Temasek comes to Nigeria with Seven Energy Deal

Bloomberg reports that Singapore’s state-owned investment company, Temasek Holdings Pte, plans to buy a stake in Seven Energy International Ltd. for $150 million.

This follows an announcement in November of a $1.3 billion investment in three gas blocks offshore Tanzania by Temasek’s liquefied natural gas unit Pavilion Energy Pte.

Song Seng Wun, a Singapore-based economist at CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. (CIMB) said “It(the deal) ticks all the right Temasek boxes as it is an investment in a fast-growing emerging economy and it is an investment in resources.”

Temasek joins other investors including Carlyle Group LP and Robert Diamond’s Atlas Mara Co-Nvest Ltd. (ATMA) that are seeking to profit from Africa’s development.
“We are interested in investment opportunities in Africa where they fit our investment themes; in particular, around the transformation of economies and the demand for consumption by growing populations,” Temasek spokesman Stephen Forshaw said.

Ahead of the most recent investments in Africa, Temasek’s assets in the continent, central Asia and the Middle East accounted for just 2% of its total holdings as of March 31, 2013, according to its latest annual report published in July. That’s on a par with investments in Latin America and compares to 13% in Australia and New Zealand, and 12% in North America and Europe.

Investing as little as $150 million in a Seven Energy makes sense as Nigeria is still politically unstable, Song said.

“One has to have a very high-risk appetite to invest in a failed state like Nigeria,” Friedrich Wu, an adjunct associate professor at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore said in an e-mail. “After the BRIC economies, investors are chasing the next frontier markets to pour their money in. Africa has been talked up by various analysts and the media, but it could turn out to be a nightmare or quagmire.”

Founded in 2004, Seven Energy focuses on the emerging Nigerian domestic gas market.

Apart from Temasek, International Finance Corp., a unit of the World Bank will invest $75 million and the IFC African, Latin American and Caribbean Fund $30 million.


NSE to expand product offerings

The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) is to increase its product offerings with plans to list Vetiva Griffin 30 Exchange Traded Fund this month.

According to the NSE, Vetiva Griffin 30 Exchange Traded Fund (VG 30 ETF) is an open-ended fund to be listed on the Exchange.

The NSE 30 Index comprises of the top 30 companies listed on the NSE in terms of market capitalization and liquidity and is a price index weighted by adjusted market capitalisation. The VG 30 ETF is designed to track the performance of the constituent companies of the NSE 30 Index and to replicate the price and yield performance of the Index.

Listing of the VG 30 ETF is anticipated to help advance investor market in Nigeria by further broadening the choice of asset classes open to local investors.

See more Here

FG reserves N5billion contracts to wholly owned Nigerian companies

The Federal Government, in line with the Nigerian Content Act,2010, will now award, to only wholly owned Nigerian companies, contracts for projects within the range of N5 billion.

Against this backdrop, 15 wholly owned Nigerian companies were recently awarded the contracts for 21 Category C projects that range from N5 billion and below.

The Minister of Works, Mr Mike Onolememen, made this pledge when he received members of Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, led by its president, Engr.  Ademola Olorunfemi.

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CPC lists guidelines to protect telecom subscribers

To improve consumer education and protect subscribers’ from the exploitative activities of some telecommunications operators, the Consumer Protection Council has inaugurated a Compendium of the Rights of Telecommunication Subscribers in Nigeria.

The Minister of Communications Technology inaugurated the compendium in Abuja on Monday at the Consumer Roundtable on Phone Rights put together by the CPC.

She called for the NCC to strengthen its collaboration with the CPC to address subscribers’ complaints bordering on poor telecoms service delivery.

The Director-General, CPC, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, noted that users of telecoms services in Nigeria have not asserted their rights against telecoms operators due to ignorance of these rights and lack of an avenue to complain. Therefore, the CPC has codified the rights of telecommunications subscribers so that they can access, read and understand these rights.

These rights include poor network, unsolicited services, unlawful deductions/non-transparent billing, exploitative automated services, unauthorised SIM swaps/line disconnection, poor internet services and poor customer service.

The Compendium was launched as part of the commemoration of the World Consumer Rights Day.


DoJ To Seize Largest Ever Embezzled Assets from Abacha

The Wall Street Journal Law blog posts that as part of a kleptocracy initiative aimed at recovering money looted by foreign dictators from their countries, the U.S  Justice Department is moving to seize more than half a billion dollars from late Nigerian dictator General Sani Abacha, in what U.S officials called the largest such action in U.S. history.

Apparently, in an unsealed federal court filing on Wednesday in Washington, D.C., government lawyers said that the U.S. has already frozen more than $458 million in bank accounts around the world, and seeks to recover at least $100 million more.

The U.S. government has moved to freeze $313 million in accounts in the Bailiwick of Jersey and $145 million in accounts in France. There are also investment portfolios and bank accounts in the United Kingdom worth at least $100 million that the U.S. has targeted, the official said.

Abacha became the president of Nigeria via a military coup in 1993 and remained so until his death in 1998. U.S. authorities allege that Abacha embezzled or misappropriated billions of dollars from the Nigerian government, and laundered the money by buying U.S backed-bonds using U.S. financial institutions.

Under the Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative, the Justice Department seeks to seize the proceeds of foreign officials’ corruption and return the money to the harmed countries.

Sexual harassment: NIC awards N40m against employer

Many employees in Nigeria have to contend with sexual harassment on a daily basis but few have the courage to take a stance against same. Thus, the case of Mrs. Ejieke Maduka, a former Enterprise marketing Manager of Microsoft Nigeria, is indeed, a landmark case.

