Category Archives: Money

Court discharges, acquits couple accused of operating ‘wonder’ bank

A Federal High Court in Enugu, on Wednesday discharged and acquitted Patrick Nwokike and his wife, Rosemary of allegations of operating a “wonder” bank.

Delivering judgment, Justice R. O. Dugbo-Oghoghorie, held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) failed to prove its case against the couple and their firm, “Let’s Partner With You”.

The judge held that in criminal proceedings, the burden lay on the prosecution to prove its case beyond all reasonable doubt as against beyond every shadow of doubt.

The judge, therefore, resolved all the issues on a four-count charge preferred against the defendants by the EFCC in favour of the defendants.

However, the court held that non of the witnesses presented by the prosecution was able to establish that the defendants were either operating a banking business or invited the public to deposit money.

“The law provides that for a business to constitute banking business by receiving deposits, the cash deposit must have been received on current account, savings account or other similar account,

“As regards counts one and two of the charge, the business of the defendants is not banking business as provided for under the laws upon which they are charged.

“On counts three and four, the prosecution failed to provide cogent and compelling evidence for this court to hold that the defendants made advertisements for the public to deposit cash on current account, savings account or other similar account,” Dugbo-Oghoghorie said

NBS ranks Abia third for 2020 capital inflow

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has ranked Abia State as the third state with top capital inflow in 2020.

According to NBS, “By destination, Lagos emerged as the top destination of capital investment in Nigeria with $8.3 billion, followed by Abuja, which received $1.3 billion.

“The others on the list are Abia State with relatively $56 million, Niger with $16.4 million, and Ogun with $13.4 million.

Anambra State recorded $10.2 million, Kaduna State recorded $4.03 million, Sokoto got $2.5 million and Kano got $2.4 million”.

It stated that the remaining 26 states received no foreign capital inflows the entire year.

The states include: Bauchi, Bayelsa, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Delta, Ebonyi, Edo, Ekiti, Enugu, Gombe, Imo, Jigawa, Katsina, Kebbi, Kogi, Kwara, Nasarawa, Ondo, Osun, Oyo, Plateau, Rivers, Taraba, Yobe, and Zamfara States.

Another investment firm in Rivers State flees with depositors’ funds

An investment company in Igwuruta, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State has left its customers devastated after their office was found shut on Tuesday.

This came barely two months after a popular investment company in Port Harcourt, the state capital, MBA Forex Trading and Investment Limited failed to meet up with payments running into months to thousands of residents who invested with them.

The chief executive officer of the company had released a video in January this year, explaining his challenges and inability to continue with the business, saying the company will gradually liquidate, but promised that customers would be refunded their investment capital.

It was further gathered that hundreds of investors who had hoped to cash out their earnings on Monday were disappointed.

Many of the investors, most of whom are rural folks raced to the company when news of their disappearance filtered into the community.

Some held their heads with their hands, while tears flowed freely down the cheeks of many, who expressed shock at the development, as their fate hanged in the balance.

One of the affected investors, a male, said, “I invested with N100,000 and I was supposed to cash out today. I tried to contact them, but I couldn’t. I went to their office, it was shut down.

He said, “Not only me, a lot of people were there crying and regretting ever putting in their money. Their office is at Igwuruta. I am just confused; I don’t know what to do.”

On her part, a female said she used about N150, 000 from her savings to invest in the company, hoping to make enough money to support her studies.

Financial experts and agencies of government have warned against investing in suspected Ponzi schemes, saying they operate on ‘greater fool theory’ which comes up with juicy returns within a short period of time to attract unsuspecting members of the public who they term greedy.

Eholor hails emergence of Ngozi Okonjo Iweala as WTO DG, says she’s a shining light

The Global President of One Love Foundation, Chief Patrick Osagie Eholor has eulogized the newly-elected Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, describing her emergence as well deserving judging by her antecedents.

In a Congratulatory Message signed by him, Eholor, expressed delight at her emergence, saying she had always been known to shine brilliantly wherever she found herself.

