Friday, 22 September 2017
Business and Economy

Business and Economy (692)

Seven lawmakers on trial for ‘money laundering’

Eighteen senators are under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged N367.5billion fraud, it was learnt yesterday.

Seven are on trial. Some of the cases date back to 10 years.

A senator is being investigated for alleged stamp duty infractions.

One or two Senators (outside the list) are under investigation for their alleged involvement in the N19billion and $86million London-Paris Club refund in which seven governors have been implicated.

The Nation stumbled on a fact-sheet which indicates that 11 of the senators under investigation are from the North. The others are from the South.

Those facing trial include two from Northcentral, three from Northwest, one from Northeast and one from Southeast.

Those being investigated cut across the six-geopolitical zones.

Most of the N367.5billion alleged fraud border on money laundering, misappropriation, unexecuted contracts, diversion of public funds to campaigns, and others.

In one of the cases, a senator is being probed for alleged diversion of about N108billion while he was a governor in one of the states in the South-South.

A senator allegedly embezzled about N47billion when he was a governor. Investigators believe he was aided by his wife and son.

A senator is standing trial for alleged mismanagement of N1.2billion ecological funds; another allegedly diverted to other uses N1billion meant for the repair of a collapsed dam.

The other strands of the fraud include laundering of N40billion by a senator from the North-East; diversion of N3billion to the campaign by a North-West Senator; 149-count charge of mismanagement of N15billion by a senator from the North-Central and the arraignment of a North-West senator for allegedly N52billion fraud.

There are N9billion case involving a senator from the South-East; N2.1billion contract fraud by a member of the Upper Chamber from the South-South; N10.2billion fraud traced to a senator from the North-West and N2billion diverted funds credited to a senator from the North-Central.

Two aides of a senator, who is being probed for alleged illegal deduction of N3.5billion from the London-Paris Club refund have been quizzed.

Three new senators from the North-Central, South-East and South-West have been under investigation for some infractions, including alleged Stamp Duty collection fraud.

An EFCC source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The case files of all these 18 senators are already with us. Seven of them are already on trial.

“But, certainly, 11 others will be prosecuted at the appropriate time. It may interest you that some agencies in a few international jurisdictions are interested in some of the cases against some of these senators.

“It might also interest you that some of these cases predated the appointment of the present Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu. But since continuity is a cardinal principle of the EFCC, Magu has decided to ensure that the matters in court are pursued to logical conclusion. There is also no waiver for all cases undergoing investigation.”

In response to a question, the source added: “Magu has no personal problem with any senator. He inherited most of these cases.”

Meanwhile, it was learnt that some of the senators have also made a “strong case for the discontinuation of either their investigation or prosecution by the EFCC as part of the conditions for supporting  Magu.

“In one of the lobbying sessions, a senator from the North-East said he committed no crime to have been subjected to trial by the EFCC.

“Although a Senator from the North-Central was aggrieved, he was reported to have said: ‘I won’t block the nomination of Magu because he is probing me. I have forgiven him. But I know I did not commit any fraud and I will be vindicated in the end.”

Posted On Tuesday, 18 July 2017 22:47 Written by

Seven lawmakers on trial for ‘money laundering’

Eighteen senators are under investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged N367.5billion fraud, it was learnt yesterday.

Seven are on trial. Some of the cases date back to 10 years.

A senator is being investigated for alleged stamp duty infractions.

One or two senators (outside the list) are under investigation for their alleged involvement in the N19billion and $86million London-Paris Club refund in which seven governors have been implicated.

The Nation stumbled on a fact-sheet which indicates that 11 of the senators under investigation are from the North. The others are from the South.

Those facing trial include two from Northcentral, three from Northwest, one from Northeast and one from Southeast.

Those being investigated cut across the six-geopolitical zones.

Most of the N367.5billion alleged fraud border on money laundering, misappropriation, unexecuted contracts, diversion of public funds to campaigns, and others.

In one of the cases, a senator is being probed for alleged diversion of about N108billion while he was a governor in one of the states in the South-South.

