- Two CBN Directors Arrested for Forex Manipulation
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested two directors of the Central Bank of Nigeria for alleged forex manipulation and economic sabotage.
Impeccable sources at the EFCC told one of our correspondents on Wednesday that the directors were still in custody as of press time at 7.30pm.
It was learnt that the investigation into the CBN officials activities sent shockwaves round the apex bank.
The detective said the houses of the directors had been searched while incriminating evidence had been recovered.
A source at the EFCC, who wished to remain anonymous said, “We have arrested two directors of the CBN in connection with forex manipulation. We believe that it was the activities of these individuals that contributed to the dollar scarcity and the weakening of the naira.
“Ironically, immediately we started investigating these chaps a month ago, the CBN reeled out a new forex policy which sought to flood the market with excess dollar and strengthen the naira.
“Already, we have searched their houses and recovered some sensitive documents. We have reason to believe that they may not have acted alone. We expect to make more discoveries as investigations continue.”
When contacted, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, said no director of the apex bank had been arrested by the EFCC.
He said, “This is not true. No director of the bank (CBN) has been arrested by the EFCC. The current activities of the CBN in the forex market is a result of months of study, monitoring and planning to tackle the activities of black marketers.
“We are succeeding and Nigerians are happy with us. No amount of false rumours and concoctions to ridicule and sabotage the success we have achieved will make us lose our focus at this time.”
Meanwhile, the EFCC has dispatched letters to several aides and persons linked to Senate President Bukola Saraki for their alleged role in the N19bn illegally deducted from the N522bn Paris Club refund.
About N3.5bn out of the stolen N19bn was said to have been traced to Saraki and several persons close to him, an EFCC report had said.
A top source at the EFCC told one of our correspondents that letters had been dispatched to the indicted persons and some were billed to report at the EFCC office on Thursday (today).
A detective said, “I can confirm to you that letters have been dispatched to aides to the Senate President. Some will appear on Thursday (today) while others will appear on subsequent days depending on the outcome and pace of investigations.”
Some of the persons invited by the anti-graft agency included Saraki’s Deputy Chief of Staff and a former lawmaker, Gbenga Makanjuola; Obiora Amobi and Oladapo Joseph Idowu.
Others are Mr. Kolawole Shittu, and a former Managing Director of Saraki’s defunct bank, Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria, and current boss of Melrose General Services Limited, Mr. Robert Mbonu; and the Relationship Manager to the Senate President in Access Bank, Kathleen Erhimu.
Melrose General Services is one of the companies hired as consultants by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
The firm got N3.5bn as consultancy fees while other companies shared about N15.5bn.
When asked why Saraki was singled out for investigation, the source said, “No one is victimising the man. He is an easier target because he has no immunity unlike the governors most of whom still have immunity till 2019.
“The investigation is holistic and in due course everyone found culpable will face justice.”
Recall that the Federal Government had in December 2016 approved the sum of N522.74bn to be paid to the 36 states of the federation as part of the reimbursement for the over-deduction on the Paris Club loan from 1995 and 2002.
The EFCC had sometimes in January discovered that the Paris loan refunds were illegally routed through the account of the NGF by the CBN.
Upon receiving the funds, the NGF in an alleged connivance with Saraki, began remitting huge sums to private consultants who then laundered about N19bn.
The EFCC report sent to the Presidency states in part, “Suffice to apprise that all payments received by Melrose General Services Company from the NGF have hitherto been diverted directly via cash withdrawals and indirectly through transfers by Hon. Gbenga Peter Makanjuola, Kolawole Shittu and Oladapo Joseph Idowu who are principal aides of the Senate President.
“Furthermore, other payments from Melrose General Services Company have also been linked to companies that Dr. Bukola Saraki has interest in and carries out transactions with.
“This includes the sum of $183,000 which was transferred to Bhaska Devji Jewellers, Dubai, a company Dr. Bukola Saraki had repeatedly made payments to.
“Also, the sum of N200m was transferred to Wasp Networks Limited that subsequently transferred the sum of N170m to Xtract Energy Services Limited, a company that routinely made deposits into Dr. Saraki’s Access Bank US dollar Domiciliary account.
The reports concludes that a prima facie case of conspiracy to retain the proceeds of unlawful activities and money laundering contrary to Sections 15(3) and 18(9) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2004 can be established against the aforementioned suspects.
The Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, however, rubbished the report, adding that the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, was on a revenge mission having been rejected by the Senate two weeks ago.
Ecobank Partners NiDCOM to Mobilise Nigerians Abroad for National Development
In a bid to fulfill it’s objectives and mandate, the Pan African Bank has promised to support Nigerians living and working abroad through it’s partnership with NiDCOM.
