim of the Federal High Court in Owerri.

The state-of-the art 200-bed Dews of Hope Hospital, Owerri, was suspected to have been built with Imo State funds when Okorocha held the forte as governor.

An EFCC source said: “The ex-governor has been on the EFCC radar in the last three years over alleged N7. 9 billion money laundering. One of our investigators appeared in court and declared why he was wanted.

“He also has questions to answer on a separate N1.5 billion hospital built with funds from the Imo State accounts and traced to one of his former aides.

“On July 25, 2019, we invoked Section 17 of the Advance Fee Fraud, and other Related Offences Act 2006 to seize the hospital which ex-aide disowned.

“Okorocha has to explain the mystery behind the hospital. His former aide and members of board of directors of the hospital said they did not know how it was built.

“The managing director of the hospital, on invitation, could not also explain how the hospital project was funded.

“But, preliminary investigation confirmed that a former permanent secretary during Okorocha’s administration was a signatory to the hospital’s accounts.”

The source added: “There may be other multiple cases as uncovered by the past and present administrations in the state. He is undergoing interrogation as I speak with you.”

It was unclear if Okorocha will be quizzed over N112.8 billion “dubious debts” owed the state by nine commercial banks.

A Commission of Inquiry had recommended that Okorocha should account for the debts.

The Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said: “It is true that Okorocha has been arrested. It is about a case some of you are familiar with.”

Okorocha’s arrest was the climax of his attempt to stop his investigation by the EFCC in the last one year.

On May 18, last year, the former governor filed a suit to stop the EFCC from probing him.

He prayed the court to “direct the 1st defendant (EFCC) and the 3rd to the 10th defendants (the Imo state attorney-general (AG) and the Justice Iheaka-led probe panel on contract awards) to stay all further actions and proceedings until the 2nd defendant (the state AG) decides who should carry out the investigation.”

But on July 8, a Federal High Court in Abuja refused his application to restrain the EFCC from investigating him for alleged financial violations while in office.

Okorocha has also been having a running battle with Imo State Governor Hope Uzodimma over alleged acquisition of public assets, including a university.

The state government also linked him to the recent attacks on Owerri by gunmen who invaded the state police headquarters and the Correctional Centre where they freed almost 2,000 prisoners.

Culled from the Nation.

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Breaking: FCT Minister Cancels Eid-il-Fitr Prayer Gathering In Abuja

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The Minister of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Mallam Muhammad Musa Bello has disclosed that Eid prayers will not be held at the National Eid prayer ground in Abuja.

Bello, in a press release made available by his Chief Press Secretary, Anthony Ogunleye, on Tuesday, said the decision was in compliance with the COVID-19 renewed restrictions.

He enjoined all worshippers to join the Eid prayers in their neighbourhood and reiterated that indoor worships will only be limited to less than 50 persons.

The minister advised that all COVID-19 guidelines should be adhered to over the third and fourth phase of the pandemic.

“There will be no Eid prayers at the National Eid prayer ground along the Umaru Musa Yar’adua Expressway (Airport Road),” the statement read in part.

“All worshippers are enjoined to hold Eid prayers outdoors within the premises of their neighbourhood Juma’at mosques.

“Indoor worship are to be limited to less than 50% of installed capacity.

“Religious authorities are advised to regulate the flow of people entering and exiting places of worship.

“All non-pharmaceutical intervention protocols of facial coverings, physical distancing and hand washing are to be observed

“All other Eid celebrations and activities should be confined to homes as all public parks, recreation and entertainment centres are to be closed.”

Recall that at the Presidential Steering Committee on COVID-19 briefing on Monday, the National Incident Manager, Mukhtar Mohammed announced a nationwide curfew to curb the spread of the virus.

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Breaking: Rev Father Mbaka Bows, Shuts Down Adoration Ministry

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Enugu Catholic Priest, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka has announced a shutdown of the Adoration Ministry for a period of one month.

This may not be unconnected to the earlier directive given to him by the Catholic Bishop of Enugu Diocese, Bishop Calistus Onaga.

The ministry sent out a notice early Tuesday morning informing members that Fr. Mbaka was proceeding on a one-month private prayer retreat.

It was, however, silent on whether it was in obedience to the Bishop’s order.

A message to that effect obtained by DAILY POST read: “Our Spiritual Director, Rev Fr Ejike Mbaka wishes to inform his beloved adorers that he has embarked on a private prayer retreat that will end on 10th June 2021.

“Consequently, no ministry activities shall be held in the ministry ground pending his return.

“He directs that members of the ministry are to observe this period of his retreat as they used to do during the usual January breaks of the ministry, by praying at their homes, being charitable and fasting according to their ability. Adoration! Holy Spirit is our Power.”

More to come…

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Breaking: Armed Robbers Storm Aso Rock Villa, Buhari’s Aides’ Houses Raided

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Armed men suspected to be robbers invaded the residences of two senior aides to President Muhammadu Buhari inside the precinct of the Presidential Villa, administration officials and security sources have told Peoples Gazette, raising fears that the rising insecurity across the country was drawing closer to the elite than previously estimated.

The incident on May 9 (yesterday) prompted Ibrahim Gambari and Abubakar Maikano, the chief of staff and admin officer, respectively, to abandon their residences, sources said.

“Their houses were robbed and the robbers packed money and other valuable assets from both houses,” an aide to the informed about the robbery told The Gazette.

It was not immediately clear whether or not valuable documents of state interest were carted away by the intruders, but The Gazette heard that the residences were thoroughly ransacked.

“The robbers took away as much as possible from both places,” a security officer that confirmed the incident said. “What is more unfortunate is that no one has been arrested.”

Officials also said Mr Gambari was given an official residence at the Defence House, but has not been living there, preferring instead to live inside Aso Rock and be close to the president.

Nigeria’s presidential palace just west of the city centre has long been seen as highly fortified and far beyond the reach of burglars, bandits and other criminals currently holding the vast swathes of the country to ransom.

But as criminal activities overshadow other matters of national consequences, Mr Buhari has faced calls to act urgently before it would be too late.

Armed bandits have abducted thousands of citizens since January alone, claiming billions in ransom payments at an alarming rate.

No explanation was immediately rendered for the invasion and why it was not prevented by the ubiquitous contingent of security officers, especially those of the State Security Service, guarding the fortress.

Mr Gambari did not immediately return a request seeking comments.
A spokesman for the SSS said he would not comment on the matter and a spokeswoman for the police in Abuja abruptly disconnected the call upon hearing The Gazette’s enquiry was about a security breach at the Presidential Villa.

 

Source : People Gazette

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