A senator allegedly embezzled about N47billion when he was a governor. Investigators believe he was aided by his wife and son.

A senator is standing trial for alleged mismanagement of N1.2billion ecological funds; another allegedly diverted to other uses N1billion meant for the repair of a collapsed dam.

The other strands of the fraud include laundering of N40billion by a senator from the North-East; diversion of N3billion to campaign by a North-West senator; 149-count charge of mismanagement of N15billion by a senator from the North-Central and the arraignment of a North-West senator for allegedly N52billion fraud.

There are  N9billion case involving a senator from the South-East; N2.1billion contract fraud by a member of the Upper Chamber from the South-South; N10.2billion fraud traced to a senator from the North-West and N2billion diverted funds credited to a senator from the North-Central.

Two aides of a senator, who is being probed for alleged illegal deduction of N3.5billion from the London-Paris Club refund have been quizzed.

Three new senators from the North-Central, South-East and South-West have been under investigation for some infractions, including alleged Stamp Duty collection fraud.

An EFCC source, who spoke in confidence, said: “The case files of all these 18 senators are already with us. Seven of them are already on trial.

“But, certainly, 11 others will be prosecuted at the appropriate time. It may interest you that some agencies in a few international jurisdictions are interested in some of the cases against some of these senators.

“It might also interest you that some of these cases predated the appointment of the present Acting Chairman of EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu. But since continuity is a cardinal principle of the EFCC, Magu has decided to ensure that the matters in court are pursued to logical conclusion. There is also no waiver for all cases undergoing investigation.”

In response to a question, the source added: “Magu has no personal problem with any senator. He inherited most of these cases.”

Meanwhile, it was learnt that some of the senators have also made a “strong case for the discontinuation of either their investigation or prosecution by the EFCC as part of the conditions for supporting  Magu.

“In one of the lobbying sessions, a senator from the North-East said he committed no crime to have been subjected to trial by the EFCC.

“Although a Senator from the North-Central was aggrieved, he was reported to have said: ‘I won’t block the nomination of Magu because he is probing me. I have forgiven him. But I know I did not commit any fraud and I will be vindicated in the end.”

Posted On Monday, 17 July 2017 23:38 Written by

The Gambian President Adama Barrow has set up a commission to look into the assets of the former leader Yahya Jammeh.

He is accused of stealing more than $50m (£38m) from the state before he fled into exile earlier this year.

The commission will investigate a number of public enterprises said to have links to Mr Jammeh.

The former president, who held power for 22 years, ran several businesses, including bakeries and farms.

Initially he refused to accept defeat in last year's election but stepped down when threatened with military intervention.

Posted On Monday, 17 July 2017 00:55 Written by

Court documents filed by the US Department of Justice in Houston have revealed that former oil minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, warned  her alleged business partners – Kola Aluko and Jide Omokore –against lavish spending, including splashing millions of dollars on a yacht.

“If you want to hire a yacht, you lease it for two weeks or whatever. You don’t go and sink funds into it at this time when Nigerian oil and gas sector is under all kinds of watch,” she said to Aluko in a recorded conversation.

But her warning was not heeded as Aluko went on to buy Galactica Star, a luxury yacht, for $80million.

The yacht, a stupendous luxury on water, was once rented by Jay Z and his wife, Beyonce, for close to a million dollars during a holiday last year. It also once hosted Beyonce’s 32nd birthday in 2013.

Both Aluko and Omokore are alleged to have paid bribes between 2011 and 2015 to Diezani who ensured that shell companies owned by the businessmen received billion-dollar contracts to sell Nigeria’s crude oil.

The oil swap contracts were a controversial barter arrangement which saw Nigeria use middlemen to sell crude oil in exchange for refined products. With local refineries under-performing, oil swap deals were used to shore up local demand for petroleum products.

Between 2010 and 2014, under Diezani’s watch, Nigeria was estimated to have channelled over 352 million barrels of oil worth a total of $35 billion into oil swap deals.

