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EFCC defends Abdulrasheed Bawa, says he has no corruption record

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has denied reports that its chairman-designate, Abdulrasheed Bawa, was arrested and detained by the agency under former Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, over illegal sale of 244 forfeited trucks to proxies in Port Harcourt.

The commission in a statement issued Tuesday night said Bawa was neither arrested nor detained.

“The attention of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been drawn to a report by an online publication, Peoples Gazette, alleging that Mr. Adulrasheed Bawa, the chairman-designate of the commission, was arrested and detained by the Agency under former Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, over illegal sale of 244 forfeited trucks to proxies in Port Harcourt.

“The publication claims that the illegal sale was uncovered by the suspended Secretary to the Commission, Ola Olukoyede, who alerted the former chairman, Ibrahim Magu, leading to Bawa’s detention and subsequent redeployment to the EFCC Academy, Abuja”, it said.

The statement signed by spokesman for the commission, Wilson Ewujaren, said, “Mr Bawa was never arrested or detained over sale of any assets. As zonal Head of the Port Harcourt Office of the commission in 2019, Bawa’s responsibilities did not include the sale of assets as the commission has a full-fledged Directorate of Assets Forfeiture and Recovery Management, which remit such matters reside.”

“For the avoidance of doubt, the disposal of finally forfeited trucks in the Port Harcourt Zonal Office through public auction, was conducted after the exit of Bawa as zonal head”, it said.

The EFCC said it was illogical for him to have been indicted over an auction that was not superintended by him.

“The auction of trucks at the Port Harcourt office was among the issues examined by the Justice Ayo Salami Panel, leading to the suspension of some officers of the commission”, it said.

The commission urged the public to disregard the false publication, which it described as the handiwork of mischief makers to impugn the integrity of Bawa.

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JUST IN: Old naira: IMF asks FG, CBN to extend February 10 deadline

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has called for the extension of the February 10 deadline to phase out the old naira notes.

The International monetary body made the call just after the Supreme Court had restrained the Federal Government and Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) from enforcing the deadline.

The IMF, in a statement in Abuja on Wednesday by Laraba Bonet, said the plea was on the hardship Nigerians were exposed to over the issue.

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It said: “in light of hardships caused by disruptions to trade and payments due to the shortage of new bank notes available to the public, in spite of measures introduced by the CBN to mitigate the challenges in the banknote swap process, the IMF encourages the CBN to consider extending the deadline should problems persist  in the next few days leading up to the February 10, 2023 deadline”.

The IMF is the first international financial organisation to openly call for extension of the deadline for the deposit of old Naira notes.

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Cash crunch: Protesters defy police in Abeokuta, make bonfires on major roads

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Residents of Abeokuta, Ogun State, took to the streets on Tuesday protesting the scarcity of cash and the attendant pains.

Major streets affected by the protests are Aladesanmi, Fajol and Somorin in Obantoko area of Abeokuta as the protesters made bonfires and chanted anti-CBN songs
The Sapon branch of First Bank was also vandalised and the protesters tried to set it ablaze.
Ogun Police spokesman, Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed the protest, saying police officers were on the ground to monitor the situation and prevent the destruction of property and loss of lives.
He said some group of boys were involved in the crisis.
The police later came to disperse the protesters but they regrouped as soon as the operatives withdrew from the scene.
The situation affected vehicular movement as motorists and pedestrians ran in different directions to avert being caught up in the chaotic situation.

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Court frees Diezani associate Omokore of $1.6bn fraud

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An Abuja federal high court on Tuesday discharged and acquitted Jide Omokore, chairman of Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited, of $1.6bn fraud allegations.

Omokore, an associate of former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs Diezani Alison-Madueke, was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with Victor Briggs, Abiye Membere, and David Mbanefo on a 15-count charge on July 4, 2016.

They were accused of fraudulently diverting the $1.6bn said to be part of proceeds of sales of petroleum products belonging to the Federal Government.

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