NIGERIA: Ogbulafor begs court to dismiss charge against him

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Read Time:1 Minute, 38 Second

Erstwhile chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Prince Vincent Ogbulafor, yesterday, begged Justice Ishaq Bello of an Abuja High Court in Abuja to dismiss the 17-count amended criminal charge that was preferred against him by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission, ICPC.

Ogbulafor was on June 21, 2010, arraigned before the high court on allegation that he conspired with two others, Mr. Emeka Ebilah and Mr. Jude Nwokoro, and defrauded the Federal Government to the tune of N2.2billion in 2001.

The former PDP boss was said to have used his position as the head of National Economic Intelligence Committee, NEIC, set-up to verify debts owed local contractors, to okay as genuine, several forged documents, which were relied upon to certify that three bogus companies, executed jobs worth over N2.2billion.

The three fake companies they allegedly floated in 2001 to siphon N82.6m, N11.5m and N6.2m respectively, were listed by the anti-graft agency in its charge sheet as, Henrichiko Nig Ltd, DHL Consultants and Chekwas Industries.

Besides, ICPC told the trial court that its investigations revealed that Ogbulafor collected kickbacks of N2m and N28m from the second and third accused persons Messrs. Ebulah and Chris Nwoke, respectively to facilitate the release of the funds.

At the resumed hearing on the matter, yesterday, Ogbulafor, who was billed to open his defence vis-a-vis the charge, through his counsel Chief J.K Gadzama, SAN, entered a no-case-submission, insisting that the totality of the proof of evidence tendered before the court, failed to establish a prima-facie criminal case against him.

Meantime, admitting that he actually collected N2million from the second accused person, Ogbulafor, maintained that the fund was given to him to support his campaign for the PDP national chairmanship position, adding that he had already left office by then.

After listening to the parties, yesterday, Justice Bello adjourned the case till March 26 for ruling.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: Court orders IGP, 2 others to pay lawyer N25.5m as damages

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An Owerri High Court presided over by Justice Nonyerem Okoronkwo, has ordered the Inspector General of Police to pay a Lagos-based legal practitioner, Mr. Emeka Ozoani, N25.2 million instead of the N50 billion sought as aggravated damages for assault and humiliation.

Delivering the judgment that lasted nearly two hours, yesterday, Justice Okoronkwo said others who are to jointly and severally pay the bill include the Assistant Inspector General of Police in charge of Zone 9 Umuahia and Julius Berger Plc.

The High Court Judge agreed that Ozoani simply acted as counsel to Mrs. Philomena Ugo, a staff of Imo State University, Owerri, irrespective of his relationship to the woman.

“The police have no hiding place under the law, in this matter before me. The arrest or attempted arrest of a lawyer stepping out of a courtroom, which attracted lawyers and the state Chief Judge, Hon. Justice Benjamin Njemanze is most disgraceful,” Okoronkwo said.

Okoronkwo wondered why Julius Berger Plc, through their lawyer, turned round to accuse counsel and client of forging documents earlier tendered in court and no objections raised during trial in suit, HOW/581/2007 earlier decided by Hon. Justice Ngozi Benardine Ukoha.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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NIGERIA: EFCC to arraign company director for alleged fraud

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Read Time:1 Minute, 56 Second

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, South East Zonal office, Enugu has concluded arrangement to arraign the Mega Assets Managers Ltd and its Managing Director, Adedapo Solanke at the Federal High Court Enugu for alleged criminal diversion of funds, obtaining money under false pretences and issuance of dud cheques.

Vanguard learnt that different groups and organisations had written petitions to the EFCC, alleging non-payments of interests on their investments and payback of  capitals invested.

The anti-graft agency said in a statement issued by its Enugu Zonal office and signed by Nwanyinma Okeanu that the fund managers took in more than they could chew.

According to the statement, the petitioners alleged that the Managing Director issued dud cheques to aggrieved customers numbering over 130 persons in a bid to stall his arrest.

In the course of investigations by the EFCC, the company’s Managing Director, was arrested at the office of Mega Assets in Ilorin and brought to Enugu zonal office for further investigations.

Solanke reportedly admitted to owing outstanding payments to investors to the tune of approximately N150 million in some of his branches which he attributed to low patronage as well as loss of over N100 million in Capital market investments in 2009 and 2010 and other investments that failed.

