NIRSAL Microfinance Bank (NMFB) yesterday denied claims that its staff had extorted applicants and promised to grant them approvals for their loan requests.
In a statement, the bank management described the accusation as not only spurious but unfounded as “NMFB frowns at any form of unethical practices or unprofessional conduct which contravenes our policy and core values”.
Some aggrieved individuals who applied for loans under the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s Agribusiness Small & Medium Enterprises Scheme (AGSMEIS) had alleged that the bank conspired with Entrepreneurial Development Institutions (EDIs) to extort money from applicants with the promise to grant them approvals for their loan requests.
“NMFB has repeatedly warned applicants, through various social media platforms, that the AGSMEIS loan application process is individual-based, after the completion of a N10,000-cost training exercise by NMFB-accredited Entrepreneurial Development Institutions, EDIs.
“The business plan, which is also automatically generated on the portal, has two options – a free application and another that cost N5,000. Applicants have the liberty to use any of the two business plan options. No EDI has the right to charge extra cost,” the statement added.
The bank further urged applicants to report any observed anomalies or form of solicitation directly or through its whistleblower channels.
It also said that applicants who were recently sent a decline application message due to their inability to meet our set current risk assessment criteria that they could re-apply with a business plan tailored to the new maximum of N3 million threshold at no cost to them.
“Once again, we remind all Nigerians that the AGSMEIS loan is not a grant but a loan” it added.
In 2017, Abubakar Malami, attorney-general of the federation (AGF), had alleged that the said property was sold by the EFCC to “a Lagos lawyer”. Malami had also said the property was one of the assets recovered by the pension task force.
But Falana had immediately tackled Malami, dismissing the claim as false, and adding that the property was not recovered by the pension task force.
He said when the previous stories of the illegal acquisition of property did not fly, the federal government had also alleged before the Ayo Salami judicial panel set up to probe Ibrahim Magu, former EFCC chairman, that the then anti-graft agency boss had transferred N28.5 million to the account of his law firm.
The property came up again on Thursday when Ngozika Ihuoma, a witness in the trial of Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team (PRTT), told the Abuja federal high court about monies and property recovered by the former pension boss.
Ihuoma, a management consultant, whose firm, Crincad & Cari Nigeria Ltd, was contracted by the PRTT for consultancy service, claimed that the said property was purchased by a “renowned lawyer”, but did not mention any name.
In a statement on Friday, Falana said there has been a renewed effort to falsely accuse him of buying the said property.
The senior advocate of Nigeria, however, denied the claim on the purchase of the said property, and challenged the federal government to forfeit the N1 billion alleged to have been paid by him.
“My attention has just been drawn to the renewed version of the LIE to the effect that the same property lying and being at 42, Gana Street, Maitama District, Abuja, allegedly recovered by the Pension Reform Task Force was valued at N6,000,000,000.00 (six billion naira) but sold to me for N1,000,000,000.00 (one billion naira) sometime in 2015,” Falana said.
“I wish to say, without any fear of contradiction, that the property in question was never recovered by the Presidential Pension Task Force. It is on record that the property was used as a collateral by the owner, A. Group Properties Limited, a loan from Bank PHB in 2008. When the owner of the property defaulted in the payment of the loan it was taken over by the Asset Management of Nigeria (AMCON) via an order of interim forfeiture.
“However, in an attempt to liquidate the loan, the owner of the property wanted to sell it. My law firm agreed to buy the property for N250,000,000 (two hundred and fifty million naira). But we withdrew from the transaction due to the delay in resolving the case. Up till now, the case is still pending at the Federal High Court.
“In the light of the foregoing, I challenged the Federal Government to proceed to forfeit the alleged N1 billion purportedly paid by me and recover the property if it established that it was recovered by the Pension Task Force.”
Businessman Ibrahim Mahama, has denied inviting the Director of communications at Ghana Gas Company Limited, Ernest Owusu Bempah “to come home for tea”.
Media reports over the weekend, had claimed that Ernest Owusu Bempah, had received and accepted an invitation from the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Engineers and Planners, Ibrahim Mahama, to that effect.
Mr Mahama, was said to have described Ernest Owusu Bempah, one of the young men in the New Patriotic Party (NPP) with an acidic tongue and vitriolic disposition, as his “younger brother” and invited him to come home, indicating a sealing of peace and forgiveness from the businessman.
But a statement from an aide of Ibrahim Mahama late Saturday, asked the public to ignore the claim since “There’s no such invitation extended to Owusu Bempah after the apology was issued”.
The statement issued by Rafik Mahama added that “an amount of GHC 107,000, has been paid so far with GHC203,000 outstanding”.
It is unclear, if Ernest Owusu Bempah, planted the story in the media as a means of reaching out to Ibrahim Mahama.
