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Senate Summons CBN, MTN, Banks Over $13.9bn Transfer Probe

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  • Senate Summons CBN, MTN, Banks Over $13.9bn Transfer Probe

The Senate on Thursday summoned the Central Bank of Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, three commercial banks and some businessmen over alleged violation of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous) Act.

The upper chamber of the National Assembly had instituted a probe into what it called the illegal transfer of $13.9bn by MTN from Nigeria to other countries between 2006 and 2016.

The Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions was mandated to carry out the probe by conducting an investigative hearing on the “unscrupulous violation of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous) Act.”

The summons was contained in the “Notice of Appearance” issued by the Chairman of the committee, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, to the affected organisations and individuals, and obtained by our correspondent.

The notice read in part, “Pursuant to Senate Resolution S/Res/017/02/16 of 27th of September, 2016 on the above subject matter, the organisations and individuals listed below are invited to appear before the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions on Thursday, 20th of October, 2016.

“The organisations and individuals who have not submitted the documents requested for in our earlier letter of 29th of September, 2016 are advised to do so on or before Tuesday, 18th of October, 2016.

“Mobile Telecommunications Network, Central Bank of Nigeria, Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria, Dr. Pascal Dozie, Colonel Sani Bello, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, Ahmed Dasuki, Gbenga Oyebode, Babatunde Folawiyo and Victor Odili.”

Also invited are Stanbic IBTC, Standard Chartered Bank, Citibank and Diamond Bank

The Senate began the probe on September 27, 2016, when a member of the upper chamber representing Kogi-West Senatorial District, Senator Dino Melaye, alleged that MTN illegally repatriated the sum out of the country through its bankers.

The lawmaker alleged that MTN transferred through Stanbic IBTC the sum of $4.87bn; Standard Chartered Bank, $5.72bn; Citi Bank, $2.98bn; and Diamond Bank, $0.35bn.

Melaye, who recalled that MTN, which is headquartered in South Africa, was incorporated in Nigeria as a private Limited Liability Company on November 8, 2000 and obtained its operating licence with $284.9m on February 6, 2001, alleged that the company did not request the Certificate of Capital Importation for the transaction.

He said, “The Senate observes that MTN did not request for the Certificate of Capital Importation from its bankers, Standard Chartered Bank, within the regulatory period of 24 hours of the inflow. The Senate observes also that the CBN was not notified of this inflow by Standard Chartered Bank within 48 hours of receipt and conversion of the proceeds to naira as required by regulations.

“It further observes that the sum of $117,683,987bn was also brought in by MTN between 2001 and 2003 in three different tranches. It is concerned that since inception, MTN had sought the collaboration of influential and unpatriotic Nigerians to assist them in looting our external reserves.”

The Nigerians, Melaye added, included a serving minister, who MTN allegedly used in moving $13.92bn out of the country, a sum that is over 50 per cent of the country’s external reserves, to floated and incorporated offshore Special Purpose Vehicles in the Cayman Island, Mauritius and British Virgin Island.

Melaye added, “The Senate was alarmed that the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah, owner of CELTELCOM Investment Limited with address at No.608, St. James Denis Street, Port Lewis, Mauritius, purportedly claimed to invest in MTN on the 7th of February, 2008, got a Certificate of Capital Importation and filled the Form ‘A’ on the same date) and closed his investment in Nigeria after receiving dollar payment for repatriation to New York same day.

“It is also aware that these offshore entities were offered shareholders loan and their repayment to the extent of repatriation of proceeds of dividends back to MTN International South Africa through the entities and operators of the SPVs brought on board as directors of MTN Communications.

“The Senate observes that after five years of operation in Nigeria, the management of MTN Nigeria Limited suddenly realised that they needed the Certificate of Capital Importation to enable them to commence repatriation of funds realised from their businesses.

“It observes also that MTN directed their bankers, i.e. Standard Chartered Bank, Citi Bank and Diamond Bank, to issue Certificate of Capital Importation for inflows that came in five to seven years ago, which their bankers obliged without the relevant approval from the CBN.”

The lawmaker stated that what MTN’s bankers did was in strict violation of Section 15 of the Foreign Exchange (Monitoring and Miscellaneous) Act, 1995.

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.

Government

#EndSARS: Here is the Complete Speech of President Buhari

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The Complete Speech of President Muhammadu Buhari

Following the Lekki Massacre, president Muhammadu Buhari delivered the much-awaited speech. However, the speech failed to touch on the massacre or the people affected, infuriating millions of Nigerian youths that have committed so much to the struggle and lost so much.

Below is the complete speech.

“Fellow Nigerians,

It has become necessary for me to address you having heard from many concerned Nigerians and having concluded a meeting with all the Security Chiefs.

As a democratic government, we listened to, and carefully evaluated the five-point demands of the protesters. And, having accepted them, we immediately scrapped SARS, and put measures in place to address the other demands of our youth.

On approving the termination of SARS I already made it clear that it was in line with our commitment to the implementation of extensive Police reforms.

Sadly, the promptness with which we have acted seemed to have been misconstrued as a sign of weakness and twisted by some for their selfish unpatriotic interests.

The result of this is clear to all observers: human lives have been lost; acts of sexual violence have been reported; two major correctional facilities were attacked and convicts freed; public and private properties completely destroyed or vandalised; the sanctity of the Palace of a peace-maker, the Oba of Lagos has been violated. So-called protesters have invaded an International Airport and in the process disrupted the travel plans of fellow Nigerians and our visitors.

