Young Nigerian entrepreneur, Obinwanne Okeke, the Chief Executive of Invictus Group, who was charged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for an $11 million internet fraud, has pleaded guilty to the charges. He agreed to the charges of a computer-based intrusion fraud scheme, which caused $11 million in losses to his victims, on Thursday, June 18, 2020.
This was disclosed in a publication by the US Attorney’s Office Eastern District of Virginia, Department of Justice and seen by Nairametrics.
According to the court documents, Obinwanne Okeke, 32, and his co-conspirators were involved in these acts from 2015 to 2019 through various computer-based frauds. The conspirators obtained and compiled credentials of hundreds of victims, including victims in the Eastern District of Virginia and some other places.
As part of the scheme, Okeke and others engaged in an email compromise scheme targeting Unatrac Holding Limited, the export sales office for Caterpillar heavy industrial and farm equipment. In April 2018, a Unatrac executive became a victim of a phishing email that allowed conspirators to capture login credentials. The conspirators sent fraudulent wire transfer requests and attached fake invoices. Okeke took part in the efforts against Unatrac through fraudulent wire transfers totalling nearly $11 million, which was transferred overseas.
The Invictus boss pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to commit wire fraud and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when the sentence will be given on October 22. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the US Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
READ MORE: Nigerians recount loses to crypto fraud
Obinwanne Okeke, who had made it into Forbes Africa’s under 30 list in 2016, had initially denied committing any crime against American citizens or companies and, as such, questioned the jurisdiction of the court in US. Although they didn’t deny committing the crime, they did not want the prosecution to go on in US.
The FBI, had also in August last year, released a list that contained about 80 Nigerians, who were involved in money laundering, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to commit fraud amongst others.
It can also be recalled that just 2 days ago, the United States Department of State published the names of 6 Nigerians who had been charged for internet fraud of over $6 million against American citizens and businesses.
COVID-19 Update in Nigeria
On the 7th of July 2020, 503 new confirmed cases and 15 deaths were recorded in Nigeria.
The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continue to record significant increase as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 29,789 confirmed cases.
On the 7th of July 2020, 503 new confirmed cases and 15 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 1,831 samples across the country.
To date, 29,879 cases have been confirmed, 12,108 cases have been discharged and 669 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 152,952 tests have been carried out as of July 6th, 2020 compared to 151,121 tests a day earlier.
COVID-19 Case Updates- 7th July 2020
- Total Number of Cases – 29,789
- Total Number Discharged – 12,108
- Total Deaths – 669
- Total Tests Carried out – 152,952
According to the NCDC, the 503 new cases were reported from 20 states- Lagos (153), Ondo (76) Edo (54), FCT (41), Enugu (37), Rivers (30), Benue (24), Osun (20), Kaduna (15), Kwara (13), Abia (9), Borno (8), Plateau (6),Taraba (5), Ogun (3), Kano (3), Kebbi (2), Nasarawa (2), Bayelsa (1), Gombe (1).
Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 11,520, followed by Abuja (2,322), Oyo (1,530), Edo (1,489), Delta (1,285), Kano (1,271), Rivers (1,235), Ogun (1,050), Kaduna (883), Katsina (628), Borno (555), Ondo (550), Gombe (521), Bauchi (516), Ebonyi (503), Plateau (460), Enugu (418), Abia (400), Imo (352), Jigawa (318).
Kwara state has recorded 297 cases, Bayelsa (269), Nasarawa (234), Osun (198), Sokoto (153), Niger (122), Benue (121), Akwa Ibom (112), Adamawa (99), Kebbi (86), Zamfara (76), Anambra (73), Yobe (61), Ekiti (45), Taraba (27), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases.
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.
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.
