- 23 Banks Got N28.7bn Inflows from Dubious MMM Transactions
No fewer than 23 Nigerian banks received inflows amounting to N28.7 billion executed in 460,000 transactions through the Mavrodi Mondial Moneybox (MMM) Ponzi scheme within six months, the 2016 annual report of the Nigeria Electronic Fraud Forum (NeFF) has revealed.
The amount, which was moved between June and December 2016, is 61 per cent higher than the budget of the Federal Ministry of Education and almost six times over the budget of the Nigerian Defence Headquarters (DHQ) in the 2017 budget, the report erroneously stated.
A quick fact-check of the 2017 budget, as passed by the National Assembly, showed that N139.3 billion was allocated to the Ministry of Defence for its capital spending programme for the year, while N330.54 billion was allocated for recurrent expenditure.
In the case of the budget of the education ministry, the National Assembly passed a provision of N398.70 billion for recurrent spending and N56.72 billion for capital expenditure for the year.
The report disclosed that by the time the scheme “crashed” on December 13, 2016, over N11.9 billion had been lost by gullible subscribers.
The NeFF report, which was unveiled in Abuja Tuesday at a stakeholders workshop on cybercrime, organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), disclosed that since the MMM scheme had a 30-day cycle before return-on-investment (RoI) was realised, everyone who put money into it after November 12, 2016 did not get their money out.
“No fewer than 23 banks received inflows amounting to N28.7 billion executed in 460,000 transactions through the MMM Ponzi scheme. The amount put into the scheme between November 13th and December 15th, 2016 (through interbank transactions) totals over NGN11.9bn. This amount was largely not recovered.
“To put this amount into perspective, the 2017 budget for Defence Headquarters is N4.7 billion. This implies that the amount transferred by Nigerians under the MMM Ponzi scheme would have funded the Nigerian Defence HQ almost six times over.
“Majority of the transfers made by customers of banks that participated in the MMM Ponzi scheme were made through the account-to-account transfer platform.
“This was followed by the mobile channel, and lastly, through the web channels of other transfer platforms in the industry,” the report said.
It added that 34 financial institutions paid out money for investments into the MMM Nigeria Ponzi scheme, adding that the customers included those of commercial banks, mobile payment operators as well as mortgage banks.
“By the side are the amounts, in terms of volume and value for each financial institution that money was paid out from. Fewer banks received inflows of MMM transactions than the number of banks from which outflows occurred,” the NeFF report stressed.
It also stated that MMM followed the usual pattern of Ponzi schemes, pointing out that “they continue to build momentum and crash when the maximum amounts are already invested in the scheme”.
The NeFF report added that the peak of the MMM investment was in November 2016, when over N13 billion was transferred among the participants, pointing out that the CBN had in the middle of 2016 warned about the dangers of the scheme.
In a related development, the volume of fraud reported in 2016 indicated an 82 per cent increase in reported cases, with an estimated N2.19 billion losses.
The NeFF 2016 annual report titled, “A Changing Payments Ecosystem: The Security,” said the financial industry recorded an 82 per cent rise when compared to 2015 and over 1,200 per cent rise when juxtaposed with the situation in 2014.
According to the report, despite the 82 per cent increase in reported fraud cases, the industry was able to reduce fraud by 2.7 per cent when compared to the 2015 figure.
“Comparing the attempted fraud against the actual losses, the industry was able to salvage 49.7 per cent of the total amount attempted by these fraudsters within the year.
“These figures informed us that there are more attempts on a yearly basis with different innovation tricks or modus operandi to take advantage of the system,” the NeFF report said.
The report also noted that 2016 witnessed a significant transaction increase across all payment channels in both volume and value in spite of the economic recession.
“In contrast with 2015, there was a 71.43 per cent spike in the volume of transactions processed through the NCS (Nigeria Central Switch),” it said.
In his address at the unveiling of the NeFF 2016 annual report, CBN’s Director, Banking and Payments System and NeFF Chairman, Mr. Dipo Fatokun, stated that the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) report of the Nigeria fraud landscape for 2016 indicated that fraud cases grew by 82 per cent over the 2015 figures, attributing the trend to the increased usage of new payment platforms.
Meanwhile, the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has called on stakeholders to ensure that the Cybercrime Act is effectively enforced, to serve as a deterrent and constant reminder to those who may wish to engage in illicit activities targeting the financial technology infrastructure.
“It is now about two years into the commencement of the Act, and so it is not too early to conduct a holistic review of its implementation, hence the theme of this workshop: ‘Tackling Enforcement Challenges under the Cybercrime Act’,” Emefiele said.
