The World Bank President, Mr David Malpass has been asked to release details of spending on Nigeria’s electricity.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) made the request to the bank to exercise its “prerogative to release archival records and documents relating to spending on all approved funds to improve access to electricity in Nigeria between 1999 and 2020, the Bank’s role in the implementation of any funded electricity projects, and to identify and name any executed projects, and Nigerian officials, ministries, departments and agencies involved in the execution of such projects.”
The World Bank Board of Directors last week approved $500m “to help boost access to electricity in Nigeria and improve the performance of the electricity distribution companies in the country.”
However, in an application dated 6 February 2021, and signed by SERAP deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare, the organization urged the bank to “explain the rationale for the approval of $500m to implement electricity projects in the country, despite reports of widespread and systemic corruption in the sector, and the failure of the authorities to enforce a court judgment ordering the release of details of payments to allegedly corrupt electricity contractors who failed to execute any projects.”
SERAP said: “This application is brought pursuant to the World Bank’s Access to Information Policy, which aims to maximize access to information and promote the public good. There is public interest in Nigerians knowing about the bank’s supervisory role and specifically its involvement in the implementation of electricity projects, which it has so far funded.”
SERAP maintained that, “The $500m is part of the over one billion dollars available to Nigeria under the project titled: Nigeria Distribution Sector Recovery Program. We would be grateful for details of any transparency and accountability mechanisms under the agreement for the release of funds, including whether there is any provision that would allow Nigerians and civil society to monitor the spending of the money by the government, its agencies, and electricity distribution companies.”
SERAP also said: “Should the bank fail and/or refuse to release the information and documents as requested, SERAP would file an appeal to the Secretariat of the Bank’s Access to Information Committee to challenge any such decision, and if it becomes necessary, to the Access to Information Appeals Board. SERAP may also consider other legal options outside the Bank’s Access to Information framework.”
The letter copied to Shubham Chaudhuri, World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, read in part: “SERAP believes that releasing the information and documents would enable Nigerians and civil society to meaningfully engage in the implementation of electricity projects funded by the bank, contribute to the greater public good, and enhance the bank’s oft-stated commitment to transparency and accountability.
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“The World Bank has been and continues to be involved in overseeing the transfer, disbursement, spending of funds on electricity projects in Nigeria. The bank also reportedly approved a $750 million loan for Nigeria’s electricity sector in June 2020 to cut tariff shortfalls, protect the poor from price adjustments, and increase power supply to the grid. As such, the World Bank is not a neutral party in this matter.
“SERAP is seriously concerned that the funds approved by the bank are vulnerable to corruption and mismanagement. The World Bank has a responsibility to ensure that the Nigerian authorities and their agencies are transparent and accountable to Nigerians in how they spend the approved funds for electricity projects in the country, and to reduce vulnerability to corruption and mismanagement.
“SERAP also believes that the release of the requested information and documents is of paramount important to the public interest in preserving the legitimacy, credibility and relevance of the bank as a leading international development institution. The bank ought to lead by example in issues such as transparency and public disclosure raised in this request.
“It would also demonstrate that the bank is willing to put people first in the implementation of its development and governance policies and mandates, as well as remove any suspicion of the bank’s complicity in the alleged mismanagement of electricity projects-related funds.
“The information is also being sought to improve the ongoing fight against corruption in the country and the provision of regular and uninterrupted electricity supply to Nigerians as a fundamental human right.
“The information requested is not affected by the “deliberative” “corporate administrative matters” or “security and safety” exceptions under the Policy. The information requested is crucially required for Nigerians to know how the funds released to the authorities to improve electricity supply in the country have been spent, and monitor how the funds are being used.
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Twitter Board Unanimously Recommends Shareholders Approve Elon Musk’s $44 billion Takeover
In a regulatory filing on Tuesday morning, Twitter’s board urged shareholders to approve the buyout at Elon Musk’s proposed price of $54.20 per share during a special meeting later this year.
Though Musk has threatened to pull out of the merger agreement he signed on April 25, citing concerns over fake accounts, Twitter’s board has insisted that it will enforce the terms of the agreement.
A date for the shareholder vote has not yet been set, but the merger agreement includes a deadline of October 24 to consummate the deal.
Musk reiterated his desire to move forward with the acquisition last week during a virtual meeting with Twitter employees, though shares of Twitter remain far below his offering price, signaling considerable doubt that it will happen at the agreed price.
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On Tuesday at the Qatar Economic Forum in an interview with Bloomberg, Musk listed the approval of the deal by shareholders as one of several ‘unresolved matters’ related to the Twitter deal.
