- By J.K. Randle
THE benefit of hindsight which translates as 20:20 vision compels us to recognise and acknowledge that President Donald Trump’s foes predate his election as the President of the most powerful nation on earth.
Here is the health hazard warning and witness statement filed by 76 year-old left-wing Democratic Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont who would (had he been able to beat Hilary Clinton) probably have beaten Trump:
“During his campaign, Trump said some very interesting things. Unfortunately, his policies have been diametrically in opposition to what he said. I think essentially he lied on almost every major issue. And the clearest examples are the two major proposals in the last month, the healthcare proposal and, even worse, the budget. Trump’s proposed budget is the most outrageous transfer of wealth from working people to the top 1 per cent that we have ever seen. It’s a budget that’s not going to go anyplace.” He went on to say: [On the front page of Financial Times]:
“No, I think Trump is actually quite smart — in his own way and for his own reasons. He may not know a lot about foreign policy or healthcare, but he is not a dumb man by any means. I think what Trump is doing is filling the agenda of people like the Koch brothers: essentially doing away with every major programme passed since Franklin D Roosevelt that would help working people, the elderly, children, the sick and the poor, and at the same time providing massive tax breaks to the rich and large corporations. In this budget, Trump did not propose cuts to social security [the American retirement programme], but I have zero doubt that will be coming down the pike.”
Sanders considers today’s Republicans an “extreme right” party. In the past, he says, “centre-right” Republicans such as Dwight D Eisenhower competed with conservative Republicans. “What you have now are, in a sense, right-wing Republicans competing with extreme right-wing Republicans.” Still, he adds: “A lot of Republicans in the House and Senate are not indecent human beings.
Such as who?
“I don’t want to get into names. I’ll get them into trouble. You see people like John McCain speaking out on this or that issue.”
“Here’s what I think is going on. If you were to tell Americans that if you are 70 and the doctor diagnoses you with cancer, that there should not be a healthcare programme to protect you, 90 per cent of people say, ‘You’re out of your mind, you want to get rid of Medicare? What are you talking about? You want to get rid of federal aid to education? That’s nonsense.”
“Many Americans simply do not know that the social welfare system in America is so much weaker than in Europe. It has to do a lot with corporate media, has a lot to do with a two-party system which doesn’t really ask hard questions. Do you know how much it costs to go to university here (in Britain), where we sit right now? It’s free. Do you think people in the US know that? People will be going, ‘Oh, Bernie, you’re radical.’ No. Much of what I propose is already in existence in many countries.”
“The younger generation in America is the least prejudiced in terms of race, gender and homophobia. It is a very open generation, a bright generation, a generation that I believe is prepared to think big and not just nibble around the edges.”
“Sometimes nice people do terrible, terrible things. And sometimes people who are not so nice — LBJ [President Lyndon B Johnson], my God, he was brutish in many ways, right? Yet he was one of the most progressive presidents in history.”
Under the unwritten rules of engagement, American television and radio stations are expected to give equal time (the right of reply) to both the friends and foes of Donald Trump. Not So FOX News. The television channel has remained fiercely and unapologetically loyal to Trump.
Its reward is lavish encomiums from the White House as well as Tweets from as early as 3 a.m. No question about it, it is on Fox News that Trump relies on for “genuine” news, information and statistics. No fake news.
Not even when other channels are reporting that after only nine months in office, Donald Trump’s approval rating has plunged to 38 per cent (about the same as his hard core support base). 3 Graydon Carter went for the jugular when in the editorial of “Vanity Fair” magazine (November 2017 edition), he gave vent to his total despair and grave anguish:
“As we tiptoe up to the one-year anniversary of the election that left more than half the country – and much of the rest of the world – reeling in astonishment and revulsion, it’s difficult not to recoil at the sight of our great leader strutting the world stage, alternately lecturing and hectoring his betters. Donald Trump’s brand of preening narcissism and incompetence is a constant reminder of just how far we’ve fallen. Not only is he the most childish man to have held public office, he may be the most childish man to have held public office in this country ever.
