By Dipo Olowookere
A non-political, non-religious, and non-profit making organization, Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership (CACOL), which filed a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against the suspended Director General of Securities and Exchange Commission, Mr Mournir Haliru Gwarzo, has visited the anti-graft agency to defend its allegations against the SEC boss.
A statement signed on Monday by the Executive Chairman of CACOL, Comrade Debo Adeniran, disclosed that the visit was sequel to an invitation to the group by the EFCC on the petition of corruption levelled against Mr Gwarzo.
It was gathered that Mr Adeniran spent about an hour at the EFCC’s office in Abuja, where he met with the Head of investigating team at the Capital Market Unit of the EFCC.
“We responded to the invitation of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC today (Monday) to adopt (defend) our petition against Mr Gwarzo.
“We are delighted that the EFCC responded promptly, and is enthusiastic to investigate the subject of our petition. We intend to follow through with this process and we will not be distracted by all the attempts by Mr Gwarzo and his cronies to make us back down drawing on absurd and unconnected straws to whip up sentiment in the media.
“Those who know us know we do not just take up a cause, when we do, we are tenacious in our pursuit and we approach our campaigns with independence of mind,” the CACOL boss was quoted as saying in the statement.
Mr Adeniran further disclosed that the allegations against Mr Gwarzo have been before various people in government for months unattended to until CACOL took up the issue.
“We commend the Finance Minister, Mrs Kemi Adeosun for the courage to take the issue up after others have looked the other way for months. We urge her to be steadfast in the face of various attempts to blackmail her into dropping the investigations into the allegations.
“If she musters the tenacity to follow through on this investigation as she did with fighting the cabal behind the ghost workers who almost bled the nation to death with false wage bills, then history would be kind to her,” he said.
Comrade Adeniran further disclosed that even as CACOL was preparing to make its defence appearance before the EFCC, it has just received more mind boggling documents relating to various corrupt practices by the Mr Gwarzo.
It will be recalled that the organization, CACOL, petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, the Senate President, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the relevant Committees in the Senate and House of Representatives and the various anti-corruption agencies to order a thorough audit of the finances of the Commission under Mr Gwarzo following the allegations of corruption.
The DG is alleged to have engaged in series of anti-establishment manipulations to enrich himself through acts that are at variance with civil service rules and regulations.
It was alleged that Mr Gwarzo has been running SEC as his personal business and appoints companies with links to him and some of his cronies in office as contractors who provide services to the Commission.
Some of the companies listed to have links with Mr Gwarzo, his wife and other cronies are: Outbound Investment Ltd, RC NO. 807317; Medusa Investments Limited, RC NO. 326829; Northwind Environmental Services. REG NO BN2389176; and Micro-Technologies LTD RC NO. 173805.
Others are Tida International Ltd RC NO. 26414; Outlook Communications; AcromacNig Ltd RC NO. 10687864; Balfort International Investment Ltd RC NO. 109153; and Interactiven Worldwide Nigeria Ltd RC NO. 779442.
On January 2, 2013, Mr Gwarzo was appointed an Executive Commissioner in the Securities and Exchange Commission for a four-year tenure. Before the expiration of the four-year deal, Mr Gwarzo was elevated as the Director General of the Commission on May 22, 2015.
But consequent upon resumption of office as the Director General of SEC, Mr Gwarzo ordered the payment of a severance benefit to himself to the tune of N104.9 million.
Comrade Adeniran restated the call on President Muhammadu Buhari to take immediate steps to constitute a Board for the Securities and Exchange Commission as provided for in the extant laws establishing the Commission.
“The Investment and Securities Act (ISA) 2007 which gives the Commission its current powers also made a provision for the appointment of a nine (9) member Board to be headed by a Chairman. The idea of the Board is to, amongst other things, ensure that no Director General of the Commission can become a law onto himself or herself and act without appropriate checks by the Board” President Buhari must ensure this is done without further delay,” he said.
