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El-Rufai: We dug deep, unearthed monumental heist in Kaduna – State Govt

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Last Updated on July 11, 2024 by Fellow Press

The Kaduna State House of Assembly says it dug deep and unearthed a “monumental heist” carried out in the state in the guise of project execution during the eight years of former governor, Nasir El-Rufai.

The Chairman, Fact-Finding Committee and Deputy Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Henry Magaji, in a statement in Kaduna on Wednesday said findings revealed a litany of poorly executed projects, abandoned projects, and projects that exist only in the imagination of executive scammers.

“The attention of the Kaduna State House of Assembly has been drawn to a press conference addressed by some senior political appointees of the immediate past administration of Malam Nasir El-Rufai. In the press conference, the former political appointees made strenuous efforts to pick holes in the report of the Probe Committee. They resorted to name calling and wild allegations on the motivations for the House Probe.”

He noted that the press conference was just a rehash of the vituperations and innuendoes heaped on them by the former political appointees in their first press briefing, saying that there was nothing new that should warrant our response.

He added that they failed to address the main issue, which is the systematic and coordinated cornering of the resources of Kaduna State through phoney contracts and outright looting.

Magaji said, “The State House of Assembly, in line with its constitutional mandate and in response to public demand, carried out a thorough probe into the humongous debts incurred by the immediate past administration without commensurate projects. We dug deep and unearthed the monumental heist carried out in Kaduna State in the guise of project execution. Our findings revealed a litany of poorly executed projects, abandoned projects, and projects that exist only in the imagination of executive scammers.”

He explained that the members have called on anti-corruption agencies to step in and invite indicted persons for questioning, stressing that it is the anti-corruption agencies that can either validate or disprove our findings, not individuals who spent their days in public office cornering the common patrimony of the people of Kaduna State and mortgaging the future of its children and grandchildren.

He urged the former political appointees to deploy their energies towards preparing their defences before the anti-corruption agencies, and eventually the courts, pointing out that the House of Assembly is not in a battle of wits with them.

According to him, “We have done our duty to the people of Kaduna State. Let them answer to the charges of malfeasance, abuse of office, disrespect for the law and due process leveled against them.

“We are currently in court with the head of the indicted administration, Malam Nasir El-Rufai over the issue of fair hearing. We shall not comment on the matter because it is sub-judice. We stand for the rule of law and due process.”

He stated that they are elected representatives of the people and are accountable to the people with constitutional responsibility to make laws and carry out functions for the welfare, safety and security of the people.

“The probe carried out by the House is in furtherance of the oath we took to advance the interests of the people of Kaduna State. The few political appointees who have been making desperate but futile moves to denigrate the House and cover up the alleged fraud perpetrated by the previous government represent no one but themselves. If they genuinely have the interest of Kaduna State and are truly men and women of integrity, they would have applied themselves to developing the state instead of participating in the alleged pilfering of its scarce resources,” he explained.

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Nigerians paid N721bn in cash bribes to govt officials in 2023 – NBS

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Last Updated on July 12, 2024 by Fellow Press

A survey by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed that Nigerians paid a staggering N721 billion in cash bribes to public officials in 2023.

The survey, titled “Corruption in Nigeria: Patterns and Trends,” released on Thursday, July 11, revealed that over 95 percent of these bribes were in monetary form.

According to the report, there has been a decline in Nigerians’ confidence in the government’s anti-corruption efforts during the period under review.

The report stated, “Overall, it is estimated that a total of roughly N721 billion ($1.26 billion) was paid in cash bribes to public officials in Nigeria in 2023, corresponding to 0.35 percent of the entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria.”

The report further revealed that bribes paid in a public official’s office and on the street accounted for approximately 35 percent and 36 percent of all bribes respectively while, 11 percent of bribes were paid in respondents’ own homes, while 7 percent occurred in public buildings such as restaurants, malls, or stations.

The report highlighted that healthcare professionals and public utility officers were the most frequent recipients of bribes, accounting for 30 percent and 24 percent of encounters respectively. Police officers followed closely with a contact rate of 20 percent

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Vice President Trump, President Putin Of Ukraine – Biden Goofs At NATO Summit

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Last Updated on July 12, 2024 by Fellow Press

U.S. President Joe Biden had a series of verbal slip-ups on Thursday alongside the NATO summit in Washington, an unfortunate development for the 81-year-old as he tries to move past concerns that he is too old to run for re-election.

Verbal gaffes are not unusual in the long political career of Biden, who overcame a childhood stutter, but there is closer attention on him amid the fallout from his dismal debate performance against Republican candidate Donald Trump last month.

Trump, who is 78, and also has faced concerns about his age, frequently made false claims during the debate and often rambles during campaign speeches.

Below is a summary of Biden’s mistakes on Thursday.

BIDEN MISTAKENLY CALLS ZELENSKIY ‘PUTIN’

Biden mistakenly referred to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as “President Putin”.

“And now I want to hand it over to the president of Ukraine, who has as much courage as he has determination, ladies and gentlemen, President Putin,” Biden said at the NATO summit, drawing gasps from those in the room.

“Going to beat President Putin, President Zelenskiy. I am so focused on beating Putin,” Biden said while correcting himself.

BIDEN MISTAKENLY REFERS TO HARRIS AS TRUMP
During a news conference on Thursday evening, Biden mixed up the name of his vice president, Kamala Harris, and his rival Trump.

“Look, I wouldn’t have picked Vice President Trump to be vice president if she was not qualified to be president. So start there,” Biden said as he responded to a question from Reuters about his confidence in Harris.

BIDEN FUMBLES ‘CHIEFS OF STAFF’
Biden also struggled at the news conference to find the words “chiefs of staff,” mistakenly referring to the group of the country’s top uniformed military leaders as “commander in chief,” the title he holds as president.

“And so our military is working on following the advice of my commander in chief my, my, my, the chiefs of staff, of the military as well as the secretary of defense and our intelligence people.”

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