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JUST IN: Detained Binance’s executive drags Ribadu, EFCC to court

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Tigran Gambaryan, Binance’s head of financial crime compliance, has sued Nuhu Ribadu, the national security adviser (NSA) and the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alleging violation of his fundamental rights.

 

According to reports on February 28, Gambaryan was detained, alongside Nadeem Anjarwalla, Binance’s regional manager for Africa, by the Nigerian authorities after honouring the invitation of the office of the national security adviser (ONSA) and EFCC to discuss issues relating to the company’s operation in Nigeria.

 

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla’s passports were seized by ONSA.

 

However, on March 25, Anjarwalla escaped from custody and fled Nigeria with a smuggled passport.

 

Before escaping custody, on March 12, Anjarwalla was reported to have fallen illwhile in detention.

 

According to reports on Thursday, Gambaryan, in the originating motion dated and filed March 18 by his lawyer, Olujoke Aliyu, from Aluko and Oyebode Law Firm, sought five reliefs before Justice Inyang Ekwo.

 

Also, Anjarwalla filed a separate right enforcement suit before Ekwo.

 

Gambaryan and Anjarwalla, in the suits marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/356/24 and FHC/ABJ/CS/355/24, had sued the ONSA and EFCC as 1st and 2nd respondents.

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The duo sought the same relief.

 

Gambaryan, a US citizen, in his application, sought a declaration that his detention and seizure of his international travel passport contravened Section 35 (1) and (4) of the 1999 Constitution (As Amended).

 

He said the act amounted to a violation of his fundamental right to personal liberty as guaranteed by the constitution.

 

The Binance executive also sought an order directing the respondents to release him from their custody and return his international travel passport with immediate effect.

 

Gambaryan equally sought an order of perpetual injunction restraining the respondents and agents from further detaining him in relation to any investigation into or demands from Binance.

 

Also, he sought an order for the respondents to issue a public apology to him, and also prayed for the cost of the action on a full indemnity basis.

 

In a statement in support of the suit, Gambaryan said he is an American citizen who visited Nigeria on February 26, along with his colleague to honour the invitation of the ONSA and EFCC to discuss issues relating to Binance in Nigeria.

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Giving an 11-ground argument as to why his application should be granted, Gambaryan said he and his colleague, Anjarwalla, dutifully attended the meeting.

 

Gambaryan said after the meeting, they were detained by the respondents and had remained in detention since then, adding that he did not commit any offence during the meeting, nor was he informed in writing of any offence he committed in Nigeria at any other time.

 

“The only reason for his detention is because the government is requesting information from Binance and making demands on the company,” he said,

 

Gambaryan also said he was not a member of the board of directors of Binance.

 

ANJARWALLA’S SUIT WITHDRAWN

When the two suits were called on Thursday, Tonye Krukrubo, appeared for Anjarwalla and Gambaryan.

 

Krukrubo told the court that though the respondents were served two days ago, they were not represented in court.

 

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The lawyer, however, drew the attention of the court to their notice of withdrawal of legal representation for Anjarwalla filed on March 26, without giving details of why they were withdrawing their legal representation.

 

Also, upon resumed hearing in Gambaryan’s suit, Krukrubo said though the processes had been served on ONSA and EFCC, they were still within time to respond.

 

He, therefore, sought an adjourned date, saying the respondents’ time to file their applications would expire next week Thursday.

 

In his judgement, Ekwo said having withdrawn their legal representation, “it means that the applicant has no legal representation and requires that the matter be adjourned for the applicant to seek legal representation and for the respondents to be given an opportunity to come to court”.

 

The judge adjourned the matter until April 8 for further mention.

 

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Kano anti-graft agency files fresh charges against Ganduje

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The Kano state anti-corruption and public complaints commission says it has brought fresh charges against Abdullahi Ganduje, national chair of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Appearing on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, on Tuesday, Muhuyi Magaji, chair of the anti-graft agency, said the commission is investigating a case where N51 billion was allegedly diverted by the Ganduje administration.

Ganduje was governor of Kano from 2015 to 2023.

 

Magaji said during the twilight of the Ganduje administration, N1 billion was withdrawn from the state’s accounts for rehabilitation of roads, but that the sum was allegedly diverted.

 

“What is happening now is a tip of the iceberg,” he said.

 

“As I am talking to you, we are investigating a case whereby N51.3 billion local government funds were directly taken from the government coffers (and) sent to other individuals, and we traced it to people.

 

“We have piled a series of cases. We have a case whereby N1 billion in April last year (2023) was removed from government coffers under the allocation of renovating 30 roads in the metropolis and it was taken away, sent to Bureau de Change.

READ  EFCC docks Bureau De Change operator Mohammed for N43.3m fraud in Maiduguri

 

“We have a case of N4 billion whereby it was sent from the consolidated revenue account of Kano state to an agricultural company. All these cases are before the court.”

 

The chair said the commission is not driven by politics and is dedicated to the fight against corruption.

 

“Incidentally, His Excellency, the former governor, was the one that appointed me in 2015 to head the agency and I was re-appointed in 2020 for another five-year term,” he said.

 

“Basically, we have an institution in the Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC) that is devoid of political activities and dedicated to fight corruption, check maladministration and fight injustice.”

It was learnt that a formal invitation will be extended to the former governor.

 

On Monday, executives in Ganduje’s APC ward in Kano suspended the former governor from the party over corruption allegations.

 

Soon after, however, the APC in Kano nullified the suspension and handed the executives behind the move a six-month suspension from the party.