But with the contracts mostly opaque, Nigeria reportedly lost more than $900 million in crude oil swap deals between 2009 and 2012.

The deals came under severe scrutiny with former Central Bank Governor, now Emir Muhammadu Sanusi, describing them “not properly structured, monitored and audited.”

President Buhari cancelled the oil swap arrangement in November 2015, seven months after taking office. 

The US Justice Department (DOJ) lawsuit has provided more insight into the scale of theft of Nigeria’s oil riches under Diezani Alison-Madueke’s watch.

The civil lawsuit, brought by DOJ’s Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, is seeking to recover $144 million in assets, including a $50 million luxury condo apartment in New York and the $80 million yacht.

Prosecutors say both assets were proceeds from bribes paid by the two Nigerian businessmen for lucrative oil contracts. The lawsuit seeks the forfeiture of both assets.

Prosecutors claim that the businessmen, Aluko and Omokore, laundered money through the US by purchasing lavish assets.

The $50 million New York condo is at One57, located opposite Carnegie Hall in midtown Manhattan. The building currently holds the record for the most-expensive residential sale in New York following a $100.5 million apartment purchase in 2014.

Aluko’s $50 million condo is the 8th most expensive in the building, but following a loan default, his mortgage lenders are set to auction the apartment on July 19.

The yacht and penthouse are not the only items under scrutiny by the DOJ.

The government also alleges that Aluko, Omokore and others funded a lavish lifestyle for Alison-Madueke.

According to the allegations, they conspired to purchase millions of dollars in real estate in and around London for Alison-Madueke and her family members, then renovated and furnished these homes with millions of dollars in furniture, artwork and other luxury items purchased at two Houston-area furniture stores at Alison-Madueke’s direction.

According to Financial Times, the two are accused of buying a total of four residential properties in and around London worth 11.45 million, and furnishing them with furniture, artwork and other luxury items.

“In one day in May 2012, Mr. Aluko was said to have wired $461,500 and $262,091 to two furniture stores in Houston from a Swiss bank account, on behalf of Mrs. Alison-Madueke, the civic complaint filed in the court claimed.

In return, the government alleges Alison-Madueke used her influence to direct a subsidiary of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation to award Strategic Alliance Agreements (SAAs) to two shell companies created by Aluko and Omokore: Atlantic Energy Drilling Concepts Nigeria Ltd. and Atlantic Energy Brass Development Ltd. (the Atlantic Companies).

Under the SAAs, the Atlantic Companies were required to finance the exploration and production operations of eight on-shore oil and gas blocks. In return for financing these operations, the companies expected to receive a portion of the oil and gas produced.

However, according to the complaint, the Atlantic Companies provided only a fraction of the agreed upon financing or, in some instances, failed entirely to provide it.

The companies also failed to meet other obligations under the SAAs, including the payment of $120 million entry fee.

Nevertheless, according to the allegations, the companies were permitted to lift and sell more than $1.5 billion worth of Nigerian crude oil.

The government contends the Atlantic Companies then used a series of shell companies and intermediaries to launder a portion of the total proceeds of these arrangements into and through the U.S.

Posted On Saturday, 15 July 2017 23:33 Written by

•Fishim granted bail on self-recognisance

THE Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) yesterday arraigned judge of the National Industrial Court (NIC), Justice Agbadu Fishim, for allegedly collecting N4.65 million from seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs).

The judge, who was arraigned before Justice Raliat Adebiyi of an Ikeja High Court, was however granted bail on self-recognisance.

Justice Fishim was arraigned on a 19-count charge of unlawful enrichment. 

EFCC’s prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo alleged that Justice Fishim received an aggregate of N4.65 million from seven Senior Advocates of Nigeria, one other Lagos-based lawyer and a law firm between 2013 and 2015.

Oyedepo claimed the money was paid into the judge’s First Bank account, numbered 3008199491.

He said the judge could not give a reasonable explanation of how the money came into his First Bank account.

