The penchant for quick money by most young Nigerians in the diaspora has now taken another dimension, as most of them now use their wealth of academic wherewithal to wreck havoc on the lives of their unsuspecting victims by defrauding them without recourse to conscience whether they are right in such atrocious act.
It is appalling to see that as anti graft agents in Nigeria (EFCC and ICPC) are working to quell corrupt practices and economic crimes right here in Nigeria, some Nigerians in the diaspora are still neck-deep in corruption and mudslinging the image of Nigeria for self aggrandizement.
Adeniyi Adeyemi, 27, of Brooklyn has been summarily made to face 149 counts, including grand larceny and identity theft. He used his job as a computer technician to appropriate the identities of more than 150 employees at the Bank of New York Mellon and stole more than $1.1 million from a wide array of nonprofit groups and other institutions, said recently. The technician of Crown Heights, was charged with grand larceny, identity theft, money laundering, scheme to defraud, computer tampering and unlawful possession of personal identification information in a indictment.
The149-count checks revealed that the fraud started in November 2001 and lasted through April of this year, according to the office of the Manhattan district attorney, Robert M. Morgenthau, which is prosecuting the case. Using his position as a contract employee in the information technology department at Bank of New York Mellon, Mr. Adeyemi stole personal identifying information from dozens of employees, using the information to more than 30 bank and brokerage accounts in their names at E*Trade, Fidelity, Citi, Wachovia and Washington Mutual, Mr. Morgenthau said.
Mr. Adeyemi then diverted money from the bank accounts of charities, transferred the funds to the dummy accounts, and later withdrew the money or funneled it into a second layer of “dummy accounts,” Mr. Morgenthau said.
Among the charities Mr. Adeyemi is said to have stolen from are Goodwill Industries, Iris Ministries, the Kalgidhar Trust, the Sudanese American Community Development Organization, Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, the American Community School at Beirut, the Jacksonville Humane Society, American Friends of Birdlife International, the International Association of Women Judges, the Space Generation Advisory Council, and the American Association for Clinical Chemistry.
Mr. Adeyemi is also alleged to have bought more than $100,000 in money orders from the Postal Service using funds stolen from the employees whose information he took. The New York/New Jersey Electronic Crimes Task Force of the United States Secret Service began surveillance on Mr. Adeyemi after tracing suspicious Internet activity to his apartment. During a court-authorized search in April, investigators found dozens of bank employees’ credit reports on his computer, along with many other identifying documents for more than 150 employees, Mr. Morgenthau’s office said.
Mr. Adeyemi was arrested and has been held in custody since then. He was to be arraigned in State Supreme Court before Justice Carol Berkman. Kevin Heine, a spokesman for Bank of New York Mellon, said in a statement, “We strongly support the investigation and actions taken by the district attorney’s office, and are fully cooperating.”
It was however gathered that Adeyemi was only caught when he got greedy and decided to steal from his ID-theft victims directly and investigators realized so many of them worked at Bank of New York, said Chief Assistant DA Mark Dwyer.
Investigators are hinting that Adeyemi worked as part of a ring, and may have used some of his stolen fortune to buy his way into a sham marriage that enabled him to stay in the US. A bank spokesman Kevin Heine declined to comment on the case, except to say, “We strongly support the investigation and the actions taken by the DA’s office and are fully cooperating.”
Nigerians Spend N2.6trn On Data, Airtime In Nine Months
MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa have revealed that the amount spent on airtime and data by Nigerian telecom subscribers rose to at least N2.59 trillion in the first nine months of 2023.
According to the financial statements of the two telecommunication companies, this amounts to a 32.57 per cent increase from the N1.95 trillion both telcos recorded from both income sources in the corresponding period of 2022.
The increase in voice and data venue was partially driven by rising data subscriptions and the devaluation of the naira on Airtel’s part.
In the first nine months of 2022, Airtel made $1.41bn from airtime and data. When converted at the exchange rate of N461/$ which was obtained at the time, it amounted to N647.71billion.
In the same period of 2023, the company’s income from these two revenue sources amounted to $1.29 billion.
When converted at the exchange rate of N777/$ at the time, it amounted to N1.003 trillion.
On MTN’s part, increasing data revenues continue to fuel the company’s overall revenue growth. Data revenues grew by 36.36 per cent year-on-year, while voice revenues only grew by 10.64 per cent, indicating a rise in the usage of the Internet in the country.
Commenting on this growth, MTN said, “Data revenue grew by 36.4 per cent on increased usage and data conversion in new and existing base”.
The firm stated that data usage on its network grew by 29.1 per cent in the period under review.
It noted that “Data usage (GB per user) grew by 29.1 per cent to 8.6GB, and the number of smartphones on our network increased by 7.6 per cent, bringing smartphone penetration to 53.4 per cent, up 1.4pp YoY.
