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Compel EFCC to Investigate, Prosecute Oshiomhole, Anti-Corruption Crusader Tells Court

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A human rights activist and Anti-Corruption crusader based in Benin City, Bishop (Dr) Osadolor Ochei JP, has dragged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

The case has the EFCC and Adams Oshiomhole as first and second respondents. The law suit is at the instance of EFCC’s refusal to attend to a well detailed Petition of the Applicant (Bishop Osadolor) to the 1st Respondent dated 28th October, 2016 and published in the Daily Sun Newspaper of 7th November, 2016, together with other national newspapers, bothering on economic and financial crimes against the immediate past governor of Edo State, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

In a Motion Ex-Parte, the applicant Bishop Ochei is praying the court to as a matter of urgency tp compel the EFCC to commence the investigation and prosecution of the former governor in pursuant to Sections 6(b) & (h) and 13(2) of the EFCC Act, 2004.

The Applicant in his suit said he has complained to the 1st Respondent (EFCC) about allegations of corrupt practices as well as economic and financial crimes against the 2nd Respondent (Oshiomhole), on a number of occasions, without eliciting any response or interest from the 1st Respondent in this regard. The 1st Respondent failed to examine and investigate the said allegations upon such reports to it.

Bishop Ochei, said that the 1st Respondent owes Nigeria and Edo State a duty to unearth the truth by meticulously investigating these allegations to ascertain the extent of complicity and culpability of the 2nd Respondent with respect to these allegations levelled against him.

The motion exparte filed by the applicant’s counsel West Idahosa & Co. stated the Respondent’s legitimate means of income as Governor. The 1st Respondent did nothing about the said petition. The Petition and its annexures are attached as Exhibit “A”, while the satellite images of the compound, fence, and existing building are attached as Exhibits “A1, A2, A3, A4, A5 and A6”.

That on 4th November, 2016, the Applicant sent a petition to the 1st Respondent against the 2nd Respondent’s corrupt practices while he served as Governor of Edo State. Amongst the allegations made against the 2nd Respondent by the Applicant are the following:-

That the Applicant repeated the allegation that the 2nd Respondent built a sprawling mansion worth more than N10 billion naira in his home town known as Iyanho, Edo State. The said building was constructed by Verissimo, a South African Architectural outfit. The said house of the 2nd Respondent has swimming pools, water fountains, multiple theatres for cinema and live performances, huge event halls, bridges, manmade lake, lodges of different sizes amongst others. The said cost of building the mansion is well outside the 2nd Respondent’s legitimate income. The 2nd Respondent’s lifestyle and extent of the said property were not justified by his sources of income. The Applicant’s Petition is attached as Exhibit “B”, while the reminder from the Applicant is attached as Exhibit “B1”.

That the 2nd Respondent bought a property along Okoro-Otun Avenue, G.R.A., Benin City owned by Edo State Government while serving as Governor of Edo State in an insider deal without due process and in abuse of his oath of office. The Okoro-otun property acquired by the 2nd Respondent was originally given to University of Benin as a gift by Edo State Government. The 2nd Respondent, while a dispute was pending in Court between University of Benin and Edo State Government, forcibly acquired the property for his personal use. The 2nd Respondent has since erected a structure with an underground apartment, roof-top swimming pool, another giant structure worth more than N500,000,000 (five hundred million naira) which is far beyond his legitimate income. At the time of the sale, the open market price of that magnitude of property and in that such high-brow location was about N100 million naira. This transaction took place while the 2nd Respondent was Governor of Edo State and he bought the said property for just N23 million naira vide an Access Bank cheque.

That the 2nd Respondent authorized and awarded the highly inflated contract and payment within a relatively short time for the construction of 168 hostels rooms in Edo State University, Iyamho for the sum of N1.88 billion naira. The average cost per room translates to N10 million naira for each hostel room. This contract was awarded to the firm of A & K Construction Limited without compliance to due process. Similarly, the 2nd Respondent authorized and awarded the highly inflated contract of building the Teaching Hospital of the said University for the sum of N12.2 billion naira without compliance to due process. The Memorandum of Approval by the 2nd Respondent is attached as Exhibit “C”.

