Court Remands Fund Managers Over N891m Capital Market Investment
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
Two fund managers, Mr Solomon Edet Solomon and Mr Zakari Haruna, have been remanded in Suleija Correctional Centre after they were arraigned for collecting about N891 million from members of the public through an unregistered investment company, Vektr Capital Global Group, contrary to the laws of Nigeria.
They were brought before Justice Zainab Abubakar of the Federal High Court, Court 4, Abuja, after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) sealed up the Wuse Zone 5 office of Vektr Capital in March 2022 on suspicions of illegally collecting money from the investing public.
At the court, after the four-count charge was read to the suspects, Justice Abubakar fixed March 16, 2023, for the commencement of the trial.
In the charges, the defendants were alleged to have, on or between the years 2021 and 2022 within the jurisdiction of the court with intent to defraud, conspired amongst themselves together with one Kayode Sal Viktor and other staff to obtain the sum of over N891,729,000 from investing public, including Cordelia Ukomaka Ducke Eze and others under the false pretence that they were fund managers which you are not and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and Fraud Related Offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.
“That you, M/s Vektr Capital Global Nigeria Ltd, on or between the year 2021 and 2022 within the jurisdiction of this court, did commit a felony to wit. Conspired among yourselves together with Kayode Sal Viktor and your other staff to do an illegal act- to lure and offer a subscription to an unregistered collective investment scheme valued over N891,000,000 to investing public, including Cordelia Ukomaka Ducke Eze and others and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 516 of Criminal Code Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004.
“That you, M/s Vektr Capital Global Nigeria Ltd, on or between the year 2021 and 2022 within the jurisdiction of this court, did commit a felony to wit. Conspired among yourselves together with Kayode Sal Viktor and your other staff to do an illegal act- to lure and offer a subscription to an unregistered collective investment scheme valued over N891,000,000 to investing public, including Cordelia Ukomaka Ducke Eze and others and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 54 of the Investments and Securities Act, 2007,” the charge stated.
When the bail application came up for determination, the Justice said she had not been convinced, going by the affidavit that the accused will attend court to attend the trial and not jump bail.
Earlier, counsel to Mr Solomon urged the court to grant the defendant bail, stating that the defendant is only an employee of the company and not the owner.
However, Justice Abubakar declined to say that being an employee of the company is not enough for her to grant him bail but told the counsel that she needs to be convinced that if the defendant is granted bail, he will be available to attend the hearing and not jump bail.
“You know the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice on bail applications. He must meet those considerations. Show me in your affidavit of support where all these conditions have been listed as met to give me the assurance that the second defendant will at all times attend this trial in person. If I grant him bail based on what you have submitted, will I not be seen to be reckless as a judge?
“Granting bail is a discretionary power, and you must earn it; you must convince me. So many people jump bail cases will come up, and it cannot go on because the person has jumped bail. If you convince me because your conviction is on oath, I believe you. My concern is what you depose in your affidavit. I cannot, on the basis of this deposition, grant this person bail, and I cannot.
“According to Section 160, paragraph 8F, the applicant must have these facts in his affidavit to convince the court to grant him bail. If I grant bail and he decides to jump bail tomorrow, anyone that sees this application will say he did not commit himself,” she said.
Justice Abubakar stated that there are no vital assurances to convince the court to grant the defendant bail as contained in Section 160 of the Criminal Administrative Justice Act 2013 and enumerated in Paragraph 8f of the said Act, emphasising that It is important that the deposition must contain that vital information to convince and assure the court to grant the second defendant bail.
She subsequently ruled saying, “In the absence of this, this court cannot grant the second defendant bail. Accordingly, bail is refused”.
On the third defendant Mr Haruna, the judge stated that based on the propositions contained in the application submitted to the court for bail, particularly paragraphs 12-17, the court is inclined to grant bail to him.
“Accordingly, bail is granted to the third applicant in the sum of N100 million and one surety in the like sum. The surety must be a responsible, reputable person in the society as deposed to in the affidavit; the surety must own a landed property within the jurisdiction of this court whose title documents must be deposited with the Deputy Chief Registrar Litigation of this court after due verification.
“Both the third defendant and the surety must deposit two copies of their recent passport photographs with the Deputy Chief Registrar Litigation of this honourable court. The defendant must also deposit his international Passport with the Deputy Chief Registrar Litigation of this court. Bail is granted; those are the only conditions imposed”.
“Both the Second and Third defendants are to be remanded in Suleija Correctional Centre. A remand of the third defendant at the Suleija Correctional Centre is pending when he fulfils his bail conditions. Anytime he fulfils his bail conditions, he is free to go and enjoy his day,” Justice Abubakar stated.
BUA Cement, Nigerian Breweries, Others Drive Stock Market’s 0.06% Loss
By Dipo Olowookere
The Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited recorded a 0.06 per cent loss on Friday as a result of the selling pressure on some blue-chip stocks at the bourse.
It was observed that the decline was mainly driven by the poor performances of financial and industrial goods shares during the trading session.
Data obtained by Business Post showed that the insurance space lost 1.01 per cent, the industrial goods counter depreciated by 0.66 per cent, the banking sector declined by 0.25 per cent, and the consumer goods category shed 0.21 per cent, while the energy index remained flat.
Consequently, the All-Share Index (ASI) moderated by 31.55 points to 54,892.53 points from 54,924.08 points, and the market capitalisation went down by N18 billion to N29.903 trillion from N29.921 trillion.
