Nigeria is used to being painted in a bad light, no thanks to the activities of fraudsters who have consistently refused to repent. But have you ever considered how this affects you as a Nigerian?
Barely a week after Nigerians woke up to the news that America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Invictus Group’s Obinwanne Okeke over alleged fraud, more bad news followed earlier today as the names of 80 more Nigerians were released by the anti-crime agency. The suspects have been accused of conspiracy to commit fraud, conspiracy to launder money, aggravated identity theft, and other serious financial crimes perpetrated through Business Email Compromise scams.
The FBI’s latest unraveling of fraud suspects has been adjudged the largest in US history. And the fact that the alleged criminals comprise mostly of Nigerians should really have us all worried.
What Really Happened? There are possibilities that Obinwanne Okeke, who was arrested last week, may have snitched on other fraudsters by facilitating the FBI’s investigations with useful information.
So Invictus Obi snitched on 80 Nigerians .
Oh lord 🙏🙏 can you make it 81,, I want to see uncle Chukwudi's name… Last time he said I'd hear from him "soon" was 4yrs ago.. pic.twitter.com/HCc8mImssn
— Broke-but debt free🔅 (@Floyd__Solomon) August 23, 2019
Now, just in case you are not already worried about this development, let us consider some of the reasons why you should.
Tarnished National Image: If Nigeria’s notoriety as one of the most corrupt countries in the world hadn’t already been pronounced before now, this development has helped to accomplish just that. Unfortunately, a dented global integrity comes with lots of consequences for virtually anyone whose passport bears the name “NIGERIA”.
Visa Denials Loom: Before now, getting a visa to travel to European and American destinations have been a very difficult thing for most Nigerians. The reason why this is the case has always been Nigeria’s global fraud perception. Now, just imagine how difficult the visa application process is going to become following this scandal!
Stricter Control for Remittances: Prior to this time, European and American banks are known for implementing strict measures when it comes to remoting money to Nigeria. The situation is so bad such that legitimate Nigeria-based companies/individuals often find it difficult getting payment for services rendered. This development could only make the remittance process stricter and a lot more difficult.
Effect on Legitimate Nigerians: At the end of the day, it is regular, law-abiding Nigerians that will end up bearing the consequences of this messy situation. Imagine being denied opportunities or profiled as a fraudster just because you are a Nigerian.
What Is the Solution? We must all agree that the situation is really messy, after which we begin the immediate and collective process of cleaning up the mess. Doing this entails solving the root problems of long-standing corruption, bad governance, and unemployment at home.
More so, it is high time young Nigerians come to the realisation that fraud is really not the best way out of poverty. There are many legitimate ways to wealth creation other than scamming and doping innocent people.
However, for those who refuse to learn from this, just bear in mind that once the FBI gets on your case, they will not stop until they hunt you down.
In case you don’t know how it works, once they get clearance from US courts while investigating you, they can read all your emails – from every fictitious and real account, monitor phone calls, WhatsApp messages, movement, every thing! Just stop. The game is up!
— JJ. Omojuwa (@Omojuwa) August 23, 2019
MTN Group runs into trouble in the US, faces new allegation
Some Washington based law firms filed the new amended complaint, on Friday, as they alleged MTN’s “conduct targeted the United States” by executing a strategy reliant on dominating markets in unstable countries not allied with Washington.
Telecoms giant, the MTN Group is facing a new set of allegations in the United States.
According to Reuters, some Washington based law firms filed the new amended complaint, on Friday, as they alleged MTN’s “conduct targeted the United States” by executing a strategy reliant on dominating markets in unstable countries not allied with Washington.
The telco, which is the largest telecoms company in Africa, allegedly aided militant groups in Afghanistan, including paying protection money, in an amended lawsuit filed on behalf of hundreds of families of US soldiers.
The initial lawsuit was aimed at 8 multinational companies which include MTN, security firm G4S, US infrastructure group Louis Berger and consultancy Janus Global that operated in Afghanistan and Iran between 2009 and 2017.
The suit which was filed in December 2019 in the United States District Court in the District of Colombia, alleges that these companies violated the US Anti-Terrorism Act by paying protection money to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
MTN also allegedly violated the Anti-Terrorism Act by paying protection money of more than $100 million to al-Qaeda and Taliban so that its cellular towers would not be targeted for destruction. The telecoms firm deactivated those towers at night, preventing US intelligence operations,
MTN, however, has denied the allegations, asking the court to dismiss the original suit.
This appears to be another round of fresh controversy for Africa’s largest mobile operator, which has had running battles in some countries, especially with an alleged security breach.
