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Wisdom in having recovered asset management agency



download 2 6 Wisdom in having recovered asset management agency

If the job of the minister of justice and attorney-general of the Federation is to enforce the law and promote the rule of law, then Abubakar Malami has acquitted himself admirably by pushing the bill seeking to create an agency for the management of recovered property. Those who have closely monitored the anti-corruption fight of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration since 2015 would not be surprised about the bill. It is the logical climax of a struggle to bring more accountability and transparency to the war on corruption.

To be sure, Malami is not a fan of Ibrahim Magu, the suspended chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The attorney-general had not hidden his misgivings about the way Magu prosecuted the anti-corruption war. He seemed to be of the view that Magu had mishandled the anti-graft policy of the Buhari administration in two critical ways. This came to light in two memos he reportedly wrote to the President, which were leaked to the press. The first memo was released during the tenure of Bukola Saraki as president of the Senate. EFCC had listed Saraki as a defendant in the robbery of four banks in Offa on April 4, 2018. The robbers had confessed that they were armed as political thugs. But when the case file was sent to the office of the attorney-general, Malami picked holes in the claims and supporting evidence of the EFCC, and asked the anti-graft agency to go and do a more diligent investigation before proceeding with the case. Malami also picked similar holes in the case against Mohammed Adoke and others in the Malabu oil deal case.

Then came the memo, which led to the setting up of the Presidential Investigative Panel chaired by Justice Ayo Salami. In the memo, Malami advanced reasons suspended EFCC acting chairman was not suitable for confirmation as chairman of EFCC, among which were allegations of diversion of seized assets and general lack of transparency and accountability in the management of recovered assets.

Reports coming from the Salami panel appeared to have backed Malami’s position that the EFCC, under Magu, had become like a poorly managed private enterprise where there’s no accountability. Magu had reportedly been at a loss to explain disparities in his record of seized property, and his accounts of recovered proceeds of corruption have been haphazard. Property had been sold without due diligence and monies unaccounted for.

The current legal situation allows any over-ambitious head of the EFCC become a Czar, an emperor who does as he likes without anyone to check his excesses. And this in itself is a condition conducive for corruption as all can now see from revelations coming from the Salami panel.

This is why the bill for the establishment of Crime Recovery and Management Agency, which has now been approved by the Federal Executive Council for transmission to the National Assembly, is a welcome development. The bill, when passed, would move the fight against corruption to a high level of transparency.

It would not be surprising if entrenched corrupt interests fight the bill at the NASS. They will use blackmail and intimidation to make sure it does not see the light of day. They have already started a civil society and media campaign to kill the bill but Nigerians must resist them. The NASS must resist any attempt by these powerful and affluent interests to trample on the country. They think the formation of the new agency will not allow them to manipulate the anti-corruption fight of President Buhari and divert resources to their personal pockets.

Explaining the importance of the bill, Malami had said: “The bill, when approved by NASS, would ensure the establishment of the agency, which would be saddled with the responsibility of managing all recovered assets across the country. What happened before now was that the proceeds of crime were scattered all over and mostly in the hands of different and multiple agencies of government, inclusive of the police, the DSS, EFCC, and ICPC.

“So, with that kind of arrangement, which is ad hoc, there is no agency of government that is saddled with the responsibility of data generation, an agency that can give you off-hand the number of landed assets, number of immovable assets, the amount in cash that are recovered by the Federal Government by way of interim forfeiture over weigh of a final forfeiture.

“So, it is indeed over time a kind of arrangement that is not uniform and consistent. So, what this law seeks to do is to move the fight against corruption to the next level; next level of transparency; next level of accountability and in essence have in place an agency of government that is exclusively responsible for anything that is proceeds of crime. So, a one-stop shop arrangement by which all assets that are recovered arising from crimes that are indeed vested in the Federal Government – you have a one-stop shop arrangement where you can have information.”

