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Forex deal: CBN lists ‘infractions’ of RiseVest, other fintech platforms

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The federal high court sitting in Abuja on Tuesday granted the request of the Central Bank of Nigeria to freeze accounts belonging to some technology trading platforms offering local and foreign stocks.

In his ruling, Ahmed Mohammed, the judge, granted the prayers of the apex bank to freeze the accounts of RiseVest Technologies Limited, Bamboo Systems Technology Limited, Chaka Technologies Limited, and Trove Technologies Limited for 180 days.

This is not the first time the apex bank is clamping down on major fintech platforms offering foreign stocks to its customers.

In February 2021, the CBN directed banks and other financial institutions to close any accounts dealing in cryptocurrency or facilitating payment for cryptocurrency exchange, with immediate effect.

While delivering the ruling, Mohammed added that any person who feels aggrieved about the freezing order is entitled to approach the court within the period to seek redress.

He then adjourned further hearing till February 20, 2022.

RISEVEST  – NO LICENCE/ALLEGED CRYPTO TRADING

The CBN accused Risevest of engaging in cryptocurrency trading which contravened it’s circular referenced BSD/DIRUPUB/LAB/014/001, dated February 5, 2021.

“Our review revealed that the company consummated its asset management activities through its account 1017558580 with Zenith Bank PIc, which recorded a turnover of N1.8billion between January 1, 2019, and April 27, 2021,” CBN said in a court filing.

“Inflows to the account ware mainly from retail investors through two Payment Service Solution Providers (PSSPs): Flutterwave (N588.81 million) and Monnify (N987.58 million). Outflows from the account were to a PSSP-Paystack (N500 million) and cryptocurrency traders like BuyCoins (N110.00 million) and Beltium Ventures (N350.00 million).

“Inquiries on the transactions confirmed that the transfers to Buycoins were for the purchase of cryptocurrency.

“The above is indicative that Rise Vest Technologies Limited traded in cryptocurrencies in contravention of the CBN circular referenced BSD/DIRUPUB/LAB/014/001, dated February 5, 2021.”

BAMBOO SYSTEMS  – No licence

The apex bank said Bamboo operates an online app for trading in stocks, exchange-traded fund and derivatives listed in major US exchanges.

“Bamboo Systems Technology Limited is owned by Us-based Bamboo Global LLC (99.99%) and Oluwole Ralph Olugbenga (0.01%). The company was incorporated in December 2018 to carry on the business of software design, implementation, development, maintenance and consultancy amongst others,”

“It is related to One Global Med. Technology. BSTL Lambeth and Grag Concepts Limited.

“Further reviews showed that Bamboo Systems Technology Limited operates an online App. Bamboo, that provides a medium for investors to buy and sell stocks, Exchange traded funds (ETFS), index funds and derivatives listed in major exchanges in the U.S.”

CHAKA TECHNOLOGIES – No licence

The CBN accused Chaka of engaging in the purchase of forex from illegal operators for trading in naira and dollar securities.

The financial regulator said, “Our review showed that transactions on Chaka.com are settled through Guaranty Trust Bank Plc accounts of Citi Investment Capital Limited. A detailed review of the transactions are provided below:

“Citi Assets Management Limited, owned by Victor Gbolade Osibodu, Olufunke lyabo Osibodu Foluso Olajide Philips and Vigeo Capital Limited, was incorporated in 2006 to carry on the business of financial and investment advisory services for unit Trusts and Funds.

“The company also owns a mobile/digital investment app (Chaka.com), which provides a gateway for investors willing to invest in local and foreign securities from as N1,000 or USD10. It maintains Naira and domiciliary accounts with Guaranty Trust Bank PLC. The domiciliary accounts (0462887053, 0005577559 & 0137921143) recorded an aggregate turnover of $0.91 million between January 1, 2019, and April 27. 2021.

“Inflows to the account were from offshore investment companies like 4DX Ventures LP ($O. 15 million), Drivewealth LLC ($0.14 million). Golden Palm Investments Corporation $0.10 million), Angellist Holdings. LLC ($0.05 million), Microtraction Investments LLC ($0.03 million) and Blue Rinc Capital ($0.04 million).

“There were also inflows from local investment firms like VGo investment Company ($0.07 million), and Tag Capital Nigeria Limited ($0.02 million). Other inflows were cash deposits from sundry investors ($0.13millon) and FX purchased from an illegal FX operator, Salt River Energy & Allied Limited ($0.05 million).

