Connect with us

BIG STORY

FG Reacts To Binance $150m Bribe Claim, Says It’s An Act Of Blackmail

Published

on

  • Bribery Allegation Part Of Orchestrated International Campaign To Discredit Nigerian Government – FG

 

The federal government has accused Binance of blackmail after the company alleged officials demanded $150 million in cryptocurrency payments as a bribe to settle the prosecution of its executives in Nigeria.

The CEO of Binance, Richard Teng, stated on Tuesday that some unidentified individuals in Nigeria have demanded large sums in cryptocurrency in order to “go away” from their troubles in that nation.

Teng’s accusation came after the company’s head of financial crime compliance, Tigran Gambaryan, and regional manager for Africa, Nadeem Anjarwalla, were taken into custody in Nigeria on February 28.

The two executives were detained as part of a probe bordering on Binance’s illegal operations in Nigeria and foreign exchange rate manipulations.

While criminal charges have been filed against Binance and Gambaryan, Anjarwalla fled detention on March 22.

However, Anjarwalla was reportedly arrested by the Kenya Police Service in April and the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) is working towards extraditing him to Nigeria.

In a statement by Rabiu Ibrahim, special assistant to the minister of information and national orientation, the government said the allegation by Binance is an attempt by the cryptocurrency exchange to launder its impaired image as an organisation that does not play by the rules and laws guiding business conduct in sovereign nations.

“In a blog post that has now been published by many international media organisations, in an apparent well-coordinated public relations effort, Binance Chief Executive Officer Richard Teng made false allegations of bribery against unidentified Nigerian government officials who he claimed demanded $150m in cryptocurrency payments to resolve the ongoing criminal investigation against the company,” the ministry said.

“This claim by Binance CEO lacks any iota of substance. It is nothing but a diversionary tactic and an attempted act of blackmail by a company desperate to obfuscate the grievous criminal charges it is facing in Nigeria.

“The facts of this matter remain that Binance is being investigated in Nigeria for allowing its platform to be used for money laundering, terrorism financing, and foreign exchange manipulation through illegal trading.

“While this lawful investigation was going on, an executive of Binance, who was in court-sanctioned protective custody, escaped from Nigeria, and he is now a fugitive from the law. Working with the security agencies in Nigeria, Interpol is currently executing an international arrest warrant on the said fugitive.”

The ministry said the bribery allegation is part of an orchestrated international campaign by Binance to undermine the Nigerian government.

The ministry said Binance is facing criminal prosecution in many countries including the United States.

“Just a week ago, the founder and former CEO of Binance, Changpeng Zhao, was sentenced to prison in the United States, after pleading guilty to charges very similar to what Binance is being investigated for in Nigeria. In addition, Zhao agreed to pay a fine of $50 million, while Binance is liable for $4.3 billion in fines and forfeitures to the US Government,” the government said.

“We would like to remind Binance that it will not clear its name in Nigeria by resorting to fictional claims and mudslinging media campaigns. The only way to resolve its issues will be by submitting itself to unobstructed investigation and judicial due process.”

The ministry said the Nigerian government will continue to act within its laws and international norms and will not succumb to any form of blackmail from any entity, local or foreign.

BIG STORY

President Tinubu Appoints Shehu Mohammed As FRSC Corps Marshal

Published

on

Nigeria’s President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has appointed Shehu Mohammed as the corps marshal and the chief executive officer (CEO) of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC).

Segun Imohiosen, director of information in the office of the secretary to the government of the federation (AGF), announced the appointment in a statement on Wednesday.

Imohiosen said the appointment is for an initial period of four years with effect from May 20.

“President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, has approved the appointment of Assistant Corps Marshal Mohammed Shehu as the Corps Marshal/Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC),” the statement reads.

“President Tinubu tasks the appointee to bring his wealth of experience to bear in his new assignment.”

Mohammed will succeed Dauda Biu as the FRSC corps marshal.

In December 2022, former President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Biu as the substantive corps marshal of the FRSC.

Before the appointment, Biu was the acting corps marshal of the commission.

