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Customs to Pay N5.5bn for Illegally Seized Rice

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Rice
  • Customs to Pay N5.5bn for Illegally Seized Rice

The Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday ordered the Nigeria Customs Service and its board chairman to pay about N5.5bn to Maggpiy Trading TFZE for unlawfully seizing 90 containers of rice imported by the company.

Delivering judgment, Justice Nyang Ekwo held that the defendants acted unlawfully and without any justification in law.

He granted all the prayers contained in the company’s suit, including awarding specific and general damages in favour of the plaintiff, and against the 1st and 2nd defendants, in the amount estimated at N3,805,638,950 and $4,796,550.

The naira value of the two sums of money amounts to N5,532,396,950.

The plaintiff had stated in its suit, marked, FHC/CA/CS/40/2017 that, on March 18, 2017, officials of the NCS invaded and sealed its warehouse, containing over 90 containers of rice stored in an air-tight condition, in the Tinapa Free Trade Zone, Calabar.

The plaintiff said after breaking into the warehouse, officials of the NCS stole part of the seized rice.

It added that the officials also detained its 40 trucks, containing 317 transit containers of rice, which were headed for the Tinapa Free Trade Zone, without lawful justification for 120 days along the Onne, Port Harcourt Road.

Justice Ekwo said the NCS and its board chairman failed to supply evidence in support of their allegation that the plaintiff was involved in rice smuggling.

The judge faulted their claim that they acted under the Federal Ministry of Finance Import Guidelines, Procedures and Documentation Requirements under the Destination Inspection Scheme in Nigeria.

Justice Ekwo held that the document relied upon by the defendant was inadmissible and worthless, having not been signed.

He added that there was no provision in the document that made it applicable to Free Trade Zones.

“I have studied the document; I cannot find anywhere it is made applicable to Free Trade Zones, which both parties have agreed, is a country within a country,” the judge ruled.

The judge frowned on the discovery that part of the seized consignments was stolen by officials of the NCS.

He said, “Another intriguing part of the defendants’ action, during the course of these proceedings, is the discovery that when stock was taken upon the unsealing of the warehouse by the 1st and 2nd defendants, 19,421 of 50 kg bags and 1,639 of 25 kg of the seized rice consignment had been pilfered by officers of the 1st and 2nd defendants.

“The 1st and 2nd defendants proferred no defence on this issue nor countered the evidence of the plaintiff.

“This, in my opinion, is a brazen act of treating the proceedings before the court with contempt apart from the reprehensible theft that the act of the 1st and 2nd defendants represents.”

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.

Brands

MILO Cereal Launches New Online Campaign, ‘Beast Mode – Activated’

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MILO Cereal has launched its first major marketing campaign for its newly launched Protein cereal, via independent creative communications agency Connecting Plots.

Building on MILO’s brand message of fuelling active kids, the new campaign platform, ‘Beast Mode – Activated’, evolves the master brand’s focus on team sports.

This aims to celebrate how MILO Protein helps active kids unleash their own full potential, take their training to the next level and successfully compete with their peers.

The campaign launched on 16 April and will run across various social channels and online videos.

Connecting Plots creative partner Dave Jansen said the approach to the MILO Protein cereal campaign was about tapping into the teen mindset and being less overt and more authentic.

“Creating advertising that doesn’t feel like a ‘sell’ is the challenge when targeting teens,” Jansen said in a statement.

“We’ve shied away from the polished tropes of traditional, achievement driven sports ads to bring this to life in a way that hopefully gives life to a teenager’s desire to do their best, feel like they are stepping into their future adult self and showing how MILO Protein Cereal can help on that journey.”

Cereal Partners Worldwide’s marketing manager, Keara Deignan, added: “Aussies grew up with MILO cereal, it’s a staple of every Australian pantry.

“However, we’ve seen that as teens start to carve out their own identities, their consumption habits change so this product aims to keep pace with their active on-the-go lifestyle.”

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Business

Global Digital Consumer Spent $900B In 2020 – Mastercard

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According to Mastercard’s latest Recovery Insights report, this amounted to an additional $900bn being spent in retail online around the world in 2020. Put another way: in 2020, e-commerce made up roughly $1 out of every $5 spent on retail, up from about $1 out of every $7 spent in 2019.

For retailers, restaurants and other businesses large and small, being able to sell online provided a much-needed lifeline as in-person consumer spending was disrupted.

Roughly 20-30% of the Covid-related shift to digital globally is expected to be permanent, according to Mastercard’s Recovery Insights: Commerce E-volution. The report draws on anonymised and aggregated sales activity in the Mastercard network and proprietary analysis by the Mastercard Economics Institute. The analysis dives into what this means by country and by sector, for goods and services, and within countries and across borders.

“While consumers were stuck at home, their dollars traveled far and wide thanks to e-commerce,” says Bricklin Dwyer, Mastercard chief economist and head of the Mastercard Economics Institute. “This has significant implications, with the countries and companies that have prioritized digital continuing to reap the benefits. Our analysis shows that even the smallest businesses see gains when they shift to digital.”

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Venmo Launches Cryptocurrency Trading

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Venmo, owned by PayPal, is launching cryptocurrency trading for four major coins: Bitcoin (BTC), Ether (ETH), Litceoin (LTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH).

This service set to be widely available within the new few weeks, Venmo’s 70 million+ customers will be able to buy, hold and sell crypto directly within the Venmo app. The launch is offering users access to in-app guides to help them to better navigate the cryptocurrency trading space and will encourage them to share their cryptocurrency experiences via the Venmo feed.

Venmo users will be able to buy as little as $1 worth of cryptocurrency and can use either funds from their Venmo balance or from a linked bank account or debit card to buy and sell their holdings.

Over 30% of Venmo customers have already begun to purchase cryptocurrency or equities, according to the company’s research into 2020 customer behavior. Of these, 20% began their purchase during the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting that the public health and concurrent economic crisis has accelerated trends in digitization and experimentation with new financial technologies.

Support for cryptocurrency on Venmo is facilitated through a partnership with Paxos Trust Company, a regulated provider of crypto products such as its stable coin and other services. Venmo owner PayPal is also the holder of a conditional Bitlicense from the exacting New York State Department of Financial Services. Conditional licensees, such as PayPal, are required to pair off with firms that have already been granted full-blown licenses — as, in this case, has Paxos.

Just under a week ago, PayPal CEO Dan Schulman hinted at developments underway since the payments giant first went live with its crypto offering in the United States in November of last year. Schulman said that PayPal aims to support the use of crypto for everyday transactions and to tap into smart contracts and other, more expansive features of blockchain technology. He also pitched the company’s vision of leveraging crypto for the attainment of a more “inclusive economy,” in which “things will be done much differently than today.”

 

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