A total of 137.6 million shares valued at N3.9 billion exchanged hands in 2,912 deals on the last trading session of the week compared with the 117.9 million shares worth N1.4 billion traded in the preceding session in 2,575 deals, representing an improvement in the trading volume, value and the number of deals by 16.71 per cent, 178.57 per cent, and 13.09 per cent, respectively.
Fidelity Bank closed the session as the most traded equity after it sold 21.5 million units and was trailed by GTCO, which sold 14.9 million units. Neimeth traded 14.0 million shares, UBA exchanged 12.8 million equities, and Transcorp traded 8.9 million stocks.
Investor sentiment was slightly strong yesterday as the market breadth was positive with 13 price gainers and 11 price losers led by AIICO Insurance, which fell by 5.00 per cent to 57 Kobo.
Linkage Assurance depleted by 4.76 per cent to 40 Kobo, Coronation Insurance went down by 4.76 per cent to 40 Kobo, International Breweries depreciated by 2.25 per cent to N4.35, and Transcorp lost 2.19 per cent to trade at N1.34.
On the flip side, NPF Microfinance gained 6.94 per cent to finish at N1.85, Geregu Power appreciated by 6.25 per cent to N323.00, Lasaco Assurance rose by 5.00 per cent to N1.05, Chams grew by 4.17 per cent to 25 Kobo, and Japaul improved by 3.57 per cent to 29 Kobo.
Analysis of the market data indicated losses reported by BUA Cement (1.60 per cent), Nigerian Breweries (0.55 per cent), GTCO (0.25 per cent), and Zenith Bank (0.15 per cent) caused the downfall of the exchange on Friday.
Again, NASD OTC Exchange Valuation Crosses N1 trillion
By Adedapo Adesanya
The market capitalisation of the NASD Over-the-Counter (OTC) Securities Exchange recorded a 5.3 per cent appreciation at the final session for the week, Friday, March 24, to close at N1.01 trillion from N959.06 billion on Thursday.
Business Post reports that this is the second time the value of the NASD OTC exchange would cross the N1 trillion mark.
The first was when Access Bank Plc was admitted to the alternative stock exchange in March 2022 and about a year later, it again crossed the same mark after Purple Real Estate Income Plc joined the platform on Thursday and began trading the next day.
Meanwhile, the NASD Unlisted Securities Index (NSI) grew by 0.5 points or 0.07 per cent yesterday to wrap the session at 730.37 points compared with 729.87 points recorded in the previous session.
The day’s single price gainer was Geo-Fluids Plc, which improved its value by 16 Kobo to close at N1.80 per share versus Thursday’s closing price of N1.64 per share.
The volume of securities traded by investors depreciated on Friday by 67.3 per cent to 1.7 million units from 5.2 million units, the value of transactions slumped by 87.2 per cent to N3.1 million from N24.3 million, while the number of deals decreased by 78.6 per cent to three deals from the 14 deals carried out in the previous trading day.
Geo-Fluids Plc remained the most traded stock by volume on a year-to-date basis with 462.1 million units valued at N505.0 million, UBN Property Plc stood in second place with 365.8 units valued at N309.5 million, while IGI Plc was in third place with 71.1 million units valued at N5.1 million.
In terms of the most traded stock by value on a year-to-date basis, VFD Group Plc was on top of the chart for exchanging 7.3 million units worth N1.7 billion, followed by Geo-Fluids Plc with 462.1 million units valued at N505.0 million, and UBN Property Plc with 365.8 million units valued at N309.5 million.
Naira Appreciates at Official Market, Loses at Peer-to-Peer, Black Market
By Adedapo Adesanya
It was a mixed bag for the Naira at the foreign exchange (forex) market on Friday as its value closed stronger against the United States Dollar in the Investors and Exporters (I&E) side of the market but was weaker in the Peer-to-Peer (P2P) and the parallel market.
Data showed that the local currency gained 34 Kobo or 0.07 per cent against its American counterpart to trade at N461.33/$1 compared with the previous day’s value of N461.67/$1.
It was observed that the Nigerian currency gained weight during the session despite being pressed by FX demand pressure, resulting in the sale of $241.38 million worth of forex at the close of transactions, $161.35 million or 66.8 per cent higher than the $80.03 million recorded in the preceding session.
In the P2P window, the domestic currency lost N1 against the US Dollar to settle at N756/$1, in contrast to the N755/$1 it was sold a day earlier.
In the same vein, the Naira depreciated against the greenback in the black market yesterday by N1 to close at N743/$1 compared with Thursday’s closing rate of N742/$1.
However, in the interbank segment, the Nigerian Naira closed flat against the Pound Sterling and the Euro on Friday at N566.08/£1 and N497.72/€1, respectively.
In a related development, the digital currency market was in the red as most of the tokens tracked by Business Post depreciated in price, as the markets reacted to the latest Federal Reserve interest rate hike. The Fed opted to increase rates by 25 basis points (bps) as many had anticipated and signalled one more hike this year.
Bitcoin (BTC) slid by 3.0 per cent to $27,458.80, Ethereum (ETH) dropped 3.8 per cent to $1,745.28, Solana (SOL) lost 6.3 per cent to trade at $20.61, Litecoin (LTC) went down by 2.9 per cent to $92.64, Dogecoin (DOGE) shrank by 2.3 per cent to $0.0748, Cardano (ADA) declined by 2.2 per cent to $0.3586, and Binance Coin (BNB) went down by 1.1 per cent to trade at $323.15, while Ripple (XRP) appreciated by 2.2 per cent to $0.4465, with Binance USD (BUSD) and the US Dollar Tether (USDT) flat at $1.00 apiece.
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