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More Abacha loot: Swiss govt has returned over $1.04b to Nigeria since 1999, says Magu

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SINCE 1999, Swiss Government has returned about $1.040 billion looted by the late Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha and his family members to Nigeria, it was learnt yesterday.

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Acting Chairman Ibrahim Magu gave the information in a presentation at the International Association of Anti-Corruption Authorities, (IAACA), in Vienna, Austria where he spoke about the need for an effective international collaboration by law enforcement agencies to combat corruption.

He said the cost of corruption was enormous and needed a broader approach to be tackled.

The excerpts of Magu’s submission were made available to reporters by the EFCC’s Acting Head of Media and Publicity Mr. Tony Orilade.

Magu said: “Successes recorded in recovery of stolen assets have been achieved through Memoranda of Understanding, (MoU) signed between Nigeria and several countries, including Switzerland, the United Kingdom (UK), the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and the United States (U.S.) in line with Article 57 paragraph 5 of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption, UNCAC.

“The UK government returned stolen funds to Nigeria in the cases of Dariye and Alamieyeseigha, with over five million pounds recovered from the former Bayelsa State governor in 2012.

“In the case of Joshua Dariye, a former Governor of Plateau State in Nigeria, the British government also returned £48,000 to Nigeria in fulfillment of the UK’s commitments under Chapter V of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.

“In 1999, the Swiss authorities, pursuant to a request for mutual legal assistance, returned about $723m to Nigeria.

“A tripartite MoU between the Swiss government, the World Bank and Nigerian government also led to the return of additional $320 million Abacha loot.

“Other classes of recoveries made by the EFCC included whistle blowers cash recoveries, subsidy payment cash recoveries, third party cash recovery for NNPC, FIRS, NPA, AMCON and banks.

“In 2017, EFCC made a total recovery of N473, 065,195,977.50, $142,504,121.12, and most of the recoveries, were non-conviction based asset recovery.”

Magu listed some of them to include, real estates belonging to Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, a former Petroleum Minister and her associates; $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218,000 recovered in an apartment at Osborne Road, Ikoyi, Lagos in 2017; $9,772,800 and £74,000 cash in Kaduna, belonging to Andrew Yakubu, a former Group General Manager of NNPC in 2017.”

Magu called for more international collaboration and synergy on repatriation of stolen wealth.

“Corruption is acknowledged to have been an impediment to sustainable development in Africa, and the cost is so enormous that there is an urgent need for international collaboration for success to be achieved,” he said.

According to him, “though the international community has created legal and institutional frameworks for the prevention and recovery of proceeds of corruption, recovery of stolen assets stashed away in foreign lands still remains a major issue to be tackled.”

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Pastor accused of breaking member’s marriage

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Mr Tertsea Daagu, a member of the NKST Church, has accused a Pastor of the Church, Terlanga Unongu, of “causing confusion” in his relationship with his wife, Wandoo Daagu.

Daagu stated this during his defense in a divorce case brought against him by his wife, before a Makurdi Upper Area Court.

“I have never beaten my wife or accused her of adultery; it is my wife that admitted before our NKST Church Committee that she has committed adultery with one Rev Terlanga Unongu, a Pastor of the Church.

“I have not accused my wife of having an affair, but she has confessed to having an affair with Rev Terlanga Unongu.

“In 2007, she confessed to having an intimate affair with the Pastor when the Church committee took up the matter. I have the evidence with me written in Tiv language.

“Though the committee could not give an appropriate resolution, we appealed to the General Synod where a resolution was passed.”

He denied ever beating the woman, and claimed that she left his house with the approval of her father.

Daagu said that he was not opposed to divorce, adding that he was also not opposed to his wife having full access to their three kids.

It was gathered that Mrs. Wandoo Daagu had petitioned the court to dissolve the marriage, citing alleged brutality and “unnecessary” accusations of infidelity.

