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News

Okorocha to remain in EFCC custody till May 30

 

Detained former Imo State Governor, Anayo Rochas Okorocha is to remain in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) till Monday, May 30, when he will be arraigned in court over the N2.9 billion money laundering criminal charges brought against him by the Federal Government.

 

Okorocha, a presidential aspirant on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is to be arraigned before a Federal High Court in Abuja on the date.

 

He was forcefully arrested on Tuesday in his Abuja residence by operatives of the EFCC after over nine hours of siege on the residence.

 

EFCC’S legal department sources revealed on Wednesday that the anti-graft agency arrested Okorocha as a proactive measure to make him appear in court following his persistent refusal to honour court to take his plea in the money laundering charges.

 

Justice Inyang Eden Ekwo of the Federal High Court, Abuja had on Monday, March 28, threatened to strike out the N2.9 billion money laundering charges against Okorocha should the Federal Government fail again to cause his appearance in court.

 

The judge had threatened to throw out the charges following the inability of the Federal Government to serve charges on Okorocha as required by law.

 

At the March 28 proceedings, the Federal Government, for the second time through its counsel, Mr Cosmos Ugwu, had told Justice Ekwo that he has not been able to see Okorocha and serve him with the charges.

 

The cousel had informed the court that Okorocha had been evading service, but that he would make efforts and would continue to make efforts until he succeeds in serving the former Imo State Governor with the court papers.

 

He had subsequently applied for another adjournment to enable EFCC do everything within its power to serve the court papers, in line with provisions of the law.

 

His excuse for not being able to reach Okorocha did not go down well with the Judge who reminded him that same story was played out on February 22 when Okorocha ought to have taken his plea.

 

Justice Ekwo had said categorically that he was not going to continue to take flimsy excuses from the EFCC and would not help it to do its job.

 

The judge grudgingly granted the request for the second adjournment and warned the EFCC to demonstrate seriousness or else, the case would be struck out.

 

EFCC’S sources informed our correspondent at the Federal High Court premises that the anti-graft agency was forced to apply force against Okorocha as he allegedly refused bluntly to honour invitation extended to him thrice to appear at the Commission’s office in Abuja just for purpose of serving him the charge.

 

“EFCC is a civilized organization and would not take laws into its hand but suspects, especially highly placed ones should always try as much as possible to respect the law and due process so that the law can protect them.

 

“Arraignment in court is not a death sentence, so no one should take court for a ride or for granted. In Nigeria today, suspects can only run but cannot hide as in the case of Senator Okorocha,” he said.

 

The source, who did not want his name mentioned, said that nobody would be allowed to bail the Senator until after his appearance and arraignment in court on Monday.

 

Efforts to get EFCC’S lawyer, Mr Cosmos Ugwu comment on the matter were unsuccessful.

 

The Federal Government’s charges against Okorocha dated January 24, 2022, was signed by one A.O Ikota on behalf of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

 

Okorocha, who is currently a Senator representing Imo West in the National Assembly, is to face trial alongside six others in the N2.9 billion money laundering criminal charges.

 

The Senator is being put on trial by the Federal Government on 17-count charges involving criminal diversion of public funds and properties.

News

AfDB seeks board approval to raise $33bn from capital market

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is seeking to increase resources for member countries for more productive projects on the African continent to improve livelihoods.

To this end, President of the AfDB Group, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, is seeking approval from the board and partners of the bank to raise some $33 billion in order to support more initiatives of member countries.

Dr. Adesina was addressing Board members, Governors, and stakeholders at the opening ceremony of the bank’s General Meetings in Accra.

He called on the African Development Fund (ADF), donor countries to increase its support so that the group can take up more investment projects. The African Development Fund (ADF) is the concessional financing window of the Bank Group that provides low income Regional Member Countries (RMCs) with concessional loans and grants, guarantees as well as technical assistance for studies and capacity building in support of projects and programs that spur poverty 

“I wish to express my great appreciation to each African Development Fund donor country. You have stayed with the Fund, you have supported the Fund, and your countries have been partners in the journey of hope of the countries that are supported by the African Development Fund,” Dr. Adesina said.

“To give greater hope, to cope with increasing challenges, the African Development Fund countries need greater resources”, he added.

He explained that one way to achieve this is to allow the African Development Fund to use its accumulated equity of $25 billion to leverage $33 billion from the capital market.

“The Fund will provide greater leverage for donor contributions: a great value for money for taxpayers from donor countries. The Fund will be more sustainable, as it will generate more income. The Fund will reduce debt of countries, as it will deliver much lower concessional lending rates compared to very high interest rates the countries get on the global capital markets. Then together, we will build more equitable growth and development from the middle-income countries to the low-income countries and fragile states”, he stressed.

Dr. Adesina assured that no country on the continent will be left out of the development agenda of the AfDB.

