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UK moves to seize $39 million from Ibori’s lawyer over role in former Governor’s case

The lawyer who was convicted alongside Ibori may lose his financial asset to the British government.

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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.

READ: IKOYIGATE: Ex NIA boss, Ayodele Oke, wife, declared wanted by EFCC

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.

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READ: Gombe and Kebbi Airports close for business over N732m debts

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.

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READ: EFCC and other anti-graft agencies demand speedy repatriation of stolen funds

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.

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Chike Olisah is a graduate of accountancy with over 15 years working experience in the financial service sector. He has worked in research and marketing departments of three top commercial banks. Chike is a senior member of the Nairametrics Editorial Team. You may contact him via his email- [email protected]

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Coronavirus

FG yet to purchase Covid-19 vaccines – Minister of State for Health

According to a disclosure made by the Minister of State for Health, the FG is yet to purchase any COVID-19 vaccine.

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NPHCDA to address infrastructural gaps in COVID-19 vaccine supply, FG to focus on procurement of Covid-19 vaccine in first quarter 2021

The Federal Government has said that it is yet to purchase any Covid-19 vaccines as the country is still assessing the prices of different shots, their availability and the logistics required for a nationwide roll-out.

This is coming at a time when developed economies are rolling out the vaccines in their countries and concerns have been raised about the availability of the Covid-19 doses in the African continent.

This disclosure was made by the Minister of State for Health Adeleke Olurunnimbe Mamora, during a telephone interview with Bloomberg.

What the Minister of State for Health is saying

Mamora said that once the government determines which vaccines are accessible and affordable, authorities then have to consider storage and distribution issues as they prepare to give shots to 200 million people.

He said, “We haven’t made any purchases at this point in time.’’ He added that the government expects to have a definitive plan by the end of January.

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Nigeria is working with the World Health Organization backed COVAX programme and hopes to receive its first doses in January. The Minister for Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had said that the country is working on what type and quantity of Covid-19 vaccines to procure and financial provision will be made in the 2021 budget for the vaccines.

COVAX is a global initiative backed by the World Health Organization which aims to provide equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, especially to poor countries.

What you should know

  • It can be recalled that Bloomberg had reported that experts and a state governor had expressed doubts about the ambitious plan by Nigeria to vaccinate as much as 40% of its population this year due to lack of resources and infrastructure.
  • The Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria’s National Primary Health Care Development Agency, Faisal Shuaib, said on Thursday the country expects to receive 100,000 doses of Pfizer Inc’s shot at the end of January through the Covax initiative.
  • Nigeria has officially reported 107,345 Covid-19 cases, with 1,413 casualties, but testing is not easily accessible for most people, with only about 1.1 million tests conducted so far.

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Business

Reps oppose school resumption date, ask for 3 months extension

The lower legislative chamber has flawed FG’s directive on public and private schools’ January 18, 2021 resumption date.

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NCC, MDA, SEEPCO, local content laws, CBN Cashless Policy: Reps eye policy reversal, court Emiefele approval , Lawmakers tackle Finance Minister over failed CCTV project worth $460 million , Former Ghanaian President, Mahama begs Buhari to open border Former President of Ghana, John Mahama has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to open up its borders saying that Ghana has been heavily affected by Nigeria’s decision to close its borders. Mahama said that for economic activities to resume in West Africa, Nigeria needs to reconsider its decision on the total border closure. He made this plea while delivering the seventh anniversary lecture of investiture into The Realnews Hall of Fame and the unveiling of a book, titled: Pathways to Political and Economic Development of Africa. According to the former president as reported in The Nation, the closure of especially the Benin border, was taking a significant toll on many small and medium businesses, especially in Togo, Ghana and Cote D’Ivoire, which relied on inter-country trade. “I am sure that businesses in Nigeria that rely on supplies from these countries are also suffering. With the signing of the joint border task force agreement between Nigeria and her neighbours, I will like to take this opportunity to appeal to Nigeria to open up her border so that economic activities can resume,” Mahama said. While reacting to the shut down of shops owned by Nigerians by the Ghana Union of Traders’ Association (GUTA) as retaliation to the border closure, Mahama said; “Back home in Ghana, I also look forward to our government’s intervention that brings an immediate cessation to the forceful and illegal closure of shops of foreigners, especially Nigerians, by members of the local trade associations”. Mahama who is a former Chairman of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) spoke on how he still has an abiding interest in the progress of ECOWAS and its people. In this light, he said that Nigeria being the home of ECOWAS and the largest economy in West Africa should not allow the objective principles for establishment of ECOWAS to be lost. Meanwhile, the Vice Chancellor of Niger Delta University, Bayelsa State, Prof. Samuel Edoumiekumo, advised President Muhammadu Buhari not to yield to pressure to reopen the borders. Edoumiekumo who was also present at the lecture said President Buhari should remain firm in his resolve to ensure economic growth and the country’s development as the border closure will generate more revenue for the nation and tackle smuggling., Nigerians are enraged as lawmakers reject Innoson cars for latest Toyota Camry , FMBN ex-MD ordered to refund his salary, submit FMBN accounts over infractions

The House of Representatives has moved against the Federal Government’s directive that schools should resume on Monday, January 18, despite the rising cases of the coronavirus disease.