Wandoo, who said that she married her husband according to the Tiv Native Laws and Customs at Amua, Gaav in Konshisha Local Government Area in 2000, told the court that there was no longer love between them.

“We have three children; after nursing our last daughter, my husband started accusing me of being unfaithful.

“He kept attacking me and would be beat me up at the slightest provocation. I reported this cruelty to his parents, but instead of intervening, they took sides with him,” she said.

Wandoo said that she left Daagu’s house in 2008, when the cruelty became unbearable.

“Since I left his house, my husband has never visited me or my parents to discuss our issue. He has no respect for my parents,” she said.

She urged the court to dissolve the marriage and grant her full access to their three children.

The Judge, Ms Adole Akintomide, has adjourned the case to Dec. 14, for judgment.

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South Korea to donate $8m in aid for hungry North

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South Korea approved $8 million in humanitarian aid for the impoverished North on Wednesday, authorities said, with negotiations over Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal deadlocked and inter-Korean relations at a standstill.

It will be the first such aid Seoul has provided Pyongyang since 2015 and follows the North’s lowest recorded harvest for a decade, according to the United Nations.

The donation — to be made through the UN — comes as President Moon Jae-in seeks to salvage diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington following the breakdown of the Hanoi summit when Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump failed to reach a deal on the North’s nuclear programme and sanctions relief.

Pyongyang has since largely cut off contact with both Seoul and Washington, with the South’s unification minister saying this week he had last spoken to a North Korean official at the beginning of May.

Seoul’s Unification Ministry, which handles inter-Korean relations, said the government had approved a plan to provide the funds amid concerns over the “worsening food situation”.

It will be given $4.5 million to the World Food Programme (WFP) to help address malnutrition, along with $3.5 million to UNICEF for health issues among children and pregnant women.

More than 10 million North Koreans — 40 percent of the population — were suffering from severe food shortages, according to recent UN estimates. The figure is similar to recent years.

“WFP and other international bodies have requested assistance to the North on the back of concerns for deteriorating conditions among the vulnerable there,” the ministry said in a statement.

It is the first humanitarian aid implemented by Moon’s government, but a North Korean propaganda outlet has already dismissed it as “non-essential” for inter-Korean relations.

If the South “sincerely wishes for sustained development, peace and prosperity”, it should implement the inter-Korean economic joint projects agreed last year instead of “raising the issue of humanitarian aid”, the state-run Uriminzokkiri website said in a commentary last month.

Several sets of sanctions, imposed on the North over its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, currently block many proposed developments.

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Tragedy as gunmen behead businessman in Rivers

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Gunmen on Wednesday night killed and beheaded a middle-aged businessman simply identified as Chima.

It was gathered that the victim was shot and killed before he was beheaded by his assailants in the presence of his wife at Rumuekini community in Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.

An eyewitness, who spoke on condition of anonymity, stated that the incident happened around 11:00 p.m., adding that the killers put off the victim’s power generating set as a ploy to lure him out of his house.

It was gathered that the victim came out to check why his generator suddenly went off but was accosted by the gunmen, who shot, killed and beheaded him.

The source said, “The incident is shocking. Last night, Chima sat outside with his brothers and friends at a joint on the school road.

“Later around 11:00 p.m., we heard that he was attacked in his house. We heard that the killers turned off his generator and when he went outside to find out what happened to the generator, he was attacked.

“Immediately he came out, the boys shot him. He managed to run back into his house with the bullet, but the boys followed him, killed him and cut off his head.”

Another source explained that the hoodlums had ordered the wife of the deceased to bring a kitchen knife after they had killed her husband.

It was learnt that the gunmen used the kitchen knife to behead their victim and also ordered his wife to carry the head of her husband in a bucket into a waiting car before they zoomed off.

The killing and beheading of late Chima on Wednesday occurred despite the state governor’s stern warning to sanction Local Government chairmen and traditional rulers who condone criminality in their domain.

When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in Rivers State Nnamdi Omoni, confirmed the incident.

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