You could replace “childish” with all sorts of adjectives – vindictive, erratic, vainglorious, temperamental, and untruthful quickly come to mind – and that declaration would still hold.” Even more savage was the front page review (“The Observer” 6th August, 2017) of Joshua Green’s book: “Devil’s Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump and the Storming of the Presidency” by Michael Goldfarb: “In the bizarre cast of characters hovering around the Trump administration reality show, White House Chief Strategist Stephen K. Bannon stands out.
To begin with, he has a brain. This is attested to by most journalists who have spent time with him, especially Joshua Green, the author of this book. The use to which, Bannon has put his intellect, though, is what really makes him different. His worldview is one of “decline of the west” nihilism. How that worldview dovetailed with Donald Trump’s and helped create the greatest upset in modern American political history is the story told in this brief, snappily written book.
Bannon through the prism of class doesn’t really explain the ease with which he gathered advanced degrees from two of America’s most prestigious graduate schools: Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and Harvard Business School. Something other than class needs to explain his restless advance to an office down the hall from the President.”
Then comes the vignette: “TRUMP IS A NUT WHO LIKES TO SURROUND HIMSELF WITH NUTS”, says one GOP operative.” 4 He could have added: Donald Trump likes being hated than he likes being liked (just like apostle Steve Bannon) History is never perfect. Indeed, Michael Goldfarb teases us with the seductive proposition that journalism is the first rough draft of history. Regardless, the retired partners of KPMG who are still awaiting their gratuity and pension could not resist the invitation of our beloved Fred Marks to savour the delights of Edinburgh, in Scotland while participating in the epochal first outing of Global Economic Transformation whose main agenda items are the challenges of the global economy – inequality; slow growth and changes in the nature of work (versus boredom and repetitive tasks).
It was Nobel Laurette Professor Michael Spence of New York University who showed up on BREAKING NEWS on CNN to deliver a powerful message of hope:
“A wide range of economies and societies are facing difficult and challenging changes. We keep talking about it and doing nothing. Britain is busy with Brexit while the United States of America is busy shouting at each other. We need to deal with these issues or we will continue on this path of political polarisation.” It was the same Professor Spence who delivered a dazzling performance on “Quest Means Business”:
“The recent improvement in the global economy should not leave any room for complacency in addressing long-term challenges. Policymakers and economists have so far largely failed to address the concerns of those left behind by globalisation, helping to fuel the rise of populists such as President Donald Trump. The economics profession is on a long list of things that people don’t trust. We are sometimes overzealous about defending globalisation. We want to listen to the people who don’t trust the elites.”
He was clearly on the same page as his fellow Nobel prize-winner [Economics], the magnificent Professor Joseph Stiglitz who previously served as the Senior Vice-president and Chief Economist of the World Bank from February 1997 to February 2000. For both of them, the current President of the United States of America is the embodiment of the tidal wave of political populism which is the hurricane that snatched certain victory from Hilary Clinton and handled it to an unrepentant Donald Trump. 5 As confirmation that the moving spirits behind Global Economic Transformation [GET] are the first eleven, it boasts of the likes of Mohammed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz, the mega giant German insurance company; Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International and Lord (Adair) Turner former Chief Executive of U.K. Financial Services Authority. We must remain grateful to Tommy Stubbington for advertising the pedigree of GET having been spawned by the New York Think Tank – New Economic Thinking.
Among the hot topics listed for discussions are climate change; increased migration ; insurgency; refugees; human trafficking; the disruption to work from the rise of robots and most importantly, outstanding payment of gratuity and pension to the retired partners of KPMG.