Malami had come up against some of these obstacles while Magu was in charge of EFCC. He had long identified the loopholes in EFCC’s operation as it affects the anti-corruption fight and his effort to fix it has met brick walls of vested interests. Sadly, Malami has been wrongly portrayed by these interests as the clog in the anti-corruption wheel, instead of the established interests he’s been fighting.

There is no doubt these interests are powerful, entrenched and can be overwhelming. It is a credit to Malami’s fighting spirit that he’s not derailed from his mission to give the anti-graft war more integrity by making it more accountable. True, it is this lack of an accountable and transparent management process that has made many Nigerians to question the honesty of the anti-graft messaging of the Buhari government.

Now that the country is close to getting an agency that will make the anti-corruption fight more meaningful and impactful, corrupt interests will surely rally for a war of attrition against NASS and Malami. But the legislators must put national interest above any consideration. That is the only way Nigeria can be a winner.

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MTN Nigeria Appoints Karl Toriola As CEO



images 2020 10 26T125948.431 MTN Nigeria Appoints Karl Toriola As CEO

MTN Nigeria is pleased to inform The Nigerian Stock Exchange (The Exchange), the investing public and other stakeholders of the appointment of Mr. Karl Toriola as the CEO designate. His appointment is effective 1st March 2021, providing enough time for an orderly handover.
Mr. Toriola is currently the Vice President: West and Central Africa (WECA), excluding Nigeria and Ghana, a position he assumed in 2016. During that period, he has overseen the steady progress of the operating companies in the region, notably the turnaround of MTN Ivory Coast and MTN Cameroon.
Karl Toriola increased his stake in the telecoms provider via the purchase 920,000 ordinary shares, as disclosed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange platform.
A break down of the aggregate information showed Toriola acquired 920,000 ordinary shares at N118 per share on June 25, 2020, in Lagos, Nigeria.
Accordingly, the total purchase stood at 920,000 shares valued at N108,560,000.
Brief Profile
During his tenure, the WECA markets have made significant commercial and strategic strides. These include the improvement of market shares within the region and the development of mobile financial services.
Since joining the Group in 2006, Mr. Toriola has also held a number of senior operational roles including Chief Technical Officer of MTN Nigeria, CEO of MTN Cameroon and MTN Group Operations Executive. Mr. Toriola has at various times in his career in MTN Group, had oversight responsibility of 16 of the Group subsidiaries and serves on various MTN boards, including MTN Nigeria.
Mr. Toriola obtained a Bachelor of Science in Electronic and Electrical Engineering from the University of Ife, a Master of Science degree in Communication Systems from the University of Wales, and attended the General Management Program at Harvard Business School. In addition, he has attended several executive development courses at various institutions including Wharton Business School, Institute of Management Development and London Business School.

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Chinese products top Nigeria’s imported goods list – NBS



images 2020 10 26T095501.555 Chinese products top Nigeria’s imported goods list – NBS

