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Nigerian professor spends $200,000 research funds at US strip clubs

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A Nigerian professor at the US’s Drexel University misappropriated about $200,000 of federal grant money, investigators said on Monday.

56-year-old Dr. Chika Nwankpa allegedly blew the money in strip clubs and on other ‘improper purchases’.

Prosecutors revealed Monday that Nwankpa, for more than a decade, misappropriated funds issued by the Navy, the Department of Energy, and the National Science Foundation, to pay off hefty tabs at gentleman’s clubs and sports bars in the Philadelphia area.

Drexel, where Nwankpa worked as head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, discovered the alleged fraud in 2017 during an internal audit and alerted the government.

‘This is an example of flagrant and audacious fraud, and a shameful misuse of public funds.’ said US Attorney William McSwain.

‘The agencies providing these grant funds expect them to be used towards advancements in energy and naval technology for public benefit, not for personal entertainment.’

When investigators opened their probe later the same year, they’re said to have found that Nwankpa had been less than subtle about his extracurricular escapades.

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According to prosecutors, the professor submitted several improper charges against his federal grants for ‘goods and services’ billed at strip clubs, including Club Risque, Cheerleaders, and the Tacony Club, spanning from 2007 until 2017.

Investigators also found he’d been misspending government-issued funds in sports bars and on iTunes.

In total, Nwankpa was found to have misspent a total of $189,062, which had been intended for energy, science, and naval research.

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When confronted by authorities, Nwankpa came clean, admitting to being the culprit behind the unauthorized expenses and resigned from his post.

He also agreed to pay back $53,328 — less than a third of the overall bill he ran up.

McSwain lauded Drexel for reporting the matter but expressed disappointment that Nwankpa’s conduct ‘went unnoticed for so long.’

Drexel has agreed to pay $189,000 to resolve its potential civil liability in the case. The university said in a statement that it fully cooperated with the government investigation and since then it has improved its auditing controls.

‘Drexel takes allegations of unethical or unlawful business conduct on the part of any members of the university community very seriously and remains committed to being in full compliance with all billing regulations and requirements,’ the statement reads.

Meanwhile, Nwankpa was barred from federal contracting for six months, prosecutors said, but he has not been charged with a crime.

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A message seeking comment was left at a number for Nwankpa, who worked at Drexel for 27 years until his 2017 resignation.

During that time, he was considered among the university’s top contractors of research grant funds, boasting in his faculty bio that he landed more than $10 million in research money across his career.

An online profile for Nwankpa says he is now self-employed as an engineering consultant.

Crime

India police arrest Pigeon on suspicion of being a Pakistan spy

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India police arrest Pigeon on suspicion of being a Pakistan spy

The India police have arrested a pigeon on suspicion that it is a trained spy for Pakistan.

Indian officials said that the pink painted bird carrying a “coded message,” attached to its foot was alleged to have flown from across the border that separates Indian and Pakistan-controlled parts of Kashmir, according to reports.

Villagers living close to the border in Manyari turned the pigeon over to authorities after catching it along the border, Sky News reported.

Geeta Devi, a resident of the Kathua district of Indian-administered Kashmir, reported that the bird flew into her home Sunday night. Police logged the animal as a “Pak Suspected Spy” and launched an investigation to decipher the message, the outlet reported.

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“We don’t know where the bird has come from. Locals on our side captured it near our fence,” Kathua police’s senior superintendent Shailendra Mishra told the Times of India.

“The pigeon, suspected to be trained in Pakistan for spying, has a ring with letters and numbers written on it,” a police source said.

“Though birds have no boundaries and many fly across international borders during migration, a coded ring tagged to the captured pigeon’s body is a cause of concern as migratory birds have no such rings,” the source added.

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However, in an update, a Pakistani villager has urged Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to return his pigeon, currently being held in India on charges of spying.

