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Court halts ex-HOS Oyo-Ita trial over alleged fraud

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A Federal High Court in Abuja has suspended indefinitely the trial of former Head of Service (HOS) of the Federation, Winifred Oyo-Ita, and eight others on money laundering charge.

Justice Taiwo Taiwo, in a ruling on Wednesday, agreed with the defendants to stay further proceedings pending when the prosecution would discontinue a related case pending before another judge,Justice Folashade Giwa-Ogunbanjo, also of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Those standing trial with Oyo-Ita are Frontline Ace Global Services Limited, Asanaya Projects Limited, Garba Umar and his two companies – Slopes International Limited and Gooddeal Investments Limited, as well as Ubong Okon Effiok and his two companies – U & U Global Services Limited and Prince Mega Logistics Limited.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had charged the defendants with offences bordering on corruption, fraud, obtaining estacodes and Duty Travel allowance (DTA) for journeys either not undertaken or not in existence, involving about N570m.

They pleaded not guilty to the charge at their arraignment on March 23, 2020, following which the court adjourned for the commencement of trial.

On December 1, 2020 when lawyer to the prosecution, Mohammed Abubakar indicated his readiness for trial, lawyers to the 4th, 5th and 6th defendants (Umar, Slopes International Limited and Gooddeal Investments Limited), particularly Augustine Ananukwa said the defence was not ready for trial.

The defendants argued that while the charge was pending before Justice Taiwo, the EFCC went before another judge, Justice Giwa-Ogunbanjo to obtain interim forfeiture orders freezing the bank accounts of 4th, 5th and 6th defendants.

They demanded that the freezing orders be reversed, arguing that the decision by the EFCC to approach another court for the orders amounted to an abuse of the process of the court.

Abubakar argued otherwise, insisting that the action of the EFCC was a lawful practice, not intended to abuse the court’s process, but to secure the funds in the affected accounts and prevent them from being dissipated before the conclusion of trial.

In his ruling on Wednesday, Justice Taiwo, who had earlier on February 11, 2021 threatened to return the case file for re-assignment if the EFCC fails to discontinue the case before the other judge, held that the prosecution’s act in obtaining the ex-parte freezing orders from a separate court was an abuse of process.

The judge noted that the prosecution simply engaged in “judge shopping,” with the intention of getting a favourable court judgment, adding that the EFCC’s conduct was reprehensible and condemnable.

Justice Taiwo, who also described the act as forum shopping, said it was a contemptuous move.

He ordered a stay of proceedings in the trial until the EFCC and its lawyer’s withdrawal of the application before the other court.

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Education

Ghana university lecturers begin strike over poor service conditions

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Public university teachers in Ghana on Monday commenced an indefinite strike over poor conditions of service.

 

Professor Charles Marfo, national president of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG), said the strike was borne out of the government’s refusal to heed calls by the association to improve the worsening conditions of service of the university teachers across the country.×

 

He said the association was not happy with the way the authorities had been dragging their feet on negotiations concerning the welfare of the teachers, which started two years ago.

 

“We write on behalf of the National Executive Committee of UTAG to inform and/or remind you of the intended strike action of UTAG,” read a statement issued earlier by UTAG.

“By this notice, all campuses are to withdraw all teaching and related activities namely teaching, examinations, invigilation, marking of examination scripts, processing of examination results, etc. from Aug. 2 until further notice.”

There are 15 public universities in Ghana.

 

Among them are University of Ghana, Legon, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, University of Cape Coast,

CK Tadem University for Technology and Applied Sciences.

 

Others are University of Education, Winneba and Simon Diedong Dombo University for Business and Integrated Development Studies.

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Olympiacos sign Henry Onyekuru on permanent deal

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Olympiacos FC have announced the signing of forward Henry Onyekuru from Ligue 1 club Monaco.

 

The 24-year-old Nigerian forward arrived in Greece to seal a permanent move on Saturday after spending last season on loan at Galatasaray.

 

Olympiacos have confirmed the signing of the 24-year-old star on their official website by stating: “Olympiacos have announced the acquisition of international ace, Henry Onyekuru.

 

“The Nigerian, born on June 5, 1997, in Lagos, has been acquired from Monaco after signing a four-year contract.

 

“Having spent five years at Aspire Academy, Onyekuru took the first big step in his career in 2015 by signing a contract with Eupen.

“His 30 goals in 60 games with the Belgian club attracted several clubs with Everton acquiring his services in 2017. The Nigerian spent the next two seasons on loan at Anderlecht (28 assists, 10 goals) and Galatasaray (31 assists and 14 goals) respectively.”

 

Speaking after signing for the team, Onyekuru said: “I know it is a big club in Greece, one of the biggest and they have good ambition and target every season and they are always in the Champions League.

 

“I also know of two Nigerians who played here before and I am just here to contribute and keep on pushing and also to be champions countless times, achieve more goals and aims with the club.

On June 30, 2017, Onyekuru joined Premier League side, Everton, for £7 million and was immediately loaned out to Anderlecht where he was handed the number 9 jersey.

Onyekuru, who made his debut for the Super Eagles in a 3-0 friendly win over Togo on June 1, 2017, is part of the key players for head coach Gernot Rohr ahead of the upcoming World Cup qualifying matches in September.

 

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COVID-19 kills 6 persons daily in Lagos – Sanwo-Olu raises alarm

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Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu on Monday raised the alarm over rising COVID-19 death in Lagos, saying the virus has killed an average of six persons daily in the last one week.

 

He also admitted that the third wave of the virus is right now in Lagos, saying that proactive measures must be put in place to nip the crisis in the bud.

Speaking at a news conference at the State House, Alausa, the governor said from the beginning of July the state started to experience an increase in the number of daily confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Lagos State, with the positivity rate going from 1.1% at the end of June 2021 to 7% at the end of July 2021.

“As at the 1st of August 2021, the positivity rate in Lagos is 8.9%. This is an 8-fold increase over the recorded figure a month ago, and it should rightly alarm all of us. This has resulted in 4,300 confirmed cases in July alone and 352 admissions into our isolation facilities.

 

“But let me make it clear that this necessary sense of alarm should not be responded to with panic, but instead with a firm 2 resolve and determination to reverse the trend. We have done it before and we can do it again. We dealt with the first and second waves and did our best to prevent a third wave,” Sanwo-Olu stated.

 

The governor said now that the third wave of the virus has come, the state must dig deep into what “we have learnt from the previous waves, as well as summon the will to do everything necessary to bring down the numbers, on the way to eventually defeating the virus once and for all. Epidemiology Update From the beginning of the outbreak in February 2020 to date, Lagos State has recorded a total of 64,032 confirmed cases of COVID-19.”

“Of this number, 56,336 have recovered in community, 2,755 are currently being managed actively in community. Over the course of managing the COVID-19 pandemic, about 5,029 patients have been admitted into our various COVID-19 care centres in Lagos. We have, sadly, recorded 390 fatalities in Lagos State, 30 of which have taken place in this current 3rd wave of the pandemic.

 

“Essentially, we have recorded on average 6 deaths per day since last week. 3 Home-Based Care Given the huge population of our State and the rising numbers of confirmed cases during the first and second waves of the pandemic, it became necessary for us to deploy tele-medicine in managing positive patients. In this vein, we launched a home-based program, driven by our EKOTELEMED call center service,” Sanwo-Olu added.

 

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