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NNPC: Probe $2.5bn Oil Sale to China, suspend GMD, activist tell NASS 

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Following the recent disclosure by the PointBlank news of the sale of 48 million barrels of Nigeria’s Bonny Crude Light oil to China, valued at $2.5bn but allegedly shared by some persons around the government, the National Assembly has been urged to beem searchlight on the allegation.

A political activist and former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank on Friday, called for the immediate arrest, investigation and prosecution of all those involved in the sale and diversion of the proceeds of the oil to China.

Frank, in the statement, wondered how General Muhammadu Buhari, perceived as the “anti-corruption fighter of Africa”, by ECOWAS would allow such brazen acts of corruption to be perpetuated under his watch.

“Corruption under Buhari has assumed a very disturbing height and, except he is complicit, one wonders why he has stubbornly refused to prosecute persons indicted for the corruption perpetuated under his watch as Petroleum Minister?”

It would be recalled, that Frank had earlier raised an alarm concerning the sale of crude oil to China in 2015 under questionable circumstances for which the accrued funds were diverted by cronies of General Muhammadu Buhari.

Following the transaction in 2015, Buhari had thereafter, instituted a team to travel to China to investigate the report concerning the oil sale.

“We need Buhari to tell Nigerians the outcome of that investigative team to China”, Frank stated.

“Except he (Buhari) is also complicit and in full knowledge of the $2.5bn oil sale to China, we expect the immediate arrest and prosecution of all those mentioned in the wicked, demonic and outright stealing of resources that could have been utilized in the provision of sustainable amenities for Nigerians.

“This is one crime against the citizenry too many that should not be allowed to be swept under the carpet in any form,” he said.

Frank also called on the Government of the United States of America to investigate this act of criminality as Nigerians no longer have the confidence in the Buhari-led administration.

He added: “I hereby call on the US Government to help Nigerians investigate this crime as we no longer have confidence in the Buhari-led government especially as the transaction was conducted, using the US currency and with the amount involved, the entire proceeds can be easily traced with the persons and organizations involved, traced.”

The Bayelsa-born political activist implored General Muhammadu Buhari to immediately set-up an investigative panel just like the Justice Ayo Salami-panel that was set-up to look into the allegations against the acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, that will look into “this weighty allegation which has further, brought ridicule and embarrassment, not only to his APC administration but to Nigeria and Nigerians.

“The President must immediately adopt a similar approach in sacking the board of the NNPC for this crude oil sale of $2.5bn which the GMD of the NNPC, Engr. Mele Kyari and every other persons involved in, has been indicted.”

He also advised both Chambers of the National Assembly, particularly, the Senate to investigate this criminality and possibly, push for their immediate arrest, prosecution and conviction.

Frank enjoined the opposition members in the National Assembly, especially the Minority Leaders, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe and Honourable Ndudi Elumelu of the Senate and House of Representatives respectively, not to allow this manifest fraud to be swept under the carpet like others in the past “as all eyes are on them to ensure that our commonwealth and resources are not pilfered under any guise.”

He called on both men to look critically, into these very weighty and embarrassing allegations as published by PointBlank News

The political activist also called for the suspension of the Group Managing Director of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation, Engr. Mele Kyari to allow for thorough investigation of the sale of over 48 million barrels of Bonny Crude Light oil.

“The NNPC GMD must step aside so as not to allow for a proper investigation of this humongous stealing and criminality,” Frank stated.

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Ford plans $30 billion electric vehicle investment by 2025

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By Chris Isidore, CNN Business

New York (CNN Business) – Ford is doubling down on electric vehicle development, announcing Wednesday it will invest $30 billion in electrification efforts by 2025. The automaker also pledged that 40% of its vehicles sold by 2030 will be electric.
Ford had previously announced plans to spend $22 billion on electrification efforts and had recently revealed plans to build two new battery factories in a joint venture with Korean battery maker SK innovation. Last week, Ford also unveiled plans for an all-electric version of the F-150 pickup, the best selling vehicle from any US automaker. It has already started selling an electric SUV under its iconic Mustang name, the Mustang Mach-E.
But Ford is still playing catchup with all-electric vehicle maker Tesla and also with traditional automakers, such as its alliance partner Volkswagen and domestic rival General Motors. Both have more extensive EV offerings and more aggressive electrification targets. GM says it is aiming to sell only emission-free vehicles by 2035.
Virtually all automakers are ramping up production plans for electric vehicles to meet increasingly tougher environmental regulations and growing demand from car buyers. Electric cars have fewer moving parts than gas-powered vehicles, and therefore can be cheaper to build because they require less labor.
And investors are more interested in backing automakers with ambitious EV plans rather than traditional automakers. Tesla is by far the most valuable car company, despite having a fraction of the sales and profits of traditional automakers. Tesla’s market value is roughly equal to that of the value of the five largest global automakers combined. Shares of Ford rose 2% in premarket trading on its EV announcement.
TM & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc.
A WarnerMedia Company.
All Rights Reserved.

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Kpokpogri drags company, others before EFCC over alleged N16.5m fraud

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A company, BLUESHIP CONSULT LTD has been dragged to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) by one Comrade Prince Kpokpogri over an alleged contract scandal.

