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REVEALED: LAWMA boss, Ibrahim Odumboni, allegedly sold multi-million naira vehicles as scrap

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The acting managing director of the the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), Ibrahim Odumboni, has been accused of allegedly flouting procurement law and selling multi-million naira vehicles of the Authority as scrap.

When Ibrahim Odumboni was appointed acting managing director (MD) of the Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA) in May 2020, the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, was confident he was the perfect fit for the job.

In a statement, Sanwo-Olu said the former banker would bring his wealth of experience as a former LAWMA executive director in charge of business development to revitalise the often-troubled agency.

Mr Odumboni replaced Muyiwa Gbadegesin, who was removed for infractions including allegations of misappropriation of funds.

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However, the tenure of the 40-year-old Odumboni has also now become controversial, with some officials querying his management of the agency’s assets.

In one instance, Odumboni was queried by the state’s commissioner for environment for selling at least 55 mostly serviceable heavy-duty vehicles and a D9 bulldozer as scraps without following due process, and at a cost the commissioner described as ‘alarmingly undervalued.’

Between March 4 and 6, 2021, Mr Odumboni directed the disposal of 22 trucks, one engine and a D-9 bulldozer, located at LAWMA’s depot in Agege and Ikeja.

LAWMA staffers aware of the sale said many of the vehicles were still serviceable at the time they were sold as scrap. The vehicles were sold to Blackcann Limited, a scrap metal company.

LAWMA officials knowledgeable about the transfer of the vehicles to Blackcann Limited said the vehicles were moved from the depots at night in what they said appeared a move to evade questions about their destination from inquisitive officials.

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The vehicles comprised four Man Diesel compactors, 10 Mercedes Benz compactors, four Mack compactors, one Hof compactor and two Daf compactors, from the Agege Transfer Loading Station (TLS). The engine scrap was also stationed at the Agege TLS. Others were a bulk mover and M29 compactor from the Ikeja depot. The D-9 bulldozer was moved from the Solous depot in the Alimosho area of the state.

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In a memo authorising Blackcann Limited to take possession of the vehicles, Mr Odumboni claimed they were being removed from the depot for “assembling”.

“I hereby authorised Messrs Blackcann Limited to move all scrap metal and beyond Economic Economic Repair (BER) trucks at the depot to Lagos Waste Management Authority facility at Ikorodu for assembling,” Mr Odumboni stated in the memo dated March 4, 2021.

However, according to reports release vouchers signed at the Agege depot before the vehicles were released, which tell a different story. The vouchers indicate that the vehicles were taken by LAWMA’s Engineering Department to either “Ikorodu Road,” or “Owode Onirin”, a popular scrap metal market along Ikorodu Road.

Also, contrary to the claim in the memo that the vehicles were taken from the depots for assembling, the release vouchers stated that they were taken for “safekeeping”.

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A LAWMA official who asked not to be named for fear of being victimised pointed out further inconsistencies in the MD’s memo.

“LAWMA does not have any facility in Ikorodu,” the official said. There are only two sites remotely associated with LAWMA in the town, one is a dumpsite at Ewu-Elepe, the other place is a moribund Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project between Earthcare, a compost fertiliser manufacturer and LAWMA at Odoguyan along Shagamu Road.”

“It was a blatant lie to even say the vehicles were being taken for assembling. What does he mean by that? Are the vehicles going to be put together to manufacture new ones? In fact, our engineering department is stationed at our head office in Ijora, and repairs of vehicles are either done at our depots or at Ijora,” the source added.

The official claimed that each of the compactors was worth at least N2 million and the D-9 bulldozer was worth at least N20 million when they were sold.

When reached for comment about the disposal of the vehicles, Peter Benjamin-Black, the CEO of Blackcann Limited, declined to comment. During a telephone interview, he told this reporter to direct the questions to LAWMA.

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Mr. Odumboni may have flouted the state’s procurement law in the manner he disposed the vehicles.

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Section 80 (2) of the Lagos State Public Procurement Law states that “the open competitive bidding shall be the primary source of receiving offers for the purchase of any public property offered for sale”

The law defines Open Competitive Bidding as ”the solicitation of bids from domestic contractors and suppliers registered or incorporated to carry on business under Nigerian Law.”

Subsection (3) of Section 80 further empowers a Parastatal Tender Board shall issue regulations, detailing operational principles and organizational modalities to be adopted by the procuring entities engaged in the disposal of public property with the approval of the governor.

