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EFCC hands over 116 cars, 20 houses to First Bank

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EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu
  • EFCC hands over 116 cars, 20 houses to First Bank

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Wednesday handed over 116 cars and 20 properties in Edo, Rivers and Lagos States recovered from one Michael Obasuyi Osasogie to First Bank Plc.

Trouble began for Osasogie after a petition he wrote to the commission against E-tranzact in March 2018.

The EFCC had, however, investigated Osasogie’s business interests, following receipt of a counter-petition written by e-tranzact against Osasogie and one of his companies, SmartMicro.

SmartMicro was said to have approached e-tranzact in 2012 for the deployment of bulk purchase solution called “Corporatepay” to facilitate payment of salaries of Delta State employees in microfinance banks.

It was also alleged that e-tranzact configured an additional outbound fund transfer solution called “Fundgate” in 2017, which required SmartMicro to maintain a pre-funded settlement account with First Bank Plc for settlement of account it had initiated.

However, e-tranzact had further alleged that the bank, sometime in March 2018, revealed that the settlement account was in debit of N11, 498,944,038.29.

Obasuyi, in his statement to the commission, confessed to have committed the crime, stating that he created fraudulent and imaginary monies through the aid of Fundgate Financial Application from the company.

Consequently, Osasogie was arraigned alongside his firms-Platinum Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society, SmartMicro Systems Limited and Platinum Smart Cruise Motors Limited on May 24, 2018 before Justice Justice Mojisola Dada of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja on a 14 charges bordering on stealing to the tune of N11, 498, 944, 038.29.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Michael Obasuyi Osasogie, Platinum Multi-Purpose Co-operative Society, SmartMicro Systems Limited and Platinum Smart Cruise Motors Limited, sometime in the year 2016 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired to commit felony, to wit: stealing of the sum of N11, 498, 944, 038.29 property of First Bank Nigeria Ltd.”

He pleaded guilty to the charge preferred against him.

During his trial, an investigator with the EFCC, Orji Chukwuma, had told the court how the proceeds of crime were housed in some banks.

Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, Chukwuma had told the court that “SmartMicro Systems Limited assumed a position of a fictitious microfinance bank in Nigeria through a software, Micro switch Server 1.1 created by the defendant as well as two genuine microfinance banks, which he used to carry out his fraud.

In his further testimony, the witness had told the court that when e-tranzact disconnected from the chain, all the transactions carried out by the defendant collapsed on his own account with First Bank, thereby leading to the discovery of the fraud.

The sums of N2, 903,727,563.92, $37, 992.87 and €18,538.09 were recovered by the EFCC from Osasogie’s accounts in various banks in the country.

The commission also recovered 116 cars and 20 properties located in Lagos, Abuja, Benin and Port Harcourt.

The prosecution counsel had, therefore, urged the court to convict the defendant on counts one to 14, according to the law.

The defendant later entered into plea bargain. The prosecution counsel therefore urged the court to consider the plea bargain entered into by the defendant on May 21, 2018 as judgment in his sentencing.

Delivering her judgment, Justice Dada convicted the defendant on all the counts and sentenced him to one-year imprisonment.

The Judge also ordered the forfeiture of defendant’s 116 buses, 20 properties and monies in various accounts to First Bank Plc.

At the hand- over ceremony, which held in one of the forfeited houses at Osapa London, Lekki-Lagos, Kaina Garba, Head Asset Forfeiture and Recovery Management Unit of the EFCC , Lagos office, handed over the documents and keys to the properties to Gabriel Edobor, Head, Remedial and Classified Assets Management Department, First Bank Plc and Eme Godwin, Group Head, Legal Unit, E-transact.

In a show of appreciation, both Edobor and Godwin thanked the EFCC for ensuring the recovery of the properties through diligent and uncompromising investigative efforts.

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

Gold

Gold Hits Eight-Month Low as Global Optimism Grows Amid Rising Demand for Bitcoin

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Gold Struggles Ahead of Economic Recovery as Bitcoin, New Gold, Surges

Global haven asset, gold, declined to the lowest in more than eight months on Tuesday as signs of global economic recovery became glaring with rising bond yields.

The price of the precious metal declined to $1,718 per ounce during London trading on Thursday, down from $2,072 it traded in August as more investors continue to cut down on their holdings of the metal.