The Global Economic Transformation Commission has been mandated to produce a robust report along with profound recommendations on “How To Tackle Problems and Emerging Crises In The World Economy” within two years. What a wonderful surprise from Netflix. It has been streaming the riveting debate between two colossi of economics. ZAKARIA: So, you have said in “The Washington Post” that as treasury secretary, undersecretary, deputy secretary, you have worked with seven chief economists for the White House, seven heads of the council of economic advisors, and you have never come across an analysis that you described as dishonest in the way that this is dishonest. Explain what you mean by that. SUMMERS: Look, the jobs to do economic analysis and different economists will have different perspectives, but each of the previous people in the job have taken positions that were well within what professional economists believed and argued regarding the effect of policies. And the claims here that you’d see an increase of $4,000 to $9,000 in a typical family’s income from a corporate tax cut are just outside the range of what the economics profession believes. Even the people who have come down most squarely on Kevin Hassett’s side on the op-ed page of “The Wall Street Journal” come up with estimates far below the lower end of his range. So, he’s trying to help the administration politically, I guess.
But the analysis is really of remarkably low quality. And that’s why I chose to speak so critically of it. I’ve written critically and in disagreement with things that the Bush administration did, various Republican congressional proposals have tried to do, but the claims that this administration makes that the tax cut will pay for itself, that the tax cut will raise incomes more than anything else that’s happened in the country in many years, that the tax cut isn’t skewed towards helping rich people, those are fake facts. And I think they need to be called out as fake facts. 6 Is corporate tax reform a good idea? Yes. Will it have some positive impacts? Yes. Are the claims being made by the administration valid? I think not. Is the corporate tax reform they’re proposing well designed to help the economy and the middle class rather than be a giveaway to the very fortunate? I don’t think it is well designed in that regard.
ZAKARIA: Basically, as I calculated it using some of your analysis, the tax cut, if you work it out per American worker is about $1,300 per worker. And you say, Kevin Hassett assumes that when you give $1,300 to every American worker in the form of a tax cut passed through by corporations, his or her wages will rise by $4,000 or even $9,000. That seems – it’s difficult to understand how that would happen.
SUMMERS: Yes. Look, I think what Kevin Hassett assumes is that when you give that corporate tax cut, you’re giving it to corporations and that the corporations in response will decide to grow and that that’s what will create the higher wages. The problem is that maybe the corporations will just keep the money and pay it out in the form of higher dividends or doing more repurchases of shares. And even if they do grow somewhat, how much will they grow. And in order to finance that corporate tax cut, you’re going to need to do something else like borrow money which is going to drive up interest rates and have adverse effects on the economy. So, the idea that this tax cut is going to be enough to raise incomes by anything like the suggestion seems a highly implausible one.
ZAKARIA: You said that if Kevin Hassett had submitted his testimony or this proposal to you and he were a student at Harvard in an economics course you were teaching, you would have failed the paper. Do you stand by that?
SUMMERS: Yes, I do. I would have failed the paper because it was egregiously selective in the use of evidence, because it didn’t defend the plausibility of its conclusions, because the methodologies were very far from the state-of-the-art methodologies in economics, and because professional economic analysis is supposed to be analytical and objective rather than constituting a political brief. If I taught a course at Harvard in campaign management and somebody presented a paper like that as an example of what a presidential campaign political document would look like, I might have thought it was a pretty good political document making that case. But what’s always been special about the Council of Economic Advisers is that it has stood heretofore for objective professional economic analysis, not the kind of stuff that campaign staffs produce or White House political staffs produce. 7 What disappointed me about Kevin’s work was not that I had never seen any document like that before, but that I had seen them only from campaign or White House political staffs before, never with the imprimatur of the Council of Economic Advisers.
[BREAK] ZAKARIA: Before the break, you heard Former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers say why he thought the Council of Economic Advisers’ analysis of its own tax plan is dishonest. Well, joining me now from the White House lawn is the man responsible for that analysis, Kevin Hassett. Mr. Hassett is chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Thank you so much for joining us.
KEVIN HASSETT, CHAIR OF THE WHITE HOUSE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS: It’s great to be here, Fareed. Thanks for having me. So, the heart of Larry Summers’ contention is that the plan is dishonest because it claims that what amounts to about a $1,300 tax cut that is per worker or per household somehow gets magically translated into $4,000 or even more than that by the alchemy of your analysis. What is wrong with his critique and why are you right?
