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OMS Controversy: Insiders Fault Police Report Clearing Okunbo

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Dr Tunde Ayeni

The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Monitoring Unit report clearing the Chairman of Ocean Marine Security Ltd, Captain Idahosa Well Okunbo of the allegations of stealing and criminal diversion of company funds made by Dr Tunde Ayeni, has been faulted by knowledgeable insiders who insist that the police did a shoddy job.

Sources familiar with the case disclosed that the petitioner, Dr Tunde Ayeni, shortly after submitting the petition to the police, actually withdrew same having got hold of some information about further huge cash withdrawal from OMS to the tune of $1 million and the possibility of the investigation being compromised.

But in a bizarre turn of event, according to insiders, the police sent a team of its officers and men to arrest the petitioner and was subsequently practically compelled to adopt the petition.

Sources close to the police last evening expressed dismay at an investigation in which the directors of the company were never invited for interrogation let alone have them to write statements on the grave allegations made by the petitioner.

“It is common knowledge that the Chairman, Okunbo, who is the subject of the petition, is in far away London. So when did the police interrogate him? When did he write a statement to the police? Did the police visit OMS or invite the Fincance and Accounts Department of the company before arriving at its findings?

“Given all these holes, it is difficult to dismiss the allegation that investigators may have been compromised in the course of its investigation,” the source further revealed.

Another source raised even more disturbing issue saying, “We are talking of alleged serious financial infractions here. Now the questions that you should ask are: did the police freeze the accounts of the company while investigating these allegations? The answer is No.

“Did the police do a forensic combing of the books of the company in order to verify the authenticity or otherwise of the claims by the petitioner, the answer is No. Were the OMS bankers called in by the police to authenticate the financial transactions of the company? Of course, not. With all these yawning holes, how credible can the police report be?

While Dr Tunde Ayeni has chosen to remain silent on this development for now, sources close to him disclosed that the police never reached out to him to request for any documents to back up his allegations while the investigations lasted. How do you investigate such serious allegations without as much as demanding proofs from the petitioner, the insider wondered.

The contention in many quarters is that there seems to be an indecent haste to give Okunbo a clean bill of health, in a move insiders say was aimed at clearing the way for OMS to ensure the renewal of its contract with Shell Petroleum Development Company and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporate, NNPC.

Sources disclosed that Shell decided not to renew the OMS contract following the company’s (OMS) failure to pass Shell’s integrity test owing largely to the poor state of its vessels. OMS, according to insiders, can only execute the contract with hired vessels.

The ownership crisis in OMS, it was learnt, was also a critical factor that informed Shell’s decision not to renew the contract.

A source said OMS is desperately lobbying some fat cats at NNPC to force the hands of Shell to rescind its decision on the contract.

Insiders insist that part of the plot to make Shell change its position on the contract is to secure the clean bill of health from the police since the petition is a major obstacle to the contract renewal.

Mr Femi Falana, SAN, Tunde Ayeni’s lawyer was emphatic in his submission that the police has not even commenced its investigation into the petition and therefore cannot be talking of a ‘report’ on it as at now.

He said: “Contrary to media reports, the Monitoring Unit of the Inspector-General of Police has not commenced investigation into the allegations contained in the petition of Tunde Ayeni against his business partner, Capt. Okunbo.

“Apart from inviting Tunde Ayeni to adopt his petition, the Monitoring Unit of the Inspector-General of Police has not taken any other step in the matter. Specifically, Capt. Okunbo has not been invited to react to the said petition. To that extent, the petition has not been challenged in any material particular.”

Said another source last night: “Thank goodness, the petition was not submitted to only the police. The EFCC and other government agencies are  also in receipt of the petition. Armed with the petition and this police report, the EFCC and the Attorney – General’s office certainly have more work to do. Certainly the last has not  been heard of the matter.

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Vehicular Traffic: FAAN Advises Passengers To Get To Airports Early

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The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) wishes to advise passengers and airport users, particularly those at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja to get to the airport early so as to complete their check-in procedures in good time and avoid the unpleasant experiences associated with missing their flights.

FAAN said Friday morning in a statement signed by Mrs Henrietta Yakubu, General Manager, Corporate Affairs that this advice has become necessary, as passengers are likely to go through a little delay at the entrance to the terminals, due to built-up vehicular traffic occasioned by an increase in passenger traffic being witnessed presently.

“The Authority will like to assure passengers and other airport users that all hands are on deck to ensure swift facilitation and reduce the congestion to the barest minimum,” Yakubu said in the statement.

 

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Africa Data Centres Confirms Building 10MW Data Centre In Lagos

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Even as South Africa is home to the largest concentration of data centres on the African continent, Nigeria has been described as a key African market, with the appeal of West Africa growing, and new developments planned for both Senegal and Nigeria.

