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Nigeria’s anti-graft agency declares wife of embattled former central bank governor wanted

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Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has declared wife of embattled former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, wanted.

The woman, Margaret Emefiele, was declared wanted on Friday by the commission alongside three others namely Eric Odoh, Anita Omoile, and her husband, Jonathan Omoile, for money laundering.

In a statement by the EFCC confirming the development, the agency said the suspects had allegedly conspired with the former CBN governor to “convert huge sums of money belonging to the Federal Government of Nigeria and committed felony to wit: obtaining money by false pretences, and stealing, contrary to and punishable under Sections 411, 287, and 314 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.”

In the statement which had mugshots of the four, also noted that they had refused to honour invitation to appear before the agency.

The statement captioned “Mrs. Emefiele, Odoh, Mr and Mrs Omoile, wanted by the EFCC”, reads:

“The quartet of Eric Odoh, Margaret Emefiele, Anita Omoile and Jonathan Omoile, are wanted by the EFCC for offences bothering on economic and financial crimes. Any information on their whereabout? Please contact the nearest EFCC Command or the nearest police Station.”

Emefiele was suspended by President Bola Tinubu in June last year following a plethora of allegations against him including money laundering, forgery and outright fraud.

The former CBN Governor is currently being prosecuted by the EFCC for frauds N1.8bn and $6.2m.

In recent criminal charges filed against him by the EFCC before Justice Hamza Muazu of the Federal Capital Territory High Court in Abuja, the EFCC accused Emefiele of impersonating the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to illegally obtain $6.2m.

According to the amended charge marked CR/577/2023, Emefiele, on February 8, 2023, connived with Ocheme to obtain $6.2m from the CBN, claiming that it was requested by the SGF “vide a letter dated 26th January 2023 with Ref No. SGF.43/L.01/201.”

According to the agency, Emefiele allegedly claimed that the SGF requested the CBN to release “a contingent logistic advance in the sum of $6,230,000.00 in line with Mr. President’s directive.”

Emefiele was also accused of conferring corrupt advantage on his wife and brother In-law, Omoile Macombo, by allegedly awarding a contract for the renovation of a portion of the CBN Governor’s residence in Lagos to the tune of N99.8m.

The anti-graft agency alleged that the contract for the renovation of the CBN Governor’s lodge, located at No. 2 Glover Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, was awarded to a company named Messrs. Architekon Nigeria Limited, “wherein the duo are directors and majority shareholders.”

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Hardship: Nigerian govt to resume direct cash transfers to 12m citizens

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Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Wale Edun, has revealed that the federal government will resume direct transfer of cash to 12 million indigent citizens to cushion the hardship they are currently going through.

The minister, who made the announcement in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State in southern Nigeria on Wednesday during a retreat organised by the ministry, said the direct cash transfer would be for the poorest and most vulnerable Nigerians.

Edun said, presently, about three million Nigerians were recipients of the programmes but due to the escalating cost of living, the “government anticipates that an additional 12 million households could qualify for these direct payments.”

“The presidential panel on the social investment programmes have prepared to go to Mr. President with an internal recommendation to restart the direct payments to the poorest and the most vulnerable. Everything is being done to ease the pain,” Edun said.

“We know that there’s been about three million beneficiaries now, but given the way the rates have gone, there are probably another 12 million people, households that can benefit from that payment.”

He further noted that the expansion of the direct cash transfer is projected to reach a wider population who are currently struggling with the economic situation and to put more money directly in the hands of those who need it most, allowing them to prioritise their needs and alleviate poverty.

“The decision to inform the President of the Panel’s decision before the final report is completed is to keep the President abreast of developments,” he said.

“The only thing delaying that is not waiting for the end of the report. It is something that the intervention is meant to happen immediately.

“We have experts in technology, the commitment was to make sure that we use technology to ensure that we have a seamless payment, a seamless movement between the registered and the direct beneficiaries, without any manual processes in between. So it’s taking time to automate that process immediately that direct payment will resume.

“The goal is to put food, to put feed into the mill, into the market, in an attempt to drive down the cost of food and make food available. Right now, that is the key priority in terms of the fiscal side, in terms of the government side.

“History has shown, evidence has shown that when you pay someone directly, you put money in their hand. It reduces poverty because they decide where the shoe is pinching most.

“So it is a direct benefit, it has a direct effect on poverty. It alleviates, and there’s a commitment to immediately start that process. So that is, as far as these interventions are concerned and the landscape which we as a team are facing, we have a commitment to help to bring down inflation.

“Growing the economy, creating jobs and lifting millions and millions of Nigerians out of poverty, that’s the ultimate goal of President Bola Tinubu and his economic policies.”

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Zambian govt begs citizens in diaspora to help attract foriegn investment

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The Zambian government has called on its citizens in the diaspora to help in attracting foreign direct investment to the country in the face of the economic challenges the nation is going through.

Chief Government spokesperson, Cornelius Mweetwa, who made the appeal in Addis Ababa during a dinner hosted by Zambia’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Rose Sakala, for the Zambian delegation that participated in the 37th African Union (AU) Ordinary Summit for Heads of State and Government, urged the diaspora citizens to portray Zambia’s image positively to the outside world so as to encourage foreign investors to invest in the country.

In a statement issued in Lusaka by the First Secretary for Press and Tourism at the Zambian mission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, inutu Mwanza, Mweetwa who is also Zambia’s Minister for Information and Media, said Zambians living abroad are the country’s flag carriers who should ensure that the good image of the country was portrayed at all times.

“It is important for those working abroad to look out for available opportunities and best practices to make Zambia better,” Mweetwa said.

Also speaking, Minister of Education, Douglas Syakailma, who also attended the event, called for hard work among Zambians.

“The AU theme for the year 2024 on Education, provides an opportunity for the government to re-look at aspects of education that require more attention to improve the education system,” he said.

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