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Alleged Manipulation of Tax : Italian Construction company, Borini Prono, Battles Nigerian Police

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OLA KING

Alleged manipulation of tax : Italian Construction company, Borini Prono, Battles Nigerian Police 

   A limited liability company Borini Prono & company Nigeria Limited, whose Directors are under investigation over alleged crime of fraudulent practice to cheat the Federal Inland Revenue on tax and to deny contract facilitators of financial entitlement has dragged Inspector General of Police before a Federal high court sitting in Lagos.

      The Italian construction company is urging the court to restrain the defendants Police officers from inviting, interrogating, investigating, or detaining the officers of the company        Joined as co-respondents in the suit are, The Assistant Inspector General of Police CID zone 2 Police command, The Commissioner of Police CID zone 2 Command,The Assistant Commissioner of Police CID Zone 2 Command, and a Lagos businessman Christopher Uzodike.    In an affidavit sworn to by a Director of Borini Prono & Company Nigeria Limited, Paolo Prono of  11 Burma Road,Apapa,Lagos state averred that by invitation letter dated 20th March, 2019 Mr Gianfranco Albertazzi,, the Managing Director of the company was invited by the Zonal monitoring Unit of the Nigerian Police Force Zone 2 Headquarters    On 25th of March,2019 he reported at the Zone 2 Police Command, in the company of his lawyer, upon his arrival, he was shown a petition written against him by one Mr Christopher Uzodike on the basis of alleged outstanding contractual indebtedness of his company to him.      He was interrogated and was admitted and release  on administrative bail and was instructed to return on 2nd of April,2019with documentation in support of the position of his company.      He reported as instructed but officer in charge of his case was not available.
      However, to his utmost surprise at about 5am on the morning of 3rd April,2019 he was arrested at his residence in Ikoyi, Lagos, by officers from criminal and investigating Department Zone 2 Onikan Lagos and detained on the assertion that he failed to report as instructed.        Thereafter joint meeting was held with the petitioner, his lawyer with the officer in charge of the criminal investigation in respect of a second petition and was requested to report back on 10th April,2019.      On the 10th of April, he made statement on behalf of the company, and the commissioner in charge of CID after reading the content of the petition of Mr Uzodike  and questioning the parties came to the conclusion that the matter related to purely to civil contractual transaction which was outside the purview of the Nigerian Police,therefore he was requested to report back on May 6, 2019,    However,  he sought the advice of his lawyer, who advice him that, continuous, invitation, interrogation and arrest by the Police at every material time has continued to disrupt business and operation of the company, particularly in respect of critical road construction currently being executed.      

Consequently, he urged the court to restrain the defendants from further inviting, interrogating, investigating,or detaining, the Directors, Managers, Secretaries or any officer of the company as Nigerian Police being law enforcement agency, is not empowered to entertain petitions in respect of civil or contractual disputes. 

   However in a counter affidavit sworn to by Inspector Fidelis Ilobun, Police Officer, serving at Zonal Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Zone 2 Police command,  He claimed that he is a member of the Police Team that is investigating criminal allegations against the company  captioned Re: FRAUDULENT PRACTICES BY THE FOREIGN COMPANY BORINI PRONO & CO. (NIGERIA) LIMITED. TO CHEAT THE FEDERAL INLAND REVENUE OF TAX AND TO DENY LOCAL PARTNERS AND CONTRACT FACILITATORS OF THEIR HUGE FINANCIAL ENTITLEMENTS, reported to the  Assistant Inspector General of Police Criminal investigation Department Zone 2 by  a Lagos businessman Mr Christopher Uzodike against the Borini Prono company from which this suit arose.

   Inspector Ilobun who claimed to be a member of the Police Team investigating the criminal allegations of fraudulent practice to cheat the Federal Inland Revenue on tax and to deny local partners and contract facilitators of financial entitlements reported to the Assistant Inspector General of Police  against the Company stated that in the course of Police investigation of the alleged crime alleged  above,

 The police invited the officers of the Borini Prono company , namely; Messrs Gianfranco Albertazzi and Mr. Paolo Prono via Police invitation letter dated 29th March, 2019

 Mr Albertazzi reported at the Zone 2 Police command on 25th March, 2019 together with his Lawyer, Mr. Remi Dalley, and having read through the petition against the Applicant, volunteered statement to the Police as one of the officers of the company , who acted for it in his dealings with Mr Uzodike , from which the petition to the Police arose

   Mr. Albertazzi was granted Police administrative bail and released to his Lawyer who stood as surety for his bail on the same 25th March, 2019, immediately after his statement was made  to the Police.

