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Philip Hammond adds cryptocurrency role to post-Treasury jobs list

Philip Hammond

Philip Hammond adds cryptocurrency role to post-Treasury jobs list

The former chancellor Philip Hammond has added another job to the dozen or so he has taken on since leaving the Treasury in 2019, this time as an adviser to a Mayfair-based cryptocurrency trading firm.

Lord Hammond, who also served as foreign secretary and was an early supporter of bitcoin and other digital currencies, joined Copper.co with immediate effect on Monday.

The former chancellor, who was said to be one of the wealthiest ever cabinet ministers with a fortune once estimated at £8.2m, has taken up as many as 14 paid and unpaid jobs since leaving politics after a bust-up with Boris Johnson over Brexit.

Hammond was last month criticised by Westminster’s lobbying watchdog for using his government connections to assist OakNorth, a bank he is paid to advise.

Eric Pickles, a former cabinet colleague who chairs the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (Acoba), said it was an unwise step for Hammond to contact a senior Treasury official about a project developed by OakNorth.

Lord Pickles said Hammond’s use of his contacts in government was not consistent with the intention of the rules and was not acceptable because of “the privileged access you obtained for OakNorth”.

Hammond, who also served as defence secretary, was later cleared of breaching lobbying rules after an investigation by the Office of the Registrar of Consultant Lobbyists (ORCL), an independent body that monitors lobbying activities of former ministers and senior civil servants.

ORCL accepted Hammond’s argument that, since lobbying was not his main activity, there was no need for him to register as a lobbyist working on behalf of a third party.

Copper said Hammond would focus on “promoting the UK as a global leader in digital asset technology”. The firm, which was founded in 2018, recently announced plans to expand into the US and Asia and secured $75m (£55m) of investment from the British billionaire hedge fund manager Alan Howard and the venture capital firms Dawn Capital and Target Global.

Hammond said Copper was a “true pioneer” of crypto and digital asset investment technology. “But the really exciting opportunity lies in the application of this technology to revolutionise the way financial services are delivered,” he said. “If we can bring together the best of Britain – entrepreneurs, industry, government, and regulators – to create and enable a blockchain-based ecosystem for financial services, we will secure the UK’s global leadership in this field for decades ahead.”

Dmitry Tokarev, the chief executive of Copper, said: “We would like to drive growth in our client base within a regulatory framework which will allow us to thrive globally from our London headquarters. With Lord Hammond’s expertise adding to the strength of our team, we look forward to growing Copper and further enhancing the UK’s digital asset technology offering.”

As chancellor, Hammond had called for light-touch regulations for cryptocurrencies. “I am interested in bitcoin. The Bank of England, as you know, among the central banks, has been leading on looking at bitcoin,” he said in 2018. “What is really important is that in regulating cryptocurrencies, we don’t inadvertently constrain the potential of the technology that underlies it, the blockchain technology, which has a wider and more important application.”

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Bauchi pays N3.418bn in outstanding gratuities

The Bauchi State Pensions Board has announced that, from May 2019 to date, the state government has paid N3,418,288,11.68 in outstanding gratuities owed to retired civil servants.

The Chairman of the Board, Senator Bala Adamu Kariya, made the disclosure at the ongoing ministerial press briefing in Bauchi, held at the State Secretariat.

Although Senator Kariya did not specify the total gratuity backlog, he noted that it exceeds N20 billion.

He stated that since the inception of the current Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)-led administration in 2019, a total of 4,273 people have retired, and 677 have died while in service, out of 4,948 files processed.

“The Board processes the files of civil servants due for retirement. We are the custodians of the processed files of all state civil servants who have retired,” the chairman stated.

Senator Adamu, however, said that in order to avoid further accumulation of pension and gratuity liabilities, the state government intends to commence the implementation of the proposed contributory pension scheme on June 30, 2021.

“As a sign of commitment, His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Sen. Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir, appointed a 20-member committee, including a staff member of Messrs Premium Pension Ltd for technical guidance under the chairmanship of Mr. Abdon Dalla Gin (Special Adviser on Civil Service Matters).”

