Diezani’s $115bn: CBN Begins Special Investigations In Banks | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Diezani’s $115bn: CBN Begins Special Investigations In Banks

diezani allison
Posted: May 10, 2016 at 4:02 am   /   by   /   comments (1)


Bamidele Ogunwusi



Following raids, arrests and detention of managing directors of three banks by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it is also carrying out its own special examinations and investigations to ascertain the veracity of some of the allegations against the banks’ chiefs.

The EFCC had arrested Nnamdi Okonkwo, the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, for allegedly receiving $115 million from the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, and allegedly disbursed same to politicians and electoral officials in the build-up to the 2015 general election. But the bank said the transaction was duly reported to the relevant agencies. The anti-graft operatives on May 6 stormed the headquarters of Access Bank in relation to the $115 million and also interrogated the managing director, Herbert Wigwe. The EFCC also stormed the headquarters of Sterling Bank Plc in Lagos for an undisclosed investigation, quizzing its managing director, Yemi Adeola.

The CBN in a statement on Monday informed all customers of deposit money banks, stakeholders, and the general public that it is fully aware and indeed a part of the on-going investigations of certain financial transactions in some banks by law enforcement authorities.

The statement, signed by the acting Director of Communications of CBN, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, said the bank is also carrying out its own special examinations and investigations to ascertain the veracity of some allegations, as well as the extent and persons that may be involved in such activities.

“The bank would like to reiterate that financial system stability remains a priority and therefore assures customers and stakeholders that it would not allow the banking system to be used as a conduit for any illicit transactions.

“Some of these investigations are routine and only relate to isolated transactions, therefore, it is important to state that the safety and soundness of the Nigerian banking industry remain strong”, the statement said.

According to Mr. Anor Anyanwu, a Lagos-based financial analyst and former Deputy Managing Director of Mainstreet Bank, the importance of banks to the economy cannot be overemphasized, noting that anything that happens to the sector will affect the economy.

“The banking sector is an important aspect of the Nigerian economy not only due to its viability in terms of employment rate but due to the fact that virtually every citizen deals with banks either as depositors or borrowers. I will support any measure by the CBN to sanitise the sector.

“Prior to the Sanusi reforms, there was no transparency and accountability in most banks in the country. Loans were given based on sentiments and connections, common citizens who had good business plans and initiative were denied loans from banks.

“Despite the recapitalisation of banks by Chukwuma Soludo, Nigerians were still scared of depositing their money into most banks due to the memories of bank failure in the country”.

He added that under Sanusi Lamido Sanusi as governor of CBN, the reforms were geared towards protecting the interest of depositors by ensuring that the right leaders are appointed to lead the banks in order to eliminate all forms of corruption which is asymmetrically opposed to the objectives of the depositors or investors.

After the last round of examination by the CBN under Sanusi, licences of Afribank, Bank PHB and Spring Bank were revoked and the bank taken over by Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), which created three bridge banks in their places. The banks were acquired by Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON).

Before shareholders, managements and staff of the three banks could realise what was happening, their banks had exchanged hands twice within two days and completely rebranded by the beginning of the new week.

Afribank became Keystone Bank Limited; Bank PHB was re-named Mainstreet Bank Limited, while Spring Bank became Enterprise Bank Limited.

With the acquisition of the banks, NDIC and AMCON appointed new boards for them.







Comments (1)

  • May 10, 2016 at 9:49 am onuenyo

    Please check your facts before publishing. You don’t have to jump up and start writing anything you think.

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