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Two CBN Directors Arrested for Forex Manipulation

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  • Two CBN Directors Arrested for Forex Manipulation

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has arrested two directors of the Central Bank of Nigeria for alleged forex manipulation and economic sabotage.

Impeccable sources at the EFCC told one of our correspondents on Wednesday that the directors were still in custody as of press time at 7.30pm.

It was learnt that the investigation into the CBN officials activities sent shockwaves round the apex bank.

The detective said the houses of the directors had been searched while incriminating evidence had been recovered.

A source at the EFCC, who wished to remain anonymous said, “We have arrested two directors of the CBN in connection with forex manipulation. We believe that it was the activities of these individuals that contributed to the dollar scarcity and the weakening of the naira.

“Ironically, immediately we started investigating these chaps a month ago, the CBN reeled out a new forex policy which sought to flood the market with excess dollar and strengthen the naira.

“Already, we have searched their houses and recovered some sensitive documents. We have reason to believe that they may not have acted alone. We expect to make more discoveries as investigations continue.”

When contacted, the Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Mr. Isaac Okoroafor, said no director of the apex bank had been arrested by the EFCC.

He said, “This is not true. No director of the bank (CBN) has been arrested by the EFCC. The current activities of the CBN in the forex market is a result of months of study, monitoring and planning to tackle the activities of black marketers.

“We are succeeding and Nigerians are happy with us. No amount of false rumours and concoctions to ridicule and sabotage the success we have achieved will make us lose our focus at this time.”

Meanwhile, the EFCC has dispatched letters to several aides and persons linked to Senate President Bukola Saraki for their alleged role in the N19bn illegally deducted from the N522bn Paris Club refund.

About N3.5bn out of the stolen N19bn was said to have been traced to Saraki and several persons close to him, an EFCC report had said.

A top source at the EFCC told one of our correspondents that letters had been dispatched to the indicted persons and some were billed to report at the EFCC office on Thursday (today).

A detective said, “I can confirm to you that letters have been dispatched to aides to the Senate President. Some will appear on Thursday (today) while others will appear on subsequent days depending on the outcome and pace of investigations.”

Some of the persons invited by the anti-graft agency included Saraki’s Deputy Chief of Staff and a former lawmaker, Gbenga Makanjuola; Obiora Amobi and Oladapo Joseph Idowu.

Others are Mr. Kolawole Shittu, and a former Managing Director of Saraki’s defunct bank, Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria, and current boss of Melrose General Services Limited, Mr. Robert Mbonu; and the Relationship Manager to the Senate President in Access Bank, Kathleen Erhimu.

Melrose General Services is one of the companies hired as consultants by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum.

The firm got N3.5bn as consultancy fees while other companies shared about N15.5bn.

When asked why Saraki was singled out for investigation, the source said, “No one is victimising the man. He is an easier target because he has no immunity unlike the governors most of whom still have immunity till 2019.

“The investigation is holistic and in due course everyone found culpable will face justice.”

Recall that the Federal Government had in December 2016 approved the sum of N522.74bn to be paid to the 36 states of the federation as part of the reimbursement for the over-deduction on the Paris Club loan from 1995 and 2002.

The EFCC had sometimes in January discovered that the Paris loan refunds were illegally routed through the account of the NGF by the CBN.

Upon receiving the funds, the NGF in an alleged connivance with Saraki, began remitting huge sums to private consultants who then laundered about N19bn.

The EFCC report sent to the Presidency states in part, “Suffice to apprise that all payments received by Melrose General Services Company from the NGF have hitherto been diverted directly via cash withdrawals and indirectly through transfers by Hon. Gbenga Peter Makanjuola, Kolawole Shittu and Oladapo Joseph Idowu who are principal aides of the Senate President.

“Furthermore, other payments from Melrose General Services Company have also been linked to companies that Dr. Bukola Saraki has interest in and carries out transactions with.

“This includes the sum of $183,000 which was transferred to Bhaska Devji Jewellers, Dubai, a company Dr. Bukola Saraki had repeatedly made payments to.

“Also, the sum of N200m was transferred to Wasp Networks Limited that subsequently transferred the sum of N170m to Xtract Energy Services Limited, a company that routinely made deposits into Dr. Saraki’s Access Bank US dollar Domiciliary account.

The reports concludes that a prima facie case of conspiracy to retain the proceeds of unlawful activities and money laundering contrary to Sections 15(3) and 18(9) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act 2004 can be established against the aforementioned suspects.

The Special Adviser to the Senate President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, however, rubbished the report, adding that the acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, was on a revenge mission having been rejected by the Senate two weeks ago.

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.

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African Development Bank Extends $2.1m Disaster Risk Financing to Mauritania

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Mauritania: African Development Bank Extends $2.1m for Rollout of Disaster Risk Financing

The African Development Bank’s Board on Wednesday approved a grant of $2.1 million to boost the country’s resilience against climate related shocks and food insecurity. The funds, sourced from the African Development Fund, will go to provide technical and institutional support to strengthen Mauritania’s capacity to assess climate-related risk.

The Bank is extending the funding under its Africa Disaster Risk Financing (ADRIFI) program to enable the country to take out a drought risk index-based insurance policy that is expected to cushion Mauritania’s economy against the impacts of drought-related shocks, at a moment when the country is also reeling from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The African Development Bank is pleased that ADRiFi Mauritania will provide efficient and timely first-response delivery to targeted beneficiaries in communities that will be affected by disasters, and will strengthen resilience to drought-linked disasters in Mauritania,” said Atsuko Toda, Bank Director for Agriculture, Finance and Rural Development.

