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AfDB Debars Sargittarius Over Integrity Issues

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By Adedapo Adesanya

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has announced the debarment of Sargittarius Nigeria Limited and its affiliates, including Sargittarius Henan Water Conservancy Engineering Limited, for a period of 18 months.

The Abidjan-based lender said the company was barred from executing its projects for fraudulent practices and will take effect from July 28, 2021.

An investigation conducted by the bank’s Office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption established that Sargittarius Nigeria Limited engaged in fraudulent practices during tenders for the construction of water infrastructure in Ibadan, Nigeria, under the Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project in Nigeria.

The debarment renders Sargittarius Nigeria Limited and its affiliates ineligible to participate in bank group-financed projects during the debarment period.

Additionally, the debarment qualifies for cross-debarment by other multilateral development banks under the Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions, including the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank Group.

This means that it is only at the expiry of the debarment period that the company will be eligible to resume participation in the bank’s group-financed projects on the condition that it implements an integrity compliance programme consistent with the bank’s guidelines.

The Urban Water Supply and Sanitation Improvement Project is aimed at improving access to safe water supply and sanitation services in the cities of Ibadan and Jalingo, in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

The project is co-financed by the African Development Fund, an entity of the AfDB and the Government of Nigeria.

Business Post gathered that Sargittarius Nigeria Limited is a company that specializes in hydro-engineering and construction works with an emphasis on water transmission and distribution, dam and waterworks construction, pipeline construction, civil /structural construction, surface and underground water supply schemes, metering and calibration, erosion flood control and housing.

The firm said it offers “a complete range of engineering design, procurement, construction and project management services for turnkey projects.”

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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Rite Foods Removes Over 100k Plastic Bottles From Lagos Shorelines

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Over 100,000 plastic bottles have been taken away from Lagos shorelines by Rite Foods Limited through its sponsored riteonthebeach initiative aimed at cleaning the country’s beaches.

Launched in August 2021 by Rite Foods’ Managing Director, Mr Seleem Adegunwa, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project went live in the Lagos beach communities in January 2022 with a success story.

This campaign by the market leader in Nigeria’s food and beverage industry is geared towards promoting environmental conservation.

To date, the communities have removed over 100,000 bottles from their beaches, with school children taking the responsibility of dropping off twenty-two bottles or 1kg of plastics before school each day.

Through the beach cleaning initiative, 74 scholarships and over 20 jobs have been created from the collection and recycling process, spearheaded by the Founder of Popbeachclub, Mr Akin Disu, the convener of Riteonthebeach, with its festival held in November 2022.

The academic festival sensitises the public on the effects of climate change and plastic pollution on the environment centred in the remote Lagos fishing communities of Ilashe, Ibeshe, and Ikaare.

In partnership with Disu, Riteonthebeach created the Plastic Neutral Token, a community-driven social enterprise system that encourages members of the public to take responsibility for the plastic waste they produce, as the average human being uses 84 kilograms of plastic yearly.

By members of the public buying a plastic-neutral token, the scheme will remove 84kgs of plastic from the ocean, thereby making it plastic-neutral and eco-friendly.

The plastic waste is processed and sent to the city for recycling, with the entire process verified by a third party and tracked on its transparent online platform. They achieved this by engaging the communities of these remote coastal fishing villages, rewarding the children with scholarships, while the women and youth were provided with jobs. This is to save the fishing ecosystem under threat from extensive ocean waste from the city.

The fishing communities serve a crucial role in Lagos state’s economy, providing fish and tourism services for the city of Lagos. These coastal communities on the Lagos western peninsular are separated from the city by the Owo river basin watershed, with the residents under a constant deluge of plastic waste transported by the ocean to their doorsteps.

Interestingly, the Riteonthebeach is committed to creating 300 scholarships in two years, in partnership with the coastal communities removing one metric ton of plastic per week, thereby attaining sustainability.

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Petrol Scarcity Will Ease Next Week—Kyari Assures Nigerians

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By Modupe Gbadeyanka

Nigerians have been assured that the long queues seen at various filling stations across the country will reduce from next week as efforts are being made to ramp up the supply of premium motor spirit (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, in the country.

This assurance was given by the Group Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited, Mr Mele Kyari, during an interview with Channels Television.

While speaking with one of the Channels TV’s anchors, Mr Seun Okinbaloye, the NNPC chief said his organisation was working tirelessly to put the situation under control.

The current petrol scarcity resurfaced in the last quarter of 2022, with consumers buying the product as high as N320 per litre in Lagos instead of the official pump price of N170 per litre.

This situation has caused tension in some parts of the country, sparking protests in Ibadan in Oyo State and Abeokuta in Ogun State.

But Mr Kyari has called for calm, assuring motorists and Nigerians that things would improve in the coming weeks.

“Now, within the next one week, I’m not saying that you’re going to have zero queues within the next one week, no, because a number of things are out of our control, and of course, the market forces will determine some of these issues.

“But I believe that we’re going to see substantial and relative ease compared to today in the next one week,” the NNPC boss stated.

He apologised to Nigerians for the pain the situation has put them through in the past months, taking responsibility for this.

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Court Acquits Jide Omokore of $1.6bn Fraud, Convict Two Others

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By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Mr Jide Omokore, an ally of former Minister of Petroleum, Ms Diezani Alison-Madueke, has been acquitted by Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.

Mr Omokore was accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) of laundering funds to the tune of $1.6 billion.

However, at the ruling on Tuesday, February 7, 2023, Justice Dimgba held that the anti-money laundering organisation could not prove its case against Mr Omokore and two companies linked to him, Atlantic Energy Brass Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited.

But two other persons linked to the matter, Victor Briggs and Abiye Membere, both former top officials of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), were convicted by the court today.

They were found guilty of “unethically collecting car gifts as public officials,” in contravention of section 98 of the Criminal Code Act.

According to the trial judge, public officials must act at arm’s length with private individuals, especially those that have business relations with their departments or agencies. They would be kept in the custody of the EFCC pending their sentencing on Wednesday.

In a statement issued after the ruling, the EFCC expressed shock over the acquittal of Mr Omokore, vowing to challenge it at the appeal court.

The agency dragged Mr Omokore and others to court, alleging that he used the Strategic Alliance Agreement signed between the NPDC and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited to swindle the NPDC and the Nigerian government of monies running into billions of dollars through the lifting of crude oil from some oil wells between March 2013 and May 2014.

The other defendants, who were senior management staff of the NNPC, were accused of conspiracy in inducing the NPDC to facilitate the lifting of crude by Mr Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited; and receiving car gifts from Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Limited and Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Limited.

“That you, Olajide Jones Omokore, Atlantic Energy Brass Development Ltd, Atlantic Energy Drilling Concept Ltd and Kolawole Akanni Aluko (now at large) between May 2013 and March 2014 within the jurisdiction of this court obtained by false pretence and with intent to defraud, 7,551,867 barrels of crude oil (Brass blend) valued at the sum of $823,75,189.95 from Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC), Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Federal Government of Nigeria on the false pretence that you had funds (both local and foreign) necessary to support the Nigerian Petroleum Development Company Limited in petroleum operation for the OML 60,61, 62 and 63 and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1(a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act Cap. A6, 2010, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act,” one of the charges read.

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