Section 86 stipulates the punishment for an officer of the state found to have contravened any provision of the law. It said such an official “commits an offence and is liable upon conviction to summary dismissal from the government service and between five and 10 years imprisonment without the option of fine.”

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The sale of the vehicles did not go down well with some LAWMA officials. But while the murmurs about the first deal was yet to abate, Mr Odumboni initiated the sale of another 34 vehicles, which he claimed were unserviceable.

This time, however, he sought official approval to dispose of the vehicles. But even the disposal of this set of vehicles was tainted with the allegation that the vehicles were grossly undervalued.

It was learnt that several of the vehicles were procured about three years ago, during the era of Visionscape, a controversial waste management company backed by the administration of the immediate past governor of the state, Akinwunmi Ambode.

Obtained details of the amount for which some of the vehicles were sold: Eight damaged vehicles were sold to Olaseni Danzaki Limited. They include three Renault 5CBM compactors for N750,000, a Mantiga trailer head for N1.5 million, a Mantiga compactor for N800,000, a Mantiga truck head for N1.1 million, a Sino Truck for N1.5 million, and an MT-013 Fuel tanker for N1 million.

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Six Actros Mercedes Benz trucks were sold for N900,000 each to Defroser Global Enterprises. The company also bought another set of four Actros Mercedes Benz trucks for N800,000 each and a Daf towing vehicle for N400,000.

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Two Man Diesel trucks were sold to Collect-A-Can for N800,000 each, another set of seven Man Diesel trucks for N750,000 each, another truck for N400,000 and a trailer back for N300,000.

The vehicles were sold around the last week of April 2021.Vexed by the irregularities he suspected characterised the sale of the vehicles and acting on complaints from some LAWMA officials, Tunji Bello, the commissioner in charge of the Ministry for Environment, the supervising ministry of LAWMA, on May 5, 2021, officially demanded explanation from Odumboni about the deals.

The query was titled: “Re: Alleged Boarding of Vehicles and Equipment belonging to LAWMA without Due Diligence,” and had the serial number: MOEWR/HC/C/2019/VOL.1/67.

“I write to inform you that there are allegations that you directed managers of the Authority’s facilities to release several (about 30) heavy-duty vehicles (compactors, tipper heads etc) and a D-9 V-track Caterpillar bulldozer for disposer without consultation with or notification of the management and the vehicles were moved out in the dead of the night to the popular scrap metal market in Lagos (Owode Onirin).

“Furthermore, it has also been alleged that you officially initiated further boarding of an additional set of 32 vehicles, a considerable number of which were only recently purchased, and all of which were alarmingly undervalued.”

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He directed Mr Odumboni to respond within five days of getting the query.

It could not confirm if Mr Odumboni responded to the query. Mr Bello did not respond to questions asking him if Mr Odumboni responded to the query and what his response was.

It also remains unclear if any disciplinary action was taken against the LAWMA boss for the suspected infractions.

Odumboni Keeps mum

Odumboni did not respond to newsmen inquiries on the allegations.

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Crime

Union Bank keeps mum as EFCC arraigns employee over fraud (Photos)

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday arraigned a former employee of Union Bank, Abdulmalik Salau, and two others for cybercrime and money laundering involving about N1.403 billion.

The other accused persons are Ismaila Atumeyi and Ngene Dominic. EFCC announced the arrest of the defendants in November.

The anti-graft agency’s spokesperson, Wilson Uwujaren, said in a statement that the trio were arraigned before the trial judge, Tjinani Ringim, of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos.

They face 18 charges to which they all pleaded “not guilty” on Monday.

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Following their “not guilty” plea, the prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, called for the commencement of their trial, a request he anchored on the provision of section 273 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA).

“Therefore, we will, with all humility, ask your Lordship for the acceleration of this trial.

My Lord, Section 300 of the ACJA also expects the prosecution to give a very brief summary of the case it has against the defendants,” the lawyer said.

How defendants allegedly diverted bank’s N1.4billion’

Mr Oyedepo also informed the judge that the prosecution had lined up six witnesses to testify against the defendants.

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He said the prosecution would, through the witnesses, show to the court “how the defendants agreed among themselves to hack into the database of Union Bank Plc, transferred funds belonging to the bank and its customers and used the proceeds of this unlawful activity to acquire properties for themselves.”