Shares of Twitter were essentially flat just before the opening bell Tuesday, and remained far short of the $54.20 per-share that Musk has offered to pay for each.
The company’s stock last reached that level on April 5 when it offered Musk a seat on the board before he had offered to buy all of Twitter.
In its filing on Tuesday, Twitter’s board of directors said in a letter to shareholders that it ‘unanimously recommends that you vote (for) the adoption of the merger agreement.’
A simple majority of shareholders would have to vote to approve Musk’s offer for the deal to take effect.
If the deal were to close now, investors in the company would pocket a profit of $15.22 above market prices for each share they own.
Twitter shares rose more than 1% following the board’s letter to shareholders, but the stock is still about $15 less per share than Musk’s offer price.
Last week, Musk told Twitter staff he wants to raise the service’s user numbers from 229 million to at least 1 billion people and said advertising would remain important for the company, despite previously saying he believes Twitter should not serve ads.
‘I think advertising is very important for Twitter,’ Musk said in an address to Twitter employees, according to audio of the meeting reported by Reuters.
‘I’m not against advertising. I would probably talk to the advertisers and say, like, ‘hey, let’s just make sure the ads are as entertaining as possible.”
Musk, who was expected to provide assurance to Twitter employees during his first meeting, didn’t offer an update on the deal closing.
He reiterated he was still trying to learn more about bot and spam accounts on Twitter, which he called his biggest concern.
In response to a question about whether he expected layoffs, Musk said there needed to be ‘some rationalization of headcount and expenses.’
‘Right now, the costs exceed the revenue,’ he said, adding ‘anyone who’s … a significant contributor should have nothing to worry about.’
Twitter’s logo is seen on the facade of the company’s headquarters in San Francisco.
Twitter’s logo is seen on the facade of the company’s headquarters in San Francisco
Analyst says Elon Musk is ‘worried’ about the economy
Twitter employees took to an internal Slack channel in droves during the session, posting memes and complaining that Musk was not providing useful answers on his vision for the business and employee compensation.
They also demanded on Slack that the moderator press Musk on his views about remote work, as Twitter currently allows employees relatively free reign to work remotely or in the office.
Musk said he believed Twitter staff should lean toward working in an office, but expressed willingness to make some exceptions. The bias should be ‘strongly towards working in person, but if somebody is exceptional, then remote work can be okay,’ he said.
The impending takeover of Twitter has been met with widespread skepticism and concern among the San Francisco-based company’s employees, some of whom have worried Musk will relax rules on certain content.
The billionaire told Twitter staff he believed users should be allowed to say ‘pretty outrageous things’ on the site as long as the content is not illegal.
Daily Mail Online
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Sanwo-Olu, Elumelu Launch Development Of New Falomo Towers
The Lagos State Governor, H.E. Babajide Sanwo-Olu and business leader and philanthropist, Tony O. Elumelu, CON, led other real estate stakeholders over the weekend in the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Falomo Towers development in Ikoyi, Lagos. The project is being developed by joint venture partners, Afriland Properties Plc, investee company of the Heirs Holdings Group, and the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC).
Special Guest of Honour, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Lagos, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, in his address, commended the JV partners for their commitment to the Nigerian real estate sector and their vision in redeveloping the iconic Lagos landmark. He praised both companies for what he believed would be an exemplary delivery of a public-private partnership.
Governor Sanwo-Olu stated that the new Falomo Towers will become a highly sought-after destination for work, life, and play. “The JV is delivering an environment that offers contemporary work and living spaces, that will further catalyse Lagos’ economic renaissance. I am delighted that Afriland Properties, one of the country’s leading institutional real estate investors, is able to partner with Lagos State, to deliver excellence.”
Chairman, Heirs Holdings, Tony Elumelu, in his keynote address, stated that the project was a demonstration of the governor’s commitment to private sector growth in Lagos State and the country. He emphasized the importance of the private sector in transforming Nigeria’s economy and the need for meaningful partnerships, which would unleash the potential of the country.
“We believe that the growth of our economy, will be delivered by the private sector, but for the private sector to do well, our public sector leaders must create the right environment,” he said. “The partnership we are celebrating today is a model, not just for Nigeria, but for Africa. I salute all those who have contributed to this exciting venture, not least His Excellency, whose vision we are delivering”.
The Managing Director/CEO, Afriland Properties, Uzo Oshogwe, stated: “This mixed-use development will drive sustainability, creativity, and innovation. It reinforces our promise to beautify and enhance the Lagos skyline. We are implementing our firm commitment to Africapitalism, that through our long-term investment in real estate, we will create employment, economic prosperity, and social wealth, that will transform Ikoyi, Lagos, Nigeria, and the African continent.