HASSETT: Sure. Well, first of all, the tone of the critique is extremely incorrect. And the fact is, if you think that we did something wrong, then you should accuse us of making an error, but accusing us of being dishonest, it’s just beyond the pale. It’s not really becoming of a former treasury secretary. But let’s get past the ad hominem attacks and go to the substance. What Larry Summers did is he’s like on his fifth attack now, and each one has been exposed as a horrendous ECON 101 blunder.
HASSETT: The first is this point that you raised, and the fact is that right now we have a corporate tax in the U.S. that has an enormous amount of dead weight loss because we have the highest corporate tax on Earth. It doesn’t raise much revenue at all because the people are transfer-pricing their profits over to Ireland. It’s something you’ve talked about a lot over the years. And so right now we get almost no revenue because they create a job in Ireland to move the revenue there, increase the demand for labor there, drive wages up there instead of here. 8 And so this idea that you can compare the change in revenue to the change in wages has been exposed as a really critical blunder, Economics 101 blunder, by Greg Mankiw in his blog at Harvard, by John Cochrane at Hoover, by Casey Mulligan at the University of Chicago…
ZAKARIA: But none of them…
HASSETT: … by Larry Kotlikoff and his co-author at MIT. I mean, these are people at top universities that have exposed the fallacy of Summers’ very, very simple mistake.
HASSETT: And I’m, kind of, stunned that already, a week later, you’re still talking about it here. I mean, come on, it’s been exposed as a mistake and you’re still asking about it. I don’t understand why. Let’s go back to the substance of the proposal, please.
ZAKARIA: But none of them — none of them believe that the wage gains would be anything close to what you are estimating.
HASSETT: That’s just false. Why did you say that? I mean, Larry Kotlikoff — he said that it’s $3,600. And we put out a study today that estimated the wage impact from a whole host of peer- reviewed studies. You can go back to, I think, it’s page 24 of the study and you’ll see that there’s a whole bunch of things that are way north of $4,000. But let’s think about why that’s not a crazy number. Let’s get away from the ad hominem attacks for a minute. So if you look at it, real wage growth has been almost nothing over the last eight years. In fact, it was only .6 percent a year over the last eight years, while profit growth was about 11 percent. That’s something you agree with, right? Well, if you look at where wages come from, wages come from either higher human capital formation or higher physical capital formation. And capital deepening in the U.S. over a five-year average period dropped into a negative territory during the last four years of the Obama administration, for the first time in U.S. history. And so we’re not getting wage growth because we don’t have capital deepening. We don’t have capital deepening because we’re chasing the capital overseas. This is ECON 101.
ZAKARIA: So let’s talk about the — the effect on the deficit. If you look at what happened after the Reagan tax cuts, the national debt tripled. If you look at what happened after the Bush tax cuts, massive ballooning of the deficit. Why isn’t it the case that these tax cuts will follow the same path and explode the deficit?
HASSETT: So — so let’s think about the things that we agree about, Fareed, for a minute. So you agree, right, that the U.S. has the highest statutory corporate tax rate in the developed world, correct?
ZAKARIA: But most companies…
HASSETT: You agree with that?
ZAKARIA: … don’t pay that, or that rate as…
HASSETT: Right, and so they don’t pay it. So why is it that they don’t pay it? They don’t pay it because they’ve moved the profits overseas. There was a National Bureau of Economic Research study that came out in the spring that estimated that more than half the U.S. trade deficit comes from the transfer price in (inaudible) U.S. multinationals (inaudible) overseas. ZAKARIA: But why won’t this…
HASSETT: And so we have this high tax rate that they don’t pay. We have this high tax rate that they don’t pay, so why does lowering the rate to encourage them to return the activity back to the U.S. — why does that cause a hole in the deficit? I mean, it doesn’t. It’s just illogical, Fareed
. ZAKARIA: Would you stake your reputation, Kevin, on the notion that this tax cut will not increase the deficit substantially?