He added that the prosecution would show how the third defendant, a former member of staff of Union Bank Plc, allegedly worked with the others and “succeeded in hacking into the database of the bank”

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He alleged that the defendants, in different instalments, moved over N1.4 billion into the accounts of FAV Oil and Gas Limited and Atus Homes Limited.

The prosecuting lawyer added: “The exhibits that the prosecution will tender include the documentary exhibit that shows that the sum of $480,000 was found in the possession of the third defendant and that the sum of N326, 400 million cash was found in a black Escalade car in the possession of first and second defendants.

“My lord, the case is such that, in its nature, requires the cooperation of both the prosecution and the defence team to see its expeditious determination.

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“I, therefore, urge your lordship, pending the determination of the case, to remand the defendants in a correctional facility, where adequately trained personnel will see to their welfare and wellbeing.”

EFCC alleged that part of the offences allegedly committed by the defendant was contrary to and punishable under section 16(1) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc.) Act, 2015.

Another of the offences was also said to violate section 18( a), 15 (2) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2011, as amended and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.

Defence lawyers deny allegations, apply for bail

Responding to the prosecuting counsel, Bolaji Ayorinde, the lawyer representing the first and second defendants, Messrs Atumeyi and Dominic, said: “No iota of evidence has been admitted against the first and second defendants.

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The defendants having pleaded “not guilty” to the charges, Mr Ayorinde said “they are constitutionally and legally under the presumption of innocence until otherwise determined by the court.”

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The defence lawyer added:* “In order to further the presumption of innocence of the first and second defendants, we filed on November 30, 2022, an application for bail seeking your lordship’s admission to bail of the first and second defendants pending the hearing and determination of the charge against them.

“The prosecution has responded to the application by serving on the first and second defendants a counter filed on 5 December 2022.”
He said in ensuring an expeditious and speedy dispensation of the case, he was prepared to move the application for bail immediately.

The application for bail for the first and second defendants is ready for hearing. The summons for bail is dated November 30, 2022. Since it seeks admission of the defendants to bail in very liberal terms, the grounds of the application are well stated in the summons,” he said.

Mr Ayorinde, who described the offence as bailable, stated that the defendants, “who were arrested and detained as far back as November 1, 2022,” would not jump bail.

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He maintained that the “incarceration of the first and second defendants ought not to continue, even if on some terms. Their rights to bail have not been taken away; the charges preferred against them are bailable.”

The third defendant’s lawyer, Babatunde Ogunwo, also denied the allegations levelled against his client and “adopted “wholeheartedly” the argument of Mr Ayorinde.

EFCC’s lawyer, Mr Oyedepo, opposed the defendants’ bail applications.

“In the very unlikely event that the court disagrees with our submissions, we pray your lordship to impose such conditions that will secure the attendance of the defendants, particularly the first and second defendants whose applications are being argued.”

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The judge adjourned until Tuesday for ruling on the bail application of the first and second defendants.

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One year old boy drowns after falling into bucket of water in Anambra

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A boy, 1, has d!ed after falling into a bucket of water in Nnewi, Anambra state.

The child’s parents reportedly left him in the care of his siblings when the tragedy occurred on Saturday, Dec. 3.

The siblings were busy playing when the child made his way to buckets of water arranged outside and fell into one.

He was found too late.

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Videos shared online show loved ones praying for the boy to come back to life. No one is seen performing CPR in the video.

Sadly, the boy gave up the ghost.

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Men who refuse polygamy contributing to prostitution – Ned Nwoko

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A Nigerian lawyer and politician, Prince Chinedu Munir Nwoko, popularly known as Ned Nwoko, has accused men who do not marry more than one wife of contributing to immorality in society.

The former lawmaker, who stated this in his recent interview with the Guardian, urged Nigerian men to emulate the northern men by marrying more than one wife.

He said: “Many women are out there without a husband, especially in the southern part of the country, and there is a high level of prostitution. If the southern men emulate their northern counterparts by marrying more than one wife, that could probably change the situation.

“An average southerner may have one wife with girlfriends, and he is spending money on the girlfriends, sometimes even more than his wife.

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“For instance, the man, who has three wives, concentrate on them, every money he makes is spent on his family, and he is more likely not to have a girlfriend or concubines. The money those with several girlfriends spend on them is a gift, not an investment in the family.”

Nwoko, who has multiple wives, noted that he and the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, are serving Nigeria by marrying many wives.

Ned, who further claimed to have the same background as Ooni, explained that their grandfathers were kings and had served Nigeria in that capacity. “And we are now also serving Nigeria by marrying many wives.”

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