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EFCC effects more arrests

* Heat turns on CBN as “debtors” dispute figures
* Apex bank officials divided over action; dissenters may lose jobs

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has arrested two more bank executives in continuation of its inquisition into the affairs of the banks.

The latest on the list of arrested persons are: John Waha, managing director, Afribank Securities Limited; and Mr. Niyi Opeodu, managing director, Union Capital Limited.

efcc

The duo were taken in yesterday from their Lagos homes just 24 hours after the commission froze the accounts of the sacked MDs of five banks and 14 other executives.

Similarly, it invited internal and external auditors of the banks to come and explain how the banks got to their present sorry state.

However, the CBN action seems now to be getting back at the apex bank itself following the massive disputations over the figures it said individuals and companies were owing the banks.

The figures quoted by the CBN were for May, 2009, whereas the banks update it on their transactions on a daily basis as stipulated by CBN.

CBN Building
CBN Building

The action of the apex bank, according to sources, has also divided its top officials some of whom are said to have raised questions over the sack of the bank executives, the timing and the motive.

The EFCC which is currently detaining some bank officials has placed the auditors under surveillance to prevent them from escaping abroad. Fear has already enveloped the banking sector with no one sure of anything for now. Bankers are afraid to talk and those who do, do not want their names in print.

One banker described the CBN action as a “rushed job” which, according to him, is evident in the “untidy figures” it is bandying about. A lot of those listed as debtors by the CBN are crying blue murder, wondering how the apex bank came about the figures.

An example is the Global Fleet Group owned by Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim. The CBN accused it of owing Oceanic Bank N14 billion, but a May 18, 2009 letter by the bank to the company puts its (Global Fleet Group) debt at N8 billion.

The letter entitled “Re-Outstanding Indebtedness”, reads: “We refer to the outstanding facility sums on your various accounts viz: “We write to acknowledge receipt of N3/000,000,000 (Three Billion Naira only) to date on the outstanding on your facilities with the Bank. Subject to getting value for the  N1,000,000,000.00 cheque payment today May 18, 2009, the total outstanding on your facilities will now be N8,000,000,000 (Eight billion Naira only).

We thank you and look forward to a most mutually beneficial relationship even as it is our hope that other payments necessary to fully extinguish these facilities will follow soon”.

Several other companies such as Dangote Industries, Femi Otedola’s AP, and Rockson Engineering have denied owing the sums the CBN put against their names as debts.

Another source said now that the banks are being forced to recall loans, business activities are unduly disrupted and “this does not augur well for the nation’s economy. Where do they want companies and individuals to raise money to run their business?”, he queried.

The EFCC has already given the “debtors” a seven day ultimatum to settle their loans or face prosecution. It said they should not use “the wrong figures” in their names as an excuse not to pay.

“They have to pay whatever they are claiming they owe first and after that we can sit down and reconcile the accounts” chairman of EFCC, Mrs.  Farida Waziri told reporters in Lagos.

Jimoh Ibrahim’s Accounts with Oceanic Bank

Account Name                                      Account No.
Global Fleet Oil & Gas Ltd.               0011201008448
Global Fleet Industries                       0011101028564
Fleet Hotels Ltd.                                  0011201008438
NICON Group                                        0011101016319
Bar. Jimoh Ibrahim                          0013003000359


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