Ex-Imo Commissioner bags three-year jail term for diversion of N180m
Justice K. A Lewanya of the Imo State High Court, Owerri, Imo State, on Tuesday, March 14, 2022, convicted and sentenced one Prince Laseberry Okafor Anyanwu, aka Laseberry Okafor, a former Commissioner of Transport in the Rochas Okorocha administration of Imo State, to three years imprisonment on a four-count charge that bordered on abuse of office and fraudulent diversion of N180, 000,000 (One Hundred and Eighty Million Naira only).
He diverted the said sum from the account of the Imo Transport Company to Oma Oil & Industries Ltd, a company in which he has an interest through phony contracts.
One of the charges reads, “Prince Laseberry Okafor Anyanwu aka Laseberry Okafor between the 6th day of November 2017 and 10th day of November 2017, while being employed as the Chairman, Committee on Review of Imo Transport Company, used his office to confer a corrupt advantage upon himself when he caused the transfer of the N100,000,000.00(One Hundred Million Naira only) property of Imo Transport Company’s account with Imo State Microfinance bank’s Polaris bank account to the Polaris bank account No:40906668828 belonging to Oma Oil & Industries Ltd, a company in which he is a Shareholder/Director/Chairman/
Another count reads, “Prince Laseberry Okafor Anyanwu aka Laseberry Okafor also on the 31st day of January 2018, used his office to confer a corrupt advantage upon himself when he caused another transfer of the sum of #80,000.000.00(Eighty Million Naira only) property of Imo State Government from the Imo State Ministry of Transport’s account with Polaris Bank to the Polaris Bank Account No:40906668828 belonging to Oma Oil & Industries Ltd, a company in which he is a Shareholder/Director/Chairman/
The defendant had pleaded not guilty to the four counts, setting the stage for the matter to proceed to trial.
At the close of the prosecution’s case, the defendant opened his defence, and testified for himself.
Delivering judgment on March 14, 2023, Justice Lewanya held that the prosecution had proved the case against the defendant, convicted and sentenced him to one-year imprisonment each on counts 2, 3, and 4 without an option of fine. The sentence shall run concurrently.
The Judge, however, discharged and acquitted him on count one.
The Judge further ordered that the One Hundred and Eighty Million Naira (N180,000,000.00) in the accounts of the defendant, already the subject of an interim forfeiture order, be forfeited to the Imo State Government.
Traffic gridlock returns to Apapa port as Federal government closes Total bridge for maintainance works
“Given the impact the closure will have on Port users, the Authority in partnership with LASTMA, Police, FRSC, and the Nigerian Navy have worked out alternative routes and are on the ground to manage the traffic situation in the affected areas.
“The Authority wishes to solicit the understanding and cooperation of all stakeholders as we continue to support measures to mitigate the temporary disruptions, the NPA pleaded.
NIMASA collaborates with NCC to regulate submarine cable operation for enhanced navigational safety on Nigerian waters
The eyewitness reporter
Apparently alarmed by the indiscriminate laying of communication cables and pipelines underneath the Nigerian waters by telecommunications operators and other allied professionals which has the potential of harming the safe navigation of ships, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, (NIMASA) has engaged the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in a strategic discussion to forge a formidable synergy with other relevant stakeholders with a view to developing a regulatory framework to provide operational guidelines for submarine Cable and Pipeline Operators in Nigeria.
Officials of both organs of Government in Lagos reached this agreement at a pre Audit meeting on submarine cable regulation.
The Director General of NIMASA Dr. Bashir Jamoh, who chaired the meeting, which also had the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) Mr. Dasuki Arabi in attendance, noted that the Agency is committed to the Ease of Doing Business while implementing International Conventions which Nigeria has ratified and domesticated.
He noted that with Nigeria now a destination for global communication players, the time has come to prevent unregulated underwater cable laying, which might become hazardous to shipping.
According to him, “It is worthy to note that marine cable laying has been ongoing for over two decades in Nigerian waters.
“Our focus is to ensure the safety of navigation of shipping in Nigerian waters with all these underwater cables being laid.
“NIMASA is actually developing the guidelines to regulate submarine cable operators in line with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, UNCLOS; which we have ratified and NIMASA is the Agency of Government in Nigeria responsible for its implementation.
“Collaboration is a key component of ease of doing business in the best interest of the country and we will work closely with the NCC to achieve this”.
On his part, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement, Efosa Idehen, noted that the stakeholders’ dialogue strategy adopted by NIMASA in developing the guidelines would ensure a win-win situation, urging NIMASA management to include the Ministry of Justice, a request NIMASA DG immediately granted.
Also speaking at the meeting was the Director General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms Mr. Dasuki Arabi, who commended NIMASA and NCC for adopting effective Inter-Agency collaboration to avert a potential challenge for the country in the future.
NIMASA had notified submarine and cable operators in Nigeria of a soon-to-be-implemented regulatory guideline for submarine cables and pipelines in Nigeria, in line with the provisions of UNCLOS.
NIMASA and the NCC agreed to identify and resolve areas of likely regulatory overlaps, ensuring a regulatory framework based on consultation to engender the attainment of Nigeria’s digital economy transformation.
Officials of the Federal Ministry of Environment and representatives of Submarine Cable operators in Nigeria were also at the meeting.
Comptroller Nnadi mourns death of retired customs officer, DCG Sanusi
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