  During his response to the criminal allegations made against his company   Mr. Albertazzi stated that the relationship which the company  had with Uzodike  was that he supplied iron rod and cement to the company  which they have fully paid for, with invoices for payment dully issued as evidence.

  The Police requested Mr. Albertazzi to produce the invoices evidence mentioned by him to the Police in order to assist Police investigation, and he was further requested to report back at the commissioner ‘s office for the interview of the parties, on the 2nd April, 2019, together with Mr. Prono, who failed to honour Police invitation along with Mr. Albertazzi on the said 25th March, 2019

  Despite that Albertazzi was duly informed by the Police and also informed in his bail bond executed by  him and his surety, to report back to the commissioner’s  office on 1st of April,2019.

    He failed to honour police invitation  on that day.

The failure of Albertazzi to report at the commissioner’s office on 1st of April ,2019,which was in clear violation of his bail bond, led to the cancellation of the commissioner’s interview schedule for both parties in the case, and the interview was therefore rescheduled to 2nd April, 2019.

   The rescheduled interview prompted the police to send another invitation letter to messrs Arlbertazzi and Prono on 2nd April,219 requesting them to report at the Commissioner of Police’s office on 2nd April 2019

Mr Albertazzi,  and Mr. Prono, again failed to honour police invitation to report  on 2nd April,2019, and no police officer informed him that commissioner was not in the office on that day.

   The Police did not arrest Mr. Arlbertazzi on 3rd April,2019 or on any other day.

   Due to the failure of Albertazzi and Prono to honour Police invitation letter served on them on 1st April,2019 to report on the  2nd April,2019 to find out the reason for his absence, but that 2nd of April,2019, he could not give any reasonable reason for at the instance of Albertazzi and his lawyer,  the interview for both parties was rescheduled for 10th April,2019.

   Mr Arlbertazzi together with Prono and Uzodike with their lawyers  all reported at the commissioner’s  office for the interview on 10th April,2019.Prono volunteered statement.

.  During the interview section, where Lawyer to both parties were also present, Mr. Arlbertazzi stated that it was iron rod and cement that the petitioner  supplied to the company , on which the company  duly issued invoices as evidence of supply and payment. This was vehemently denied by Uzodike  who maintained he is a contract facilitator to the company, on which the Applicant through Mr .Albertazzi and Mr. Prono, manufactured fraudulent invoices with the sole aim of  manipulating the Company’s taxes payable to Federal Government of Nigeria and cheat their contract facilitators.

   Based on these new facts discovered during the interview, the commissioner of Police in charge of criminal investigation Department  requested the company‘s officers, i.e. Mr .Arlbertazzi and Mr Prono to make the invoices mentioned by them and disputed by Uzordike available to the police, to assist the on-going investigation.

   The commissioner  did not made any statement that suggest the Uzodike’s petition was a civil contractual transactions. Rather the commissioner  requested the company officer i.e.  Mr. Arbertazzi and  Mr.Prono to make the invoices mentioned by them  available to the police, to assist, the on –going  investigation ,and  directed  the police team investigating the case to continue with their  investigation and report their findings at the conclusion of their investigation.

 Despite Police earlier request and   the commissioner’s  further  request to the company ’s officers, i.e.  Mr .Arbertazzi and Mr.Prono, to produce the invoices mentioned by them  to the police for investigation so as to unravel the purpose and intent for which the invoices were made by the company, but they blatantly refused to produce  the invoices to the  police till date.

But since 10th of  April, 2019 Mr. Arbertazzi and Prono, has been engaging in ‘hide and seek’ as they have jumped police administrative bail and absconded from investigation, having also failed to produce the alleged invoices to the police for investigation.

  The police were still waiting and hoping that Mr.Arbertazzi and Prono will produce the invoices mentioned by them to the police when they  received the company ’s suit.

  The case reported by Uzodike to the Assisstant Inspector General of Police In charge of Criminal investigation  is not a mere civil contractual   transactions, but   alleged crime of fraudulent practice to cheat the Federal inland Revenue on tax and to deny contract facilitators of financial entitlement.

