A multinational cement company, Lafarge has reached a $780 million criminal plea agreement with the United States Department of Justice for providing material support to the dreaded group, ISIS.
Lafarge admitted it paid a sum of $10.24 million to ISIS between August 2013 to October 2014.
The money was paid by the company to the terror group, Islamic State (ISIS) to keep its cement plant operating in Syria.
Northern Syria, where the company’s cement plant was located was held by the terrorist group.
Similarly, the evidence presented by the Justice Department showed that Lafarge had extensive dealings with a number of terror groups responsible for the deaths of thousands of people.
According to a statement of facts unsealed on Tuesday at the federal court in Brooklyn, executives at Lafarge and its Syrian subsidiary worked with intermediaries based in Syria to pay “numerous armed factions,” including the Islamic State and the Nusra Front, that controlled the area around the cement plant.
The payments included periodic “security payments” to the armed groups and the purchase of raw materials from Islamic State-controlled suppliers.
Evidence also showed that the company entered into a revenue agreement formula which ceeded a percentage of the profit from the cement sold to the terrorist group.
In return, the Islamic State permitted access to raw materials sourced from its territory and allowed Lafarge employees, suppliers and distributors to pass safely through checkpoints manned by the Islamic State and the Nusra Front
The U.S. Attorney Breon Peace stated that “Lafarge has admitted and taken responsibility for its staggering crime,”.
“Never before has a corporation been charged with providing material support and resources to foreign terrorist organizations,” he added.
Peace further noted that Lafarge did this not only exchange revenue for permission to operate its cement plant but leverage its relationship with ISIS for economic advantage, seeking ISIS’s assistance to hurt Lafarge’s competition in exchange for a cut of proceeds from sales.
Investors King learnt that a penalty of $780 million is one of the largest penalties a private corporation has ever paid for providing material support to a terrorist organization.
While commenting on the plea bargain, The chief executive of Lafarge, Magali Anderson who was also at the court stated that all those involved with the conduct are no longer with the company.
He also noted that Lafarge “accepted responsibility for the actions of the individual executives involved, whose behaviour was in flagrant violation of Lafarge’s code of conduct.”
The United States Federal Criminal Law (Code 2339) prohibits people or businesses from harbouring or collaborating with people they know to be terrorists.
Aero Contractors to Resume Operations After Four Months of Suspension
Aero Contractors called off suspension, to resume operations in the first week of December
Aero Contractors has disclosed plans to resume flight operations on the 5th of December 2022. The resumption is coming after more than four months of suspension owing to a lack of equipment capacity, foreign exchange scarcity, and other industry challenges.
Investors King could recall that in July 2022, Aero Contractors which is one of the oldest domestic airlines operating in Nigeria announced a voluntary withdrawal of service due to the numerous challenges facing the airline and the industry in general.
“Due to the impact of the challenging operating environment on our daily operations, the management of Aero Contractors Company of Nig. Ltd. wishes to announce the temporary suspension of its scheduled passenger service operations with effect from Wednesday, July 20, 2022,” a statement issued by the airline in July partly read.
The airline added that some of its aircraft were undergoing maintenance which made it a more complex situation to cope with the current reality in the aviation industry.
It highlights the high cost of maintenance, fuel, inflation, and forex scarcity resulting in high foreign exchange rates as some of the prevailing challenges which culminated in the suspension of service.
According to sources that are familiar with the new development, flight operations will resume with the Lagos to Abuja route while a check on the airline website showcases a confirmation.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has cleared Aero Contractors to resume flight operations.
The Director General of NCAA, Capt. Musa Nuhu confirms the resumption during a discussion he had with journalists earlier today.
The DG clarified that the airline was not grounded and that it never had safety issues. Rather, he said the airline was faced with financial challenges which, if not quickly nipped in the bud, may degenerate into safety issues.
“Aero Contractors was not grounded based on safety issues. We did an audit of them…and we found out that the issue they had was financial sustainability,” Capt Nuhu noted.
Dangote Sugar Refinery to Create 300,000 Jobs
Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote has disclosed that his sugar refinery located in Adamawa State will soon commence recruitment and it is expected to create 300,000 jobs in both, direct and indirect jobs.
Investors King could recall that Aliko Dangote earlier announced that the Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc will significantly scale up its investment in the sugar sub-sector in line with the requirement of the Nigeria Sugar Master Plan.
Speaking at an event in Adamawa, Dangote noted that his sugar factory will expand its capacity from 3,000 tonnes of cane per day (tcd) to 6,000 tcd, 9,800 tcd and to 15,000 tcd.
He added that the company will double its scholarship and empowerment schemes in its host communities.
“We are thus committing over $700 million to our investment in the Backward Integration Programme to enable us to put in place needed infrastructure for the eventual commencement of full-scale production,” he said.
Just like his cement and oil factories, Dangote Sugar Refinery will be one of the largest in Africa with the potential to create about 300,000 jobs both directly and indirectly.
“(Upon full-scale operation) the factory will be able to create about 300,000 jobs, direct and indirect, with positive multiplier effects on the economy nationwide,” he noted.
Investors King understands that at the completion of Dangote oil refinery situated in the Lekki part of Lagos State, it would be one of the largest in the world in single production with a capacity of 600,000 barrels of oil per day.
Similarly, his cement factory located in Obajana, Kogi State is the largest in Africa.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Industry, Trade, and Investment, Otunba Adeniyi Adebayo, described the Dangote Sugar Refinery as the biggest contributor to the development of the sugar development effort of the Federal Government.
Otunba Niyi Adebayo also appreciates Aliko Dangote for his massive support towards the host community through Corporate Social Responsibility (CRS).
Elon Musk Completes Twitter Acquisition, Fires CEO, CFO, and Legal Adviser
Elon Musk completed Twitter’s $44 billion takeover last night, he immediately fired an executive director reported to have spearheaded Donald Trump’s suspension on Twitter.
As the world’s richest man, Elon Musk completed Twitter’s $44 billion takeover last night, he immediately fired an executive director reported to have spearheaded Donald Trump’s suspension on Twitter.
Sources revealed that Elon Musk accused Chief Executive Parag Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Ned Segal, and a few other top members of the microblogging platform of misleading him over the number of bots and fake accounts on the platform.
It will be recalled that Musk had initially backed out of the acquisition deal after he alleged misrepresentation of fake accounts.
This, therefore, led to a legal battle between Musk and Twitter Inc.
After the acquisition was completed late Thursday, Musk who is the CEO of electric vehicle manufacturing company, Tesla tweeted “The bird is freed”, subtly referring to the Twitter Logo.
With the complete takeover of Twitter, analysts and observers have expressed their expectation to see a change in the operational modality of the company.
Similarly, the new owner, Elon Musk has also mum some changes which include the reactivation of the Former U.S President’s account which was suspended for inflammatory tweets.
Twitter had accused Donald Trump of instigating violence with his tweet which led to the attack on U.S Capitol.
Investors King had earlier reported that Elon Musk intends to take a number of measures which include the reactivation of Donald Trump’s Twitter account to turn the fortune of the company around.
Before the suspension, the former president has one of the most engaging Twitter handles on the platform.
Meanwhile, Elon Musk has set out a very ambitious transformation for his new company ‘Twitter”. He indicated that he will transform the platform into a “super app” which offers several things from money transfer to shopping and ride-hailing.
Already, the social media giant is reportedly planning to integrate a cryptocurrency wallet that will support both the deposit and withdrawal of digital assets.
In addition, Twitter also enables Bitcoin wallet address which allows Twitter users to attach their Bitcoin address to their profile.
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