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Interpol Indicts American for “419” in Nigeria

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International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) has that it has established a case of fraudulent activities by John Mitchener, an American corporate player in Nigeria.

Interpol Indicts American for "419" in Nigeria

Mitchener had been accused of “economic sabotage, obtaining credit by false pretences, fraudulent trade practices and illegal repatriation of capital, intimidation and threat to life” by his Nigerian business partner.

After investigating, the Interpol national central bureau said it had established that the American was a “transnational fraudster” and asked that the case be handed over to the Nigerian police legal department for further action.

Ranger International Limited (RIL), a US company controlled by Mitchener, had in 2014 entered a partnership with the Nigerian Technixs Oilfield Support Limited, promoted by Abimbola Omotade, to incorporate a new business known as Ranger Subsea Nigeria Limited.

The company was set up to provide services and support for the offshore oil and gas industry.

In the shareholding agreement, Technixs was apportioned 51% while Ranger takes 49%.

Both entities agreed that modalities for the execution of contracts obtained or sourced for the new business must be discussed, especially the financial part of the contracts.

Without Technixs’ consent, jobs sourced from international oil companies such as Chevron and Exxon Mobil were allegedly carried out by Mitchener and proceeds of the projects were repatriated to the US without the board’s approval.

Ranger Subsea Nigeria Limited then suspiciously closed shop in Nigeria, leaving its partner and tens of vendors in debt of over N19 billion.

In another suspicious move, Mitchener returned to Nigeria with a new company, EPIC Companies LLC, to source other contracts.

‘THEY ARE TRANSNATIONAL FRAUDSTERS’

In its investigations, Intepol concluded that Ranger and Mitchener carried out fraudulent transactions around the business partnership it had with Technixs.

On September 27, 2018, he was arrested in Lagos after Interpol obtained a warrant from a magistrate court in the federal capital territory (FCT).

He was brought to Abuja the next day, and after making his statement, he was granted bail.

His passport was also registered with the police organisation to prevent him from leaving the country.

The Interpol, in its report signed by Garba Umar, its commissioner, said based on the development reached so far, “it suffices to state that this is an organised crime by the suspects who are clearly transnational fraudsters whose stock in trade is to cause untold hardship, pains and financial loss on unsuspecting victims as it is evidenced in this case under investigation.”

The police said the act of the suspects is contrary to the provisions of sections 1, 2 and 3 of the advance fee fraud and other related offences act, 2006.

It further recommended that the case file be forwarded to the legal department for appropriate direction on the matter.

‘HOW MITCHENER VIOLATED THE AGREEMENT WITH FRAUDULENT ACTIVITIES’

In a petition to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) dated February 5, 2019, Technixs had accused Mitchener of forging a shareholders’ agreement purporting to have been executed by Omotade on his company’s behalf.

The company said Mitchener, with one Tosin Labeodan, had been brandishing the agreement “to humiliate, intimidate and frustrate our company to get to the bottom of John Mitchener’s illegal activities”.

Listing the various allegations of infractions, he said Mitchener, through his Americans collaborators, obtained a loan of $60 million from AKRIFA Holdings LLC in the US purportedly to fund general working capital requirements of Ranger without any approval of shareholders.

The petition read in part: “Immediately the loans were brought to Nigeria, John Mitchener repatriated the funds back to America to fund some of RIL international operations in Mexico and Caribbean Island.

“John Mitchener illegally created preference shares in favour of AKRIFA Holdings LLC and proceeded to fraudulently alter the incorporation documents of Ranger Subsea Nigeria Limited to reflect this position without board approval. This was coordinated in conjunction with Tosin Labeodan.

“During the operation of RIL and John Mitchener in Nigeria between 2015 and 2018, John Mitchener fraudulently racked up a debt of over $48 million in the name of Ranger Subsea Nigeria regarding monies owed to vendors and the contract funds paid by International Oil Companies to Ranger Subsea Nigeria were at various times repatriated to America by John Mitchener.”

Reports and annual returns of the business were allegedly concocted by Mitchener as Omotade said they were not adopted as true representation of the financial dealings of Ranger Subsea Nigeria.

RANGER, ACQUIRED BY EPIC, LEFT WITH DEBTS UNPAID

In a letter dated December 19, 2017, the defunct Skye Bank had written to Ranger asking the company to pay up the debt owed Fortune Global Shipping & Logistics Limited (FGSL), one of the vendors who provided services for the company.

The bank emphasised that Ranger needed to pay up to enable liquidation of FGSL’s obligations to the bank.

Despite letters from Ranger showing willingness to make the payment, the bank said the company was yet to meet the obligations.

 

 

 

 


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Rivers State, Shell Inaugurate Cluster Development Board for Assa North Gas Project

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The Rivers State government and the Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited (SPDC), energy company, recently inaugurated the Egi/Igburu Cluster Development Board (CDB) for pipeline communities to SPDC’s Assa North Gas project, which has a capacity for 300 million standard cubic feet of gas per day and the potential to be one of the largest domestic gas projects in Nigeria when completed.

Rivers State, Shell Inaugurate Cluster Development Board for Assa North Gas Project

Barrister Elloka Tasie-Amadi, State Commissioner for Chieftaincy and Community Affairs, at the ceremony, urged the Comrade Orikoha Ekwueme-led newly elected officials of the CDB to use the opportunity of leadership to make positive impacts that will improve living standards in their communities.

