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FG files criminal charges against Binance

The Federal Government has initiated criminal proceedings against Binance, a prominent cryptocurrency exchange platform over alleged tax evasion.

The charges, filed at the Federal High Court in Abuja, were announced on Monday by the Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS.

The lawsuit, designated as suit number FHC/ABJ/CR/115/2024, implicates Binance with a four-count tax evasion accusation.

FIRS, in a statement issued on Monday by Dare Adekanmbi, Special Adviser, Media to the Executive Chairman of the service, said the move was aimed at upholding fiscal responsibility and safeguarding the economic integrity of Nigeria.

Joined with the crypto company as second and third defendants in the suit are Tigran Gambaryan and Nadeem Anjarwalla, both senior executives of Binance currently under the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The charges levied against Binance include non-payment of Value-Added Tax, VAT, Company Income Tax, failure to file tax returns, and complicity in aiding customers to evade taxes through its platform.

In the suit, the FG also accused Binance of failure to register with FIRS for tax purposes and contravening existing tax regulations within the country.

According to the statement, one of the counts in the lawsuit pertains to Binance’s alleged failure to collect and remit various categories of taxes to the federation as stipulated by Section 40 of the FIRS Establishment Act 2007 as amended.

Section 40 of the Act explicitly addresses the non-deduction and non-remittance of taxes, prescribing penalties and potential imprisonment for defaulting entities.

The charges further detailed specific instances where Binance purportedly violated tax laws, such as failing to issue invoices for VAT purposes, thus obstructing the determination and payment of taxes by subscribers.

“Any company that transacts business in excess of N25 million annually is deemed by the Finance Act to be present in Nigeria.

“According to this rule, Binance falls into that category. So, it has to pay taxes like Company Income Tax, CIT and also collect and pay Value Added Tax, VAT.

“But Binance did not do this properly. So, the company broke Nigerian laws and could be investigated and taken to court for this infraction,” Adekanmbi said.

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Business

NAFDAC seals popular Supermarket in Ibadan

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) has sealed a popular groceries and cosmetics supermarket, Pinnacle in Dugbe area of Ibadan over sale of fake products.

The supermarket, usually a beehive of activities was now a shadow of itself as the gate leading to the premises was shut with an inscription directing customers to its branch at Challenge.

Management of the supermarket cited technical issues as reason for its closure.

An inside source who pleaded for anonymity however revealed that problem started on Tuesday, 2nd April , 2024 when NAFDAC surveillance team stormed the mall to enforce total shutdown of the premises, thereby forcing shoppers out of the supermarket.

“The NAFDAC team came inside the mall and told us to close, even though people were many inside who wanted to do shopping but they couldn’t because the technical issue started and they all went away in disappointment”, the source said.

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Nigeria oil production drops to 1.231m barrels per day- OPEC

OPEC: Russia-Ukraine war causing volatility in global energy market

Nigeria’s crude oil production suffered its second consecutive monthly decline since the beginning of this year, as it dropped to 1.231 million barrels per day in March, the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries has revealed.

OPEC disclosed this in its latest Monthly Oil Market Report for April 2024, stating that crude oil production details which it got through direct communication from Nigeria showed that the country pumped less oil in March compared to February.

Data from the report indicated that Nigeria produced 1.322 million barrels per day of crude in February this year, but this dropped to 1.231mbpd in March, representing a plunge of 91mbpd.

The report further added that the country had produced 1.427mbpd of crude in January, but this was not sustained in February as it dropped in that month, while the southward oil production continued in March.

However, OPEC data showed that Nigeria’s average crude oil production in the first quarter of 2024 was 1.327mbpd, higher than the 1.313mbpd average oil production in the fourth quarter of 2023.

Nigeria’s first quarter oil output in 2024 was also higher than the 1.201mbpd average production in the third quarter of 2023.

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Emirates Airlines to resume Nigeria flights soon – Keyamo

Emirates, UAE, has concluded plans to resume flights with Nigeria.

This followed numerous visits from President Bola Tinubu to UAE over the communication breakdown between both countries.

Featuring on Arise Television on Monday, the Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Festus Keyamo, said the Emirates Airline had already indicated its readiness in a letter sent to the Nigerian Government.

Keyamo explained that what transpired during the earlier visit and resolution was not fake but was presented in a ‘hasty’ manner.

He said: “Emirates flight resumption is almost happening. I just received a letter from Emirates. The letter is on my phone now. They have gone through all the gamut and they are ready to come back. They will announce the date because to restart a route, they must get an aircraft for that route.

“I am announcing to Nigerians for the first time; that I just received a letter from Emirates now. The letter is with me. I have a hard copy thanking you for all the efforts we made. Mr President was the showman here. He was the one who pushed for it. He made my job easy because he went there, and had a diplomatic shuttle to resolve all the issues.

“That was why I said the last announcement was hasty and not fake news.

“They will announce the date for their next flight. We have received a letter confirming that all the issues have been resolved and prepared to start coming back. It may be before June.”

Apart from Emirates suspending flights to Nigeria, in 2022, the UAE Immigration Department notified its trade partners and travel agencies that it was stopping visa applications from 22 countries, 20 of which are African nations.

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