The statement posted on Rafik Mahama’s facebook page read ” Kindly disregard the story that went viral today with the headline: “Ibrahim Mahama invites ‘brother’ Owusu Bempah home for tea, pardons payment of GH¢203,000”. There’s no such invitation extended to Owusu Bempah after the apology was issued. An amount of GHC 107,000 has been paid so far with GHC203,000 outstanding.
Mr Mahama, received an official apology from Owusu Bempah and apart from that, no further decision has been taken with regards to the apology from Owusu Bempah and the outstanding amount of GHC 203,000. Signed : Rafik Mahama (Aide to Mr. Ibrahim Mahama, CEO, Engineers & Planners Co Ltd).
MyNewsGh.com, had reported that “Mr. Mahama who described Ernest Owusu Bempah as his “younger brother” invited him to come home, indicating a sealing of peace and forgiveness from the businessman”.
The businessman had secured a court order to empty Ernest Owusu Bempah’s account of GH¢310,000, but only GH¢107,000 was found in his account at NIB.
Sources hinted MyNewsGh.com that the generous Ibrahim Mahama who “didn’t actually need the GH¢310,000 for anything” pardoned Ernest Owusu Bempah from paying the balance. This is yet to be confirmed though.
All this comes after Owusu Bempah placed a call to apologise to the businessman after issuing an official apology, as well to the magnanimous businessman who in 2018, the business mogul sued along with the Despite Group of Companies, operators of UTV for defaming him.
On March 3, 2018, the Ghana Gas Communication boss, made a statement on UTV’s ‘Adekye Nsoroma’ show that former President Mahama’s brother, Ibrahim is a thief.
However, in his apology letter, Mr Owusu Bempah said, “The statement which I made then was made without any basis and was made without due regard to the hard-earned reputation of Mr Ibrahim Mahama and I ought not to have made same. That statement I made about Mr Ibrahim Mahama, was not true then and is not true now and can never be true and that I have no reason to make the statement.”
Mr Owusu Bempah further said, “Irrespective of how it happened, the facts remain that I should never have made such a statement of Mr Ibrahim Mahama. The statement was clearly derogatory and defamatory of the person and the enviable achievements of Mr Ibrahim Mahama. I sincerely regret making that statement about him.”
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has denied reports of plans to increase the ex-depot price of Premium Motor Spirit (PMS), also known as petrol, in March 2021.
This was made known in a statement signed by the Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Dr. Kennie Obateru on Sunday.
Obateru stated revealed that the corporation has in fact ruled out any increment in the price in March and this is in a bid not to jeopardize ongoing engagements with the organized labour and other stakeholders on an acceptable framework that will not expose the ordinary Nigerian to any hardship.
In the statement, NNPC also issued warning to petroleum products marketers against engaging in arbitrary price increases or hoarding petrol, so as to avoid artificial scarcity and undue hardship for Nigerians adding that the country has enough stock of petrol to keep the nation well supplied for over 40 days.
It further called on relevant regulatory authorities to step up monitoring of the activities of marketers with a view to sanctioning those involved in products hoarding or arbitrary increase of the pump price.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has denied the claim by one of Oando Plc’s shareholders, Engr Patrick Ajudua, that he won a court case against the capital market apex regulator.
SEC disclosed in a statement it issued on Wednesday that there was never a time it was served with court processes with respect to the purported matter at the FCT High court.
It stated, “The attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission (the Commission) has been drawn to several publications in the media, where it is reported that a shareholder of Oando Plc, purportedly obtained a judgment from the Federal Capital Territory High Court against the Commission.
“The Commission wishes to inform the general public that it was never at any time served with court processes with respect to the purported matter at the FCT High court. The Commission will consequently take all necessary steps to verify and set aside the purported decision of the said Court.”
On Tuesday, Ajudua, reportedly won a legal suit, which was filed at the High Court of the FCT against SEC.
He filed that the directive of the SEC suspending Oando’s Annual General Meeting is in breach of his right to freedom of association as guaranteed under Section 40 of the Nigerian Constitution and Articles 9, 10 & 11 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights.
In the said hearing presided over by Honorable Justice O. A Musa, all cases filed were granted in his favor.
The Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC) says allegations of involvement in oil theft at its Bonny Crude Export Terminal is misleading.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that a 2 million barrels crude deficit between 2016 and 2018 reported at the Bonny terminal operated by SPDC has caused a dispute amongst several oil firms that use the oil export facility.
Aiteo Exploration and Production Company claimed that SPDC shortchanged it of 1,022,029 barrels of crude while using the Bonny Crude Export Terminal operated by SPDC between 2016 and 2018.
Aiteo, an indigenous oil firm which acquired OML 29 for US$2.4 billion following SPDC’s 2015 divestment of its 45 per cent stake from the asset.
