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250 illegal revenue collectors arrested in Anambra

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Anambra State Commissioner for Economic Planning, Mark Okoye, said 250 illegal revenue collectors in the state have been arrested and charged to court.

Okoye, who disclosed this while briefing journalists in Awka on Friday, said government would ensure that justice was done to serve as a deterrent to erring citizens.

“We implore the public to shun any act that goes against the developmental vision of the state as the government would not hesitate to lawfully deal with any defaulter,” Okoye said.

The commissioner said that the government under the watch of Chief Willie Obiano was committed to delivering democratic dividends to the people.

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Okoye said the state government had presented a realistic budget to the state lawmakers for the year 2020 and assured the residents of better days ahead.

He urged all citizens to ensure they played their roles by paying their taxes, dues and levies to enable the government provide basic human amenities for their enjoyment.

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Okoye said that the state government had implemented the 2019 budget up to 85 per cent and assured that by end of the year, the budget would be reasonably implemented.

“We scaled down on the size of 2020 budget because we are a realistic government and we intend to have a people oriented budget,” he said.

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The Head of Tax Payer Education, Publicity and Enlightenment Team in Anambra State Revenue office, Mrs Sylvia Nwachukwu-Ngige, corroborated the claims of the commissioner.

“Since the arrest, people had been careful by doing the right thing towards government.

“Our office has since been crowded by people who come to pay or remit their revenue to avoid arrest and shutting down of their business premises,” she said.

 

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Crime

Diezani removed $70million from NNPC in 12 padlocked bags, witness says

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A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has heard that a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke in 2015 ordered the removal of $70million from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) in 12 padlocked bags.

A former NNPC official told Justice Muslim Hassan that he delivered the bags to an Abuja-based banker on Mrs Alison-Madueke’s instructions.

He testified that he and others “had a command-and-obey relationship and also took an oath of office to obey directives and authority.”

The ex-NNPC GM appeared as a prosecution witness in the trial of a former Executive Director of a first-generation bank, Dauda Lawal.

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Lawal is being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged money laundering of N928000000

The Commission accused Lawal of handling $25m out of a total of $153m, which Diezani allegedly doled out to influence the 2015 general elections.

The trial opened with the ex-NNPC GM appearing as the first prosecution witness.

Led in evidence by the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness narrated how he delivered the cash-loaded bags to the Abuja banker, one Charles, in the front of Dume Supermarket in Abuja.

The witness said:

“My lord, as I can remember, shortly before the 2015 elections, it was the norm for heads of subsidiaries (of the NNPC) to be invited for an undisclosed briefing of activities of their departments to the minister.

“At the end of such briefings, the then Honourable Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, gave me a GSM number in respect of one Charles, whom I had never met, with a clear instruction that I should convey 12 padlocked bags to the said Charles.

“My lord, the source, the content, and the purpose of the bags were not disclosed to me.

“Thereafter, I called the said Charles, who equally confirmed to me that he had been briefed about the message. I delivered the bags to Charles.

“Much later, my lord, the EFCC invited me for interrogation on the issue and I made a statement to that effect.

“Charles equally confirmed at the EFCC that he received the 12 padlocked bags and the bags contained the sum of $70m.”

Under cross-examination by the defence counsel, Patrick Ikwueto (SAN), the witness said he had never met Lawal before.

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Justice Hassan adjourned till 21, 22, and 23 of July for the continuation of trial.

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Crime

Gunmen allegedly abduct ex-Abia Customary Court Judge

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Gunmen have reportedly kidnapped a former customary court judge in Abia State, Chief Godwin Mejuru.

Mejuru, according to reports, was abducted at Okeikpe, Ukwa West council area of the state.

Mejuru was said to be on his way to Obehie town when the gunmen seized him at Okeikpe along the Azumini- Obehie road.

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Family sources said the kidnappers were yet to contact the family, raising fears about his safety.

Mejuru is described by residents of Obehie town as peace-loving and easy-going.

A resident said:

“Chief Godwin Mejuru is an easygoing and peace-loving person, who could have plotted against him?

“We only heard that he was returning to his residence at Obehie town. Nobody knows how the incident happened, maybe, he ran into the kidnappers on the road. We pray they release him unhurt.”

Efforts to get the reaction of the Police Public Relations Officer, Abia State Command, SP Geoffrey Ogbonna, was unsuccessful as the time of filing this report.

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Crime

Court orders man to sweep premises for three hours for stealing food

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A Life Camp Magistrates’ Court in Abuja, on Thursday, ordered a 30-year-old Labourer, Yusuf Muazu, to sweep the court premises for three hours for stealing a bowl of food and a cup of cold water.

The Police charged Muazu of no fixed address for criminal trespass and theft.

Muazu, however, pleaded guilty to the charges and begged the court for leniency.

“I plead for mercy, I want the court to forgive me. I was really hungry and I entered the woman’s’ kitchen and saw a pot of food and I fetched some and also a cup of water.”

Magistrate Sharon Tanko, in her ruling, said, being hungry does not give the convict the right to commit such offence, thus would be punished for his crime.

“The court having found the convict guilty of the offence and him being remorseful and not wasting the time of the court in admitting to his crime, is hereby ordered to engage in three hours community service.

“You are hereby ordered to pick up all the dirt’s and clean up the premises of Life Camp Magistrates’ Court for three hours under the supervision of the court registrar,’’ Tanko said.

The Magistrate further advised Muazu to relocate back to his home town at Kano or elsewhere where he can be meaningfully engaged to meet his daily needs.

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Earlier, the Prosecutor, ASP Peter Ejike, FCT Command, told the court that one Chidibere Lewechi of Life Camp, Abuja reported the matter at Life Camp police station, on July 1.

The Prosecutor alleged that the defendant smartly entered into the complainant’s compound and made his way into her kitchen without her consent.

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He told the court that the defendant stole a bowl of food with meat from the complainant’s pot with a cup of cold water.

Ejike alleged that while the defendant was about to leave the kitchen with the stolen items, the younger brother to the complainant caught him and held him down with the help of neighbours.

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He added that during police investigation, the defendant admitted to having committed the crime.

The Prosecutor said that the offence contravened Sections 348 and 288 of the Penal Code Law.

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