Thursday, 18 November 2010

News Report: Amos Adamu Banned For Three Years

Amos Adamu
One of Fifa's most senior figures have become the first official from the organization ever to be banned for bribery after six officials were punished following a corruption scandal. Nigeria's Amos Adamu received a three-year ban and 10,000 Swiss franc (£6,341) fine from Fifa's ethics committee today after being found guilty of breaching bribery rules.

His fellow executive committee member Reynald Temarii was suspended for a year and fined 5,000 Swiss francs (£3,170) for breaching rules on loyalty and confidentiality.

The bans follow a Sunday Times expose which alleged the officials had asked for cash in return for World Cup votes. Neither man will be able to take part in the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes on 2 December – only 22 executive members will now take those decisions.

Four other Fifa officials, all former executive committee members, have also received bans of between two and four years.

The ethics committee chairman, Claudio Sulser, however criticised the Sunday Times as "sensationalist" – despite basing the investigation on the paper's revelations and imposing punishments which surprised many observers with their severity.

He told a news conference in Zurich: "What I cannot tolerate is the fact that they changed the sentences, they changed the way they presented the truth. If footage is taken out of context that's twisting the facts.
"They showed footage that lasted four minutes, we have looked at audio and video footage of several hours."
Adamu and Temarii's absence from the executive committee may not aid England's campaign for 2018 as the bid had hoped they had sealed their votes.

Furthermore, the ethics committee will take no action regarding allegations that England's 2018 rivals Spain/Portugal have agreed a vote-swapping deal with 2022 bidders Qatar.

Sulser said no evidence had been found of the collusion claims but confirmed that Spain's executive committee member Angel Villar Llona and Qatar's Mohamed Bin Hammam and only been contacted by letter and not interviewed in person.

Sulser said: "We didn't find sufficient grounds to reach the conclusion that there was any collusion, therefore we didn't move forward on that case. "It's hard to prove collusion. Although doubts may arise about objectivity if we can't establish anything, it's clear we cannot say an offence has been committed."
Sulser admitted that the scandal had caused "great damage" to Fifa's image.

Fifa general secretary Jerôme Valcke said the sanctions stood as a warning to anyone tempted to break the rules, but admitted that he could not guarantee the World Cup bidding process is free of collusion.
Valcke said: "Am I sure that 2018 and 2022 are free of any collusion? I can't answer this question – I don't vote and I have no idea what the discussions are between various members.

"As the Fifa president [Sepp Blatter] said before, having two World Cup being bid for at the same time opened the door to such conversations between executive committee members – particularly as you have eight bids involved who have executive members in the room. "I hope that what's happened here in the last three days shows people should be careful of entering into any situation which is forbidden."

Adamu has insisted he will appeal but this will not be heard before the 2 December vote.
He said in a statement: "I am profoundly disappointed with the ethics committee's findings and had honestly believed I would be exonerated of any charges by now. "I completely refute the decision they have made. I will be lodging a full appeal against it with immediate effect."

The other officials sanctioned were Ismael Bhamjee of Botswana, who was handed a four-year ban, Amadou Diakite of Mali and Ahongalu Fusimalohi of Tonga who were suspended for three years and Tunisian official Slim Aloulou for two. All four were also fined 10,000 Swiss francs.

In a separate investigation, the ethics committee found insufficient evidence of collusion between the bid teams of Spain-Portugal 2018 and Qatar 2022. The committee had been conducting an investigation into allegations that the two bid teams had been colluding to trade votes, against bidding regulations.
However, it was announced today the committee "did not find sufficient grounds to reach a conclusion that there was any collusion".

From: Bing News

News Release: DPA Raises Alarm Over Police Search Of ATM Patrons

Marvel Akpoyibo
 Democratic Peoples’ Alliance (DPA) have raised an alarm over a new form of harassment that ATM bank patrons now suffer at the hands of people purporting to be policemen in Lagos .

