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Two officials of an outsourcing company , Sambhu Nigeria Limited , have been arrested by the Ogun State Police Command for allegedly defrauding the firm of about N8m. It was learnt that the suspects Daniel Odeh and Jane Ejeh were arrested by the police from the Sango Ota division before they were transferred to the Anti Fraud Unit of the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department, Eleweran, Abeokuta.

While Odeh was the company’s operations manager, Ejeh was the cashier. The duo allegedly inflated salary payments to workers and diverted the excess cash into their own accounts. The alleged fraud, which had been going on since May 2017, reportedly got to the attention of the company’s Managing Director, Emmanuel Igoche, who reported to the police. The firm’s Administrative Manager, Aladey Matthew, said the firm initially thought the amount was N5.3m until investigations revealed an additional N2.7m.

He said, “We manage labour for construction firms. Most of our clients, who have their sites in Ogun State, pay workers ‘salaries to us. After deducting our service charge, we then pay the workers. At the end of every month, our operations manager submits the wage bill to the MD, who then instructs that the money be disbursed. “Daniel ( Odeh ) pays workers in Samstar Nigeria Limited, Pure Chem Manufacturing Limited, among others. We asked him to tell the workers to open bank accounts into which their salaries could but paid, but he refused. We paid blindly as he issued vouchers for workers’ salaries. Unknown to us, the vouchers were being inflated and the surplus cash diverted.

“Sometime in May 2017, Pure Chem increased workers’ salaries. Daniel submitted the new salary rates to us, but he continued to pay the workers the old rates. About N2.5m fraud was committed in Pure Chem alone.”It was also learnt that the fraud came to light in January shortly after Ejeh got wedded in her hometown in Benue State. The managing director was allegedly called by the company’s new accounts officer, who became involved in the preparation of vouchers for workers salaries in December 2017. The MD was said to have also got calls from some workers, who claimed that their salaries had not been paid for several months.

“The new accounts officer had not been involved in the preparation of vouchers until in December 2017. He discovered the fraud and called the attention of the MD to it. The MD did not immediately take action until some workers started calling that they had not been paid their salaries for several months. We discovered that aside inflating the vouchers, there were many workers he did not pay for two to three months. “Initially, the man said he was solely responsible for the fraud and the woman should not be interrogated. But during police investigation, the woman confessed to have collected N700, 000 from the money,” he added.

It was further learnt that the police got a court order to remand the suspects beyond the 48 hours permitted by law to enable them get more information on the actual amount involved in the fraud. It was alleged that Odeh and Ejeh admitted to N5.3m fraud. During investigation, an additional N2.7m was allegedly discovered, which brought the figure to N8m. “Investigations are ongoing as more revelations are coming up . The suspects have not said what they did with the money, Matthew added.

Punch learnt that while Odeh had been working with the company for over five years, the woman got into the company about three years ago. Both suspects are indigenes of Benue State. “The man brought the lady into the company. The whole fraud was caused by blind trust. The MD left a lot to the operations manager and that was why all this happened, ” the admin manager said. The state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Abimbola Oyeyemi, confirmed the incident, adding that the case was being investigated at the anti fraud unit of the SCIID. “The case was handled by the Sango division, but was transferred to the anti fraud unit of the SCIID for proper investigation , ” Oyeyemi said in a text message to our correspondent on Sunday. Punch Reports

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Tony Elumelu Foundation Disburses First Tranche of $5m Partnership Commitment from African Development Bank

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Tony O. Elumelu, CON, has congratulated the African Development Bank (AfDB), and AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina, on their commitment to African entrepreneurship, with the disbursement of $2.5million seed capital to the AfDB-sponsored beneficiaries of the 2019 TEF Entrepreneurship Programme. $2.5m was released today, with the remainder expected to be disbursed to the entrepreneurs in Q12020.

The AfDB commitment follows the recent $8.5 million disbursements from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to 2,648 entrepreneurs in the Sahel region and Africa more broadly and further accelerates the economic empowerment generated by the Tony Elumelu Foundation. In 2019, the Foundation significantly increased the scale and reach of it impact, with the number of beneficiarieof its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme rising from its annual commitment of 1,000 to 5,150, in collaboration with global and African partners.

 With its commitment to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises and develop young entrepreneurs, AfDB joined the growing list of global development institutions benefiting from the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s unique model of identifying, training, mentoring and funding entrepreneurs and start-ups across Africa. The partnership demonstrates the implementation of the AfDB’s ten-year “Jobs for Youth in Africa” strategy, launched in 2016, to support the creation of 25 million meaningful jobs across the continent.

