Interpol traces €500,000 COVID-19 fraud in Germany to Nigeria – Newstrends
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Interpol traces €500,000 COVID-19 fraud in Germany to Nigeria

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The International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) has traced a €500,000 COVID-19 fraud to Nigeria.

The organisation made this known in a statement on its website titled, ‘Unmasked: International COVID-19 fraud exposed’.

The scheme was reportedly coordinated using compromised emails, advance-payment fraud, and money laundering.

INTERPOL said the fraud was uncovered by financial institutions and authorities across Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands.

The statement read in part, “In mid-March, as a number of countries were going into lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, German health authorities contracted two sales companies in Zurich and Hamburg to procure EUR 15 million worth of face masks. With a global shortage on medical supplies complicating usual business channels, the buyers followed new leads in the hopes of securing the masks.

“It all started with an email address and website which appeared to be linked to a legitimate company in Spain selling face masks. Unknown to the buyers, the site was a fake and their legitimate email addresses had been compromised.

“Through email correspondence, the company initially claimed to have 10 million masks, only for the delivery to fall through. As consolation, they then referred the buyers to a ‘trusted’ dealer in Ireland. The Irish middleman promised to put them in touch with a different supplier, this time in the Netherlands.

“Claiming to have a strong commercial relationship with the company, the man provided assurances that the alleged Dutch company would be able to supply the 10 million face masks. An agreement for an initial delivery of 1.5 million masks was made, in exchange for an upfront payment of EUR 1.5 million.

“The buyers initiated a bank transfer to Ireland and prepared for delivery, which involved 52 lorries and a police escort to transport the masks from a warehouse in the Netherlands to the final destination in Germany.

“Just before the delivery date, the buyers were informed that the funds had not been received and that an emergency transfer of EUR 880,000 straight to the Dutch supplier was required to secure the merchandise.

“The buyers sent the wire transfer and the masks never arrived. It turns out the Dutch company existed, but their website had also been cloned. There was no official record of the order.

“When the buyers realized they had been duped, they immediately contacted their bank in Germany, which in turn contacted INTERPOL’s Financial Crimes unit, setting off a race to intercept the funds and follow the money trail.

“The Dutch Fiscal Information and Investigation Service quickly tracked down the EUR 880,000 which had been transferred from the German company. Nearly EUR 500,000 of those funds had already been sent to the United Kingdom, all of which was destined for an account in Nigeria.”

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Drama as TUC pulls out of planned nationwide strike

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Drama as TUC pulls out of planned nationwide strike

The Trade Union Congress (TUC) has decided not to participate in the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC)’s proposed nationwide strike.

Tommy Etim, the TUC’s Vice President, stated this on Thursday.

Etim attributed the decision to cancel the planned strike on a “lack of decision making”.

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He underlined the importance of collective bargaining among labor unions before embarking on a demonstration.

Meanwhile, the NLC has rejected the advice of the Department of State Services (DSS) to shelve the nationwide protest scheduled for February 27 and 28.

I’m a statement on Wednesday evening, NLC president described the advice as unsolicited adding that it would proceed with the protest the hardship currently being faced by most Nigerians.

Drama as TUC pulls out of planned nationwide strike

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Parent visa: 5 countries that offer visas allowing family members reside with you

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Parent visa: 5 countries that offer visas allowing family members reside with you

Countries around the globe have implemented ‘Parent Visa’ programs as a means to reunite citizens or permanent residents with their parents who live abroad.

There are 5 countries which are known to have implemented this visa category.

Nairametrics learns that these visas vary widely in their requirements and privileges; some permit the visa holder to work, while others may require a financial investment into the host country.

About Parent Visa

The “Parent Visa,’ known by various names in different countries, acts as a bridge for families separated by borders, allowing them to live together.

For example, New Zealand’s approach to the ‘Parent Visa’ allows parents to reside in the country for up to six months at a stretch.

This exemplifies how conditions and stipulations for such visas can differ markedly from one nation to another, reflecting the diverse policies on family reunification.