OML 29 includes the 97-kilometer NCTL which has capacity to lift up to 180,000 barrels per day of crude from oilfields in Bayelsa and Rivers to the Bonny terminal.
In a statement, made available to NAN on Saturday, Mr Bamidele Odugbesan, Media Relations Manager at SPDC, described the claim as factually incorrect.
“The crude theft/diversion allegation is also factually incorrect.
“This is a distinct issue that relates to the directive by the Department of Petroleum Resources to SPDC as operator of the Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal, an asset belonging to the SPDC Joint Venture, to implement a crude re-allocation programme between injectors into the SPDC JV’s Trans Niger Pipeline and injectors into the NCTL.
“Crude allocation review and re-allocation is a normal industry practice to re-allocate previous provisional allocated volumes under the directive and supervision of DPR, and this is not an exercise resulting from crude diversion, underreporting or theft at the terminal.
“This industry practice is not peculiar to the SPDC-operated Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal alone and does not translate into any loss of volumes to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
“The re-allocation in issue was initiated by SPDC as operator of the Bonny Oil and Gas Terminal, while the DPR validated and confirmed it for implementation for the concerned oil producers.
“Crude oil production metering and allocation are subject to specific guidelines issued by the industry regulator, DPR. SPDC strictly adheres to these guidelines and the implementation is regularly verified by the regulator,” Odugbesan stated.
NAN learnt that SPDC, Belema Oil Ltd, Eroton E & P, Niger Delta Petroleum Resources, Total E & P and Walter Smith Petroleum Ltd use the NCTL to convey crude to the Bonny terminal and are proportionately affected by the deficit.
Ebonyi State Government has described allegations of nepotism and fraud against Governor Dave Umahi as false and calculated attempt to malign his character by his enemies.
This is contained in a statement issued by Commissioner for Information and State Orientation, Barr. Orji Uchenna Orji on Saturday. He urged the public to ignore the reports.
A social media post had made allegations of indecent business dealings against Umahi.They claimed he owns Brass Engineering Construction Ltd as his private business and brandished figures and documents of illegal transactions between the company and government.
Orji however put a lie to the claims and blamed some members of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP for it. He challenged those behind it to “substantiate their allegations with the minutest documentary evidence or bury their heads in shame for selling dummy to swindle the sensibilities of the gullible.
The statement reads in part:
“Let it be known that the Governor had made his mark as an accomplished Captain of Industry with flourishing business empire before he joined active politics. Detractors must know that Brass Engineering Construction Nigeria Limited is a going concern which has a legal personality and management structure distinct and separate from the Governor with it’s rights and privileges under the Corporate Affairs and Allied Matters Act.
“His Excellency David Nweze Umahi FNSE FNATE is indistractable and his reputation indestructible as he is on a divine mission to move the state to the part of irreversible greatness
“These political howlers have further revealed their motives and routes in their attack to the Governor for defecting to the ruling APC and for his respect for the President of Nigeria.
“There is no doubt that the sponsors of this fake social media post are from the sinking PDP group in Ebonyi State This falsehood demonstrates how hopeless they can be in their fruitless efforts to destroy the reputation of a leader who has attained greater heights in good governance, transparency and accountability..
“They have tried without success in using the issue of herdsmen to discredit the Governor. Their new strategy is to fabricate figures of nonexistent transactions against Brass Engineering Company Ltd to discredit a man of extra-ordinary leadership ability whose transformational strides are having national acclaim; a man who has won laurels of acclaim from virtually all the Media Houses for his manifest commitment to the develoment of democracy in Nigeria.
“This reprehensible behaviour of these unproductive and expiring remnants of PDP in the state shows the depth of the darkness of their hearts in the midst of the celebrated and unprecedented tranformation that we have continued to enjoy in Ebonyi State since 2015 under the celebrated leadership of His Excellency Engr. Chief David Nweze Umahi FNSE FNATE, Governor of Ebonyi State
“If not that their hearts are darker than the devil, why will they sponsor lies against a leader… Why are they troubled by the defection of the Governor and the good people of Ebonyi State to APC as if they are not aware that Ndigbo as a minority tribe have always maintsreamed with the Party at the Centre since the history of Nigeria’s political develoment which is a wisdom bequethed by our founding fathers so we can have a fair deal in national politics.
“Let them be assured that God Almighty who decorated our dear Governor with the capacity and will to work passionately for his people will give him the enablement to anchor gloriously the ship of develoment in Ebonyi State and to move forward in greater services to his fatherland, and no weapon of warfare fashioned against him shall prosper.
“Members of the public should please disregard the publication by these enemies of progress as another angle to many devilish ochestrations by the Udeogu faction of PDP in the State who by all intents and purposes has no vision and direction after being abandoned for the Progressives Party by the good people of Ebonyi State
The major shareholder in Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Atlas Mara Limited, has denied media reports that it has received offers to sell off its stake in the first generation bank.