Justice Fishim, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

His counsel, Prof. Amuda Kehinde, pleaded that his client be granted bail in self-recognisance.

Kehinde argued that his client is a sitting judge and would not jump bail.

He said he was served with the court papers yesterday about 5p.m and he responded immediately.

“He is a sitting judge and he has a lot to lose, if he decides to jump bail,” Kehinde said.

Oyedepo did not oppose the bail application.

He, however, asked the court to attach conditions to the bail such that the defendant would be mandated to attend trial.

Justice Adebiyi granted bail to Justice Fishim and directed him to deposit his international passport with the court registrar.

“It is the discretion of the court to grant bail to the defendant. It should be noted that the main function of bail is so that the defendant attends trial.

“The defendant is a sitting Judge of the National Industrial Court, who is facing a 19-count charge of unlawful enrichment, which is a bailable offence.

“I hereby grant the defendant bail on self-recognisance and he is also expected to deposit his international passport with the court Chief Registrar,” Justice Adebiyi ruled.

In the charge sheet, the EFCC alleged that the judge received N1.4 million from Chief Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN) between December 5, 2013 and February 26, 2015.

He was alleged to have received N1.1 million in multiples tranches from  Paul Usoro (SAN) between August 5, 2014 and March 26, 2015.

Other SANs, from whom the judge allegedly received money, were Chief Gani Adetola-Kazeem, who allegedly gave him N100,000 on February 10, 2015; and Mr. Uche Obi, who gave him N250,000 between October 17 and 20, 2013.

Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN) allegedly gave the judge N500,000 on June 20, 2013; and Chief Adeniyi Akintola (SAN), who gave him a total of N500,000 in two tranches  on June 3, 2013 and February 26, 2015.

The EFCC claimed that Justice Fishim received N250,000 from Dr. Joseph Nwobike (SAN), in two tranches on December 12, 2014 and September 10, 2015.

A Lagos-based lawyer, Enobong Etteh, was said to have transferred N300,000 to the judge on October 27, 2014.

A law firm, Alliance Law Firm, according to the EFCC, also paid N250,000 into the judge’s account on August 21, 2015.

Justice Fishim’s trial has been adjourned till October 11, 2017.

Posted On Wednesday, 12 July 2017 00:55 Written by

•Management pact terminated

Telecoms giant Etisalat International has withdrawn from Nigeria, its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Hatem Dowidar said yesterday.

The withdrawal may not be unconnected with Etisalat Nigeria’s indebtedness to a consortium of banks.

The firm has terminated its management agreement with its Nigerian subsidiary, Dowidar said.

Etisalat Nigeria has three weeks to stop using the brand name.

Last week, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) intervened to save Etisalat Nigeria from collapse after talks with its bankers to renegotiate a $1.2 billion loan failed.

Etisalat, with a 45 percent stake in the Nigerian business, said last month that it had been ordered to transfer its shares to a loan trustee after the failed talks.

Dowidar said all United Arab Emirates (UAE) shareholders of Etisalat Nigeria, including state-owned investment fund Mubadala, had left the company.

He said in an interview with Reuters that talks were ongoing with Etisalat Nigeria on technical support, adding that it could continue to use the brand for another three weeks before phasing it out.

“There’s a new board and we are not part of that company. We have sent our termination letter for the management agreement,” he told Reuters

Etisalat Nigeria is the biggest foreign-owned victim of the foreign exchange (forex) caused by lower oil prices and recession.

The telco took a $1.2 billion loan with 13 local lenders in 2013 to refinance an existing loan and fund expansion, but struggling to repay four years later.

Dowidar said Etisalat International had written down the value of the telco on its books, adding that transferring its 45 per cent stake to the lenders after loan renegotiation talks failed had no impact on the group.

Asked whether Etisalat would consider entering Nigeria again, Dowidar said: “The train has left the station on that one. Being in that market as an investor … are we willing to risk more money compared to the reward for the long-term?”