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Testimony controversy: After backlash, Enenche apologises, meets Abuja testifier

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The woman who was accused of lying while giving testimony at the Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Abuja, Vera Anyim, has said she bears no grudge against the church.

 

This followed the controversy that trailed the treatment that was meted out to her by the church’s Senior Pastor, Dr Paul Enenche, on Sunday.

 

In a video that emerged online, Anyim, during her testimony in the church, said she graduated with a “Bsc in Law” from the National Open University of Nigeria.

 

She was however interrupted by Enenche who said she was lying. The pastor also questioned the credibility of the woman’s testimony while he chided her on how she spoke.

Enenche who said there was nothing like “Bsc in Law” immediately asked her to leave the pulpit.

 

The action however generated a flurry of reactions as netizens demanded an apology from the cleric.

 

But Anyim, in a post on her Facebook page on Monday, said she had put the situation behind her.

 

She made the statement after meeting Enenche and his wife, Becky.

Sharing photos from the meeting, she wrote, “I want to inform the whole world that I just had a warm meeting with my spiritual father and mother, Dr Paul Enenche, and Dr Becky Enenche.

 

“I don’t have any grudge against the church or them. I remain committed to serving God as a member of Dunamis Church.

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“I am thankful for the concern of the public.

 

“I have put the situation at my back, and I have moved forward, and I want everybody to do the same. Peace.”

 

The church in a statement on Monday said it reached out to Anyim over the issue, while it explained that concerns arose during her testimony at the Glory Dome on April 14, 2024, regarding her language proficiency and the clarity of her academic credentials.

 

It stated that her speech suggested a level of English proficiency below what might be expected of a university graduate, particularly one with a Law degree, while noting that discrepancies also emerged regarding the nature and duration of her academic pursuit, raising doubts about the legitimacy of her qualifications.

 

The statement added that the Senior Pastor’s actions stemmed from a commitment to upholding standards of excellence and integrity within the church community.

 

The statement read, “A scenario was created on Sunday the 14th April, 2024 at the Glory Dome, the Global Headquarters of Dunamis International Gospel Centre, when Ms Anyim Veronica Nnenna came out to testify of how God helped her graduate from the university, thus making her the first person to attain that feat in her family.

 

“These were the immediate triggers for the said scenario: First, listening to the testifier’s expressions as it borders on basic spoken English, conveys the impression that the minimum standard expectation of a graduate, especially a graduate of Law was not met.

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“Second, stating that she studied Law for 10 years begged the question of what her degree actually was.

 

“Third, she was unable to state exactly what the correct degree was for Law which is LLB, rather she said it was a BSc in Law which is largely unknown as a Law degree in Nigeria and possibly globally.

 

“These prompted the Senior Pastor. Dr. Paul Enenche, to stop the testimony immediately as a product of a ‘lie.’ However, relief came when it was later confirmed that she actually graduated from a university.

 

“It must be pointed out clearly here that embarrassing the testifier publicly with the attendant media frenzy was never intended; whatever happened was under the spur of the moment.”

 

The church disclosed further that the Senior Pastor was rather based on his and the church’s aversion to seeming mediocrity and any appearance of untruth.

 

“While we remain resolute in our passion for excellence, intolerance of mediocrity and falsehood, we wish to reiterate the fact that no harm or hurt was ever intended by the Senior Pastor against Ms. Anyim Veronica. The Senior Pastor feels deeply concerned and had already reached out to her.

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“As a commission, we regret every inconvenience, hurt, and embarrassment this unfortunate scenario has caused to Ms Anyim Veronica Nnenna. We remain committed to her physical welfare as well as her spiritual growth. God bless us all,” the statement added.

 

Some photos confirming that the woman graduated from NOUN were discovered on her Facebook page and shared online.

 

Reacting earlier to the treatment meted out to her, Vera lamented that she was disgraced and labelled a liar by her spiritual leader because she couldn’t speak English and mistakenly said B.Sc instead of LLB.

 

In a post on her Facebook page on Monday, she stated that she graduated with a 3rd class from NOUN and was no. 2262 on the list of graduates from the school.

She wrote: “It’s disheartened because I couldn’t speak English like lawyers. I was labelled a liar for mistakenly saying B.Sc instead of LLB. Actually, I graduated with a Third Class at NOUN. The rejected stone can become the cornerstone. We’re reminded not to look down on anyone.

 

“You can’t imagine what I endured throughout the service. How shattered I must have felt to be disgraced by my spiritual leader in such a manner? I am no. 2262 on the list. I, Vera, deserve better now.

“The Devil came to steal my testimony but Jesus said NO!,” she stated in a separate post.

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Sack non-performing appointees, review your policies, El-Rufai tells Tinubu

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Former governor of Kaduna, Nasir el-Rufai, says President Bola Tinubu should sack appointees in his cabinet who do not deliver on their mandate.

 

El-Rufai, who spoke in Maiduguri, Borno state capital, on Monday, urged Tinubu to look into the possibility of adjusting some of his policies that are not yielding expected results.

 

“You appointed a person into a position and he is not working according to the expectation, you should have the humility to tell him that I need a better person, go and do something else,” NAN quoted him as saying.

 

The former governor urged Nigerians to pray and assist the administration in its efforts to make things better.

 

“What we must do as citizens is to pray for our leaders for God to guide them to see or do what is right,” he said.

 

“For God to give them the humility to reverse themselves when necessary and do the right thing; that’s how society progresses.”

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