Further investigations by EFCC revealed that Mega Assets Managers and its Managing Director, Solanke is operating a ponzi scheme in which old investors are paid with capital injected by new investors.

It was further discovered that the suspect  had used investors’ funds to rent and furnish his offices across the nation and build big mansions for himself. The company owes close to eight hundred million naira to its customers across the nation.

During the investigation by EFCC, Solanke was discovered to be involved in alleged criminal diversion of funds, obtaining by false pretences, illegal operation of financial institution under the guise of community savings scheme, issuance of dud cheques among other offences.

An initial effort to arraign the suspect was truncated because he reportedly jumped bail. Efforts were intensified and Adedapo Solanke was rearrested in Lagos on Monday, February 18th 2013.

“The Mega Assets’ Managing Director, Adedapo Solanke will be arraigned before the honourable Justice Shuaibu on Thursday February 28, 2013 to answer for the alleged financial crimes.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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22-year-old Nigerian caught with 1.3kg hard drugs

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Read Time:1 Minute, 42 Second

A 22-year-old Nigerian, Jude Ejikonye Ilechukwu who resides in Thailand was recently apprehended by men of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, with 1.295kg of substance discovered to be methamphetamine.

Ilechukwu was arrested at the international wing of the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos.

The drug which was concealed inside his luggage, was detected during the screening of passengers on Ethiopian Airline at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos.

The MMIA Commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Hamza Umar, said the drug was carefully hidden in the suspects’ luggage.

Umar said: “Like several factory modes of drug concealment, we had to practically cut the bag open to detect the drugs.

“Ordinarily, when you open the bag, you will not see the drug.

“We found two brown parcels of drugs weighing 1.295kg.”

According to Ilechukwu, he was lured into the drug deal by a friend he met in Thailand.

In his words: “I am a business man. I relocated to Thailand last year where I buy goods and send to Nigeria.

“It was in Thailand that I met a man who introduced me into drug business. He gave my number to his partner in Lagos who lodged me in a hotel.

“They made me to contribute N750,000 as my contribution and promised me a handsome reward on arrival in Thailand.

“My focus was on the profit that will accrue to me. It was when I was arrested that I realised I had made a big mistake.”

The suspect attended Okija Community Primary School and Okija Grammar School, Anambra State before he started business.

The Chairman/Chief Executive officer of NDLEA, Ahmadu Giade, said that the Agency will investigate all cases and bring drug culprits to justice.

Giade said; “The Agency is prepared to bring drug barons to justice. Our target is to reduce the drug problem to the barest minimum.”

It was confirmed that the suspect will soon be charged to court.

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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EXCLUSIVE POLICE REPORT 2: Who killed Oshiomhole’s private secretary?

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Read Time:15 Minute, 44 Second

How investigation was bungled With case file CR:3000/X/FHQ/ABJ/FSARS/VOL.T1/90, dated August 1, 2012, in respect of the matter of the killing of Olaitan Oyerinde, wherein it was reported that a total of 16 witnesses and 18 suspects were interrogated, including Mrs. Funke Oyerinde, Sunday Vanguard presents you the concluding part of the report whose investigation spanned four weeks of rigorous work.  It is about the bungling of an investigation, the reasons of which are yet to be properly explained because of the massive incongruity in the report of the investigation.  It will shock you.

While the (DSS) paraded some people who alleged to have confessed to the killing of Comrade Oyerinde on account of armed robbery, the Nigeria Police also said they have in their custody exactly the same number of persons who allegedly confessed to the killing of Comrade Oyerinde.

“Following the murder of Comrade Oyerinde, the Governor gave the security agencies a 14-day ultimatum to find the killers, which he suspected was politically-motivated. Within a few days of his murder, Mr. Governor was informed by the (DSS) in confidence that they had made some progress, having located Comrade Oyerinde’s telephone and those who bought it and eventually using their own skills, they were able to arrest, one after the other, those who have since confessed that they killed Comrade Oyerinde.

“Subsequently, at about the end of June, the (DSS) again, apparently to assure the Governor of the progress made, paraded the suspects before the Governor and he had the opportunity to ask some questions, for about 45 minutes, about the murder and they told him who fired the shot, where they stood, who bought the phone and for how much and they also showed him the weapons used and the amount of money they found which was less than fifty thousand naira.