A few days ago, there were reports that Atlas Mara was planning to transfer its 50 per cent holdings to a bank in Nigeria.
In March 2020, there were reports that Zenith Bank, one of the five biggest lenders in the country, was considering a merger with Union Bank, but both financial institutions denied the reports.
When a popular online news platform in Nigeria, Premium Times, claimed Atlas Mara was planning to sell its stake in the old generation bank, many observers flashed back to the 2020 merger reports.
But Atlas Mara, in a statement, said it was not aware of any bank approaching it for the acquisition of its shares in Union Bank.
“Atlas Mara Limited, the sub-Saharan African financial services group, issues the following statement in response to media reports incorrectly stating that Atlas Mara has received offers from local banks wishing to buy over Union Bank.
“While it is the company’s practice to refrain from comment on market rumours or speculation, we believe it is important to note that Atlas Mara has not received any offers from any local Nigerian bank or other bank wishing to acquire the company’s stake in Union Bank of Nigeria.
“As previously announced to the market in 2019, the board of the company has been exploring a wide range of strategic options with the assistance of external advisers; that process is still underway and the company’s strategic objectives have not changed,” the firm said.
Also reacting, Union Bank urged the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), other regulatory agencies and members of the public “to disregard the publication in its entirety” because it is not true.
The local lender said it agreed totally with the response given by Atlas Mara on the subject matter as the reports were “purely based on mere rumours and speculations.”
Union Bank a Tier-two lender has denied reports that it has received a buyout offer for a 50 percent stake owned by its major shareholder Atlas Mara.
“Our attention has been drawn to an online publication by Premium Times dated 23rd January 2021, captioned “Union Bank’s Principal Owner considering sale of 50% stake”. Please note that the unsubstantiated report is based on mere rumors and speculations,” Union Bank said in a statement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).
“The Nigerian Stock Exchange, other regulatory agencies and members of the public are hereby advised to disregard the publication in its entirety.”
Union Bank shares closed down 3.39 percent today on below average volume.
Atlas Mara Limited, a sub-Saharan African financial services group, also issued a statement this week in response to what is said were media reports “incorrectly stating that Atlas Mara has received offers from local banks wishing to buy over Union Bank.”
“While it is the Company’s practice to refrain from comment on market rumours or speculation, we believe it is important to note that Atlas Mara has not received any offers from any local Nigerian bank or other bank wishing to acquire the Company’s stake in Union Bank of Nigeria (“UBN”).
As previously announced to the market in 2019, the Board of the Company has been exploring a wide range of strategic options with the assistance of external advisers. That process is still underway and the Company’s strategic objectives have not changed,” Atlas Mara said.
Speculation has been rife for a while that Atlas Mara’s Nigerian assets are up for sale.
The Egyptian Cabinet’s media center has denied reports on social media about the government privatizing spinning and weaving factories.
The Ministry of Public Enterprise Sector said that there was no validity to stories about privatizing spinning and weaving factories, and that these factories were operating normally. It said that a comprehensive plan was being implemented to develop the textile industry at an estimated cost of 21 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.3 billion) as it was one of the country’s most important businesses.
The development plan is based on modernizing the cotton circulation and production system, as well as developing gins, in addition to developing spinning and weaving companies and raising the efficiency of their workers.
Within the framework of the state’s plan to develop ginning — as it is the first link in the chain of the spinning and weaving industry — the development of the first ginning industry in Fayoum Governorate has been completed, and the development of three in Lower Egypt is being completed. This is provided that the development of three other gins has started, in addition to work toward the completion of the development plan for cotton gins nationwide.
Work is also underway to merge a number of spinning and weaving companies to improve performance.
The head of the Holding Company for Spinning and Weaving, Ahmed Mostafa, said that spinning and weaving had been a long-standing industry in Egypt for more than 100 years, but it had been neglected, in addition to a lack of investment in machinery, buildings or any aspect of the sector. Mostafa said that the existing machines were old and not suitable for new technology, and thus produced defective products that were not acceptable to the local or foreign market.
Mostafa said that there was a 21-billion-Egyptian-pound plan to develop the sector. This plan had been developed by an international advisory office and was approved by all parties under the patronage of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
The new machines had already been contracted, price advances paid and the shipping program was being prepared, which will start from the end of 2020. New machines had already arrived at the port, and there were three training centers in Al-Mahalla Al-Kubra, Kafr El-Dawar and Helwan.
Mostafa said that 700 million Egyptian pounds had been allocated to train 45,000 workers. They would be trained on new machines, each of them in their specialization, whether in spinning, weaving or dyeing, he said.