Thursday, 21 November 2019
Items filtered by date: November 2019

Adoke's lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, said Adoke was arrested by Interpol on Monday, November 11, 2019, after travelling to Dubai for a medical appointment.

The investigation by Nigeria's anti-graft agency relates to the $1.3bn sale of a Nigerian offshore oilfield known as OPL 245 by Malabu Oil and Gas in 2011.

The agency obtained arrest warrants in April for Adoke, former petroleum minister Dan Etete, and an Eni manager.

Eni and Shell jointly acquired the field from Malabu, which was owned by Etete.

The oilfield sale has spawned legal cases across several countries, involving Nigerian government officials and senior executives from ENI and Royal Dutch Shell. Shell and Eni, and their executives have denied any wrongdoing.

Etete has also denied wrongdoing.

In an Italian case, prosecutors accuse former and current executives of Eni and Shell of paying bribes to secure the licence, and allege roughly $1.1bn of the total was siphoned to agents and middlemen.

"We have written to Dubai authorities, the EFCC (anti-graft agency), and the Nigerian authorities to free Adoke to allow him to go on with his medical treatment in Dubai," Ozekhome said.

He added that the arrest warrant had, in fact, expired after being nullified by a court in October, because Adoke was not served with the charges before the warrant was issued.

A government communication office in Dubai did not respond to an email seeking comment. Nigeria's EFCC and Interpol were not immediately available for comment.

Ozekhome said Adoke has appeared in court in Nigeria in the past over the OPL 245 case and was exonerated.

Published in Headliners

Adoke's lawyer, Mike Ozekhome, said Adoke was arrested by Interpol on Monday, November 11, 2019, after travelling to Dubai for a medical appointment.

The investigation by Nigeria's anti-graft agency relates to the $1.3bn sale of a Nigerian offshore oilfield known as OPL 245 by Malabu Oil and Gas in 2011.

The agency obtained arrest warrants in April for Adoke, former petroleum minister Dan Etete, and an Eni manager.

Eni and Shell jointly acquired the field from Malabu, which was owned by Etete.

The oilfield sale has spawned legal cases across several countries, involving Nigerian government officials and senior executives from ENI and Royal Dutch Shell. Shell and Eni, and their executives have denied any wrongdoing.

Etete has also denied wrongdoing.

In an Italian case, prosecutors accuse former and current executives of Eni and Shell of paying bribes to secure the licence, and allege roughly $1.1bn of the total was siphoned to agents and middlemen.

"We have written to Dubai authorities, the EFCC (anti-graft agency), and the Nigerian authorities to free Adoke to allow him to go on with his medical treatment in Dubai," Ozekhome said.

He added that the arrest warrant had, in fact, expired after being nullified by a court in October, because Adoke was not served with the charges before the warrant was issued.

A government communication office in Dubai did not respond to an email seeking comment. Nigeria's EFCC and Interpol were not immediately available for comment.

Ozekhome said Adoke has appeared in court in Nigeria in the past over the OPL 245 case and was exonerated.

Published in Headliners
Monday, 11 November 2019 17:47

Tam David-West dies at 83

Renowned professor of virology, activist and former minister of petroleum, Tamuno David-West is dead.

He died Monday at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan at the age of 83 years.

David-West was born in Buguma, Kalabari, Rivers State.

He worked as lecturer and became a professor at the University of Ibadan where he lived and died. He joined the university in 1969 and became professor of virology in 1975.

David-West served in Nigerian government as commissioner for education and a member of the Executive Council of Rivers State from 1975 to 1979.

He was a member of the 50-person Constitution Drafting Committee for the Federal Military Government in 1979.

He served as federal minister of petroleum and energy under General Muhammadu Buhari from 1984 to 1985 and as minister of mines, power, and steel under General Ibrahim Babangida in 1986.

He was eventually removed as minister and arrested by the Babangida regime for allegedly contributing to the economic adversity of the country. He was discharged and acquitted of these charges by Nigeria’s Special Appeal Court on 8 August 1991.

