Friday, 13 January 2017
Posted by Editor. at 20:55
Posted by Editor. at 20:39
THE Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, has warned Nigerians against the risk involved in investing in digital currencies such as Swisscoin, OneCoin and Bitcoin, as vehicles of investment.
In a public notice on its website, SEC said that none of the individuals or companies promoting the use of the currencies is recognized by it or any other regulatory agency in the country.
Such digital currencies, otherwise known as Cryptocurrency, is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency. Bitcoin became the first decentralized cryptocurrency in 2009.
The Commission, therefore, said such investments been promoted by the companies could be risky with possibility of loss of money by investors, while others could be outright fraudulent pyramid schemes.
“Given that these instruments and the persons, companies or entities that promote the digital currencies have neither been authorized, nor any guidelines/regulations developed for them by any of the regulatory authorities in Nigeria, there is no protection available to users or investors in these virtual currencies from financial losses if the virtual currencies fail or the companies promoting them go out of business.
“The public and consumers of financial services are further advised that before making any investment or entering into any financial services transaction they should ascertain that the entity with whom the investment or transaction is being made is authorized by the Commission or other financial services regulatory authority as applicable to provide such services.,” it said.
It would be recalled that the Nigeria Insurance Deposit Commission, NDIC, in conjunction with the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, had recently set up a committee to study the trending “digital currency, ‘bitcoin.
According to Alhaji Umaru Ibrahim, Managing Director, NDIC, the Commission would look at the advantages and disadvantages of the currency and what it means for the payment system in Nigeria as well as safety and security of customers
“We will also look at what it means for money laundering, anti corruption, crime and measurement of money /near money instrument for the economy. But we need a lot of education to do this and I am calling on you (media) to educate yourselves about all of this so you can educate the public,” he said.
He said that a lot of Nigerians have already started patronising bitcoin, stressing that ‘it had started to creep in and nobody could stop it.
He said that in Europe and the United States, it has gained ground and some of the leading banks in Europe have also adopted their own versions of bitcoins. “Some of the central banks have also adopted it and are seriously doing everything possible to bring in the emergence of these invisible products,” he added.
Posted by Editor. at 19:24
THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will resume sales of dollar proceeds of international money transfer (IMT) to bureaux de change (BDC) operators next week.
CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, disclosed this during a meeting with executives of Association of Bureaux De Change Operators of Nigeria (ABCON).
ABCON President, Aminu Gwadabe, confirmed this to Vanguard, saying that the CBN governor also dismissed as untrue speculations that the apex bank would reintroduce mandatory caution deposit of N35 million.
CBN had returned the mandatory caution to BDCs last year following the cancellation of direct sales of dollars to them. It commenced the sale of dollar proceeds of IMT to BDCs in August last year as part of measures to boost dollar supply in the retail segment and also stem the depreciation of the Naira in the parallel market. However, the sale was suspended last month due to the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Emefiele told ABCON executives that the apex bank will resume dollar sales to BDCs so as to ensure stability of the Naira exchange rate. Gwadabe told Vanguard that CBN governor also warned against speculation against the value of the Naira, assuring that the apex bank will not devalue the Naira contrary to predictions in some quarters. The CBN governor also asked BDCs to shun speculation and ensure compliance with all regulatory requirements. Regulatory requirements Gwadabe said the CBN governor commended efforts of the Association to publish weekly exchange rates for BDCs, in order to enhance transparency and confidence in the market.
The meeting with the ABCON executives was aimed at exploring measures to narrow the wide gap between the interbank exchange rate and the parallel market rate. The interbank exchange rate closed at N304.5 yesterday awhile the parallel market rate closed at N495 per dollar. Recall that ABCON launched weekly exchange rate quote for BDCs as part of efforts to encourage Nigerians in Diaspora to patronise the official channels to remit their dollars.
Speaking at the launch, Gwadabe said the Association will also introduce full automation of BDC operations in Nigeria, saying about 2000 BDCs have already been enrolled in the online platform established for this purpose. Gwadabe said that these measures were aimed at boosting confidence in the foreign exchange market and hence encourage Nigerians in diaspora to send their dollars through the official market. “It is believed that Nigerians in diaspora remitted about $35 billion into the country last year.
We believe if all these dollars were remitted through the official channels, the naira will appreciate significantly, and the gap in exchange rates would be eliminated”, he said. He noted that the challenge facing the nation’s exchange rate, especially the recently introduced flexible exchange rate regime is liquidity, adding that the solution is to ensure transparency via harmonisation of exchange rate, which would in turn boost confidence in the market and encourage dollar inflows.
Posted by Editor. at 19:18
|Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode (right), with British High Commissioner, Mr. Paul Arkwright during a courtesy call on the Governor at the Lagos House, Ikeja, on Friday, January 13, 2017.|
…Insists Plans To Make Lagos Hub Of Commerce, Tourism In Africa On Course
Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode on Friday said the vision of his administration to create a more prosperous and safer Lagos and transform the State into the hub of commerce and tourism in Africa remained on course and all efforts would be geared towards achieving the desired result.