The lower house, while expressing its concern, wondered why schools were closed when the infection rates were around 500 and below, but now that it hovers well above 1000 infections daily, schools are being reopened.

This disclosure is contained in a statement titled, “School Resumption: Are We Truly Prepared?” which was issued by the Chairman, House Committee on Basic Education and Services, Prof. Julius Ihonvbere, on Saturday, January 16, 2021.

Ihonvbere in his statement said that public enlightenment campaigns have more or less stopped, as merely saying that protocol would be adhered to is no guarantee with the situation even being worse in rural areas.

The house, therefore, demanded for the postponement of resumption of schools by 3 months, if some critical steps are not taken, so as to enable the local and state governments put things in place adequately.

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He said that apart from Lagos and a couple of other states, governments have been unable to enforce Covid-19 protocols with people no longer wearing facemasks or use sanitisers, especially in secondary schools. There are no facilities for effective social distancing in the classrooms.

Ihonvbere said they have not heard how the schools would address the issues of introduction of morning and afternoon batches into the schools when they reopen to reduce overcrowding, special cleaning crews with sufficient sanitisers in classrooms, insisting on facemasks and sanitisers for the students and others.

What Prof. Ihonvbere is saying

The statement from the House partly reads,

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  • The Committee on Basic Education and Services, House of Representatives, has received with concern the decision of the Federal Government to reopen schools on January 18, 2021.
  • “We are particularly concerned that when the infection rates hovered around 500 and under, schools were closed; but now that it hovers well above 1,000 infections daily, schools are being reopened. Why are we rushing to reopen schools without adequate verifiable and sustainable arrangements to protect and secure our children?
  • “Similarly, we acknowledge the argument that most young persons have not been as affected by Covid-19 and many are asymptomatic. Yet, it does not mean they have full immunity against the virus. We also know that they would be working and interacting with adult teachers, administrative workers and other persons that do not live within the institutions.
  • ‘’People no longer wear facemasks or use sanitisers. Public enlightenment campaigns have more or less stopped. Merely saying they would adhere to the protocols is no guarantee. In rural areas, the situation is worse.
  • “Our position is that in spite of the very comprehensive protocols established by the Federal Ministry of Education, not up to 10 per cent of our educational institutions have implemented five per cent of the protocols. In most of our primary and secondary schools nationwide, adequate furniture, water and other sanitation and hygiene facilities do not exist.
  • “As a government that has committed to protecting the interests of the Nigerian people, it would be wrong to allow unprepared state governments, of which many did not take the pandemic too seriously anyway, to hoodwink or pressure it into this reopening game.
  • “The Committee believes that if these and other critical steps are not taken, there should be a postponement by three months to enable the local and state governments put things in place adequately. A word, they say, is enough for the wise.’’

What you should know

  • The Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19, a few days ago, insisted on the January 18 resumption date for schools until the Federal Ministry of Education advises otherwise.
  • The clarification became necessary following the earlier comment by the Minister for Education, Adamu Adamu, that government may review the resumption date following the outbreak of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic across the country.

 

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Cryptocurrency

Crypto investors lose $530 million within a day

The Crypto futures became overheated and record sell-offs began leading traders to lose more than $527 million in a single day.

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Bitcoin, Bitcoin running out of steam

These are surely bad times for many crypto investors on the account that roughly $530 million worth of Crypto positions disappeared into thin air within a day.

The mass liquidation of such trading positions, according to data retrieved from Bybt.com, showed such occurred before the flagship crypto dipped around $34,000 today.

bybt

What this means

Over the past day, Bitcoin, with the highest dominance rate in the crypto market gained 7% when it moved from $35,500 to nearly $38,000, taking into consideration future demand for the crypto asset could skyrocket.

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  • However high sell-offs gained momentum immediately Bitcoin touched $38,000 value amid several large sell orders placed around that price.
  • The Crypto futures became overheated and record sell-offs began leading traders to lose more than $527 million in 24 hours.

What they are saying

A highly respected crypto expert, Ki-Young Ju, disclosed the ongoing activity in the ever-volatile Crypto market on his Twitter feed, by critically hinting that buying pressure has paused in recent days.

  • “People trade $BTC with low leverage, open interest is skyrocketing, and the long-short ratio looks neutral. Strong on-chain buying signals that have driven this bull market hasn’t come up so far. Bitcoin might retest 30k, so I don’t have any position now in this uncertain market.”

At the time of drafting this report, Bitcoin’s volatility ensured that no firm market direction was in control, as Bitcoin fluctuated around $34,800.

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Sequel to the sudden correction seen in the Bitcoin market lately, it had been in on a bullish run relatively.

Some days ago, leading the United Kingdom’s financial regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority, recently issued a piece of stern advice on crypto investments
The statement highlighted the risks associated with investing in Bitcoin and other leading crypto assets and warned the public there were high chances all their funds could be lost;

“The FCA is aware that some firms are offering investments in crypto assets or lending or investments linked to crypto assets, that promise high returns.
Investing in crypto assets, or investments and lending linked to them generally involves taking very high risks with investors’ money. If consumers invest in these types of products, they should be prepared to lose all their money.”

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