“Consequently, we recorded a 46.3 per cent growth in data traffic, with the 4G network accounting for 83.7 per cent of the total traffic (up 5.2pp YoY)”.
On its part, Airtel recorded an increase in data usage per customer to 5.9 GB per month. The firm highlighted, “Data revenue grew by 29.3 per cent in constant currency, driven by data customer base growth of 17.4 per cent and data ARPU growth of 12.3 per cent.
“Data usage per customer increased by 23.8 per cent to 5.9 GB per month (from 4.8 GB in the prior period). Our continued 4G network rollout has resulted in nearly 100 per cent of all our sites delivering 4G services”, it stated.
Increased Internet usage because of a rise in video streaming pushed the amount telecom consumers spent on telecom services to N3.86 trillion in 2022.
LCCI Faults FG’s $1trn GDP Projections
The Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) has said the macro-economic projections in the Federal Government’s Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) are not sufficient to achieve the $1 trillion economy target it set to achieve by 2029.
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Yemi Cardoso, had last weekend restated the commitment of the government to realising the GDP target.
Reviewing Cardoso’s statement, the Director General, LCCI, Dr Chinyere Almona, explained that the basis for government’s projection contains some inconsistencies that will make it unachievable.
She said, “LCCI is aware of the enormous challenges and the uphill task before the CBN in ensuring macro-economic stability and restoring investors’ confidence.
“However, we note the inconsistencies between the Federal Government’s vision of achieving a $1 trillion economy in the next six years and the MTEF.
“The macro-economic projections in the MTEF state that the economy will grow by 3.76 percent 4.22 percent, and 4.78 percent in 2024, 2025, and 2026, respectively. We note that the projected growths are sub-optimal to achieve a $1trillion GDP by 2029, which implies an average growth of 21 percent over the next six years”.
Almona commended the CBN’s plan to review the minimum capital base of banks, but cautioned the apex bank to strengthen its banking supervision to avoid “too big to fail” banks.
She, however, said, “The Chamber appreciates the intellectual humility of the Governor in admitting the errors or mistakes of the past, particularly in the areas of corporate governance failures, diminished institutional autonomy of CBN, deviation from the core mandate of the bank, and unorthodox use of monetary tools and foray into fiscal activities under the cover of development finance activities.
“As we advance, we challenge the current CBN team to ensure professionalism and integrity and rebuild the trust of the general public.
“On recapitalization of banks, we commend the plan of CBN to review the minimum capital base of banks due to consistent devaluation of the Naira, which has eroded the capital base of banks, attracted significant investment into banks, as well as increased the capacity of banks to provide the required support for the economy.
“However, we caution the CBN to strengthen its banking supervision to avoid “too big to fail” banks.
“Given the sensitivity of monetary policy and price stability, we urge the CBN to ensure transparency and synergy between monetary and fiscal authorities and effectively communicate significant changes in policy direction”.
By: Corlins Walter
Firm Urges FG To Attract Foreign Investment
Multinational professional services firm, EY has advised the Federal Government to improve on its investment attractiveness as a way of building on previous year’s fortunes.
Senior Partner and Head of Markets, EY West Africa, Ashish Bakhshi, while sharing insights on a newly released report on Foreign Direct Investments for 2022, said Nigeria needed to improve on FDIs to achieve the ambitious targets it had set for itself to reduce poverty and build a sizeable middle class by 2030.
“Africa’s leaders will need to adopt pragmatism as they respond to a new geopolitical world order so that its member states can optimize the full spectrum of inbound investment opportunities, which will be essential in meeting Africa’s aspirations for a more equitable, wealthier and urbanised middle-class society”, the report read in part.
It stated further that “Last year saw Africa’s return as a top investment destination hub for global investors. The continent had struggled to attract investment since the onset of COVID-19 and took longer than other regions to recover, as a result of its delayed vaccine rollout and therefore its ability to reopen its 54 national economies.
“To this, its growth lagged pre-pandemic levels for longer than it did in mature markets, setting back the ambitious targets it had set for itself to reduce poverty and build a sizeable middle class by 2030.
“The new report, released by EY, a global multinational professional services firm, uncovered that FDI attracted more than 730 projects across the continent in 2022, injecting $194 billion in capital and creating 154,000 jobs.
“Significantly, Egypt saw a record of $ 107 billion in capital for its 149 FDI projects. In East Africa, Kenya dominated the FDI landscape while Nigeria was the leading country in West Africa.
“The countries came in third and fourth respectively for the largest FDI regions on the continent”.
The EY’s 13th Africa Attractiveness report tagged “A Pivot to Growth”, provides insights into the continent FDI, exposing that the 2022 calendar year saw a strong FDI rebound, led by Renewables inflows, with the West being the largest investor, while the North and Southern hubs of Africa were key beneficiaries.
A notable highlight of the report shows that CleanTech became the largest FDI recipient sector in 2022, leading Africa’s FDI for the first time.
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