As part of the Annual Meetings of the bank, an Economic Outlook Report for African Countries is expected to be launched today, May 25th, 2022.

News

He is evading trial’ — EFCC explains Okorocha home invasion

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says its operatives invaded the home of Rochas Okorocha, former Imo governor, over his refusal to appear during trial.

 

Earlier on Tuesday, operatives of the EFCC had besieged Okorocha’s house, located at 3, Nyase close, off Ontario crescent, Maitama, Abuja, to arrest him.

 

The senator representing Imo west, however, declined, insisting that he will not submit himself to the anti-graft agency without a warrant.

 

In a statement on Tuesday, Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC’s spokesperson, said the invasion of the senator’s home was linked to the agency’s case against him.

 

 “The move followed the refusal of the former governor to honour invitations after jumping the administrative bail earlier granted him by the commission,” the statement reads.

 

“EFCC had on January 24, 2022 filed a 17-count criminal charge bordering on diversion of public funds and properties to the tune of N2.9 billion against Okorocha.

 

“The case was assigned to Honourable Justice Inyang Ekwo of the federal high court, Abuja but attempts to arraign Senator Okorocha were twice stalled owing to the absence of the ex-governor who evaded service of processes.

 

 “At the last adjourned date, March 28th, 2022, Justice Ekwo before adjourning until May 30th, 2022, had warned that it was “the last adjournment I shall grant in this matter”.

 

“In the circumstances, the commission is left with no option than to effect the arrest of Senator Okorocha and bring him to trial.”

News

EFCC declares Rivers Accountant-General, others wanted for N435bn fraud

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has declared the Rivers State Accountant-General, Fubara Siminayi, and 58 others wanted for N435 billion fraud.

 

Siminayi, and four other Rivers State government officials, among others, are wanted for suspected N117 billion fraud, alleged criminal conspiracy, money laundering, misappropriation of public funds, and abuse of office. The EFCC stated in a statement.

 

The Commission’s Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, called on the general public to assist in apprehending the Accountant-General and other suspects.

 

Uwujaren said, “We call on anyone with useful information as to the whereabouts of the Account-General to contact any of the Agency’s offices or the nearest police station or other security agencies.”

News

EFCC finally arrests Okorocha after forcefully entering his home

 

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have arrested Rochas Okorocha, former Imo governor.

 

He was whisked away at 6:48pm on Tuesday.

 

The senator representing Imo west had earlier declined to be taken away by the operatives, insisting that he will not submit himself to the anti-graft agency without a warrant.

 

But security operatives had broken the entrance doors to get into the home of the former governor.

 

In a statement on Tuesday, Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC’s spokesperson, said they were at the house in order to bring the former governor to stand trial before a federal high court in Abuja.

 

At the residence, things took a different turn after supporters of the Imo west senator thronged the premises, singing and chanting Okorocha’s praises.

 

The security operatives then fired into the air after the supporters refused to leave when they were asked to.

 

The operatives also chased everyone away, including staff of the senator and journalists.

The EFCC had, on January 31, filed a 17-count charge against the former Imo governor before a federal high court in Abuja.

 

According to the EFCC, the former Imo governor who is seeking to contest the presidency, allegedly conspired with others, including a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and five companies to steal N2.9 billion in public funds.

 

Aside from Okorocha, other defendants listed are Anyim Nyerere Chinenye, Naphtali International Limited, Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited, Consolid Projects Consulting Limited, Pramif International Limited, and Legend World Concepts Limited.

News Sports

Premier League approves Todd Boehly’s takeover of Chelsea

 

Todd Boehly’s proposed takeover of Chelsea moved a step closer to completion on Tuesday when the Premier League board announced it had approved his purchase of the London club.

A consortium led by Boehly, a co-owner of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, had already agreed a £4.25 billion ($5.3 billion) deal to buy the Premier League club from owner Roman Abramovich on May 7.

And a Premier League statement said Tuesday, “The Premier League Board has today approved the proposed takeover of Chelsea Football Club by the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Consortium.

“The purchase remains subject to the (British) Government issuing the required sale licence and the satisfactory completion of the final stages of the transaction.”

Russian billionaire Abramovich put Chelsea on the market in early March, just before he was sanctioned by the British government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Completing the purchase has been a lengthy process due to government concerns over the potential for Abramovich to profit from the sale.

There had been fears the takeover would collapse because of the £1.5 billion debt owed by Chelsea’s parent company, Fordstam Ltd, to Camberley International Investments, a Jersey-based company with suspected links to Abramovich.

Abramovich, who has said he has not asked for his loan to be repaid, is understood to have provided confirmation to the government that his associate, Demetris Ioannides, has resigned from the trust owning Camberley International.

Earlier on Tuesday, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the government were working with “international partners” to get the deal done.