The previous metal usually performs poorly with rising yields on other assets like bonds, especially given the fact that gold does not provide streams of interest payments. Investors have been jumping on US bonds ahead of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package, expected to stoke stronger US price growth.

We see the rising bond yields as a sign of economic optimism, which has also prompted gold investors to sell some of their positions,” said Carsten Menke of Julius Baer.

Another analyst from Commerzbank, Carsten Fritsch, said that “gold’s reputation appears to have been tarnished considerably by the heavy losses of recent weeks, as evidenced by the ongoing outflows from gold ETFs”.

Experts at Investors King believed the growing demand for Bitcoin, now called the new gold, and other cryptocurrencies in recent months by institutional investors is hurting gold attractiveness.

In a recent report, analysts at Citigroup have started projecting mainstream acceptance for the unregulated dominant cryptocurrency, Bitcoin.

The price of Bitcoin has rallied by 60 percent to $52,000 this year alone. While Ethereum has risen by over 660 percent in 2021.

 

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Crude Oil

Oil Prices Extend Gains to $64.32 Ahead of OPEC+ Meeting

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oil

Oil Prices Rise to $64.32 Amid Expected Output Extension

Oil prices extended gains during the early hours of Thursday trading session amid the possibility that OPEC+ producers might not increase output at a key meeting scheduled for later in the day and the drop in U.S refining.

Brent crude oil, against which Nigeria oil is priced, gained 0.4 percent or 27 cents to $64.32 per barrel as at 7:32 am Nigerian time on Thursday. While the U.S West Texas Intermediate gained 19 cents or 0.3 percent to $61.47 a barrel.

“Prices hinge on Russia’s and Saudi Arabia’s preference to add more crude oil production,” said Stephen Innes, global market strategist at Axi. “Perhaps more interesting is the lack of U.S. shale response to the higher crude oil prices, which is favourable for higher prices.”

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies, together known as OPEC+, are looking to extend production cuts into April against expected output increase due to the fragile state of the global oil market.

Oil traders and businesses had been expecting the oil cartel to ease production by around 500,000 barrels per day since January 2021 but because of the coronavirus risk and rising global uncertainties, OPEC+ was forced to role-over production cuts until March. Experts now expect that this could be extended to April given the global situation.

“OPEC+ is currently meeting to discuss its current supply agreement. This raised the spectre of a rollover in supply cuts, which also buoyed the market,” ANZ said in a report.

Meanwhile, U.S crude oil inventories rose by more than a record 21 million barrels last week as refining plunged to a record-low amid Texas weather that knocked out power from homes.

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Crude Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

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Oil

Oil Dips Below $62 in New York Though Banks Say Rally Can Extend

Oil retreated from an earlier rally with investment banks and traders predicting the market can go significantly higher in the months to come.

Futures in New York pared much of an earlier increase to $63 a barrel as the dollar climbed and equities slipped. Bank of America said prices could reach $70 at some point this year, while Socar Trading SA sees global benchmark Brent hitting $80 a barrel before the end of the year as the glut of inventories built up during the Covid-19 pandemic is drained by the summer.

The loss of oil output after the big freeze in the U.S. should help the market firm as much of the world emerges from lockdowns, according to Trafigura Group. Inventory data due later Tuesday from the American Petroleum Institute and more from the Energy Department on Wednesday will shed more light on how the Texas freeze disrupted U.S. oil supply last week.

Oil has surged this year after Saudi Arabia pledged to unilaterally cut 1 million barrels a day in February and March, with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. predicting the rally will accelerate as demand outpaces global supply. Russia and Riyadh, however, will next week once again head into an OPEC+ meeting with differing opinions about adding more crude to the market.

“The freeze in the U.S. has proved supportive as production was cut,” said Hans van Cleef, senior energy economist at ABN Amro. “We still expect that Russia will push for a significant rise in production,” which could soon weigh on prices, he said.

PRICES

  • West Texas Intermediate for April fell 27 cents to $61.43 a barrel at 9:20 a.m. New York time
  • Brent for April settlement fell 8 cents to $65.16

Brent’s prompt timespread firmed in a bullish backwardation structure to the widest in more than a year. The gap rose above $1 a barrel on Tuesday before easing to 87 cents. That compares with 25 cents at the start of the month.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and oil trader Vitol Group shot down talk of a new oil supercycle, though they said a lack of supply response will keep prices for crude prices firm in the short term.

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