The Managing Director, LSDPC, Hon. Ayodeji Joseph stated that the partnership with Afriland Properties Plc will provide additional residential apartments, that would increase the housing stock in Lagos and provide affordable housing for the middle-class citizens and millennials, who form the core of the 21st century workforce.
Falomo Towers is a contemporary mixed used development, focused on sustainability and sustainable building practices, designed to deliver a greener environment. The project will deploy cutting-edge technology-enabled design, to create an architectural masterpiece.
Afriland Properties Plc is a property management, investment, and development company, offering end-to-end services along the real estate value chain, from management to joint-venture investments. With a portfolio size of over N10 billion and one of the largest land banks in Nigeria, Afriland is pioneering the opportunities presented by an institutional approach to real estate, serving niche markets throughout Africa.
Falomo 1: l-r: Managing Director, Lagos State Development and Property Corporation(LSDPC), Hon. Ayodeji Joseph; Group Chairman, Heirs Holdings, Mr Tony Elumelu; Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Managing Director/CEO, Afriland Properties Plc, Mrs Uzo Oshogwe, during the Sod Turning Ceremony of Falomo Towers, a joint venture project of Afriland Properties Plc(Investee company of Heirs Holdings Group) and LSDPC, held at the site in Falomo on Friday
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How JP Morgan Chase Won $1.7b Case Against Nigeria
Detailsa have emerged on how JP Morgan Chase won a $1.7 billion London High Court battle against Nigeria over its role in a disputed 2011 oilfield deals involving energy majors Shell and Eni.
Nigeria had filed a lawsuit against U.S. bank JP Morgan Chase at a London high court in February, claiming more than $1.7 billion as damages.
The trial opened with Nigeria’s lawyer Roger Masefield alleging that JP Morgan was “grossly negligent” in its decision to transfer funds paid by the energy majors into an escrow account to a company controlled by the country’s former oil minister Dan Etete instead of into government coffers.
According to Masefield, the transactions put JP Morgan in breach of its Quincecare duty, which obliges banks to disregard a customer’s instructions if following those instructions might actually facilitate a fraud against that customer.
“Under its Quincecare duty, the bank was entitled to refuse to pay for as long as it had reasonable grounds for believing its customer was being defrauded,” Masefield said.
The damages sought include cash sent to Etete’s company Malabu Oil and Gas, around $875 million paid in three instalments in 2011 and 2013, plus interest, taking the total to over $1.7 billion.
But a London High Court judge said no such breach took place in a ruling published on Tuesday.
JP Morgan’s counsel Paul Erekoro, argued that the allegations against it were “baseless and false” and denied any complicity in the case.
The bank said that it did not breach the Quincecare duty, neither did it act with gross negligence as claimed by the Nigerian government.
Erekoro said that the release of Malabu’s claims over OPL 245 was a vital part of the transaction, because without this Shell and Eni would not have been prepared to take on the block, and it would therefore have continued to languish in an unproductive state.
“The Resolution Agreements were subject to detailed scrutiny by a large number of senior ministers and officials within the FGN, most of whom are not accused of any wrongdoing
“The agreements were personally approved by President Jonathan, and represented the policy of his administration.
“JPMC agreed to provide the Depository Account for this purpose, and charged a fee of $25,000 for its services. Its role was thus intended to be discrete and limited,” the bank said.
A spokesman for the bank said in a statement on Tuesday, that the judgment “reflects our commitment to acting with high professional standards in every country we operate in, and how we are prepared to robustly defend our actions and reputation when they are called into question”.
The London case dates back to 1998 when Nigerian military ruler Sani Abacha awarded the offshore oilfield licence, OPL 245, to a company Etete owned.
The $20 million price tag – of which Etete paid about $2 million, according to court documents – was widely viewed by industry experts as too low given the block was expected to yield billions of dollars of crude, although it remains undeveloped.
Subsequent Nigerian administrations contested Etete’s rights to the field, triggering years of legal wrangling until a deal designed to end the battles was struck in 2011.
Etete’s company Malabu Oil and Gas handed the undeveloped OPL 245 back to Nigeria as part of a resolution agreement involving Shell and Eni.
To complete the deal, Shell and Eni also paid a signature bonus of about $200 million directly to the Nigerian government and then deposited $1.1 billion in the Nigerian government’s escrow account with JP Morgan, court documents showed.
A report by the anti-corruption group, Global Witness, released in November 2018, said that Shell and Eni’s deal for Nigeria’s OPL 245 oil block reduced Nigeria’s expected revenue by nearly $6 billion.
The report urged Nigeria to revoke the OPL 245 licence rather than allow the oil companies to make enormous profits from the deal.
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