“From the interface with the suspects paraded by the DSS, the Governor was convinced that they were indeed responsible for the murder of Comrade Oyerinde to which they had confessed. The suspects also repeated to the Governor the confessions they had made to the (DSS) that they were the same gang that made an attempt to attack the State Commissioner for Information, Hon Louis Odion at his residence and their account corroborated that of Hon Odion who narrated to the Governor that ‘it was the vigilance group in his area that scared the attackers away’.

Ugolor’s posers
Rev Ugolor, who is at the centre of controversy, Tuesday, in Abuja, also addressed reporters, calling on President Jonathan to constitute an independent committee to review and reconcile the conflicting reports by the DSS and the police in a bid to unmask the killers of his friend, Comrade Oyerinde. He also tasked Jonathan, the National Assembly and the civil society to unravel the mystery behind the controversial police report on the murder, which was at variance with that of the DSS.

His words: “I want Nigerians to challenge the police authorities to tell Nigerians whether it was true that Danjuma Musa and Murtala Usman – the two accused armed robbers are still alive, they are in local prison; whether it was true they were in detention on April 24 and between April 24 – May 24, they were not granted bail. And we know that from the police command to Oyerinde’s house is about one kilometre.

“How did they fly? What happened? Who escorted them to Olaitan’s house? Who brought out the guns that were in police custody since April 24 last year?

Sunday Vanguard’s Findings:
Sunday Vanguard is in possession of the “Police Investigation Report”, reference number, CR:3000/X/FHQ/ABJ/FSARS/VOL.T1/90, dated August 1, 2012, in respect of the matter. A total of 16 witnesses and 18 suspects were interrogated, including Mrs. Funke Oyerinde, wife of the deceased. Sunday Vanguard waited for four months after we obtained after we obtained the police report to lay hands on the SSS report, which remained hard to pin down. However, with the recent outburst by Oshiomhole, the reports of the independent findings had to be made public.
Motive
From the police report, it was clear that the motive of the killers of Comrade Oyerinde was not political. They were simply hoodlums, who found out that he came occasionally to transact business at a local foreign exchange bureau in Benin City.

In fact, the agent, who is one of the suspects, was the one that set him up. He recruited the other suspects to rob his client. Oyerinde owned a double-barrel gun and might have been trying to reach for it, when the hoodlums shot him. Before his death, he had an annoying disagreement with his landlord, Architect Hope Akpo, aged 51 years, over N1.2 million rent for which the landlord petitioned the Secretary to the State Government and Chief of Staff to the Governor.

In fact, the relationship between Oyerinde and the property owner was so terrible that Architect Akpo, who issued him a quit notice and cut off water supply to his apartment, dragged him to the court to recover his property.

Arrest of suspects<

The claim of the DSS in its report is quite believable and the police, indeed, arrested some other persons connected with the same crime and the gang that carried it out. One of the suspects arrested by the police, 26-year-old Auta Umaru Ali, a nomad, who hails from Gumi in Gumi Local Government Area of Zamfara State, confessed to the police that he belonged to two robbery gangs. He started robbery in early 2011.  The investigation report quoted Ali thus:

“The first robbery gang is made up of Haruna, Ibrahim, Sanda and some other Fulani boys and their area of specialization is armed robbery, along Benin-Lagos Expressway, around By-pass and Benin/Abraka/Obiaruku road. He averred that they usually block the road, stop vehicles and rob passengers of their property, which include telephone, money, gold jewelries, necklaces, etc.

“He identified his second gang of armed robbers as Danjuma Musa, Muritala Usman, Asamah Moses Okoro, alias Auchi boy and himself. He also identified Garba Usman Maisamari, a notorious buyer of stolen goods, as the person who buys all their loots after robbery operations. He revealed that on May 3 (24 hours before Oyerinde was killed), Danjuma Musa called him on telephone and informed him of an armed robbery operation at GRA, Benin City, that night. He further revealed that Danjuma Musa also asked him to come to Owina Junction, where they usually drink as the take-off point, which he did.

Thirty-three-year-old Umaru Adamu, alias Duna, who claimed to be a dealer in foreign exchange, buyer of stolen goods and an armourer for a robbery gang, declined knowledge of the armed robbery at 2nd Ugbor road.  He was arrested in connection with Oyerinde’s murder and admitted that the gun used for the operation was collected from him on May 3, 2012. He also told police that the same gun was returned at about 09.30 hours to him at a petrol filling station, along Ring Road, Benin City. His grandparents hail from Niger Republic.

