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Business News

Italian court postpones Aliyu Abubakar’s prosecution in Shell, Eni trial

The Italian Judge presiding over the case against Shell and Eni in Milan, has delayed the testimony of AA Oil boss, Aliyu Abubakar, who was described as a major key witness to the Malabu oil scandal trail.

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Shell OML 11, Shell joins market rivals, writes down $2.3 billion as US-China trade war bite 

The Italian Judge presiding over the case against Shell and Eni in Milan, has delayed the testimony of AA Oil boss, Aliyu Abubakar, who was described as a major key witness to the Malabu oil scandal trail in Italy.

Why Judge postponed testimony

It was disclosed that Abubakar, through his Italian defense lawyer, requested for a delay in his testimony hearing a day before the court setting on Wednesday. His plea for the postponement was backed by the limited timeframe to prepare for the testimony, having just employed the services of the unnamed Italian lawyers.

According to an oil campaigner for Global Witness, Barnaby Pace, who tweeted live from the trial, Abubakar was supported by some defendants who said he is an important witness and his new lawyers haven’t had time to review all the evidence.

The case against Aliyu Abubakar

It was alleged by prosecutors that he “was operating as an agent for Goodluck Jonathan” in the deal and was key to distributing $520 million in cash bribes.

Nairametrics had reported that Executives of oil giants Royal Dutch Shell and Eni, will face trial in Italy over the $1.1 billion Malabu affair.

Abubakar, who is also facing charges in Italy in the same case, was only until recently served the court papers by the prosecutors. And given the scope of the charges and evidence against him, the judge ruled that a delay should be granted and the prosecutor will offer a new date.

Aliyu Abubakar also has an ongoing case in Nigeria

Aliyu Abubakhar, the former oil minister Dan Etete, and former Attorney General Mohammed Adoke were charged with fraud and money laundering offenses in relation to the OPL 245 deal on the 16th of December 2016: All the defendant denied the charges.

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Also, the former Attorney General Mohammed Adoke and businessman Aliyu Abubakar were charged with additional money laundering offenses on January 30, 2017. Again, both defendants denied the charges.

Olalekan is a certified media practitioner from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ). In the era of media convergence, Olalekan is a valuable asset, with ability to curate and broadcast news. His zeal to write was developed out of passion to shape people’s thought and opinion; serving as a guideline for their daily lives. Contact for tips: [email protected]

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Tech News

How partnerships with telcos, fintechs and banks can support Nigeria’s cashless economy

Partnerships by stakeholders will accelerate financial inclusion and drive economic growth across multiple sectors.

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Covid-19- Are Nigerians Ready to Go Cashless and Help Flatten The Curve?

The drive towards a cashless society has been a topic of debate in the global financial economy. Cashless societies have slowly gained recognition and application in most developing and underdeveloped countries in the world, largely due to their significant relevance in some advanced countries of the world.

COVID-19 brought a public health challenge to Nigeria, but it also resulted in an economic downturn on the back of a pandemic-induced recession.

The pandemic highlighted the need to diversify the economy to develop a wide range of growth industries and sectors in addition to the more traditional ones such as oil and gas.

The growth of the digital technology sector in Nigeria is an indication that the sector can serve as a catalyst for advancing the digital economy while enabling economic recovery and growth.

According to a report by NBS, the ICT sector played a major role as it was the leading driver in the non-oil sector that led to GDP growth and economic recovery in 2020.

The World Bank’s Nigeria Digital Economy Diagnostic Report highlights that Nigeria is uniquely positioned to reap the benefits of the digital economy as the country accounts for 47% of West Africa’s population, and half of the country’s 200 million people are under the age of 30.

This report goes on to acknowledge Nigeria as the largest mobile market in Sub-Saharan Africa, supported by a strong mobile broadband infrastructure.

At the same time, minimal fixed infrastructure and connectivity in rural areas can leave the most marginalized people behind.

Partnerships with government, fintech players, telecom companies, and other strategic partners to provide digital solutions and support the cashless economy, offer the greatest potential to overcome infrastructure barriers to accelerate financial inclusion and drive economic growth across multiple sectors.

Digital innovations are key to advancing financial inclusion. They are the big equalizers, enabling and spearheading financial inclusion for people and small businesses alike. The foundation to enable payment technologies for a robust digital economy is being laid one regulation at a time.

Recent frameworks issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria on Sandbox, QR, Open Banking and others, are expected to galvanize and accelerate the digital economy agenda by allowing more innovation. Creating certainty in other areas such as contactless payments can energize the industry even further.