HASSETT: I have to wait and see the complete plan before I give a deficit estimate. But the corporate tax side is — there’s barely any corporate revenue right now, and we’ve got the highest rate on Earth. And there’s a big literature that shows that that’s because people move the money offshore. And so if we cut the corporate rate here, what will happen will be that capital deepening will go back to about the historic average of about .8 percent per year. That will drive up wages by an additional .8 percent a year or so.
And then if you do the math, Fareed, starting with incomes of about $83,000 for the average family, that .8 percent per year gets to this number relatively quickly. 10 And once you see that; once you do the math, Fareed, then you’re going to see how ridiculous it is what these guys who used to be economists are saying about this plan and about the CEA’s activity. I mean, it’s obvious. It’s very, very simple math. There are lots of studies that confirm it. And the people that are trying to just poison the discourse by casting aspersions and so on are just trying to get your attention. And I think that you’re playing into the coarsening of discourse by giving them the attention rather than focusing on the facts.
ZAKARIA: Kevin Hassett, pleasure to have you on, sir.
HASSETT: It’s great to be here. I hope I can come back. Thanks, Fareed. The heavyweight bout is guaranteed to go the full distance of fifteen rounds without any prospects of a knock out, whether Technical Knockout (TKO) or a draw. A victor must emerge eventually. In one corner is Former Treasury Secretary and past President of Harvard University, Professor Larry Summers who has slagged off President Trump’s much touted tax plan as more dishonest than any he has ever seen before. It is offering 4,000 extra dollars in each taxpayer’s pocket (or directly into the wallets of the American people). Donald Trump’s photograph is superimposed and he triumphantly declares: “So each household would take in $4,000 and they’ll go out and they’ll spend that money and that will be great for the economy.” In the other corner is Kevin Hassett, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. For those who are intrigued by President Doanld Trump’s beguiling keen interest in Africa, he has taken pains to explain: “Africa is an enigma anchored on conflict and contradiction. It has the largest concentration of wealth – oil, diamonds, gold, water, sunshine etc. just to mention a few; yet it has the largest percentage of poor people in the world. America has a moral duty to intervene. Added to this is the security of America itself as Africa serves as fertile ground for recruits for ISIS; Boko Haram; Al-Sheebab and other terrorists.”
The Super Trump Towers which Donald wants to build on J.K. Randle land at Onikan, Lagos, Nigeria is an entirely separate issue. Ironically, President Donald Trump was genuinely 11 shocked to learn while watching television on Air Force One (on his way back from what he described as his highly successful trip to Asia that Nigerians were being sold as slaves in Libya. This was not fake news!! Even more damning was the following report which has gone viral: “BIGGEST TAX FRAUD IN US HISTORY: NIGERIAN SCAMMERS STEAL $11 MILLION FROM THE IRS” In an email to the Associated Press, First Assistant U.S. Attorney for Oregon, Scott Erik Asphaug, said this is one of the largest tax fraud cases in the United States in which stolen personal identification information was used to defraud the IRS. Its scope is staggering.
According to the US Attorney’s office for Oregon, a Nigerian man, Michael Oluwasegun Kazeem, 24, has been sentenced to seven years in federal prison for his role in the bilking of over $11 million via an identity-theft scheme from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).
Kazeem, who came to the United States on a student visa, has been sentenced in federal court in the southern Oregon town of Medford on Nov. 8 for conspiracy to commit mail fraud, aggravated identity theft and mail fraud. Kazeem has also been ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Ann Aiken to pay $4.3 million in restitution. Last August, Kazeem’s brother, Emmanuel Kazeem, was convicted in Medford of mail and wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud.
The evidence was presented at his trial and showed Emmanuel Kazeem purchasing over 91,000 taxpayer identities from a Vietnamese hacker. Kazeem joined in 2013 to help his brother, who lived in Bowie, Maryland, and Nigeria. His brother’s sentencing is scheduled for March 22, 2018. In a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office, it was determined by an IRS criminal investigation that the co-conspirators obtained personal identifying information of more than 259,000 people, and used it to acquire over 19,500 electronic filing PINs from the IRS.
