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Call Masking, SIM Boxing Fraud Cost Nigeria $3bn



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  • Call Masking, SIM Boxing Fraud Cost Nigeria $3bn

The Nigerian Communications Commission has said the revenue lost to call masking and SIM boxing activities in the country amounts to $3bn.

This is as telecoms operators lamented during the 85th edition of the Telecom Consumer Parliament in Lagos on Thursday that they were losing about 2.5 million minutes per day to these fraudulent activities.

Speaking on actions that had been taken by the commission to combat the menace, the Executive Vice-Chairman, NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, said the NCC had tightened the SIM registration process across all networks to reduce the availability of Subscriber Identification Module cards for SIM boxing as well as address the security issues around the availability of pre-registered SIMs.

According to him, the action was necessary as some arrests made in Lagos two weeks ago showed that the perpetrators of SIM boxing had over 100 SIM cards registered with fictitious names and used them to divert international calls.

Call masking or refilling is a practice in which international calls are terminated in Nigeria as local numbers, using illegal SIM boxes loaded with several numbers.

Danbatta, who was represented by the Director, Consumer Affairs Bureau, NCC, Mrs Felicia Owuegbuchulam, also called on the public to report cases experienced to the commission for investigation and necessary enforcement actions.

He explained that investigations revealed that the practice started in September 2016 when the commission reviewed and implemented the termination rate for international inbound traffic from N3.9 per minute to N24.4 per minute.

He added, “What is happening is a clear indication that some unscrupulous elements want to continue to fraudulently profit from the earlier lopsidedness in the international termination rate, which we had before the 2016 review.

“Also, the commission is in the process of choosing the best from the list of technology solutions used in other countries to block the devices, track and apprehend the culprits.”

Danbatta described call masking as a serious challenge to the telecoms industry, and a security and economic threat to the country and to consumers.

The Director, Legal and Regulatory Services, NCC, Mrs Yetunde Akinloye, pointed out that as of August this year, the commission discovered a 45 per cent reduction in call masking and 25 per cent drop in SIM boxing in July.

Speaking at the forum, a representative of MTN, Olumayowa Oloyede, stressed that virtually all operators lose between 500 minutes and 2.5 million minutes to call masking.

In order to find a lasting solution to the menace, Oloyede said the company was running trials on the technology solutions from companies that submitted their proof of concept to the NCC.

Sharing the experiences of 9mobile on the issue, a representative of the company, Mr Chidozie Arinze, said the firm had been able to detect and bar 1,000 lines suspected to be used in call masking daily.

He added that the calling line identity masking, which is often perpetrated by companies registered with the NCC, was easier to detect than SIM boxing.

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.

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Company News

Uber to Halt Services in Parts of Belgium




Uber will stop its ride-hailing service in most parts of Belgium tomorrow after a court ruling on Wednesday which extends an order given in 2015, banning its p2p (Peer to Peer) UberPop service to also cover professional drivers who provide its ride-hailing service.

Uber told TechCrunch that it is currently closely examining the details of the ruling, in order to arrive at a decision on whether or not to appeal the decision with the country’s Supreme Court.

This also follows a temporary decision to discontinue Uber’s service in Brussels, a decision which was referred to as “exceptional and unprecedented” by the tech giant. The company said that it was merely taking a step to complain about the lack of reform rules which forbid drivers from using smartphones.

After the ruling by the Brussels appeal court, private hire vehicle drivers have been obstructing a major tunnel in the capital of Belgium.

In a statement made concerning Friday’s impending shutdown, the chief of Uber in the country, Laurent Slitsagain criticized the government for not providing a reform which it has been soliciting for, stating that the decision was made depending on regulations which are now outdated as they were written before smartphones.

The company stated that the government has promised a reform but has failed to deliver said reforms for the last seven years.

According to Bloomberg, the shutdown will not be applicable to a small number of drivers who are licensed in the Flemish region of Belgium, and are therefore still permitted to use the application. Uber confirmed that the Appeal Court ruling only applies to drivers with Brussels licenses.

