The 2021 Valentine’s Day celebration calls for collective action from all citizens of the world to reach out and make life better for others as we combat the Covid-19 pandemic, Andrew Laven, Chief Operating Officer, Sahara Energy Resources DMCC Dubai has said.
Sahara Energy is an affiliate of Sahara Group a multinational energy conglomerate with operations in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. Sahara recently initiated several activities to mark its 25th anniversary this year.
Speaking while unveiling ‘#Reachoutthisvalentine’ as Sahara Group’s focus for the 2021 Valentine celebration, Laven said cushioning the impact of the pandemic and ultimately defeating the virus required intervention by a “global coalition of responders”.
“What we are witnessing across the globe is unprecedented in terms of the scale of grief and loss on account of the pandemic. When you add to this the fact that simultaneously, the world also must combat hunger, other diseases, and huge human development index gaps, it becomes clear that we must all support of one another. At Sahara Group, we believe that this year’s Valentine celebration presents the perfect platform for us to reach out and give others a reason to smile,” he stated.
Laven said the ‘#Reachoutthisvalentine’ campaign will be celebrated across Sahara Group’s locations in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. This will include employee volunteer activities in the areas of education, health, environment, capacity building, and sundry donations to reinforce the fight against the pandemic. “Sahara Group is delighted to promote this campaign and we urge global participation, ultimately hoping that reaching out to others will be a way of life for individuals, businesses and nations across the globe.”
“In Dubai, we will be supporting the local communities and organisations who are focused on those in greatest need,“ Laven noted
The #Reachoutthisvalentine campaign will be coordinated by Sahara Foundation, the corporate responsibility vehicle for Sahara Group. The Sahara Foundation has over the years implemented and supported many projects with over 2,000,000 beneficiaries and operates as a global promoter of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Global updates show that Covid-19 cases currently stand at over 106,000,000 while more than 2,000,000 people have lost their lives to the pandemic.
Sahara Group’s contribution to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic includes donations of personal protective equipment (PPE), driving Covid-19 awareness and education in sub-Saharan Africa through educational literature in indigenous languages across various countries and leading the delivery of the 300-bed Thisday Dome Isolation and Treatment Centre in Nigeria and donation of medical equipment, including fully-equipped world-class Intensive Care Units, to the centre and other medical facilities.
Sahara Group had since 2018 commenced a corporate initiative geared towards devoting the month of February every year to a cause that promotes global well-being. The initiative began with the “GreenLove” campaign in February 2018. The focus then was on safeguarding the well-being of the planet earth that is home to almost 8 billion people. In 2019, the energy conglomerate celebrated #PinkLove to increase cancer awareness. The focus for 2020 was #CleanLoveFeb” where Sahara shed light on the dangers of substance abuse, with an overarching zero-tolerance narrative to make living and staying clean a way of life for everyone.
Court vindicates Zinox, TD Africa in N170m FIRS contract fraud
Zinox and TD Africa have been vindicated as court rules on N170 million FIRS contract scandal.
An Abuja High Court has vindicated the long-held position of Zinox Technologies Ltd., and TD Africa, two of Nigeria’s leading technology giants, that its Chairman, Leo Stan Ekeh and its staff, Company Secretary, Barr. Chris Eze Ozims and two others, Shade Oyebode and Charles Adigwe respectively, had no wrongdoing in a long-drawn court case involving a N170m Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) contract.
The court on Wednesday, February 24, 2021, discharged and acquitted the duo of Princess Kama Onyeoma and Chief Onny Igbokwe, partners to Mr. Benjamin Joseph, who were accused of fraudulently executing the N170m contract awarded to Citadel Oracle Concepts, an Ibadan-based ICT firm owned by Joseph.
In addition, the sum of N20m was awarded as damages against the complainant, Mr. Joseph, for frivolous and malicious petitioning and prosecution.