That the 2nd Respondent authorized and approved the diversion of N1.2 billion naira approved for the construction of a new accident and emergency ward complex and renovation of existing structures in the Central Hospital, Benin City for the payment of additional 10% advance payment to A & K Construction Limited for the construction of the Teaching Hospital of the University of Science and Technology, Uzairue (also known as Edo State University, Iyamho, without compliance with due process and against public interest. The Memorandum of Approval of the said diversion is attached as Exhibit “D”.

That the 2nd Respondent borrowed N25 billion naira from the Capital Market through the issuance of bonds. He purportedly paid the first N6 billion naira to Hitech Construction on March 2, 2011 and listed several roads as part of Phase One of the Storm Water Project to include Adolor College road, Textile Mill road, and a host of others. These roads are largely abandoned with little or no work done by Hitech Construction Company. The gullies created as a result of initial work have become major sources of flooding in Benin – City. More than six persons have been killed by this artificial flood.

That the 2nd Respondent authorized and awarded the construction of the 7.2 kilometer Ogba/Airport Road, Benin – City to Servetek Construction Company Limited for construction of drainage structures and dualization from Ring Road to Ogba River Bridge for industry record setting sum of N4.4 billion which translate to N611 million naira per kilometer without compliance with due process.

Following disputes with the Company on how the money was to be shared amongst stakeholders, the Company refused to work further and the contract was terminated. It was re-awarded to Setraco Nigeria Limited for over N12 billion naira, on the pretext that 17 Acres roads were to be constructed along the main Airport Road. It was later discovered that these access roads were re-awarded as stand-alone contracts with new cost tag. The contracts were awarded without compliance with due process.

That the 2nd Respondent authorized and awarded the construction of the Emergency / Accident Unit of the Central Hospital, Benin – City, to Company for the sum of N2.7 billion naira and later reviewed same upwards to over N3 billion naira. The constructed building subsequently collapsed killing the owner of the Company, Dr. Stefano De La Roca and confident of the 2nd Respondent. The contract was thereafter re-awarded to another company, SCL without penalizing the previous Company for the poor work done and thereby causing serious financial loss to Edo State. The said SCL is also one of the Companies that constructed the Lord of the Manor Proto-type mansion and adjoining premises of the 2nd Respondents at Iyamho in Edo State.

That in 2012, the 2nd Respondent initiated and authorized the approach to the World Bank to secure a loan of $225 million dollars under the First Edo State Growth and Employment Support Credit project with identification number “P123353”. The World Bank paid Edo State Government $75 million U.S. dollars as initial payment and another $75million U.S. dollars as second installment, despite massive protest by Edo people.
The said second installment which was domiciled in Access Bank was largely transferred to private off shore accounts and round tripped to the detriment of Edo State.

That the 2nd Respondent authorized and approved the counterpart fund scheme between Edo State Government and Bank of Industry with each party providing N250 million naira each. This agreement was reached in December, 2009. From the enquiries made by Applicant only N41.6 million naira was disbursed. The balance sum was diverted for personal gain and to the detriment of Edo State residents.

That the 2nd Respondent received over N500,000,000.00 (five hundred million naira) as security votes. These funds were diverted to proxy accounts according to available records. For instance, One Chief M.A. Kadiri collected sums of money approved by the 2nd Respondent and totaling about N42 billion. In December 2014, 2nd Respondent approved N700 million naira which was collected by the same Chief M.A. Kadiri on grounds of urgent security challenges when there was no security threat to justify the purported use of such an astronomically huge amount of money. The said funds were collected by Chief M.A. Kadiri for the benefit of the 2nd Respondent and to the detriment of the residents of Edo State. Copies of memoranda showing some of the receipts by Chief M.A. Kadiri, as approved by the 2nd Respondent are attached as Exhibits “E1-E4”, copies of some of the approvals are attached as Exhibits “E5-E11” and copies of payment vouchers are attached as Exhibits “E12-E22”.

