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Court orders Binance to release comprehensive data of Nigerian users to EFCC

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A federal high court in Abuja has ordered Binance Holdings Limited to provide the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with the comprehensive data or information of all persons from Nigeria trading on its platform.

 

Emeka Nwite, presiding judge, gave the ruling on an ex parte motion moved by Ekele Iheanacho, EFCC’s lawyer, on February 29.

 

“The applicant’s application dated and filed 29th February 2024, is hereby granted as prayed,” the judge held.

 

“That an order of this honourable court is hereby made directing the operators of Binance to provide the commission with comprehensive data/information relating to all persons from Nigeria trading on its platform.”

 

The ex-parte motion, marked: FHC/ABJ/CS/259/2024, was brought pursuant to Sections 6(b), (h), (I), 7(1), (a)(2), and 38 of the Economic and Financial Crimes Establishment Act, 2004 and Section 15 of the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Act, 2022 (as amended) and the inherent powers of the court.

 

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In the affidavit in support of the motion, Hamma Bello, an operative of the EFCC, said following the inauguration of the Technical Committee on Currency Stability and Forex Manipulation by the ONSA, the special investigation team (SIT) “received an intelligence stating the nefarious activities (money laundering and terrorism financing) on Binance, a cryptocurrency exchange platform”.

 

“That on receipt of the intelligence, the team began investigation by conducting surveillance of the activities of the platform,” Bello said.

 

“The team uncovered users who have been using the platform for price discovery, confirmation and market manipulation which has caused tremendous distortions in the market, resulting in the Naira losing its value against other currencies.

 

“The damage the platform has caused was clearly explained to the operators of the platform and they were requested to delist the Naira and avail the ONSA on the activities of the Nigerians on their platform.

 

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“The information afforded to the team by Binance shows that the total trading volume from Nigeria in 2023 alone stood at $21.6 (twenty-one billion, six hundred million dollars).

 

“Attached and marked as Exhibit EFCC 1 is a copy of the document from Binance to the ONSA stating this fact amongst others.

 

 

“That the commission will ensure that investigation is conducted within such reasonable time.”

 

Bello stated that the information would help the panel with its investigation, and that the subject was of the utmost urgent public interest.

 

He claimed that granting the application was in the interest of justice because rejecting the request would seriously impede the commission’s inquiry.

BACKGROUND

In February 2024, Bayo Onanuga, special adviser to President Bola Tinubu on information and strategy, said Binance and other crypto platforms should be banned from operating in Nigeria.

 

Onanuga had accused Binance of “blatantly setting exchange rate for Nigeria,” and hijacking the role of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

On February 27, Olayemi Cardoso, governor of the CBN, said $26 billoon passed through Binance from unidentified sources.

 

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Cardoso said the apex bank was collaborating with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and security agencies to ensure there is no manipulation in the foreign exchange (FX) market.

 

On March 8, the crypto firm discontinued all transactions in naira on its exchange platform, following reports that the government demanded $10 billion as retribution for profiting from “its illegal transactions” in Nigeria.

 

Meanwhile, two of Binance’s top executives – Nadeem Anjarwalla, 37-year-old British-Kenyan and Binance’s regional manager for Africa; and Tigran Gambaryan, 39-year-old US citizen and Binance’s head of financial crime compliance — have been detained by the Nigerian authorities for weeks.

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Kano anti-graft agency files fresh charges against Ganduje

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The Kano state anti-corruption and public complaints commission says it has brought fresh charges against Abdullahi Ganduje, national chair of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

Appearing on Sunrise Daily, a Channels Television programme, on Tuesday, Muhuyi Magaji, chair of the anti-graft agency, said the commission is investigating a case where N51 billion was allegedly diverted by the Ganduje administration.

Ganduje was governor of Kano from 2015 to 2023.

 

Magaji said during the twilight of the Ganduje administration, N1 billion was withdrawn from the state’s accounts for rehabilitation of roads, but that the sum was allegedly diverted.

 

“What is happening now is a tip of the iceberg,” he said.

 

“As I am talking to you, we are investigating a case whereby N51.3 billion local government funds were directly taken from the government coffers (and) sent to other individuals, and we traced it to people.

 

“We have piled a series of cases. We have a case whereby N1 billion in April last year (2023) was removed from government coffers under the allocation of renovating 30 roads in the metropolis and it was taken away, sent to Bureau de Change.

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“We have a case of N4 billion whereby it was sent from the consolidated revenue account of Kano state to an agricultural company. All these cases are before the court.”

 

The chair said the commission is not driven by politics and is dedicated to the fight against corruption.

 

“Incidentally, His Excellency, the former governor, was the one that appointed me in 2015 to head the agency and I was re-appointed in 2020 for another five-year term,” he said.

 

“Basically, we have an institution in the Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC) that is devoid of political activities and dedicated to fight corruption, check maladministration and fight injustice.”

It was learnt that a formal invitation will be extended to the former governor.

 

On Monday, executives in Ganduje’s APC ward in Kano suspended the former governor from the party over corruption allegations.

 

Soon after, however, the APC in Kano nullified the suspension and handed the executives behind the move a six-month suspension from the party.

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Testimony controversy: After backlash, Enenche apologises, meets Abuja testifier

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The woman who was accused of lying while giving testimony at the Dunamis International Gospel Centre, Abuja, Vera Anyim, has said she bears no grudge against the church.