Meanwhile, the Nigerian subsidiary was fined $5.2 billion by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in 2015 for partial compliance of regulatory guidelines by not disconnecting improperly registered subscribers’ identification module.
The compliance audit carried out by NCC on the network showed that 5.2 million customers lines were not deactivated as had been directed and so were fined the sum $1,000 for each unregistered SIM according to the Telephone Subscribers regulation law.
The federal government feared that this might have contributed to the security crises in the country. The fine was later reduced to $3.2 billion after pressure and negotiations with the South African government and the telecoms firm.
The telecoms giant was also criticized for its activities in Iran’s telecommunication sector. A US-based advocacy, united against nuclear Iran alleged that MTN technology is enabling the Iranian government to locate and track individual cellphone users which it says as a violation of users’ human rights.
In 2012 it was alleged that MTN Group may have been complicit in securing American telecommunications technology from sun microsystems, Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems on behalf of Irancell in violation of trade sanctions against Iran.
Buhari nominates Okonjo-Iweala as DG World Trade Organization
President Muhammadu Buhari nominated the former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the economy, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, as the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated the former Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo Iweala, as the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO).
This was seen in a tweet posted by the Presidential aide on Digital and New Media, Tolu Ogunlesi, in the early hours of Friday, June 5, 2020.
In the statement, Ogunlesi said that the current Director-General of the intergovernmental organization, Roberto Azevedo, is stepping down from his position on August 2020, a year ahead of the end of his tenure.
Azevedo, who has been the head of the WTO since 2013, is stepping down at this critical period of global economic crisis and the trade war between the United States of America and China. The WTO head said this is the best way to avoid my chaos at the alliance, which has witnessed attacks from US President, Donald Trump.
This means that the election that was earlier scheduled for 2021 when his tenure was supposed to expire might be coming up much earlier for a new four-year term.
Tolu Ogunlesi in his statement said, ”President Muhammadu Buhari has nominated Okonji-Iweala as Nigeria’s candidate for the position of the Director-General of World Trade Organization. DG Azevedo is stepping down in August 2020, a year earlier, so the election of the new DG, originally scheduled for 2021, may take place much earlier”.
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DG Azevedo is stepping down in August 2020, a year early, so the election of a new DG, originally scheduled for 2021, may take place much earlier.
— tolu ogunlesi (@toluogunlesi) June 4, 2020
According to a monitored report, President Buhari withdrew the candidacy of Nigeria’s permanent representative to WTO, Yonov Frederik Agah, for the same position.
AfDB agrees to the review of ethics committee’s report on Akinwumi Adesina
The independent review shall be conducted by a neutral high calibre individual with unquestionable experience, high international reputation and integrity within a short time period of not more than two to four weeks maximum, taking the Bank group’s electoral calendar into account.
The Bureau of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB), has agreed to authorize an independent review of the report of the ethics committee of the bank’s board of directors on the allegations levied against the President of the Bank, Akinwumi Adesina.
This was contained in a communique which was released and signed by the Chairperson of the Bureau of Board of Governors, Ms Niale Kaba, after the meeting of the bureau board of governors on June 4, 2020, with respect to the complaints against the President of the bank.
In taking the decision, the Bureau agreed that AfDB’s ethics committee performed its role on this matter in accordance with the applicable rule under resolution B/BG/2008/11 of the board of governors and that the Chairperson of the Bureau of Board of Governors performed her role in accepting the findings of the ethics committee in accordance with the said resolution.
The bank’s board of governors in its statement said, ‘’Based on the views of some Governors on the matter and the need to carry every Governor along in resolving it, the Bureau agrees to authorize an independent review of the report of the ethics committee of the board of governors relative to the allegations considered by the ethics committee and the submissions made by the President of the Bank Group thereto in the interest of due process.
‘’The independent review shall be conducted by a neutral high calibre individual with unquestionable experience, high international reputation and integrity within a short time period of not more than two to four weeks maximum, taking the Bank group’s electoral calendar into account.
‘’The Bureau agrees that, within a three to six months period and following the independent review of the ethics committee report, an independent comprehensive review of the implementation of the bank’s group whistleblowing and complaints handling policy should be conducted with a view to ensuring that the policy is properly implemented, and revising it where necessary, to avoid situations of this nature in the future.’’
Following the allegations of unethical conducts, questionable appointments and contract awards by a group of whistleblowers and the subsequent clearance of all charges by the AfDB’s ethics committee, the United States Government, who is the largest shareholder outside Africa, asked for an independent probe of those allegations.
The US treasury secretary questioned the integrity of the committee’s process as well as the internal processes of the bank.
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Adesina, a few days ago, met with President Muhammadu Buhari, where he assured of the country’s support towards his travails and his second term bid for the Presidency of the multilateral institution.