Following complaints of sexual harassment and her eventual sack by Microsoft Nigeria Limited, Mrs. Maduka, who was also the Diversity Champion for Women Rights in West, East and Central Africa, WECA, for Microsoft Worldwide, took her case to the National Industrial Court. The Court awarded N39.6 million ($248,000) in damages for the termination of her employment for refusing the sexual advances of former Country Manager, Emmanuel Onyeje, who took over the reins at Zinox Technologies as Chief Operating Officer, in July last year.

The first respondent, Microsoft Nigeria Limited, told the court it retained the right to hire and fire the applicant and prayed for the dismissal of the suit adding that Mrs Maduka’s termination was part of a “restructuring and downsizing” plan, as she was not the only employee laid off, and it had nothing to do with her alleged refusal to succumb to the sexual advances of Onyeje. It also denied that Onyeje sexually harassed the applicant.

The second respondent, Microsoft Corporation, on its part, prayed the court to strike its name out from the suit, as it neither employed nor sacked the applicant, adding that it owed her no duty of care.

The third respondent, Onyeje on his part, denied ever sexually harassing the applicant.  During trial, Onyeje’s only witness, Awawu Olumide Sojinrin, a Microsoft employee, testified that she never saw him sexually harass any female staff. However, on cross-examination, she admitted that while on an official trip to Atlanta, USA, Onyeje did not tickle her, but “touched” and “poked” her. She also admitted that she saw him touch and poke some of her colleagues.

The fourth respondent, Majekodunmi asked the court to strike out his name from the suit, as he merely carried out a lawful order of his employer, by issuing the termination letter on the applicant. The court struck off his name from the suit, holding that he is not a proper party in the suit.

The trial judge, Justice O. Obaseki-Osaghae, in her judgment, found that

  • The first respondent had not implemented its sexual harassment policy;
  • By their inaction and silence, the first and second respondent both tolerated and ratified the third respondent’s conduct contrary to their policy of prohibition and non-tolerance of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliatory action. Thus, they are both in breach of their duty of care and protection to the applicant and are vicariously liable for the acts of sexual harassment carried out by the third respondent within the apparent scope of authority they entrusted to him.
  • On the sack of the applicant, the court noted that neither the evidence of the downsizing or restructuring nor the names of the other employees affected by the exercise were placed before the court. The court further stated that the sudden replacement of the applicant with Peter Evbota is evidence of gender discrimination.

“The applicant has given evidence that she notified the Human Resources Manager and her immediate boss Mr Majekodunnmi of sexual harassment by the third respondent, but they did nothing about it”.

Mrs. Ejieke asked the court for an award of general damages and exemplary and aggravated damages. The court in awarding general damages stated;

“The applicant’s fundamental rights have been violated. Her pride, dignity and sense or self-worth have (sic) been injured by the actions of the respondents. I think an award of general damages which she is entitled to will meet the justice of this case. She has deposed to the fact that her annual base pay is NI3. 225million.This has not been denied by the respondents. Consequently, and on the authority of section 19 (d) of the National Industrial Court act, 2006, I make an award of general damages in favour of the applicant”

The court made the following orders;

  • That  the termination of the applicant’s employment by the first  and second respondents through their agent, the third respondent, simply because she refused to succumb to the sexual harassment from the third  respondent, the ratification of same by  first, second, third respondents and the subsequent conduct of the respondents constitute a violation of the applicant’s fundamental right to human dignity and freedom from discrimination as guaranteed by Section 34 and 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) and Articles 2, 5, 14, I5 and 19 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act, CAPA9, Laws of the Federation, 2004.
  • The acts of the third respondent, an agent of the first and second respondents, in incessantly handling the applicant’s waist against her will and without her consent, constitutes assault and trespass on the person of the applicant.
  • Each of the respondents (Ist, 2nd and 3rd) are to pay to the applicant the sum of N13, 225million as general damages for the violation of the applicant’s rights as guaranteed under Sections 34 and 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and Articles 2, 5, 14, 15 and 19 of the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights (Ratification and Enforcement) Act Cap A9, Laws of the Federation, 2004.
  • The first and second respondents are to immediately implement the sexual harassment policy to prevent a recurrence of a hostile working environment, sexual harassment in the first respondent. The sums are to be paid within 30 days.

Obviously, the respondents have the right to appeal and the Appeal courts may question the quantum of damage awarded. However, the case, to my mind, is a clarion call for employees and the courts to stamp out the cankerworm that is sexual harassment in Nigeria. A former employee of Cormart Nigeria Limited, Peace Gabriel, seems to have taken the bull by the horn by raising an alarm over an alleged attempt by her former supervisor, Mr. Patrick Ovie, to frame her for fraud. Gabriel added that the development arose because she rejected Ovie’s alleged sexual advances. see  Former employee of Cormart alleges sexual harassment

NSE awaits SEC’s approval on rules for operating Investor Protection Fund

The Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Mr. Oscar Onyema, at the NSE’s 2013 market review and outlook for 2014 said the Investor Protection Fund (IPF) would start as soon as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approves the rules.

Onyema said that the IPF, established to give investors a statutory backed avenue for reducing losses they suffer as a result of bankruptcy, insolvency, negligence or wrongdoing by dealing members, would strengthen the confidence of domestic investors and sustain the attraction of foreign investors in the Nigerian capital market.

He also revealed that quoted companies and brokers were sanctioned N61.21 million and N43.5 million in 2013 for various market violations, noting that the NSE would continue with its zero tolerance to irregularities.

Onyema said that the market capitalisation of listed equities grew by N4.25 trillion in 2013 to N13.23 trillion, against the N8.98 trillion posted in 2012 while the value of traded equities appreciated by 58.66 per cent to N1.04 trillion in 2013.

Meanwhile, the NSE within the period under review recorded two listings and 19 new bond listings.

The Vanguard-NSE awaits SEC’s approval on rules for operating Investor Protection Fund