The partnership illustrates TEF’s willingness to share its infrastructure and know-how, with others who share the mission to empower young African entrepreneurs and TEF’s goal of creating millions of jobs, as well as generating

 billions in revenue, to catalyse economic growth across the continent.

The Foundation is currently accepting applications to the 2020 cohort of its flagship Entrepreneurship Programme on TEFConnect.com, Africa’s digital hub for entrepreneurs.

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Dangote Farms Commissions Tomatoes Nursery To Provide Seedlings For Farmers

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In a bid to make Nigeria self-sufficient in tomato production, Dangote Tomatoes Processing Limited, owned by the younger brother of Africa’s richest man, Sani Dangote, has unveiled a N2.8 billion greenhouse nursery in Kano to supply the best quality tomato seedlings to Nigerian farmers.

Speaking on the project, Sani Dangote said the nursery is designed to use the automated Pat Moose planting technology, the first of its kind in Nigeria and has the capacity to process 350 million tonnes of hybrid tomato seedlings per season enabling the planting of 12,000 hectares of tomato farm. The pat moose process takes three weeks before proceeding to the next stage reducing the whole process of growing tomatoes to just 3 months.

He stated that Nigeria consumes about 2.3 million tonnes of tomatoes annually and with the establishment of the nursery, “we have created a capacity to triple tomato production, attaining self-sufficiency in tomato production as well as a potentially exporting surplus to neighboring countries.

“Furthermore, this nursery will produce the highest quality tomato seedling available meaning that the farmers can grow the highest yield tomatoes. Currently, the yields produced by Nigerian farmers are less than the global standard. As a result, farmers will be able to earn more income from selling higher volumes of harvests each season.

“Nigeria is on a trajectory to becoming self-sufficient in rice, tomatoes and poultry production. This means that millions of jobs will be created for her citizens.”, Sani Dangote explained.

The African continent imports $40 billion of food annually despite having 65% of the world’s arable land. The public-private model on-going in Nigeria could be adopted by other African countries to also attain self-sufficiency in food production.

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Tony Elumelu Donates Technology Centre To AAU

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Chairman of UBA Group, Tony O. Elumelu, has made the donation of a multipurpose information technology center to his alma mater, Ambrose Ali University.

Through the UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Elumelu has championed the construction of a state-of-the-art multipurpose information technology building, which will benefit the students of Ambrose Alli University in Ekpoma, Edo State. The hall, to be named The Tony O. Elumelu multipurpose hall, is furnished with computers, desks, and chairs measure 839 square meters and have adjoining offices and conveniences.

Elumelu highlighted his motivation: “Education is crucial to Nigeria’s human capital – whether our young people join our national institutions, the private sector or, as I did, take the entrepreneurial path, no one can afford to be cut off from the digital world. It has been a personal mission to ensure that the hall was delivered to specification, for the benefit of the students at the AAU. Success brings with it the duty to give back, and I am just grateful that I am now in a position to meaningfully help the next generation”.

The multipurpose hall was formally handed over to the University, at a ceremony attended by members of the University’s governing council and staff, led by Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ignatius Onimawo.

Speaking at the commissioning, UBA’s Directorate Head, South Bank, Mr. Chris Ofikulu, who represented the UBA Group Chairman, highlighted the contribution of UBA, through its Foundation, to education and development across Africa.

‘As a pan-African bank, operating in 20 countries across our continent, UBA is committed to being a socially responsible institution, and a role model for businesses in Africa. The UBA Foundation actively promotes the socio-economic improvement of the communities in which UBA operates, with a particular emphasis on development in the areas of “Education, Environment, and Economic Empowerment”. We believe in intervening and building capacity within communities, facilitating projects that will act as catalysts for social and economic development’ he stated.

“Tony Elumelu is a product of this great university and is conscious of the need to give back and there is no substitute for world-class educational infrastructure, and this is what has informed the construction of these facilities, that will help equip the future leaders of our great nation Nigeria,” he said.

The AAU Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ignatius Onimawo, who expressed his heartfelt gratitude towards the gesture by the UBA Group Chairman, noted that one of the most pressing needs of the University for 2020 had been met, and thanked UBA and Mr Elumelu.

He challenged students to make proper use of the facilities provided by UBA and to ensure that they emerge great leaders and mentors like Elumelu, whose commitment to catalyzing entrepreneurial growth across Africa, through the Tony Elumelu Foundation, and institutionalizing African philanthropy, had created a strong positive role model. ‘We at Ambrose Ali university are so proud of our son Tony Elumelu and every time we see him doing good across Africa, we feel joy and accomplishment’ said Onimawo.

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