A strong supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari, David-West will be remembered for his strong views on national issues and how he brought historical perspectives to proffer solutions to national crises.

Published in Business and Economy

*FBI agents here linked a series of complicated financial scams to an organized crime ring that started as a fraternal organization.

TAMPA — It started with a complaint about a clever check-fraud scam that had bilked a small Georgia law firm out of nearly $100,000. The money wound up in a bank account in Tampa but then vanished into other accounts overseas, spurring the interest of local FBI agents.

What followed was an investigation that has stretched on now for six years, ensnared 13 defendants and uprooted a complex international fraud scheme responsible for losses in excess of $10 million, agents and federal prosecutors say.

The probe reached its zenith last month when a man who who helped orchestrate the scheme appeared in a Tampa courtroom to face a sentence of 15 years in federal prison.

Ikechuwku “Ike” Amadi, 38, is a dual Canadian and Nigerian citizen. He worked, according to the FBI, with a Nigeria-based criminal organization known as the Black Axe Group.

The conspirators “sit in Internet cafes in Nigeria and conduct fraud online,” said FBI Special Agent Devin Williams, who headed the investigation.

The Black Axe started as a fraternal organization on college campuses in Nigeria in the 1970s. It eventually evolved into an organized crime group. In the United States and around the world, the group is responsible for the loss of millions of dollars through a variety of elaborate cons.

They include what are known as “romance scams,” where conspirators pose as potential suitors on dating websites. They follow detailed scripts to gradually charm their victims, often lonely widows. In some cases, the fraudsters conduct research about the victim’s hometown and claim to live in an area nearby. The aim is to eventually lure victims with a phony investment opportunity, convincing them to cash in their retirement savings or home equity and wire it into a bank account in the United States.

Other scams targeted title companies with phony cashier’s checks for fake real estate transactions. Still others targeted businesses and law firms through email spoofing and hacking schemes. 

The Tampa case started as a tip from a law firm in Columbus, Ga. The firm lost about $96,000 through a fraud in which someone posed as a business owner seeking payment of a debt from another company. Partial payment was made in the form of a cashier’s check made out to the firm. A lawyer was then instructed to wire the funds to a Bank of America account in Tampa. Only after the money left the account did the lawyer learn the cashier’s check was fake.

FBI agents found that the bank account belonged to an associate of a Tampa man, Muhammad Naji. Naji eventually cooperated with FBI agents. He explained that he worked for a man from Canada, whom he knew only as “Melvin.”

Melvin was Ike Amadi. From his perch in Toronto, Canada, he orchestrated a network of people like Naji who are described in court records as “money mules.” Their job was to open bank accounts, often in the names of shell companies, that would store the ill-gotten monies as deposits. As soon as the money arrived, the mules would send it overseas before the theft could be discovered.

The money mules received 5 to 10 percent of the stolen funds. Amadi also got a cut. The rest went to the Black Axe.

Naji helped identify other mules. They included Priscilla Ellis, a Texas woman who also helped create high-quality forgeries of checks and other documents. After her conviction in federal court, she made headlines when she tried to arrange the contract killings of witnesses who had testified against her. Her prison release date is nearly a century away.Amandi was arrested in Canada in 2015. He fought extradition to the United States but eventually agreed to be sent to Tampa.

Published in Headliners

News that President Muhammadu Buhari signed on Monday a law on the oil industry that will be of immense benefit to Nigeria, was overshadowed by the information that the signing was done in London, where Buhari is vacationing, in the presence of his chief of staff, Abba Kyari.

According to the President, “Today is an important day for all Nigerians – but particularly the young generation.

“Today I signed into law the amended Deep Offshore Act. Nigeria will now receive its fair, rightful and equitable share of income from our own natural resources for the first time since 2003.

“In that year oil prices began a steep increase to double – and at times – triple over the following decade.

“All this time Nigeria has failed to secure its equitable share of the proceeds of oil production, for all attempts to amend the law on the distribution of income have failed. That is, until today.