In another statement, Slits stated that the tech giant is hugely concerned about the 2,000 possessors of LVC licenses (rental car with driver licenses) who according to the country chief will lose their ability to generate earnings.

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Company News

Honeywell Flour Mills Refutes Ecobank Winding Up Proceeding Claims, Assures Investors of Total Transparency



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Following media reports that Honeywell Flour Mills Plc (HFMP) is a subject of an ongoing winding up proceedings instituted by Ecobank Nigeria Limited in a suit no: FHC/L/CP/1571/2015, Honeywell Flour Mill Plc has now refuted the publication, insisting there is no winding-up petition against the embattled company.

The company disclosed in a statement signed by Yewande Giwa, Company Secretary and obtained by Investors King.

It said “It is pertinent to set the record straight that there is no Winding-up Petition currently pending or live against HFMP in any Court in Nigeria. There is also no pending Court Order restraining trading in the shares of HFMP or inhibiting HFMP or its owners from dealing in its assets. HFMP assures its investors, regulators and stakeholders that in all of its engagements with FMN, it received independent legal advice and asserts that the transaction is not in breach of any subsisting Order of Court. The issue as to whether HFMP is indebted to Ecobank is still before the Courts and the final decision remains the exclusive preserve of the Courts. It is also important to state that the Court of Appeal judgement being referred to in the reports did not declare HFMP to be indebted to Ecobank.”

This was in response to a publication titled “Ecobank Warns against Acquisition of Honeywell Flour Mills, Alleges Company Facing Winding Up Proceedings” that claimed Ecobank Nigeria Limited had issued a 7-day ultimatum to Flour Mills to desist from completing the acquisition of 71.69 percent stake in Honeywell Flour Mills Plc on the ground that the company was hugely indebted to Ecobank.

However, Honeywell claimed “The assertions lack merit, were written in bad faith and are a deliberate attempt to undermine a transaction that will result in substantial benefit to the Nigerian economy and entrench the collaboration of two publicly quoted companies. As a responsible corporate citizen, we have entered the transaction with FMN having taken all legal issues into consideration.

“All stakeholders are hereby assured that management of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc will continue to act in the best interests of all concerned and work diligently to preserve value for all its shareholders.

“We expect that from the proposed combination, stakeholders will benefit from the more than 85-year combined track record of FMN and HFMP and their shared goal of making affordable and nutritious food available to Nigeria’s population. The country and its food security agenda will benefit from both companies’ focus on developing Nigeria’s industrial capability, its agricultural value chain and specifically backward integration of the food industry.”

This whole drama started immediately Honeywell Flour Mills and Flour Mills of Nigeria, in a joint statement, announced FMN has agreed to acquire a 71.69 percent stake valued at N80 billion in Honeywell Flour Mills Plc. A deal that will automatically make Honeywell Flour Mills Plc Flour Mills of Nigeria’s asset.

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Merger and Acquisition

Flour Mills of Nigeria Acquires First Bank of Nigeria Limited’s 5.06 Percent Stake in Honeywell Flour Mills



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Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Nigeria’s leading flour mill company, has acquired First Bank of Nigeria Limited’s 5.06 percent stake in Honeywell Flour Mills Plc.

The company disclosed in a statement signed by Umolu, Joseph A.O., Company Secretary/Director, Legal Services.

The acquisition was in addition to the 71.6 percent stake of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc (HFMP) FMN acquired on the same day. Therefore, Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc will now hold 76.75 percent equity interest in HFMP.

According to the company, the move will help build a resilient flour mills company that will ensure job continuity, deepen productivity and support national growth.

Commenting on the transaction, Omoboyede Olusanya, Group Managing Director of FMN, said “The proposed transaction is part of our global growth strategy, which is aligned with our vision to not only be an industry leader, but also a national champion for Nigeria in the Food and Agro-allied industries.”

“Given FMN’s parallel negotiations for both stakes culminating in the agreements being signed on the same date, the basis for arriving at key commercial terms including final equity price per share, will be the same. The price payable to FirstBank will be the same with Honeywell Group Limited.”F

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