Governor Ambode, who spoke at Lagos House in Ikeja when he received on courtesy visit the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Paul Arkwright, said he remained committed to transforming Lagos from being the commercial hub of Nigeria to that of Africa just like London is the hub of commerce and tourism in Europe.
He recalled the historical ties between Nigeria and Britain and vowed not only to continue to uphold the relationship and scale it up for the benefit of the people, but also ensure the protection of British nationals and their investments in the State.
He said: “We are doing everything to make sure that we take as much as possible from the expertise of the British companies and I want to see a situation where how London is the hub of European commerce and tourism, we can also make Lagos to be the hub of African commerce and tourism and that is where we are going.
“We want to appreciate the partnership that exists between us and the British Government and by extension the partnership existing between Britain and Nigeria. We know that as Lagos continues to be the commercial capital of Nigeria, whatever it is that we do together will obviously grow the GDP of Nigeria because 67 per cent of almost all the commercial activities in the country take place in Lagos.”
The Governor, who also played host to German Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Barnhard Schlagheck, assured that the State Government would continue to improve on the partnership existing between it and other nationals, especially by creating the enabling environment for investments to thrive. Responding, Schlagheck said he was at Lagos House to further advance the relationship between his country and Nigeria and laid a solid foundation for improvement, especially with the German-Lagos relationship.
He said he had been very impressed with the very impressive moves and policies pursued in Lagos under Governor Ambode, saying that Lagos has shown to Nigeria how the country can overcome the economic challenges and once again become a model for prosperity and progress.
The envoy specifically commended Governor Ambode for the innovative traffic management strategy, the LAKE Rice initiative and the remarkable efforts to bring in foreign investors to the State.
On his part, the British Commissioner (Arkwright) said his visit was principally to advance the partnership between his country and Lagos, saying that the State, being the heartbeat of Nigerian business, is central to his vision of promoting trade, investment, job creation and growth in Nigeria and Britain.
He also commended Governor Ambode for his vision for the State, and expressed readiness to work with the State for mutual benefit to the Nigeria and Britain, and by extension, Lagos. “We have had prior discussion talking about some of the priorities of the Governor and I am very impressed by his vision for State of Lagos.
We have talked about Transport, Housing, and Aviation links which are extremely important as we look to Lagos to really help to drive the economy of Nigeria and pull the country out of the current economic difficulties and I assure that the United Kingdom will be your partner in this,” Arkwright said.
Posted by Editor. at 19:10
Eighteen ships are presently discharging petroleum products and other commodities at Apapa and Tin-Can Island ports in Lagos, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) said on Friday. NPA explained that the ships were at the ports discharging bulk wheat, petrol, empty containers, general cargo, bulk fertiliser, bulk gypsum, aviation fuel and buthane.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that 22 ships laden with petroleum products, food items and other goods are expected to arrive Lagos ports between Jan. 13 and Jan. 28. NPA said that the expected ships would ferry into the country base oil, general cargoes, containers, aviation fuel, bulk gypsum, diesel, empty container, bulk fertiliser, frozen fish and petrol.
NAN reports that 23 ships were expected on Jan. 10; 22 ships on Jan 11 and 22 ships expected on Jan. 12. The document noted that four ships had arrived the ports, waiting to berth with bulk fertiliser, frozen fish and petrol. (NAN) AIC/AJA
Posted by Editor. at 18:45
Lagos – Participants in the Mavrodi Mondial Movement (MMM) on Friday heaved a sigh of relief as the money-spinning venture promoters announced their resumption after one month break that left them in suspense.
MMM promoters in a message to the participants on its portal reassured them that it was in line with its promise to resume after a month.
The participants have flooded social media with messages depicting high hopes as the promoters of the ponzi scheme re-opened.
In the MMM message, participants are told that “the holidays are over and restrictions on accounts is lifted and reopened for transactions.
“The holidays are over, and we’re now open. Just as promised. You might have already noticed that we always stick to our promises,’’ the message said.
The message displayed on the pages of all participants of the scheme cheered its members as it reopened a day earlier than promised.
According to the message, panic will reign in the first few days after the re-opening of the system but the ponzi scheme promises to make gradual paybacks by setting internal output limits to only pay a certain amount to participants per day.
A message obtained from the dashboard of a participant reads: “Actually we promised to be open on Jan. 14, but we’re open now, Jan. 13, as you can see, which is a day earlier. Well, I hope, the members of the system will forgive us for that.
“It’s related to the hysteria raised by the authorities and the mass media around MMM.
“By joining forces, they’ve managed to nearly give the members of the system a heart attack and have frightened them out of their wits.
“Poor souls don’t know what to expect. Will we open again or not?
