- How Diezani, Others Diverted NNPC’s $1.8bn
Nigerian businessmen, Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore, have urged the Federal High Court in Lagos to stay further proceedings in a suit filed against them by the Federal Government to recover an alleged debt of $1.8bn.
The court, presided over by Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo, had last year made a mareva injunction freezing the defendants’ assets both at home and abroad pending the determination of the suit.
The Federal Government sued Aluko and Omokore, who are allies of a former Minister Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, alongside their companies, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Limited and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited.
In an affidavit attached to the suit filed through its lawyer, Mr. Dipo Okpeseyi (SAN), the Federal Government alleged that the defendants unlawfully diverted a profit of about $1.8bn due to it on crude oil which they lifted and sold.
A lawyer from the Federal Ministry of Justice, Isaac Oginni, who deposed to the affidavit, said rather than pay the Federal Government, the defendants converted the $1.8bn to their own and used it to, among others, buy several vehicles valued at over N800m, which they allegedly donated to the Peoples Democratic Party.
According to Oginni, the defendants also bought another set of vehicles worth over N130m and gave them out to Diezani and some other management staff members of the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company.
He added that Aluko, among others, also used part of the allegedly diverted funds to purchase a 26-flat property at 46, Gerrard Road, Ikoyi, Lagos for which he made part payments of $18,548,619.99 and N1,070,000,000 to FBN Mortgages Limited.
Efforts by the defendants to vacate the mareva injunction freezing their bank accounts and assets both locally and internationally failed late last year as Justice Oguntoyinbo dismissed their application, seeking to vacate the injunction.
The judge held that the injunction would subsist until the final determination of the case filed against them by the Federal Government.
The displeased businessmen and their companies, however, appealed the ruling and subsequently urged Justice Oguntoyinbo to stay further proceedings in the case pending the outcome of the appeal. Justice Oguntoyinbo adjourned till September 29, 2017 to determine the new application.
COVID-19 Vaccine: Crude Oil Extends Gain to $48 Per Barrel on Wednesday
Oil prices rose further on Wednesday as hope for an effective COVID-19 vaccine and the news that the United States of America’s President-elect, Joe Biden has begun transition to the White House bolstered crude oil demand.
Brent crude oil, a Nigerian type of oil, gained 1.63 percent or 78 cents to $48.64 per barrel at 11:50 am Nigerian time on Wednesday.
The United States West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil rose by 1.36 percent or 61 cents to $45.52 per barrel.
OPEC Basket surged the most in terms of gain, adding 3.16 percent or $1.37 to $44.75 per barrel.
This was after AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech announced the positive results of their trials.
Moderna and Pfizer had claimed over 90 percent effective rate in trials while AstraZeneca said its COVID-19 vaccine was 70 percent effective in trials but could hit 90 percent going forward.
“The possibility of having a vaccine next year increases the odds that we’re going to see demand return in the new year,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.
Also, the decision of President-elect Joe Biden to bring Janet Yellen, the former Chair of Federal Reserve, back as a Treasury Secretary of the United States is fueling demand and strong confidence across global financial markets.
“President-elect Biden’s cabinet choices, particularly Janet Yellen’s Treasury Secretary position, are adding to upside momentum across a broad space of asset classes,” said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates.
Seyi Makinde Proposes N266.6 Billion Budget for Oyo State in 2021
The Executive Governor of Oyo State, Seyi Makinde, has presented the Oyo State Budget Proposal for the 2021 Fiscal Year to the Oyo State House of Assembly on Monday.
The proposed budget titled “Budget of Continued Consolidation” was said to be prepared with input from stakeholders in all seven geopolitical zones of Oyo state.
Governor Makinde disclosed this via his official Twitter handle @seyiamakinde.
According to the governor, the proposed recurrent expenditure stood at N136,262,990,009.41 while the proposed capital expenditure was N130,381,283,295.63. Bringing the total proposed budget to N266,6444,273,305.04.
The administration aimed to implement at least 70 percent of the proposed budget if approved.
He said “The total budgeted sum is ₦266,644,273,305.04. The Recurrent Expenditure is ₦136,262,990,009.41 while the Capital Expenditure is ₦130,381,283,295.63. We are again, aiming for at least 70% implementation of the budget.”
He added that “It was my honour to present the Oyo State Budget Proposal for the 2021 Fiscal Year to the Oyo State House of Assembly, today. This Budget of Continued Consolidation was prepared with input from stakeholders in all seven geopolitical zones of our state.”
World Bank Expects Nigeria’s Per Capita Income to Dip to 40 Years Low in 2020
The World Bank has raised concern about Nigeria’s rising debt service cost, saying it could incapacitate the nation from necessary infrastructure development and growth.
The multilateral financial institution said the nation’s per capita income could plunge to 40 years low in 2020.
According to Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, Country Director for World Bank in Nigeria, the decline in global oil prices had impacted government finances, remittances from the diaspora and the balance of payments.
Chaudhuri, who spoke during the 26th Nigerian Economic Summit organised by the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the Federal Government, said while the nation’s debt is between 20 to 30 percent, rising debt service remains the bane of its numerous financial issues and growth.
“Nigeria’s problem is that the debt service takes a big part of the government revenue,” he said.
He said, “Crisis like this is often what it takes to bring a nation together to have that consensus within the political, business, government, military, civil society to say, ‘We have to do something that departs from business as usual.’
“And for Nigeria, this is a critical juncture. With the contraction in GDP that could happen this year, Nigeria’s per capita income could be around what it was in 1980 – four decades ago.”
Nigeria’s per capita income stood at $847.40 in 1980, according to data from the World Bank. It rose to $3,222.69 in 2014 before falling to $2,229.9 in 2019.
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