The co-conspirators obtained and used pre-paid debit cards with the stolen identities to receive direct electronic tax refund deposits. They eventually filed over 10,000 fraudulent federal tax returns, attempting to obtain over $91 million in refunds, with actual losses amounting to over $11 million. Refunds were withdrawn from the debit cards and at least 2,000 wire transfers totaling over $2.1 million were sent to Nigeria. 12 In an email to the Associated Press, First Assistant U.S. Attorney for Oregon Scott Erik Asphaug said this is one of the largest tax fraud cases in the United States in which stolen personal identification information was used to defraud the IRS.
Its scope is staggering. Authorities were alerted to the case when a Medford victim told the IRS in May 2013 that false federal and Oregon state tax returns were filed electronically using her and her husband’s names. The returns included personally identifiable information, including their social security numbers and dates of birth.
The federal refund was deposited into an account via a prepaid debit card in a suburb of Chicago while the state refund was directed to a bank account in Texas. Back in 2014, the co-conspirators also were able to gain access to the IRS “Get Transcript” system and obtained sensitive taxpayer information to file additional fraudulent returns. Because of these and other security breaches, the IRS discontinued the “Get Transcript” program nationwide in 2015, the U.S. Attorney’s office said in a statement.
A newspaper in Medford, The Mail Tribune, reported that tax returns were filed using 13,203 accounts stolen from CICS Employment Services, a company based in Lincoln City, Oregon that performs pre-employment background checks.
The owner of CICS said he lost $420,000 worth of business, and handled hundreds of calls from distressed victims, many with limited means, the newspaper reported. No taxpayers suffered monetarily as a result of the crimes, but were caused a plethora of issues.
“I’m deeply and emotionally sorry for the trouble I caused. What I did was wrong,” Kazeem said in court. He is to be deported back to Nigeria after completing his sentence. Other reports that were waiting for President Trump when he arrived back at the White House (and which he eagerly shared with the retired partners of KPMG who are still awaiting their gratuity and pension) were the following: i.)
Front page report in “Daily Sun” newspaper of November 13, 2017 Headline: “CORRUPT SOLDIERS, SECURITY PERSONNEL SELLING ARMS TO CRIMINALS, DSS TELLS REPS” • Names Nasarawa, Benue, Taraba, Plateau as sales points 13 The Department of State Security (DSS) has blamed the worsening insecurity in the country on corrupt members of the armed forces and other security agencies, who allegedly sell arms to criminals. Speaking at a public hearing organised by the House of Representatives joint committee on Customs and Excise and National Intelligence, investigating the “frightening influx of small arms and light weapons into the country,”
Director of Operations at the DSS, Godwin Eteng, claimed some agencies had, over the years, recruited former cultists and armed robbers, who get involved in illegal activities, including arms sales to criminals. “We have conducted more than 27 operations and arrested more than 30 persons involved in the supply of arms and ammunition and some of them are serving security men,” he disclosed. He said there was a case in one of the armouries belonging to one of the armed forces, where many pistols got missing with quantities of ammunition and all the pistols were new.
“In the armoury, no place was broken into, but the weapons were missing. And we’re interested in knowing what happened.” The director listed four states in the North-Central zone as the major sources of illegal arms.
“When we did our studies, we discovered that three-quarter of the arms used to cause the crisis in Southern-Kaduna, in Zamfara and Plateau states are coming from the following states: Nasarawa, Benue, Taraba and Plateau states.
“We found out that if you can carry out serious operations to affect the supplies, which is coming from these areas, it will seriously limit part of what is happening there,” the DSS director said.
On interventions to counter criminal gangs and prevent violent attacks, Ekeng disclosed that seven tactical teams were conducting the operation to apprehend culprits associated with the arms sales, an operation, which, according to him, is ongoing. 14 On how to solve the problem of illegal arms, he suggested legislations on prohibited firearms, more extensive vetting of those recruited into the security agencies, release of funds for logistics for border patrol personnel, electronic manning and deployment of cameras at borders and review of crisis management at local government levels. Damgaiadiga Abubakar, Deputy Comptroller, who represented the Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, disclosed that there were 1,100 illegal entry points into the country, with only 97 approved border posts.