This visa category underscores the importance many countries place on family unity as a fundamental value. By facilitating the process for parents to join their children, these nations acknowledge the significant emotional and social benefits of maintaining close family ties, despite the geographical distances that might exist.

The ‘Parent Visa’ thus serves not only as a legal mechanism for immigration but also as a testament to the universal value of family.

Here are the countries offering Parent Visas:

New Zealand

In New Zealand, the Parent Resident Visa enables residents and citizens to sponsor their parents for residency.

The eligibility requires the New Zealand resident to have adequate income and commit to sponsoring their parents.

This visa grants the right to live, work, and study in New Zealand and allows the inclusion of partners in the residence application.

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The application process begins with submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI). If selected, Immigration New Zealand (INZ) will issue an Invitation To Apply (ITA).

Only recipients of an ITA are eligible to proceed with the residence application, which must be filed within four months of receiving the ITA.

Australia 

Australia has established a Parent Visa category and introduced amendments to the Migration Bill to facilitate family reunification more efficiently.

To qualify, an applicant must have a child who is an Australian citizen, a permanent resident, or an eligible New Zealand citizen, who has been living in Australia for at least two years before the application. The parent must also serve as a sponsor.

Initially, the Parent Visa provides temporary residency for two years, offering the opportunity to later transition to permanent residency.

Canada

Canada provides two kinds of visas for parents. The Super Visa a temporary solution, is available to the parents and grandparents of Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

This visa permits multiple entries over ten years, with each stay allowed to last up to two years.

Financial backing from the child or grandchild is a necessary condition.

Additionally, there is the Parents and Grandparents Program, which carries stricter requirements but grants the visa holder the ability to live and work in Canada.

United Kingdom 

In the United Kingdom, parents can obtain a visa if their child is under 18, a British citizen, or a permanent resident who has lived in the UK continuously for seven years. The visa is called a family visa.

A requirement for obtaining this visa is active involvement in the child’s upbringing, including participation in school activities and healthcare decisions. The visa is initially granted for 2.5 years, with the possibility of extension thereafter.

Germany

Germany facilitates family reunification via the Family Reunion Visa. This visa is accessible to parents of third-country nationals living in Germany, assuming these nationals are citizens of the European Union, the European Economic Area, or the European Free Trade Association.

Family members and partners are eligible to apply for this visa, which allows them to live and work in Germany without the need for a separate work or residence permit.

Parent visa: 5 countries that offer visas allowing family members reside with you

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Reps stop 60% fee increase for Law School

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Reps stop 60% fee increase for Law School

The House of Representatives on Wednesday requested that the Council of Legal Education stop the recent 60% fee hike for the Nigerian Law School (NLS).

The House adopted a motion by the Minority Leader, Kingsley Chinda, read on his behalf by Ginger Owusibe, and urged its committees on Justice, Tertiary Education, and Services to examine solutions to the matter at hand and report back within two weeks.

Chinda described the NLS as a medium through which the Council of Legal Education regulates the legal education of persons seeking to become members of the legal profession, as provided for in Section 1(2) of the Legal Education (Consolidation, etc.) Act Cap. L10, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

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The lawmaker was concerned that the Council of Legal Education approved a 60 per cent increase in fees from N296,000 to N476,000 for the 2023/2024 Bar Part II academic session. He noted that the 2023–2024 Bar Part II Academic session began in January 2024, with no time given to prospective students to raise the balance.

Chinda also lamented that Nigeria is facing a 27.33 per cent inflation rate, as reported by the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which is projected by Trade Economics to rise to 30 per cent. He thus warned that unless immediate steps are taken to strike a balance between the Council’s need to provide quality services and the prospective students’ abilities to afford an increment, the country will see a high decrease in the number of NLS graduates, resulting to a decrease in the number of lawyers in the next Call to Bar Ceremony, thus leading to a higher national unemployment rate.

Reps stop 60% fee increase for Law School

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