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Sally Mbanefo In Fresh Trouble Over Alleged diversion of N500m votes: ICPC probes NTDC DG

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The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has commenced investigation into the activities of the Director-General of the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), Mrs. Sally Mbanefo.

The commission is looking into alleged mismanagement of over N500 million by the NTDC chief and her management team.

But, Mbanefo has denied all the allegations including those from Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Service(AUPCTRE).

 

According to a top source in the commission, Mbanefo has appeared twice before the ICPC investigators, following the receipt of some petitions.

Many payment vouchers have been retrieved from NTDC including PV No NTDC/CAP/240/13; PV No NTDC/CAP/237/13; PV No NTDC/CAP/261/13 and memo NTDC/M&P.39SUB.2 among others.

 

The source, who spoke in confidence, said: “We have invited her more than two times for interrogation by our team in the last few weeks.

“The issues have to do with alleged abuse of office, mismanagement or diversion of funds and recruitment without due process.

Some of the allegations being probed by ICPC include alleged misuse of N52,014,821 released to NTDC as capital budget from March to July 2014; the whereabouts of N342, 654,807 overhead budget from February-September 2014; curious withdrawal of N35 million after SURE-P had organised and sponsored Tour Guide Training Programme; and alleged spending of N14,720,000 on Notting hill Carnival in 2013

Others are disappearance of N38.3 million financial assistance from Heritage Bank, Keystone Bank, and Aso Savings, Standard Chartered Bank, Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Ondo State and UAC Property; and employment of 50 members of staff without regards for public service procedure and federal character principle.

Also, issues being investigated are alleged mismanagement of N12 million for the launch of “Fascinating Nigeria”; spending of N81.7 million on empowerment programme in 2013 and N38.5 million in 2014.

One of the petitions reads in part: “From March to July 2014, the Federal Government released capital budget of N52, 014, 821. Yet, no capital project has been embarked upon.

“Again, from February to September 2014, the Federal Government released overhead budget to the tune of N342, 654,807 for training and other logistics. Yet, no training was done, no office equipment were bought.

“Inimical to the image of the service and the nation is that the DG pulled out of the ITB Berlin UNWTO Global Marketing event in March 2014 without the knowledge and approval of the former Minister and to the utter consternation of tourism stakeholders who were also in attendance.

“That in anticipation of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, you engaged the services of contractors to develop, market and execute the Nigeria Fans Village in Sao Paulo, Brazil. In furtherance to this, you “It is alleged that you obtained funds from some banks and corporate organisations to fund this project.

“ That neither the Nigerian Embassy in Brazil nor the Nigerian Consulate in Sao Paulo had any knowledge of this project.”

Mrs. Mbanefo therefore maintained her innocence saying there is no such investigation going on against it.some people are trying to tarnish her image.

She said she had nothing to do with SURE –P fund which she said the ministry of culture collected.

She said for the Brazilian project, the company hired failed to do what was expected after which it was trying to collect money which the board of the corporation rejected.

“They are putting lies together to tarnish my image, but God won’t allow it,”

 

 

 

@ The Nation

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Union Bank, WACOT Rice Kick Off Financial Inclusion Drive for Smallholder Farmers in Kebbi

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As part of Union Bank’s commitment to driving financial inclusion in Nigeria, the Bank has partnered with WACOT Rice Limited – a rice processing company, to financially include 6,000 local farmers including youth and women in Kebbi State.
The Kebbi Financial Inclusion Drive (KFID) which will cover four Local Government Areas – Argungu, Augie, Suru, and Dandi – is a critical part of WACOT’s Argungu Outgrower Expansion Project funded by United States Agency for International Development (USAID) West Africa Trade Hub. This program is set to resolve the overwhelming financial inclusion deficit within rural communities in Kebbi.
The financial inclusion initiative is being implemented with technical support from National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), to help the farmers acquire the relevant documentation and identification required to open bank accounts.
Union Bank will facilitate account opening and expand its agency banking network to cover the areas while supporting its agents on ground with digital banking solutions to enable seamless transacting and account management.
Farouk Gumel, Chairman WACOT and Board Chair, Union Bank was on ground in Kebbi State to kick-off the drive and paid a visit to the Kebbi state Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu to discuss expanding the programme state-wide.
In his recent keynote address at the recently concluded and  Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) Conference, Mr. Gumel said:
 “As we work towards achieving financial inclusion to reach the unbanked, we must commit the same resources and investments to rural-local customers as we have done to urban-global clients to help create the growth that will lift us all to collective prosperity.”
WACOT Rice is a subsidiary of TGI Group. TGI Group, through another of its subsidiary Titan Trust Bank, recently acquired Union Bank in a landmark transaction which was announced in 2021.

