By Omoh Gabriel, Emeka Aginam, James Ezema & Tordue Salem
LAGOSâ€”More insights into the motive for the removal of the Chief Executives of Union Bank, Intercontinental, Oceanic, Afribank and Finbank emerged, yesterday, as some top officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, opposed to the sack, provided evidence which points to the fact that no special examination of the banks was conducted either by the CBN or NDIC.
Also yesterday, some members of the House of Representatives who visited Vanguard raised query on CBNâ€™s source of the N400 billion injected into the five banks.
This position was also corroborated by theÂ Managing Director of the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, Mr. Ganiyu Ogunleye when he appeared before the Usman Adamu_led Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives
No special examination as required by law
WithÂ documentary evidence in Abuja, the CBN officials said that what was done in the banks between February and July 2009 was on AD-HOC assignment.
A CBN letter to the banks on the 18th of June said : RE Joint CBN/NDIC AD-HOC ASSIGNMENT
The letter reads in part â€œa team of CBN/NDIC bank examiners led by Mr X has been scheduled to carry out an Ad-Hoc Assignment in your bank. PleaseÂ provide them with theÂ necessary information that will enable them to promptly complete the assignment.â€
The CBN officials said an ad-adoc assignment was different from a special examination. They disclosed that a special examination can only be conducted on a bank if there is a petition from within the bank to CBN, stating that there is a grave situation in the bank or that after CBN/NDIC examination, the report points to a deteriorating financial situation in the bank.
According to the officials, in that case, the CBN will write formally to the bank board, intimating it of its intention to do a special examination, detailing the areas and material facts to be provided. TheÂ examiners will move in to carry out the assignment.
After the examination, the report is compiled and a copy sent to the bank for it to study. Thereafter the CBN will schedule a meeting with the bank board to discuss the findings of the report of the examination and out line possible solutions. If it is the erosion of capital, the board will be asked to raise capital and given time frame to do so. All of these were not carried out this time around, the CBN officials said
Besides, the banks affected complained that the figure on non-performing loans they were being asked to provide for changed with each examination which gave rise to suspicion that something was fishing.
A letter written by one ofthe banks to CBN Director, Banking Supervision titled request for report of CBN examination read: â€œWe observed Sir, that CBN and NDIC examiners have visited our bank several times between the months of February and July this year.
However, we have not received any official report on any of these examinations. We equally noticed that the figures and details of non-performing accounts to be provided for, change with each different list given to us and also different from the various exit interviews held with our management. …we shall therefore be very grateful Sir if we can receive the full examination report with details of accounts deemed non-performing for our review and response in keeping with your normal practice.â€ The letter was not responded to, they said.
House of Reps query source of fund
Following the recent injection ofÂ N400bn into fiveÂ Nigerian banks by CBN as a bail outÂ fund, some members of the House of Representatives, yesterday, said thatÂ the CBN Governor, Mallam SanusiÂ Lamido Sanusi would be made to explain the source of theÂ fund when the House reconvenes.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to Vanguard Newspapers in Lagos, the House stated that since they were on recess when the decision was taken, in line with dueÂ Â process, the CBN governor ought not to have dolled the funds to the five banks including Oceanic Bank, Intercontinental Bank,Â Fin Bank, Afribank, and Union Bank withoutÂ a recourse to the National Assembly.
â€œWe have raised agencies that have the backing of the law to track people who do extra budgetary expenditure. When we see that the Federal government is not acting, then we act. We believe that he acted with every good intention, but it did not follow due process.
â€œ There from, there is communication between the various committees. I know that there from, every other thing will follow due process and those that have not followed the law would be made to comply with the law,â€ Chairman of Appropriations Committee, Hon. Ayo Adeseun said, adding that the CBN would be called to order and made toÂ explain where the bailÂ money came from.
â€œIt is obvious to everybody, when you are talking about bail-out, we all saw even the voting process by virtue of improved communication, we saw the voting process on the floor of the various congresses.
â€œSo, if one person appointed a governor who does not know the workings of government, that means the person be called to order for proper orientation on his job. And that is probably the first attempt at public life. Whereas he is pursuing good intentions but good intentions must be pursued through due process. And we are also handling a delicate times when the stock exchange has lost, in the last one week, over N600 billion in value.
â€œ We come from constituencies, we feel the pulse of the people. Where as you are safe-guarding the deposit of money, you also do not want them to lose out. Things must be done properly. It is wrong, it is totally wrong and the central Bank Governor must be called to order that he did not follow due process. We must call a spade a spade,â€ he further stated.
Similarly, Honourable Igo Agumah, representing Port Harcourt I Federal Constituency, Rivers State,Â who also condemned the action of the CBN on bail-out fund, said that it was time due process was followed for a better polity.
â€œIâ€™ll like to assure that this government is not running without a legislature. I think that the legislature is part of what makes this government a democracy and in addition to a few of the things that have been said, first on the bail-out money, I think that this House is going to insist that the CBN governor discloses where he got the money to give to the five banks. It is part of what weâ€™ll do.
â€œIâ€™ll like to inform that all these things had taken place while the House of Reps is on recess. And on the very first day at work, weâ€™ll require the CBN to actually disclose the source of the money, where he got it from in order to do what they have done,â€ he said.
The delegation comprising chairmen of various House committees was led by House Committee Chairman on Media and Public Affairs, Hon. Esseme Eyiboh, representing the Speaker Hon. Dimeji Bankole.. Others were Hon. Ayo Adeseun (Appropriation), Hon. Bassey Otu (Petroleum), Hon. Sada Soli (Inter Parliamentary relations), Hon John Eno (Finance), Hon. Igo Agumah (Gas)
… NDIC disagrees
The Managing Director of the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation NDIC, Mr. Ganiyu Ogunleye, yesterday, faulted a N400 billion liquidity injection into the five banks whose former Managing Directors, boards of directors and Chairmen were sacked by the CBN for offering â€œnon-performingâ€ loans to the tune of N747billion to top businessmen in the country among other offences.
However, the NDIC gave kudos to CBN Governor for laying-off the erstwhile bank chiefs, stressing that the exercise, with the condition of the banks, was long overdue, even as the Corporation sought to be excluded from the list of agencies of government obliged by the Fiscal Responsibility Act to remit their surpluses to the Consolidated Revenue Fund.
After the sack of Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, Bartholomew Ebong, Sebastian Adigwe, Erastus Akingbola and Mr. Okey Nwosu, Former Managing Directors of Oceanic Bank, Union Bank, Afribank, Intercontinental Bank and Fin Bank, respectively, the apex bank quickly injected over N400billion into the banks while the sanitisation of the banking sector lasted.
Responding to the N400billion pumped into the defaulting financial institutions, while he appeared before the Usman Adamu-led Public Accounts Committee of the House of Representatives, Mr. Ogunleye said the NDIC was working with relevant institutions to discourage what he considered a traditional response to banks on the slide.
â€œThis idea of liquidation till eternity is not helpful. But I can assure you sir (Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee) that we are in the process of drawing a line on that. We are in the process of doing that. We agree with you completely.
He recalled that the Expand Discount Window idea for ailing banks was first introduced by the Sani Abacha regime in the wake of an earlier banking reform for reasons that no longer obtained in the present financial sector.