The CEO said Etisalat had been unsuccessful at converting some of its dollar debt to the  Nigerian currency. He also said the group might exit or merge with a local rival in markets where it was not one of the top two players. He did not specify which markets.

Etisalat is among the top two in markets such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Egypt and Afghanistan, he said.

“(Nigerian) lenders may try to continue to operate the company until they find a buyer (or) they may merge the company with the existing players in Nigeria, he said, adding that it was tough to say what lenders would do.

“The brand agreement in either of these two scenarios won’t be a long-term thing, so we take out the brand; in the long term Etisalat won’t be in Nigeria.”

But Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Ltd. (EMTS), trading as Etisalat Nigeria, yesterday said it is aware of reports regarding Etisalat Group’s withdrawal of the right to the continued use of the Etisalat brand in Nigeria by EMTS.

Posted On Tuesday, 11 July 2017 01:45 Written by

First Lady hints at power struggle

President Muhammadu Buhari is getting better and will soon be back, going by his wife Aisha’s statement yesterday in London.

The President’s wife last week travelled to London to be with her husband, who is undergoing treatment for an undisclosed ailment. She has also been carrying out other assignments.

President Buhari left the country on May 7 for another round of treatment. He spent more than 50 days during his first medical vaction in London.

On his return, he told the nation that he had never been that sick in his life adding that he underwent blood transfusion. But he did not disclose his ailment.

On her facebook page yesterday, Mrs Buhari, in a response to the July 6 post by Senator Shehu Sani, expressed herself in a figurative manner, using the animal imagery like the senator did.

She wrote: “God has answered the prayers of the weaker animals. The hyenas and the jackals will soon be sent out of the kingdom.  We strongly believe in the prayers and support of the weaker animals.

“Long live the weaker animals. Long live Nigeria.”

Director of Press in Mrs Buhari’s office Mr. Suleiman Haruna, said yesterday that the post was on the president’s wife’s “verified facebook page”.

As at 10pm, about 257 people had made comments on the post, most of which were wishing President Buhari quick recovery.

Senator Sani (Kaduna Central) wrote on his facebook page on July 6.

“Prayer for the absent Lion King has waned; until he’s back then they will fall over each other to be on the front row of the palace temple.

“Now the hyenas and the jackals are scheming and talking to each other in whispers; still doubting whether the Lion King will be back or not.

“Now the Lion king is asleep and no other dare to confirm if he will wake up or not. It’s the wish of the hyenas that the Lion King never wakes or comes back so that they can be kings. It’s the prayers of the weaker animals that the Lion King comes back to save the Kingdom from the hyenas,the wolves and other predators.”

The senator is believed to be referring to those who are scheming to become president in 2019, criss-crossing the country in moves to taking advantage of the president’s absence.

Some people who are holding political positions are also believed to be undermining the system to position themselves in the president’s absence.

The President’s wife also yesterday posted her photograph speaking at an event in London.

She wrote under the photograph: “Today I attended the Babatunde Osotimehin Memorial Lecture at County Hall, London.

“It was an honour to have spoken about his achievements at all levels and his commitment towards women and children all over the world.”

Osotimehin was the Exective Director of the United Nations Fund for Population Activitiies (UNFPA) and a former minister of health, who died last month.

Posted On Tuesday, 11 July 2017 01:25 Written by

A former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, revealed on Saturday that the late dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha wanted him, the late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua and the June 12 hero, the late Moshood Abiola, dead while in prison.

He stated this at a dinner programme organised by an inter-denominational Christian organisation, Christ The Redeemer’s Friends International of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Lagos Province 39 Chapter.

The former president alleged that Yar’Adua was poisoned by Abacha’s killer squad, adding that he was to be next victim, but that he was saved by God’s divine grace.

Obasanjo said, “Two people had earlier told me Abacha promised that three of us would not come out of prison or detention alive; myself. Shehu Yar Adua and MKO Abiola. And two of them did not come out alive. So, that I came out alive, maybe God has a purpose. And therefore if the purpose is for me to serve the people and by so doing,  serve God, then so be it.