“This is why we’ve decided, considering the situation, to reach out to the members, reassure and cheer them up by opening a little earlier. After all, Together We Can Change The World!’’
The message then said: “Here we go. As of this notice, MMM resumes its usual operation. You can now create your Get Help (GH)-requests.
“However, it’s obvious that panic will reign in the first few days after the re-opening of the System. We’re likely to be deluged by GH-requests.
“Therefore, we’re going to make gradual paybacks by setting internal output limits. In other words, we will only pay a certain amount per day.
“Please, be prepared to wait for a couple of days. We are certain things will then calm down, and the system operation will return to normal.
“We’re the ones setting the limits, so it’s completely under our control, and we are not expecting any emergencies in principle. Have no fear and go on about your business as usual’’.
It added: “As the system is socially oriented, we will make paybacks to the poor and the economically disadvantaged in the first place: it means to the members with small PH amounts.
“The richer can wait. Moreover, we’ve warned you repeatedly to only provide help with amounts that are not critical for you.
“Therefore, if these large amounts are not critical for them (the richer), they can wait a few days. No need to be tragic about it.
Posted by Editor. at 18:35
The Managing Director of Ontario Oil and Gas Limited, Mrs. Ada Ugo-Ngali, fainted on Friday at the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja after being convicted of N754m oil subsidy scam by the court.
Ugo-Ngali, who had stood in the dock while Justice Lateefa Okunnu was delivering judgment in a N1.9bn subsidy scam trial in which she and three others where defendants.
She slumped as the judge was about to pronounce the sentence.
The prosecuting counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), had pointed out to the judge that the offence carried a seven-year jail term and urged the judge to impose the maximum sentence.
But before the judge could pronounce the sentence, Ugo-Ngali passed out.
As the lawyers in court and her loved ones rushed to aid, Justice Okunnu, noting the state of things, adjourned the case and reserved her pronouncement on the sentence till January 16.
As she regained consciousness, Ugo-Ngali was panting loudly while her lawyers frantically called for medical personnel and an ambulance to take her to the hospital.
The convict was eventually carried out of the courtroom by her lawyers and loved ones into a waiting black jeep which sped out of the court premises.
Ontario Oil and Gas Limited; its Chairman, Mr. Walter Wagbatsoma; Ngo-Ngali; and an official of the Petroleum Products Price and Regulatory Agency, Mr. Babafemi Fakuade, had been arraigned by the EFCC on August 1, 2013.
The EFCC, in the eight counts pressed against them, alleged that they were involved in a N1.9bn fuel subsidy scam.
The charges centred on conspiracy, obtaining property by false pretences, forgery and uttering.
Pronouncing her judge on Friday, Justice Okunnu found Wagbatsoma and Ngo-Ngali guilty, holding that they defrauded the Federal Government to the tune of N754m in oil subsidy transactions totalling N1.7bn.
The judge, however, discharged and acquitted Fakuade, holding the charge of forgery brought against him was not sustainable.
“The case against the third defendant is that he helped in forging the Shore Quality Certificate; what I see before me is that he only signed the document while acting in his capacity as an PPRA official.
“It is not right in criminal cases to infer guilt without concrete evidence, there is no proof that he was aware that the documents were false.
“The prosecution have not been able to prove the case of forgery against the third defendant,” Justice Okunnu held, freeing Fakuade.
In finding Wagbatsoma and Ngo-Ngali guilty, the judge held, “The defendants defrauded the Federal Government of N340m in the third quarter of 2010 and N414m in the fourth quarter of 2010.
“According to a forensic audit by Akintola Williams Delloitte, the defendants did not remit an excess of N754million to the Federal Government.
“The first defendant knowingly received the sum in excess of what the fourth defendant (Ontario Oil and Gas Limited) was entitled to.
“In my opinion, he contributed to the false pretence.”
Justice Okunnu further held, “The second defendant is the MD of the company, she is the alter – ego of the fourth defendant and was aware of the going ons of the company.”
After pronouncing his client guilty, Ngo-Ngali’s lawyer, Mr. E.D. Onyeke urged Justice Okunnu to temper justice with mercy.
“The second defendant has health challenges, in the course of the trial she has had cause to visit doctors abroad to take care of her health issues as the health care system in Nigeria is poor.
“As the MD, she is an employer of labour whose workers depend on her managerial abilities, her workers will suffer more than necessary especially in this period of recession,” Onyeke pleaded.
“It is our humble plea that court grants her a custodial sentence starting from the day she was arraigned,” he added.
Responding, however, the prosecutor, Jacobs, said, “The minimum sentence of the offences which the convicts have been convicted is seven years.
“A custodial sentence will be sending a wrong signal to the public that the rich cannot go to prison and will be a hindrance to our fight against corruption.
“There is also no medical report regarding the alleged ill health of the defendant and the prison has medical facilities, if they can provide for the poor, they can provide for the rich.”
Posted by Editor. at 17:59
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