The Premier League statement added: “The board has applied the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test (OADT) to all prospective directors, and undertaken the necessary due diligence.

“The members of the Consortium purchasing the club are affiliates of the Clearlake Capital Group, L.P., Todd Boehly, Hansjorg Wyss and Mark Walter.

“Chelsea FC will now work with the relevant Governments to secure the necessary licences to complete the takeover.”

Chelsea have been forced to operate under a special licence from the UK government since Abramovich, who bought the club in 2003, was sanctioned.

Under the terms of the licence, Chelsea were unable to offer new contracts to existing players or sign players from other clubs.

The sale of the European champions brings the curtain down on 19 years of nearly unbroken success under the 55-year-old Abramovich, who has overseen five Premier League titles and two Champions League triumphs.

News

EFCC finally arrests Okorocha after forcefully entering his home

 

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have arrested Rochas Okorocha, former Imo governor.

 

He was whisked away at 6:48pm on Tuesday.

 

The senator representing Imo west had earlier declined to be taken away by the operatives, insisting that he will not submit himself to the anti-graft agency without a warrant.

 

But security operatives had broken the entrance doors to get into the home of the former governor.

 

In a statement on Tuesday, Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC’s spokesperson, said they were at the house in order to bring the former governor to stand trial before a federal high court in Abuja.

 

At the residence, things took a different turn after supporters of the Imo west senator thronged the premises, singing and chanting Okorocha’s praises.

 

The security operatives then fired into the air after the supporters refused to leave when they were asked to.

 

The operatives also chased everyone away, including staff of the senator and journalists.

The EFCC had, on January 31, filed a 17-count charge against the former Imo governor before a federal high court in Abuja.

 

According to the EFCC, the former Imo governor who is seeking to contest the presidency, allegedly conspired with others, including a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and five companies to steal N2.9 billion in public funds.

 

Aside from Okorocha, other defendants listed are Anyim Nyerere Chinenye, Naphtali International Limited, Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited, Consolid Projects Consulting Limited, Pramif International Limited, and Legend World Concepts Limited.

News

ASUU: FG agrees to pay N34bn minimum wage arrears

 

The Federal Government says it will spend about N34 billion as arrears of Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustments in the education sector effective from 2019.

 

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige said that this was aimed at resolving the lingering crisis in the sector, NAN reports.

 

Ngige made this known while speaking with newsmen on the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and others on Tuesday in Abuja.

 

Ngige said that the beneficiaries of the Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustments included the members of the striking ASUU and their counterparts in the polytechnics and Colleges of Education.

 

According to Ngige, the universities will get N23.5 billion, the polytechnics N6 billion and the Colleges of Education N4 billion, bringing the total sum to N33.5 billion.

 

The minister, while giving an update on the ongoing strike, said committees were set up during the last tripartite meeting of the government and university based unions.

 

He said they were given a fortnight to turn in their report, adding they were still working and the reports of the committees were being expected at the end of the week.

 

“Those committees are working. The one on NITDA is testing the three platforms, the government’s Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

 

“Also the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) of ASUU and the Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll System (UPPPS) of the non-teaching staff.

 

“They started the testing last Thursday. The National Salaries, Wages and Incomes Commission (NSWIC) has issued their amendment circulars.

 

“The unions also have copies to take care of responsibility and hazard allowances wherever it has not been properly captured.’’

 

Ngige assured that there might likely be wage adjustments as the government intensified efforts to streamline wages through the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.

 

“For example, we have done it for the police . It wasn’t envisaged that we should do it in pockets.

 

“You can also see university teachers saying that their own should be done immediately, since we have done for the police. So, something is being done. It was part of the 2009 negotiation they had with the government then.

 

“So, the committee of Prof. Briggs is on it, discussing with the university unions and their employer, the Federal Ministry of Education. They will bring up something for the government to see.

 

“There are other people. The doctors are complaining about brain-drain, this and that. Their hazard allowance has to be touched and it was touched by close to 300 per cent.

 

“From N5, 000 paid across board for each person, the least person in the health sector is getting N15, 000, while the big ones are getting N45, 000. So, that is the quantum leap.’’he added.

 

The minister therefore, appealed to ASUU and other university-based unions once more to suspend their strike so that academic activities could resume once again in public universities across the country.

News

EFCC finally arrests Okorocha after forcefully entering his home

 

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have arrested Rochas Okorocha, former Imo governor.

 

He was whisked away at 6:48pm on Tuesday.

 

The senator representing Imo west had earlier declined to be taken away by the operatives, insisting that he will not submit himself to the anti-graft agency without a warrant.

 

But security operatives had broken the entrance doors to get into the home of the former governor.

 

In a statement on Tuesday, Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC’s spokesperson, said they were at the house in order to bring the former governor to stand trial before a federal high court in Abuja.