That the 2nd Respondent approved the purchase of vehicles at ridiculous prices from Sata Motors Limited, a Company owned by one Hon. Gani Audu who was also a Personal Assistant to the 2nd Respondent without compliance with due process and in abuse of the office of Governor of Edo State occupied by the 2nd Respondent. The vouchers are attached as Exhibits “F1, F2 & F3”.

That the 2nd Respondent purportedly acquired properties in United States of America, South Africa and Dubai worth billions of U.S. dollars and far in excess of his legitimate income while serving as Governor of Edo State.

That on December 31st 2014, the N.N.PC. paid $54.9 million dollars to Edo State Government and her Local Government Councils as contributions to Power Sector “Special Sector Intervention Fund”. That the money did not reflect in the income of the State till date was never captured by an Appropriation Act for the State. There is no place in Edo State where any project was built with funds from the so-called special Sector Intervention Funds. The said funds were merely diverted for the private use of the 2nd Respondent. Copies of the NNPC statement of transactions showing withdrawals from the Excess Crude Account and disbursement to Edo State are attached as Exhibit “G”.

That the Petition of the Applicant to the 1st Respondent contained weighty allegations bothering on corrupt practices that ought to have been investigated given the effect of corruption on the stunted socio-political and economic growth of Nigeria to the detriment of all persons resident therein.

That the 1st Respondent owes Nigeria and Edo State a duty to unearth the truth by meticulously investigating these allegations to ascertain the extent of complicity and culpability of the 2nd Respondent with respect to these allegations.

That by the Applicant’s letter dated 28th October, 2016 and received by the 1st Respondent on 04/11/16, the attention of the 1st Respondent was drawn to the allegations made against the 2nd Respondent by the Applicant. The 1st Respondent failed or neglected to invite the 2nd Respondent for investigations into the said allegations.

That failing the said invitation of the 2nd Respondent by the 1st Respondent for investigations, the 2nd Respondent began to boast openly to his kindred that he was untouchable and that no anti-corruption Agency of Government would dare investigate him.

That in the Applicant said Petition to the 1st Respondent, the Applicant laid out the allegations against 2nd Respondent and requested the 1st Respondent to investigate the said allegations. The Petition was published in the Daily Sun edition of Monday, November 7, 2016. The copy of the Newspaper publication is attached as Exhibit “H”. Copies of other newspapers are attached as Exhibits “H1, H2, H3 & H4”.

That following the said failure of the 1st Respondent to investigate the allegations against the 2nd Respondent, the Applicant wrote a reminder to the 1st Respondent and same was received by 1st Respondent on 13th December, 2016. Thereafter, one Barr. Eze of EFCC call the Applicant on telephone on 5th January, 2017, requesting for evidence to support the petition. On 9th January, 2017, the Applicant sent the documentary evidence and analysis of evidence done by him to the 1st Respondent by DHL with tracking number 6888917195. The said document was delivered to 1st Respondent on 12th January, 2017 at 09.01am and was received by one Daniel Tsamiya. A copy of the reminder is attached as Exhibit “I”.

That despite the said petition and the reminder sent by the Applicant to the 1st Respondent, demanding that it performs its duty by investigating the allegations against the 2nd Respondent, the 1st Respondent did not investigate the 2nd Respondent or even reply the Applicant’ letters.

That consequent upon the refusal of the 1st Respondent to investigate and prosecute the 2nd Respondent, the Applicant have no option than to approach the Court of Law for an Order mandating the 1st Respondent to perform its statutory duties as required by law.

That the Applicant is an indigene of Edo State who are entitled to enjoy the benefits of good erosion / flood control, good roads, adequate security coverage and other rights flowing from their residency in Edo State and citizenship of Nigeria; which they have been denied as a result of the corrupt activities of the 2nd Respondent.

17. That the Applicant is a fulltime Clergy man, being a Bishop of the Divine Heavenly Vision International Ministry Inc., Benin City. He lives on offerings from the Church and has no earnings upon which he can be taxed. His Church does not engage in any form of business whatsoever.

18. That the Applicant is a dutiful citizen of Nigeria who is committed to the performance of his duties to the nation in order to make positive contributions to the advancement, progress and well-being of the country.