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FIRSTBANK PARTNERS VERVE INTERNATIONAL, MAKES CUSTOMERS MILLIONAIRES IN THE FIRSTBANK VERVE CARD PROMO

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In partnership with FirstBank – Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider – Verve International, Africa’s leading payment technology and card business, has launched its third National Consumer promo designed to reward users of FirstBank verve card with exciting gifts and cash prizes to appreciate their patronage and use of the card to carry-out their electronic banking transactions.

The ongoing 2-month promo will end on 30 October 2022 as 20 customers (10 customers per month) with the highest transaction count during the promo will be made millionaires, winning the sum of N1 million each. Also, N20,000 will be won by 25 customers monthly.

On the other hand, 2620 FirstBank verve cardholders that double their transactions every week, stand a chance to enjoy 10% cashback capped at N2,000 per customer.

Speaking on the promo Chuma Ezirim, Group Executive, e-Business & Retail Products, FirstBank said “we appreciate our partnership with Verve Card through the years; a partnership of empowerment and opportunities which include growing the economy, supporting new businesses and preventing unemployment. FirstBank verve card holders are encouraged to keep using their cards as it is a card offering that promotes safe, convenient and rewarding digital banking experience with 20 customers standing a chance to be millionaires at the end of the promo.”

Verve card is a secure debit card that allows cardholders to conveniently meet their daily financial needs such as payment for goods and services, airtime recharge, bill payments, funds transfer, etc. Verve card is accepted across all ATMs, POS, Web and Mobile Platforms in Nigeria.

The promo is also opened to new verve cardholders as non-verve cardholders are encouraged to visit the nearest FirstBank branch today to pick up a Verve card and start getting rewarded!

Only recently, FirstBank – in partnership with Verve – rewarded over 2601 FirstBank verve cardholders with various prizes; including N20,000 cash prize, N10,000 cash prize, N10,000 worth of airtime; power generating sets, refrigerator, cooking gas, smart TV and the grand prize of a brand-new car to a lucky winner.

 

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Federal Government Orders University Vice-Chancellors To Reopen Schools, Begin Lectures Amid 7 Months Lecturers’ Strike

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The government issued the directive through the National Universities Commission (NUC), and a letter signed by its Director, Finance and Accounts, Sam Onazi, on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Abubakar Rasheed.

The Nigerian government has directed vice-chancellors to re-open universities and allow students to resume lectures immediately.

The government issued the directive through the National Universities Commission (NUC), and a letter signed by its Director, Finance and Accounts, Sam Onazi, on behalf of the Executive Secretary of the commission, Professor Abubakar Rasheed.

 

The letter which The PUNCH obtained on Monday, was reportedly addressed to all vice-chancellors; Pro-Chancellors and chairmen of governing councils of federal universities.

 

“Ensure that ASUU members immediately resume/commence lectures; Restore the daily activities and routines of the various University campuses,” the letter partly reads.

We had reported that the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), on Wednesday, September 21, 2022, ordered the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) to call off its ongoing nationwide strike.

 

It reported that the umbrella body of the lecturers in public universities had declared a warning strike on February 14, to force the Nigerian Government to implement agreements it earlier signed with the union.

 

The agreement stipulated how university education would be funded for better improvement.

 

The strike has since rolled over and is now in its seventh month following the government’s failure to implement all the agreements.

 

Several meetings between ASUU and the Federal Government have ended in a deadlock.

 

Consequently, the Federal Government went to court to challenge the strike.

 

The government through its counsel, James Igwe, prayed the court for an interlocutory injunction restraining ASUU from taking further steps as regards the strike, pending the determination of the substantive suit.

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