In the petition dated May18/2021, which was carried out by a law firm CEDARWALL and PARTNERS and signed by Ovie Justice Osefia Esq, the petitioner Kpokpogri alleged an act of financial fraud, cheating and breach of trust/failure to construct 10x7m infinity pool project after funds were given.

Kpokpogri specifically request the commission to investigate and bring to justice BLUESHIP CONSULT LTD, Michael Chidinma Ifejia, Mrs. Victoria Chinelo, Ifejia Folakemi Faphunda and others now at large for failing to carry out the construction of the said swimming pool project at Guzape Area in Abuja after collecting the sum of Sixteen Million Naira (N16,000,000.00) from him.

According to the petitioner, after the negotiations and written agreement which took place in Lagos on the 13th Day of August, 2020, the company agreed to execute and complete the project within six weeks (6 weeks) immediately after the mobilization fees is paid into the company account.

But after the total sum had been paid in tranches into BLUESHIP CONSULT LTD Keystone bank account number 1007320832, the company failed to carry out construction as agreed within the stipulated time.

The law firm further alleged in the petition that the company and its operators has become evasive and incommunicado, alleging that its conduct has portrayed suspicious acts of frauds, cheating and obtaining money under false pretense.

The petitioner has therefore urged the anti-graft agency to use its good office to promptly look into the complaints bordering on fraudulent dealings.

Kpokpogri also seek that justice be served in respect of the petition and to also protect the public from the activities of the company.

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CBN, First Bank on collision course over removal of MD/CEO

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Sources in First Bank accuse CBN of meddling in its internal affairs.

CBN forex restrictions on food itemsCBN approves new cheque standard for banks

The Central Bank of Nigeria has issued the Board of First Bank Ltd, one of Nigeria’s oldest banks a query for the removal of its CEO.

On Wednesday the Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria Limited revealed it had appointed Gbenga Shobo as its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The appointment was disclosed in a statement made by the bank’s Chairman, Ibukun Awosika.

However, in an apparent leak, a letter from the central bank to First Bank revealed a query from the former to the latter expressing concern that the appointment of Shobo was done without the approval of the apex bank.

“The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to media reports that the Board of Directors has approved the removal of the current Managing Director of the bank, Dr. Sola Adeduntan, and appointed a successor to replace him. The CBN notes with concern that the action was taken without due consultation with the regulatory authorities, especially given the systemic importance of First Bank Ltd.”

The CBN also claimed that the tenure of Mr. Adedutan was yet to expire (bank MD’s have a maximum 10 years) and that they were also not aware of any misconduct of the former MD and as such there was no justification for his removal.

“Given that the tenure of Dr. Adeduntan is yet to expire and the CBN was not made aware of any report from the Board indicting the Managing Director of any wrong-doing or misconduct, there appears to be no apparent justification for the precipitate removal.”

However, sources within the bank informed Nairametrics that First Bank has a maximum of 6 years tenure for its MDs in line with its succession plans. They also claimed the CBN is meddling in its internal affairs as the removal of the MD is in line with its succession plans and also does not exceed CBNs maximum of 10 years.

“First Bank followed its corporate governance framework in its change of leadership and appointment of new executive directors. No Managing Director in the 127 years history of FirstBank has ever attempted a tenure extension. Why now?”

Another source who did not want to be mentioned as they were not authorized to do so lamented that “Adeduntan’s term formally ends in June this year after 2 terms of 3 years each. Leaving early is in line with the bank’s succession planning. When he was appointed 6 years ago and a DMD role was created, the erstwhile FirstBank Managing Director knew the DMD would succeed him and this is what has happened. This is corporate governance at its best.”

However, the apex bank in the leaked letter also suggested that it had provided First Bank with “regulatory forbearance” which can be interpreted as a bailout subliminally indicating that it has a say in the operations of the bank.

“We are particularly concerned because the action is coming at a time the CBN has provided various regulatory forbearances and liquidity support to reposition the bank which has enhanced its asset quality, capital adequacy and liquidity ratios amongst other prudential indicators. It is also curious to observe that the sudden removal of the MD/CEO was done about eight months to the expiry of his second tenure which is due on December 31, 2021. The removal of a sitting MD/CEO of a systemically important bank that has been under regulatory forbearance for 5 to 6 years without prior consultation and justifiable basis has dire implications for the bank and also portends significant risks to the stability of the financial system.”

Sources within the bank also allude without proof that the involvement of the central bank in this matter may also be due to First Bank’s support of Flutterwave which may have angered CBN.

“Is this payback for FirstBank for supporting and enabling Flutterwave and other tech companies? FirstBank MD-Designate, Gbenga Shobo created a revolution by partnering with Flutterwave and other tech companies. Is this payback? The CBN Governor must be called to order. This is not a banana economy. We need to preserve the FirstBank heritage with its seamless succession planning.”

It is unclear how this matter will end but stemming from experience, we will not be surprised if this matter ends in court in a few days. The Central Bank has often controversially delved into board-related issues such as appointments and even firing of all or some Board members for what it perceives as severe infractions.

And as expected, it ended its query to the bank with a threat to the board if the decision to remove Adeduntan is not reversed.

“In light of the foregoing, you are required to explain why disciplinary action should not be taken against the Board for hastily removing the MD/CEO and failing to give prior notice to the CBN before announcing the management change in the media.”

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