19. That the Applicant, pursuant to his constitutional duties to render assistance to appropriate and lawful agencies in the maintenance of law and order sent several petitions to the 1st Respondent complaining about the economic and financial criminal activities of the 2nd Respondent in his capacity as Governor of Edo State from 2008 to 2016. The Applicant did not receive any positive response from the 1st Respondent despite petition, reminder, documentary evidence and numerous visits to the Headquarters of the 1st Respondent with respect to the said petitions.

20. That the said petitions are in public interest and are supported by ample documentary evidence. The petitions did not seek any particular method in which the 1st Respondent was to do its job other than to invite the 1st Respondent to investigate the allegations made against the 2nd Respondent.

21. That the Applicant is specially aggrieved by the failure of the 1st Respondent to act on the said petition for the following reasons:

As a result of the miss-use and abuse of public funds by the 2nd Respondent, the road leading to the Applicant’s house and other roads in the locality remained untarred despite several requests from the Applicant to Edo State Government to do so and the said Government continually claimed that they had no sufficient funds while 2nd Respondent was busy expending public funds on his expensive lifestyle, including acquiring mansions all over the world at costs outside his legitimate income. Several letters from the Applicant’s community to the 2nd Respondent requesting the development of the said community are attached as Exhibits “J1, J2, J3 & J4”.

The failure to tar Applicant’s road and other roads in the locality has led to frequent repairs on Applicant’s car and loss of valuable time due to frequent visits to mechanic workshops. The same is applicable to others who reside in the area. The receipts of repairs of Applicant’s car are attached as Exhibits “K1, K2 & K3”.

The Applicant and many other ordinary citizens had a hard time gaining access to medicare as the Central Hospital in Benin City which 2nd Respondent claimed to have spent billions of naira of public funds on was not equipped and remained non-functional. Applicant and others had to practically beg for contributions to receive medicare from private hospitals.

These reasons prompted Applicant to carry out an enquiry into how 2nd Respondent’s spent public funds belonging to Edo State and Applicant found out that 2nd Respondent was not prudent in the use of such funds and frequently diverted funds meant for the development and security of the State to private use.

The Applicant found out that the 2nd Respondent wasted hundreds of millions of naira on chartered flights, when public facilities in the State were abandoned and the public denied the benefit of these facilities. Copies of the approved vouchers for some of such chartered flight expenditure are attached as Exhibits “L1 – L13”.

The 2nd Respondent spent millions of naira for choice drinks when major public facilities like roads, hospitals and schools were in dilapidated conditions. Copies of the approved vouchers for the purchase of soft-drinks are attached as Exhibits “M1-M22”.

That the failure of the 1st Respondent to act on the Applicant’s petitions gave the impression that public officers are entitled to use public funds arbitrarily and outside public good.

That the failure of the 1st Respondent to act on the Applicant’s petitions was contrary to Section 15(5) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) which enjoins the State to abolish corrupt practices.

That the failure of the 1st Respondent to act on the Applicant’s petitions has enabled the 2nd Respondent’s successor in office, Godwin Obaseki, to largely continue with the 2nd Respondent’s arbitrary and corrupt use of public funds.

That the Applicant would continue to suffer lack of access to good roads, medicare and other government subsidized essential facilities due to the failure to investigate the Applicant’s petitions against the 2nd Respondent and prosecute him accordingly by the 1st Respondent in other to serve as deterrent to other public office holders in Edo State.

That the Applicant as a dutiful citizen is desirous of ensuring that the war against corruption which is founded on the 1999 Constitution is fought without regard to a suspect’s political affiliation or class. The 2nd Respondent is an APC Stalwart and is taking advantage of his membership of the ruling party to influence the 1st Respondent from doing its job.

That the 1st Respondent has investigated similar petitions against public officers of opposition parties and prosecuted them for lesser offences.

That since then the Applicant who is resident in Benin City has repeatedly visited the office of the 1st Respondent in Abuja to no avail. Even in April, 2018, the Applicant visited the 1st Respondent’s said office for a feedback and was snubbed as usual.