Some companies have been providing digital payments to foster a cashless economy like Mastercard.

Mastercard, a leader in global payments is driving growth in digital financial services by making it easier for people to accept electronic payments, along with greater access to credit to grow and scale.

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This will be achieved through digital partnerships, solutions, and technology, aimed at connecting 1 billion people to the digital economy by 2025, including 50 million micro and small businesses, with a direct focus on 25 million women entrepreneurs.

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Mastercard has already started this process, an example of this is its recent partnership with MTN which enables millions of consumers in 16 countries across Africa to make global e-commerce payments safely and securely, with or without a bank account.

Last year, Mastercard launched a Pay-on-Demand mobile platform in Uganda with Samsung, Airtel, and Asante Financial Services Group which provides end consumers and MSMEs with asset financing to access smart handsets at a low upfront cost while making affordable payments over time.

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In addition, Mastercard and Airtel’s digital partnership will enable access for over 100 million mobile phone users in 14 African countries to virtual card numbers (VCN) and QR Payment capability – even though they don’t have a bank account.

Mastercard also aims to onboard over 40K SMEs as merchants on QR. The partnership has made Airtel one of the largest offline-to-online digital payment networks in Africa.

Why this matters

  • Mastercard solutions have assisted businesses and consumers to thrive in the digital economy by utilizing safe and secure digital payment channels, especially during the pandemic.
  • They have also assisted countries and stakeholders to digitize economies and develop successful, interoperable payment ecosystems that can support sustainable growth and wider financial inclusion.
  • Cashless policy will significantly improve the payment system in Nigeria by reducing the number of cash-based transactions in the economy

The growing reach of mobile technology creates a tremendous opportunity for the payments and technology industries to bring more people and businesses into the formal economy. Through partnerships, we can achieve a digital payments economy that includes everyone, mitigates the costs of cash, and achieves the sustainable economic growth and inclusive well-being that we want for Nigeria.

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Appointments

ValuAlliance Asset Management appoints two new Directors

ValuAlliance Asset Management has announced the appointment of two persons into its Board as Directors.

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ValuAlliance Asset Management, the fund manager of the ValuAlliance Value Fund, has announced the appointment of Messrs Obinnia Abajue and Kofi Kwakwa into its Board as Directors.

This is according to a disclosure sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and seen by Nairametrics. In line with statutory requirements, the appointments are subject to confirmation from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and approval by the shareholders at the company’s next Annual General Meeting (AGM).

According to the notice, Mr Obinnia Abajue was appointed as Independent Non-Executive Director while Mr Kofi Kwakwa was appointed as Non-Executive Director. The profile of the aforementioned experts is succinctly captured below;

READ: FBN Holdings appoints ex-CEO of Guinness Nigeria and 2 others as Board Directors

Mr Obinnia Abajue

Mr. Abajue has over two decades of experience in banking and financial services. He is the current Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Hygeia HMO Limited, a position he has held since November 2016. He is an alumnus of the University of Lagos and Imperial College London, where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Actuarial Science and an MBA respectively. Mr Abajue is a fellow of numerous professional bodies like; The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK; The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria; The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers of Nigeria.

Kofi Kwakwa

Mr. Kwakwa is a Ghanaian and a former CEO of Sagevest Holdings, an investment holding company in Ghana. He has over 25 years of experience in investment banking and consulting, having worked in top firms like Standard Bank, McKinsey & Company among others. He is currently a director at African Capital Alliance Limited (ACA), having joined the Board since 2015. Mr. Kwakwa is an alumnus of Swarthmore College and Harvard Business School, both in the USA, where he obtained a B.A. in Mathematics/Economics and an MBA respectively.

READ: Dangote Sugar yearly revenue surge by 33%, announces a dividend of N1.50

What they are saying

Commenting on the recent development, a part of the press release reads: ‘’The Board of Directors congratulates Mr. Abajue and Mr. Kwakwa on their appointment and is looking forward to tapping into their vast wealth of experience to further accelerate the achievement of its vision, to be the premier investment management fiduciary in the segments we serve.’’

What you should know

  • ValuAlliance had earlier posted a Profit After Tax of N237.96 million in its last reported financial statements-Q3, 2020. The PAT figures indicated a surge by over 1,000% YoY.
  • ValuAlliance Value Fund formerly known as “SIM Capital Alliance Value Fund”, is a closed-end collective investment scheme, registered and regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission, whose units are listed on the main board of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”).

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