Continue Reading

BIG STORY

JUST IN: Verydarkman Remanded In Police Custody For Cyberbullying, Hearing To Hold Next Wednesday

Published

on

The controversial social media critic Martin Otse, also known as VeryDarkMan, has been placed under arrest till his next hearing, which is scheduled for this Wednesday of next week.

Otse reportedly entered a not guilty plea to five counts of cyberstalking involving the Nigerian police, Nollywood actresses Iyabo Ojo and Tonto Dike, when he was arraigned at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Wednesday.

The police prosecuting team told Judge Mobolaji Olajuwon that they needed more time to react to his lawyer Deji Adeyanju’s bail plea, thus the court postponed the bail hearing to May 29.

The prosecution sought to have the blogger remanded in prison custody, but his lawyers successfully argued for his remand in police custody instead.

The court granted this request, and Verydarkman was subsequently taken to the National Cybercrime Centre.

The charges against him read, “1. Posting a video on October 29, 2023, on his Instagram handle ‘verydarkblackman’ that contained offensive, pornographic, or menacing information, falsely alleging that Iyabo Ojo had an indecent sexual relationship with her daughter, violating Section 24 (1)(a) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015.

“That you Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja on or about 29th October 2023, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of a computer system on your Instagram handles ‘verydarkblackman’, which video contained information that is grossly offensive, pornographic or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character wherein you stated that one Iyabo Ojo is having an indecent sexual relationship with her daughter knowing or having reasons to believe that the information in the video you posted on your Instagram handle is false and you thereby committed the offence of Cyberstalking contrary to and punishable under section 24 (1)(a) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) ACT, 2015.

2. Posting a video on January 19, 2024, on Instagram, falsely accusing King Tonto Dikeh of criminal conversion of crowdfunding proceeds and being behind the Gistlover blog, intending to cause annoyance, inconvenience, and other harm, in violation of Section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime Act.

“COUNT 3 That you Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja on or about 19th January 2024, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of a computer system on your Instagram handles ‘verydarkblackman’ containing the information you know or had reasons believe to be false, wherein in the video you falsely published that King Tonto Dikeh is accused of criminal conversion of the proceeds of crowdfunding for Justice for Mohbad Movement, and being the person behind the gistlover blog, for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to the person of the said King Tonto Dike and you thereby committed the offence of Cyberstalking contrary to and punishable under section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) ACT, 2015

3. Posting a video on March 19, 2024, alleging that senior police officers and lawmakers were involved in sexual activities with Bobrisky, intending to cause annoyance, inconvenience, and other harm, in violation of Section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime Act.

“COUNT 4 That you, Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja, on or about 19th March 2024, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of computer system on your Instagram handle ‘verydarkblackman’, containing information which you know or had reasons to believe to be false, wherein you stated the following, ‘I put it to you say the DIGs of the Police dem dey knack Bobrisky. The senators for senate house dey knack Bobrisky…I dare the Nigeria Police, I said what I said, the DIGs are knacking him, the Lawmakers, the Senate are knacking him in the National Assembly’ which statement you made for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will or needless anxiety to the persons of the DIGs of the Nigeria Police Force and members of the National Assembly and you thereby committed the offence of Cyberstalking contrary to and punishable under section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) ACT, 2015.

4. Posting another video on March 19, 2024, claiming that Bobrisky was pimping young boys to senators and senior police officers, intending to cause annoyance, inconvenience, and other harm, in violation of Section 24 (1)(b) of the Cybercrime Act.

“COUNT 5 That you Martins Vincent Otse (A.K.A. VERYDARKBLACKMAN) ‘M’, 29 YRS of Supreme Court Estate Karu, Abuja on or about 19th March, 2024, in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court knowingly and intentionally posted videos, by means of computer system on your Instagram handles ‘verydarkblackman’ containing information you know or had reasons to believe to be false, wherein you stated that Bobrisky is pimping young boys for Senators and Senior Police Officers to sleep with, which statement you made for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, insult, injury.”

