British prosecutors have moved to seize about $39.3 million (30.8 million pounds) from a London lawyer, who helped former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, in looting and laundering illegal funds from the oil-rich state.
The British lawyer, Bhadresh Gohil, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, following his conviction in 2010 on 13 counts of money-laundering, and other offenses, over his role in the fraud and money laundering case of James Ibori, who was the former governor of Delta State, from 1999 to 2007.
It can be recalled that the former Delta State Governor, James Ibori, was extradited to the United Kingdom from the United Arab Emirates in 2011, and subsequently got convicted on 10 counts of fraud and money laundering. He was handed a 13-year jail term.
Gohil, who was then a partner at a firm in the London district of Mayfair, helped Ibori siphon these stolen funds, through shell companies and offshore accounts. He bought assets such as an English country house and a $20 million private jet. However, the police authorities caught up with the men before the jet was delivered.
The lawyer was also said to have masterminded a fraud, in which $37 million in fake consultancy fees was stolen from two Nigerian states, in connection with the sale of their stakes in a telecoms company in the country.
The outcome of the case was hailed in Britain and described as a victory for the fight against corruption, while also pledging to return stolen funds to the Nigerian government.
However, the confiscation proceedings against the two culprits have dragged on for almost 10 years, and repeatedly delayed by appeals and complications.
In Ibori’s case, the hearing took place at London’s Southwark Crown Court in January, and prosecutors asked the court to make a confiscation order of 117.7 million pounds against Ibori. The judge has yet to hand down his decision.
A hearing on Gohil’s case is ongoing at the same court. Lead prosecution counsel, Jonathan Kinnear, on Thursday began setting out the details of what he said was Gohil’s criminal benefit. He will have a chance later in the hearing to call witnesses, and give evidence to dispute the prosecution case.
BREAKING: Lagos approves reopening of public, private schools on Monday
The Lagos State Government has directed all public and private schools to resume on Monday.
The Lagos State Government has approved the re-opening of schools for all classes in public and private schools across the state with effect from Monday, November 2, 2020, while boarders in public schools are to resume on Sunday, November 1.
According to a tweet post from the Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on New Media, Gawat Jubril, on his official Twitter handle, this was disclosed by the Lagos State Commissioner for Education, Mrs. Folasade Adefisayo, on Thursday, October 29, 2020.
In her statement, Adefisayo said, “This has been an unprecedented year with the recent happenings that have regrettably led to frequent closure of schools with attendant learning disruptions faced by all children.”
“We pray and hope that there will be no more disruptions in the academic calendar. However, the State Government will always regard the safety of pupils/students, parents, and all staff as a matter of priority,” She said.
“We recommend that when schools resume on Monday, teaching and learning should continue unhindered till the end of the term,” she added.
The Commissioner, therefore, advised pupils/students to take their studies more seriously in a bid to recover the lost period and excel.
FLASH: The Lagos State Government has approved the re-opening of schools for all classes in public and private schools across the State beginning from Monday, 2nd of November, 2020 while boarders in public schools are to resume on Sunday, 1st of the same month. pic.twitter.com/vQQRM3wOVR
— Gawat Jubril A. (@Mr_JAGss) October 29, 2020
Lafarge, Nigerian Breweries, Stanbic IBTC, others top best performing stocks in Q3 2020
Nairametrics reviews the best stocks in Q3 2020, judging by their performance.
Lafarge Africa, Nigerian Breweries, Stanbic IBTC, United Capital, and FTN Cocoa made the list of best-performing stocks in the third quarter of 2020 (July – Sept’20).
The third quarter of the year was a recovery period for the Exchange, as the All Share Index grew by 9.61% to close the gap caused by the negative performance it endured in the first quarter of the year – during the heat of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also recorded a 14.92% positive growth in the second quarter.
As Company stocks is one of the popular means of short-term investments in Nigeria and a look at persistent inflationary pressures; it is imperative to assess the performances of the stocks listed on the exchange during the covid era, to ascertain the profitability of investors in this period.
To determine the best-performing stocks, we looked at the stock prices as of the last trading day in June 2020 and compared to their prices as of the last trading day of September 2020. Here are the top 5:
Lafarge Africa Plc
The Cement manufacturing company grew its stock value by as much as 50% between July and September 2020. As at 30th June 2020, the stock of Lafarge was worth N10 per unit of share but grew to N15 as at the last trading day of September – with a market capitalization of N241.6 billion.
A cursory look at the Q2 2020 financial performance, shows a 5% year-on-year decrease in revenue generated. However, a reduced cost of sales helped improved the company’s gross profit by 10% and a subsequent 78% increase in profit before tax at N19.38 billion.
June 30th – N10
September 30th – N15
Return – 50%
Ranking – First
Nigerian Breweries Plc
The second on the list is the brewery giant, Nigerian Breweries – the makers of Star Lager, Fayrouz, Goldberg, and many other consumables. It grew its stocks by 35.73% from N36.1 as of 30th of June to N49 per share at the end of Q3 2020. The market capitalization also closed at N391.8 billion as at the review period, being the second most capitalized consumer goods firm – only behind Nestle Nigeria.
