Nairametrics| A whistle blower is defined as someone who raises concerns about a wrongdoing they know about in their workplace, another organization or somewhere else. Whistle blowing has been in practice since the 7th century when the Qui Tam Act in England provided for private citizens to expose any wrongdoing, in exchange for a reward.
The Buhari administration, upon inception, proclaimed that it would spare no effort in ensuring that corruption is eliminated and past offenders be brought to book. In a bid to support its anti-corruption drive, the Federal Government (FG) adopted the whistle blowing policy in December 2016, which allowed for protected disclosure of known corrupt acts. The policy, which explains how whistleblowing will work in the country, also promises a reward of between 2.5% and 5% of the total loot.
Since the announcement, the rate of discoveries of stashed monies has spiked, and it has now become almost a daily occurrence. In addition, the sums keep getting larger and larger. The latest discovery is that of about $43.6 million or N13 billion found in Flat 7B, No. 13 Osborne road, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), whose Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, has been denied confirmation as Chairman twice by the Nigerian Senate.
The sum was found in 3 different currencies- $38 million, N23 million, and £27,000 on April 11th 2017. Since then, a lot of drama has taken place, with accusations and counter-accusations flying all over.
As usual, Nairametrics brings you all the key actions in one spot. Follow this post for updates as they happen.
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April 11, 2017
- EFCC raids Flat 7B, No. 13 Osborne road, Osborne Towers, Ikoyi, Lagos during a sting operation and discover $43,449,947, £27,800 and N23,218,000.
April 12 2017
- Initial rumors name Esther Nnamdi-Ogbue, an ex-NNPC Managing Director, who was sacked the previous day over another 130 million liters missing petrol case, as the owner of the confiscated loot.
- Sahara Reporters reveal that former Chairman of National People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu owns the building where the money was found.
- Muazu denies, despite Etco Nigeria Limited, a construction firm partly owned by an Israeli company, Electral Limited, naming him as owner of the building on their website. “Mr Muazu does not own any house in Ikoyi except his house at Walter Carrington street, Victoria Island Lagos,” Akin Oyegoke, Media and ICT Personal Assistant to Mr. Mu’azu said.
- Rumors also start to circulate that ex-Rivers State Governor and current Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, owns the flat and the money found in it. Lere Olayinka, an aide to Governor Ayo Fayose of Ekiti State went on social media to write, ”Cover up game has started! Rotimi Amaechi owns the house. Mo Abudu lives in Flat 7A, money found in Flat 7B. I still dey come.” Vanguard published.
- Former Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Mr. Mohammed Adoke SAN issued a statement accusing the EFCC of raiding his home without a warrant. People initially think he is referring to the Ikoyi apartment. However, in his statement, he claimed the EFCC found nothing in his home after the search, thereby quenching possible links to the Osborne building apartment.
- Rumors also begin to circulate that the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) owns the money. NIA does not speak.
April 13, 2017
- Through a statement from her lawyer, Nnmadi-Ogbue denies ownership of the money. “By this Press Release, we inform the public (especially the News Media) that the said sums of money and/or the apartment where the sums of money were found do not belong to [Esther Nnmadi-Ogbue].” Daily Trust reported. She owns another flat in the said building.
- ThisDay then reports that Justice Muslim Sule Hassan of a Federal High Court in Lagos ordered the temporary forfeiture to the Federal Government. He also granted the EFCC’s prayer to advertise or publish the interim forfeiture order in a national newspaper.
- Muazu finally admits to Sahara Reporters that he actually owns 16, Osborne Road, Ikoyi. According to Sahara Reporters, Muazu said he built and let out the apartments, but some were still vacant. He denies ownership of the money.
- ThisDay reports that NIA security operatives had earlier informed Magu that the money found was in their custody and kept there with the permission of required authorities. But instead of admitting his blunder, Magu went on to “make a great show of the discovery of another cash haul.”
- Former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, on his Twitter handle, alleges that Amaechi owns the money. Vanguard shows snapshots of Fani-Kayode’s Twitter post.He went further to claim that the statement by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) that the said money belongs to them is fake.
- Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, in a press conference with journalists at night, says Rivers State owns the money. He claimed that Amaechi laundered the money, which was part of a $319 million payment by Sahara Energy for the sale of gas turbines when Ameachi was the State Governor. “The money in question belongs to the former Rivers State Governor, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. We want to confirm that the houses in Ikoyi also belong to Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi. If you recollect in 2015, we said that gas turbines built by Former Governor Peter Odili were sold to Sahara Energy, business partners of Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi at $319million.” Daily Trust reports.