Eholor stated that Okonjo-Iweala’s track record of success, both in Nigeria as Finance Minister and across the world where she successfully served in various high profile positions in many global organizations and agencies, including the World Bank, stood her out as the right candidate for the job.

Eholor further commended the member-nations of WTO which, he said, put merit above sentiments in electing a very capable person for the job. He equally appreciated Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari for recognizing the great potentials in Okonjo-Iweala and nominating her for the job, noting that her emergence in the position is a huge blessing to the country.

Eholor prayed God to give Okonjo-Iweala the wisdom to deliver on her new mandate: “May God Almighty grant you the wisdom and strength to succeed in this globally powerful organization.”

Bitcoin tops $50K as major companies jump into crypto

Bitcoin’s price broke above $50,000 for the first time in history Tuesday, continuing its blistering rally as major companies appear to be warming to cryptocurrencies.

The world’s largest digital currency by market value rose more than 3% to an all-time high of $50,487 at about 7:30 a.m. ET, according to data from Coin Metrics. It later fell below the mark, trading 0.2% higher at a price of $48,760.

Bitcoin has gotten a boost from news of large firms like Tesla and Mastercard showing support for crypto. Tesla last week revealed it had bought $1.5 billion worth of bitcoin and plans to accept the digital coin as payment for its products, while Mastercard said it will open up its network to some digital currencies. PayPal and BNY Mellon have also made big moves to support crypto.

Tesla’s use of corporate cash to buy bitcoin sparked speculation over whether other major companies would follow suit. Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi told CNBC last week that the company had discussed but “quickly dismissed” the idea of buying bitcoin but is considering whether to accept cryptocurrencies as payment.

These developments have led many crypto investors to believe the latest bull run is different than past rallies.

Bitcoin skyrocketed to nearly $20,000 in late 2017 before losing more than 80% of its value the following year. Bitcoin believers say that, whereas the 2017 bubble was driven by retail speculation, the current cycle is being fueled by demand from institutional investors.

“I think bitcoin is a much more stable asset class today than it was three years ago,” Michael Saylor, CEO of enterprise software firm MicroStrategy, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” program on Tuesday. “It used to be dominated by leveraged retail traders … on international markets with a lot of leverage.”

MicroStrategy and Jack Dorsey’s fintech firm Square hit the headlines last year after taking the unusual strategy of using corporate cash to purchase bitcoin.

“I think that starting in March of 2020, you saw institutions start to arrive, and I think in 2021 you’re going to see that trend continue,” Saylor added. “There’re enthusiasts for bitcoin as a medium of exchange, … but I personally believe that the compelling use case is a store of value.”

MicroStrategy has seen its share price climb more than sevenfold since it first bought bitcoin in August. The company announced Tuesday that it will offer $600 million in convertible bonds to buy more bitcoin. There has been speculation that MicroStrategy offered a blueprint for Tesla’s bitcoin purchase after an exchange between Saylor and Elon Musk on Twitter about making “large transactions” with the cryptocurrency.

Still, skeptics see bitcoin as a speculative asset and worry it may be one of the biggest market bubbles in history.

Economists like Nouriel Roubini say that bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have no intrinsic value. And a recent Deutsche Bank survey said investors view bitcoin as the most extreme bubble in financial markets.

BREAKING: Okonjo-Iweala confirmed as 1st female & 1st African Director-General of the World Trade Organisation

Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was selected by consensus to be the next director-general of the World Trade Organization at a closed-door meeting on Monday, according to two sources attending the meeting.

All members of the WTO’s top decision-making body, the General Council, agreed on her appointment in a virtual meeting which had just one agenda item, they said. The WTO subsequently confirmed the choice.

She becomes the first woman director general, as well as the first African to hold this position.

See countries where ‘cryptocurrency trading’ is  legal, illegal

Cryptocurrency has become a widely acceptable means of payment with greater capacity and faster settlement than other traditional financial structures.

It is a digital currency that can be used to buy goods and services but uses an online ledger with strong cryptography to secure online transactions.

Cryptocurrency market was started by the group or individual known as Santoshi Nakamoto.

Bitcoin, which is the most popular cryptocurrency, alongside Ethereum (Ether) – is a digital currency that debuted in 2009.