What is, however, incongruous in the police report is that detectives, who were looking for every available way to tidy up the case, made a fatal blunder in roping Ugolor as mastermind of the murder. Why it came up with the theory is not very clear.

Birds of the same feather
Nonetheless, Ugolor, is a very close friend of the deceased. Their friendship started in 2009 when the latter was appointed private secretary to Oshimohole. Oyerinde was very useful to Ugolor in the activities of his NGO and liaison with the state government. Both of them practically shared the same vision and a day before he was killed, he and the deceased went on a social outing at Madam Serah’s drinking spot in Benin City.

The late Oyerinde dropped Ugolor at his residence before proceeding to his own residence same day and the activist was jolted from his sleep in the early hours of the next day by a phone call from Oyerinde’s wife, informing him that her husband had been shot by bandits. Both Ugolor and Oyerinde’s wife rushed the deceased to the Central Hospital, Benin City, where he later gave up the ghost.

In fact, the late Oyerinde was building his personal house in Benin City at the time of his death and Ugolor is the one supervising the project for him.

Rev Ugolor: Was it a set up?
Forty-two-year-old Ugolor, according to the police report, described his identification by Maisamari “as the mastermind of the dastardly act as blatant, false and wicked”, adding that he had never met the suspect in life, “except at the identification parade.

“He claimed that he has not overtly or covertly requested for any government appointment, not even through Oyerinde and wondered what he will benefit from his death. He posited that as a human rights activist and television programmes resource person, Maisamari must have seen him on television and is now looking for whom to drag into his mess. He vehemently denied any involvement in the murder of Oyerinde, stating that he has never visited Ring Road for dollar exchange with the deceased in his life, not to talk of gong with a Camry car as late Olaitan does not have a Camry car,” the report added.

Sunday Vanguard investigation showed that Ugolor’s main link to the murder was that 39-year-old Maisamari, born in Bagudo area of Kebbi state, stated, “The job (murder of Oyerinde) was given to him by one David, who promised to pay him N20 million if the job was successfully executed”.

According to the report, “He further stated that the said David paid him an advance payment of N200,000, out of which he gave Danjuma Musa, N100,000. He described David as black in complexion, not too tall, but get body small. He also described him as always wearing a native dress but speaks English language fluently”.

“He stated that he has known David for the past one year and that David usually changed money from him and has bought gold from him once. He also stated that David told him that he wants to take over late Olaitan Oyerinde’s office if he is killed.  He also confessed that late Olaitan was trailed twice by the trio of himself, Danjuma Musa and Moses Asamah Okoro in order to know his house as GRA, Benin City.

“He further said that David has not paid the N20 million and each time he called him on phone, he will be saying he is in Abuja and will pay when he comes back. He was not able  to give the said David’s telephone number but stated that David calls him with MTN, Glo and Etisalat numbers, but when he lost his phone and did welcome back, he lost David’s numbers. He admitted informing Danjuma Musa,  Moses Asamah Okoro, Muritala Usman and Auta Umaru Ali that the operation was a hired job meant to kill the man in a meeting they held at Owina Junction, Benin”, the police said in the report, signed by Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCP Chris O. Ezike, FSSARS, Abuja”, the report continued.

It was palpable that that story of Ugolor as mastermind of the murder is a fabrication as Maisamari admitted masterminding the robbery that led to Oyerinde’s death.

Said the report, “According to him (referring to Maisamari), late Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde was his customer who changes dollars into naira for him. He recollected the late Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde had changed money from him on three occasions- the first time being $500, the second $500 and the third time- $850, which was on 03/05/2012.

According to him, on the second occasion when late Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde came to change money, he telephoned Moses Asamah Okoo to come with his motorcycle and as Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde left, they trailed him to his house at No 65, 2nd Ugbor Road, Benin City.

“He also confessed that on 03/05/2012 when the man came to change money, himself and Moses Asamah Okoro also trailed him, but he ended up in a beer parlour around Adesuwa road area. That they left him to plan the operation. He admitted that he asked Danjuma Musa to contract Muritala Usman and Auta Umaru Ali to meet Moses Asamah Okoro at Owina Junction so that four of them can execute the job successfully. Okoro informed him through telephone when they were to strike and also informed him that the operation had been executed successfully after the operation.

