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Another $319 million looted funds discovered – US Embassy

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FG spends $22.2m of $322m Abacha loot on social programmes, FG recovers another $311 million Abacha loot from US, Jersey, $311 million Abacha loot handed over to Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority — FG

The United States Embassy has announced the discovery of another $319 million looted by former Military Head of State, Sani Abacha, which is being held in the United Kingdom and France.

According to a recent statement from the U.S Embassy, made available to Bloomberg, there is a separate $167 million in stolen assets in France, with another $152 million in the UK, and these funds are ‘still in active litigation.’

This is in addition to the recently recovered $311 million looted funds from the US and the Bailiwick of Jersey.

There is yet no mention of whom these funds might be linked to, although a recent report indicates that the UK is challenging the repatriation of some looted funds to Nigeria, on the grounds that the Federal Government had plans to return $110 million to Kebbi State Governor, Abubakar Bagudu.

The U.S Department of Justice claims that Bagudu was involved in corrupt activities with Abacha, and that the Nigerian Government had continued to frustrate America’s efforts to recover the laundered monies traced to Bagudu.

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“This case illustrates how complex and contentious repatriating stolen assets to Nigeria can be,” said Matthew Page, an associate fellow at London-based Chatham House, and former Nigeria expert for U.S. intelligence agencies.

“Instead of welcoming U.S. efforts, Nigeria’s lawyers appear to be supporting the interests of one of the country’s most powerful families.”

What the government has to say

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According to recent filings from the District Court for the District of Columbia in Washington, the Nigerian Government claims that there is a 17-year old agreement which prevents Nigeria from assisting the U.S efforts, as it gives Bagudu unquestioned access to the funds.

The 2003 agreement, which was reached with the President Olusegun-Obasanjo, had Bagudu return $163 million of the laundered money to the Nigerian authorities, in exchange for them dropping all civil and criminal claims against him, “stemming from his involvement in government corruption,” according to a Dec. 23 memorandum opinion by District Judge John D. Bates in Washington D.C.

The District Court filings also show that a forfeiture action has been initiiated by the U.S Government since 2013, to force Bagudu and his family to forfeit several assets left in trust for them, including four investment portfolios held in London.

The inability of the United States and Nigeria to reach an amicable agreement may hinder the recovery of other monies looted by Abacha during his 5-year rule. Over $2 billion has been recovered so far.

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Ruth Okwumbu has a MSc. and BSc. in Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and Delta state university respectively. Prior to her role as analyst at Nairametrics, she had a progressive six year writing career. As a Business Analyst with Narametrics, she focuses on profiles of top business executives, founders, startups and the drama surrounding their successes and challenges. You may contact her via [email protected]

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 28th of November 2020, 110 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continues to record significant increases as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 67,330 confirmed cases.

On the 28th of November 2020, 110 new confirmed cases were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 7,101 samples across the country.

To date, 67,330 cases have been confirmed, 62,819 cases have been discharged and 1,171 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 756,237 tests have been carried out as of November 28th, 2020 compared to 749,136 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 28th November 2020,

  • Total Number of Cases – 67,220
  • Total Number Discharged – 62,686
  • Total Deaths – 1,171
  • Total Tests Carried out – 756,237

According to the NCDC, the 110 new cases were reported from 11 states- Lagos (26), FCT (23), Kaduna (20), Katsina (11), Ogun (7), Ekiti (6), Plateau (5), Rivers (4) Kano (3), Nasarawa (3) and Niger (2).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 23,190, followed by Abuja (6,767), Plateau (3,857), Oyo (3,721), Kaduna (3,064), Rivers (2,977), Edo (2,696), Ogun (2,222), Delta (1,824), Kano (1,794), Ondo (1,728), Enugu (1,332),  Kwara (1,096), Ebonyi (1,055), Katsina (1,025), Osun (945), Gombe (938). Abia (926), Bauchi (770), and Borno (745).

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Imo State has recorded 662 cases, Benue (496), Nasarawa (491), Bayelsa (445),  Ekiti (365), Akwa Ibom (339), Jigawa (331), Niger (298), Anambra (285), Adamawa (261), Sokoto (165), Taraba (159), Yobe (94), Kebbi (93), Cross River (90), Zamfara (79), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases only.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

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The movement restriction, which was extended by another two weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020. Also, on Monday 27th July 2020, the federal government extended the second phase of eased lockdown by an additional one week.

On Thursday, 6th August 2020 the federal government through the secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 announced the extension of the second phase of eased lockdown by another four (4) weeks.

READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

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Tech News

MTN, Vodacom launched 5G in sub-Saharan Africa in 2020 – GSMA Report

Vodacom and MTN launched their first major 5G networks in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020, according to the GSMA 2020 report.

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The Global System for Mobile Communications (GSMA) 2020 report revealed that Vodacom and MTN launched their first major 5G networks in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2020.

The telecoms operators offered 5G mobile and fixed wireless access (FWA) services in several locations across South Africa – this appears to be a welcome development, as the South African government had already assigned temporary spectrum in the 3.5 GHz range in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Obviously, the proximate opportunity to be harnessed for the 5G in South Africa is to use FWA to bridge the gap in fixed broadband connectivity for homes and businesses.

According to the report, there has been 5G trial runs in almost all the countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Gabon, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda but the possibility of mass deployment of the 5G network is still not guaranteed, as there are significant levels of unused 4G capacity. Also, the 4G adoption rate is still relatively low, creating opportunities for the operators to increase their stakes in 4G.

As a boost to mop up the unused 4G capacity, the partnership between Safaricom and Google to finance the acquisition of 4G smartphones, provides the desired momentum as low-income consumers pay for 4G devices in convenient and flexible daily installments.

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According to the report, it is expected that over the next five years, the number of smartphone connections in Sub-Saharan Africa will almost double to reach 678 million by the end of 2025 — an adoption rate of 65%.

What you should know

  • It is expected that by 2025, there will be a little below 30 million mobile 5G connections in Sub-Saharan Africa, equivalent to almost 3% of total mobile connections.
  • The mobile market in the region will reach several important milestones over the next five years: half a billion mobile subscribers in 2021, 1 billion mobile connections in 2024, and 50% subscriber penetration by 2025.
  • The achievement of these critical milestones would be predicated on the operators’ commitment in providing reliable infrastructural networks across the region.
  • Between 2019 and 2025, the operators in the region would have expended/invested about the sum of $52billion in infrastructure rollouts.
  • The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators with almost 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organizations in adjacent industry sectors.

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Financial Services

Stamp Duty on Nigerian Stock market transactions pegged at 0.08% from December 7

The NSE has given clarifications on the public notice released by the FIRS, itemizing contract notes at an ad valorem rate of 0.08%.

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NSE prepares to launch West Africa’s first Exchange-traded derivatives

The Nigerian Stock Exchange has given clarifications on the public notice released by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in July, itemizing contract notes at an ad valorem rate of 0.08% up from 0.075%, effective 7th December 2020.

The circular released by the Nigerian Stock Exchange reads:

“In reference to the Public Notice in the Business Day Newspaper of Monday, 20 July 2020, captioned ‘Clarification of Administration of Stamp Duties in Nigeria’ issued by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) (A copy is attached as Appendix A for ease of reference).

The Public Notice provided, amongst other things, information on dutiable instruments and the applicable flat or ad valorem rates, with Contract Notes 1 itemized at an ad valorem rate of 0.08%. As you know, this is at variance with the current rate of 0.075% administered in the Nigerian Capital Market.”

To that extent, Dealing Members of the Nigerian Stock Exchange are to note the following:

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  • Effective December 7, 2020, the Central Securities Clearing System Plc. (CSCS) will adjust its system to implement the automated deduction of the Stamp Duty rate of 0.08%.
  • Dealing Members are required to immediately engage their software vendors for the required adjustments to their technology applications, to reflect the 0.08% rate ahead of the effective date of 7 December 2020.
  • Dealing Members are required to communicate the changes above to their clients immediately, ahead of the effective date.

What you should know

Nairametrics revealed that the FIRS listed at least 50 types of transactions that are eligible for stamp duty deductions.

Some of the listed chargeable transactions include bank deposit or transfer, loan agreement, Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), sales agreement, will, tenancy/lease agreement, and all receipts.

The FIRS noted that the recently inaugurated FIRS Adhesive Stamp is not the same as the postage stamp administered by NIPOST for the purposes of delivery of items and documents.

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The Stamp Duties Act, 19391 defines Contact Notes as “the note sent by a broker or agent to his principal, or by any person who, by way of business, deals, or holds himself out as dealing, as a principal in any stock or marketable securities, advising the principal, or the vendor or purchaser, as the case may be, of the sale or purchase of any stock or marketable security, but does not include a note sent by a broker or agent to his principal where the principal is himself acting as broker or agent for a principal.”

See the circular below:

Download (PDF, 566KB)

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