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Thursday 23rd March, 2023


Zinox Debunks Claims Of Police Indictment Of Leo Stan Ekeh



Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh, Chairman, Zinox Group

The management of Zinox Technologies, Nigeria’s leading integrated Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Company has debunked allegations of its Chairman, Leo Stan Ekeh, being indicted by the Nigerian Police.

This clarification was contained in a detailed statement released to the media on Tuesday, December 22, 2020.

‘‘Firstly, Zinox Technologies makes bold to state categorically that neither its Chairman, Ekeh, nor any of its staff or the staff of Technology Distributions Limited, including Chris Eze Ozims, Shade Oyebode, Charles Adigwe and Mrs Chioma Ekeh, were indicted by any investigative agency or facing any criminal trial in any court in Nigeria. Anyone with contrary position should please make it public.

“The crux of the matter is that Benjamin Joseph and his partner Princess Kama had domiciled a FIRS computer supplies transaction worth N170m funded by Technology Distributions Ltd., the biggest HP authorised distributors (and not Zinox Technologies), with a promise to pay immediately they received payment from the FIRS, with an additional guarantee from Princess Kama’s uncle, Chief Onny Igbokwe as Citadel Oracle Concepts Ltd was not qualified to enjoy credit from Technology Distributions.

“When FIRS paid, Mr Benjamin Joseph tried to divert the fund but his partner, Princess Kama refused and paid Technology Distributions the pre-agreed invoice sum of the laptops supplied on credit. Mr Joseph took offence and started writing all sorts of fake petitions. We are aware that Mr Joseph has kept petitioning every Police station he comes across to invite Mr Ekeh over a matter that he (Joseph) is currently standing a criminal trial for,’’ Zinox said.

Zinox, which disclosed that the allegations were being propelled by some news media, especially Premium Times, allegedly at the instigation of Mr Joseph of Citadel Oracle Concepts Limited, urged members of the public to pay no heed to the unsubstantiated claims, which it refuted in details.

‘‘Knowing the consequence of the intended mischief set out by these nefarious media, the management of Zinox deems it expedient to set the records straight with information and facts that can be independently verified by anyone.

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“Indeed, we would not have paid any attention to the latest piece of sponsored fake news from Premium Times, were it not for the essential need to ensure that right-thinking Nigerians are not misled by the antics of an unscrupulous group of people who are bent on tarnishing the hard-earned reputation of Mr Ekeh,’’ Zinox further said in the statement.

The statement further revealed that Mr Joseph is currently facing a criminal trial on the same allegations he claims the Zinox Chairman was indicted for, thereby rendering his claims incredulous and without substance.

‘‘Joseph had lodged a complaint with the Nigerian Police Special Fraud Unit (SFU), Ikoyi, Lagos, claiming that his board resolution and other corporate documents were forged to execute the FIRS contract of about N170million.

“However, the SFU in their investigation did not only find out that he indeed authorized the contract by giving a letter of authority to his staff, Princess Kama, and who along with Chief Igbokwe, executed the contract, but that the board resolutions and other documents were indeed signed by him.

“This follows a forensic report dated 12th March 2014, by the Commissioner of Police (Forensic Science Lab) D’ Dept (Force CID) Nigeria Police with reference no. AR:4150/X/FCD/Vol.4/11.

‘‘It was on the basis of the findings above that the said documents were not forged and that the laptops, in question, were indeed supplied to the FIRS, that the then-Inspector General of Police, Solomon Arase charged Benjamin Joseph for false information in Charge No. CR/216/2016 (Inspector General of Police vs. Benjamin Joseph) on the same set of facts/allegations which he now claims Mr Ekeh was indicted for.

“How can Mr Ekeh be indicted by the Police in 2015 when the same Benjamin Joseph is currently being tried by the same Police for false information before Honourable Justice Peter Kekemeke of the FCT High Court Abuja for same allegations?

‘‘It is instructive to note that the Attorney-General of the Federation through the Federal Director of Public Prosecutions had twice given legal advice to the Inspector General of Police to prosecute the said Benjamin Joseph to a logical conclusion for giving false information. The legal advice was dispatched in two letters dated 10th February 2017 (ref no. DPPA/PET/397/16) and 7th May 2018 (ref. no. DPPA/ADV:1009/14).

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“Consequently, the Inspector General of Police had acted on the legal advice vide a letter dated 16th February 2017 (ref. no. CB:3560/IGP.SEC/ABJ/Vol88/560) to the COP (Legal Dept, Force headquarters) to implement the legal directive of the Attorney General of the Federation.

‘‘It is, therefore, mischievous and deceitful for anyone to report that the Chairman of Zinox or its staff was indicted in 2015 by a report by one Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP). We state here that we are reading about the so-called 2015 report for the first time through the news media.

“No staff of Zinox or Technology Distributions was neither invited by the said ACP nor were they made to write any statements. Otherwise, let them produce any statements that were made to the so-called Police Investigation Board.

