MTN Group appoints Mike Silber as regulatory executive

March 29, 2024
6 min read
Mike Silber

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Victoria from Techpoint here,

Here's what I've got for you today:

  • MTN Group appoints Mike Silber as regulatory executive
  • Detained Binance executive sues the EFCC
  • NDPC to ban lenders' mobile numbers.
  • Satgana closes first fund at $8.6 million 

MTN Group appoints Mike Silber as regulatory executive

Mike Silber

MTN Group has appointed Mike Silber as its new group executive for regulatory matters, starting April 1, 2024.

Silber comes from Liquid Intelligent Technologies, where he spent five years as the big boss of regulatory affairs. While there, he helped to build Africa's largest cross-border fibre network and the continent's largest networked data centre.

MTN is excited about having him on board, praising his knack for dealing with all the legal and regulatory hoops in Africa's tech scene. The telco believes his experience will help it boost connectivity and business success across the continent.

Silber seems pumped, ready to use his 25 years of telecom and Internet know-how to tackle MTN's challenges. He is a South African lawyer who has served on several industry bodies and boards, including those focused on internet governance and education.
Overall, it looks like MTN is banking on Silber to help it navigate the complex world of telecom regulations and drive its business forward.

Detained Binance executive sues the EFCC

Binance logo on a phone
Photo by Vadim Artyukhin on Unsplash

Remember this? Binance executive escapes detainment

Three days ago, I told you about Nadeem Anjarwalla, one of the Binance big shots nabbed in Nigeria on February 26, 2024, who made a daring escape from detainment.

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Well, today, we’ll talk about Tigran Gambaryan, the second detained executive

Gambaryan, who was detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the National Security Adviser in Nigeria, has sued the EFCC and the NSA.

Why? He said they violated his rights by detaining him and taking away his travel documents. He even roped in his lawyer, Olujoke Aliyu, from Aluko and Oyebode Law Firm to handle the case.

Gambaryan used to work as a Crypto-Focused US Federal Agent, so he knows a thing or two about the law. He's citing the Nigerian Constitution and demanding to be released and have his travel documents returned ASAP. 

Plus, he wants the EFCC and NSA to stop bothering him about anything related to Binance. Oh, and he's asking for a public apology too.

But wait, there's more drama. Nadeem Anjawarlla also filed a lawsuit against the EFCC and NSA for the same reasons. However, his lawyers pulled out of the case, leaving him hanging.

Anjawarlla managed to escape custody by slipping away during a prayer break at a mosque. Crafty, right? He's believed to have flown out of the country on a Middle East Airlines flight.

The court is still figuring it out. The judge said they needed to adjourn the case so Anjawarlla could find new legal representation and give the EFCC and NSA a chance to defend themselves.

Meanwhile, Gambaryan, who's still stuck in custody, says he's just an American citizen who was invited by the EFCC and NSA to talk about Binance stuff. He claims he wasn't even told what he did wrong.

So yeah, it's a bit of a mess. The next court date is set for April 8, 2024. Let's see how this plays out.

NDPC to ban lenders' mobile numbers


The Nigerian Data Protection Commission (NDPC) is cracking down on digital lenders who've been messing with their customers' privacy. 

It’s looking into over 400 cases of privacy violations and is planning to ban or restrict mobile numbers used by lenders to harass people.

This news comes after some loan apps got kicked off the Google Play Store last year because of fraud concerns. But apparently, the problems haven't gone away.

According to NDPC's report for 2023, these loan apps are being way too nosy, digging into people's contacts, pictures, messages, you name it. And it is not just a few bad apples; it is a systemic issue.

So, what's the plan? NDPC wants to partner with other regulators and the platforms these lenders use to crack down on the privacy breaches. 

It’s drafting new rules called the Nigeria Data Protection Act-General Application and Implementation Directive to tackle data breaches and promote better privacy practices.

It’s also putting pressure on communication networks to cut off the phone lines used for privacy violations. And from now on, lending companies need the NDPC's clearance before they can even start operating.

And Google Play has also tightened its rules for Nigerian money lenders, demanding they comply with FCCPC regulations.

It's a tricky path for lenders, especially with the spotlight on them and the pressure to clean up their act. But it's a step in the right direction for protecting people's privacy in the digital lending world. 

Satgana closes first fund at $8.6 million

Money pouring on someone's hand like rain. Used to depict a naira float, following the country's announcement

Satgana, a VC firm, has just closed its first fund at $8.6 million. It got commitments from some big shots like Maurice Lévy from Publicis Groupe and Thibaud Hug de Larauze, who's a co-founder of Back Market.

Romain Diaz, the VC’s founder and General Partner, explained that it closed the fund earlier than planned due to a tough fundraising environment. 

However, the firm is ready to invest in up to 30 early-stage startups in Africa and Europe. It already made 13 investments, so it’s on track.

Satgana focuses on backing startups that are tackling climate change, especially in areas like mobility, food, energy, and more. In Africa, it has supported companies like Amini, Mazi Mobility, Kubik, and Revivo. 

Diaz has a background in venture capital in Africa, and after seeing the impact of climate change, he decided to launch Satgana to focus solely on climate tech startups. Based in Europe now, the firm is still very much interested in Africa's potential.

It’s also big on investing in solutions that help vulnerable communities deal with climate change.

In case you missed it

What I'm reading and watching  


  • Seedstars has announced  INFUSE 2024, a global invitation for innovative applications aimed at fortifying health systems against climate threats and improving immunisation delivery. Apply here.
  • Explore this website to find multiple job opportunities in Data that align with your preferences.
  • If you are a software engineer, creative designer, product manager, design researcher, or a techie looking for an internship role, please, check out this website.

Have a terrific Thursday!

Victoria Fakiya for Techpoint Africa.

She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.
She's autistic and interested in mental health and how technology can help Africans with mental disorders. Find her on Twitter @latoria_ria.

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