He said, “The state government is always available to support you. Always speak with your people, including the Community Trust Committees (which were also newly inaugurated). Adequate communication will ensure the buy-in of all your stakeholders”.

He decried those who see leadership as opportunity for self-seeking gains. “Leadership is more of sacrifice; not an opportunity for personal benefit”, The Commissioner said.

Also, at the inauguration, Mr. Igo Weli, SPDC general manager External Relations,  said, “The Global Memorandum of Understanding (GMoU), that you signed today, sets the framework for long-term partnership between SPDC JV and the Egi/Igburu Cluster. The GMoU runs on the principle of community-led development. Today, SPDC JV commits to providing funding to help you realise your community development aspirations.”

Represented at the ceremony by Dr. Banji Adekoya, SPDC External Relations Manager for Projects and Opportunities, he asked the CDB to “be prudent and implement projects and programmes that will deliver maximum benefits to the Egi/Igburu communities. Note that government, SPDC JV and the communities that you represent will hold you accountable for the judicious utilisation of the development funds.”

“With the inauguration, SPDC reiterates the company’s commitment to the Assa North Gas Project and to making it an exemplary one, particularly in Nigeria’s quest for energy sufficiency, for power generation and industrialization”, he said.

On its part, the new CDB committed to use SPDC’s award-winning GMoU agreement, which is a community-led sustainable development and interface management model that puts the communities in the driving seat in setting development priorities and implementation of programmes and projects to meet their needs.

The GMOU is a proven winning approach introduced in 2006, adopted across SPDC’s operational areas and provides a secure five-year funding for communities to implement development projects of their choice.

With the inauguration of the Egi/Igburu CDB, SPDC now has 40 active GMoUs in Abia, Bayelsa, Delta, Imo and Rivers States. Since 2006, SPDC JV has disbursed a total of $252 million to communities through these GMoUs.

The Assa North/Ohaji South gas project is a joint venture project involving the SPDC, the NNPC, Total E&P Nigeria Limited, and Nigerian Agip Oil Company, and will result in a new SPDC gas processing plant.

The development will help the federal government deliver on its ambition to provide enough gas for domestic consumption, power generation and gas-based ammonia and urea fertilizers for farmers.


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African Entrepreneurs Vying for Anzisha Recognition

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The Anzisha Prize, a partnership between African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation, has revealed its top 20 finalists for 2020. Winners will be announced at this year’s Anzisha Prize Conference on 27 October 2020.

Organisers say this year’s application season saw a record 1 200 applicants vying for a chance to join the Anzisha Prize fellowship.

From these applications, 20 businesses emerged that were 45% percent female-owned and represented sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and education.

Young entrepreneurs from Morocco, South Africa and Tanzania displayed impressive ventures that are tackling critical issues within their communities while also turning a profit. Through their businesses and entrepreneurial leadership skills, these job starters are paving a way for other young Africans to pursue entrepreneurship.

Selected as a top 20 finalist is 21-year-old Alaa Moatamed who is the co-founder of Presto, a company she describes as one of the leading delivery management platforms in Egypt. The venture provides business owners with an affordable and convenient delivery service for their customers.

Joining Alaa is 20-year-old Benjamin Mushayija Gisa from Rwanda who manufactures and packages natural organic products for consumption and for cosmetic purposes in the form of lotions and coconut soap.

“2020 has seen a global shift in the future of work. This year’s applicants have personified the resilience and innovation that Africa needs as we navigate our way into a post-COVID-19 future,” says Melissa Mbazo-Ekepenyong, Deputy Director of the Anzisha Prize.

The Anzisha Prize, a partnership between African Leadership Academy and Mastercard Foundation, has supported 122 entrepreneurs and 77 of those businesses have created over 2 000 jobs, with 56% of those being employment provided for young Africans under 25.

Peter Materu, Chief Program Officer, Mastercard Foundation says, “The success of the Anzisha Prize over the last decade stands as a resounding testament to the creativity and entrepreneurial potential of Africa’s very young people—a hugely under-tapped resource.

Through Anzisha, we’re reminded of what they can achieve when challenged and enabled to own and solve the problems they see around them. Now, as ever, the innovations that have emerged through the Anzisha Prize inspire and renew our faith in and commitment to their promise.”

This year, the top 20 will gather virtually from their various countries to share knowledge and learn from expert coaches and mentors as they prepare for their final pitches to a panel of external judges.

All the entrepreneurs will receive a cash prize of US$2 500. The grand prize winner will receive US$25 000, while the 1st runner and 2nd runner receive US$15 000 and US$12 500 respectively.


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FG Bans Emirates Airlines from Operating in Nigeria

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Federal Government has included Emirates Airlines in the list of airlines not allowed to operate in Nigeria.

FG Bans Emirates Airlines from Operating in Nigeria

This is part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

Hadi Sirika, minister of Aviation, confirmed this via his Twitter handle on Friday.

According to Sirika, the decision was taken following a meeting between the Presidential Task Force (PTF) and European Unions (EU).

The ban would take effect from Monday, September 21, 2020.

“The PTF sub-committee met today with EU Ambassadors to discuss Lufthansa, Air France/KLM ban.

“The meeting progressed well. Emirates Airlines’s situation was reviewed and they are consequently included in the list of those not approved, with effect from Monday the 21st September 2020,” Sirika tweeted.


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