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Skye Bank Management Tampered with Figures to Deceive CBN, Others

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More information are beginning to emerge on what led to the actual death of Skye Bank Plc few months ago, when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) revoked its operating licence and changed it to Polaris Bank.

 

It was gathered from the preliminary reports of the ongoing investigations of the management of the defunct Skye Bank Plc that the lender’s top shot allegedly carried out serial manipulations of the company’s reports, fraudulently masking details with the sole aim of deceiving regulators, including the CBN and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

 

According to Guardian, the preliminary reports specifically identified fraudulent and false accounting, manipulation of accounting records to present false profits and ratios, unlawful loan and credit facilities, non-disclosure of directors’ interests and lending beyond the single obligor limit.

 

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), in a disclosure, said it is currently monitoring the investigations in conjunction with the apex bank, which are ongoing, by the law enforcement agencies, against the directors and management of the failed bank, to determine their actual level of culpability.

 

In the evening of Friday, September 21, 2018, Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, at a news conference, announced the revocation of Skye Bank licence.

 

During the announcement, Mr Emefiele said a bridge bank called Polaris Bank had been established to assume ownership of the assets and liabilities of Skye Bank and make sure it gets back on its feet and return to profitability.

 

On Monday, September 24, 2018, the NSE suspended trading on the shares of Skye Bank at the stock market.

 

Days later, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Mr Umaru Ibrahim, while speaking at a function in Lagos, said a former chairman of Skye Bank, Mr Tunde Ayeni, as well as a director of the defunct bank, Mr Festus Fadeyi, were being investigated by government.

 

He had said as soon as investigations were finalised, the necessary action would be taken and those found culpable severely dealt with.

 

In early October 2018, Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, directed the CBN and NDIC to fully investigate and prosecute all the directors and executive management who contributed to the collapse of Skye Bank as well as other Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in liquidation.

 

She had noted that the failure of Skye Bank must be used as an opportunity to deal decisively with those behind the collapse so as to serve as a deterrent to other operators in the financial system and according to her, federal government was no longer prepared to treat such serious infractions with levity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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E-Financial

Nigeria Heading Towards Bankruptcy, Says Sanusi

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Muhammad Sanusi, emir of Kano
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Muhammad Sanusi, emir of Kano, has said that Nigeria is on the threshold of bankruptcy following unfavorable economic policies.

Speaking at a workshop the office of the accountant-general of the federation organised at government house, Kano, the emir opposed subsidizing petroleum products and electricity tariff.

He advised President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to take a different stance, saying for 30 years, successive governments “have had this project called petroleum subsidy”.\

He said the time had come to stop subsidy so as to save the nation’s economy.

“We are heading to bankruptcy… what happened is that the federal government pays petroleum subsidy, pays electricity tariff subsidy, and if there is rise in interest rates, federal government pays,” he said.

“What is more life threatening than subsidy that we have to sacrifice education, health sector and infrastructure for us to have cheap petroleum.

“If truly President Buhari is fighting poverty, he should remove the risk on the national financial sector and stop the subsidy regime which is fraudulent.”

Sanusi asked Buhari to tell Nigerians the fact about the economic situation and also act quickly on this.

President Buhari

“Since I have decided to come here, you have to accept what I have said here. And please, if you do not want to hear the truth, never invite me,” he said.

“So, let us talk about the state of public finance in Nigeria. We have a number of very difficult decisions that we must make, and we should face the reality. His Excellency, the president, said in his inaugural speech that his government would like to lift 100 million people out of poverty, it was a speech that was well received not only in this country, but worldwide.

“The number of people living with poverty in Nigeria is frightening. By 2050, 85 percent of those living in extreme poverty in the world will be from the African continent. And Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo will take the lead.

“Two days ago, I read that the percentage of government revenue going to debt services has risen to 70 percent. These numbers are not lying. They are public numbers. I read them in the newspapers. When you are spending 70 percent of your revenue on debt servicing, then you are managing 30 percent.

“And then, you continue subsidising petroleum products; and spending N1.5 trillion per annum on petroleum subsidy! And then we are subsidizsng electricity tariff. And maybe, you have to borrow from the capital market or the Central Bank of Nigeria to service the shortfall in the electricity tariff, where is the money to pay salaries, where is the money for education, where other government projects?”

Sanusi is known for speaking his mind, even when highly-placed government officials are involved.

In 2014, ex-President Goodluck Jonathan suspended him months after he raised the alarm that $20 billion was unaccounted for under the government of Jonathan.

Presently, the monarch is having a running battle with Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano, who broke the emirate led by Sanusi into five, appointing four new emirs while the state anti-graft agency also probed the monarch and recommended his suspension.

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FirstBank Hits 27,000 Banking Agents, Deepens Financial Inclusion

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced that it now has over 27,000 agents on its Firstmonie network.

This feat, according to a statement from the bank yesterday, reinforces its steering role at promoting financial inclusion in the country.

The over 27,000 Firstmonie agents are present in almost all Local Government Areas across the country, it explained.

In line with the financial inclusion objectives of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to bring financial services closer to Nigerians, Firstmonie Agent Network is a channel designed by the bank to solve the challenge of access to financial services. Firstmonie agents are empowered with secured digital channels to provide basic financial services such as account opening, cash-in, cash-out, funds transfer, airtime top-up, and bill payments to customers across the country.