In 2008, during the global financial crisis a white paper called Bitcoin – A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System was released. It was made for people to control their money themselves.

Bitcoins are not issued, endorsed or regulated by any central bank but are rather created through a computer-generated process known as mining.

However, there are no uniform international laws that regulate its use.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, in a circular on Friday, February 5, directed banks to close accounts of persons or entities involved in cryptocurrency transactions within their systems.

Aside from being the biggest crypto market on the African continent, in terms of trade volume, Nigeria is the second biggest bitcoin market in the world after the United States.

Here are countries where Cryptocurrency trading is legal and illegal:

While the United States of America, Australia, Canada, and the European Union (27 countries) have accepted its usage by working to prevent or reduce the use of digital currencies for illegal transactions, cryptocurrencies remain banned in China, Russia, Vietnam, Bolivia, Columbia, and Ecuador.

ILLEGAL

China – The People’s Bank of China, which is China’s central financial regulatory authority, placed a ban on all domestic and foreign cryptocurrency exchanges in the country in 2017.

Bolivia – In 2014, the central bank of Bolivia, issued a ban on bitcoin and every other currency not regulated by states, countries, and economic areas.

Morocco – Morocco’s foreign exchange office and central bank prohibits the use of cryptocurrency for transactions in the country. Any citizen caught engaging in transactions involving the virtual currency will be fined.

Ecuador – Bitcoin and other digital currencies are currently banned by the Ecuadorian government.

Iran – Iran’s central bank in 2018, announced that it was prohibiting all financial institutions, including banks and credit institutions from dealing in cryptocurrency

Bangladesh – In Bangladesh, the use of bitcoin is considered illegal. In 2017, the Bangladesh bank issued a ban on cryptocurrency.

Nepal – In 2017, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies became considered as illegal forms of financial tender in Nepal

Afghanistan – Currently, it is unlawful to possess bitcoin in Afghanistan, and it is not considered as a legal tender in the country. There are no crypto exchanges in the country.

Pakistan – In April 2018, the central bank of Pakistan announced that bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are banned in the country, and banks will not facilitate any transaction for them.

Algeria – In December 2017, Algeria passed a law that made bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies entirely illegal. The purchase, sale, use, or even holding cryptocurrency is punishable by the law.

Egypt – “Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta, the primary Islamic legislator in Egypt, issued a religious decree classifying commercial transactions in bitcoin as haram (prohibited under Islamic law).

Cambodia – According to various state authorities, the use and propagation of cryptocurrencies is banned, except if a license is acquired.

Colombia – Whilst there is no specific law banning Bitcoin and Altcoins, the Superintendencia Financiera informed the country’s financial institutions not to assist or work with individuals and companies trading in virtual money operations.

Indonesia – As of 2018, the use of cryptocurrencies for payments became illegal.

Taiwan – All forms of trading or payment with cryptocurrency is banned, as is the installation or use of a Bitcoin ATM.

Saudi Arabia – Considered to be an implicit ban, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority is outspoken against the use of crypto, describing it as high risk.

The Republic of Macedonia

Qatar

Vanuatu

Vietnam.

LEGAL

The United States – The United States has taken a generally positive stance toward Bitcoin, though several government agencies work to prevent or reduce Bitcoin use for illegal transactions.

Canada – Canada maintains a generally Bitcoin-friendly stance while also ensuring the cryptocurrency is not used for money laundering. Bitcoin is viewed as a commodity by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). This means that Bitcoin transactions are viewed as barter transactions, and the income generated is considered as business income.

Australia – Similar to Canada, Australia considers Bitcoin neither money nor a foreign currency

Japan

Gibraltar

Malta

Ukraine

Switzerland

The Netherlands

Lithuania

Estonia

The United Kingdom

Germany

Bermuda

Slovenia

Singapore

Georgia

Belarus

Hong Kong

Nation

INVESTIGATION: Why CBN banned cryptocurrency

More facts have emerged on why the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) decided to ban cryptocurrency trading in the country.

The apex bank prohibited dealing in cryptocurrencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchanges last week Friday.