He said the Customs was short of equipment needed to stem the flow of weapons into the country, revealing that 2,671 pump action rifles had been seized from January to date, just as Customs personnel found culpable in the import of 661 pump action rifles had been dismissed from service and handed over to the DSS for prosecution.
According to him, lack of operational vehicles, fast moving boats, cutting-edge technology and advanced scanning machines at airports, seaports and border points were limiting the effectiveness of the Customs. ii.) Front page report in “ThisDay” Newspaper of November 10, 2017 Headline: “COURT SENTENCES TWO MEN TO DEATH FOR STEALING HANDBAG, PHONE” A Judge in Anambra State High Court, Justice Okey Onunkwo, has sentenced two men to death by hanging or firing squad for stealing a lady’s handbag containing a phone, money and other items.
Onunkwo, who presided over the High Court sitting at Ihiala Local Government Area of the state, said there were sufficient evidence to convict the duo. THISDAY gathered that the suspects, Anene Maduka, Ikenna Obi and Osadebe Ezeh, on February 2, allegedly stole a mobile phone, a handbag and N10,000 cash belonging to one Miss Chinonye Ogujiuba of Eziama Uli.
The Nokia phone was valued at N15,500, while the handbag was estimated at N2,500. The judge said: “There were eye witness evidence against the convicts as the victim had raised alarm after the robbery, leading to the arrest of the culprits at Umudimogo Ihiala after which they were handed over to the police.” 15
Justice Onunkwo thereby sentenced them to death by hanging or firing squad. One of the suspects, Anene Maduka charged with the other suspects was however discharged and aquitted for lack of evidence.
The identity of Maduka, who was the first defendant in the case, was made an issue in the trial and the court agreed that he (Maduka) was not properly identified even though the victim gave evidence that he was waiting for the others on his commercial motorcycle while the robbery lasted. In his submission, the defence counsel for the convicts, Calistus Ohanusi and Enright Okilie, had argued that the burden of proof on criminal matters rests on the prosecution who he said did not prove that their clients robbed, or took part in robbing the victim, maintaining that there was no sufficient evidence to convict them.
The prosecution counsel, Charity Madukife, submitted that the burden of proof had been discharged by calling eyewitnesses, adding that the defence could not fault the evidence adduced. Delivering the judgement, Justice Onunkwo, said there was no sufficient evidence against the first defendant (Maduka). Most excrutiatingly damaging is the video of a Nigerian entrepreneur whose lamentations were on the front page of the “Daily Sun” newspaper of October 30, 2017 Headline: “RUNNING BUSINESS IN NIGERIA IS LIKE SWIMMING AGAINST THE TIDE” – Manny Igbenoba “He had pioneered so many products in Nigeria, so when he talks, it’s actually out of experience.
Engineer Manny Igbenoba, Managing Director, 7T Microns Powder Limited, relayed several difficulties and challenges manufacturers go through in setting up businesses in Nigeria. From the importation of raw materials, the Customs, taxes, getting funds from banks, documentation down to the officials, they are mind boggling. Not even the present policy on the Ease of Doing Business by the present administration has lessened the burdens of Nigerian manufacturers.
But in spite of all these challenges, Igbenoba who recently pioneered another product, a thermoplastic road marking paint that will save Nigeria over $113 million foreign exchange annually said local production is just the way to go if Nigeria must develop.
He however tasked the Federal Government to put proper monitoring in place to ensure proper implementation of its policies just as it is in Ghana, where he says some Nigerians manufacturers are now relocating to because of the conducive environment. NIGERIANS ARE CORRUPT FROM THE TOP TO THE BOTTOM. THAT IS THE TRUTH.”
*Bashorun J.K. Randle is a former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and former Chairman of KPMG Nigeria and Africa Region. He is currently the Chairman, JK Randle Professional Services. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
– Dec. 6, 2017 @ 17:07 GMT /