 

At the residence, things took a different turn after supporters of the Imo west senator thronged the premises, singing and chanting Okorocha’s praises.

 

The security operatives then fired into the air after the supporters refused to leave when they were asked to.

 

The operatives also chased everyone away, including staff of the senator and journalists.

The EFCC had, on January 31, filed a 17-count charge against the former Imo governor before a federal high court in Abuja.

 

According to the EFCC, the former Imo governor who is seeking to contest the presidency, allegedly conspired with others, including a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), and five companies to steal N2.9 billion in public funds.

 

Aside from Okorocha, other defendants listed are Anyim Nyerere Chinenye, Naphtali International Limited, Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited, Consolid Projects Consulting Limited, Pramif International Limited, and Legend World Concepts Limited.

News

ASUU: FG agrees to pay N34bn minimum wage arrears

 

The Federal Government says it will spend about N34 billion as arrears of Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustments in the education sector effective from 2019.

 

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige said that this was aimed at resolving the lingering crisis in the sector, NAN reports.

 

Ngige made this known while speaking with newsmen on the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and others on Tuesday in Abuja.

 

Ngige said that the beneficiaries of the Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustments included the members of the striking ASUU and their counterparts in the polytechnics and Colleges of Education.

 

According to Ngige, the universities will get N23.5 billion, the polytechnics N6 billion and the Colleges of Education N4 billion, bringing the total sum to N33.5 billion.

 

The minister, while giving an update on the ongoing strike, said committees were set up during the last tripartite meeting of the government and university based unions.

 

He said they were given a fortnight to turn in their report, adding they were still working and the reports of the committees were being expected at the end of the week.

 

“Those committees are working. The one on NITDA is testing the three platforms, the government’s Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

 

“Also the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) of ASUU and the Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll System (UPPPS) of the non-teaching staff.

 

“They started the testing last Thursday. The National Salaries, Wages and Incomes Commission (NSWIC) has issued their amendment circulars.

 

“The unions also have copies to take care of responsibility and hazard allowances wherever it has not been properly captured.’’

 

Ngige assured that there might likely be wage adjustments as the government intensified efforts to streamline wages through the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.

 

“For example, we have done it for the police . It wasn’t envisaged that we should do it in pockets.

 

“You can also see university teachers saying that their own should be done immediately, since we have done for the police. So, something is being done. It was part of the 2009 negotiation they had with the government then.

 

“So, the committee of Prof. Briggs is on it, discussing with the university unions and their employer, the Federal Ministry of Education. They will bring up something for the government to see.

 

“There are other people. The doctors are complaining about brain-drain, this and that. Their hazard allowance has to be touched and it was touched by close to 300 per cent.

 

“From N5, 000 paid across board for each person, the least person in the health sector is getting N15, 000, while the big ones are getting N45, 000. So, that is the quantum leap.’’he added.

 

The minister therefore, appealed to ASUU and other university-based unions once more to suspend their strike so that academic activities could resume once again in public universities across the country.

News

ASUU: FG agrees to pay N34bn minimum wage arrears

 

The Federal Government says it will spend about N34 billion as arrears of Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustments in the education sector effective from 2019.

 

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige said that this was aimed at resolving the lingering crisis in the sector, NAN reports.

 

Ngige made this known while speaking with newsmen on the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and others on Tuesday in Abuja.

 

Ngige said that the beneficiaries of the Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustments included the members of the striking ASUU and their counterparts in the polytechnics and Colleges of Education.

 

According to Ngige, the universities will get N23.5 billion, the polytechnics N6 billion and the Colleges of Education N4 billion, bringing the total sum to N33.5 billion.

 

The minister, while giving an update on the ongoing strike, said committees were set up during the last tripartite meeting of the government and university based unions.

 

He said they were given a fortnight to turn in their report, adding they were still working and the reports of the committees were being expected at the end of the week.

 

“Those committees are working. The one on NITDA is testing the three platforms, the government’s Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

 

“Also the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) of ASUU and the Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll System (UPPPS) of the non-teaching staff.

 

“They started the testing last Thursday. The National Salaries, Wages and Incomes Commission (NSWIC) has issued their amendment circulars.

 

“The unions also have copies to take care of responsibility and hazard allowances wherever it has not been properly captured.’’

 

Ngige assured that there might likely be wage adjustments as the government intensified efforts to streamline wages through the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.

 

“For example, we have done it for the police . It wasn’t envisaged that we should do it in pockets.

 

“You can also see university teachers saying that their own should be done immediately, since we have done for the police. So, something is being done. It was part of the 2009 negotiation they had with the government then.

 

“So, the committee of Prof. Briggs is on it, discussing with the university unions and their employer, the Federal Ministry of Education. They will bring up something for the government to see.

 

“There are other people. The doctors are complaining about brain-drain, this and that. Their hazard allowance has to be touched and it was touched by close to 300 per cent.