“Rapid reductions in the cost of exploration, extraction and maintenance of oil fields had occurred over these 25 years, at the same time as sales prices have risen.

“A combination of complicity by Nigerian politicians and feet-dragging by oil companies has, for more than a quarter-century, conspired to keep taxes to the barest minimum above $20 per barrel – even as now the price is some three times the value.

“Today this changes. For the first time under our amended law, 200 million Nigerians will start to receive a fair return on the surfeit of resources of our lands. Increased income will allow for new hospitals, schools, infrastructure and jobs.

“Today marks a new and beneficial relationship with our oil company partners: one that benefits all – starting with the Nigerian people.”

The import of the signing, in which the president was casually dressed and Abba Kyari was even suited, was lost as Nigerians questioned the appropriateness of the president’s action when there is a vice president in Nigeria.

Buhari left Nigeria for a 21-day trip without transmitting power to the Vice-President, with his spin doctors saying he could govern from anywhere, including when he is not officially working for the country.

Published in Headliners

With the global success of Joker, it’s only natural to wonder what’s next for the character — and if there’s any chance we’d ever see Joaquin Phoenix put on his signature clown paint again. It’s hard to imagine how the film’s director, Todd Phillips, could pick up from the film’s haunting ending and continue the story. But that didn’t the film’s star from devising a creative way to try to convince him to make a sequel.

If it was a joke, it was an elaborate one. During production on Joker, Joaquin Phoenix would leave little hints to Todd Phillips about what the future could have in store for his character.

Joaquin Phoenix’s on-set antics may have been enough to get Todd Phillips to seriously consider continuing the Joker’s story. Phillips told The Los Angeles Times he definitely remembered the Yentl poster, and one for Forrest Gump, and another for his own previous movie The Hangover. He continued on the topic if a potential sequel:

The director isn’t sure it’s possible to recreate the unique set of circumstances that made Joker so successful. But he has given it some thought:

Published in Entertainment

“I went from wanting to be Suge to hating Suge to fucking with him”

The Game has released new song ‘Stainless’, which hears him reflect on his relationship with Death Row Records co-founder Suge Knight – listen to it below.

The new track is set to feature on the ‘Hate It or Love It’ rapper’s upcoming ninth studio album, ‘Born 2 Rap’, which is schedule to be released on November 29.

With Anderson .Paak on the hook, ‘Stainless’ hears The Game share his perspective on several West Coast figures, including Suge Knight.

I went from wanting to be Suge to hating Suge to fucking with him/ 28 years a long ass time, it’s fucking with him,” he raps, referencing Knight’s recent prison sentence.Talked to him on the phone the other day/ About how he could’ve signed me before Dre… If that nigga Bron Bron rap it would sound like this/ Somewhere between Cube and ‘Kiss, I can’t miss.

Elsewhere on the record, The Game namechecks 2Pac, pays homage to one of the tracks on his diamond-selling double album All Eyez on Me, and sends a rest in peace shout out to late Outlawz members Fatal and Kadafi.

“Picture me rolling like ‘Pac, nigga/ But I’m not Pac, nigga/ I be in that Beamer with it cocked, nigga,” he spits. “Baby Lane killed ‘Pac/ Niggas killed Baby Lane/ Bountry was busting back, Heron died in his chain/ A fatal car crash killed Fatal Hussein/ R.I.P. Kadafi, driving down memory lane.”

Published in Arts & Culture

Bitmain, a leading bitcoin miner, has secretly filed for an IPO that is sponsored by Deutsche Bank, a German multinational company, as reported by Tencent News. The company has been struggling to bounce back since crypto winter. The black swan event dampened demand for cryptocurrency mining machines, causing profitability to plummet. The reported secret filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will help raise badly needed capital. Bitmain is reportedly looking to raise between $300 million and $500 million through the fundraiser.

The company had initially sought to raise about $3 billion via the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) but faced pushback from regulators. It has hired Zheng Hua, a former NASDAQ China representative, as a project consultant to increase the chances of approval.

