The Federal Government has tracked down and grounded a luxury private jet which is owned by the country’s former Petroleum Minister, Dan Etete, over his alleged involvement in the $1.1 billion Malabu oil scam. The luxury private jet was alleged to have been purchased with proceeds from that oil deal.
This seizure was confirmed to Finance Uncovered by the legal counsel to Nigeria, Babatunde Olabode Johnson, who was appointed by the Nigerian government in 2016 to recover assets from the OPL 245 deal.
Johnson said that the order was served on the jet’s owner, a company called Tibit Ltd, which has until Tuesday next week (June 9) to file court papers opposing the seizure. Tibit is an anonymously owned company incorporated in the British Virgin Island.
The asset recovery lawyers acting on behalf of the Nigerian government swooped last week, after the Bombardier 6000 jet, tail number M-MYNA, touched down at Montreal Trudeau International Airport in Canada on Friday May 29.
A Quebec judge is understood to have granted a seizure order for the aircraft in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Giuseppina Russa, who was named on the Montreal court order, is Tibit’s sole director according to records of the British Virgin Island firm.
READ ALSO: JP Morgan responds to FG’s Malabu court case
Dan Etete is alleged to have paid a total of $57 million for the jet in 2011, which was part of the spending spree that the former petroleum minister was alleged to have embarked on after allegedly receiving $336 million from the OPL 245 deal.
Etete, during his days as the petroleum minister, awarded the prospecting rights to the huge OPL 245 block to Malabu Oil and Gas, a company he secretly controlled. After the death of the then head of state, Sani Abacha, he retained the rights to the oil block as a private citizen until he offloaded them to oil giants, Shell and Eni in 2011, who both paid $1.3 billion to the Nigerian government.
The entire OPL 245 deal is now subject to a corruption trial in an Italian court, where Etete is an accused, together with alleged middlemen and some top executives from Shell and Eni. All parties in the Milan trial have denied the charges against them.
The Nigerian government has also charged Etete and several others linked to Malabu with money laundering in connection with the onward flow of funds from the OPL 245 deal. However, they have denied any wrongdoing, dismissing the allegations as political propaganda.
It was uncovered that Johnson had made a deal with an American litigation funder, Drumcliffe Partners, to help fund the recovery of OPL 245 assets. They are to receive 5% of any funds successfully recovered and returned to Nigeria.
DEAL: Nigeria’s Cowrywise raises $3m pre-series A funding
Nigerian fintech startup, Cowrywise has raised $3m in pre-series A funding.
Nigerian fintech startup Cowrywise has raised $3m pre-series A funding.
This funding round was led by Washington DC-based Quona Capital, with participation from Sahil Lavingia, Tsadik Foundation, and a syndicate of local and diaspora based Nigerian angels.
Founded by Razaq Ahmed and Edward Popoola in 2017, Cowrywise gives Nigerian’s access to a range of goal-oriented savings and investment products.
The Quona led investment brings Cowrywise’s total funding amount to $3.3 million since its 2017 launch.
The company first introduced savings on its platform, followed by mutual funds and they currently have 19 different mutual funds and at least 20% of the total mutual funds in the country are listed on its platform.
According to Ahmed, while Nigerian’s millennials may have high digital connection levels, they lack access to high-quality savings and investment products. Which is what Cowrywise is offering.
The startup has more than 220,000 users currently. According to the Techcrunch, there are only half a million Nigerians actively investing in mutual funds. When compared to the total number of active bank accounts in the country of more than 40 million, it is obvious Cowrywise still has room to grow in the $3 billion markets.
This new funding will be used to increase its customer base and also expand its product offerings, support more fund managers in Nigeria, and build its investment management structure.
What you should know
- Cowrywise, an app that helps you easily plan, save, and invest online with the strongest interest rates and investment returns is the first Nigerian startup to be backed by Quona Capital.
- In June 2018, Cowrywise closed an Angel round of $50,000 led by Microtraction. In August 2018, it raised a $120,000 seed round from Y Combinator and another seed round from Kairos by December of the same year.
- It received undisclosed funding from K-50 Ventures in April 2019, before receiving an $80,000 grant from UK-DFID backed accelerator, Catalyst Fund. A first for a Nigerian startup.
- In February 2020, Quona Capital led the $14 million series A round for Kenyan eCommerce Startup, Sokowatch.
- The company has also significantly invested in South African startups like Lulalend, Yoco, ZOONA, and ALLLIFE.
Whatsapp to require biometric authentication for PC and web access
WhatsApp is adding a new biometric feature to confirm users’ identity when linking accounts to PC or the web.
WhatsApp is adding a new biometric feature to confirm your identity when you want to link your WhatsApp account to a PC or the web.
The social media app is rolling out this new feature for its web and desktop apps, which will let people create an additional authentication layer using biometrics when they want to use WhatsApp on desktop or web.
Users will now have the option (not a requirement) to add in a biometric login, which uses either a fingerprint, face ID, or iris ID — depending on the device — on Android or iPhone, to add in the second layer of authentication.
When implemented, it will appear for users before a desktop or web version can be linked up with a mobile app account.
WhatsApp told TechCrunch that it is going to be adding in more features this year to bring the functionality of the two closer together. There are still big gaps: for example, you can’t make calls on the WhatsApp web version.
To be clear, the biometric service, which is being turned on globally, will be opt-in: users will need to go to their settings to turn on the feature, in the same way, that today they need to go into their settings to turn on biometric authentication for their mobile apps.
WhatsApp has added that it will not be able to access the biometric information that you will store in your device and that it is using the same standard biometric authentication APIs that other secure apps, like banking apps, use.
This new feature will work alongside another, which sends your phone notifications whenever somebody logs into your account on the web or a computer.
What you should know
- The company has been getting a lot of backlashes since it announced it will now share its users’ personal information, including phone numbers, IP addresses, contacts, and more with Facebook from February 8, 2021.
Nigeria, now 2nd most corrupt country in West Africa – Transparency International
Nigeria is now the second most corrupt country in W/Africa with Guinea-Bissau the only country more corrupt than Nigeria in the region.
The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2020 report published by Transparency International indicates that Nigeria occupies the 149th position out of the 180 countries surveyed as well scored 25 out of 100 points.
With the current ranking, Nigeria is now the second most corrupt country in West Africa with Guinea-Bissau the only country more corrupt than Nigeria in the sub-region.
It can be recalled that in the 2019 report, Nigeria was ranked 146th out of the 180 countries surveyed, scoring 26 points out of 100 points.
What you should know
- The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is an annual survey report published by Berlin-based Transparency International since 1995 which ranks countries by their perceived levels of public sector corruption, as determined by expert assessments and opinion surveys.
- The CPI scales zero (0) to 100, zero means “Highly Corrupt,” while 100 stands for “Very Clean”.
- Nigeria’s ranking on the corruption perception index has continued to drop in the last four years.
- With the current ranking, Nigeria is two steps worse off than she was in 2018 when she scored 27 points to place 144th out of 180 countries.
- Only 12 countries are perceived to be more corrupt than Nigeria in the whole of Africa. The countries are the Democratic Republic of Congo, Libya, Equatorial Guinea, Sudan, Somalia, Zimbabwe, Chad, Eritrea, Burundi, Congo, Guinea Bissau, and South Sudan.
- Somalia and South Sudan remain the most corrupt nations on earth, according to the CPI 2020 ranking.
- Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Singapore, Germany, Sweden Switzerland, Norway, The Netherlands and Luxembourg are the least corrupt countries in the world.