In his ruling, the trial judge, Hon. Justice Senchi of the FCT High Court, Abuja, dismissed the case as lacking in merit, adding that the prosecution failed to establish the case of criminal conspiracy, forgery and fraudulent use of Mr. Joseph’s documents as alleged. Further, the judge acquitted the duo of all four count charges; even as he absolved both defendants, Kama, a long-time associate of Mr. Joseph, and Chief Igbokwe of the criminal charges levelled against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The four-count charges are forgery; false board resolution of Citadel Oracle Concept, with intent to commit fraud and commission of fraud; using the forged documents as genuine and fraudulent use as genuine of the forged board resolution.
Mr. Joseph had petitioned the EFCC, the Police and later the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, alleging that his board resolution and other corporate documents were forged to execute the N170 million FIRS contract without his knowledge, even when he appointed the said Princess Kama to execute the contract on his behalf by issuing her a duly executed Power of Attorney and other corporate documents, all presented to the FIRS.
However, Mr. Joseph had also surprisingly accused top officials of TD Africa and Zinox, including its Chairman, Leo Stan Ekeh, of involvement in the alleged fraud, even when Zinox or Mr. Ekeh had never met or transacted any business with Mr. Joseph.
Indeed, after winning the contract, Joseph and his partner, Princess Kama had agreed to domicile the FIRS computer supplies transaction worth N170m with Sub-Saharan Africa’s foremost tech distribution giant, TD Africa, the biggest HP authorised distributors for funding, with a promise to pay immediately they received payment from the FIRS, with additional guarantee from Princess Kama’s uncle, Chief Igbokwe as Citadel Oracle Concepts Ltd. was not qualified to enjoy credit from TD Africa. When the FIRS paid for the supplies, Mr. Joseph had allegedly tried to divert the fund but his partner, Princess Kama refused and paid TD Africa the pre-agreed invoice sum of the laptops supplied on credit.
This move apparently saw Mr. Joseph take offence and he started writing all sorts of petitions to blackmail the Zinox Chairman, accusing him and other top officials of TD Africa, including Ozims, Oyebode and Adigwe; as well as Access Bank of criminally conniving to execute the contract without his knowledge.
However, investigations by the EFCC and the Police had absolved the aforementioned officials of Zinox and TD Africa, with the Commission later charging the staff/representatives of Citadel Oracle Concept Limited, Princess Kama and Chief Igbokwe, due to their own internal issues in Charge no. CR/244/2018 before the FCT High Court.
The ruling by Justice Senchi on Wednesday upheld the unflinching position of Zinox and TD Africa, which had repeatedly insisted on the innocence of its officials, especially in the face of a barrage of sponsored media attacks by Mr. Joseph and led by Premium Times, an online news medium.
Recently, the medium had come up with a report claiming that an unsubstantiated Police report had indicted the Zinox Chairman, Ekeh, which had been debunked by the Police Force and on the basis of the same case which Justice Senchi had ruled on Wednesday.
‘‘We are delighted to see justice finally run its course in this long-drawn case,’’ said Reginald Obiakor, a Senior Special Assistant (Legal) to Mr. Ekeh. ‘‘Despite the obviously sponsored attacks and campaign of calumny by Benjamin Joseph and Premium Times, we had remained steadfast in our conviction that Mr. Ekeh, Zinox and TD Africa had no case to answer, as TD had only extended a facility to Citadel and her partners. This case has caused us quite some embarrassment, especially considering the potential damage to the hard-earned reputation of an industrious/exemplary Nigerian and globally respected digital icon who has enjoyed over 35 successful years in business.
‘‘We wish to thank our local and international partners, friends and well-wishers who have continued to show us support, even when the attacks persisted. This judgment further strengthens our belief in the validity of the courts as the bastion of justice and hope of the downtrodden,’’ he concluded.
FITC to host Employee Engagement and Experience Conference to boost workforce capabilities
The Conference aims are to share strategies for building optimum employee engagement and experience in the new normal.
FITC, the world-class innovation-led, and technology-driven knowledge institute is set to host Africa’s biggest Employee Engagement and Experience Conference (E3) focused on strategies for the acquisition, management, and retention of talent.