A look at the Q2 2020 financials, shows that the company endured a downturn, mostly affected by the COVID-induced lockdown, which halted all social gatherings, as it posted a profit before tax of N69.8 million – 99% decline compared to N7.95 billion recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2019.
However, with the lifting of lockdown nationwide, the outlook for the Q3 and Q4 2020 appears to be positive, as investors have shown confidence in the brand, which has translated into a positive stock performance in the quarter.
June 30th – N36.1
September 30th – N49
Return – 35.73%
Ranking – Second
Stanbic IBTC Plc
The third most capitalized bank on the stock exchange is also the third on the list of best performing stocks in Q3 2020, growing its stock by 33.88% from N30.25 per unit of share recorded as of June 30th to N40.5 at the end of trading in September – with a total market capitalization of N449.8 billion.
In the same vein, the Q2 performance of Stanbic IBTC indicates an 11% increase in gross earnings, which permeates into 32.2% increase in profit before tax – from N21.1 billion recorded in Q2 2019, as against N27.9 billion in the review period.
June 30th – N30.25
September 30th – N40.5
Return – 33.88%
Ranking – Third
United Capital Plc
The financial and investment service firm recorded a 30.59% increase in its stock value, as it moved from N2.55 per unit of share as at June 30th to N3.33 as at the end of September. This growth places United Capital in fourth position, as one the best performing stocks between July and September 2020.
The investment firm displayed firm resolve against the effects of COVID-19 in the second quarter of the year – as it posted a profit before tax of N1.5 billion, as against N1.2 billion reported in the corresponding quarter of 2019. This indicates a 22.9% increase in profit.
June 30th – N2.55
September 30th – N3.33
Return – 30.59%
Ranking – Fourth
FTN Cocoa Processors Plc
A unit of FTN Cocoa shares was valued at 20 kobo as at June 30th. However, it grew by 30% to N26 kobo as at the end of trading on 30th September 2020, leaving its total market capitalization at N572 million.
Data obtained from Nairalytics – the research arm of Nairametrics, showed that FTN Cocoa has not released its financials since Q1 2019. However, the cocoa processing company was able to post a positive stock performance in the third quarter of the year to sit fifth on the list.
The company was formerly registered as Fantastic Traders Nigeria Limited, a Limited Liability Company, which was incorporated in 1991. It commenced cocoa processing business in a third-party arrangement (Toll Processing) with Stanmark cocoa processing company limited in 1995. They converted cocoa beans into cocoa butter and cocoa cake/powder, and later extended their activities to Ile-oluji, Cocoa Cooperative etc.
June 30th – N0.20k
September 30th – N0.26k
Return – 30%
Ranking – Fifth
The following stocks make up the rest of the top 10 in descending order:
6. Guaranty Trust Bank Plc
7. University Press Plc
8. Eterna Plc
9. Unity Bank Plc
10. Fidson Healthcare Plc
Bottom line: With a double-digit growth in the following stocks, Investors who bought these stocks would be delighted to see their investments appreciate during this period and will look forward to gaining more in the subsequent periods.
#EndSARS: How tech innovations could fit into the call for Police Reforms
The reform process of the Nigerian Police could go a long way with the adoption of tech innovations in modern policing.
In the wake of nationwide protests for the disbandment of F-SARS, due to several reports of extrajudicial killings, extortions, unlawful detentions, tortures, and rascality, the Inspector-General of Police announced the disbandment of the unit and set up a new Police outfit known as Special Weapons and Tactics Team (SWAT), to fill the gaps arising from the dissolution of SARS.
As Nigerians call for the total reform of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF), one key area that changes are expected is the adoption of technology. Emerging technology would play a fundamental role and improve the way the police interact with citizens.
Globally, the success of police reforms has been linked to the adoption of police technology. The adoption of technology in the reform process for citizen interactions can then have serious implications for the social control that police have over citizens, the civil liberties citizens enjoy, police accountability, and the legitimacy that the police hold in Nigeria.
There are innovations that are shaping the future of policing which begins with the adoption of emerging technologies that support new concepts of operations, enabling the interventions, transparency, accountability, legitimacy, and also expand social control and relationships that keep society safe.
Some of these emerging innovations include but are not limited to:
- Body Worn Camera (BWC): Body cameras can help bring transparency to the new SWAT interactions, especially in the aftermath of allegations of use of force, shootings, or exploitations. Video of police officers doing their jobs in challenging situations used to be rare;, it is ubiquitous, as seen in a number of high-profile incidents that have drawn intense public and media scrutiny. In addition to being smaller, less cumbersome, and more durable, some body-worn cameras are designed to better integrate with in-car systems to provide synchronized video of an event from multiple points of view. Other advancements include higher resolution, clearer audio, wider fields of vision, and heightened resistance to environmental conditions – such as extreme heat or cold. Related technology now includes smart holsters that are designed to activate the body camera anytime the officer draws his or her firearm. At least one manufacturer of body-worn police technology makes a camera capable of issuing an alert during intense situations. On the horizon, it could also be equipped with facial recognition capabilities.