He noted that as the regulator of the financial sector, the CBN is constantly confronted with issues raised by operators who occupy the unenviable position of first line of defence against cyber attacks on the systems, networks and infrastructure through which financial services are carried out in the country.
“While the issue about cyber security is not wholly legal in nature, and while considerable efforts have been made by the CBN and banking operators, especially through the Bankers’ Committee and other bodies, leading to reduced incidents of fraud on the one hand, and very high consumer confidence in our payment system on the other, we are nevertheless desirous that the Cybercrime Act is effectively enforced, to serve as a deterrent and constant reminder to those who may wish to engage in illicit activities targeting our financial technology infrastructures,” he said.
Equatorial Guinea to Launch Vision on Post-COVID Energy Transition Plans with Report and Film
The Africa Energy Series (AES): Equatorial Guinea 2021 campaign – comprising a report and a documentary – will serve as a critical tool to navigate the energy investment landscape in one of Africa’s more mature petroleum producing markets; Equatorial Guinea has largely been able to sustain its pace of engagement with global investors in the face of COVID-19, forecasting $1.1 billion in FDI in oil and gas activities in 2021; The third edition of the AES: Equatorial Guinea 2021 report will be released at Africa Oil & Power’s U.S. Africa Energy Forum 2021 networking event in Washington, D.C. this July.
Africa Oil & Power is proud to announce the upcoming launch of its Africa Energy Series (AES): Equatorial Guinea 2021 investment report and documentary, as part of a multimedia campaign set to champion the domestic energy sector and shape the West and Central African energy narrative.
The dual-language publication will target key developments driving a post-COVID-19 recovery in Equatorial Guinea – namely, the growth of petroleum and power industries; regional gas monetization initiatives; a clean energy transition; the impact of environmental, social and governance criteria; and expansion of the national diversification agenda.
A 30-minute documentary will provide a visual complement to the publication, featuring first-hand interviews with government officials, private sector players, industry regulators and energy experts discussing Equatorial Guinea’s unparalleled ambition and future plans.
“From spearheading regional gas monetization initiatives to drilling new exploration wells as early as Q2 2021, Equatorial Guinea continues to cement its reputation as a progressive, dynamic force on the African energy stage,” said H.E. Gabriel Obiang Lima, Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons. “The Africa Energy Series publication in conjunction with a detailed documentary format, gives us the voice to showcase the depth of our full-stream investment opportunities to a global audience.”
Since the onset of COVID-19, Equatorial Guinea has been proactive in safeguarding opportunities for foreign investors and continuing to drive capital into its hydrocarbon resources. In February, Chevron achieved first gas flow from the successful execution of its Alen Gas Monetization project, a $475-million investment representing the first phase of Equatorial Guinea’s Gas Mega Hub masterplan.
The Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons is currently promoting several capital-intensive projects – including the construction of modular oil refineries, a gold refinery, liquefied petroleum gas strategic tanks, a urea plant and the expansion of a compressed natural gas project – which are open for investment. Last December, the Ministry of Mines and Hydrocarbons announced a forecast of $1.1 billion in foreign direct investment in oil and gas activities in 2021.
Active in Equatorial Guinea since 2015, AOP released its first AES documentary on the country in 2016, followed by investment reports in 2018 and 2019.
The AES: Equatorial Guinea 2021 investment report will be launched at the U.S. Africa Energy Forum 2021 online seminar and in-person networking event in Washington, DC. (July 12). The documentary will be launched at the U.S. Africa Energy Forum conference in Houston (October 4-5) and broadcast globally on news networks.
U.S. Africa Energy Forum 2021 Launches: Promotes U.S. Role as Primary Investor in African Energy
The U.S. Africa Energy Forum 2021 – organized by Africa Oil & Power, in partnership with the African Energy Chamber’s U.S.-Africa Committee – will foster alignment between U.S. and African governments’ energy policies and highlight African oil, gas, power and renewable projects across the energy value chain for U.S. investors; the multi-day forum unites U.S. and African policymakers, energy executives and industry leaders to create new linkages and foster discussions that drive long-term policy formation and project execution; the in-person, two-day summit and gala dinner will be hosted in Houston, Texas (October 4-5, 2021) and an online seminar and in-person networking event will be held in Washington D.C. (July 12).
Africa Oil & Power (AOP) and the African Energy Chamber are excited to announce the launch of the first-ever U.S. Africa Energy Forum (USAEF). This event aims to create deeper cooperation between the U.S. and Africa on energy policy, to reach alignment on long term sustainability goals, to stimulate greater American investment in the African oil, gas and power sectors, and to engage and reposition the U.S. as the primary partner of choice for African energy developments.
