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Peru’s parliament sacks President Vizcarra over corruption

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Peru’s Congress voted to oust President Martín Vizcarra on Monday in an impeachment trial over corruption allegations, the second effort by lawmakers to remove him in a matter of months PM NEWS reports

The opposition-dominated Congress put forward 105 votes to oust the centrist leader over accusations that as a governor he accepted bribes from companies that won public works contracts.

The 105 votes far exceeded the 87-vote threshold out of 130 needed to remove him from office. There were 19 votes against his ouster and four abstentions.

Vizcarra has rejected the corruption allegations as “baseless” and “false.”

He warned of “unpredictable consequences” earlier on Monday if lawmakers impeached him just months ahead of the April 11 presidential election, in which he is not eligible to run.

His removal from office plunges the world’s No. 2 copper producer into political turmoil as it looks to recover from an economic recession brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

Vizcarra, 57, lacked a party in the fragmented Congress, and had a tense relationship with lawmakers, with whom he frequently locked horns over his anti-graft agenda.

He dissolved Congress last year after a long-running standoff, a move that prompted criticism by right-wing lawmakers.

Vizcarra survived a first ouster attempt in September in a separate impeachment trial over alleged links to a case of irregular government contracts with a little-known singer. Only 32 in the chamber voted in favor of his ouster in that vote.

In November, however, lawmakers voted to move forward with a new impeachment trial over accusations that Vizcarra accepted bribes from companies that won public works contracts when he was the governor of the southern region of Moquegua..

Vizcarra’s removal could usher in a period of political tensions and uncertainty in the months leading up to elections as Peru is already strained by economic instability, analysts said.

“Political turmoil related to the latest impeachment process and corruption allegations add to deep distrust of the political class ahead of upcoming elections,” international firm Eurasia said in a report earlier on Monday.

The head of Congress, Manuel Merino, an agronomist and businessman who is a member of minority party Popular Action, is expected to assume the presidency on Tuesday and will remain in office until the end of July 2021, when Vizcarra’s term was due to expire

Politics

I’m leaving PDP for APC – Gov Umahi of Ebonyi State

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The Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, told the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party in Abuja on Tuesday that he was leaving the party.

He said he would join the ruling All Progressives Congress which he claimed would protect the interest of the South-East in the 2023 elections.

Our correspondent gathered that Umahi told the members of the National Working Committee of the PDP that his decision to join  the APC was irrevocable.

The members of the PDP NWC, who were led to the meeting by its National Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, were said to have tried in vain to convince the governor not to abandon the party.

Apart from Secondus, among those that were at the meeting at the Ebonyi Governor’s Lodge in Abuja were Deputy National Secretary, Agbo Emmanuel; National Organising Secretary, Austin Akobondu; Financial Secretary, Abdullahi  Maibasira;  National Women Leader, Mariya Waziri  and Senator Sulieman Nazif.

The governor was said to be friendly when he received the PDP delegation, but stuck to his decision to leave the PDP when the issue came up.

It was gathered that the PDP delegation impressed it upon the governor that there was no need leaving the PDP for the APC, which they argued had become unpopular.

Sources at the meeting, however, said the governor was not convinced, insisting that  the APC was planning to zone the 2023 Presidency to the South-East.

He was said to have promised to stay in the PDP if the party could make a pronouncement that it would zone the Presidency to the same zone.

One of the sources said, “I think his (governor’s) mind was made up. We told him there was no need for him to abandon the party that had made him a deputy governor, state chairman of the party, two-time governor and all that. But he refused.

 “He wanted us to unilaterally zone the office of the Presidency to his area. We cannot do that. Parties are not run that way. He told us he was leaving. That is what we got from him.’’

When contacted, Secondus confirmed that the party’s leadership met with Umahi.

 He, however, refused to declared the details of the meeting, insisting that the meeting was on ‘‘national issues.’’

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Crime

We Spent ₦2.2 Billion On Prayers Against Boko Haram – Adariko

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An Economic and Financial Crimes Commission investigating officer, Adariko Michael, on Tuesday, alleged that N2.2 billion was spent on prayers in Nigeria and Saudi Arabia to win the war against Boko Haram insurgency in Nigeria.
Mr. Michael was giving evidence as the first prosecution witness (PW1) in the trial of Sambo Dasuki, former National Security Adviser (ONSA) to President Goodluck Jonathan, in the alleged two billion dollars arms deal fraud.

Others charged with Mr. Dasuki, a retired colonel, are a former General Manager with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Aminu Baba-kusa, Acacia Holdings Limited, and Reliance Referral Hospital Limited.

The EFCC charged them with 32 counts bordering on misappropriation, criminal breach of trust, dishonest release and receiving various sums of money before Husseini Baba-Yusuf.

Led in evidence by the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, Mr Micheal said N750 million was allegedly transferred from the ONSA special account to Reliance Referral Hospital Limited’s account with First Bank.

He added that N650 million was also transferred to Acacia Holding Limited’s account with EcoBank, while another N600 million and N200 million were transferred to the company’s account with UBA.

“Between September 27, 2013, and April 16, 2015, N50 million was credited to Reliance Referral Hospital’s account.

“Based on responses from the banks involved, as investigating officer, we found out that money was transferred to several individuals and companies.

“When we went through the account statement, we asked the second defendant (Aminu Babakusa) the reason for this.

“He informed us that the money was used to hire clerics to pray for the nation as regards Boko Haram crisis.

“When we asked him to provide the names, contacts and phone numbers of the clerics he hired to pray for the nation, he mentioned only two,” he said.

Mr Dasuki spent four years in detention, following his arrest in 2015 over alleged misappropriation of N2.2 billion meant for arms purchase during his time as National Security Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan

After the Federal Government had consistently failed to honor court orders granting him bail, including an ECOWAS court judgment in 2016, he was finally released on December 24, 2019

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Politics

This is why we froze accounts of 20 EndSARS protesters – CBN reveals

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sought an ex parte order to freeze the account of 20 members of the EndSARS movement in what has been generating a whirlpool of reaction. The reason for the action has now been unraveled as contained in a case with suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/1384/2020, filed before Justice A. R. Mohammed of Abuja Federal High Court Legit.ng reports

The affected individuals have been identified as Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise, and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye.The affected individuals have been identified as Bolatito Racheal Oduala, Chima David Ibebunjoh, Mary Doose Kpengwa, Nicholas Ikhalea Osazele, Ebere Idibie, Akintomide Lanre Yusuf, Uhuo Ezenwanyi Promise, and Mosopefoluwa Odeseye. Others are Saadat Temitope Bibi, Adegoke Pamilerin Yusif, Umoh Grace Ekanem, Babatunde Victor Segun, Mulu Louis Teghenan, Mary Oshifowora, Winifred Akpevweoghene Jacob, Victor Solomon, Idunu A. Williams, Gatefield Nigeria Limited, Bassey Victor Israel and Wisdom Busaosowo Obi.

Read Also: #EndSARS Protest, a fallout of COVID-19 Pandemic, says UN

It has now been revealed that the apex bank, while requesting the court order, argued that the funding of the EndSARS movement might have emanated from terrorist activities, The Punch reports.

CBN said the money flow into the account of the EndSARS protesters was found ominous following investigation by head of the economic intelligence unit, Joseph Omayuku. “There is a grave allegation that the defendants are involved in suspected terrorism financing via their bank accounts in contravention of the provisions of extant laws and regulations. The aforesaid transactions undertaken by the defendants, using their bank accounts, can cause significant economic and security harm to the public and the Federal Republic of Nigeria if left unchecked.”

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