 The alleged manufacturing and manipulation of invoices by the Applicants, Mr.Arlbertazzi and Prono, to cheat  Government of taxes and cheat their contract facilitators, are criminal allegations which police has powers to investigate.

   No contractual debt was mentioned by the  petitioner in his petition to the police and the police is not investigating debt from the company. 

 The company  cannot seek injunction from the court to restrain the police from investigating alleged crime.

 The company  is not entitle to order of injunction against the Police to stop them from investigating criminal allegations made to them by the petitioner  against the Borini Prono company .

  The police have not done anything in their investigation of alleged crime reported to them against the company  that is out the area and duties of investigation.

 The company  is not entitled to any damages or cost against the Police who are merely performing their statutory duties of investigation. 

     The suit and claim against the Police  is  pre-emptive, speculative, frivolous and aimed mainly to frustrate Police investigation of the alleged crime reported to them.

 The Respondents Police officers and the Nigeria Police force will be prejudice if the company’s claim against them is granted by the court because it will stop them from performing their statutory duty of investigation.

      Consequently, the respondent Police officers urge the court to dismiss the claim of the company.

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”Your mentorship, humility, and resilience was exemplary” Oando Boss, Wale Tinubu Mourns Barkindo

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The Group Chief Executive, Oando Plc, Jubril Adewale Tinubu, has mourned the death of H.E. Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, the Secretary General of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, OPEC.
Tinubu said Barkindo’s death has robbed him of a good friend.
He wrote: “We had many conversations and speeches together  yesterday but this wasn’t one of them.
“The most profound reminder of the fragility of life is death.
“You were a good man who lived a great life. Y
“I still can’t believe the news, but Allah knows best. Till we meet again my good friend.”
Barkindo died at about 11pm on Tuesday, 5th July 2022.
His death confirms the old saying of a thin line separating life from death. But once that line is crossed, the gulf created becomes as large as an ocean, and so treacherous that it’s impossible to cross back.
The sad incident of the death of H.E. Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo has again brought to the fore what difference a few hours coiuld make between life and death.
Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo was among other top and eminent personalities that delivered speeches at the ongoing 21st Nigeria’s Oil and Gas conference in Abuja . His speech earned him a standing ovation.
Unfortunately, the technocrat died of heart attack hours after he was honoured by President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa.
A former managing director of the NNPC,  Barkindo was appointed OPEC Secretary-General in 2016. He was the fourth Nigerian to hold that position and the 28th person in the role overall.
He was GMD of the NNPC between 2009 and 2010.
He was 63 years old.


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Oando Boss, Wale Tinubu’s Finesse at NOG 2022

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Group Chief Executive, Oando Group, Mr. Wale Tinubu, today, Tuesday addressed the ongoing National Oil and Gas conference in Abuja. He is among other top shots in the oil and gas industry that will  address the august gathering.

In his characteristic manner the brilliant oil guru mesmerised the audience with his expertise and finesse that earned him deafening applause.

Oando is the Platinum sponsor of NOG Conference 2022.

Other speakers at the event are: Secretary General, OPEC, H.E. Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Minister of Industry, Trade & Investment, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment
Federal Republic of Nigeria, Otunba Niyi Adebayo, Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Timipre Sylva, Commission Chief Executive, Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission, Engr Gbenga Komolafe, Chairman-Board of Directors, NNPC, Sen. Margery Chuba Okadigbo, Chief Operating Officer
Oando Energy Resources, Dr. Ainojie ‘Alex’ Irune, among others.

Over the last 20 years, Nigeria’s oil and gas industry has been gathering top echelons in the industry including presidents, ministers, heads of government agencies and CEOs annually to discuss major issues, challenges and policies in the sector which is the major economic backbone of the nation.

The conference has as theme: “Funding the Nigerian energy mix for sustainable economic growth,” and ends on Thursday.

The arrival of the global pandemic led to a disparity in supply and demand for hydrocarbons, a drop in oil price and an economic crisis of unprecedented magnitude.

Oil continues to be one of the major sources for power generation. However, increasing global investment into cleaner sources of energy, volatility of oil price and the awaited clarity on the legislative framework for oil and gas production in Nigeria all highlight the need for a more diverse energy mix.