Continue Reading

BIG STORY

JUST IN: Nigerian Students At Teesside University Forced To Discontinue Studies, Ordered To Leave UK

Published

on

The drastic devaluation of Nigeria’s currency has affected the ability of Nigerian students at Teesside University in the United Kingdom to pay their tuition fees on time.

They have now been forced to discontinue their studies and leave the UK.

Some of these students, devastated by the situation, told the BBC that they felt driven to despair by what they saw as the university’s insensitive handling of their payment difficulties.

According to a university spokesperson, non-payment breached the conditions of their visa sponsorship, leaving the university with “no choice” but to inform the Home Office.

The Home Office however clarified that decisions regarding visa sponsorship are the responsibility of the educational institution.

  • High Inflation In Nigeria

The economic downturn in Nigeria, described as the worst in decades, has hit hard, affecting Nigerian students abroad, particularly at some UK universities.

With inflation nearing 30%, and recent government attempts to introduce a new currency exacerbating the situation, the students’ pre-verified funds to cover tuition and living expenses dwindled significantly.

Additionally, changes at the university from a seven-installment tuition fee payment plan to three installments compounded the students’ financial troubles.

This group of 60 students shared their plight after some had their university accounts frozen and were involuntarily withdrawn from their courses due to non-payment, with some also facing actions from debt collection agencies employed by the university.

  • Affected Students Devastated

One of the affected students, Adenike Ibrahim, was nearing the completion of her dissertation after two years of study when she missed a payment.

Despite settling her outstanding fees later, she was not allowed to re-enroll and was instructed to leave the UK with her young son.

“I did default [on payments], but I’d already paid 90% of my tuition fees and I went to all of my classes.

“I called them and asked to reach an agreement, but they do not care what happens to their students”, she said.

She said the experience was “horrendous” and she did not know what was happening with her qualification.

“It has been heartbreaking for my son especially, he has been in so much distress since I told him,” Ms Ibrahim added.

One master’s degree student, who chose to remain anonymous, admitted to the BBC that he had considered suicide and had stopped eating and drinking since receiving his letter. Despite these dire circumstances, the university claimed it had done “every effort” to assist affected students by offering individual meetings with specialist staff and creating customized payment plans upon request.

Esther Obigwe reported that she had repeatedly attempted to discuss her financial difficulties with the university but received no response until she was also blocked from her studies and ordered to leave the country.

“I attended all of my classes and seminars, I’m a hell of an active student,” she said.

“It is disheartening, I am now on antidepressants and being here alone, I have nobody to talk to.

“For over two months, I’ve barely eaten or slept and I don’t understand why this is being meted at us, we didn’t do anything wrong.”

Jude Salubi, a student training to be a social worker, was in the middle of a placement when his university access was suspended and he received a directive to leave the UK.

Before this, he had been commuting from Teesside to Liverpool every weekend to work 18 hours in an effort to clear his outstanding fees.

“As of now I have paid £14,000 and have a balance of £14,000,” he explained.

Salubi expressed his willingness to negotiate a payment plan, stating, “I am willing to come to an agreement as to how I will make this payment, but I need guarantees that I will be re-enrolled into school and my visa restored.”

Several students have managed to settle their outstanding fees; however, Teesside University has been unable to influence the Home Office’s process regarding their visa status.

  • No Right Of Appeal – Homeland Office

The Home Office informed students, including Ms. Ibrahim, that their permission to stay in the UK was revoked because they were no longer enrolled at the university.

According to letters reviewed by the BBC, these students were given a specific departure date and were told that they had no “right of appeal or administrative review against the decision.”

  • What The University Is Saying

A university spokesman stated that while Teesside University values its diverse international student body, it must adhere to strict visa issuance and compliance regulations that support the UK’s immigration system and are beyond the university’s control.

The university acknowledged the financial difficulties some students are facing and has offered tailored payment plans, which many international students have accepted. Nonetheless, according to them, some have still failed to meet the requirements of these revised plans.

The Home Office has maintained that decisions regarding visa sponsorship are the responsibility of the educational institution and advises individuals whose visas have been shortened or cancelled to either regularize their stay or arrange to leave the UK.

 

Credit: Nairametrics

Continue Reading

Most Popular