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NG Clearing Sets to Launch as West Africa’s First Central Counterparty

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The Nigerian financial services sector is agog as all is now set for the formal launch of NG Clearing Limited, the first central counterparty (CCP) in West Africa, on Thursday, 9 December 2021.

The launch of NG Clearing precedes the trading of the first exchange-traded derivatives in the Nigerian Capital market and opens new opportunities for investors, stakeholders, and other players in Nigeria’s capital market.

As the premier CCP in Nigeria, NG Clearing will facilitate the clearing and settlement of exchange-traded derivatives, manage counterparty risk, reduce systemic risk, and promote the safety and integrity of Nigeria’s capital market.

Since its incorporation in 2016, NG Clearing has achieved many first-of-its-kind milestones. A major milestone is the development of a world-class clearing and settlement system to enable seamless and safe clearing of derivatives across multiple asset classes and trading venues.

NG Clearing also obtained approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to provide CCP services in Nigeria. Recently, as an affirmation of the Company’s global outlook, NG Clearing joined CCP12, the global association of central counterparties.

Mr. Oscar N. Onyema, OON, the Chairman of the Company’s Board of Directors, enthused that NG Clearing’s emergence as “a CCP in Nigeria and the first out of West Africa is an epochal achievement, one that all stakeholders should be proud of as it represents the maturity and transition of the Nigerian capital market to a new era of clear possibilities”.

Speaking of NG Clearing’s role as a CCP, the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Tapas Das, noted that “across the world, CCPs have emerged to strengthen financial markets, propelling them to growth and reinforcing existing layers of market safety. We have left no stone unturned in ensuring that Nigeria’s first CCP is positioned to become the most trusted CCP in Africa.”

As part of the build-up to the launch of NG Clearing, the Company has been engaging capital market stakeholders on derivatives clearing and settlement, and the role of a CCP.

On the Company’s engagement with stakeholders, the Chief Operating Officer, Mr. Ayokunle Adaralegbe, explained that “as a novel niche, we understand that there is a knowledge gap in the market and the core of our strategy is stimulating the market with high-level training sessions that demystify derivatives clearing.”

He also noted that the Company will expand the training engagements to the public soon.

The launch ceremony is a hybrid event (physical and virtual), and virtual participants can register ahead via https://bit.ly/NG-ClearingLaunch.


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Akinmade, Ex-Zenith Bank Staff Docked over Alleged N16m Fraud, Issuance of Dud Cheques

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Unyime Faithlyn Akinmade, a former Customers Service Executive with Zenith Bank Plc, was on Monday arraigned before a Lagos Federal High Court, on charges bordering on alleged N16 million fraud, issuance of dud cheques, obtaining by false pretenses and fraudulent conversation.

Akinmade, Ex-Zenith Bank Staff Docked over Alleged N16m Fraud, Issuance of Dud Cheques

Unyime Faithlyn Akinmade,

The former Zenith bank staff was arraigned before Justice Tijjani Ringim led-court by the men of Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU).

Arraigning the defendant in a charge marked FHC/L/372c/21, Mr. Henry Obiaze, prosecutor, told the court that the defendant by fraudulenty means, obtained a total sum of N16 million from one Omoigho Sandra Collins, between the July 2020 and July 2021.

Obiaze told the court the the defendant fraudulenty obtained the said sum from the victim under the pretence of investing same and giving her multiple return on investment.

He also told the court that the defendant issued a Zenith Bank cheque of N16 million to the fraud victim, which was rejected and returned due to insufficient fund in the account.

He also told the court that the defendant converted the said N16 million, obtained from Omoigho Sandra Collins, and used same derived directly from participating in an organized criminal group and racketeering with the aim of either concealing or disguising the illicit origin of the resources.

The offences according to the prosecutor are contrary to and punishable under section 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006. And Section 1(1)(i) of the Dishonoured Cheques (Offences) Act Cap. D11 LFN, 2004.

He further told the court that the offence is contrary to and punishable under Section 15(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011.

The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Following the defendant’s plea, the prosecutor asked the court for a trial date, while also asked that the defendant be remanded at the facility of the Nigerian Correctional Services (NCoS), till the determination of the charge.