That the Applicant being a Citizen of Nigeria interested in the Rule of Law, the Supremacy of the Constitution and the enforcement of existing laws has instituted this action to ensure that the 1st Respondent appears before this Honourable Court to explain why the very strongly worded petition, backed with facts and a prima facie case were not treated by the 1st Respondent despite the duty imposed on it by the law to do same.

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You’ve Nothing to Offer Nigerians, Only Insults, Akwa Ibom Gov Slams Tinubu

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Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, on Monday, replied the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Bola Tinubu, saying that he (Tinubu) always resorts to abusing and insulting people during campaigns because he has nothing to bring to the table for Nigerians.

He also said that despite being insulted by the former Lagos State Governor, he would prefer to allow peace to reign by ignoring him and focusing on helping install good governance to rescue Nigerians from their present woes.

Emmanuel spoke on Monday evening at Government House, Uyo while inaugurating newly appointed Permanent Secretaries, Chairmen and Members of Boards and Commissions, as well as a Transition Committee to ensure the smooth transition of power to the next administration.

Recall that Tinubu had during his rally in Uyo Monday afternoon, reportedly said, “Akwa Ibom, that boy wey bring Atiku here, wey de call himself Governor, tell him enough is enough! He lives in my backyard in Lagos, If no be say we be one, I would have driven him home. You see that mansion he is living, I would just use lizards, pigeons and scorpions to put him inside.“

But reacting few hours later, the Akwa Ibom State Governor said, “for the country to remain in peace, one party must ‘play saint’ and that is why he would refrain from replying Tinubu.

Emmanuel who is the Chairman of the PDP presidential campaigns said, “I also go to other states, and if you watch our campaigns, my principal (Atiku Abubakar) has never spoken about any Governor, he has never spoken openly about Asiwaju before.”

He added that it was unfortunate that Tinubu, who was granted state-owned facilities such as the airport, security, stadium, and a good atmosphere to come in and sell his manifesto, ended up coming to insult the integrity of over 7.9 million Akwa Ibom people.

The Governor wondered if it is possible for any Akwa Ibomite to go to Lagos that Tinubu stays or the actual state that he hails from, to insult Tinubu in like manner and still be allowed to safely return home, “but here our people at the stadium including some state governors just laughed and applauded him.”

“What makes him think he will govern Nigeria? If I reply him now, people will call me and say, haba oga you are not like that. But I will reply him one day. There is nothing like ‘emilokan’ (it is my turn) here, Nigeria is in God’s hands.”

He maintained further that despite being the highest revenue contributor to the federation account, Akwa Ibom State has not gotten a single kilometre of road from the APC-led Federal Government for nearly 8 years adding that the poor response from the Federal Government also caused the delayed commencement of the seaport in the state.

Meanwhile, the governor thanked the newly appointed Permanent Secretaries for accepting the onerous task of service, and urged them to see themselves as ambassadors and work towards raising the bar of leadership which would encourage productivity and promote good working relationship with subordinates in the service.

“This is one thing I promised Akwa Ibom people that appointment of Permanent Secretaries shall be totally on merit and not by mercy, let those that can do the work be given the opportunity. Permanent Secretary is not a promotion, it is an appointment on merit.

Governor Emmanuel also reiterated his commitments towards enhancing efficiency within Civil Service, noting that during his administration civil servants have been promoted on yearly basis.

He assured that before he exits office more Permanent Secretaries would be appointed into the service to fill vacant positions left by the ones who retired.

Addressing Chairmen of Boards and Commissions, Governor Emmanuel who described them as pillars in government, acknowledged their commitment particularly, Chairman, Akwa Ibom State Environmental Protection & Waste Management Agency, Prince Akpan Ikim, for winning laurels for the state through his outstanding performance in keeping and making the state the cleanest in Nigeria for five consecutive years from 2018 through 2022, and tasked others to create an impact that will stand them out.

In the same vein, the Transition Committee members were handed the task of ensuring a seamless transition of government to an incoming administration, and also verify all projects executed by the present administration.