“In line with the Terms of Reference to the Committee, a final report with a draft bill has been carefully produced, tapping from the 2004 Act, 2014 revised Act, and previous efforts of successive state administrations like the 2005 and 2017 draft bills, and was presented to His Excellency, the Executive Governor, Sen. Bala Mohammed Abdulkadir, as appropriate.”

He recalled that Governor Bala Mohammed had presented the report to the State Executive Council for consideration and approval, following which a draft bill was forwarded to the State House of Assembly for further legislative process in line with the laid down constitutional procedure.

“After gathering the necessary stakeholders’ input, the State House of Assembly then ratified the draft and returned the same to the Executive Governor for assent. Consequently, on August 5, 2022, His Excellency, the Executive Governor of Bauchi State, assented to the bill enacted by the State House of Assembly.”

“It was named the Bauchi State and Local Government Contributory Pension Scheme. The law also provided for the establishment of the Bauchi State and Local Government Contributory Pension Commission.”

“The state governor approved the constitution of another high-powered committee under the chairmanship of Ibrahim Muhammad Kashim, the Secretary to the State Government, to facilitate the full implementation process of the new scheme in the state.”

Kariya further explained that prior to this development, the state government appointed two firms of Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs), who have now engaged stakeholders in a massive sensitization, advocacy, and enlightenment of the scheme across the state.

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Two-storey building collapses in Abuja

A two-storey residential building in Phase 2, site 2, Kubwa Abuja has collapsed

The building collapsed on Saturday morning at about 7:00am.

It was learnt that the building was formerly a hotel, Al-Hilal, but was converted to a residential apartment.

It was gathered that several people are currently trapped in the rubble.

As at time of filing this report, emergency responders and security personnel were at the scene.

 

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Police to enforce e-CMR compliance from July 29

The Nigeria Police Force have given all motor users 14 days to register their vehicles with the newly-introduced digitalized Central Motor Registration (e-CMR), which will end on July 29, to begin the enforcement of its compliance in order to checkmate the rate of vehicle-related crimes and other offenses.

In a press release, the Force Public Relations Officer, ACP Olumuyiwa Adejobi, informed that the move is part of the efforts of the Inspector-General of Police, IGP Kayode Egbetokun, to enhance the security of lives and property and significantly boost the nation’s safety.

The release further stated that the exercise is an advanced form of helping security agencies, mostly the Police Force, in their investigations and operational activities to combat vehicle-related crimes, including terrorism, banditry, kidnapping, and other social vices.

It also stated that the introduction of the e-CMR digitalized system will help streamline the documentation and verification process for vehicle ownership and related transactions.

“Following the directives of the IGP, services such as change of ownership, change of license number, change of engine, and change of chassis/body would become seamless as the e-CMR system would ensure the validation of vehicle genuineness and ownership, enhancing the ability to track and recover stolen vehicles effectively, and preventing the purchase of stolen vehicles by innocent buyers.

“Prior to the enforcement itself, the IGP has ordered full publicity of the e-CMR and its enforcement to all members of the public, intimating them of the requirements, processes, and the enforcement procedures. Members of the public are urged to obtain the digitalized CMR certificate online at https://cmris.npf.gov.ng.

‘For further inquiries, individuals can contact the CMR Command Centre at FHQ Abuja (08117777666, 09169892000) and FHQ Annex Lagos (08117777555, 09169891000). Technical support is also available at cmftech@npfcmr.ng,” the release partly stated.

Following this new development, the Nigeria Police have enjoined members of the public to participate in the exercise by ensuring that all vehicle users comply with the new directive, maintaining that the initiative, which is in line with modern technology, remains a strategic approach to enhance public safety and national security.

ACP Adejobi further stated that the enforcement of the e-CMR is necessary to ensure a safer and more secure environment for vehicle ownership and to decimate the trend of vehicle theft by greatly reducing the possibility of selling stolen vehicles in the country.

“We therefore urge all vehicle owners and users to embrace and participate in this initiative promptly for optimum safety and security,” he stated.

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