Considering the high probability of atrocities being committed unchecked under the present circumstance in which the SEC has functioned without a Board, CACOL called on President Muhammadu Buhari through the Finance Minister to order a thorough audit of the finances of the Commission and penalize everyone found guilty of fraudulent activities.
Jumia, Churches, POS Operators, Others Reject Old Naira Notes
By Dipo Olowookere
One of the leading e-commerce companies in Nigeria, Jumia, has announced that from Monday, January 30, 2023, it will no longer accept the old Naira notes as a form of payment for goods purchased on the platform.
In a message to its customers on Thursday, the company said this action followed the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to stop the use of the N200, N500, and N1,000 for financial transactions in Nigeria from February 1, 2023.
On October 26, 2022, the governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, announced that the three denominations would be redesigned. The new banknotes were introduced into circulation on December 15, and Nigerians were asked to return the old notes on or before January 31, 2023.
In order not to miss the deadline, and with the central bank insisting that it would not extend the deadline, Jumia has said its customers have till Sunday to pay for its goods and services with the old notes.
“From Monday, January 30, 2023, Jumia Delivery Associates will not be able to accept the old notes of N200, N500, and N1,000 sequel to the directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“Should you wish to pay by cash, our delivery associates will only accept the new series of notes.
“Alternatively, you can find details on how to prepay on Jumia using JumiaPay or call us if there are any further questions.
“We will communicate further in case of any change from the federal government or central bank,” the notice from the firm, which was seen by Business Post, stated.
Meanwhile, a few churches in Lagos have asked their members not to pay tithes and offerings with the old banknotes from Sunday, January 29, 2023, due to the CBN directive.
“In reference to CBN’s directive and policy on old Naira notes, we hereby appeal to members not to come to church starting from this Sunday with old Naira notes (200, 500 & 1000).
“Please kindly make your payments (tithes, offerings, project donations and other payments) in new Naira notes.
“You can as well make an online transfer to the designated accounts (check the flier for details).
“Please share this message with members that are not on this platform,” a message from one of the parishes of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) said.
Also, checks by this reporter indicated that some POS operators have said they would no longer accept the old notes from their customers from Saturday, January 28, 2023.
“I will not accept cash deposits with the old notes from Saturday because I know the banks will be filled up next week with people who want to deposit their cash.
“This morning, I was at one of the banks to deposit the cash with me, but the crowd there scared me.
“The banks were still giving customers the old notes. I am just confused about the situation. We do not have the new notes. Almost all the ATM terminals in this area are not dispensing cash to customers,” a POS operator in the Egbeda area of Lagos, Mrs Modupe Adediran, told Business Post.
Similarly, a trader at Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos, Mr Ikenna Okechukwu, informed this reporter that he has stopped accepting the old banknotes from his customers.
However, some commercial bus drivers in Lagos said they will still accept the old banknotes next week.
“I don’t have any issue with the money. I have a strong belief that the central bank will extend the deadline. The announcement will be made next week,” a danfo driver in Ikeja, who identified himself as Mr Tajudeen, said.
SFS Fund Mobile App Sees 300% Rise in Downloads
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The mutual fund investment app of SFS Capital, the SFS Fund Mobile App, has recorded a 300 per cent uptick in downloads less than one year after it was launched.
The SFS Fund Mobile App has exciting features that have endeared it to new and existing users. The app has an easy-to-use interactive dashboard; it also allows retail investors with N5,000 to start an investment.
In addition, users can make direct transfers from their banks to their virtual accounts and have access to third-party payments to make payments directly into users’ investment accounts.
In the second half of 2022, the SFS Fund Mobile App was launched to enable individuals to begin their investment journey with ease.
“There’s no doubt that investment apps became really popular last year, and we are extremely excited about the growth of the SFS Fund Mobile App and how it is playing a role in encouraging more individuals to start their investment journey with Mutual Fund,” the Managing Director and CEO of SFS Capital, Mr Patrick Ilodianya, said.
