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FG Files Fresh Charges Against Shell, ENI, Others



  • FG Files Fresh Charges Against Shell, ENI, Others

The federal government has filed fresh charges against two multinational oil firms, Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company Limited and Agip Nigeria Exploration Limited, for alleged complicity in the Malabu $1.1 billion scandal.

The charges were filed at the Abuja High Court yesterday against the oil majors and nine other individuals and firms.

Others charged along-side the two oil giants are former Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Mr. Mohammed Adoke; former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Chief Dan Etete; Aliyu Abubakar, ENI SPA,
Ralph Wetzels, Casula Roberto, Pujatti Stefeno, Burrafati Sebestiano and Malabu Oil and Gas Limited.

The federal government had earlier filed a similar charge before the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja involving some of the defendants.

The suspects are accused of, among others, conspiring to defraud the Nigerian government.

The new charges are part of an international collaboration to ensure all those who partook in the $1.1 billion OPL 245 scandal are brought to justice.

A Federal High Court had granted an order of interim forfeiture of the OPL 245. However, Shell and Eni have since appealed the order, asking that the block be returned to them. Both firms paid the $1.1 billion into a Nigerian government account in 2011.

In the fresh charge marked CR/124/17, signed by Johnson Ojogbane, the defendants were accused of conspiracy contrary to Section 26 of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 12 of the same Act.

In the particulars of offence, the defendants were alleged to have sometime 2011 in Abuja conspired among themselves to commit a felony to wit official corruption and thereby committed an offence.

In count two, the defendants were accused of official corruption contrary to Section 9 of the Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Act, 2000 and punishable under Section 9(b) of the same Act.

In the particulars of offence, the defendants were accused to have in 2011 corruptly received the aggregate sum of $801 million in relation to the grant of OPL in respect of the OPL 245 from Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company, Nigeria Agip Exploration Limited and ENI SPA, and thereby committed an offence.

In count three, the defendants were also accused of official corruption.
In the particulars of offence, the defendants were alleged to have in 2011 corruptly gave the aggregate sum of $801 million to Etete, Adoke and Ali Abubakar.

In the matter before the Federal High Court, the trial judge, Justice John Tsoho, had on January 26 granted a forfeiture order of OPL 245 to the federal government.

Shell and Agip had however gone back to court, praying it to reverse the forfeiture order.

The court had last Monday fixed March 13 for ruling in the two separate applications.

The forfeiture order of the court then was sequel to an ex parte application brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Shell and Agip are however praying the court to set aside the order on grounds that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Chairman, in the ex- parte motion, was not the proper person to make such an application.

At the last adjourned date, counsel to Shell, Konyinsola Ajayi (SAN), argued that the EFCC chairman was wrong in law to have brought the ex-parte motion that led to the order of forfeiture in his capacity as chairman.

He cited Section 28 of the EFCC Act and submitted that the section did not allow the chairman to bring an ex- parte application in his capacity as chairman.

Ajayi further argued that the application having been brought by an incompetent person could not invoke the jurisdiction of the court and that the order that was made was supposedly to preserve property or assets.

In his response, counsel to the EFCC, Johnson Ojogbane, asked the court to dismiss the two applications on the grounds that there was no proper suit before the court.

He submitted that the ex-parte application was filed by the chairman in line with Section 44 of the 1999 Constitution, and as such was a competent person to bring the said application on behalf of the commission.

Ojogbane further argued that the application lacked merit and should be dismissed as granting it would be a disservice to the Federal Government and Nigerians.

He urged the court not to vacate the forfeiture order in respect to OPL 245 because of the element of criminality involved. The court will rule on March 13.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Crude Oil

Global Oil Drops as Coronavirus Infections Rises in India and Other Nations



Crude oil

Oil prices declined on Monday during the Asian trading session amid rising concerns that the surge in coronavirus in India and other nations could force regulators to enforce stronger measures at curbing its spread and eventually affect economic activity and drag on demand for commodities like crude oil.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigerian oil is priced, declined by 22 cents or 0.33 percent to $66.55 per barrel at 8:19 am Nigerian time on Monday, following a 6 percent surge last week.

The US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) declined by 18 cents or 0.29 percent to $62.95 per barrel, after it gained 6.4 percent last week.

The decline was after India reported 261,500 new coronavirus infections on Sunday, taking the country’s total cases to almost 14.8 million, second to only the United States that has reported over 31 million coronavirus infections.

“With … a resurgence of virus cases in India and Japan, topside ambitions continue to run into walls of profit-taking,” said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at Axi.