The FITC E3 conference, which is scheduled to hold on Wednesday, March 24th to Thursday, March 25th, 2021, was designed to enable individuals and organisations develop strategies for engaging their employees and retaining talents for optimum performance, as well as remaining competitive in an agile environment.
The Conference facilitators are made up of over 25 speakers, including C-suite Executives, Subject Matter Experts and Thought Leaders from the financial and non-financial services sector, government agencies, oil and gas industry, manufacturing industry across the world.
The facilitators will be sharing insights on contemporary issues around employee engagement and experience relevant to the sustained growth, development, and survival of businesses.
The Conference aims are to share strategies for building optimum employee engagement and experience in the new normal, provide insights on building an agile workforce in an increasingly digital work environment, provide platforms for key stakeholders to discuss initiatives for upscaling the workforce in line with the future of work, and discuss talent retention and engagement strategies for Generation Z and Millennials.
Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria is the distinguished guest speaker, while Mrs. Bola, Adesola, Senior Vice Chairman, Standard Chartered Bank, Africa will give the keynote address.
The faculty line up for this programme include: Esther Akinnukawe, Chief Human Resources Officer, MTN Nigeria; Rosie Ebe–Arthur, Group Head, Human Capital Management & Development, First Bank of Nigeria; Funke Amobi, Country Head, Human Capital, Stanbic IBTC Bank; Olusola Adewole, Partner, People and Organisation, PwC Nigeria; Bukola Thomas, Group Head, Talent Management, Dangote Industries Limited; Chizoba Mojekwu, Lead Consultant, Deft Adroit Consulting; Yemi Faseun, Senior Human Resources Executive & Founder YF Network; Foluke Adeniyi Adeleye, Regional Director, Oracle & Certified Executive Coach and several others.
The conference becomes exigent because industry data showed that employee engagement and experience is fast becoming one of the most important indicators for gauging a company’s success. The “Global Workplace Study 2020” ascertained that, as high as 86 per cent of employees are not actively engaged or are actively disengaged at work, whilst only 14 per cent of workers are fully engaged globally. This shows a decline in employee engagement, which was 15 per cent from the study in 2018.
Likewise, employee engagement has a direct impact on an employee’s productivity and on the performance of the entire organization, a fully engaged workforce is more efficient, delivers higher levels of customer satisfaction, attains higher productivity levels, and ensures lower turnover rates, which all translates into improved overall performance and profitability for the organisation. Hence, the relevance of employee engagement and experience in an organisation cannot be overemphasized.
Furthermore, COVID-19 pandemic has led to increased digitalization of the workplace and more people working remotely. This development has brought employee engagement and experience to the top burner in many organisations aspiring to have and maintain a pool of engaged employees.
Besides, the advent and utilization of advanced technologies, skilled labour, best practices, and education have increased job efficiencies in major organizations even as employees with lowered productivity have been disengaged with adverse impact on the organizational financial performances.
As a socially conscious, innovation-led and technology-driven knowledge organization, FITC has developed the E3 Conference to be a platform for people and organizations, driven by a collective commitment to understand how to manage the balance between employee experience and adopting innovations to ensure a viable future for their organisations.
FITC is a world-class innovation-led knowledge and professional services firm providing cutting-edge Learning, Advisory and Research Services to clients in the Financial Services and other sectors, within and outside Nigeria.
Established in 1981 as a non-profit organisation limited by guarantee to provide capacity building and serve as a knowledge hub for the Nigerian Financial Services Sector. FITC is owned by the Bankers Committee, i.e., CBN, NDIC, and all deposit money banks in Nigeria.
For four decades, FITC has been at the forefront of innovative knowledge offerings designed for an array of C-suite executives, directors of banks and other financial institutions. Leveraging on international Faculty and partnership, FITC has led the knowledge space in delivering high valued capacity building solutions for Board Directors and C-suites. FITC is a recipient of the International Federation of Training & Development Organisations (IFTDO) ‘Change Agent in Learning and Development in Africa’ Award, 2020 Business Excellence Award (The BIZZ Award), 2020 Strategy Innovation & Change Award, The International Business Excellence (IBX) Award, among others.
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