 

“From N5, 000 paid across board for each person, the least person in the health sector is getting N15, 000, while the big ones are getting N45, 000. So, that is the quantum leap.’’he added.

 

The minister therefore, appealed to ASUU and other university-based unions once more to suspend their strike so that academic activities could resume once again in public universities across the country.

News Sports

Premier League approves Todd Boehly’s takeover of Chelsea

 

Todd Boehly’s proposed takeover of Chelsea moved a step closer to completion on Tuesday when the Premier League board announced it had approved his purchase of the London club.

A consortium led by Boehly, a co-owner of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, had already agreed a £4.25 billion ($5.3 billion) deal to buy the Premier League club from owner Roman Abramovich on May 7.

And a Premier League statement said Tuesday, “The Premier League Board has today approved the proposed takeover of Chelsea Football Club by the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Consortium.

“The purchase remains subject to the (British) Government issuing the required sale licence and the satisfactory completion of the final stages of the transaction.”

Russian billionaire Abramovich put Chelsea on the market in early March, just before he was sanctioned by the British government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Completing the purchase has been a lengthy process due to government concerns over the potential for Abramovich to profit from the sale.

There had been fears the takeover would collapse because of the £1.5 billion debt owed by Chelsea’s parent company, Fordstam Ltd, to Camberley International Investments, a Jersey-based company with suspected links to Abramovich.

Abramovich, who has said he has not asked for his loan to be repaid, is understood to have provided confirmation to the government that his associate, Demetris Ioannides, has resigned from the trust owning Camberley International.

Earlier on Tuesday, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the government were working with “international partners” to get the deal done.

The Premier League statement added: “The board has applied the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test (OADT) to all prospective directors, and undertaken the necessary due diligence.

“The members of the Consortium purchasing the club are affiliates of the Clearlake Capital Group, L.P., Todd Boehly, Hansjorg Wyss and Mark Walter.

“Chelsea FC will now work with the relevant Governments to secure the necessary licences to complete the takeover.”

Chelsea have been forced to operate under a special licence from the UK government since Abramovich, who bought the club in 2003, was sanctioned.

Under the terms of the licence, Chelsea were unable to offer new contracts to existing players or sign players from other clubs.

The sale of the European champions brings the curtain down on 19 years of nearly unbroken success under the 55-year-old Abramovich, who has overseen five Premier League titles and two Champions League triumphs.

News

ASUU: FG agrees to pay N34bn minimum wage arrears

 

The Federal Government says it will spend about N34 billion as arrears of Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustments in the education sector effective from 2019.

 

The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige said that this was aimed at resolving the lingering crisis in the sector, NAN reports.

 

Ngige made this known while speaking with newsmen on the prolonged strike by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), and others on Tuesday in Abuja.

 

Ngige said that the beneficiaries of the Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustments included the members of the striking ASUU and their counterparts in the polytechnics and Colleges of Education.

 

According to Ngige, the universities will get N23.5 billion, the polytechnics N6 billion and the Colleges of Education N4 billion, bringing the total sum to N33.5 billion.

 

The minister, while giving an update on the ongoing strike, said committees were set up during the last tripartite meeting of the government and university based unions.

 

He said they were given a fortnight to turn in their report, adding they were still working and the reports of the committees were being expected at the end of the week.

 

“Those committees are working. The one on NITDA is testing the three platforms, the government’s Integrated Personnel and Payroll Information System (IPPIS).

 

“Also the University Transparency Accountability Solution (UTAS) of ASUU and the Universities Peculiar Personnel Payroll System (UPPPS) of the non-teaching staff.

 

“They started the testing last Thursday. The National Salaries, Wages and Incomes Commission (NSWIC) has issued their amendment circulars.

 

“The unions also have copies to take care of responsibility and hazard allowances wherever it has not been properly captured.’’

 

Ngige assured that there might likely be wage adjustments as the government intensified efforts to streamline wages through the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.

 

“For example, we have done it for the police . It wasn’t envisaged that we should do it in pockets.

 

“You can also see university teachers saying that their own should be done immediately, since we have done for the police. So, something is being done. It was part of the 2009 negotiation they had with the government then.

 

“So, the committee of Prof. Briggs is on it, discussing with the university unions and their employer, the Federal Ministry of Education. They will bring up something for the government to see.

 

“There are other people. The doctors are complaining about brain-drain, this and that. Their hazard allowance has to be touched and it was touched by close to 300 per cent.

 

“From N5, 000 paid across board for each person, the least person in the health sector is getting N15, 000, while the big ones are getting N45, 000. So, that is the quantum leap.’’he added.

 

The minister therefore, appealed to ASUU and other university-based unions once more to suspend their strike so that academic activities could resume once again in public universities across the country.

