The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has on Friday, September 20, arraigned former Director, Legal Services of the Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Grace Taiga for allegedly being linked to the controversial Gas Supply Project Agreement (GSPA), which led to the $9.6 billion judgment awarded against Nigeria by a British court.
The former petroleum director was arraigned after a Federal High Court in Abuja presided over by Justice Inyang Ekwo, convicted P&ID Limited incorporated in British Virgin Island, and its affiliate, P&ID Nigeria Limited, on charges of fraud, tax evasion, money laundering, and other sundry offences.
Taiga, who would be arraigned before the Apo Division of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja on eight counts, was said to have signed as Nigeria’s witness to the GSPA while the then minister presiding over the ministry, the late Dr. Rilwan Lukman, signed as Nigeria’s representative.
Taiga has hired a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) to defend her and has been produced in the courtroom presided by Justice Olukayode Adeniyi. When she was arraigned, Taiga pleaded not guilty to the charges instituted against her.
Among other charges, the prosecution accused Talga of receiving bribe through her offshore bank account, signing alongside the then Minister of Petroleum Resources, the late Rilwan Lukman, the Gas Supply Processing Agreement between the Process and Industrial Developments Limited and the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Ministry on January 11, 2019.
The Backstory: As earlier reported by Nairametrics in recent articles, P&ID was awarded $6.6 billion in an arbitration decision over a failed project to build a gas processing plant in the Southern Nigerian city of Calabar. With the accumulated interest payments, the sum now tops $9 billion, which amounts to 20% of Nigeria’s foreign reserves.
The firm had initiated moves to identify the Nigerian assets that could be seized and it might include the country’s oil cargoes.
House of Reps Speaker assures that the PIB will be passed in April 2021
Femi Gbajabiamila has revealed that the lower legislative chamber intends to pass the PIB in April 2021.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has revealed that the lower legislative chamber intends to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) in April 2021.
The assurance by the Speaker follows so many years of delay in the passage of the bill, which is expected to encourage investment into the oil industry, due to political disagreements and objections from International Oil Companies.
This disclosure was made by Gbajabiamila, while speaking at the 2-day public hearing organized by the house Adhoc committee on PIB on Wednesday, January 27, 2021.
The Speaker pointed out that although the timeframe for the passage of the Bill is short, he assured that it will receive the thoroughness it deserves and as well, made a commitment on behalf of the house to pass the legislation in April.
What the Speaker House of Representatives is saying
Gbajabiamila, in his statement, said, ‘’I thank the Chairman and the committee for the dedication and efforts thus far. I have confidence that they will deliver on this critical National Assignment within the time we have set. I look forward to presiding over the consideration of the committee’s report.’’
“We intend to pass this bill by April. That is the commitment we have made. Some may call it a tall order, but we will do it and we will do it with every sense of responsibility without compromising the thoroughness of the work that will be done.’’
‘’A lot of work has gone into the preparation of this bill but it’s not straight-jacketed, the idea of the public hearing is to have interests that may have not been accommodated prior to the introduction to the Bill to lend their voices,’’ he added.
While speaking at the occasion, the Chairman of the Adnoc Committee on PIB, who is also the Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Mohammed Tahir Monguno, said that as we gather here today, we may differ in opinions and background but the truth is the passage of this Bill is long overdue.
What you should know
- It can be recalled that the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, had a few days ago while speaking at the 2-day public hearing organized by the senate on the PIB, said the upper legislative chamber is looking at passing the Bill in April or May.
- He noted that the non-passage of the PIB had been a major drag on the industry over the years, significantly limiting its ability to attract both local and foreign capital at a time that when other countries are scrambling to exploit their oil and gas resources.
- The PIB is a Bill that seeks to provide Legal, Governance, Regulatory Fiscal Framework for the Nigerian Petroleum Industry.
- On November 24, 2020, the PIB was debated, it passed the second reading and then referred to the Adhoc, Committee on the Bill.
