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AfDB Supports Mauritius Oil Spill Recovery Efforts With $500,0002 minutes read

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has supported the Mauritius Government with $500,000 grant to aid recovery efforts after a major oil spill in the country’s waters earlier this year.

The fund, which will be sourced from the Special Relief Fund, will complement ongoing activities by the government of Mauritius, development partners, and other actors to undertake salvaging and cleaning operations, conduct damage and loss assessments, along with other socio-economic evaluations

The United Nations has assumed a lead role in coordinating the response.

“The $500,000 emergency assistance grant from the African Development Bank to Mauritius is an important contribution to the International Recovery effort towards restoring the pristine marine ecology, so important for livelihoods in the blue economy and tourism sectors, which is now threatened by the unfortunate oil spill,” said Martin Fregene, Bank Director for Agriculture & Agro-industry.

More than 1,000 tons of oil have leaked into the Indian Ocean since a carrier vessel ran aground off the Mauritius coast on 25 July.

Rescue teams successfully pumped out about 3,800 tons of oil and the government declared a state of emergency and has ordered fishermen and citizens to stay away from the beaches and lagoons around the communities of Blue Bay, Pointe d’Esny and Mahebourg.

The oil spill has resulted in health, conservation and economic challenges. The country relies heavily on the blue economy, particularly food and tourism, and its coastline has some of the world’s most pristine coral reefs. The general population remains at ongoing risk of severe illness from petroleum and its associated pollutants.

The country had hoped to reopen its borders to tourists following a successful response to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the spill has delayed those plans.

In May 2020, the Bank approved €188 million euros in loans to bolster the country’s national budget as it mounted a response to the pandemic.

As of 1 August 2020, the Bank had four ongoing operations in its country portfolio with a valuation of $458.8 million.

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Court Grants Former Bosasa COO, Angelo Agrizzi, bail

Former Bosasa COO Angelo Agrizzi was denied bail in his corruption and bribery case

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Former Bosasa chief operating officer Angelo Agrizzi has been granted bail by the Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg on Friday.

Agrizzi was denied bail earlier on October 14 by the Specialised Commercial Crime Court sitting in the Palm Ridge Magistrate’s Court. He appealed against Magistrate Phillip Venter’s ruling.

On Friday, Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng averred that the court in Palm Ridge misdirected itself both in fact and law.

Agrizzi has been detained for two weeks after the Palm Ridge Specialised Crimes Court denied him bail.

Agrizzi is facing fraud and corruption charges. He stands accused of bribing influential individuals, including Vincent Smith, the then chairperson of Parliament’s correctional services committee.

Agrizzi has been detained for two weeks after the Palm Ridge Specialised Crimes Court denied him bail

Earlier this month, Agrizzi was moved from the Johannesburg Prison to a private hospital over breathing issues. Agrizzi was hospitalised, allegedly on ventilators after going into cardiac arrest while in custody.

The National Prosecuting Authority’s Investigating Directorate accused Agrizzi of lying in his previous bail affidavit last year.

He told the court that he and his wife’s moveable assets were valued at R2.6 million when in fact they amount to over R30 million.

On Monday, Agrizzi’s lawyers declared his doctors were finding it difficult to treat him because he is chained to a bed and there were too many armed guards in his ward.

They demanded that he be released on bail because he is at high risk of contracting COVID-19 due to his pre-existing chronic medical condition.

His lawyers argued that his denial of bail was unfair because he had so far cooperated with investigations, the state capture commission, and has no prior convictions.

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Nigeria Records Highest Power Transmission of 5,459.50MW

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The Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) says the power sector has recorded an all-time national peak of 5,459.50MW.

A statement issued on Thursday by Ms Ndidi Mbah, TCN General Manager, Public Affairs, said the new record was achieved on Oct. 28.

The statement said the power generated was efficiently transmitted through the nation’s transmission grid at a frequency of 50.26Hz by 8.15pm on the said date.

According to the statement, this milestone in transmission is higher than any peak ever recorded in the nation’s power industry as of date.

It said the new peak surpassed the 5,420.30MW achieved on Aug.18 by 39.20MW.

Reacting to the development, Mr Sule Abdulaziz, acting Managing Director, TCN, commended all the players in the power sector value chain for the feat.

Abdulaziz attributed the gradual but steady improvement in the quantum of power delivery to collaboration by the sector players.

He added that the unbridled effort by the Federal Government, through the Ministry of Power, in setting the right environment for seamless operations contributed to the feat.

Abdulaziz expressed optimism that stakeholders in the sector would continue to work together toward ensuring the continued increase in the quantum of power available to consumers nationwide.

He noted that the TCN was committed to working with the generation and distribution companies to ensure sustained improvement in the sector for the benefit of the nation.

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Sterling Bank Launches Free Money Transfer Service For Nigerians In Diaspora

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Sterling Bank Plc has launched ‘Switch’ – “a free money transfer service” -for Nigerians in diaspora.

Switch, the bank says, will help to promote financial inclusion, international banking and allied services for diaspora Nigerians.

Mr Shina Atilola, Sterling Bank’s Divisional Head, Retail and Consumer Banking, in a statement on Wednesday, said that Switch is a zero per cent transaction charge offer, which further demonstrates the bank’s commitment to making cross-country banking accessible to all Nigerians abroad.

According to Atilola: “Switch users will be able to fund their account for free when using their Naira Debit Card and they will enjoy free service charge when they fund their Switch account using foreign bank cards for six months at the first instance.

“Switch enables the processing of everyday banking and financial services such as the payment of bills, funds transfer, payment requests, investments, asset financing and insurance services, among others, in their preferred currencies.

“Over the years, Nigerians in the diaspora have often had difficulties funding their Nigerian bank accounts using international bank cards due to high charges, and inability to perform seamless online transactions without recourse to the bank or its agents for money exchange, among others.

“Switch will benefit the customers’ desire for a convenient banking that gives more value, adding that some of the benefits include currency swap, access to asset financing diversified investment offerings and protection from mishaps with various insurance packages.

“Switch provides customers with the added value of asset financing, investment and insurance opportunities at better rates,” he said.

Atilola explained that the new product is a mobile app and is available on Android and IOS stores.

Switch, a multi-service platform, has been approved by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and funds domiciled in the Bank via the App are insured by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC).

He noted that though Switch is designed for Nigerians in the diaspora, and can be operated from any part of the world, it is, however, only accessible to users in the United Kingdom (UK), United States (US) and Canada at the moment.

“The plan is to expand to other countries of the world where Nigerians reside,” he added.

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