“Outflows from the account consisted of transfers to offshore investment companies like Drivewealth, LLC ($0.17 million), Oro Development Company ($0.09 million), ABTA Investment Limited ($0.08 million. Dendrobium Limited ($0.02 million), and Trading view incorporated (00.01 million), as well as local online investment service providers like VGO investment Company Limited ($0.06 million) and Rolaid Company Limited ($0.02 million).

“The company also made transfers to Chaka Technologies Limited ($0.12 million) and an offshore cloud service provider, Rackpace international Gmbh (S0.02million).

“Other transfers were to Leadway Assurance Company Limited ($0.05 million) and individuals suspected to be investors like Kehinde Balogun ($0.11 million), Toluwalase Usman ($0.04million) and Alero Patricia Azazi ($0.02 million).”

It stated further that the fintech startup has an aggregate turnover of N9.26 billion in more than two years.

 

“A review of the Citi Assets Management Limited’s Naira accounts showed an aggregate turnover of N9.26 billion between January 1, 2019, and April 27 2021. Inflows to the account consisted of own account transfers (N3.43 billion) and transfers from a power distribution company Global Utilities Management Company (N3.94 billion), an Australian-based consulting and training company -Oversight Consulting (N0.21 billion), Vigeo Shipping Limited (N0. 10 billion), Oxygron Oll and Gas (N0.05 billion) Holborn Associates Limited (N0.03 billion), VGO investment Company Limited and Munak Group Limited (N0.02 billion), Others were inflows vaguely described as “2020 2nd Tranche” (0.93 billion) and cash deposits by sundry investors (N0.04 billion).”

In June, it was reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) granted Chaka Technologies, a licence to offer stocks directly to investors in the country.

 

TROVE TECHNOLOGIES – No licence

The CBN accused Trove of engaging in cryptocurrency trading as well as operating mobile and digital investment app for local and foreign securities without approval.

“A review of the company’s domiciliary account 5071080410 with Zenith Bank Pic showed a turnover of $1.42 million between May 1, 2019, and April 27, 2021.

 

“Inflows to the account were from investment partners like USA-based Drivewealth LLC ($0.69 million) and ARM Securities Limited ($0.18 million). Other inflows were from illegal FX operators like Vertos Financial Technologies Limited ($0 10 million), West Continental Prospecting

Limited $0.03 million) and West Atlantic Drilling ($0.02 million). The company also received inflows from individuals like Abosede Abibat Oyewole ($0.12 million), Ahutu Amina $0.05 million) Ayobamidele Oni ($0.04 million), Babatunde Olakunla Edun ($0.03 million) and Arinze Alexander Anyaeche ($0.02 million). Outflows from the account included offshore transfers to Drivewealth LLC (51.10 million) for investments on behalf of its clients. Other outflows were to Docklands Enterprises $0.06 million which the transfer instruction described as payment for FX transfer and Simon Olaleye ($0:06 million).”

 

On the naira account, the apex bank said Trove engaged in ‘illegal forex transactions’ with BDC operators.

“A review of the company’s Naira accounts (1016068138 &1010785581) with Zenith Bank Plc showed an aggregate turnover of N3.27 billion. Inflows to the account were from PSSPs like Teamapt Lid (N2.49 billion), Paystack (N0.22 billion) and Flutterwave (N0. 11 billion)

“Outflows were in companies involved in B2B payment solutions as well as cryptocurrencies like Verto Financial Technologies Ltd (N1.09 billion) and Paystack (N0.36 billion), Quidax Technologies Ltd (N0.04 billion) and BT Pesa (N0.002 billion). Other outflow included transfers to sundry individuals and payments for bulk purchase of FX from HFT BDC (N0.02 billion, Kiakiafx Services International Limited (N0.006 billion) and BLK Prestige (N0.002 million).

“The foregoing is indicative that Trove Technologies Limited was actively engaged in trading in foreign securities and cryptocurrencies using FX sourced from illegal FX operators and Nigerian FX market in contravention of the CBN circular of 2015.”

The tech platforms immediately informed the public that investors and traders’ funds are in safe hands and accessible.

Bamboo, Trove, Chaka and Risevest have also assured investors that they will work with regulators to resolve all contending issues.

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As Buhari launches eNaira, CBN unveils 100 for 100 financial instrument

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President Muhammadu Buhari has launched the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) digital currency, the e-Naira.
While launching the digital currency, at the State House,Abuja, this afternoon, the president commended the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, for his efforts towards ensuring a more efficient payment system in the country.
In his address, Emefiele announced a new financial instrument titled “The 100 for 100 PPP – Policy on Production and Productivity,” to reduce the nation’s overdependence on imports.
According to the governor, the instrument, “will be anchored in our Development Finance Department under my direct supervision.
“Under this policy the CBN will advertise, screen, scrutinize and financially support 100 targeted private sector companies in 100 days, beginning from 01 November 2021, and rolling over every 100 days with new set of 100 companies, whose names will be published in National Dailies for Nigerians to verify and confirm.