“He confessed that he bought all the items from late Comrade Olaitan’s house which he itemized as two laptop computers, two galaxy telephone handsets, gold jewelries, four blackberry telephone handsets and that he paid a total of N150,000 only advance , remaining N32,000.”

Reading the police report between the lines, it is not difficult to conclude that the suspects interrogated by the detectives were under pressure to admit that Maisamari informed them that somebody, David,  promised to pay them N20 million if Oyerinde was killed, but the actual mission was to rob the private secretary.

Like Oyerinde, like Alhaji Ismaila Aliyu
The way Oyerinde was killed on May 4 was the same manner one Alhaji Ismaila Aliyu, a businessperson and foreign exchange dealer from Kebbi State was murdered May 21, 17 days after, by a robbery gang in Benin City.  The gang usually trailed people, who carry out foreign exchange transaction, to their homes to steal money from them. Aliyu’s murder was unsung by the media because of his social status.

In Aliyu’s case, a 36-year-old dealer in foreign exchange at No 6 Erie Street, Benin City, who is already in police net, called one of the suspects, Abubakar, arrested in connection with Oyerinde’s murder, to contact other bandits to waylay him and steal the foreign currency that he normally brought home.  Danjuma Musa, Moses Asamah Okoro and others went to Aliyu’s house at No 21 Second Ihiogbe Stree, off Wire Road, May 18, and May 21, they trailed him from his office to the house and shot him dead.

Unfortunately, Aliyu was heartlessly murdered, but the gang did not find money with him.

Holes in police report
What made the police report suspicious was its claim on two suspects, Danjuma Musa and Muritala Usman. The suspects allegedly confessed that the armed robbery operation of May 4, 2012, which resulted in Oyerinde’s death was carried out by them in conjunction with Auta Umaru and Moses Asamah and that the gun found with them was the same gun used to kill the deceased.

They also told the police, “Garba Usman Maisamari, who fingered Ugolor as mastermind of the murder, “had deep knowledge of the operation and bought all the items that were stolen from the house”.

On page 7 of the 93-page report, the police said, “The interrogation yielded amazing result as both of them confessed that the armed robbery operation of 4th May, 2012 at No 65, 2nd Ugbor road, GRA, Benin City, which led to the death of Comrade Olaitan Oyerinde was carried out by them …”

The police in the report noted that the two suspects in question – Danjuma Musa and Muritala Usman – “have been in Edo Command custody for unlawful possession of cartridges since 24/05/2012…”

However, apparently in a hurry to come up with a list of suspects, police investigators strangely concluded that the same suspects were responsible for the murder of Oyerinde, 10 days after, even at time they were in police custody. It is surprising that the police authorities did not crosscheck this information because it was on the strength of the alleged confession by the said suspects, who linked Maisamari to the murder, that Ugolor was arrested as the mastermind.

Investigations by Sunday Vanguard showed that in  a letter, dated July 18, 2012, entitled, Transfer of Casefile Exhibits’,  addressed to the DIG, “D” Department, FCID, Abuja, the Divisional Police Officer, Esigie Police Division, Benin City, CSP, Yakubu Mohammed, handed over the said weapon to the FCID.

According to the letter,  “On the 24/04/2012, at about 06.30 hrs, one F/No, 430274, Cpl John Ubogu, attached to Esigie Division, presently on Foreign Peace Mission at East Timor, brought one locally made cut to size pistol and one cartridge to the charge room…

“He stated that he recovered the exhibits at the side of one abandoned vehicle while returning from night duty at about 06.15 hrs. The exhibits were later referred to exhibit keeper for safekeeping. I hereby, transfer/forward one cut-to-size pistol and one cartridge for further investigation, please”.

The two suspects were taken over by FSARS operatives for further interrogation, but the aspect of their report, which categorically stated that the said weapon was used in the Oyerinde murder, is what has cast doubt on the entire investigation.

The DPP saw the ambiguity in the police report and observed thus:
“By a letter, dated 18th July, from the office of the DPO, Esigie Division, Benin City, addressed to the Deputy Inspector General of Police, FCID, Abuja, on “Transfer of Casefiles/Exhibits”, which letter contained in your duplicate case file, an exhibit, to wit; a locally made cut –to- size gun and one cartridge said to have been recovered on 24/04/2012 by the Esigie Police Division, Benin City, were sent to FCID, Abuja.