The NOG Strategic Conference will review Nigeria’s positioning within the evolving global energy landscape, with a focus on emerging opportunities to transform her energy industry through robust legislation, technology and innovation, in-country capacity development and actualize energy sufficiency targets:

The Oando CEO usually leaves his watchers and admirers enthralled by his articulation and aplomb. He is graceful in his fine grasp of business intricacies, with a very strong sense of deep erudition in discussions, especially in the area of  oil and gas as well economic development in Nigeria. Also, he  has deep fountain of knowledge and a shining light in the business firmament.


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Let’s Partner to Transform  The Niger Delta into a Massive Agricultural Hub – Al Humphrey Onyanabo, CEO Majestic Agricultural Hub, pleads

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As the current political dispensation slowly winds down, key state actors in the Niger Delta have been advised to consider transforming the oil rich region into a Massive Agricultural Hub in view of the dwindling fortunes from crude oil sales and it’s effect on the economy of the nation.
Speaking to Reporters, Mr Al Humphrey Onyanabo, CEO of Majestic Farms and Good Processing Co. Ltd, promoters of the Majestic Agricultural Hub project sais,
” Our region and indeed Nigeria needs to have a total rethink about food security and economic survival. By 2030 zero emission will be adopted by the major world powers which means oil will no longer be needed to power machinery and vehicles as they transmit to alternative energy and electric cars. It will be a disaster if we are caught napping. We must therefore wake up and find alternative sources of survival, Agriculture is a viable option and the transition can happen fast if action is taken now.”
Mr Onyanabo further said,
” we have made attempts in the past with successive regimes in the Niger Delta and across Nigeria to partner with us to set up massive integrated farms in their regions . As another circle of politiking commences, we resume our appeal to key actors in the political space to partner with us to transform the Niger Delta into an agricultural hub”.
How It Will Work
Mr Al Humphrey Onyanabo revealed that The Majestic Agricultural Hub, a developmental project, the first of its kind in the country, shall comprise of a network of integrated state – of- the- art farms spread across different states interconnected   with their host communities through a vast web of ‘Partnership Farms’ operated by youths and women and cooperatives where output is channeled through a central storage and processing system that assures them of a regular income unaffected by the vagaries of market forces year round. He also said,
” The HUB, shall supply them with improved seedlings, farming implements and teach improved farming techniques to help them improve their yields.
The Majestic Agricultural Hub will play a big brother role to galvanize farming activities throughout the  region into one huge year round enterprise that profits and prospers all”.
He also said,
“Most importantly, the HUB will ensure that our men, women and youth interested in farming stay back in the villages to pursue their dreams knowing they do not really miss much by coming to overcrowded city centers.
The Majestic Agricultural Hub will re-enforce backward integration and we are consumed with the vision that the future of our great country rests on our people going back to the land.
“We therefore see ourselves as partners for development in helping to provide food security and jobs for local people, both skilled and unskilled, where ever we operate. We harbor a deep seated and abiding faith in the Nigerian entrepreneurial spirit and the ability of Nigerians to excel at every given tasks or venture”.
 The benefits of the project for every state  are myriad.
  The HUB he revealed ,will create over 200,000 jobs in three years for both skill and unskilled workers per state. Thousands of jobs will also be created through the second degree marketing of our products. Furthermore, there will be vast openings for transporters, food sellers, and artisans in the state such as carpenters, painters, bricklayers, electricians etc and such ancillary service providers as advertising and. The HUB will open a flood of opportunities into each state where the hub is located like never before that will directly affect the masses.
”  We will set up a local fabrication yard to encourage entrepreneurs’ have access to affordable   industrial machinery built locally and fixed locally.
 “We will set up technical training centers to train youths in specific technical vocations that will ensure they will have up to date technical skills.
 Part of our rural integration scheme will be keeping our employees in our various farms feeling fully at home where they work. We shall commence the development of a 100 bungalow housing estate for each hub.
” Each of our housing estates will have a day care, nursery/primary school, a general sports and recreation center, veterinary clinic and a Health Centre for staff and our host communities”.
Speaking further the Chief Executive said all they require from a partner state or community or local government is land, security and an enabling environment for an enterprise to thrive,
“Each hub will be about 20,000 hectares either in one location or scattered across four local governments or communities. We will provide in totality the  finance for take off, equipments and technology and the also foreign technical assistance modern farming methods which will be passed on to our youths. Each Hub shall be superintended by a  Special Purpose Vehicle,SPV, with all stakeholders accommodated”


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