“The purpose of this instrument is to take further steps to reverse our over reliance on imports.”

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Investigate sources of fake reports about luxury bus hijack, GUO, ALBON tell police

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Luxury bus owners and operators have denied a new report claiming that one of the buses was hijacked and 123 passengers abducted by some gunmen.

The transporters were reacting to what they called the latest in a series of recent fake news that a “fully loaded” Abuja-bound luxury bus belonging to GUO Transport Co Ltd was “intercepted” in Edo by “bandits suspected to be Fulani who kidnapped about 123 passengers on board, hours after departing Owerri.

They asked the police and other security agencies in the country to investigate the sources of such frequent hoax online news reports about the hijack of their vehicles and kidnap of passengers by bandits.

Describing the abduction story which was widely publicised online as a mischievously fabricated falsehood, the Managing Director of GUO, Maduabuchukwu Okeke, disclosed that neither was any of his company’s buses hijacked nor the passengers abducted.

He stated that since the middle of last week when the false report was posted, his company has been inundated with calls and visits by worried members of the travelling public trying to confirm the “news.”

One of the publications went as far as claiming that the bandits were “armed with Ak-47 rifles and machetes.”

The GUO Managing Director recalled that false stories of luxury bus hijack and kidnap of passengers have been recycled several times since banditry became a worrisome issue in the country.

He urged the Department of State Services {DSS}, the police and other law enforcement agencies, to track down the perpetrators who are bent on scaring away innocent long distance road users, putting luxury bus business in jeopardy and causing disaffection among sections of the society.

Okeke debunked the story, saying, “The mischief makers claimed that 123 passengers were abducted. But, what kind of luxury bus can accommodate 123 passengers even with the so called “attachment” seats which are totally prohibited in GUO as a matter of policy. Or, are we talking about pieces of wood here, and not human beings anymore? You do not need to think deep to know that the story is false.”

He stated that if there was any such incident involving GUO buses, the management would have officially issued a statement in addition to a confirmation by the police.

Also speaking on to latest hijack and kidnap hoax, the recently elected National President of Association of Luxury Bus Owners of Nigeria {ALBON}, Nonso Ubajaka, decried the frequent generation of falsehood about his members’ vehicles on the internet.

Ubajaka said he checked with the management of GUO and confirmed that none of their buses was attacked by bandits.

“So, the question is: What is the motive behind the frequent fake news about luxury buses being “intercepted” and occupants abducted by the Fulani? All the transport owners are worried because there seems to be a secret plan to cause fear and disaffection which gives us cause for concern,” he said.

The ALBON President, therefore, echoed the appeal to the law enforcement agencies to swing into action and apprehend the mischief makers before they cause more damage through the internet.

Other luxury bus transporters and members of both ALBON and the bigger amalgam of transport bodies –   Public Transport Owners of Nigeria Association {PTONA}, urged online news readers to disregard such fake news.

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First Bank confirms Otedola highest shareholder

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First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Holdings Plc has now confirmed billionaire businessman Femi Otedola as having the largest shares in the company.

It has thus written officially to the Nigerian Exchange notifying of the acquisition of substantial shareholdings in the holding company by Otedola.

This is coming after it said the firm had not received a notification of a significant holding by a new investor.

The company’s earlier notice on Friday was interpreted as a denial of any knowledge of a takeover of the company by Otedola, having acquired majority shareholding in the firm.

But the FBN Holdings Plc in another press release dated October 23, 2021 and published on the Exchange website, stated that it received a notification from APT Securities and Funds Limited, that their Client, Mr Otedola Olufemi Peter and his nominee, Calvados Global Services Limited, had acquired a total of 1,818,551,625 units of shares from the company’s issued share capital of 35,895,292,791.

It stated that the equity stake of Otedola and his nominee in the Company is now 5.07per cent.

The letter, read in part: “We refer to our communication to the market dated October 22, 2021 on the above subject matter where we stated that we would inform the public of any substantial acquisition upon receipt of any notification from the shareholder.

“This morning, October 23, 2021, FBN Holdings Plc received a notification from APT Securities and Funds Limited that their client Mr Otedola Olufemi Peter and his nominee Calvados Global Services Limited have acquired a total of 1,818,551,625 units of shares from the company’s issued share capital of 35,895,292,791.”

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