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N32bn not missing from sale of govt houses, court cleared me – Gov El-Rufai

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Governor Nasir El Rufai’s counsel, A.U Mustapha (SAN), says the governor did not at any time prevent the Economic and Financial Commission(EFCC) from performing its functions as widely misreported, rather he went to court to clear his name.

In a statement issued on Saturday evening by El-Rufai’s counsel, A.U Mustapha (SAN), the governor of Kaduna state said he approached the court in 2009 to clear his name when he was being smeared by the anti-graft agency.

El-Rufai was reacting to a widely reported news and comments which misrepresented Justice Binta Nyako’s reaffirmation of an earlier declaratory judgement, by portraying him as preventing EFCC to perform its duties

Mustapha(SAN) reiterated that “at no point did Malam Nasir El-Rufai seek to stop the EFCC from performing its statutory functions. He went to court in 2009 to defend his reputation against an EFCC that was leaking and smearing, not investigating.’’

According to the Senior Advocate of Nigeria, ‘’EFCC sustained a media campaign that N32bn was missing, compelling Malam El-Rufai to approach the court for a declaratory judgment which has since been given in his favour.’’

Mustapha(SAN) reminded that it was this declaratory judgement that Justice Nyako reaffirmed in her ruling, reiterating that the declaratory orders in favour of the former Minister of Federal Capital Territory(FCT) subsist.

El-Rufai’s counsel argued that a clarification becomes necessary because of ‘’the false and abjectly misleading reportage of the judgment of the Hon. Justice Binta Murtala Nyako of the Federal High Court, Abuja delivered on 29th November 2019.’’

The statement recalled that as Minister of FCT, El-Rufai allocated plots in Abuja to more than 27,000 Nigerians and presided over a transparent process that sold government houses and earned the Federal Government a whopping N32bn.

El-Rufai’s counsel recalled that an intensely politicised EFCC had allowed itself to be persuaded into smearing people.

Mustapha(SAN) argued that ‘’no decent man would permit slurs on such a stellar record. Therefore, Malam Nasir El-Rufai approached the court and the court agreed with him that there are no missing N32bn proceeds of the sale of government houses.’’

‘’The court also held that the proceeds of the sale of the government houses were properly accounted for and audited. He joined in the action the audit firm, the Central Bank and many other agencies, public and private,’’ the statement added.

The Senior Advocate of Nigeria recalled that El-Rufai had approached the court to determine three cogent issues.

‘’Whether the Applicant, as the then FCT Minister/Chairman, Federal Capital Development Authority, complied with the guidelines approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for the sale of Federal Government houses in the FCT (SOGH) between May 2005 and May 2007.

‘’Whether the proceeds of the sale of Federal Government houses in the FCT between May 2005-May 2007 were properly accounted for or not in accordance with the Federal Executive Council mandate and guidelines to the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA).

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‘’Whether the sum of N32 Billion (or any sum whatsoever) is missing from the proceeds of the Sale of Federal Government Houses in the FCT between May 2005 and May 2007.

Thereafter, Mustapha said El Rufai had sought seven reliefs from the court, which include ‘’a declaration that the sale of Federal Government houses in the FCT was conducted in accordance with the Federal Executive Council’s mandate to the FCTA through the Ad-hoc committee for the sale of non-essential houses in Abuja’

‘’A declaration that the proceeds of the Sale of the said Federal Government houses conducted by the Ad-hoc Committee on SOGH in Abuja between 2005 and 2007 were properly accounted for in accordance with the mandate and guidelines approved by the FEC;

‘’A declaration that the Audit Report prepared by the 12th and 13th Respondents on the Sale of Federal Government Houses in the FCT confirm that the Sale of Federal Government houses in FCT complied with the approved Guidelines for the Sale of Federal Government properties in FCT and the proceeds were properly accounted for.

‘’A declaration that the proceeds of sale of Federal Government Houses in FCT between May 2005 and May 2007 were properly apportioned and accounted for in accordance with the approved Guidelines as confirmed by the Audit Report of the 12th and 13th Respondents, dated 20th July 2007.

‘’An order of this Honourable Court directing the 3rd Respondent to disclose the exact amount of money remitted to the 5th Respondent as the proceeds of the sale of Federal Government houses in the FCT between May 2005 and May 2007.

‘’An order of this Honourable Court directing the 5th Respondent to disclose the exact amount received from the 3rd Respondent as the proceeds of the sale of Federal Government houses in the FCT between May 2005 and May 2007.

‘’A declaration that the sum of N32 Billion (or any sum whatsoever) from the proceeds of the Sale of Federal Government of Nigeria Houses in FCT between May 2005 and 2007 is not missing.

El-Rufai’s counsel reiterated that ‘’the fact remains that the court granted all the relief sought by our client, and we are satisfied with that.’’

The statement lamented that’’ some reporters will choose to twist the judge’s statement, made orbiter, that the EFCC could not be prevented from performing its functions, thus making it look as if this suit was about stopping or restraining the EFCC from the performance of its statutory duties.’’