“This is alleged to be a weapon used during the robbery incident that took place on 4th May, 2012. Another incongruity, Could a weapon recovered and in possession of the Police be confirmed by suspects to have been used for the commission of the offence”. This inexcusable bungle  is why Oshimohole, Ugolor, civil society groups and Nigerians are spitting fire and calling on President Jonathan to unravel the mystery.

It is one riddle in the entire affair, which the police must unknot believably before its report on the Oyerinde murder would be treated as a document worth the paper on which it is printed.

 

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Malaysian Man shares video of him raping brother’s girlfriend

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Read Time:1 Minute, 18 Second

A MAN allegedly recorded himself raping his younger brother's girlfriend and then shared the video with his friends.

China Press reported that the younger sibling had gone out to buy food while his 19-year-old girlfriend waited for him inside his room at the house in Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur.

His older brother then took the opportunity to rape the girl during the incident at midnight on Monday.

Apparently, he hit her with a hanger before raping her. He even knocked the girl's head against the bed frame.

She has lodged a police report.

The daily also reported that nine women in their 30s offered themselves at a lower price in their “rivalry” with their younger peers in the vice business.

However, they were rounded up by the city police Anti-Vice, Gaming and Secret Societies Unit (D7) during an operation in Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.

Initial investigations showed the women would charge RM100 for each session, which is said to be much lower than the market rate.

Seven of them are Uzbekistan nationals while two others are Chinese nationals. Only one of them possessed valid documents. It is learnt that one of them was acting as a pimp.

Sin Chew Daily speculated that former national No. 1 women's player Wong Mew Choo could be pregnant.

Wong was present at the ongoing Maybank Malaysian Open at Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil where she was cheering for her husband, badminton champion Datuk Lee Chong Wei.

Source : http://thestar.com.my

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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Abacha Memo Sanctions Killing Of Ken Saro-Wiwa and Others

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Read Time:8 Minute, 57 Second

In November 1995, while there was an overwhelming international outcry mounted against the execution of the Ogoni leader, Ken Saro-Wiwa and his colleagues, defiant military dictator, Sani Abacha, backed by a small band of military officers, convinced themselves that executing them, swiftly, was the best way to resolve the Ogoni unrest “once and for all”, and to make it clear to Nigerians and the world that the authoritarian regime was no weakling.

A recording of the final meeting, where the decision to hang Mr. Saro-Wiwa and eight of his associates was taken, said, two days before the execution, Mr. Abacha told members of the Provisional Ruling Council, PRC, the regime’s highest decision making body, that the activists deserved no sympathy, and that hanging them would stem further discontent and prove to the world that the regime was bold and courageous.

“He was of the view that no sympathy should be shown on the convicts so that the sentence will be a lesson to everybody. He stated that the Ogoni issue had lingered on for a very long time and should be addressed once and for all,” Mr. Abacha was quoted in the document now available exclusively to PREMIUM TIMES.

The former head of state said Mr. Saro-Wiwa was a foreign agent used to destabilize Nigeria, and a “separatist” who cloaked himself as an environmental activist, but whose true intention was to split the country and subvert its authority.

Members of the PRC at the time were Mr. Abacha; Maj. General Patrick Aziza (Minister of Communications under Abacha); Major Gen. Tajudeen Olarenwaju (GOC); General Abdulsalami Abubakar (Chief of Defence Staff); Lt. General Oladipo Diya (Chief of General Staff); Maj. Gen. Victor Malu (GOC); Ibrahim Coomasie (Inspector General of Police); Mike Akhigbe (Chief of Naval Staff); Maj. General Ishaya Bamaiyi (Chief of Army Staff); Nsikak Eduok (Chief of Air Staff); Lt. Gen. Jeremiah Useni (Minister of the Federal Capital Territory) and Michael Agbamuche (Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice).

Mr. Saro-Wiwa, a respected writer, activist and environmental campaigner, had been sentenced to death by a military tribunal set up by the regime. He was accused of masterminding the killings of four prominent Ogoni leaders – charges he forcefully denied.

The charges were widely viewed as framed to silence Mr. Saro-Wiwa’s campaign against the exploitation and degradation of the Ogoni land by international oil majors, especially Shell.

