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Algeria forbids Spain from reselling its gas to Morocco

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Algeria has prohibited Spain from reselling its gas to neighbours Morocco and has threatened to terminate the gas supply contract it entered with the European country after Madrid announced plans to ship gas to Morocco, but stressed that none of that gas would be of Algerian origin, which angered the Algerian government.

A secret report revealed that Morocco wants to import liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Spain by reversing the flow of the pipeline while it moves to develop its own longer-term LNG import terminals.

The Algerian warning came on Wednesday after it emerged that Madrid was planning to resell gas gotten from Algeria to other countries, especially those seen as enemy countries.

Before the warning, Algeria had previously said it will stick to its contract with Spain despite withdrawing its ambassador over a dispute between the two countries relating to the Moroccan-controlled territory of Western Sahara.

Since the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24 and the crisis generated by the conflict, African gas supplies to Europe have grown increasingly important and with no end in sight as the crisis has cast doubt on Russian energy exports, Algeria had entered deals to raise its gas supply to some European countries including Spain and Italy.

Algeria had also decided last year not to extend a deal to export gas through a pipeline running through Morocco to Spain that made up nearly all Morocco’s gas supply and is supplying Spain through a direct subsea pipeline and by vessel.

However, Spain’s energy ministry said that in no case would gas acquired by Morocco come from Algeria and that it had discussed the plan with Algiers in recent months.

“Morocco will be able to purchase LNG on the international markets, unload it at a regasification plant on the Spanish mainland and use the Maghreb gas pipeline to bring it to its territory,” the ministry said on Wednesday.

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Nigeria: Antigraft agency EFCC says 70% of financial crimes traceable to banks

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Banks are implicated in about 70% of financial crimes in Nigeria, according to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

This was revealed by EFCC Chairman, Ola Olukayode, during a speech at the Association of Chief Audit Executives of Banks in Nigeria’s 2023 Annual Retreat and General Meeting in Abuja. He pointed out that the banking sector was increasingly becoming a cesspool of fraudulent activities, and this had been raising considerable challenges and concerns for the commission.

Olukayode, who was represented by the Director, Internal Audit, EFCC, Idowu Apejoye, said there was a need for concerted effort by relevant authorities and professionals, especially audit executives, to prevent and tackle issues of fraudulent practices in the sector.

He said, “Broadly speaking, banking fraud in Nigeria is both inside and outside related. Inside-related fraud comprises outright selling of customers’ deposits, authorising loan facilities, forgery and several other kinds of unhealthy and criminal practices.

“The outsider related ones include hacking, ATM fraud, and conspiracy, among others. And then the absurd one is when both collaborate—that is, collaboration among the bankers and the outsiders.

“That one is the one that is really absurd because when you do that, that means you are selling out the system. It is estimated that about 70% of financial crimes in Nigeria are traceable to the banking sector, this scenario is disturbing and unacceptable.”

Olukayode said that ACAEBIN should make sure that accounts are properly reconciled each month in compliance with accounting regulations in order to stop the inconsistencies.

He gave the group tasks like keeping an eye on banks’ financial operations, comparing actual and planned revenue and expenses, conducting periodic assessments, and conducting checks.

Prince Akamadu, the chairman of ACAEBIN, declared that the organisation would strive to implement some of the suggestions made by the head of the EFCC.

He added that one of the goals of the retreat was to address the association’s complete commitment to resolving Nigeria’s foreign currency problems.

“That is part of the reason why we are having this retreat—to ask ourselves, to do an introspection and ask ourselves, given our position in the banking industry, or the executives of banks in Nigeria, are we doing enough?

“Have we done enough? What more can we do to help in sanitising the system? Are there things the banks could do to help in sanitising the FX in this country?”

“By the end of this retreat, we are expected to come up with a communique, and we hope to address some of the issues, one way or another, that will address the role of banks in FX challenges in this industry.”

For the past year, e-payment channels like computer/web, mobile, and point of sale have continued to be targeted by scammers. FITC’s “Reports on Frauds and Forgeries in Nigerian Banks” show that banks record 78,584 occurrences of online fraud annually, indicating that the growth of electronic payments has allowed for the persistence of this crime.

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Energy, rental expenses lower Airtel Uganda’s pre-tax profit in 2023

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Telecom company, Airtel Uganda, reported on Monday that a rise in energy and rental expenses was behind a 9.8% decrease in pre-tax profit for 2023 compared to the previous year.

The company, a division of the massive Indian telecom operator, Bharti Airtel, went public last year on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) following a significantly undersubscribed IPO.

Its pre-tax profit for the previous year was 426.8 billion Ugandan shillings ($108.9 million). In the east African nation, Airtel faces off against a division of the MTN Group headquartered in South Africa.

Established in 1995, Airtel Uganda (previously known as Celtel Uganda Limited) launched the country’s first mobile cellular network. Airtel acquired the business in June 2010 and renamed it Airtel Uganda.

MTN accounted for roughly 54% of all mobile subscriptions in Uganda as of the fourth quarter of 2022. Over the period from 2015 to 2022, Airtel has maintained the second-highest proportion of wireless subscribers, accounting for 33% of all subscriptions since 2016.

Beginning to rise in 2020, Airtel’s share will reach 42% by 2022. By the fourth quarter of 2020, Africell held about 11% of Uganda’s mobile subscriptions. However, in 2021, the company suspended operations and left the nation.

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