Globally, there has been a rise in the usage of retail investment apps. The COVID-19 pandemic induced pragmatic investment decisions by individuals, coupled with increased accessibility to mobile, enabled more individuals to start investing.
The SFS Fund Mobile App is apt for individuals who need a trustworthy, secure and easy platform for high-yield investments in mutual funds.
The app is available for download on Android and iOS. Investments made via the app are managed by seasoned investment experts in the Nigerian financial market who ensure that the returns paid to investors range from 11 per cent to 17 per cent per annum.
The fund has consistently maintained an “AA+” rating which is the 2nd highest possible rating for a mutual fund, and has a highly competitive return on investment and no pre-termination charge.
Investment in mutual funds is a proven recipe for wealth creation, given the opportunities and flexibility it presents to investors.
“This year, we will like to encourage more individuals to make a more decisive move concerning their finances. Investing in mutual funds via the SFS Mobile Fund App makes it possible for individuals to begin to build wealth, especially in an economy like ours that is characterised by downturns and uncertainties,” Mr Ilodianya added.
The SFS Mobile Fund App is part of SFS Capital’s digitisation narrative as the investment management company builds on the legacy it has as a leading Nigerian non-bank financial institution.
Julius Berger Offers for Sale N30bn Commercial Paper in Two Series
By Dipo Olowookere
Commercial paper worth N30 billion is being offered for sale to investors by Julius Berger Plc in two series to raise funds for its operations.
Business Post gathered that the exercise commenced on Tuesday, January 24, 2023, and is expected to end on Monday, January 30, 2023.
The company, which is a leading player in the construction industry, is selling the debt instrument across two tenors, 182 days and 267 days.
The discount rate of the 182-day paper is 13.09 per cent, with an implied yield of 14.00 per cent, while the 267-day paper has a discount rate of 13.52 per cent and an implied yield of 16.00 per cent.
To buy the commercial paper of the construction firm, subscribers will have to pay at least N5 million. This can be done through registered brokerage companies.
In the 2021 fiscal year, Julius Berger grew its revenue by 40.13 per cent to N338.8 billion from N241.8 billion in 2020, as its net profit jumped by 574.96 per cent to N8.3 billion from N1.2 billion in the preceding accounting year.
Julius Berger is a leading Nigerian company offering holistic services covering the planning, design, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance of buildings, infrastructure and industry projects in Nigeria.
Since the execution of its pioneer project in 1965 by Julius Berger Tiefbau AG, a related entity, Julius Berger has played a pivotal role in the development of Nigeria’s industrial and civil infrastructure.
It was incorporated as a private company in 1970 and was later converted to a public company and joined the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited in 1991.
Julius Berger has completed over 600 buildings, 20 industrial facilities and 130 infrastructure projects in Nigeria.
Infrastructure projects carried out by the firm include the construction of roads, bridges, seaports, airports, automobile assembly plants, dams, factories, petrol stations, independent power plants, development of the capital city (Abuja), amongst other projects.
Some of the landmark projects successfully executed by the company were the recent construction of the landmark Second River Niger Bridge aimed at strengthening socio-economic development across the East-West region, the construction of the Second Mainland Bridge (Eko Bridge), the repair of the Onitsha bridge in seven weeks, construction of the 500m long and 25m high Laminga Dam, with spillway system, water-treatment plant and 48km pipeline distribution network, completion of construction work for Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, etc. The Company specialises in executing complex works requiring the highest level of technical expertise and Nigeria-specific know-how.
Julius Berger has seven subsidiaries that enable it to complete multifaceted projects at the highest level of performance. This structure allows the organisation to effectively manage and fulfil construction projects, starting from the initial idea through to planning, design, engineering, construction, operation and maintenance.
Julius Berger, together with its subsidiaries, is guided by a value system which has, over time, defined and differentiated its business, thereby setting a benchmark in the Nigerian construction industry. Julius Berger offers its industrial clients forward-looking solutions that preserve the high value of assets and guarantee their sustained availability.
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