Mauritania, a Saharan-Sahelian country, experiences irregular rainfall pattern and repeated drought, which has a profound effect on food production and incomes. In 2017, 28% of the total population were food insecure.

The project will have three components: development of climate risk management solutions; supporting access to disaster risk transfer mechanisms; and programme management and coordination.

Advancing climate risk management solutions will be done in two ways: building in-country capacity to understand drought risk and implement contingency plans; and collecting more precise agro-climatic data for use in calibration of index-based insurance.  Technical staff and policymakers will receive capacity building training that will help the country model its drought-related disaster risk more effectively.

Under component two, ADRIFI will provide funding for payment of 50% of the insurance policy premium for years 2020 and 2021 as well as support resource mobilization to establish a food crisis response mechanism.

The final component concerns overall coordination and monitoring of activities which will be carried out by the country’s Food Security Commission (CSA).

Mauritania’s risk insurance policy will be held by African Risk Capacity agency, a partner of the Bank  on the ADRiFi programme.

ADRIFI in addition to providing African countries assistance in paying risk premiums, enhances the management of natural disaster risk by strengthening national capacities. Madagascar, Zimbabwe and Gambia have ADRiFi programmes.

ARC Agency was established in 2012 as a Specialized Agency of the African Union to help Member States improve their capacity to better plan, prepare and respond to weather-related disasters. ARC Ltd is a mutual insurance facility providing risk transfer services to Member States through risk pooling and access to reinsurance markets; it is owned by Member States with active insurance policies, as well as KfW Development Bank and the UK Department of International Development (DfiD), as capital contributors.

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FG Apologises For Asking Bank Account Holders To Re-Register

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The Federal Government has apologised for asking all account holders in the country’s financial institutions to register their details again.

The media reports that the FG earlier asked all account holders in banks, including insurance companies, to fill and submit a Self-Confirmation form.

The order was given despite the possession of the Bank Verification Number and the National Identification Number by account holders on Thursday.

Failure to do so, the Nigerian government threatened to block access to defaulters’ accounts or impose a monetary penalty.

The order to fill another Self-Confirmation form, despite the existing BVN and NIN, had attracted condemnations on social media.

However, in a tweet on Friday, the government apologised for misinformation.

It tweeted, “We apologise for the misleading tweets (now deleted) that went up yesterday, regarding the completion of self-certification forms by Reportable Persons. The message contained in the @firsNigeria Notice does not apply to everybody. FIRS will issue appropriate clarification shortly.”

In a press statement, the Federal Inland Revenue Service explained that only “reportable persons” are expected to submit the form.

The statement read, “This is to clarify the publication for financial institutions account holders in Nigeria to complete the self-certification form, pursuant to the Income Tax (Common Reporting Standard) Regulations 2019 which is for the fulfilment of Automatic Exchange of Information Requirements.

“The Self Certification form is basically to be administered on Reportable persons holding accounts in Financial institutions that are regarded as “Reportable Financial Institutions” under the CRS.

“Reportable persons are often non-residents. And other persons who have a residence for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction or Country.

“Financial Institutions are expected to administer the Self Certification form on such account holders when the information at its disposal indicates that the Account holder is a person resident for tax purpose in more than one jurisdiction.

“The information that indicates an account holder is a resident for tax purposes in more than one jurisdiction, is expected to be available to Financial Institutions during the account opening processes for the KYC and AML purpose.”

Earlier, the Nigerian government said all persons holding accounts in different financial institutions are required to complete and submit the form to each one of their institutions.

It had tweeted, “This is to notify the general public that all account holders in Financial Institutions (Banks, Insurance Companies, etc) are required to obtain, complete, and submit Self – Certification Forms to their respective Financial Institutions.

“Failure to comply with the requirement to administer or execute this form attracts sanctions which may include monetary penalty or inability to operate the account.”

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TAJBank Wins Best Islamic Bank for Marketing & Growth Strategy at the Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) 2020.

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TAJBank has won the award for Best Islamic Bank for Marketing & Growth Strategy at the Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) 2020.

Receiving the award on behalf of the bank, the Managing Director, Norfadelizan Abdul Rahman noted “We are honoured to be recognised as the Best Islamic Bank for Marketing & Growth Strategy at GIFA. Our vision at TAJBank, is to be the leading African financial institution with a reputation for excellent customer service and innovative solutions. This goes well beyond the recognizance in earnings and returns on equity, but also in ensuring that we sustain world class corporate governance standards and continually raise the bar in exceptional customer service delivery.

“As such, awards like this clearly reflect our sustained commitment towards this vision. and motivates us to continuously deploy innovative financial products that wholly empower our customers and serve their needs.”

TAJBank, widely regarded by industry watchers as a trailblazer, has maintained consistent growth since its inception into the market due to its various innovations in digital and financial services.

Recently, the bank commissioned its 4th office in Sokoto State and also established Nigeria’s first ethical mall, TAJMall, which focuses on providing products and services to meet the evolving needs of its customers.

The Global Islamic Finance Awards celebrates leading financial institutions within the global banking sector who are setting new industry standards and driving innovation in financial services within their various countries.

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