- Governor Wike then issues a 7-day ultimatum to the FG to return the money to Rivers State otherwise face legal action.
April 15, 2017
- Mo Abudu, comes out to deny living in the flat or owning the money. Her lawyers claim she does not own any flat in Lagos State. Through her lawyers, she also denied receiving the apartment as a gift from Amaechi. The statement goes on to threaten legal action against anyone falsely accusing her.
- Amaechi dares Wike to go to court if he has any shred of evidence linking the found money to the proceeds from the gas turbine sale.
April 16, 2017
- Vanguard reports that the NIA has begun moves to officially reclaim the money. According to the report, both President Muhammadu Buhari and Ibrahim Magu know about the money, with the latter having a one-hour conversation with the Director-General of NIA, during which Magu was asked to suspend the invasion, but which he chose to ignore.
- Wike insists that the money should be returned to Rivers State government, asking Christians to pray for the return. He however refutes claims that he would wage war with the FG if the money is not returned
- Amaechi gives 7-day ultimatum to Olayinka and Fani-Kayode for them to retract their posts, publish apologies in at least 5 dailies and pay him N500 million and N750 million respectively.
- Fani-Kayode replies saying he ‘is not losing any sleep over Amaechi’s threat’
- According to Daily Post, the EFCC has invited a former governor and several other owners and tenants of apartments in the building in relation to how the money was moved in.
- The CBN denies knowing who owns the money. Daily Post says Okarafor, spokesman of the apex bank, claimed that CBN issues serial currencies to banks, who were then free to give such currencies to their clients.
April 24, 2017
- The suspended Ayodele Oke appears before Osinbajo’s committee to answer questions regarding the allegations along with other finance officials and Oke’s aides, Sun News reports
April 29, 2017
- CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, also appears before the committee to answer questions regarding how such huge sums were released and why the CBN earlier denied releasing the funds to the NIA.
May 5, 2017
- The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, produces evidence to show that wife of suspended Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Folashade Okebought the flat in Ikoyi through her company, Choba Ventures, from Fine & Country, a real estate firm.
- EFCC prays the Court to grant a permanent forfeiture of the money to the FG. Court reserves ruling until June 6.
Significant progress made in China-Africa ties within cooperation framework – AUC Chairperson
AUC chairperson has disclosed that significant, sustained progress is being made in China-Africa ties within cooperation framework.
The African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, has said that “significant and sustained” progress has been made in China-Africa ties.
Mahamat asserted this in an analysis of his first-term as the AU Commission chairmanship.
He reiterated the AU Commission’s strong commitment to upholding multilateralism and supporting international partners in halting the trend of unilateralism.
He argued that “International cooperation and solidarity are irreplaceable.”
Mahamat, in his analysis, reiterated that global challenges, national egoism, the decline of multilateralism, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and dwindling resources “have hampered our forward march” during the past four years.
The AU Commissioner for Social Affairs Amira Elfadil recently also hailed China as a strategic partner of Africa.
What they are saying
- Mahamat submitted that: “With China, significant and sustained progress has been made within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
- “Africa stands with those who fight unilateralism and strongly advocate for a multilateralism of respect, equality and mutual benefit.”
- Amira Elfadil noted that: “We are looking for those who are serious about the future of this continent, and when we say strategic partners and mention strategic partnerships, China comes first and we appreciate this partnership very much.”
What you should know
- The African Union (AU) is a continental body consisting of the 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent. It was officially launched in 2002 as a successor to the Organisation of African Unity (OAU, 1963-1999).
- The African Union Commission acts as the executive/administrative branch or secretariat of the AU and consists of a number of Commissioners dealing with different areas of policy.
President Buhari signs COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021
President Buhari has signed the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 policy.
President Muhammadu Buhari has signed the COVID-19 Health Protection Regulations 2021 policy, citing powers conferred to the Presidency, by Section 4 of the Quarantine Act, Cap. Q2 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2010, “…and in consideration of the urgent need to protect the health and wellbeing of Nigerians in the face of the widespread and rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria.”
The signing of the regulations was disclosed in a statement by the FG on Wednesday evening.
The law, which comes in 5 parts, includes; Part 1- Restrictions on Gatherings; Part 2- Operations of Public Places; Part 3- Mandatory Compliance with Treatment Protocols; Part 4 – Offences and Penalties; Part 5 – Enforcement and Application; and Part 6 -Interpretation and Citation.
Restrictions on Gatherings
The regulations require that physical distance of at least two metres shall be maintained at all times between persons. No gathering of more than 50 persons shall hold in an enclosed space, except for religious purposes, in which case the gathering shall not exceed 50% capacity of the space.