“FirstBank, through this Financial Inclusion drive, is making very impressive impact on job creation, women and youth empowerment, and entrepreneurship development – fundamental pillars of overall economic development,” the statement added.

Alhaji Bashir Aliyu Muhammad Rimin-Gado, a Firstmonie Agent operating from Rimin-Gado area in Kano State, was quoted to have said: “I have been with Firstmonie since they started and I can say that it has been a life changing experience, I have been able to build trust of the communities around me as many workers in my area have forgotten the last time they visited any bank branch for basic banking services. I am a proud employer of labour and as a result my staff are well paid and comfortable.

On the back of its drive to deepen inclusion through Agent Banking, FirstBank had also partnered with National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW).

First Bank is also in partnership with Azuri Technologies Limited, an off-grid power distribution company to make access to off-grid power easy, especially in rural communities, as well as other institutions, who are seeking to provide resources to cushion the effects of economic and social shocks on low income individuals.

According to Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, chief executive officer of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, “Our Firstmonie Agent Banking network, spread across the nook and cranny of the country, is a demonstration of our resolve to promoting financial inclusion and business in the country.

“This indeed has been achieved with the concerted effort and commitment of our partners and registered Firstmonie Agents to taking banking to Nigerians regardless of where they are. With them, we are committed to leave no stone unturned at bolstering the economic involvement of many more Nigerians, especially through our robust electronic services.”

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CBN Sets September Deadline for Mutilated Notes

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Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria
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Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said banks now have between June 3 and September 2, to collect and sort all mutilated notes in their possession for reissuing.

 

Mr Isaac Okorafor, central bank’s Director of Corporate Communications,  who made the disclosure while engaging with leaders of organised labour in Lagos, said that “The CBN has given banks between the 3rd of June and September 2, to bring back all the mutilated notes for us to reissue them,” he said.

 

“And we are telling customers, including labour, that they should return all the notes to their bank. And that the banks will bring those notes to us for reissue.

 

“If any bank is refusing to take back the notes, they should call us and we will take action.”

 

In April, the bank had introduced a Clean Note Policy to put an end to the circulation of mutilated naira notes.

 

Meanwhile, at the engagement activity, which was part of CBN’s communication efforts to dialogue with key stakeholders in the economy, an Executive Member of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Issa Aremu, described CBN’s “creative intervention” in the Nigerian economy as “highly commendable.”

 

“CBN is working today because we have a competent hand,” he said. “Mr Emefiele is a man of vision, but he is also passionate about Nigeria, he is patriotic; we need to replicate that kind of public officer.

 

“Also, in terms of engagement, I haven’t seen the CBN engaging in any sort of controversy; he doesn’t go outside his mandate. What happens is robust engagement, such that both the executive and legislature agreed that he should go for another term. And the facts are all verifiable.

 

“They all talk about jobs that have been created; so you need similar kinds of personnel in the next cabinet of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

 

But Aremu noted that for the Nigerian economy to improve on its current growth levels, all hands must be on the deck.

 

“CBN is doing its own side of the bargain, but the other fiscal authorities must also complement the effort of the CBN,” he said.

 

For example, “CBN can’t do much to stop smuggling; so you have improvement in rice production, but by the time the farmers reach the market, it has been overwhelmed by smuggled rice.

 

“The same thing with textiles. So Customs must also sit up. Energy is also important. We need uninterrupted power supply. So we need the same activism that we are witnessing at the apex bank, at Customs, at the Ministry of Power. The Ministry of Trade and investment must sit up also; Ministry of Labour must sit up as well, because they are the ones to find out whether the funds are made available to investors in this sector are actually used for production and employment is being created.”

 

He added that “organised labour is committed to partnering with CBN to make sure that all these creative initiatives, in terms of development financing, are sustainable.”

 

The CBN Governor recently said the policies of the apex bank in the past five years had been focused on protecting the purchasing power of the poor and vulnerable persons in the country. According to Emefiele, the apex bank is very comfortable staying on the side of the weak, vulnerable, and poor masses and protecting their purchasing power.

 

He had argued the central bank’s development finance initiatives and foreign exchange intervention were targeted at supporting vulnerable persons in the society.

 

“The poor masses are the ones that bear the brunt of losing purchasing power of the meagre salaries they receive, ever so infrequently.

 

“Indeed, given the current resistance to pay increased minimum wage of N30,000, one wonders how the fixed income earner would survive the consequences of inflationary pressure arising from the pass-through from exchange rate depreciation being proposed by the naysayers,” he had said.

 

Emefiele said the task of building a stronger economy was far from complete; with the pace of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth still very fragile and badly lagging behind population growth rate of 2.7 per cent. He reiterated the fact that the level of credit to the private sector by financial institutions was still very low.

 

According to the CBN Governor, domestic industries particularly high employment generating sectors like textile and garment sectors have continued to deal with rampant smuggling and dumping of materials through our borders.

 

“These challenges no doubt call for action by the monetary and fiscal policies through the implementation of policies; the spirit and letter of which must be respected by all,” he added.

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