A total of 31 .41 per cent of goods imported into Nigeria are from China , according to the National Bureau of Statistics .
The NBS stated in its report on ‘ Foreign trade in goods statistics ’ for second quarter of 2020 , that Spain topped the list of Nigeria’ s exported goods .
Part of the report read, “ Nigeria ’s imports, by country of origin, shows goods were imported mainly from China ( N 1 . 26 tn or 31 .41 per cent ) , United States ( N 428 .9 bn or 10 .66 per cent ) , India ( N 322 . 3 bn or 8 . 01 per cent ) , and the Netherlands ( N 202 . 9 bn or 5 .04 per cent ) respectively.
“ The value of exports in Q 2 , 2020 stood at N 2 .22 tn , a decrease of 45 . 64 per cent compared to Q 1 , 2020 and 51 .73 per cent compared to Q2 , 2019 .
“ The year to date export amounted to N 6. 3 tn , representing a 31 per cent decline compared to 2019 .
“ Exports by section revealed that mineral products accounted for the largest portion of exports , amounting to N 1 .87 tn or 84 . 35 per cent , mainly due to the crude oil component .”
This section , it noted, was followed by vehicles aircraft and parts ( N 221 . 2 bn or 9 .96 per cent ) and others .
Analysis of export by region revealed that Nigeria exported most products to Europe ( N 976 .5 bn or 44 per cent ) , followed by Asia ( N 734 .1 bn or 33 .08 per cent ) , Africa ( N 401 .4 bn or 18 . 1 per cent ) , America ( N 105 . 8bn or 4 .8 per cent ) and Oceania ( N 1 .7 bn or 0 .08 per cent ) .
Within Africa , goods worth N 149 . 3 bn were exported to ECOWAS member states.
All regions recorded declines in the value of exported goods during the quarter , although China and Japan each recorded increased export activity .
The NBS stated, “ Exports by country of destination showed that Nigeria exported goods to Spain valued at ( N 310 .8 bn or 14 per cent ) , Netherlands ( N 243 .7 bn or 10 . 98 per cent ) , China ( N 220 .4 bn or 9. 9 per cent ) , India ( N 195 .6 bn or 8 . 8 per cent ) and South Africa ( N 172 .2 or 7 . 7 per cent ) .
During the quarter , total trade in agricultural goods stood at N 493 .7 bn , of which exported agricultural goods accounted for N 78 .1 bn .
Analysis by economic region showed that most agricultural goods were exported to Asia, Europe and America valued at N 43 .6 bn , N 26 .4 bn and N 6. 6 bn .
The key driver of agricultural products exports were superior quality raw cocoa beans , sesamum seeds, cashew nuts , good fermented cocoa beans and more .
The main consumers of superior quality cocoa were The Netherlands ( N 9 .3 bn ) , Indonesia ( N 3 . 7 bn ) and United States ( N 2 . 4 bn ) .
Other agricultural exports were Sesamum seeds exported to Japan ( N 6 bn ) and to China ( N 2 . 3bn ) .
Also, cashew nuts worth N 12 bn were exported to Vietnam.
In terms of imports, durum wheat worth N 41 bn was imported from United States , Russia ( N 28 .8 bn ) and Latvia ( N 24 .5 bn ) .
The value of manufactured goods trade in Q2 , 2020 stood at N 3. 04 tn .
Out of this , the export component accounted for N 254 .2 bn .
The products that drove up manufactured export were light vessels , fire floats , floating cranes exported to Spain in the value worth N 129bn .

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ASSBIFFI harps on decent work post-COVID-19



images 2020 10 26T092355.452 ASSBIFFI harps on decent work post-COVID-19

Organised labour has tasked the Federal Government at ensuring decent work and protection of workers at workplaces, as part of COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts.

President of the Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and other Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), Olasanoye Oyinkansola, in her address during the celebration of the 2020 World Day for Decent Work, organised by the union in Lagos, said decent work for all workers must be the foundation for recovery plans.

She also noted that financing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) remains the best framework for resilience.

According to her, towards attaining the New Social Contract for Recovery and Resilience in line with the dictates of post-COVID-19 workplace, employers in the financial sector are compelled to adopt new rules to remain relevant in their place of work.

“These rules include alternate work days arrangement to comply with physical distance protocol, remote work, virtual meetings, seminars and conferences via webinar, Zoom and Telegram, among others,” she said.

Olasanoye stated that, to enhance recovery, Nigeria must build a social contract involving workers, employers and government on how best to withstand the aftermath of the pandemic using the contract as a foundation.

“Towards this end, ASSBIFI opines for the generation and sustainable employment opportunities, sustained fundamental principles and right to work, occupational safety and social protection, among others,” she said.

In the same vein, the Trade Union Congress (TUC) has called on the Federal Government, as part of post-COVID-19 plans, to carry out some bold reforms as well as robust fiscal and monetary policy actions to reduce the number of Nigerians who may be pushed into poverty and acts of criminality.

The president of the TUC, Quadri Olaleye, said: “Nigeria is a mono-economy, hence, the collapse of international oil prices has been monumental. It has destabilized the macroeconomic balances thereby further increasing the number of Nigerians living in poverty.”

Olaleye also called on employers to give attention to human resource as one of the critical ways to bring back economic growth and build a new global economy.

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