But while a global campaign to block the implementation of the tribunal’s verdict intensified, the regime, on November 10, 1995, two days after its meeting, staged a fast-tracked execution of the ruling, with a gruesome hanging of the nine leaders.

Others killed were Saturday Dobee, Nordu Eawo, Daniel Gbooko, Paul Levera, Felix Nuate, Baribor Bera, Barinem Kiobel, and John Kpuine.

The Condemnations

The killings sparked international outrage. While the European Union and the United States placed an economic embargo and other restrictions on the country, the Commonwealth promptly suspended the country from its fold.

Shell, at the centre of the unrest, was accused of complicity in the killings, with allegations it sponsored the military junta’s onslaught on Ogoniland.
The company denied the allegations despite testimonies stating otherwise, and a $15.5 million out-of-court settlement it agreed in favour of the families of the victims in 2009. Shell said the payment was not a concession of guilt, but a gesture of peace.

The minutes of the military council meeting preceding the executions, a four-page memo, kept secret for years, document the behind-the-scenes moves at the highest echelons of the Abacha regime’s decision-making organ, as it hurried through with the executions.

The details shed light on how the junta, accused of rights violations and fierce brutality, considered an unprecedented domestic and international calls to suspend the killings.

Besides deciding to forge ahead with the execution, the document states, the PRC offered frantic justification for the killings, planned broad state-sponsored propaganda against the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, MOSOP; considered the proscription of MOSOP; and how to further divide the group’s ranks, and “neutralize” its members.

Mr. Abacha chaired the meeting on November 8, 1995, and led junta officials through a deliberation that sought a speedy implementation of the death verdicts-which was implemented less than 48 hours after the meeting.

Ignoring Pressure

While a global campaign pushed for the rulings of the Kangaroo tribunal to be shelved, the minute shows, the 11-member PRC, comprising service chiefs, top military commanders, the Inspector General of Police and the Attorney General of the Federation, never considered backing down.

Instead, junta officials warned that a reversal would portray weakness. They accused the international community of double standards; choosing, for economic reasons, to look the other way when similar state decisions were taken elsewhere.

“The council was advised not to yield to pressure from the West, championed by the United States of America. The council was reminded that the Arab countries visited crimes with measurable punishment for which the West saw nothing wrong because of their economic interest,” the minutes said.

“It was therefore advocated that minimum time be wasted between the council decision and its implementation,” it adds.

The junta described Mr. Saro-Wiwa‘s alleged crime as “heinous” and accused the media of attempting to whip up sympathy for him and the other accused.

“It was cautioned that if members soft-pedaled, the administration would be regarded as a weakling,” the document states.

The ‘Ungrateful’ Ogoni’s

With the backing of the council members, Mr. Abacha then declared that “anyone who killed his fellow citizen did not deserve to live”.

Mr. Abacha believed the Ogonis were asking for too much, and were ungrateful for “ sizable federal investment” located in the area- possibly a reference to Onne port and Eleme petrochemicals, both near Port Harcourt.

Despite the extensive considerations, barely did the meeting brook counter-opinion not in line with Mr. Abacha’s.

A suggestion by an unnamed member that in future such trials should be conducted by civil courts not to unnecessarily rile the international community was promptly overruled by Mr. Abacha who spoke of his preference for military tribunal for its speed.

“On whether the military tribunals should be replaced with civil courts, he expressed preference for military tribunals which he said considered and decided cases with dispatch,” the minutes said of Mr. Abacha.

The tribunal that convicted Mr. Saro-Wiwa turned out amongst the most controversial. Headed by Justice Ibrahim Auta, the current Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, the panel delivered a speedy, but severely criticized verdict on October 31, 1995, barely nine months after it was convened.

The panel faced severe criticism for alleged high-handedness, prompting defense lawyers, led by late Gani Fawehinmi, Femi Falana and Olisa Agbakoba, to stand down after accusing the Auta-led tribunal of violating all known judicial ethics and rules.

Mr. Auta, then a mid-career judge, turned down two key requests from the defence team, namely, two weeks of access to Mr. Saro-Wiwa and the rest, (having been denied access to their counsels); and an order transferring the accused from a military cell in Port Harcourt to a civil prison.

Mr. Saro-Wiwa and his colleagues were condemned to death without legal representations.