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The man identified as Habibullah, who lives just 4km (2.5 miles) from the border, said he flew his pigeons to celebrate Eid festival.

This is not the first time birds have reportedly been used for espionage in the disputed territory in the past.

In 2016, the Indian police arrested a pigeon that was found carrying a warning note to Prime Minister Narendra Modi near the nation’s heavily militarized border with Pakistan.

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In 2013, Indian security forces found a dead falcon fitted with a small camera, and in 2010 another pigeon was detained over spying fears.

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Crime

Police arraign man, 26, over alleged fraud

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The police on Friday arraigned a 26-year-old man, Ilesanmi Ojo, before an Ado-Ekiti Chief Magistrates’ Court over alleged fraud.

The defendant of no fixed address is standing trial on a count charge of the alleged fraud.

The prosecutor, Insp. Oriyomi Akinwale told the court that the defendant committed the offense sometimes in the month of Dec. 2019 at Onala area in Ado-Ekiti.

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He alleged that the defendant, a mechanic, fraudulently obtained the sum of N155,000 from one Pastor Olusegun Olufowose to repair his Sienna vehicle.

Akinwale also alleged that the defendant duplicated the key of a Nissan Pathfinder Jeep with Reg. No. WWW 852 AE, belonging to the complainant without his consent.

He said the offenses contravened Sections 421 and 508 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ekiti State, 2012.

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The prosecutor asked the court for an adjournment to enable him to study the case file and assemble his witnesses.

The defendant pleaded not guilty.

His counsel, Mr. Olarewaju Oluwasola, urged the court to grant his client bail, with a promise that he would not jump bail.

The Chief Magistrate, Mrs. Olanike Adegoke, granted bail to the defendant in the sum of N100,000 with two sureties in like sum.

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She adjourned the case until June 24 for hearing.

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Crime

You have case to answer, court tells mechanic accused of manslaughter

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An Ikeja High Court on Friday told a mechanic, Taiwo Adeyemi, accused of killing a colleague during a physical scuffle, that he had to defend the manslaughter charge filed against him by the Lagos State Government.

Justice Hakeem Oshodi, delivering a ruling on a no-case submission filed by defence counsel, Mr Adetokunbo Agoro, said the prosecution for the state had presented sufficient evidence before the court to warrant Adeyemi putting up a defence.

According to reports the ruling on the no-case submission was originally slated to have been delivered on May 4 but was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delivering the ruling online, Justice Oshodi said: “From the evidence laid before the court by the prosecution, there has been no evidence that has been discredited by the defence.

“There is, however, ample evidence on the face of the court’s record which is legally admissible, that links the defendant to the deceased.

“There cannot be any dispute that death occurred after a fight. The defendant is said to be the other party of the fight.

“From the written submission of the defence counsel, he believes that there is no documentary and prima facie case laid out by the prosecution and that the evidence of the first and second prosecution witnesses are hearsay.

“To the court, the prosecution has made out a prima facie case for the defendant to face. Accordingly, the defendant is now called upon to open his defence.”

Following the ruling, the judge adjourned the case until July 27 for defence.

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Reports have it that Adeyemi is charged with manslaughter contrary to Section 227 of the Criminal Law of Lagos 2011.

He was arraigned at the High Court on June 5, 2017.

According to the prosecution led by Mr M.T. Adewoye, the defendant committed the offence at 1.00 p.m. on April 4, 2014, at a mechanic’s shed, located at Ashade Market, Mangoro, Agege, Lagos.

“The defendant had an argument with the deceased, Sikiru Oladeinde; during the scuffle, he hit the deceased with a plank that had nails attached to it.

“Oladeinde sustained some injuries and passed away some days later in hospital,” the prosecutor said.

During the trial, three witnesses testified on behalf of the prosecution — a welder and co-worker of the deceased, Mr Olujimi Ogunleye; the brother of the deceased, Mr Kehinde Oladeinde; and the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), Sgt. Felix Osunbu.

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