The Human and Environmental Development Agenda, which petitioned the Code of Conduct Bureau over the former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Alfa Begore’s alleged roles in the $9.6bn judgment awarded against Nigeria, has assured the bureau of its readiness to testify against the former judiciary helmsman.
The Chairman of HEDA, Mr Olanrewaju Suraju, told The PUNCH on Tuesday he was invited by the bureau after he submitted his September 30, 2019 petition to adopt the content and give assurance about his availability to testify in the case.
Suraju said, “After we submitted the petition, we received a call from the bureau inviting us to appear to adopt the petition as ours and to assure it that we would be ready to honour further invitations if we are needed and to testify in the event that the matter gets to court.
“I appeared before the Intelligence, Enforcement and Investigations department of the bureau on October 4, 2019 and signed documents adopting the content of the petition as our own and assuring them that the content was true to the best of our knowledge. We also gave them all assurances they requested, including that we would be available to testify in the case.”
The group had in its petition sent to the CCB and President Muhammadu Buhari accused Belgore of charges including conflict of interest as a result of his roles in the proceedings leading to the award of $9.6bn in favour of a British Virgin Island firm, Process and Industrial Developments.
The award was, in January 2017, issued by a British arbitration tribunal in London in favour of P&ID and against Nigeria over the country’s alleged breach of a gas supply contract.
Belgore, who had been reportedly invited for questioning by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over his roles in the case, was said to have given expert evidence before the arbitration panel in favour of P&ID leading to the humongous sum of $9.6bn awarded in favour of the foreign firm.
The arbitral award was subsequently affirmed by a London court in August this year.
HEDA, referring to Belgore’s roles in the case, said in its petition sent to the CCB that “there is a clear case of conflict of interest which is backed up constitutionally by the Code of Conduct for Public Officers”.
“Specifically, Section 1 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers which states that a public officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts with his duties and responsibilities,” Suraju stated.
He added that Section 5 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers of the 1999 Constitution “directly prohibits former Presidents, Vice Presidents, Chief Justice of Nigeria, governors and deputy governors from working for foreign companies or enterprises”.
The petitioner noted that Belgore remained the chairman of the National Merit Honour Award Committee which conferred duty of patriotism and loyalty to the country on him.
He noted that Belgore is a member of the Council of State comprising the incumbent President, past Presidents and Heads of State, former CJNs, President of the Senate, Speaker of House of Representatives and all governors of the 36 states.
“By working for PI&D and proffering the expert advice for the British company, the former CJN violated the provisions of the Constitution and also exposed privileged and sensitive national information to foreign private company.
“It can be concluded, without equivocation, that drafters of the Constitution understand the weight of the offices occupied by the prohibited officers and the potential implication of actions such as taken by the former CJN.
“The act he allegedly committed is grave and amounts to a breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, thereby violating the provisions of the Constitution,” he said.
The petitioner prayed that the former CJN “be prosecuted immediately by the Code of Conduct Bureau before the Code of Conduct Tribunal for violating Section 5 of the Constitution”.
He also prayed that the former CJN “be removed with immediate effect as Chairman of the National Merit Honour Committee” and stripped of his national honour of Grand Commander of the Niger as a result of the alleged breach.
Royal Split: Prince Harry expresses great sadness
Britain’s Prince Harry expressed “great sadness” on Sunday at the way he and his wife Meghan had to give up their royal titles as part of separation settlement with the Queen.
“It brings me great sadness that it has come to this,” Harry said in his first remarks on Saturday’s historic agreement, made during a public address and posted on the couple’s Instagram account.
“Our hope was to continue serving the Queen, the commonwealth, and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible,” he told supporters of his Africa-based charity for youngsters with HIV at an event in London.
The settlement stripped Harry and Meghan of public funding and required them to repay £2.4 million ($3.1 million) of taxpayer’s money spent on renovating their Frogmore Cottage home near Windsor Castle.
Harry was also forced to give up the military titles and patronages he was awarded after serving two tours in Afghanistan with the British Army.
But Harry said he felt “utmost respect” for Queen Elizabeth II.
“It has been our privilege to serve you, and we will continue to lead a life of service.”
“I will always have the utmost respect for my grandmother, my commander in chief, and I am incredibly grateful to her and the rest of my family, for the support they have shown Meghan and me over the last few months.”
He also hinted at some trepidation at starting a new life away from his royal home. He and Meghan will spend some time in Canada before deciding whether to move to the United States or another country.
“We are taking a leap of faith — thank you for giving me the courage to take this next step,” he said.
President Buhari reveals why he joined Politics
President Buhari finally reveals why he joined politics after his release from prison President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed why he joined partisan politics after he was released from prison over thirty years ago. He said he joined politics because of his integrity.
Will Smith and Martins Lawrence named Honorary police officers by Miami City Police Force
Hollywood actors, Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, ahead of the release of the new ‘Bad Boys for Life’ movie, were on Sunday honored by the Miami City Police Force for their outstanding contribution to the growth of the entertainment industry in Miami.
Smith has lived and worked in Miami for almost half a century, and the Bad Boys movie Franchise has always been shot in Miami, hence the Miami city police force thought it wise to celebrate and honor Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, and handed them ‘keys to the city’ plaque and Miami police force badges while also granting them honorary police officer titles, roles they both played in the Bad Boys film.
Smith took to Instagram to celebrate the achievement .
“Been rockin’ with Miami for over 25 years and today me and @martinlawrence got the keys to the city and were officially made honorary Miami Police officers!! Big thanx @francisxsuarez and @pitbull (happy BDay) for setting us up! #badboysforlife,” the 51-year-old actor shared on Instagram alongside a series of photos and videos of the two men receiving their keys.
In one of the videos, the official who presented Smith, 51, and Lawrence, 54, with the honor also announced that Jan. 12 would be celebrated as the “Bad Boys for Life” day in the city of Miami, which was met by cheers from the crowd.