Businesses in Japan believed the world’s third-largest economy will experience a fourth round of coronavirus infections, with many bracing for an additional slow down in economic activity.

While Japan has had fewer COVID-19 cases when compared with other major economies, concerns about a new wave of infections are fast rising, according to responses in Reuters poll.

On Tuesday, April 20, 2020, Hong Kong will suspend all from India, Pakistan and the Philippines because of imported coronavirus infections, authorities stated in a statement released on Sunday.

India’s COVID-19 death rose by a record 1,501 to hit 177,150.

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Global Markets Near Record Peaks and Will Get Stronger: deVere CEO




As the FTSE 100 hits 7,000 points for the first time since the Covid pandemic, global stock markets are poised to “get even stronger”, says the CEO of one of the world’s largest independent financial advisory and fintech organisations.

The observation from Nigel Green, the chief executive and founder of deVere Group, comes as London’s index jumped over the important threshold in early trading in London, gaining over 0.5% to 7024 points.

Mr Green notes: “London’s blue-chip index is up 40% since the worst lows of the pandemic.

“This landmark moment represents the wider optimistic sentiment gripping global markets which are near record peaks.

“We can expect global stock markets to get even stronger as investors look to seize the opportunities from economies reopening.

“They are looking towards economies rebounding in a post-pandemic era due to the monetary and fiscal stimulus, pent-up cash and demand, and strong corporate earnings.

“The current ultra-low interest rate environment and the under-performance of bonds will also act as a catalyst for stock markets.”

However, the CEO’s bullish comments also come with a warning.

“I would urge investors to proceed with caution as there are some headwinds on the horizon, including relations between the U.S. and China, the world’s two largest economies, which could be coming to a tipping point in coming weeks.

“As such, in order to capitalise on the opportunities and mitigate risks, investors must ensure proper portfolio diversification.”

Mr Green concludes: “A variety of factors are going to drive global stock markets. Investors will not want to miss out and should work with a good fund manager to judiciously top-up their portfolios.”

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Refinitiv Expands Economic Data Coverage Across Africa



Building on its commitment to drive positive change through its data and insights, Refinitiv today announced the expansion of its economic data coverage of Africa. The new data set allows investment managers, central bankers, economists, and research teams to use Refinitiv Datasteam analytical data for detailed exploration of economic relationships and investment opportunities among data series covering the African continent.

Securing reliable, detailed, timely, locally sourced content has not been easy for economists who have in the past had to use international sources which often can take many months to update and opportunities to monitor the market can be missed. Because Africa is a diverse continent, economists and strategists need more timely access to country-specific data via national sources to create tailored business, policy, trading and investment strategies to meet specific goals.

Africa continues to develop critical infrastructure, telecommunications, digital technology and access to financial services for its 1.3bn people. The World Bank estimates that over 50% of African inhabitants will be under 25 by 2050. This presents substantial opportunities for investors who can spot important trends and make informed decisions based on robust and timely economic data.

Stuart Brown, Group Head of Enterprise Data Solutions, Refinitiv, said: “Africa’s growing, dynamic and fast evolving economies makes it a focal point for financial markets today and in the coming decades.  As part of LSEG’s commitment to empowering the global markets with accurate and timely data, we are excited about making these unique datasets available via the Refinitiv Data Platform. Our economic data coverage of Africa will provide our customers with deeper and broader inputs for macroeconomic analyses and enable more effective investment strategies and economic research.”

Refinitiv Africa economic data coverage:

  • Africa economics content comprises around 500,000 nationally sourced time series data covering 54 African nations
  • Content is sourced from national statistical offices, central banks and other key national institutions
  • The full breadth of economics categories in Datastream including national accounts, money and finance, prices, surveys, labor market, consumer, industry, government and external sectors
  • International sources including OECD, World Bank, IMF, African Development Bank, Oxford Economics & more provide comparable data & forecasts across the continent

Refinitiv® Datastream® has global macroeconomics coverage to analyze virtually any macro environment, and better understand economic cycles to uncover trends and forecast market conditions. With over 14.2 million economic times series map trends, customers can validate ideas and identify opportunities using Refinitiv Datastream. Access its powerful charting tools, 9,000 pre-built chart templates and chart studies for commonly used valuation, performance, and technical and fundamental analysis.

 Refinitiv continually grows available data – the China expansion in 2019 covered a unique combination of economic and financial indicators. Refinitiv plans to expand Southeast Asia covering Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia with delivery expected in 2021. This ensures that Refinitiv will have much needed emerging market economic content.

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