Businesswoman defrauded London-based don of N36m, EFCC insists




IKEJA – The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Wednesday told an Ikeja High Court how a businesswoman, Taiwo Martins, swindled a London-based lecturer $240,000 (about N36 million). The EFCC made the allegation through one its investigative officers, Mr Alex Ogbole, at the resumption Martins’ trial before Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye. The 48-year-old accused is being prosecuted alongside her company — Baal-Perazim Investment Ltd. The defendants are facing a 12-count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money under false pretences and issuance of dishonoured cheque. The EFCC alleged that they collected the money from the don, Olasunkanmi Sholarin, in April 2010, on the pretext of helping him to secure a 65 million dollars credit facility. In his testimony, Ogbole said he was one of the officers who investigated the petition sent to the EFCC by the complainant on May 17, 2011. The witness, who was led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Mr Anslem Ozioko, said Martins was already in the custody of the commission when the petition was received. He said the defendant was being detained by the EFCC for another fraud-related case which was under investigation at that time. Ogbole said Sholarin, a lecturer at University of Westminster, London, was introduced to the defendant and one Michael Olawuyi, now at large, at Hanover Square in London. “He told them that he had an estate development project in Nigeria and needed a loan to execute the project. “The defendant told him that he should pay $300,000 as processing fee and that they would make the loan available,” the witness said. According to him, after making a total installment of $240,000 both in naira and other foreign currencies, Martins failed to secure the loan as promised. Ogbole said while at EFCC custody, Martins promised to repay the money and issued four First Bank of Nigeria cheques in the sum of N9 million each, payable to the complainant. He said she was subsequently granted an administrative bail. “However, we were later informed by Sholarin that the cheques were dishonoured when they were presented for payment. “It was also discovered that the defendant had jumped bail,” Ogbole added. The witness said Martins was eventually sighted at a U.S. airport almost a year later en route to Nigeria and was arrested by the EFCC on arrival in the country. The case has been adjourned till July 16 for continuation of trial. (NAN) ————————————————————————————————————- INEC urges principals to establish voter education clubs in schools (education) BAUCHI – The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), has urged principals of secondary schools in Bauchi State to establish voter education clubs in their schools. The  Resident Electoral Commissioner, Mr Samuel Usman, made the request on Wednesday in Bauchi at a workshop organised by INEC for the principals.The commissioner said the measure was aimed at preparing the students for democratic culture.Usman said that the students would through the work of the clubs be prepared for significant roles in the democratic norms and practices.He explained that democracy and elections would be better understood when students were inculcated with democratic norms and practices.“It is on this premise that the commission decided that it should get involved with the schools by enlightening the principals on the need for voter education,” Usman said.Usman, who was represented by Mr Emmanuel Umenger, Administrative Secretary of the commission, said the programme was also aimed at preparing the youth for future roles in the democratic dispensation.Principal from secondary schools in the 20 local government areas of the state were present at the workshop. (NAN)

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Recapitalisation: Stockbroking firms resort to mergers, acquisition (biz)
LAGOS – Most stockbroking firms are now resorting to mergers and acquisitions to scale through the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) recapitalisation deadline for capital market operators, the News Agency Nigeria (NAN) reports.
Investigations by NAN showed that the tempo consolidation and acquisition meetings have increased as the economy enters the second phase.
A senior stockbroker who pleaded anonymity told NAN on Wednesday in Lagos that the affected stockbroking firms had been holding series of meetings for possible acquisition or merger.
He said the affected brokers were working round the clock to consolidate their businesses before Dec. 31, 2014.
According to him, the limited time frame and the reality of the regulators’ commitment in enforcing the recapitalisation programme, has compelled the operators to resort to mergers and acquisitions option to avoid forced closure.
Confirming the development, Mr Emeka Madubuike, President, Association of Stockbroking Houses of Nigeria (ASHON), said that the association was considering the option.
Madubike said that ASHON in the next couple of weeks would organise a workshop on recapitalisation to enlighten members on the various options.
He said that mergers and acquisitions were one of the options being considered by the association.
Madubuike said that ASHON would continue to discuss and engage with SEC, noting that the policy should be taken for the overall interest.
He said that operators would continue to seek audience with the commission, and that policies should not be introduced without necessary consultation.
SEC on Dec. 19 issued a new capital requirement for capital market operators with December 31, 2014 as deadline for them to recapitalise.
A breakdown of the new capital requirement obtained by NAN showed that broker/dealer now requires a minimum capital of N300 million or an increase of 328.57 per cent compared with the initial capital of N70 million.
A broker is now required to increase its capital to N200 million from N40 million, while a dealer’s minimum capital now stands at N100 million against N30 million.
Issuing Houses operational capital requirement also rose to N200 million from N150 million and underwriters are now expected to have N200 million as working capital from N100 million.
Under the new capital requirements framework, a registrar’s operational capital has been reviewed up to N150 million from N50 million.
Trustees capital requirement also improved to N300 million from N40 million and rating agency from N20 million to N150 million. (NAN)

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