“How can you conduct an ‘investigation’ and make a report indicting certain individuals without hearing from them on their own side of the story? How can the so-called report of an ACP in 2015 override the subsequent unequivocal legal advice of the Attorney General of the Federation and the Inspector General of Police?’’

In addition, Zinox accused Premium Times of bias, even as it disclosed that the medium is currently being sued for defamation before an Abuja High Court.

‘‘It is also instructive to note that the said Benjamin Joseph had petitioned the Vice President of Nigeria on the same allegation, of which the EFCC was mandated to investigate. At the end of the investigations, the EFCC absolved Technology Distributions Limited and its staff.

“The EFCC rather charged the staff/representatives of Citadel Oracle Concept Limited (due to their own internal issues) in Charge no. CR/244/2018. None of the staff of Zinox or Technology Distributions was charged. The case is before Honourable Justice Senchi of the FCT High Court, Abuja, and can be verified independently.

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‘‘All the documents above have been tendered in evidence in the ongoing criminal charge against Benjamin Joseph in the said Charge no. CR/216/2016, and can be verified by anyone. These facts and information are well known to Premium Times but they would rather hide them from their reportage.

“Of course, the biased and mischievous reporting stems from the fact that Zinox Technologies took out a N2billion libel case against them at the FCT High Court, Abuja, over these fake publications. Hence, it is important for the reading public to understand that Premium Times writes from the perspective of a disgruntled and aggrieved medium, due to the case Zinox has against them.

‘‘Also, neither Zinox nor Mr Ekeh has transacted any business with Mr Joseph. He had been unqualified to enjoy credit from Technology Distributions Limited, another company affiliated with Mr Ekeh and when he was aided by his business partner who approached TD Africa on his behalf, he had attempted to criminally corner the proceeds without paying for the items supplied on credit.

“Failure to achieve this aim had seen him turn around to claim that the items were not supplied to the FIRS and later, that he was not aware of the contract and that his signature was forged to execute the contract. He has since resorted to relying on some of our competitors who are funding him to continue his campaign of calumny against Zinox and Mr Ekeh.

‘‘We make bold to say that Mr Ekeh is a globally respected corporate citizen who has been in business for over 35 years with local and internationally reputed partners and without a single shred of scandal, fraud or underhand practices to his name.

‘‘Once again, we urge all Nigerians, our partners and other well-meaning people to ignore his antics, even as we await the speedy dispensation of justice in the suit involving him (Joseph) and Premium Times before the courts,’’ the statement concluded.



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Hyperspace Technologies Unveils Keymaster VAULT

Keymaster VAULT is a Low-Cost, Near Field Communication (NFC) technology-Based Hardware Wallet for the African Market

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Chidera Anyanebechi, General Manager, Hyperspace Technologies

Hyperspace Technologies, a Lagos-based Web3 startup specializing in next-level smart security infrastructure and key management systems, Monday announced the launch of its groundbreaking product, the Keymaster VAULT.

Designed to cater to the African market, Keymaster VAULT is a secure, NFC-based hardware wallet that stores private keys offline, offering an affordable and user-friendly alternative to expensive and complicated traditional hardware wallets.

Leveraging the simplicity of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, the Keymaster VAULT allows users to securely access their digital assets by merely tapping their NFC-enabled devices.

Digital Times Nigeria understands that this eliminates complex installation processes, making the wallet an ideal choice for both cryptocurrency novices and experienced users.

With offline storage of private keys, the wallet significantly reduces the risk of hacks and malware attacks associated with online storage.

Chidera Anyanebechi, General Manager of Hyperspace Technologies said, “We wanted to create a wallet that combines the highest level of security with ease of use, making cryptocurrency storage accessible to a broader audience in Africa.”

“The Keymaster VAULT not only provides an affordable solution but also offers enterprise clients the ability to leverage blockchain-based identity and access management, which we believe will be a game-changer in the industry,” Anyanebechi explained.

The Keymaster VAULT’s advanced encryption technology ensures the utmost security for users’ digital assets.

Its compact design and portability make it a convenient choice for individuals and businesses looking to store their digital assets securely without breaking the bank or dealing with complicated setups.

“The African market has long been underserved when it comes to secure and affordable hardware wallet solutions,” added Anyanebechi.

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“We are excited to bring the Keymaster VAULT to our customers and empower them with a hardware wallet that not only protects their digital assets but also opens doors for innovative applications in blockchain-based identity and access management.”

The Keymaster VAULT is now available for purchase here, giving cryptocurrency enthusiasts and enterprise clients across Africa a secure, affordable, and user-friendly hardware wallet solution.

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IWD: TD Africa Commits N10m Seed Fund For Female Entrepreneurs



As part of initiatives to mark the 2023 edition of the globally celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) event, TD Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa’s leading distributor of tech and lifestyle products has rolled out plans to empower women in business with seed funding up to the tune of N10m.