“I thank the chairman/the committee for the dedication and efforts thus far. I have confidence that they will deliver on this critical National Assignment within the time we have set. I look forward to presiding over the consideration of the committee’s report” ——@femigbaja pic.twitter.com/9ompuZlvbZ
— House of Reps NGR (@HouseNGR) January 27, 2021
NASS directs Health Ministry to suspend disbursing N10bn on Covid-19 vaccine production
NASS has ordered the Ministry of Health to suspend expenditures regarding the N10 billion released for funding of Covid-19 vaccines.
The National Assembly has asked the Federal Ministry of Health to suspend further action on plans to spend the sum of N10 billion released by the Federal Ministry of Finance to fund the production of Covdi-19 vaccines.
This follows the dissatisfaction of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Health with the explanation of the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, on how to utilize the N10 billion.
According to a report from Channels, this disclosure was made by the Chairman Senate Committee on Health, Ibrahim Oloriegbe, during an interaction between members of the committee and the representatives of the Federal Ministry of Health.
Ehanire was at the meeting with other representatives which includes the Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora; the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, and the Director-General of the National Primary Healthcare Development Agency Faisal Shuaib.
What the Chairman National Assembly Joint Committee on Health is saying
Oloriegebe said the committee is dissatisfied with the explanation of the Minister and has directed that the money should not be spent until the Ministry can state clearly, what the money will be used for.
He said, “This N10billion is just given to you, with due respect, with what you have given to us, you don’t have a specific detailed plan for it. Our decision, for now, is that you can’t spend it (the money) until you provide us with a satisfactory answer. Once you provide us with the details then we will invite all the necessary persons.’’
What you should know
- It can be recalled that the Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, a few days, during one of the briefings of the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19 revealed that the sum of N10 billion had been released for the local production of Covid-19 vaccine.
- He said the money was part of an agreement between the Federal Government and a foreign partner, May and Baker plc for the production of bio vaccines and added that the health ministry is acting on a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Federal Government and the foreign partner for the production of the bio vaccines.
- Director-General of the Budget Office, Mr. Ben Akabueze, representing the Finance Minister during a meeting with the Joint Committee said that the N10 billion it released for vaccine development is not only for the production of Covid-19 vaccines.
Calendly, cloud scheduling platform raises $350m on $3bn valuation
Calendlyhas closed an investment of $350 million from OpenView Venture Partners and Iconiq.
Cloud scheduling startup, Calendly LLC announced it has raised $350 million in new funding to provide liquidity for early shareholders and employees and continue product development. This investment has now valued the company at more than $3 billion.
This funding round was led by OpenView Venture Partners, a Boston-based expansion-stage firm and existing investor, with participation from San Fransisco-based Iconiq Capital.
Founded in 2013 by Tope Awotona, Calendly simplifies the way meetings are scheduled by creating simple rules such as availability preferences, share links, or embed calendars and allows those seeking a meeting to pick a time using the service.
The platform can also be integrated with Google, Outlook, Office 365, and iCloud calendar to avoid double bookings along with automated task support linked into Salesforce, GoToMeeting, Zapier, and other services.
This new funding will be used to provide liquidity for early shareholders and employees as well as continue product innovation. It will also be used to build the platform with more tools and integrations and also expand its business with more talent.
According to Tope Awotona, “Our profitable, unique, product-led growth model has led to Calendly becoming the most used, most integrated, most loved scheduling platforms for individuals and large enterprises alike,”
This funding round is Calendly’s first since receiving $550,000 from local firm Atlanta Ventures and OpenView.
Tope also added that “While we considered outside investment an unnecessary distraction, we made the decision to partner with OpenView and Iconiq because of their insight and extended network within the tech industry. While some of the investment will add to our balance sheet, it will also be used to allow our early employees and early investors – who bet on this crazy idea years ago – to have some liquidity.”
What you should know
- In 2020, Calendly doubled its subscription revenue to $70 million and since then, the startup has grown massively despite the pandemic. It currently has more than 10 million users using it each month to streamline the way they schedule meetings, including teams at companies such as Zoom and Twilio.