But Adegboyega Erinle, counsel to the defendant, informed the court of his client’s bail application, which he said that the prosecutor refused Services.

He applied to court to serve the application on the prosecutor in open court, which was granted.

Receiving the bail appllication, the prosecutor said: “I confirm the receipt of bail appllication now. I ask for further date to enable me respond to the application. I’ve seven days to respond”.

After serving the application on the prosecutor, Erinle while pleaded with the court to hear the bail appllication said: “without overburden the court, the applicant has already been granted bail by Justice Osiagor, and it has been perfected. We pray that she enjoy the benefits of the order of this court, having be detained since December 7, 2021.

His application was objected by the prosecutor, the objection was upheld by the court.

Justice Ringim therefore adjourned the hearing of the bail application till January 21, while also ordered that the defendant be remanded in the facility of NCoS.


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DHL Replaces Microsoft as Most Imitated Brand in Phishing Attempts in Q4 2021

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Check Point Research (CPR), the Threat Intelligence arm of Check Point® Software Technologies Ltd. and a leading provider of cyber security solutions globally, has published its new Brand Phishing Report for Q4 2021.

The report highlights the brands which were most frequently imitated by criminals in their attempts to steal individuals’ personal information or payment credentials during October, November and December.

For the first time, DHL took the number one spot in Q4, replacing Microsoft as the brand most likely to be targeted by cybercriminals in phishing scams. Twenty-three percent of all brand phishing attempts were related to the global logistics and shipping company, up from just 9% in Q3, as threat actors sought to take advantage of vulnerable online consumers during the busiest retail period of the year.

Microsoft, which yet again led the rankings in Q3 by accounting for 29% of all phishing attempts, only accounted for 20% of phishing scams in Q4. FedEx also appeared in the top ten list for the first time in Q4 2021, no doubt the result of threat actors trying to target vulnerable online shoppers in the run-up to the festive season as the pandemic remained a key concern.

The Q4 report also reinforces an emerging trend from Q3, with social media seeming to solidify its position among the top three sectors imitated in phishing attempts.

While Facebook has dropped out of the top ten brands most likely to be imitated, WhatsApp has moved from 6th position to 3rd, now accounting for 11% of all phishing attempts. LinkedIn has moved from 8th position to 5th, now accounting for 8% of all phishing-related attacks.

“It’s important to remember that cybercriminals are opportunists first and foremost. In their attempts to steal peoples’ personal data or deploy malware onto a user’s machine, criminal groups will often take advantage of consumer trends by imitating popular brands,” said Omer Dembinsky, Data Research Group Manager at Check Point Software.

“This quarter, for the first time, we’ve seen global logistics company DHL top the rankings as the most likely brand to be imitated, presumably to capitalize on the soaring number of new and potentially vulnerable online shoppers during the year’s busiest retail period.

“Older users in particular, who are less likely to be as technologically savvy as younger generations, will be shopping online for the first time and might not know what to look for when it comes to things like delivery confirmation emails or tracking updates.”

Omer continued, “Q4 has also confirmed what many of us were expecting. That social media would continue to be heavily targeted by bad actors looking to take advantage of those leaning more heavily on channels like WhatsApp, Facebook and LinkedIn as a result of remote working and other fallouts from the pandemic.

Unfortunately, there’s only so much brands like DHL, Microsoft and WhatsApp – which represent the top 3 most imitated brands in Q4 – can do to combat phishing attempts. It’s all too easy for the human element to overlook things like misspelt domains, typos, incorrect dates or other suspicious details, and that’s what opens the door to further damage.  We’d urge all users to be very mindful of these details when dealing with the likes of DHL in the coming months.”

In a brand phishing attack, criminals try to imitate the official website of a well-known brand by using a similar domain name or URL and web-page design to the genuine site.

The link to the fake website can be sent to targeted individuals by email or text message, a user can be redirected during web browsing, or it may be triggered from a fraudulent mobile application. The fake website often contains a form intended to steal users’ credentials, payment details or other personal information.