“Abacha claimed that I was plotting a coup. I wasn’t the first to be arrested. When Shehu (Yar’Adua) was arrested, I tried to plead for his release. When Abacha said he didn’t know about Shehu’s arrest, I said to him, ‘the number two man in this country cannot be arrested without you knowing.’ He then said he would go and find out.

“In Abacha’s plan, he left God out of it and because he left God out of his plan, it (his government) eventually failed. There is God’s hand in the life of each and every one of us and every institution. I believe that very well.

“When I was arrested, they took me to a house in Ikoyi (Lagos) and that became my abode (I was) in isolation, for three months.

“In the meantime, there were national and international pressures for my release, (former US) President Jimmy Carter was one of the world leaders that came to ask for my release. Some African leaders like Yoweri Museveni and Robert Mugabe came. I believe it was because of those pressures that I was released from isolation in Ikoyi where I was under house arrest.”

Obasanjo described the day he was court-martialled and sentenced as one of the ‘worst days in his life.’

He said, “I must say that, that day, in a split second, it felt like the worst day in my life. What flashed through my mind was that I was forever ruined. I asked myself, ‘What did I do to deserve this? Is this what I get for serving Nigeria?’ But then, I told myself again that this was not done to me by Nigeria, but that one man did it for me.”

Obasanjo said he and Yar’Adua were detained in Jos and Port Harcourt prisons because they were the best prisons in the country at the time.

He said, “I was to go to Jos (prison) and Yar’Adua was to go to Port Harcourt (prison). In Jos, I was visited by my colleagues, including Yakubu Danjuma, Joe Garba, Domkat Bali, many of our colleagues, and then family members and friends.

“Then a decision was made that I was becoming too popular in Jos prison and I had to be transferred to. Yola prison which is a native authority prison and I don’t need to tell you what life was there.

“In Jos prison, before I was transferred to Yola prison, they had decided that Shehu Yar’Adua and myself should be poisoned. So, they took him from Port Harcourt prison to Abakaliki. In the process, he was injected with the virus that killed him. The same was supposed to be done to me. The man who came took me from the prison to a guest house in the GRA in Jos,  said, ‘We know you have problem with cholesterol so I have to take your blood for a test.’ Then I said, ‘Not on your life, I don’t have any problem of cholesterol.’

“I was slightly diabetic. But God had taken care of it because I was checking my blood sugar almost on a daily basis and it had become better than normal. So, I refused him (the man) touching me with anything. So, they took me to Yola and he said, ‘when you get to where you are going, we will come again.’”

The former president said he was saved from being poisoned by a doctor and specialist in the prison.

“The doctor was a professional man in charge of the General Hospital in Yola. He listened to my case that I needed special food because I was diabetic. He said the specialist would come to see me. The specialist turned out to be somebody from Okeogun in Oyo State. Two, he was a Baptist, and three, he had heard about me and knew me. So, he looked at me and said, ‘Don’t let anybody touch you with anything.’

“Within three weeks the man that came to me earlier returned again and said he wanted to take my blood. I said, ‘No, you have to get my doctor to come and take my blood for you.’ That was the arrangement between me and the doctor. And my doctor came and he brought a syringe and he took my blood and gave it to him. He now asked the man, ‘When would we have the result?’The man said, ‘Within 24 hours of my getting to Abuja.’I haven’t heard the result till today.”

Obasanjo said after his release from prison, he gave into pressure to contest for the presidency and he ended up becoming president for two terms by the grace of God. “Nigeria that was a pariah state became a darling (of the world).

“What is the lesson for me? I developed in prison but unfortunately I was not able to sustain it. Maybe because there was nothing else to do in prison except to pray and fast. I used to fast a lot. On three occasions, I fasted for seven days, no water, no food… a unique power was given to me by God.

“In all these, God did not leave me alone, and I know that.  I say to people that God has never let me alone nor disappointed me in spite of all. I am a sinner. It is not because of my goodness, but because of the grace of God, and the grace of God continues to abound.”