Stephane Duproz, CEO of Africa Data Centres said of the West African region, “This region is hungry for digitisation and to pave the way for our hyperscale customers to deploy digitisation solutions to West Africa, Africa Data Centres’ construction of a 10-megawatt data centre in Lagos is well underway.”

The Lagos build marks a significant step forward in Africa Data Centres’ ambitious long-term strategy to digitise Africa.  The Nigerian data centre will form Africa Data Centres’ West African hub.

As interconnection remains a priority, the company will be adding it to its network of data centres, which at present includes Johannesburg, Nairobi, Cape Town, Harare, and Kigali.

“Our expansion into Nigeria marks one aspect of the company’s growth on the continent,” says Duproz. “In response to demand generated by hyper scalers, key cloud operators and multinational enterprises already making use of our data centres, we have purchased the Samrand facility in South Africa and our key build in Midrand is underway.

“These same clients, who have trusted us with their expansions into Kenya and other African territories, have expressed their interest in bringing digitisation at scale to West Africa. Our leadership and best practice in data centre operations have made us the obvious choice in their expansion strategies.”

The creation of a digital hub is the beginning of digital transformation capabilities for the region. Naturally, says Duproz, multinational enterprises will wish to be housed under the same roof as our hyperscaler customers due to the lower latency enjoyed.

As such, the combination of cloud providers and enterprises make these data centres marketplaces of the ecosystem – and, most importantly, he says, the base for the country’s digital and economic development.

Additionally, keeping African data on African soil is another key consideration driving the demand for local data centre facilities. “We are proud to be ensuring that African data stays in Africa,” he says.

Africa Data Centres has indicated that the Lagos build will spur the economy – creating job opportunities in various sectors.

“The stimulus effect to the economy of digitisation is well documented and Nigeria is ready for this technology boon,” says Duproz.

“Furthermore, our construction policy is to uplift the community as far as possible, employing local contractors and creating work opportunities within the communities we enter – so the job creation opportunities are realised at both grass-roots and high-tech levels.”

Having secured premium land in Lagos, Africa Data Centres has designed its latest data centre facility in line with environmental best practice, using grey, or non-potable water for cooling and utilising solar energy to offset its reliance on the grid.

“Digitising the continent at the cost of the environment is not a sacrifice Africa Data Centres is prepared to entertain. Our strategy encompasses empowering and uplifting the people, the environment and the economy,” he says.

In Senegal, the Morocco-based data centre company N+One, has said it is planning to build three data centres in the Senegalese capital Dakar.

Details of size and power density are not yet available, but it is understood that N+One has partnered with the Ministry of Digital Economy and Telecommunications, along with the General Delegation for Rapid Entrepreneurship of Women and Youth (DER/FJ) and the Digital Technologies Park of Senegal (PTN), as part of the country’s Digital Senegal plan.

The Senegal Digital Technology Park in Dakar was first announced in 2015.

Part-funded by the African Development Bank, the 25-hectare site aims to promote the country as a base for international technology companies.

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Network International Names Hany Fekry Regional President, Northern & Sub-Saharan Africa

Appointment of Regional Head will help drive greater digital payments adoption across Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa

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Hany Fekry, New Regional President, Northern & Sub-Saharan Africa, Network International

Network International, the leading enabler of digital commerce across the Middle East and Africa (MEA), has announced the appointment of Egyptian national Hany Fekry as Regional President – Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa.

In his new role, Fekry will be responsible for all aspects of Network’s acquiring and issuing business in Egypt and Nigeria, and for developing and implementing a comprehensive strategy to drive Network’s business growth and increase digital payments adoption in Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Fekry joined Network in 2016 as Managing Director for Egypt and Deputy Managing Director for Africa, leading the company’s business development activities across the Northern and Sub-Saharan region.

Previously, he served as the Chief Commercial Officer of Emerging Markets Payments (EMP) Africa, which was acquired by Network International in 2016.

Fekry’s more than 20-year career has included developing business in markets including Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq.

Nandan Mer, Group CEO of Network International, commented: “Building an effective payments infrastructure requires a thorough understanding of the needs of a local merchant and issuer clients to address their pain points and build locally relevant payments solutions.

“Since joining the team in 2016, Fekry’s deep understanding of the opportunities and challenges in digital payments adoption across Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa has been instrumental in helping Network deliver customised and relevant solutions.

“I am confident he is the right person to strengthen our offering to clients, in addition to driving greater inclusion and building a stronger payments infrastructure in these fast-growing markets.”

Hany Fekry, Regional President – Northern and Sub-Saharan Africa, added: “This is an incredibly exciting time for Network, with tremendous opportunities to accelerate the positive trends in digital payments across the region and increase financial inclusions.

“I look forward to helping build a best-in-class payment ecosystem that will support local merchants and financial institutions, and positively impact the economies across the Northern and Sub-Saharan African markets.”

 

 

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