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Senate summons Sanusi over N49bn bank debt

By Emmanuel Aziken & Babajide Komolafe

ABUJA —THE Senate committee on Banking and Insurance has summoned the Governor of the Central Bank (CBN), Mr. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and the Managing Director of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Mr. Ganiyu Ogunleye to reconcile positions on the N49 billion debt owed by directors of failed banks.

Meanwhile, interbank interest rate remained high above 21 per cent yesterday  in defiance of  the guarantee on interbank lending offered  by the Central Bank while the naira depreciated by 200 kobo at the parallel market

The committee’s move came as Sir Emeka Offor, one of the bank owners cited among the debtors, expressed resolve to liquidate his N1.2 billion debt within twelve months from January 1, 2009.

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Senator Chris Adighije who was also cited among the bank debtors also yesterday defrayed the N1.9 million debt credited to him but alleged bad politics on the part of Senator Nkechi Nwaogu, the chairman of the Senate committee on Banking in listing him among the big-time debtors.

Senator Nwaogu told newsmen yesterday that the CBN Governor and the NDIC Managing Director were expected to brief the Senate on efforts being made by them to recover the outstanding debts owed by some  directors of failed banks.

The meeting is scheduled for next Monday.

Adighije accuses Nwaogu of mischief

Meanwhile, Adighije who attached a cheque of N1.9 million paid through the Managing Director of the NDIC in a statement affirmed that it was mischievous for Senator Nwaogu to have mentioned his name as he was neither a bank director or bank insider saying her action was a spill over from his contest with her to represent the Abia Central senatorial district in the Senate in the last election.

In a letter dated July 8, 2009 to the Managing Director of the NDIC, Adighije who attached a GTB cheque from account number 2369296110 made payable to Metropolitan Bank Ltd (In Liquidation) said:

“It has just come to our notice through newspaper publications that we are indebted to Metropolitan Bank now liquidated to the tune of One Million, Nine Hundred Thousand Naira (N1,900,000.00) only.

“The state of affairs was not known to us. We had no information about this. One Okolonji of NDIC called a month ago and promised to forward the details to us. He did not do that, he said he was ill.

“Nevertheless, now that we have learnt about this through the pages of newspapers, we hereby forward to you a GTBank Cheque No. 19734666 dated 8/07/09 for the sum of N1,900,000.00 (One Million Nine Hundred thousand Naira) only in liquidation of the said indebtedness.’’

He continued, “this is another bad politics from Senator Nkechi Nwaogu aimed at me. She mentioned my name knowing that I was never a director nor an insider of any bank which are the specific objects of her investigation.

“I was not aware of the loan which was obtained in the course of business as obtainable by many other Nigerian businesses. If it is not bad politics, why did she single me out, her electoral opponent to be listed among bank directors and bank owners whereas I am not in either category.’’

Offor to defray N1.2bn debt

Sir Offor on his own part in a letter to the chairman of the Senate committee on Banking Insurance pledged to redeem his N1.2 billion obligation owed African Express Bank Ltd. (In liquidation) within twelve months commencing from June 1, 2009.

While noting in the letter dated May 14, 2009 that he had already deposited collaterals of shares valued at $300 million with the bank, he said:

“In view of the foregoing representations, we humbly request that CHROME GROUP makes a good faith payment of N1,200,000,000 (One Billion, Two Hundred Million Naira) in twelve equal installments effective June 1, 2009 in full and final settlement of its indebtedness as against the outstanding balance of N934,952,129 needed to pay the outstanding deposit liabilities of the defunct African Express Bank plc.

“Our request to pay the above stated sum is borne out of our genuine desire to offset the indebtedness and taking into consideration that other debtor customers of the defunct bank are yet to take steps towards liquidating their outstanding indebtedness.’’

Interbank interest rates reamain high

The interbank interest rate remained high above 21 per cent yesterday  in  defiance of  the guarantee on interbank lending offered  by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), while, on the other hand, the naira depreciated by 200 kobo at the parallel market.

The market update published by Financial Market Dealers Association of Nigeria (FDAN) indicated that at the close of business yesterday, interest rate on overnight lending indeed rose marginally to 21.75 from 21.58 per cent. While interest rate on Seven days lending remained stable at 21.79 per cent.

Money market operators said that the interest rate are yet to respond to the guarantee because they are not yet clear about the implementation of the policy measure.

Naira falls by 200k in parallel market

At the parallel market, the naira depreciated against the dollar by 200 kobo as the exchange rate rose to N153 per dollar from N151 per dollar. Bureaux De Change Operators attributed the depreciation to scarcity of foreign exchange.

They said that the CBN has not sold dollar to any class of BDC this week and this occasioned scarcity in the market.

They said the situation would change as soon as the apex bank starts selling foreign exchange to all categories of BDCs as announced by the Governor on Tuesday.


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