The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan has stated that the bank is privileged to work closely with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, (NiDCOM) and will continue to pursue one of its key mandates of helping to enhance the economic development and integration of Africa through its support to Nigerians living and working abroad.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the Diaspora Quarterly Lecture Series with Ecobank as the sole banking partner which took place on Saturday, 8th May 2021, he noted that Ecobank remains a critical bridge for Nigerians abroad, as it has made huge investments in the necessary platforms to enable them connect with home seamlessly. The event held online and had over 2000 participants from across all the continents in attendance.
“Nigerians in the diaspora play a major role in nation building, their contribution goes a long way to catalyse economic development. For us at Ecobank, we are a pan-African institution positioned to foster the economic growth and integration of our continent, so we are particularly pleased to work closely with the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NiDCOM), ably led by the Chairman/CEO, Hon Abike Dabiri-Erewa”.
“We are committed to ensuring that every Nigerian living abroad is able to remit home seamlessly and affordably, access viable investment opportunities and as the financial institution of choice for Nigerians abroad, we have deployed the necessary resources to actualise this.” He stated.
The Minister of Interior, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, who was also present, reiterated the readiness of the government to collaborate with Nigerians in the diaspora, highlighting the new processes put in place to facilitate passport issuance, noting that all backlog of passport applications would be cleared by the end of May 2021.
Also speaking, the Hon. Minister of State, Foreign Affairs Amb. Zubairu Dada said harnessing the human capital and material resources of Nigerians in the diaspora towards the socio-economic, cultural, and political development of Nigeria can no longer be ignored. He pointed out that the Nigerian diaspora community is well educated, resourceful, skilled, and exposed to global best practices.
The NiDCOM Chairman/CEO, Hon. Abike Dabiri- Erewa explained that the Diaspora Quarterly Lecture Series is projected to be a major aspect of national discourse, where Nigerians abroad can be kept abreast of the government’s policies, programmes and projects.
Increase in Price Boosts Revenue of Dangote Sugar by 41.5 Percent in Q1 2021
Revenue of Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc rose by 41.5 percent to N67.394 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2021 from N47.643 billion recorded in the same quarter of 2020.
According to the leading sugar manufacturer, the increase in revenue was a result of the increase in the price of sugar in the first quarter. The company claimed price adjustment was necessary to mitigate the negative effect of inflation and depreciation on the company.
Volumes only rose by 5.7 percent during the quarter despite a 41.5 percent increase in revenue, meaning the increase in price was the main sales catalyst.
In the company’s unaudited financial statements, gross profit grew from N12.721 billion in Q1 2020 to N18.044 billion in Q1 2021.
Similarly, operating profit stood at N15.884 billion, up from N10.747 billion posted in Q1 2020.
Finance cost more than double from N1.353 billion in Q1 2020 to N3.412 billion in Q1 2021.
Dangote Sugar’s profit before tax rose from N9.509 billion recorded in the corresponding quarter to N11.949 billion in the quarter under review.
The company paid N3.646 billion in income tax, slightly higher than N3.137 paid in the same quarter of 2020.
Profit for the period grew from N6.372 billion in Q1 2020 to N8.302 billion in Q1 2021.
Commenting on the company’s performance, Dangote Sugar said “EBITDA increased by 34.7% to N17.02 billion (2020: N12.64 billion) on account of increased earnings. Group profit after taxation for the period increased by 30.3% to N8.30 billion (2020: N6.37 billion) reflecting management’s unrelenting drive to deliver consistent shareholder value.”
On price increase, the company hinged it on series of devaluation carried out in 2020 by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), escalating inflation, port congestion and rising in price of global sugar. Dangote Sugar said its imported raw sugar from Brazil under Federal Government’s backward integration plan.
“We have continued to witness high cost of raw materials, energy costs and other input costs due to rising inflation and FX rate fluctuation. Further cost escalation is anticipated in the year as inflationary pressure mounts,” the company said.
FBN Holdings Suffers 39 Percent Drop in Profit to N15.6 Billion in Q1 2021
FBN Holdings Plc profit after tax declined by 39 percent from N23.140 billion recorded in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020 to N15.6 billion in the first quarter of 2021.
In the leading financial institution’s unaudited financial statements released through the Nigerian Exchange Limited, gross earnings declined by 14.5 percent to N137 billion in the period under review, down from N160 billion filed in the previous quarter.
Similarly, net interest income declined from N60.253 billion achieved in Q1 2020 to N52.793 billion.
Net interest income after impairment charge for losses also dipped from N50.547 billion in Q1 2020 to N39.619 billion in Q1 20201. While net fee and commission income rose from N20.773 billion in Q1 2020 to N28.427 billion in Q1 2021.
Profit before tax declined by 34 percent to N18.906 billion in the quarter under review, down from N28.680 billion posted in the corresponding quarter of 2020.
FBN Holdings paid N3.285 billion in income tax in the first quarter of 2020.
Therefore, profit for the period stood at N15.621 billion. While Net Assets contracted from N765.2 billion to N764.8 billion.
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