Facebook has tried to shut down ads that illegally used South African billionaire Mark Shuttleworth as its "front man" - but hours later they popped up again.
Shuttleworth’s name and picture have been posted on adverts promoting cryptocurrency scams on Facebook and on fake news websites.
The images and ads look similar to those used for a scam called QProfit System, which surfaced earlier this year. That scam claims that its designer, Jerry Douglas, was asked by Shuttleworth to develop a cryptocurrency system. It also creates the impression that Shuttleworth is out for “revenge” after losing a R250.5 million lawsuit against the Reserve Bank.
Shuttleworth, who has an estimated fortune of R9.6 billion and is CEO of the open-source operating system provider Canonical, has denied any involvement in a blog post.
“I can’t comment on whether or not Jerry Douglas promotes a QProfit System and whether or not it’s fraud. But I can tell you categorically that there are many scams like this, and that this investment has absolutely nothing to do with me. I haven’t developed this software and I have no desire to defraud the South African government or anyone else. I’m doing what I can to get the fraudulent sites taken down. But please take heed and don’t fall for these scams,” wrote Shuttleworth.
Ads for the new version of the scam, which asks for an initial fee of $250 (R3,750), have recently appeared on Facebook. Here, Shuttleworth’s face and a false testimony are used to promote a scheme for an app called Bitcoin Trader and Bitcoin Revolution. The ads take the users to different fake news websites, including a site called POIP News.
Facebook was alerted to the new scam ads last week. On Monday it responded by removing the ads.
“We do not allow adverts which are misleading or false on Facebook and encourage people to report any adverts that they believe infringe on their rights, or shouldn’t be on Facebook. As soon as these pages and ads were highlighted to us, we worked promptly to remove them and can confirm that several accounts and pages that violated our Advertising Policies have been taken down," said a spokesperson.
As the 2019 General elections draw near in Nigeria, some commercial banks plan to cut lending to avert risks, Ike Chioke, Managing Director, Afrinvest West Africa Limited, has said.
Chioke made the disclosure while releasing the 2018 Nigerian Banking Sector Report in Lagos on Tuesday.
The development is coming in spite of the promise by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to support banks that fund projects in the agriculture, manufacturing, and other related sectors that are employment and growth stimulating to the economy by refunding Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) at a single interest rate of 9 percent per annum.
The CBN had said the effort under the differentiated CRR regime was part of measures aimed at increasing the flow of credit to the real sector of the economy in order to consolidate and sustain the nation’s economic recovery
But according to the Managing Director of a Lagos-based investment and research firm, lenders are already cutting loans to key sectors of the economy to reduce the political risks and ensure safety of their funds.
“The political environment is heating up, new alliances are emerging and defections across the biggest parties have punctuated the polity.
“These events are evidence of the prevailing political risk factor in Nigeria, creating uncertainty in the environment, with potential impacts on business and investor confidence,” Chioke said.
He added that the election fears have contributed to the decline in the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow into the country as some of the investors are caution against the polls.
The Managing Director forecast that with the expected recovery in the non-sector which reflected in the nation’s Q2 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report, Nigeria’s economy would reach 2.1 percent in 2018.
His outlook is 0.5 percent points from 2.6 percent earlier projected for the nation’s growth.
“To achieve this, we believe that increased spending ahead of the 2019 elections will support non-oil sector activities, while increased oil output due to an additional 0.2 million barrels per day from the Egina Oil Field will drive oil sector growth,” he said.
In August, a $3.3 billion worth Egina Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) had sailed from LADOL Island in Lagos to its oil field located in Oil Mining Lease (OML) 130 located some 130 kilometers off the coast of Nigeria at water depths of over 1,500 meters.
The oil field was projected raise Nigeria’s crude oil production by 200,000 barrels per day, an approximate of 10 percent of the country’s total oil production output, when it comes on stream in December.
The project, built by Samsung Heavy Industries of Korea (SHI) for the Egina oil field was primarily operated in Nigeria by the global oil giant, Total, at a cost of $16 billion.
Source: The Ripples
OPEC Secretary-General Mohammad Barkindo on Tuesday urged oil producing companies to increase capacities and invest more to meet future demand as spare oil capacity shrinks worldwide.
Oil prices have rallied this year on expectations that U.S. sanctions on Iran will strain supplies by lowering shipments from OPEC's third-largest oil producer. Brent crude breached four year highs to reach $86.74 a barrel earlier this month, the highest since 2014.
"Countries that are holding spare capacity are now shrinking because there has been less investment in exploration," Barkindo said on the sidelines of the IHS CERA conference.
The global oil sector needs about $11 trillion in investment to meet future oil needs in the period up to 2040, Barkindo said, adding that import-dependent countries such as India were concerned about future oil supply.
Crude oil demand is expected to increase by 14.5 million barrels per day (bpd) from 2017 to 111.7 million bpd in 2040, OPEC said in its September report.
Saudi Arabia, the de facto leader of OPEC, is the only oil producer with significant spare capacity on hand to supply the market if needed, and the kingdom plans to invest $20 billion in the next few years to possibly expand its spare oil production capacity.
Barkindo said the oil markets were currently adequately supplied and balanced, but cautioned against a potential imbalance in 2019 due to higher supply.
"We will continue to ensure that the balance that we have attained after four years will be sustained going forward," he said.
Members of OPEC and non-OPEC countries participating in a supply-reduction agreement are on course to reach 100 percent compliance, Barkindo said, calling it a "work in progress."
OPEC and allied producers - not including the United States - agreed in June to return to 100 percent compliance with output cuts that began in January 2017, after months of underproduction in Venezuela and elsewhere pushed adherence above 160 percent.
India is expected to account for about 40 percent of the overall increase in global demand for the period ending 2040, Barkindo said. Demand for oil in the world's third-largest oil importer is expected to rise by 5.8 million barrels per day (bpd) by 2040.
"India is projected to see the largest additional oil demand (3.7 percent per annum) and the fastest growth in the period to 2040," said Barkindo in his speech to the conference. Indian officials have flagged worries about the outlook for crude supply though oil producers have downplayed a potential shortfall.
India, which imports more than 80 percent of its oil needs, shipped in 4.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of crude in 2017.
India has sought easier payment terms from oil suppliers to combat higher crude prices.
Retail fuel prices in India recently touched record levels due to high oil prices and a weakening rupee, leading to protests across the country.