According to Mustapha(SAN), ‘’what has happened is that Malam El-Rufai got justice from the court and protected his reputation against those peddling injurious and malicious falsehood

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Federal High Court, National Industrial Court get new Chief Judge, President

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The Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Tanko Muhammad, on Friday swore in Justice John Tsoho as the Chief Judge of the Federal High Court of Nigeria.

He also swore in Honourable Justice Benedict Bakwaph Kanyip, as President of the National Industrial Court.

The ceremony took place at the Ceremonial Court of the Supreme Court in Abuja.

The Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom was in attendance at the event.

After they took their oath of office, the CJN asked Chief Judge and President of the National Industrial Court not to allow anybody disturb their principles as they justifies the oath of office they took

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Muhammad said, “The Law is not respecter of anybody; deal with the situation as they are presented before you. Don’t have personal interest in any case before you,” the CJN cautioned.

Justice Tsoho was born on June 24, 1959 in Mbaduku in Benue State.

He obtained his law degree from the University of Lagos in 1984 and was called to Bar in 1985.

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Enugu IGR boost, fallout out from Ugwuanyi’s measures – ESIRS

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The Enugu State Internal Revenue Service (ESIRS) has attributed the sustainable increase in the state’s Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) to the well-thought-out measures adopted by Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi’s administration.

Speaking during the taxpayers’ sensitization and enlightenment programme, organized by the Enugu State Internal Revenue Service (ESIRS), in conjunction with the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria (CITN), held at Enugu, the Chairman of ESIRS, Prince Emeka Odo, disclosed that the state government “has been implementing a cocktail of measures designed to make tax payment easier for tax payers in the state”.

The chairman stated that the event, which also witnessed the investiture of the State Accountant-General, Sir. Paschal Okolie, as Chairman, Enugu and District Society, Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, was to deepen the relationship between the tax authority and tax payers.

Odo noted that Ugwuanyi’s administration has been implementing “an ambitious four-point development agenda” aimed at positively impacting the lives of the people and stressed that such feat requires that government harnesses all the potential sources of internally generated revenues in the state without additional pressure on the people.

The chairman added that it was in the light of the above that the agency in conjunction with other related agencies of government embarked on the programme for effective result.

He disclosed that the revenue generation measures adopted by the state government include, early adoption of Treasury Single Account (TSA) platform for accounting system, direct bank lodgment system, restructuring and strengthening of the revenue agency, automation of all revenue generating MDAs, vigorous tax payers’ enlightenment programmes in the media and streamlining of overlapping laws to address the issue of multiple taxation.

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Odo who revealed that voluntary tax compliance in the state has been on the increase as a result of the state government adopted measures, added that “it has also reflected positively on the IGR figures of the state which has risen progressively from about N14 billion in 2016 to N22 billion last year”. He said that “the figure for this year is expected to be much higher than that of last year”.

On her part, the Commissioner for Finance, Mrs. Adaonah Kene-Uyanwune, pointed out that tax matters are collective responsibility aimed at generating more revenues to the state for rapid development and socio-economic growth.

Maintaining that tax administrators, practitioners and payers are major players in taxation, the finance commissioner stressed that without taxation government will not meet up with its obligations to the public.

Mrs. Uyanwune stated that the era of focusing attention on oil as major source of government revenue is over, enjoining the public to always pay their tax for them to continue enjoying meaningful developments.

She, therefore, applauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for his untiring efforts in repositioning the state Internal Revenue Service as well as the revenue agency for achieving an enviable landmark in revenue generation for the state.

In his acceptance speech, the newly inaugurated Chairman of Enugu and District Society, CITN, Sir. Okolie, appreciated members of the body for finding him worthy to serve and promised to discharge his duties diligently and with the fear of God.

  1. “I would like to thank the entire members of Enugu and District Society for unanimously choosing me to superintend over the affairs of the district at this time, without rancour”, he said.

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Mechanic bags 12 months jail term for fraud

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An Ejigbo Magistrate Court in Lagos State has sentenced one Olayemi Olowo, a mechanic to 12 months imprisonment for defrauding his customer to the tune of N150,000.

The complaint, Noah Okeke, is said to be Olowo’s regular customer who usually got his vehicles repaired at his workshop at Peter Agha Street, Ejigbo.

The prosecutor, Kenneth Asibor, explained that sometimes in August 2019, Noah asked Olowo, being a mechanic, to help him get a mini bus popularly called korope.

He explained: “They both went round on market survey to get the price and Olowo being a mechanic, was thought to know the best vehicle. The two of them, after the survey, concluded that they could get the bus at the rate of N150,000, which was given to him (Olowo) at the Jari Filling Station, Oke-Afa Ejigbo, Lagos to get the bus.

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“After collecting the money, the defendant disappeared with the money and was nowhere to be found.

“The complaint then reported the matter to the police who later arrested Olowo and charged him to court after he had confessed to the offence.”

At the court sitting, the defendant pleaded guilty of the offence.

The presiding magistrate, Mr. Teslim Shomade, therefore sentenced him to 12 months imprisonment with hard labour with the alternative of N100,000 fine.

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