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Ramaphosa willing to come clean on CR17 funding: ‘I’m quite keen’

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has said he is not the least bit concerned about the furore surrounding his CR17 campaign funding and is willing to lay all his cards on the table, as far as the matter is concerned.

Ramaphosa spoke in an interview with Newzroom Afrika, days after he read out the African National Congress (ANC) January 8 statement.

He said when the ANC Integrity Commission approached him about the CR17 campaign funding, he asked that other processes, including a court battle with Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane, first play out before he can appear and give his side of the story.

“I have no fear about that issue and the issue of transparency is there. So I’m quite keen to proceed along that line because that’s what it should be,”

President Cyril Ramaphosa

The ANC president told the news channel he had accepted that the Commission was unhappy with the fact that he hasn’t appeared in two years.

“They chastised me in their leaked commission report and I accepted the chastisement,” Ramaphosa said.

Ramaphosa and ANC Integrity Commission clash over CR17 funding

His comments come after a letter was leaked, in which he lashes out at the ANC Integrity Commission and accuses it of creating the impression that he was delinquent. Ramaphosa was called to the Commission to answer to allegations of vote buying at the ANC’s elective conference, in which he was voted as president.

Mkhwebane had taken Ramaphosa to court, urging the High Court in Pretoria to force him to disclose the funds donated to his CR17 campaign in his bid to become ANC president. However this was set aside and the public protector took the matter to the Constitutional Court, which has since reserved judgement.

In light of the developments surrounding the matter, Ramaphosa said he himself offered to appear before the commission.​

“I am therefore surprised that the chairperson’s report asserts that it is with ‘great disappointment to the IC when the president explained to the chairperson that since this was a legal matter, he did not feel it was right to discuss the CR17 campaign funds until the legal matter was finalised’. This sentiment was certainly not expressed to me by the chairperson at the time,” Ramaphosa said in the letter.

“My intention in making the proposal was by no means aimed at avoiding my appearance before the IC. In fact, the opposite is true.”

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Again, FG to shut down Third Mainland Bridge Friday

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The federal government will again shut down the Third Mainland Bridge this weekend for another round of expansion joints replacement.

The bridge would be closed from midnight on Friday to midnight on Monday, February 1.

Federal Controller of Works Lagos, Olukayode Popoola made the announcement on Wednesday.

Popoopla told NAN that construction works had reached the stage for casting concrete on additional three expansion joints.

He said there was a need to stop all movements on the bridge that could cause vibrations.

The official appealed for the understanding of Lagos residents.

“Messers Boroni Prono is planning to cast three number expansion joints on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st. We are sorry for the inconveniences this may cause Lagosians,” he said.

The bridge, which links the mainland and island, was partially shut from July 24, 2020.

Since then, other routes that usually witnessed traffic are now mostly blocked.

Again, FG to shut down Third Mainland Bridge Friday

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COVID-19: Buhari signs new regulations for churches, markets, use of face masks

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President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the Coronavirus Disease Health Protection 2021.

The regulation makes the use of face masks in public places compulsory, as Nigeria battles with the second wave of COVID-19.

This was confirmed by Boss Mustapha, the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19, while addressing journalists in Abuja on Wednesday.

Mustapha, who is also the Secretary to the Federal Government, confirmed Buhari signed the document on Tuesday.

According to him, the President signed the document in the exercise of the powers conferred by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010.

Part 2 of the regulation stipulates that no one will be allowed within the premises of a market, mall, supermarket, shop, gardens, leisure parks, recreation centres, restaurants, hotels, event centres, motor parks, fitness centre, etc “except he is wearing a face mask that covers the nose and mouth, he washes his hands or cleaned the hands using hand sanitiser approved by NAFDAC and his body temperature has been checked.

Anyone whose body temperature is above 38 degrees Celsius will be denied entry and advised to seek immediate medical attention.

Part 1 deals with restrictions on gatherings. It stipulates that at all gatherings, a two-metre physical distance shall be maintained at all times between persons.

It added, “No gathering of more than 50 persons shall be held in an enclosed space, except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50 per cent capacity of the space.”

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Cross River Assembly to confirm Justice Akom Ikpeme as substantive Chief Judge Thursday

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An operative with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Bello Hamma-Adama, on Wednesday, told a Federal High Court in Abuja that a sum of N75 million was recovered from Halima, wife of a former Minister for Special Duties and Inter-Governmental Affairs, Tanimu Turaki.

Tanimu Turaki was a Minister in the President Goodluck Jonathan-led government between 2013 and 2015.

Turaki also served as a supervising Minister for the Federal Ministry of Labour between 2014 and 2015.

Hamma-Adama, the 5th prosecution witness (PW5) in the ongoing trial of Turaki, made the disclosure before Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja.

He, however, said the money was later transferred in tranches into private individuals’ accounts.

Giving the breakdown, Hamma-Adama, who was the lead investigator in the agency, said N45 million was transferred to the Minister’s brother, Abdullahi Maigwandu, through his Zenith Bank account.

Out of the N45 million, he said Maigwandu transferred N20 million to the Guarantee Trust Bank account of Halima Tanimu Turaki, the ex-minister’s wife.

According to him, the sum of N20 million was transferred to O-Pec Nig Ltd.

Hamma-Adama said that the remaining N5 million was withdrawn in China using the ATM of Maigwandu by Halima to procure furniture items.

He said, “N30 million was transferred to Abubakar Sani Gude’s Zenith Bank account from the ministry’s account, and the N30 million was sent to the wife of the 1st defendant (Turaki).

“We called for the Maigwandu’s account statement in Zenith Bank. We discovered he is a civil servant in Kebbi on a salary of about N33, 000.

“We suspected a case of money laundering, and we did a network analysis, and we discovered that he could not have owned that money because he is on N33, 000 salary.”

“He said he is a brother to the former minister and that the money was transferred on his instruction,” he added.

However, the Judge, Justice Ekwo adjourned the matter until Feb. 9 and Feb. 10 for trial continuation.

Recall that the EFCC had arraigned the former Minister (1st defendant) alongside his former Special Assistant, Sampson Okpetu (2nd defendant), and two firms; Samtee Essentials Ltd and Pasco Investment Ltd, on 16 counts of money laundering.

The duo had pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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