The newly appointed Permanent Secretaries are; Mfon Inuaesiet Edemekong Esq., Dr. Stephen Effiong, Atim Chelly Okoko, Iquo Okon Abia Esq., Uwem Sunday Andrew-Essien, Isaiah Robson Ntekim and Emaeyak Nyong Akpan as Auditor-General for Local Government.

The Transition Committee has Mrs. Ekereobong Umoh -Chairman, Uko Udom SAN, Prof Augustine Umoh, Dr. Ini Adiakpan, Mrs. Nsemeke Daniel, Dr. Nathaniel Adiakpan, Mr Elijah Udoiyak, Mrs. Esther Inyang, Pastor Uwem Andrew-Essien, Mr. Isaiah Ntekim, Mr. Effiong Ekpenyong and Mrs. Bella Akpanya as members.

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PDP Condemns Attack on Buhari in Kano, Blames Tinubu, Ganduje

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The Peoples Democratic Party Presidential Campaign Council, has blamed the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, and the governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attacks on the convoy of President Muhammadu Buhari, during a visit to the state on Monday.

The spokesperson of the campaign council, Dino Melaye, who shared one of the videos from the reported attack, wrote, “The fight between Tinubu and Buhari is entering a new dimension. The attack in Kano was properly coordinated and funded allegedly by Asiwaju.

“The meeting to push Buhari to submission or face sponsored attack in the north was said to be hatched in Bourdillon. Me, I am busy with Atiku.”

A political activist, Deji Adeyanju, who shared another video of the reported attack, said, “They are showing Buhari and APC Shege in Kano and many northern states.”

Similarly, the PDP in a statement signed by its National Publicity Secretary, Debo Ologunagba, on Monday also blamed Tinubu and the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje, for the attack.

According to the party, the attack was designed to undermine the Presidency, cause confusion, trigger violence in the country, disrupt the conduct of the 2023 general elections “and derail our democracy having realised that he cannot win in a peaceful, free and fair electoral process.”

The statement read in part, “The PDP invites Nigerians to note how Governor Abdullahi Ganduje attempted to abridge President Buhari’s movement and even tried to stop him from visiting Kano State.

“More disquieting is the fact that the APC Presidential Campaign sought to humiliate and harm President Buhari while performing his official duties in Kano.

“It should be noted that the APC presidential candidate has been displaying open aversion and making inciting statements against President Buhari since Mr President’s declaration, in line with democratic best practice all over the world that Nigerians should freely vote for any candidate and party of their choice in the 2023 general elections.

“The apparent frustration of Asiwaju Tinubu to resort to encourage or condone violence is fueled by his entitlement mentality, that it is his turn to be President, despite his numerous ineligibility and disability baggage.”

Ologunagba reminded Nigerians about Tinubu’s infamous statement in London where he declared to his supporters that “political power is not going to be served in a restaurant, it is not served a la carte.”

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Organ Harvesting: Ekweremadu Battles for Freedom, Appears in Court Tuesday

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A former Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, will on Tuesday appear again in court in the United Kingdom where he has been accused of human trafficking.

The lawmaker was in June 2022 arrested at Heathrow Airport in London after Staines Police Station received a report from a young man claiming to have been trafficked into the UK.

The young man, who made the report shortly after arriving in the UK from Nigeria, also alleged that he was made to undergo some medical tests, none of which he consented to.

Ekweremadu was immediately arraigned before a Magistrate’s Court for bringing a child into the UK to harvest his organs.

While the lawmaker had been in custody since June 23, his wife, Beatrice, who was arrested with him, was granted bail by a criminal court in London shortly after their arrest.

Monday (today) makes it 221 days since Ekweremadu was placed in the custody of UK authorities.

The case against the lawmaker which had been slated for May was later scheduled for January 31.

The 60-year-old, who denied the allegations against him, will again appear before High Court Judge, Mr Justice Johnson.

His daughter, Sonia, had on November 7, 2022, appeared in court to defend the accusation of trafficking a homeless man into the UK to harvest his organs for herself.

According to Daily Mail, the 25-year-old, who is battling a kidney-related illness, pleaded not guilty to the charge level against her when she appeared again in court on January 13.

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