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FIRS Official, Ita Diverted Funds To Her Private School – Witness

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A prosecution witness for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ijeoma Maltida, has revealed how the Head of the Stakeholders Unit, Federal Inland Revenue Services, Emmanuella-Eteta Ita, siphoned and diverted large sums of money meant for stakeholders’ assignments to the account of her private school, Surestart School Limited.

The spokesperson for the EFCC, Dele Oyewale, revealed the development of the court proceeding in a statement on Monday.

Oyewale said, “A prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of the Head of Stakeholders Unit of the Federal Inland Revenue Services, Emmanuella Eteta Ita, on Monday, March 18, 2024, told Justice Giwa Ogunbanjo of the Federal High Court in Abuja, how Ita siphoned and diverted large sums of money meant for stakeholders’ assignments to her private school, Surestart School Limited.

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“Ita ran Surestart School Limited while serving as the Head of the Stakeholders Unit of the FIRS.

“The witness, Ijeoma Maltida, while giving her testimony during a cross-examination by defence counsel, Paul Erokoro, revealed that the first defendant, Ita, undertook some stakeholders’ assignments and the funds meant for the projects were traced into her account with the payment narration.

“Investigations showed that the same funds were sent directly into the account of the second defendant, Surestart School Limited.”

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Quoting the witness, Oyewale noted, “When she came to our office, we took her statement, we were cordial with her, and she was treated very well with utmost respect. While she was with us for reconciliation, she started bringing documents, and she also opted to pay back for some reconciliation she could not account for.

“She said in her statement that she would pay back the money, I don’t know where she got the money from, and so far, she has refunded about N17 million, though she told us that she benefited about N5 million from the programme,.

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“I don’t know the standard practice of sourcing for funds before asking for reimbursement, and it is not within the scope of our investigation. All I know is that she undertook some of the stakeholders’ events, and we saw that those monies that came from FIRS went directly into the account of the second defendant, and the description was that the assignment was not done.”

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Matilda continued, “She said the vendors that were supposed to do the events had given their evidence in court and testified that the receipts didn’t come from them. She further claimed that those receipts were given to her by one Daniel, who was a staff of FIRS.

“We were told he was late, and we demanded the death certificate which was given to us. We requested his account details, and we discovered he was also a beneficiary. We wrote to FIRS, UBA, System Spec, and invited everyone involved in this matter, and everything we have here is a result of our investigations.”

Oyewale noted that after the cross-examination, Justice Ogunbanjo adjourned the matter till March 20 and 21, 2024, for continuation of cross-examination.

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PAP: Again, Otuaro Meets Stakeholders, Re-emphasises Importance Of Collaboration

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The administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme, PAP, Dr. Dennis Otuaro, has re-emphasized the need for a collaborative approach in maintaining peace in the Niger Delta, even as he met with various stakeholders in the region.

Otuaro, who spoke when he met with various stakeholders, in Warri, Delta State, including ex-agitators, community leaders, and youth groups, emphasised the importance of involving more stakeholders from impacted communities in the PAP in order to achieve sustainable peace in Niger Delta.

The meetings, held in different locations on July 23rd, 2023, aimed to strengthen peace in the Niger Delta region.

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READ ALSO: Otuaro Visits Edo/Delta Liaison Office, Declares PAP Apolitical

He stressed the need in engaging more women, and providing refresher training to previously trained beneficiaries to qualify them into the labour market.

He urged stakeholders to take advantage of the PAP’s ongoing scholarship opportunities and register online accordingly.

Otuaro reiterated President Tinubu’s commitment to sustainable peace and rapid development in the Niger Delta, encouraging stakeholders to work together to achieve this goal.

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READ ALSO: PAP: IPDI Tackles Group Over Attack On Otuaro

A vote of confidence was passed on the PAP boss for his transformational leadership and revolutionary reforms, urging President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to disregard opposition.

He concluded by thanking PAP beneficiaries and stakeholders for maintaining the existing peace in the Niger Delta, and commended them for their continued cooperation and support for president Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s administration.

The stakeholders, including HRH Godday Smith, the king of the forest, the Meinbotus communities and the Ijaw Youth Council, Western zone, commended Otuaro’s charismatic leadership and pledged their support.

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READ ALSO: PAP: IPDI Tackles Group Over Attack On Otuaro

In response, the stakeholders pointed out that Otuaro is the right man for the PAP job, admonishing the president Bola Ahmed Tinubu to disregard the antics of the enemies.

They assured him of total support and good working relationship throughout his reign as administrator of PAP.

The stakeholders thanked Otuaro for coming down to hold further meetings with stakeholders after undergoing rigorous meetings with the stakeholders in the Niger Delta region in the penultimate months in Warri, Delta State.

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They expressed enthusiasm over his powerful reforms and good initiatives. They prayed for him for more opportunities, good health and more God’s direction.

 

 

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Four Suspected Cultists Arrested With Arms In Edo

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The Edo State Police Command says it has arrested four suspected cultists.

The suspects arrested were Isioma Unwogo, 21, Godstime Imareigbe, 32, Apeleokha Raymond, 28, and Mutar Igie, 30.

Police Public Relations Officer in Edo, SP Chidi Nwabuzor, who disclosed this to journalists in Benin City, said the suspects were arrested during a stop-and-search operation.

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He said the suspects were arrested in Ahor, a community along the Benin-Lagos bypass and on the Benin-Auchi Road, respectively.

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The command’s spokesperson said Isioma was arrested with one cut-to-size gun and a live cartridge by operatives of the Ahor Police Station Division on patrol.

The other three suspects were arrested when police operatives intercepted a Toyota Camry with registration number ABC 265 RA, and upon a search, they recovered a pistol concealed inside the vehicle’s bonnet.

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SP Nwabuzor alleged that the suspects confessed to being members of a secret cult group in the state.

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Reps Ask NERC, DISCOs To Reverse Band A Tariff Hike

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The House of Representatives on Tuesday asked the Nigeria Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) and the distribution companies, DISCOs, to reverse the tariff hike for Band A customers immediately.

This resolution was reached after the adoption of a report presented by the House Committee on Power.

Chairman of the Committee Victor Nwokolo who presented the report, stated that Nigerians cannot afford the new tariff.

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The Committee recommended a return to the status quo.

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The recommendations were adopted by the Committee of the Whole, after which it was passed.

Further investigation into the tariff hike is to be conducted by the House.

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The NERC in April announced a hike affecting Band A customers, who are to pay N225 per kilowatt.

According to the regulatory commission Band A subscribers would have at least 20 hours of power supply per day

It also explained that only electricity customers in Band A would be affected by the increase.

READ ASLO: JUST IN: Reps Increase 2024 Budget To N35.055 Trillion, Amend Finance Bill

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At the time, it said only 15 per cent of the electricity consumers were affected by the hike, however, the decision generated negative reactions since its announcement.

“We currently have 800 feeders that are categorised as Band A, but it will now be reduced to under 500. This means that 17 per cent now qualify as Band-A feeders. These feeders only service 15 per cent of total electricity customers connected to the feeders,” NERC Vice Chairman, Musliu Oseni said on April 3.

“The commission has issued an order which is titled April supplementary order and the commission allows a 235 kilowatt per hour.”

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