|Date||Confirmed case||New cases||Total deaths||New deaths||Total recovery||Active cases||Critical cases|
|July 7, 2020||29789||503||669||15||12108||17012||7|
|July 6, 2020||29286||575||654||9||11828||16804||7|
|July 5, 2020||28711||544||645||11||11665||16401||7|
|July 4, 2020||28167||603||634||6||11462||16071||7|
|July 3, 2020||27564||454||628||12||11069||15867||7|
|July 2, 2020||27110||626||616||13||10801||15693||7|
|July 1, 2020||26484||790||603||13||10152||15729||7|
|June 30, 2020||25694||561||590||17||9746||15358||7|
|June 29, 2020||25133||566||573||8||9402||15158||7|
|June 28, 2020||24867||490||565||7||9007||14995||7|
|June 27, 2020||24077||779||558||4||8625||14894||7|
|June 26, 2020||23298||684||554||5||8253||14491||7|
|June 25, 2020||22614||594||549||7||7822||14243||7|
|June 24, 2020||22020||649||542||9||7613||13865||7|
|June 23, 2020||21371||452||533||8||7338||13500||7|
|June 22, 2020||20919||675||525||7||7109||13285||7|
|June 21, 2020||20242||436||518||12||6879||12847||7|
|June 20, 2020||19808||661||506||19||6718||12584||7|
|June 19, 2020||19147||667||487||12||6581||12079||7|
|June 18, 2020||18480||745||475||6||6307||11698||7|
|June 17, 2020||17735||587||469||14||5967||11299||7|
|June 16, 2020||17148||490||455||31||5623||11070||7|
|June 15, 2020||16658||573||424||4||5349||10885||7|
|June 14, 2020||16085||403||420||13||5220||10445||7|
|June 13, 2020||15682||501||407||8||5101||10174||7|
|June 12, 2020||15181||627||399||12||4891||9891||7|
|June 11, 2020||14554||681||387||5||4494||9673||7|
|June 10, 2020||13873||409||382||17||4351||9140||7|
|June 9, 2020||13464||663||365||4||4206||8893||7|
|June 8, 2020||12801||315||361||7||4040||8400||7|
|June 7, 2020||12486||260||354||12||3959||8173||7|
|June 6, 2020||12233||389||342||9||3826||8065||7|
|June 5, 2020||11844||328||333||10||3696||7815||7|
|June 4, 2020||11516||350||323||8||3535||7646||7|
|June 3, 2020||11166||348||315||1||3329||7522||7|
|June 2, 2020||10819||241||314||15||3239||7266||7|
|June 1, 2020||10578||416||299||12||3122||7157||9|
|May 31, 2020||10162||307||287||14||3007||6868||7|
|May 30, 2020||9855||553||273||12||2856||6726||7|
|May 29, 2020||9302||387||261||2||2697||6344||7|
|May 28, 2020||8915||182||259||5||2592||6064||7|
|May 27, 2020||8733||389||254||5||2501||5978||7|
|May 26, 2020||8344||276||249||16||2385||5710||7|
|May 25, 2020||8068||229||233||7||2311||5524||7|
|May 24, 2020||7839||313||226||5||2263||5360||7|
|May 23, 2020||7526||265||221||0||2174||5131||7|
|May 22, 2020||7261||245||221||10||2007||5033||7|
|May 21, 2020||7016||339||211||11||1907||4898||7|
|May 20, 2020||6677||284||200||8||1840||4637||7|
|May 19, 2020||6401||226||192||1||1734||4475||7|
|May 18, 2020||6175||216||191||9||1644||4340||7|
|May 17, 2020||5959||388||182||6||1594||4183||7|
|May 16, 2020||5621||176||176||5||1472||3973||7|
|May 15, 2020||5445||288||171||3||1320||3954||4|
|May 14, 2020||5162||193||168||3||1180||3815||4|
|May 13, 2020||4971||184||164||6||1070||3737||4|
|May 12, 2020||4787||146||158||6||959||3670||4|
|May 11, 2020||4641||242||152||10||902||3589||4|
|May 10, 2020||4399||248||142||17||778||3479||4|
|May 9, 2020||4151||239||127||11||745||3278||4|
|May 8, 2020||3912||386||118||10||679||3115||4|
|May 7, 2020||3526||381||108||4||601||2818||4|
|May 6, 2020||3145||195||104||5||534||2507||1|
|May 5, 2020||2950||148||99||5||481||2370||4|
|May 4, 2020||2802||245||94||6||417||2291||2|
|May 3, 2020||2558||170||88||2||400||2070||2|
|May 2, 2020||2388||220||86||17||351||1952||2|
|May 1, 2020||2170||238||69||10||351||1751||2|
|April 30, 2020||1932||204||59||7||317||1556||2|
|April 29, 2020||1728||196||52||7||307||1369||2|
|April 28, 2020||1532||195||45||4||255||1232||2|
|April 27, 2020||1337||64||41||0||255||994||2|
|April 26, 2020||1273||91||41||5||239||994||2|
|April 25, 2020||1182||87||36||3||222||925||2|
|April 24, 2020||1095||114||33||1||208||855||2|
|April 23, 2020||981||108||32||3||197||753||2|
|April 22, 2020||873||91||29||3||197||648||2|
|April 21, 2020||782||117||26||3||197||560||2|
|April 20, 2020||665||38||23||1||188||466||2|
|April 19, 2020||627||86||22||2||170||436||2|
|April 18, 2020||541||48||20||2||166||356||2|
|April 17, 2020||493||51||18||4||159||317||2|
|April 16, 2020||442||35||13||1||152||277||2|
|April 15, 2020||407||34||12||1||128||267||2|
|April 14, 2020||373||30||11||1||99||263||2|