The party reported complaints by customers leaving banks’ Automated Teller Machines (ATM) points only to be stopped in public by plain-clothed people brandishing supposed police identification. These characters would then proceed to undertake a thorough body search of their victims, who are subsequently forced to display their personal identity card, ATM cards and their cash withdrawals, DPA said in a statement by its Director of Publicity, Felix Oboagwina.

DPA urged the Lagos State Commissioner of Police, Mr. Marvel Akpoyibo, to urgently wade into the matter and call his men to order.

“It is a most dangerous dimension to banking and ATM transactions,” DPA said, maintaining that, “Such unwarranted stop-and-search exercises are not only threatening, they clearly violate the security and confidentiality traditional to banks and their customers. Moreover, they can expose customers to attacks from robbers and muggers.”

The party noted that police and banks usually provided security at ATM points inside banking premises and nothing warranted the novel embarrassment the police was subjecting the public to.
Recalling several ugly incidents in which policemen had turned around to rob, maim and sometimes kill people whom they searched and found substantial cash upon; DPA said the practice of trailing ATM patrons must stop immediately.

Nigeria is not the first place that Automated Teller Machines will be installed, and nowhere else in the world do police trail patrons to enquire about withdrawals from ATM points. Whatever the advantages of this latter-day practice by the Nigerian police, it happens nowhere else in the world; plus it clearly violates the fundamental rights provisions of the Nigerian Constitution,” DPA said.

According to the party, such searching violated Nigerians constitutionally guaranteed rights relating to dignity of human persons, personal liberty, and freedom of movement, fair hearing and freedom from discrimination.
The party’s statement cited the specific case of a student of the University of Ilorin who had made a withdrawal at the Ikotun Branch of the Intercontinental Bank on Wednesday in Lagos. The young man was trailed and accosted by two men claiming to be plain-cloths policemen and given a thorough body search.

They only released him when they felt uncomfortable with a crowd that began to gather at the scene.
“It could have been turned nasty if these policemen cornered this bank customer in a solitary place,” he said.
DPA also recalled that last year, a two-man gang on a motorcycle had trailed a customer who unknown to them had made a lodgment, not a withdrawal, at a new generation bank at Isolo area of Lagos. They shot him before making away with his empty bag as he lay dying in a pool of blood.

Urging the banks and the public to prevail on police authorities in Lagos and throughout the country to stop this new mode of trailing ATM patrons, DPA warned that such policemen could ultimately turn around to serve as informants for armed robbers. It said that armed robbers could also hijack the practice.

Felix Oboagwina
Director of Publicity(Lagos State DPA)

News Report: Nigerian Security Taskforce Acts To Forestall Diplomatic Pressures

JTF Officers

The Joint Security Taskforce (JTF), an adhoc security apparatus set up to manage the security situation in the restive oil and gas rich Niger Delta region have acted to forestall diplomatic pressures by the governments of United states Of America(USA), Canada, France and Indonesia, whose nationals were abducted recently in an attack on an oil and gas facility by operatives of Movement For The Emancipation Of Niger Delta(MEND), chidi opara reports learnt.
The JTF in the early hours of  today rescued hostages abducted by MEND during the attack. MEND, According to reliable information had hoped to use the hostages for negotiations. Alleged financiers and operatives of MEND,  Mr. Henry Okah, His elder brother, Charles Okah and others are undergoing prosecution in South Africa and Nigeria for complicity in the Abuja bomb blast of October 1st, 2010.
Diplomatic contacts informed chidi opara reports that the Embassies of France, Canada, USA And Indonesia had concluded plan to commence diplomatic pressures on Nigeria to find a political solution to the trials. The pressure would have been coordinated by the USA Embassy.
Oil and gas sector insiders also told us that part of the reason for the diplomatic pressure is that the two recent attacks by MEND which caused considerable damages to the facilities resulted  in drastic reduction in productions. Europe and USA depend mainly on oil and gas from Nigeria.  These foreign nations, according to unconfirmed information have shelved the plan for diplomatic pressures following JTF success.
Defence headquarters contacts informed chidi opara reports that the renewed attacks on suspected MEND locations in the creeks of Niger Delta which resulted in the rescue of the hostages was part of the plans to forestall diplomatic pressures.