By Michael Eboh
AÂ Senior Advocate of Nigeria and financial expert, Dr. Konyinsola Ajayi has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to also extend the limit placed on the tenure of chief executive officers of banks in the country to Non-executive directors of banks.
Speaking during the Nigerian-South African Chamber of Commerceâ€™s (NSACC) monthly business forum in Lagos, last week, Ajayi, who is Managing Partner, Olaniwun Ajayi and Company, disclosed that majority of the non-executive directors in the Boards of the banks have lost focus and have failed in the discharge of their duties and responsibilities to shareholders and other stakeholders.
He stated that majority of the Non-EDs have stayed for more than twenty years in these institutions and have done little or nothing to contribute to the growth of the banks, due to the too much familiarity that existed between them and the chief executives.
Speaking further, he noted that these long-serving EDs have failed to check the excesses of the chief executive, leading to the problems witnessed in most of the banks sanctioned by the CBN, last year.
He tasked shareholders of banks on the need to take proactive steps in ensuring effective compliance with corporate governance principles in banks and other companies and also to ensure that the excesses of executives of these banks are checked and curtailed.
Ajayi commended the CBN for its efforts at ensuring sanity in the countryâ€™s banking adding that corruption is as ingrained in the private sector as it is in the public sector, due to greed of chief executives and failure of effective supervision and regulatory mechanism on the part of the regulators.
He said, â€œAbacha is reputed to have stolen US$ 3.5 billion in five to six years averaging US$1 billion or N150 billion per annum. However, CBNâ€™s 18-month x-ray gives total industry loss of N2 trillion or about $12 billion.
â€œAll these misappropriated funds would have helped in growing the economy. For example, these funds would have been used to finance the various projects undertaken by the various state governments, such as the N170 billion Lagos State Lite-rail project and the various funds sought by other state government to pursue developmental objectives.
â€œThe total combined sum sought by majority of the states in pursuit of development projects, is not up to the total loan provisioning made by a single bank.
â€œThe total amount shared by the Federal and State Governments from the Federation account was allegedly stolen by a single bank managing director and his or her cohorts. All these have shown that corruption is as ingrained in the private sector as it is in the public sector.â€