News Sports

Premier League approves Todd Boehly’s takeover of Chelsea

 

Todd Boehly’s proposed takeover of Chelsea moved a step closer to completion on Tuesday when the Premier League board announced it had approved his purchase of the London club.

A consortium led by Boehly, a co-owner of baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers, had already agreed a £4.25 billion ($5.3 billion) deal to buy the Premier League club from owner Roman Abramovich on May 7.

And a Premier League statement said Tuesday, “The Premier League Board has today approved the proposed takeover of Chelsea Football Club by the Todd Boehly/Clearlake Consortium.

“The purchase remains subject to the (British) Government issuing the required sale licence and the satisfactory completion of the final stages of the transaction.”

Russian billionaire Abramovich put Chelsea on the market in early March, just before he was sanctioned by the British government following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Completing the purchase has been a lengthy process due to government concerns over the potential for Abramovich to profit from the sale.

There had been fears the takeover would collapse because of the £1.5 billion debt owed by Chelsea’s parent company, Fordstam Ltd, to Camberley International Investments, a Jersey-based company with suspected links to Abramovich.

Abramovich, who has said he has not asked for his loan to be repaid, is understood to have provided confirmation to the government that his associate, Demetris Ioannides, has resigned from the trust owning Camberley International.

Earlier on Tuesday, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the government were working with “international partners” to get the deal done.

The Premier League statement added: “The board has applied the Premier League’s Owners’ and Directors’ Test (OADT) to all prospective directors, and undertaken the necessary due diligence.

“The members of the Consortium purchasing the club are affiliates of the Clearlake Capital Group, L.P., Todd Boehly, Hansjorg Wyss and Mark Walter.

“Chelsea FC will now work with the relevant Governments to secure the necessary licences to complete the takeover.”

Chelsea have been forced to operate under a special licence from the UK government since Abramovich, who bought the club in 2003, was sanctioned.

Under the terms of the licence, Chelsea were unable to offer new contracts to existing players or sign players from other clubs.

The sale of the European champions brings the curtain down on 19 years of nearly unbroken success under the 55-year-old Abramovich, who has overseen five Premier League titles and two Champions League triumphs.

News

EFCC declares Rivers Accountant-General, others wanted for N435bn fraud

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has declared the Rivers State Accountant-General, Fubara Siminayi, and 58 others wanted for N435 billion fraud.

 

Siminayi, and four other Rivers State government officials, among others, are wanted for suspected N117 billion fraud, alleged criminal conspiracy, money laundering, misappropriation of public funds, and abuse of office. The EFCC stated in a statement.

 

The Commission’s Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, called on the general public to assist in apprehending the Accountant-General and other suspects.

 

Uwujaren said, “We call on anyone with useful information as to the whereabouts of the Account-General to contact any of the Agency’s offices or the nearest police station or other security agencies.”

News

He is evading trial’ — EFCC explains Okorocha home invasion

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) says its operatives invaded the home of Rochas Okorocha, former Imo governor, over his refusal to appear during trial.

 

Earlier on Tuesday, operatives of the EFCC had besieged Okorocha’s house, located at 3, Nyase close, off Ontario crescent, Maitama, Abuja, to arrest him.

 

The senator representing Imo west, however, declined, insisting that he will not submit himself to the anti-graft agency without a warrant.

 

In a statement on Tuesday, Wilson Uwujaren, EFCC’s spokesperson, said the invasion of the senator’s home was linked to the agency’s case against him.

 

 “The move followed the refusal of the former governor to honour invitations after jumping the administrative bail earlier granted him by the commission,” the statement reads.

 

“EFCC had on January 24, 2022 filed a 17-count criminal charge bordering on diversion of public funds and properties to the tune of N2.9 billion against Okorocha.

 

“The case was assigned to Honourable Justice Inyang Ekwo of the federal high court, Abuja but attempts to arraign Senator Okorocha were twice stalled owing to the absence of the ex-governor who evaded service of processes.

 

 “At the last adjourned date, March 28th, 2022, Justice Ekwo before adjourning until May 30th, 2022, had warned that it was “the last adjournment I shall grant in this matter”.

 

“In the circumstances, the commission is left with no option than to effect the arrest of Senator Okorocha and bring him to trial.”

News

‘I’m under hostage’ – Okorocha cries out as EFCC invades his house

 

An All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential aspirant, Rochas Okorocha has allegedly been held hostage.

 

Okorocha made the remark in reaction to the presence of operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in his Abuja residence.

 

On Tuesday, EFCC operatives besieged the Imo West Senator’s residence in the Maitama area of Abuja.

 

Okorocha in reaction to their presence claimed the men of the anti-graft agency invaded his residence without a warrant of arrest.

 

Speaking with Channels Television, Okorocha said: “I am under hostage I would say, the EFCC is at my house both the back and the front.