In years, Mr. Auta has risen to become a Chief Judge while the lead prosecutor, Joseph Daudu, is the immediate past chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association.

Praising Justice Auta, Others

As the military brass met that November 8, 1995, the severely-castigated tribunal came up for a decent dose of praise for its “painstaking consideration” of the facts.

Mr. Saro-Wiwa’s campaign dated decades, but peaked in the 1990s as he struggled to draw national and international attention to the deprivations the Ogonis faced while Shell and American firm, Chevron, degraded their land and carted away billions of petrodollars.

Arrested and released repeatedly, the crisis took a fatal twist after four Ogoni leaders – accused of selling out to the government and Shell- were mobbed to death by some youths.

Mr. Saro-Wiwa denied the youths carried out his order; a claim countered by the military government, which, before then, had endured devastating restiveness the activist led to cripple oil production.

In turn, the military was accused of staging the killings as a way of eliminating the activists.

As the Abacha government faced the Saro-Wiwa episode in 1995, it had its hands full with a coup’detat case in which former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, and others were indicted.

Amid international condemnation against the coup indictments, an allegation also viewed as staged to hound opponents, the regime backed down from its initial plan to execute the alleged coup plotters. But it later regretted that compassion, feeling it acted feebly.

The Saro-Wiwa case presented an opportunity to right that wrong and proved a strong point, the document said.

“Council was reminded that the government’s decision on the plotters had sent wrong signals to the generality of Nigerians and that the current case should be used to correct that wrong impression,” the minute said.

That concern turned up repeatedly in the meeting, according to the recordings, with some members appearing to compare the relatively mild response to the alleged plotters to the draconian reaction that trailed the Ogoni’s case.

Mr. Abacha laid that concern to rest as the meeting wound up, declaring that while the Ogonis’ case was a “premeditated murder”, the alleged coup plotters had yet to carry out their plot.

The Ogoni’s Have A Case

In a brief humane consideration, the council conceded that the trouble in Ogoniland was a result of years of neglect, failure and pent-up anger.
But members also swiftly argued that agitators like Mr. Saro-Wiwa were mischief makers who cashed in on a genuine grievance to seek selfish motives.

“It was therefore not surprising that a few mischievous individuals could exploit the situation for their selfish ends,” minute said. “Council was therefore urged to approve the judgment of the tribunal and ensure its expeditious implementation.”

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About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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George Zimmerman’s jailhouse telephone recordings released

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Read Time:1 Minute, 34 Second

Audio recordings from phone calls George Zimmerman made while in jail in April were released Monday by Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey.

The six phone calls are part of the state’s evidence alleging that Zimmerman and his wife, Shellie, misled the court during an April bond hearing.

The former neighborhood watch volunteer is charged with killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February. Zimmerman, a licensed handgun permit holder, said he shot in self defense during a scuffle with Martin.

A judge released Zimmerman on $150,000 bond after the couple testified they had little money. But on the calls recorded after his arrest, Zimmerman is heard coaching his wife and sister on how to move tens of thousands of dollars donated to his legal defense fund.

Prosecutors say the phone calls are proof the Zimmermans had access to nearly $130,000 when he was freed. During one jailhouse conversation, George Zimmerman tells his wife how much it means to him that strangers were donating to his PayPal account.

“Ah man, that feels good,” he said.

“… so many people, your-your site kept crashing,” Shellie Zimmerman replied.

After his wife was able to start transferring funds, Zimmerman instructs her to pay off nearly all the couple’s bills and to purchase bulletproof vests for her, him and his attorney.

“We need to get on it ASAP, cause you know … personally, I want you wearing one,” Zimmerman said from the Seminole County Jail.

“OK,” she replied.

“As uncomfortable as it is, I want you wearing one,” he said.

Zimmerman was ordered back to jail earlier this month when the judge learned of the money from the defense fund. His wife was charged with perjury related to her testimony about the family’s finances.

Reuters posted links to the unedited calls and transcripts:


Audio recordings of George Zimmerman phone calls from jail

State of Florida v. George Zimmerman transcripts

About Post Author

Anthony Claret

Anthony-Claret is a software Engineer, entrepreneur and the founder of Codewit INC. Mr. Claret publishes and manages the content on Codewit Word News website and associated websites. He's a writer, IT Expert, great administrator, technology enthusiast, social media lover and all around digital guy.
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