Investigations by THISDAY have revealed that, the federal government and the CBN were warned by the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation, (FBI), on the activities of fraudsters using cryptocurrencies to bring into
the country hundreds of millions of US Dollars illegally obtained from the USA and other Western economies.

This was said to have particularly targeted Covid-19 stimulus packages designed to cushion the impact of lockdown measures on businesses and working families in these countries.

According to THISDAY investigation, “FBI had discovered that fraudulent Nigerians, popularly known as yahoo boys, took control of large chunks of money released as stimulus in the wake of the devastating effects of the Covid-19, which has put many Americans out of jobs.”

In order to avoid detection, these fraudsters had been sending millions of dollars to Nigeria through cryptocurrencies. This made it difficult for the authorities in both Nigeria and the US to trace the illicit monies.

However, before these funds were used to destabilise the Nigerian economy, the CBN had to wield the big stick.

In the last six months, Nigeria is said to have become the second country in the world with the biggest cryptocurrency transactions.

According to highly placed sources within the presidency, “These fraudsters remitted between $200 and $300 million to Nigeria every week, using cryptocurrencies.

“The Central Bank and the federal government were clearly alarmed by this development and had to act fast before irreparable damage is done to the economy.”

Even more disturbing was that intelligence reports indicated that kidnappers had switched to bitcoin for ransom payments, making it increasingly difficult to trace.

S Korea’s candidate withdraws from World Trade Org DG race, clearing path for Okonjo-Iweala

Yoo Myung-hee, the South Korean candidate to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO), has dropped out of the race, effectively opening the door for Nigeria’s Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala to become its first African leader.

In a statement, Yoo, the South Korean Trade minister, said that she had been “in consultation with major countries such as the United States” over the consensus vote to become the next director general of the WTO.

Nigerian candidate Okonjo-Iweala had been recommended by top WTO officials to lead the Geneva body in October, after being judged to have had majority support among members, but the appointment was blocked by the United States under the Trump administration.

Former US trade representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer said that her opponent, Yoo, “is a bona fide trade expert who has distinguished herself during a 25-year career as a successful trade negotiator and trade policymaker”.

CBN bans cryptocurrency trading in Nigeria, orders closure of cryptocurreny accounts

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and other financial institutions to close accounts of persons who are using their systems for cryptocurrency trading.

A cryptocurrency is a virtual or digital currency that appreciates or depreciates on the whims of market forces.

Trading with Bitcoin–a cryptocurrency type–has gained traction globally and in Nigeria lately; and most young people have been investing in the cryptocurrency world, buying and selling bitcoin and making profit for themselves.

But the apex ban is clearly not a fan of digital currencies.
In a statement signed by Bello Hassan, Director of Banking Supervision; and Musa Jimoh, Director of Payments System Management Department, the CBN said:

“Further to earlier regulatory directives on the subject, the bank hereby wishes to remind regulated institutions that dealing in crypto currencies or facilitating payments for cryptocurrency exchange is prohibited.

“Accordingly, all DMBs, NBFIs and OFIs are directed to identify persons and/or entities transacting in or operating crypto currency exchanges within their systems and ensure that such accounts are closed immediately.”

The CBN also declared that breaches of its directive will attract severe regulatory sanctions.

CBN has never liked cryptocurrency

It is not the first time that the CBN would be showing its disdain for cryptocurrency. In 2018, the apex bank issued a circular to say cryptocurrencies are not legal tenders in Nigeria.

“For the avoidance of doubt, dealers and investors in any kind of cryptocurrency in Nigeria are not protected by law. Virtual currencies are traded in exchange platforms that are unregulated, all over the world.

“Consumers may therefore lose their money without any legal redress in the event these exchangers collapse or close business.

“Members of the public are hereby warned that virtual currencies are not legal tender in Nigeria. Accordingly, we wish to caution all and sundry on the risks inherent in such activities,” the 2018 statement had read.

Other types of cryptocurrencies are Ethereum, Litecoin, Polkadot, Chainlink, Binance coin, Tether, Gadecoin, etc.