The landmark initiative is being executed through the aptly named “The HERwakening”, a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) vehicle pioneered by TD Africa aimed at supporting and empowering female entrepreneurs.

The seed fund is open to female business owners who are retailers of mobile devices and Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) or prospective female entrepreneurs looking to start up a business in these identified areas.

Applications, which have commenced for the seed funding, will run from Wednesday, March 8, 2023 (International Women’s Day) through to Saturday, March 18, 2023.

Interested beneficiaries are urged to visit to register their interest.

“TD Africa is committed to the transformation of lives in Nigeria. In line with the focus of this year’s celebration of International Women’s Day, we understand, as a business, that equal opportunities aren’t enough.

“Therefore, we are going a step further to ensure true inclusion and belonging through equitable action by granting seed funds to female entrepreneurs,’’ disclosed Coordinating Managing Director, Mrs. Chioma Chimere.

“Technology remains a male-dominated sector. However, we are hopeful that this seed funding will go a long way in promoting equity and giving more women a chance to excel in the industry. We are passionate to see dreams come true through this initiative.

“The HERwakening aims to alleviate the hardship and challenges encountered by women-owned businesses. It is also a testament to our pledge to impact and empower female-led businesses and entrepreneurs across Africa with the required resources and technical support to ensure the viability of their ventures.”

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Furthermore, she revealed that, in addition to the seed funds, TD Africa will continue to provide mentorship and training to effectively equip female entrepreneurs with the right tools to achieve business growth, profitability and sustained success.

As earlier mentioned, the seed funding is targeted at prospective and existing retailers/resellers of mobile devices and FMCG products.

After registering, business owners will proceed through two screening rounds where they will pitch their ideas. Successful participants will receive the sum of N2m each, plus free business mentorship and consultation.

TD Africa’s intervention is driven by global trends which indicate that more women are actively starting up and leading businesses, even as the company points to a visible increase in female participation in the male-dominated IT ecosystem.

Nevertheless, TD Africa is convinced that immense untapped opportunities still abound.

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Report: African Smartphone Market Declines



Smartphones....... Photo Credit: BBC

Latest insights from the International Data Corporation (IDC), have shown that Africa’s smartphone market declined for the sixth consecutive quarter in Q4 2022, with shipments down 17.8% year on year (YoY) to 17.6 million units.

IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker shows that Africa’s feature phone market also declined in Q4 2022, with shipments down 16.2% to total 22.7 million units.

“The mobile phone industry is now challenged by constrained demand even though the supply constraints that had previously been weighing on the market have started to ease off,” says Arnold Ponela, a senior research analyst at IDC.

“Inflation and economic uncertainty have seriously dampened consumer spending, causing vendors to cut back drastically on shipments as their largest markets continue to struggle. The situation is not unique to Africa, with smartphone shipments declining across all major global markets in 2022.”

The biggest decline was seen in Egypt, where smartphone shipments were down 56.2% YoY in Q4 2022, with the introduction of new import regulations leading to device shortages and higher prices.

This situation has been further exacerbated by the Egyptian pound’s devaluation against the US dollar, the challenging economic environment, and the fact that the government has approved very few letters of credit (LCs), which are required for import payments on non-essential goods such as mobile phones.

Nigeria’s smartphone market declined 32.1% YoY in Q4 2022 due to sustained high inflation and a shortage of US dollars in the country.

South Africa was the least affected market in the region, declining just 1.8% YoY, thanks to an increased focus on the country from Chinese vendors, an improved performance from local brands, and promotional activities that took place during the festive season.

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Rising inflation and growing macroeconomic issues continue to restrict consumer spending, causing vendors to be increasingly cautious with their shipments.

Transsion brands (Tecno, Itel, and Infinix) led the region’s overall smartphone market in Q4 2022 with a 43.4%-unit share, spurred by its strong portfolio of entry-level devices. Samsung took second place with a 28.7% share thanks to the strong performance of its A04 model. Xiaomi ranked third with a 7.0% share.

Transsion brands (Tecno and Itel) also dominated the feature phone landscape, garnering a combined unit share of 78.8%. Nokia ranked third in this space with a 5.9% share.

In terms of price bands, the share of smartphones priced below $100 remained flat (from 42% in Q3 2022 to 41.7% in Q4 2022), while the share of devices priced $100-$200 increased from 41.6% to 43.8% over the same period, spurred by the performance of Samsung’s A series. The midrange segment ($200<$400) contracted slightly, from a share of 11.6% to 10.5%.

IDC expects the market’s demand constraints to improve in the mid-term and for smartphone shipments to rebound in 2023 with YoY growth of 3%.

“This is modest growth for Africa but given the level of uncertainty in the global and regional economy, there is room for cautiousness in the region’s smartphone markets,” says Ramazan Yavuz, a research manager at IDC.

“Inflationary pressures are set to persist, and the repercussions of a global economic downturn are likely to impact consumer spending and vendor appetite.

“In the worst-case scenario, any possible recovery will be pushed back to the very end of 2023.”

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