Power Struggle

The top brass at Bitmain has been locked in leadership wrangles for years now. This is according to a new revealing report, which illustrates an escalation of tensions between co-founders Jihan Wu and Micree Zhan.

On Tuesday, Zhan was ousted as executive director at the company by Wu. Staff at the firm also received a bellicose statement warning them against interacting with the exiled leader.

A leaked transcript of an internal meeting shows that the company had in the past missed growth opportunities due to disagreements. According to Wu, internal divisions caused The Bank of Beijing to retract a credit offer, which could have been used to clear its books. This subsequently caused problems with suppliers.

The SEC, which is mandated to protect investor interests, will likely look at such issues in its determination.

A Few Major Hurdles Related to the IPO

The reality is that crypto companies will struggle to gain IPO approval in major jurisdictions, such as the United States and China. The latter has already blacklisted crypto companies from filing IPOs. Regulators deem it too premature for crypto-centric firms to seek one because there is no legal framework to serve as guidance.

Getting approval from the SEC seems like an insurmountable hurdle at the moment due to the level of trepidation surrounding the industry. The mill pond environment is capricious at best. Digital currency prices change all the time and are highly susceptible to manipulation. The SEC approval of an IPO connected to bitcoin, an unregulated digital commodity, is unlikely. It has, in the past, rejected bitcoin ETFs because of this factor.

The U.S.-China Trade War Threat

Since the onset of the U.S.-China trade war, the Trump administration has made a flurry of threats against Chinese tech companies in the U.S., and in September, there were rumors that the White House was looking to delist some of them from capital markets. Chinese company stocks dropped momentarily in anticipation of the move.

Although unlikely, the reports sent jitters across investment circles. At the same time, NASDAQ was reported to be tightening restrictions for small Chinese companies seeking IPO approvals.

There is speculation that the U.S. is looking to limit investments in Chinese companies this way.

Published in News & Stories

A university don has raised  alarm that the country loses over $100 billion annually to exposure of lead, which occurs as a result of unregulated and indiscriminate use of lead substances by faceless producers in manufacturing of paints and other domestic and industrial products as well as smuggled substandard paints and printers’ inks.

Babajide Alao, a professor of Chemistry, University of Lagos, who disclosed this in Lagos recently at the 2019 Coating s Show of the Paint Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (PMA), a sub-sector of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), with theme “Future Trends in Coatings Technology” noted that West Africa paint market losses between $100 – $237 billion annually on consumption of poisonous lead paints.

He pointed out that Nigeria being the largest market in the region consumes more than half of the total worth of the market as it losses over $100 billion, adding that the global lead paints would be faced out by 2020 as agreed by the United Nations.

Alao explained that lead affects the intellect of children and adults, stressing that cancer, high blood pressure and other related health challenges are caused by the inhalation of lead substance from the air as it is emitted from walls and every item coated with the lead paints in the environment.

“The Nigerian coating industry is at a cross-road to adopt innovative global technologies. Eliminate lead compounds in paints and coatings are now imperative. Alternatives are now widely available as global raw material manufacturers are gradually phasing out leaded ingredients. Examples in some other developing country – Philippines shows that it is feasible and indeed increases the net-worth and profits of manufacturers, as it leads to environmental sustainability, it also increases the manufacturers CSR and image with consumers,” he stressed.

Earlier in in welcome address, the Chairman, PMA Mr. Sunday Babatunde, regretted that the Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) has not been able to tackle adulteration and faking of its members premium brands of paints, stressing that it remains a big challenge to them.

Babatunde said; “Adulteration and faking of our members premium brands of paints is still a big challenge to us. This has negatively affected the volumes/profitability and of course returns on investments of the companies whose products are prune to the menace. Even with the introduction of Mandatory Conformity Assessment Programme (MANCAP) the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has not been able to tackle the problem due to inadequate monitoring and enforcement. The paint industry is a peculiar industry because of the low entry barrier.”