 

“I would say, I have enquired if they have an arrest warrant nothing, and I am supposed to be getting ready for screening.

 

“I don’t know what is really happening, It is unfortunate that this is happening here.”

 

Okorocha vowed to hold a press conference on the matter, adding that EFCC banned journalists from gaining access into his house.

 

“I am trying to address a press conference, Of course, the EFCC cannot stop the press from coming into my premises. They are inside my compound but the press is coming inside my house to interview me, they can’t stop them, he insisted,” he said.

When asked if he would be submitting himself to the anti-graft agency, the presidential aspirant said, “I’ll be here until I know what it is, because this is something serious, I want to see an arrest warrant or a court order”, he added.

 

Operatives of the anti-graft agency stormed Okorocha’s residence on Tuesday, barricading it, and ensuring that none of the members of Okorocha’s family would be allowed to leave the compound until they produce the former governor.

 

Ongoing Battle With EFCC

The EFCC had filed a 17-count charge to the tune of N2.9 billion against Senator Okorocha. in late January.

 

Okorocha, in the charges filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja, was accused of conspiring with others, including a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and five companies to steal from the public coffers.

 

Others listed as respondents to the suit were Anyim Nyerere Chinenye, Naphtali International Limited, Perfect Finish Multi Projects Limited, Consolid Projects Consulting Limited, Pramif International Limited, and Legend World Concepts Limited.

 

The charges were filed about the same time Senator Okorocha was declaring his intention to run for the office of the president in 2023.

 

The accused persons were alleged to have stolen the said amount belonging to Imo State and local government areas in the state in contravention of the Money Laundering Act 2011.

 

The charges claimed that the stolen funds were diverted between October 2014 and February 2016 from the Imo State Government House’s account and Imo State Joint Local Government Project’s account.

 

Meanwhile, a Federal High Court in Port Harcourt, Rivers State would ask the EFCC to stop further action against Senator Okorocha until the determination of the case before it.

 

Senator Okorocha had through his lawyer, Ola Olanipekun (SAN) approached the Federal High Court presided over by Justice Stephen Pam to seek the enforcement of some orders, earlier made in his favour in a case between him and the anti-graft agency.

 

The court also prohibited the EFCC from investigating or carrying out any other action against the former governor, while asking the anti-graft agency to release his international passport and travel documents.

News

GSMA to improve women’s digital safety with Mobile tokenisation

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the shift in how people get access to information, services and conduct business.

As governments in most countries implemented hard lockdowns to curb the spread of the pandemic, mobile phones allowed people to stay connected and access critical services and information.

This contributed to the growth of mobile internet usage, with over 3 billion people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) now accessing the internet on the palms of their hands.

In LMICs, the majority of women own a mobile phone and over half now use mobile internet. However, compared to men, women are seven percent less likely to own a mobile phone and 15 percent less likely to use mobile internet.

This is particularly evident among women who are the most underserved, including those with low literacy, low incomes, who live in rural areas, or have a disability.

The wide-ranging benefits of mobile technology are evident in the everyday life of underserved communities, especially in LMICs. Not only do mobile phones enable access to voice and communication services, but they are also often the only way to access the internet and digital financial services such as mobile money.

Access to mobile money accounts can help to unlock a variety of secure and life-enhancing services including savings, credit and insurance products and utilities.

Improving women’s uptake and use of mobile services and mobile money can reduce the gender gap, offering women the chance of greater empowerment and autonomy over their personal and financial affairs and helping them become increasingly digital citizens.

The need for women’s safety in mobile technology

In many parts of the world, mobile network operators are working to understand and address the various barriers that women face trying to access and use mobile technology. Along with social norms and discrimination, one of the key barriers include those relating to safety and security.

While access to mobile phones can help women feel safer, they can also be a conduit for threats, highlighting the inconsistent relationship between mobile technology and women’s safety. Such inconsistencies can act as a barrier to access and usage; limiting a women’s use or ownership of a mobile phone altogether.

One of the primary ways that women can feel unsafe when using mobile technology is through mobile-related harassment, including unsolicited phones calls and text messages. This is in part due to the misuse of mobile numbers obtained by agents or at points of sale, which are commonly shared with the agent or merchant when making transactions.

Approach for tackling the problem

The GSMA Inclusive Tech Lab is collaborating with GSMA Connected Women and MTN Ghana to explore innovative ways in which tokenisation of mobile phone numbers can be used to improve security for women, and customers more broadly.

Tokenisation is a technology in which a sensitive data element is substituted by a non-sensitive equivalent, referred to as a token, that has no exploitable meaning or value. Additionally, this can assist to ensure that users feel secure when accessing mobile money services.

This mobile tokenisation solution has been developed to improve safety and security for women who are using their mobile money accounts for cash-in and cash-out of money and performing a payment at a merchant location, but it showcases just one of the use cases where a user’s sensitive data, such as a phone number, can be replaced with a token – a non-sensitive, context-restricted number.