“The provisions of these Regulations may be varied by Guidelines and Protocols as may be issued, from time to time, by the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 on the recommendation of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC)”
Operations of Public Places
- No person shall be allowed within the premises of a market, mall, supermarket, shop, restaurant, hotel, event centre, garden, leisure park, recreation centre, motor park, fitness centre or any other similar establishment except the person is using a facemask and has washed hands.
- Managers of hostels, boarding houses, nursing homes, correctional centres, remand homes, holding cells, military detention facilities, and such centres for care and custody of persons, shall ensure compliance with the provisions of these regulations.
- Managers of such facilities shall ensure that suspected cases of Covid-19 are promptly and appropriately separated from others and are reported to medical officers of the State Ministry of Health for necessary action.
Mandatory Compliance with Treatment Protocols
- Persons confirmed to have tested positive to COVID-19 by an NCDC accredited laboratory, may not refuse isolation and or admission to a designated health establishment for management of the disease.
- All public secondary and tertiary health facilities shall designate a space or holding bay for the initial triage or assessment of suspected persons with COVID-19 in line with the approved protocol for case management.
- All public secondary and tertiary health facilities shall establish sample collection centres, where test samples from suspected cases can be collected and transmitted to an accredited testing laboratory in the State.
Offences and Penalties
- Any person who contravenes the provisions of these regulations commits an offence.
- Any person who, without reasonable cause, contravenes a direction given under Parts 1 and 2 of these regulations commits an offence.
- An offence under these regulations is punishable, on summary conviction, by a fine or a term of six months imprisonment or both in accordance with Section 5 of the Quarantine Act.
Enforcement and Application
- Personnel of the Nigeria Police Force, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, the Federal Road Safety Corps, the Nigeria Immigration Service, the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria, and other relevant Local Government, State and Federal Government agencies are hereby directed to enforce the provisions of these regulations.
- Any officer of the enforcement agencies who fails, neglects, or refuses to enforce the provisions of these regulations shall be subject to disciplinary action
- State Governors may issue regulations on further steps as may be considered necessary.
On interpretations of the law, the FG said, “Offence” means any act, which may constitute a violation of the provisions of these regulations, while “Enforcement Agency” means any law enforcement or security agency vested with the statutory power to investigate and prosecute. The law also stated that the regulations would go into effect immediately and remain in effect until otherwise determined.
What you should know
- Nairametrics reported this week that the Federal Government had announced the extension of the guidelines of phase 3 of the eased lockdown by one month with effect from Tuesday, January 26, 2021.
Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp user base top 3.3 billion, Q4 revenue of $28 billion
More people are spending their time online on the bias COVID-19 pandemic has negatively disrupted social mobility.
The world’s biggest social media company, Facebook, recently posted its fourth-quarter earnings which were better than what many stock market experts had expected, against a backdrop of growing regulatory and political challenges.
Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp now have a combined user base of 3.3 billion to get their messages out.
Facebook itself has about 2.8 billion monthly users, beating the Wall Street market prediction of 2.76 billion, as humans spend more of their activities online on the basis that the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively disrupted social mobility.
Here are highlights of key metrics expected versus the comparable year-ago quarter, according to a Bloomberg consensus forecast of Wall Street analysts:
- Revenue: $28 billion vs $26.407 billion estimated; $21.082 billion in Q4 2019.
- Earnings per share (Adjusted): $3.88 vs $3.54 expected; $2.56 in Q4 2019.
- Ad Revenue: $27.19 billion vs. $26.07 billion expected; $20.74 billion in Q4 2019.
- Daily Active Users (DAU): 1.84 billion vs 1.828 billion estimates; 1.66 billion in Q4 2019.
“We believe our business has benefited from two broad economic trends playing out during the pandemic. The first is the ongoing shift towards online commerce.
“The second is the shift in consumer demand towards products and away from services.” Facebook CFO, Dave Wehner, said.
Capital expenditures including principal payments on finance leases, were $4.82 billion and $15.72 billion for the fourth quarter and full year of 2020, respectively.
Cash and cash equivalents and marketable securities were $61.95 billion as of December 31, 2020.
However, in spite of an impressive earning resulted posted by the world’s most valuable social media company, Facebook shares tanked by more than 3% on the consideration that the company printed a blurry outlook amid growing regulatory concerns and stiff competition.
“We also expect to face more significant ad targeting headwinds in 2021. This includes the impact of platform changes, notably iOS 14, as well as the evolving regulatory landscape. While the timing of the iOS 14 changes remains uncertain, we would expect to see an impact beginning late in the first quarter,” Dave Wehner said.