Published in Business and Economy

Who instigated the attack on Governor Godwin Obaseki and Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos in Iyamho, Edo state on Saturday when they came to visit former governor Adams Oshiomhole in his country home?

The jury is out to determine the culprit as Oshiomhole and the Deputy Governor of Edo State, Philip Shaibu traded blames.

Oshiomhole in a statement blamed Shaibu, alleging that the hoodlums who carried out the attack were the same thugs who invaded the university community on the orders of the Deputy Governor of the state, Philip Shaibu.

But Shaibu has promptly denied the accusation, with his spokesman providing an alibi: the deputy governor was in the convoy attacked by the hoodlums, asking rhetorically, whether he would have organised his own attack.

“The Governor, his deputy, Oba of Lagos and their entourage were at the gate of the National Chairman of our great party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole to pay him the usual homage since they were in his domain.

Mr Philip Shaibu, Edo Deputy Governor.

“Surprisingly, the large crowd that gathered at the gate brutally attacked the convoy, destroying three cars in the process.

“The convoy had to quickly turn and came back to the varsity campus. So, how did the Deputy Governor cause it, could he have arranged his own attack?

“In fact, they were there on the invitation of the Comrade himself.”The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki has condemned the attack on him, the Oba of Lagos, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, Chancellor of the Edo University, Iyahmo, Dr. Aderemi Makanjuola and other guests at the residence of former Governor of the State and National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

But Oshiomhole in heaping the blame on Shaibu said tension in the community started last Friday when Shaibu imported thugs into the community with a view to intimidate political opponents.

Oshiomhole’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Simon Ebegbulem said Oshiomhole left the convocation lecture on Saturday through the back to avoid being attacked by the thugs who laid siege at the entrance gate of the university.

Oshiomhole said he and other guests were already in the hall when at about 11:30am, the deputy governor stormed the University with over 200 Okada riders and thugs.

“Security operatives accosted them at the gate and refused them entrance. The thugs started threatening the security operatives who insisted the deputy governor can enter the venue but they will not allow the thugs to gain access.

“Following their threats the security operatives tear gassed the thugs and the deputy governor. The thugs were dispersed while the deputy governor joined other dignitaries at the venue. This created tension already in the small community.

“However, after the event, Comrade Oshiomhole invited the Oba of Lagos, the Chancellor and others for lunch at his country home which is right opposite the university. Consequently, he left instruction at the gate that he was expecting these respected leaders.

“So when the visitors came, the governor drove in a bus with other officials but following the incident that occurred earlier where thugs sponsored by the deputy governor invaded the university, Iyamho youths barricaded the gate of the national chairman with a view to protecting him against any harm.

“Unfortunately, these youths sighted Andrew Momodu, Osaigbovo Iyoha in the bus which conveyed the governor to Oshiomhole’s residence. They decided to stop them from entering the compound because these were the same people who led the thugs that attacked Oshiomhole’s residence in Benin City penultimate week.

“While this confusion was on, the thugs brought by the deputy governor started destroying the vehicles belonging to Oshiomhole’s kinsmen. I want to state clearly that the vehicles destroyed were not in the convoy of the governor. The thugs targeted the vehicles belonging to Oshiomhole’s relations and friend and destroyed them. Thank God for the intervention of soldiers and other security operatives who came to restore peace.

“This would not have happened if not for the thugs who invaded the community loyal to the deputy governor.

Governor Obaseki, who has been fighting a political war of survival with Oshiomhole deplored the attack.

He said it was shameful it took place at the residence of the National Chairman of the ruling party in the state and at the national level.

“It is very unfortunate that we can’t feel safe in the house of our National Chairman. I am not sure that if I visit the Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) that they will attack me the way they did in the house of the APC National Chairman.”

“It is unfortunate that things have degenerated to this extent. But we will continue to sue for peace. We cannot afford to lose the gains of the last three years. We will continue to pursue peace,” he added.

Oshiomhole, meanwhile has apologised to Oba Akiolu and the new chancellor of Edo State University, Makanjuola for the embarrassment.

Published in Headliners
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