|April 13, 2020||343||20||10||0||91||242||2|
|April 12, 2020||323||5||10||0||85||228||2|
|April 11, 2020||318||13||10||3||70||238||2|
|April 10, 2020||305||17||7||0||58||240||2|
|April 9, 2020||288||14||7||1||51||230||2|
|April 8, 2020||274||22||6||0||44||226||2|
|April 7, 2020||254||16||6||1||44||204||2|
|April 6, 2020||238||6||5||0||35||198||2|
|April 5, 2020||232||18||5||1||33||194||2|
|April 4, 2020||214||5||4||0||25||185||0|
|April 3, 2020||209||25||4||2||25||180||0|
|April 2, 2020||184||10||2||0||20||162||0|
|April 1, 2020||174||35||2||0||9||163||0|
|March 31, 2020||139||8||2||0||9||128||0|
|March 30, 2020||131||20||2||1||8||121||0|
|March 29, 2020||111||22||1||0||3||107||0|
|March 28, 2020||89||19||1||0||3||85||0|
|March 27, 2020||70||5||1||0||3||66||0|
|March 26, 2020||65||14||1||0||2||62||0|
|March 25, 2020||51||7||1||0||2||48||0|
|March 24, 2020||44||4||1||0||2||41||0|
|March 23, 2020||40||10||1||1||2||37||0|
|March 22, 2020||30||8||0||0||2||28||0|
|March 21, 2020||22||10||0||0||1||21||0|
|March 20, 2020||12||4||0||0||1||11||0|
|March 19, 2020||8||0||0||0||1||7||0|
|March 18, 2020||8||5||0||0||1||7||0|
|March 17, 2020||3||1||0||0||0||3||0|
|March 16, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 15, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 14, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 13, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 12, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 11, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 10, 2020||2||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 9, 2020||2||1||0||0||0||2||0|
|March 8, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 7, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 6, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 5, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 4, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 3, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 2, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|March 1, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|February 29, 2020||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|February 28, 2020||1||1||0||0||0||1||0|
The risk of buying Forex at black market rate of N460/$1
Between 2012 and 2017 the naira has depreciated by 30% compounded annually.
If you ask anyone today to choose between being paid in dollars or in naira, there will only be one winner. Since the oil price crash in early March and the ravaging COVID-19 virus, the exchange rate between the naira and dollar has depreciated across the multiple official and unofficial markets where the currency can be purchased.
At the black market, the exchange rate sells for an average N460/$1 (as at this week) and is projected to go higher depending on who you speak to. At the NAFEX market where forex is sold by exporters and investors, the exchange rate is closer to N388/$1 oscillating between a plus or minus N2 band. Just last week the CBN informed the market that the SMIS window where forex is sold to importers and traders that the new floor for forex purchase in N380/$1. The exchange rate at the official CBN window remains N360/$1.
This buttresses the growing calls for the unification of the various exchange rate windows. The market wants a single uniform rate. It is easy to see why. No one wants to be on the losing side if a repeat of 2017 occurs. In case you forgot, the exchange rate was highly volatile in the parallel market trading for as high as N505/$1 before crashing down to N366/$1 after the CBN introduced the NAFEX window. Many people lost money as the naira converged towards that rate. You don’t be in this boat if history repeats itself.
This is why speculating the exchange rate between the naira and dollar can be a brutally risky exercise compounded by the multiple exchange windows in the country. Buy at N460/$1 today and hold as most non-savvy speculators often do and the multiple forex windows are collapsed into one at N388/$1, as the central bank governor alludes to, things could get very risky. If unifying the exchange unlocks liquidity into the market rate and it holds at N388/$1, there is every likelihood that the parallel market rate will follow suit. Those on the other side of the trade looking to convert their dollars (purchased at N460/$1) into naira will be burned badly.