All these executed in the name of the ENDSARS protests. I am indeed deeply pained that innocent lives have been lost. These tragedies are uncalled for and unnecessary.

Certainly, there is no way whatsoever to connect these bad acts to legitimate expression of grievance of the youth of our country.

The spreading of deliberate falsehood and misinformation through the social media in particular, that this government is oblivious to the pains and plight of its citizens, is a ploy to mislead the unwary within and outside Nigeria into unfair judgement and disruptive behaviour.

On the contrary, both our deeds and words have shown how committed this administration has been to the well being and welfare of citizens, even with the steadily dwindling revenues, and the added responsibilities and restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Government has put in place measures and initiatives principally targeted at youths, women and the most vulnerable groups in our society. These included our broad plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in the next 10 years; the creation of N75 billion National Youth Investment Fund to provide opportunities for the youths, and the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) Survival Fund, through which government is:

a. paying 3-months salaries of the staff of 100,000 micro, small- and medium- enterprises
b. paying for the registration of 250,000 businesses at the Corporate Affairs Commission
c. giving a grant of N30,000 to 100,000 artisans
d. guaranteeing market for the products of traders

These are in addition to many other initiatives such as:

a. Farmermoni,
b. Tradermoni,
c. Marketmoni,
d. N-Power,
e. N-Tech and
f. N-Agro.

No Nigerian Government in the past has methodically and seriously approached poverty-alleviation like we have done.

With regard to the welfare of police personnel, the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission has been directed to expedite action on the finalization of the new salary structure of members of the Nigeria Police Force.

The emoluments of other paramilitary services are also being reviewed upwards.

In order to underscore the importance of education in preparing youths for the future, this administration has come up with a new salary structure and other incentives for our teachers.

Let me at this point reaffirm the Federal Government’s commitment to preserving the unity of this country.

We will continue to improve good governance and our democratic process, including through sustained engagement.

We shall continue to ensure that liberty and freedom, as well as the fundamental rights of all citizens, are protected.

But remember that government also has the obligation to protect lives and properties, as well as the right of citizens to go about their daily businesses freely and protected from acts of violence.

To our neighbours in particular, and members of the international community, many of whom have expressed concern about the ongoing development in Nigeria, we thank you and urge you all to seek to know all the facts available before taking a position or rushing to judgement and making hasty pronouncements.

In the circumstances, I would like to appeal to protesters to note and take advantage of the various well-thought-out initiatives of this administration designed to make their lives better and more meaningful, and resist the temptation of being used by some subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating our nascent democracy.

For you to do otherwise will amount to undermining national security and the law and order situation. Under no circumstances will this be tolerated.

I therefore call on our youths to discontinue the street protests and constructively engage government in finding solutions.

Your voice has been heard loud and clear and we are responding.

And I call on all Nigerians to go about their normal businesses, and enjoin security agencies to protect lives and properties of all law-abiding citizens without doing harm to those they are meant to protect.

Let me pay tribute to officers of the Nigeria Police Force who have tragically lost their lives in the line of duty.

I would like to thank those State Governors, traditional and religious leaders who have appealed for calm and restraint.

I also thank youth leaders who have restrained their followers from taking the law into their hands.

This government respects and will continue to respect all the democratic rights and civil liberties of the people, but it will not allow anybody or groups to disrupt the peace of our nation.

Thank you all. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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Passport, Visa Trend as Nigerian Youths Look to Move Out En masse Following Disappointing Presidential Speech

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Passport and Visa Trend on Twitter Following Disappointing Presidential Speech

Nigerian youths have started looking for a way to exit the country following a disappointing Presidential speech after security operatives opened fire on peaceful protesters on October 20, 2020 at Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos, Nigeria.

The youths, who have been protesting and demanding an end to the now-disbanded Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) unit of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), had assembled at Lekki Toll Gate on October 20, 2020 to sustain their protest before the commencement of a 24-hour curfew declared by the Governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu.

However, shortly after they sang the national anthem, they were attacked by security operatives in one of the goriest scenes ever witnessed in the country. Despite calls for prosecution of perpetrators by both international and local civil rights organisations, the Federal Government has denied the occurrence even when Sanwo-Olu had earlier said forces beyond his control had made dark notes of history in the state.

This coupled with President Muhammadu Buhari’s refusal to acknowledge the killings and occurrence in his speech on Thursday, negatively affected the youths that for the first time went all out to demand a change in one voice.

Feeling dejected with the situation and most importantly hopeless about the future, they were forced to start seeking an exit from an uncertain future to a more predictable economy govern by sane people.

Since the failed presidential speech, Passport and Visa have been trending on Twitter as Nigerian youths now shift their focus to traveling out of Nigeria, a nation expected to plunge into the second economic recession in four years in the third quarter under President Muhammadu Buhari.

The inflation rate increased by 13.71 percent in September with the nation’s unemployment rate at 27.1 percent or 21.8 million amid rising economic uncertainties, weak foreign reserves and a currency that has been devalued twice this year.

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#EndSARS Protesters Kill as Security Operatives Open Fire at Lekki Toll Gate

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Security Operatives Open Fire on #EndSARS Protesters at Lekki Toll Gate

Nigerian security operatives deployed to Lekki Toll Gate following the announcement of a 24-hour curfew by Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, opened fire on peaceful protesters on Tuesday, October 20, 2020.

According to numerous accounts of protesters, the army started shooting even before the curfew announced to commence by 9 pm on Tuesday.

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