Top phishing brands in Q4 2021

Below are the top brands ranked by their overall appearance in brand phishing attempts:

  1. DHL (related to 23% of all phishing attacks globally)

 

  1. Microsoft (20%)

 

  1. WhatsApp (11%)

 

  1. Google (10%)

 

  1. LinkedIn (8%)

 

  1. Amazon (4%)

 

  1. FedEx (3%)

 

  1. Roblox (3%)

 

  1. Paypal (2%)

 

  1. Apple (2%)

 

 

 


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Interswitch Gives N12.5m Prize to Winners of SPAK TV Show

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Interswitch is giving away the sum of N12.5 million away to SuperSPAKs (winners) as grand prize – in scholarships, in its ongoing InterswitchSPAK series TV show.

Interswitch Gives N12.5m Prize to Winners of SPAK TV Show

The firm in a statement sent explained that out of the sum, the first winner will receive N7.5 million worth of scholarships, monthly stipend, a laptop and the bragging rights as the Best Science Student in Nigeria.

While the second-place winner gets N4 million worth of scholarships, a laptop and monthly stipend, it announced that the third-place winner will go home with N1 million worth of scholarships.

The digital telecommunication firm pointed out that up till present, there have been nine episodes televised, with each episode comprising a Foundation Round and an Advanced Round, adding that during the foundation stage at the start of each episode, the initial 9 candidates are shortlisted to 5 candidates based on their speed and accuracy in responding to a set of 16 questions.

It said after, the top 5 candidates were shortlisted for the advanced stage.

“At this stage, there is the ‘Take a Turn’ round that ranks the candidates in the order in which they will give fast-paced answers to multiple questions within a given time frame. The best three candidates from the advanced stage automatically qualify for the semifinals.

“In this season of InterswitchSPAK, one key observation is the absence of the studio audience, a deviation from the previous editions. This glaring difference is understandable, due to the protocols and precaution necessitated with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic” Interswitch said.

It added that the first episode kicked off with the usual adrenaline rush, with candidates obviously nervous and anxious to outperform the others, recalling that the unique feature of the first episode was the absence of a female participant, noting that this changed in subsequent episodes.

The participants it was noted were all clearly brilliant students, although, only the top three candidates made it to the semifinals.

“In the second episode, things looked up in terms of gender balance, as three female candidates were featured. It was admirable that the candidates were visibly more relaxed, and there were more right answers supplied by the superspaks in this episode than were given in the previous episode.

“Spaksters in the second episode gave impressive and timely answers to the questions thrown at them in the Advanced Round of the competition. The brilliance in their responses almost led to a tie between two of the participants, and the one female standing – of the three that appeared – held her ground and made it through to the semifinals.

“Participants in the third episode raised the bar even higher, with the superspaks coming prepared to tackle the questions given to them.

“Most impressive was Faleye Oluwatoba who, in the Advanced Round, came atop the list of the top three participants to make it to the semifinals with 200 points. His fellow competitors held their own, but his aptitude in his delivery gave him an edge over them.

“The fourth episode was capped with an intensity that was only demonstrated by Timi who, despite his impressive run in the Foundation Round and Take a Turn, couldn’t make it to the semifinals” the statement recounted.

The goal of the show according to the statement is to echo in the responses of the participants to questions asked by the moderator Hero Daniels – simply referred to as Hero by the competitors – regarding their ambition and their drive.

In addition, it admitted that the use of science to tackle issues facing the African continent and the use of Africans, especially young Africans, cannot be overstated.

While noting that a lot has changed with the show when compared with the previous edition, the firm said it is instructive to note that the restrictions occasioned by the coronavirus pandemic has not constrained it and JustMedia, the producers of the show- in any way.

“This reaffirms Interswitch’s commitment to ensuring the development of Africa’s future problem solvers” the statement said.

The organization asserted: “Success at the InterswitchSPAK competition is based on the SPAK acronym, Speed, Precision, Accuracy and Knowledge. The battle continues, as we look forward to seeing more Superspaks”.

Members of the public have been urged to watch the program, on DSTV Africa Magic Family Channel 154 every Saturday by 6:30 pm, and 5.00pm on Sundays on the AIT Network.

Recall that the third edition of the InterswitchSPAK competition kicked off in May 2021, with 18,000 students from 1,800 schools participating in the National Qualifying Examination. Following the exercise, 81 students were selected to continue to the next phase.


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