- Ariel & Visual Surveillance: Adoption of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are increasingly being used by police to gain aerial vantage points for crime scenes globally, search and rescue efforts, accident reconstruction, crowd monitoring and more. Some of the more sophisticated models can be equipped with thermal imaging or 3D mapping software to offer GPS-enhanced precision to the areas being surveyed. Many police drones and UAVs are also equipped with zoom cameras, making them incredibly valuable for delivering actionable, real-time intel in high-risk – armed and dangerous situations.
- Internet Of Things (IoT) — Smart Sensors: Smart sensors can be used to compile different types of information, to help officers do their jobs faster and more effectively. New capabilities can log locations, listen for gunshots, stream video, flag license plates, scan databases, and go on virtual patrol, allowing officers unprecedented awareness in their environments. These capabilities can provide the raw data which more detailed analytics can use to likely enhance efficiencies and expedite investigations. Most importantly, these technologies can help officers be in the right place, at the right time. Every investigative journey begins with collecting facts about the world. Traditionally, this work has been tough. It could mean relying on an officer’s memory of a license plate to look out for, or long hours searching for the right pieces of information. It often means being there, to see, hear, and deter – yet, no department can be everywhere. However, new technologies, like the Internet of Things (IoT) and smart sensors can be there when needed.
- Artificial Intelligence: Artificial intelligence is used for “predictive policing.” Utilizing deep learning algorithms, programmers can train computers to analyze data from a vast array of sources and categories to actually predict when and where crimes are likely to occur, increasing the likelihood that officers will be in the right place at the right time. Predictive policing involves using algorithms to analyze massive amounts of information in order to predict and help prevent potential future crimes. Place-based predictive policing – the most widely practiced method, typically uses preexisting crime data to identify places and times that have a high risk of crime. Person-based predictive policing, on the other hand, attempts to identify individuals or groups who are likely to commit a crime – or to be a victim of one – by analyzing for risk factors such as past arrests or victimization patterns. Proponents of predictive policing argue that computer algorithms can predict future crimes more accurately and objectively than police officers relying on their instincts alone. Some also argue that predictive policing can provide cost savings for police departments, by improving the efficiency of their crime-reduction efforts.
- Augmented Reality: Advances in areas such as 5G communication, electronics miniaturization, and augmented reality allows people to see, hear, and act in ways that were previously impossible. This could be effectively used for a virtual shooting range for the new SWAT officers which would reduce costs and make them smarter at arms handling. Also, an officer arriving at an unfamiliar situation, can now use augmented reality glasses to see pertinent information about prior calls for service from this address, find exits from a building, or see the recent crime history on the block. With this information, an officer could take precautions to protect themselves and even better serve the public.
- Online Community Platform: The mission of law enforcement is the safety of the community, and a strong relationship with the community is critical to the success of every law enforcement organization. The force could employ a decentralized information system like mobile apps or USSD platforms where citizens can report minor issues such as graffiti or suspicious activities to them, giving police real-time awareness, dynamic prioritization of calls, and the freedom to focus on the most pressing challenges. Leveraging this, the Police can create more opportunities for positive interactions, while working to leverage the expertise, resources, and local knowledge of key stakeholders in the community. Using both technology and training, police could make it easier for constituents to support public safety, helping to make community-law enforcement relationships healthier and more productive.
- Robots: Globally, many law enforcement agencies are now using next-generation robotic cameras to deliver visual and audio surveillance of potential crime scenes, that may be too dangerous or too hard for officers to reach. Some of these devices are even “throwable” (up to 120 feet and capable of withstanding repeated 30-foot drops) – powered by an electric motor and equipped with high-tech wheels that enable it to move, climb, and explore even the most challenging spaces, while being operated wirelessly by a trained officer. Automaker Ford has filed a patent for a self-driving police car equipped with artificial intelligence and designed to catch violators of traffic laws or impaired drivers by transmitting information to human officers or carrying an optional passenger officer who could make arrests. China is developing an “AnBot” robot to patrol banks, airports, and schools. Also in Dubai, patrolling tourist attractions with a touchscreen-equipped robot officer is now on duty.
Finally, let’s follow the evidence showing that officers with a college degree use force less often and demonstrate a greater level of creativity and problem-solving. Let there be a change in the current system of police recruitment – a multiple-choice test and interview. Base recruitment and promotions on demonstrated leadership skills, specific education achievements, and a performance history unblemished by misconduct.
There should be strong requirements & processes in place that can check for the skills and characteristics we expect of police before they’re put in a live situation. SWAT Patrol should be based on the capacity for emotional regulation – so officers don’t fall on the use of force as the first response for a challenge to their authority.
Who our police officers are, and how they are held accountable, is crucial to boosting public confidence and trust. If we want deep transformation – true culture change of law enforcement, we need to have some adaptations of police technology.
Written by Victor Tubotamuno