Under the theme “New Horizons for U.S. Africa Energy Investment” the forum will explore diverse foreign investment and export opportunities across the continent, including natural gas as a vital fuel for the energy transition; energy storage and battery minerals; Africa’s place in global energy supply chains; the benefits of the African Continental Free Trade Area; evolving energy technologies and how they relate to the future role of petroleum resources; and on-and off-grid power developments.
An online seminar and in-person networking event will be held in Washington D.C. on July 12, 2021, building up to the in-person U.S. Africa Energy Forum summit and gala dinner, to be hosted in Houston, Texas, on October 4-5, 2021. Africa Oil & Power and the African Energy Chamber invite all U.S.-based companies with an interest in engaging with African industry leaders and project developers to participate in the USAEF Houston summit.
This initiative comes at an important juncture in U.S.-Africa relations. The Biden Administration’s announcements of its intentions to proactively build a stronger U.S.-Africa partnership coincides with the fact that African projects are seeing rising interest from U.S. companies and lending institutions alike. The USAEF event is thus dedicated to enabling dialogue between its participants that advances these developments.
“Our mission has always been to showcase the resource potential that Africa has to offer while at the same time showing its growing preference for sustainable energy policies and technologies. Toward that end, we hope it becomes evident that Africa does not just want investment capital: it wants smart capital and an accompanying partnership with the investors,” says James Chester, Senior Director of Africa Oil & Power. “The U.S. Africa Energy Forum represents the first-of-its-kind opportunity to catalyze U.S. participation in Africa’s energy transformation – via technology, policy support, capital injection and skills development – and turns a new page in the chapter on global energy investment.”
In partnership with the African Energy Chamber’s U.S.-Africa Committee, AOP will introduce American companies to African opportunities and advance an agenda of sustainable, long-term investment in African energy and other sectors by U.S. organizations.
“The rise in support from the U.S. to the continent is a credit to Africa itself, which is increasingly viewed as a favored destination for global investors, multilaterals and export credit agencies,” says Jude Kearney, President of Kearney Africa and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Service Industries and Finance at the U.S. Department of Commerce during the Clinton Administration. “Africa continues to command a healthy share of global FDI in oil and gas industries. It has for decades shown that investment in those sectors is favorable compared to other jurisdictions and can be successful by many measures. Even as Africa and the rest of the world wrestles with a global pandemic, Africa’s energy sector shows vitality and resiliency – not only in hydrocarbons but in regard to new opportunities in mining, liquefied natural gas, and agriculture.”
Both African governments and private sector sponsors of African energy projects value highly the combination of investment and partnership that US investors famously convey. The USAEF seeks to enable successful partnerships between its participants such that the energy development goals of U.S. investors and strategic partners and their African counterparts can be achieved.
Angola’s Petroleum Agency Outlines Timeline for Ongoing Bid-round
Angola’s National Oil, Gas and Biofuel’s Agency (ANPG) has outlined its timetable for the evaluation of its ongoing 2020 bid round, as interest in the acreage on offer continues to grow.
In line with its statutory duties as national concessionaire in charge of the attribution of petroleum exploration blocks, the ANPG has sought to adjust its processes to remain competitive in the current market environment, which is dominated by concerns around COVID-19, long-term demand considerations and stiff competition from new and promising frontiers like Guyana and Suriname.
The ongoing bid-round is a manifestation of Angola’s strategy for the continuous attribution of petroleum concessions 2019-2025 which was approved and codified by Presidential Decree no. 52/19, of 18 February 2019. The aim of the strategy is to provide access to promising acreage to competent explorers in an effort to increase geological knowledge about Angola’s hydrocarbons potential and ultimately increase proven reserves.
A hybrid online and physical roadshow for the current bid-round is scheduled for April 6 in at the Talatona Convention Centre in Luanda. This event will provide the opportunity for investors to engage with the agency regarding the blocks on offer, the data packages and the accessibility studies, as well as touch upon environmental, logistical and local content issues.
This will kickstart a series of both digital and in-person roadshows and technical presentations to promote the blocks to be awarded in key international markets. The acreages on offer include:
- Three blocks of the lower Congo onshore Basin CON1, CON5 and CON6
- Six of the Kwanza onshore Basin (KON5, KON6, KON8, KON9, KON17 and KON20)
In line with the provisions of Presidential Decree No. 86/18, of 2 April 2019, which establishes the rules for the organization of bid rounds, the ongoing 2020 bid round will unfold as follows:
- Tender Launch
- Proposal submission
- The opening of offers from potential suitors in a public setting
- The evaluation and qualification of proposals
- The submission of the evaluation report to the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Petroleum and Gas
- Contract negotiation with the winners of the bid-round
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