The customer can request a token at any time over SMS or USSD. Using the token number, the customer has access to a variety of mobile money services, avoiding the disclosure of their mobile phone number. On the other side, the agent does not need to do anything different. The phone number field can be filled with the token number and the transaction will proceed normally. If desired, the user can delete the token and request a new one.

Shaping the perception

The solution was created with a user-first mindset, aiming to keep the interaction intuitive and with changes that do not impact the processes users are accustomed to. With the target user group in mind, this is key to accommodate users’ digital skills and existing behaviours with minimal disruption.

At the same time, the technological solution was designed such that it requires minimal changes to the operator’s current platform. This is possible because the token can have the same format as the current mobile number. In that way, the system interfaces in the same way to access services required by users and agents, requiring only small changes on the server-side and making the solution more easily implemented and deployed by industry players.

It is vital that providers consider women’s mobile-related safety concerns in LMICs to enable access to basic services and provide opportunities for the personal and economic growth of women.

News

Banks register ¢2.9 billion in 4-months of 2022

Banks in the country registered ¢52.9 billion in the first four months of 2022, signaling a healthy industry, the Bank of Ghana has revealed.

This represented a 26.3 % growth, compared with 39.6% growth for the same period of last year.

The banks’ earnings were influenced by growth in net interest income and net fees and commissions. However, the growth margins went down, comparatively to last year.

Net interest income grew by 12.2% to ¢4.6 billion, compared to 18.4% growth a year ago. Net fees and commissions grew by 17.7% to ¢1.1 billion, compared with 26.5% growth last year, due to decline in trade finance-related activities in the economy.

Other income increased to ¢1.0 billion, representing 117.5% growth, relative to the contraction by 7.9% last year.

Banking sector assets remain strong

Also, developments in the banking sector also indicated strong performance, despite the reversal of the COVID-19 regulatory relief measures in March.

Total assets rose to ¢194.3 billion at the end of April 2022, about 24.8% annual growth, relative to 16.4% growth in the previous year.

The growth was underscored by increased deposits and borrowings.

Total deposits grew by 21.3% to ¢127.2 billion, while borrowings recorded a strong growth of 66.2% to ¢25.9 billion at the end of April 2022.

Financial Soundness Indicators robust

According to the Bank of Ghana, the key Financial Soundness Indicators also remained strong, with the Capital Adequacy Ratio at 21.3%, well above the regulatory minimum of 13.0%.

Importantly, Non-Performing Loan ratio eased to 14.3%, compared with 15.5% the previous year.

These developments resulted in a 22.1% jump in operating income to ¢6.7 billion, compared with 16.8% growth in the corresponding period of 2021.

Operating expenses recorded 23.0% growth compared to 1.7 % growth in the previous year.

Credit to private sector shows considerable improvement

The Bank of Ghana said credit to the private sector showed considerable improvement, almost back to pre-pandemic levels and broadly in line with the uptrend in economic activities.

In nominal terms, private sector credit recorded a significant annual growth of 26.5% in April 2022, compared with 6.9% in April 2021.

In real terms, however, private sector credit grew by 2.3%, due to sustained price pressures, relative to a contraction of 1.5% recorded for the same comparative period.

In terms of new advances, the data shows that credit growth continued to improve, reaching ¢16.4 billion, representing a 56.5 percent year-on-year growth.

Meanwhile, the latest credit conditions survey revealed that banks are however beginning to tighten credit stance on loans to enterprises and households. Despite the tightening of credit conditions, demand for credit by households and firms continue to remain strong.

News

FG re-arraigns Dasuki, Bafarawa, Yuguda, others over alleged N388bn money laundering charges

The Federal Government on Monday re-arraigned former National Security Adviser NSA, Col Sambo Dasuki, former Sokoto State Governor, Attahiru Bafarawa and former Minister of State for Finance, Bashir Yuguda on corruption charges.

They were re-arraigned at a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory FCT on allegations of breach of trust and criminal misappropriation of public funds amounting to N388 billion.

In the 16-count criminal charges, Dasuki, Bafarawa and Yuguda were alleged to have diverted various sums in various currencies to different bank accounts under the false pretext of using the funds for the procurement of security equipment.

The charges prepared by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC claimed that the funds were, however, used to fund the Presidential campaign of the People’s Democratic Party PDP during the 2015 general elections.

When the charges were read to them, all the accused persons pleaded not guilty.

Following a passionate plea by a Senior Advocate of Nigeria SAN, Prince Lateef Olasunkanmi Fagbemi, Justice Halilu Yusuf adopted the earlier bail conditions granted them in 2018 when they were first arraigned.

The Judge fixed the trial for June 7, 2022.