Perhaps a consolation is that so long as Nigeria continues to be import-dependent, it is only a matter of time before the naira depreciates to your buying price. Between 2012 and 2017, the naira has depreciated by 30% compounded annually. You probably only need to wait another 2-3 years and you claw back your losses. But the same cannot be said for anyone with a dollar investment and looking to convert to naira. The burn can be severe.
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For example, you purchase $1,000 at N460 and invest in an asset that should earn you 10% or $100 in profits. If by the time you liquidate your $1,100 and the exchange rate has strengthened to say N400, your $1100 is now N440,000 compared to the N460,000 it cost you when you purchased at $1,000. The exchange rate loss has basically wiped out your profits and part of your capital.
Speculating in forex is hugely rewarding but also very risky. Don’t be fooled to believe it only goes up, things can go down faster than you can imagine. The market will always deliver greater fools.
Covid-19: Companies raise N222 billion in capital during lockdown
Corporate organizations successfully raised at least N222.6 billion from the 24th of March till date.
The COVID-19 pandemic is unarguably the greatest disruption of recent times. Not only has the world been faced with the existence of a real-life plague, but its impact has also been felt across industries, economies, markets, and more. Yet, corporate organizations successfully raised at least N222.6 billion from the 24th of March till date, covering the toughest periods of the economic impact of the pandemic itself as well as the pandemic-induced lockdown.
Across the world, businesses and companies alike have sought out ways to curb the menace that is the pandemic through the introduction of cost-cutting measures to withstand the storm. However, in the midst of this, an array of companies have also sought out ways to raise finance to ensure their sustainability while also leveraging the relatively cheap opportunity to raise capital.
Increase in Listing
Data from the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) reveals corporate bodies and the government have raised capital and facilitated secondary market trading activities worth over N1.8 trillion. A number of securities have also been listed on FMDQ. Methods used cut across Rights Issues, private placements, bond listings, etc., and they have been supposedly geared towards supporting working capital needs of the organizations, facilitating business expansion and more.
Listings over the period include; LAPO Microfinance Bank’s bond worth N6.2 Billion, NewGold ETF valued at N7 Billion, UACN Property Development Plc’s N16 Billion Rights Issue, Dangote Cement Plc’s bond worth N100 Billion, FBNQuest Merchant Bank’s Series-1 N5Bn Bond, Flour Mills’ N30 Billion Series 13 & 14 Commercial Paper programme, Primero BRT Securitisation SPV Plc bond worth N16.1Bn Bond, and the Golden Guinea Breweries Plc’s private placement of N1.2 Billion. Also listed are MTN Nigeria Communications plc’s proposed series of N50 billion and Transcorp Hotel’s N10 billion Rights Issue.
In addition to this, several Government Bonds worth over N797 Billion have also been listed within the past few months. Other companies have also listed capital financial issues include Guinness Nigeria (N5 billion) and United Capital (N20 billion) through commercial papers, also offering low-interest rates to suit the overall trajectory of the economy.
The amounts raised
Of the various amounts listed over the same period, Flour Mills has raised N7 billion. FBNQuest Merchant Bank’s 5 billion issuance was 2.3 times oversubscribed but news reports are not clear as to how much was actually received; UACN Property Development raised N16 billion; Dangote Cement was 1.5 times oversubscribed, raising N155 billion; The Golden Guinea Breweries, Primero BRT Securitisation SPV, and NewGold ETF were all 100% subscribed at N1.2 billion, N16.1 billion, and N7 billion respectively. United Capital raised N5.3 billion in Commercial paper issuance and N10 billion in its Series 1 Bond issuance, and LAPO Microfinance is ongoing. This brings the total amount raised in the period to at least, N222.6 billion.
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The attraction with raising capital in a COVID-19 era
The pandemic has brought about the world’s worst statistics and Nigeria is no exception with rising inflation juxtaposed with lower-than-normal interest rates – and that appears to be the catch. A common phenomenon across these bond listings is that many have been oversubscribed despite COVID-19 headwinds. In other words, with very limited opportunities available across markets, investors have rushed at many of these bonds at their comparatively low coupon rates. Given that these investments are locked at fixed interest rates, companies now have the opportunity to piggyback growth strategies on affordable capital raising. With investors, on the other hand, grappling for opportunities to shield their funds from inflation, the situation appears to take the semblance of a win-win situation.