 

This followed the controversy that trailed the treatment that was meted out to her by the church’s Senior Pastor, Dr Paul Enenche, on Sunday.

 

In a video that emerged online, Anyim, during her testimony in the church, said she graduated with a “Bsc in Law” from the National Open University of Nigeria.

 

She was however interrupted by Enenche who said she was lying. The pastor also questioned the credibility of the woman’s testimony while he chided her on how she spoke.

Enenche who said there was nothing like “Bsc in Law” immediately asked her to leave the pulpit.

 

The action however generated a flurry of reactions as netizens demanded an apology from the cleric.

 

But Anyim, in a post on her Facebook page on Monday, said she had put the situation behind her.

 

She made the statement after meeting Enenche and his wife, Becky.

Sharing photos from the meeting, she wrote, “I want to inform the whole world that I just had a warm meeting with my spiritual father and mother, Dr Paul Enenche, and Dr Becky Enenche.

 

“I don’t have any grudge against the church or them. I remain committed to serving God as a member of Dunamis Church.

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“I am thankful for the concern of the public.

 

“I have put the situation at my back, and I have moved forward, and I want everybody to do the same. Peace.”

 

The church in a statement on Monday said it reached out to Anyim over the issue, while it explained that concerns arose during her testimony at the Glory Dome on April 14, 2024, regarding her language proficiency and the clarity of her academic credentials.

 

It stated that her speech suggested a level of English proficiency below what might be expected of a university graduate, particularly one with a Law degree, while noting that discrepancies also emerged regarding the nature and duration of her academic pursuit, raising doubts about the legitimacy of her qualifications.

 

The statement added that the Senior Pastor’s actions stemmed from a commitment to upholding standards of excellence and integrity within the church community.

 

The statement read, “A scenario was created on Sunday the 14th April, 2024 at the Glory Dome, the Global Headquarters of Dunamis International Gospel Centre, when Ms Anyim Veronica Nnenna came out to testify of how God helped her graduate from the university, thus making her the first person to attain that feat in her family.

 

“These were the immediate triggers for the said scenario: First, listening to the testifier’s expressions as it borders on basic spoken English, conveys the impression that the minimum standard expectation of a graduate, especially a graduate of Law was not met.

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“Second, stating that she studied Law for 10 years begged the question of what her degree actually was.

 

“Third, she was unable to state exactly what the correct degree was for Law which is LLB, rather she said it was a BSc in Law which is largely unknown as a Law degree in Nigeria and possibly globally.

 

“These prompted the Senior Pastor. Dr. Paul Enenche, to stop the testimony immediately as a product of a ‘lie.’ However, relief came when it was later confirmed that she actually graduated from a university.

 

“It must be pointed out clearly here that embarrassing the testifier publicly with the attendant media frenzy was never intended; whatever happened was under the spur of the moment.”

 

The church disclosed further that the Senior Pastor was rather based on his and the church’s aversion to seeming mediocrity and any appearance of untruth.

 

“While we remain resolute in our passion for excellence, intolerance of mediocrity and falsehood, we wish to reiterate the fact that no harm or hurt was ever intended by the Senior Pastor against Ms. Anyim Veronica. The Senior Pastor feels deeply concerned and had already reached out to her.

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“As a commission, we regret every inconvenience, hurt, and embarrassment this unfortunate scenario has caused to Ms Anyim Veronica Nnenna. We remain committed to her physical welfare as well as her spiritual growth. God bless us all,” the statement added.

 

Some photos confirming that the woman graduated from NOUN were discovered on her Facebook page and shared online.

 

Reacting earlier to the treatment meted out to her, Vera lamented that she was disgraced and labelled a liar by her spiritual leader because she couldn’t speak English and mistakenly said B.Sc instead of LLB.

 

In a post on her Facebook page on Monday, she stated that she graduated with a 3rd class from NOUN and was no. 2262 on the list of graduates from the school.

She wrote: “It’s disheartened because I couldn’t speak English like lawyers. I was labelled a liar for mistakenly saying B.Sc instead of LLB. Actually, I graduated with a Third Class at NOUN. The rejected stone can become the cornerstone. We’re reminded not to look down on anyone.

 

“You can’t imagine what I endured throughout the service. How shattered I must have felt to be disgraced by my spiritual leader in such a manner? I am no. 2262 on the list. I, Vera, deserve better now.

“The Devil came to steal my testimony but Jesus said NO!,” she stated in a separate post.

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Sack non-performing appointees, review your policies, El-Rufai tells Tinubu

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Former governor of Kaduna, Nasir el-Rufai, says President Bola Tinubu should sack appointees in his cabinet who do not deliver on their mandate.

 

El-Rufai, who spoke in Maiduguri, Borno state capital, on Monday, urged Tinubu to look into the possibility of adjusting some of his policies that are not yielding expected results.

 

“You appointed a person into a position and he is not working according to the expectation, you should have the humility to tell him that I need a better person, go and do something else,” NAN quoted him as saying.

 

The former governor urged Nigerians to pray and assist the administration in its efforts to make things better.

 

“What we must do as citizens is to pray for our leaders for God to guide them to see or do what is right,” he said.

 

“For God to give them the humility to reverse themselves when necessary and do the right thing; that’s how society progresses.”

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