Posted On Sunday, 09 July 2017 14:10 Written by

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says it is the expectation of government and Ghanaians that the Offshore Cape Three Point (OCTP) partners will ensure prudent management of the Sankofa oil and gas project to achieve cost efficiency.

This, according to President Akufo-Addo, is the only way low gas prices can be guaranteed, and, eventually, low electricity tariffs to stimulate development.

“With the addition of the production from the OCTP to those of the T.E.N and Jubilee fields, we are optimistic that our beloved nation will enhance significantly its gas supply for our domestic power generation,” the President said.

Not resting on its oars, President Akufo-Addo stressed that government through the Ministry of Energy, Petroleum Commission and GNPC, is working closely with other licensees and contractors to ensure that the country’s petroleum resources are exploited in a sustainable manner for the benefit of the people of Ghana.

“The need for creative thinking to leverage our oil and gas production for national development is a charge for us to keep – and we must not fail our people,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo made this known on Thursday, July 6, 2017, after turning on the valves on the FPSO John Agyekum Kufuor to signal the formal production of oil in commercial quantities from the Sankofa oil and gas fields.

Increased Ghanaian participation

The President reiterated the commitment of his government to pursuing initiatives to expand Ghanaian participation in all aspects of the oil and gas industry. 

“Ghanaians have the spirit of entrepreneurship, and it is vital that they are empowered to engineer business growth, and reduce the serious unemployment situation in the country,” he added.

The President continued, “It is gratifying to see, this morning, our young Ghanaians on the FPSO, trained to manage the hydrocarbon production and processing from the Field as technicians and supervisors. I have been informed by the Petroleum Commission that over 100 Ghanaians (representing nearly 60%) are involved in the operation and maintenance of the FPSO John Agyekum Kufuor.”

This number, he indicated, is in addition to the many that worked in the conversion of the facility in Singapore, adding that “I saw them on the vessel, and salute them for their energy, enthusiasm and commitment. They are excellent examples of Ghanaian youth.”

Indeed, more than US$1.8 billion worth of contracts have been awarded to indigenous Ghanaian companies under this project.

President Akufo-Addo, thus, urged ENI and its partners to continue to work with the Petroleum Commission to move Ghanaian participation to even greater heights.

Additionally, the second phase of the Sankofa project will rely on the support services of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as part of the supply chain development, thereby creating opportunities for new and existing businesses in the country.

“In particular, for those engaged in farming and fishing, this project presents a great opportunity to a new market, as many people employed under this project will need to be fed. I urge our youth to go into farming under our Planting for Food and Jobs Programme, and other activities to take advantage of this opportunity,” President Akufo-Addo noted. 

The Sankofa project, and other existing ones in the Western Region, the President was confident “will open up the region for infrastructural development and consequent economic growth. This is in line with the grand plan of making the Western Region a key growth pole for the country.”

Posted On Friday, 07 July 2017 02:54 Written by

Tanzania's parliament has passed two controversial laws to bring about far-reaching reforms in the mining sector.

One law explicitly states that the Tanzanian people will have permanent sovereignty over all natural wealth and resources, and ownership and control will be exercised by the government on behalf of the people.

This means private companies would mine on behalf of the nation - whereas before the law stated that once firms signed a contract with the government, they owned the minerals.

Another law empowers parliament to review all agreements made by the government regarding natural resources.

The two pieces of legislation follow months of dispute between President John Magufuli's government and UK-listed mining firm Acacia over revenue sharing.

Acacia is accused of under-reporting the gold and copper levels in its concentrate exports by more than 10 times and of underpaying the government tens of billions of dollars over the two decades it has been operating in the East African country.

The company strongly denies any wrongdoing.

Mining companies and lobby groups had urged the government to delay passing the two laws to allow for more consultation.

The government, however, pushed ahead with gaining parliamentary approval for the legislation.

Posted On Tuesday, 04 July 2017 13:13 Written by
Page 4 of 50

Newsletter