By Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA—Public Accounts Committee, PAC, of the House of Representatives has ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to arrest 1,652 Express Bank’s customers over N12.293 billion debt.
Vanguard reliably gathered that the order, contained in a report of the committee based on 2003-2009 queries raised by the office of the Auditor-General of the Federation, was submitted just before the House went on a two-week recess last week.
The PAC report also indicted Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC, asking that the management be sanctioned for negligence and dereliction of duty.
City Bank was not also spared as the report recommended that the bank’s management and officials that booked loans without collateral be investigated, with a view to establishing the extent of culpability of each official for the purpose of prosecution and proper sanction.
The report in paragraph 508 stated: “The committee is aware of the statutory functions of NDIC as regulator of and monitor of the banking system that is placed in vantage position by reason of the monthly returns that banks file with it to be able to gauge the health of banks in Nigeria.
”To take pre-emptive measures to forestall the situation that has played out in City Express bank and the other 12 banks that went under with the consolidation exercise.”
The report further observed that “the committee confirmed the testimony given by NDIC that most of the loans in City Express Bank loan portfolio were booked without demanding for collateral from borrowers.”
It stated further that “the committee is equally aware that the provision of collaterals by borrowers before disbursement of loan amounts by lenders is a standard requirement as collaterals are meant to provide a fallback position to lenders in the event of loan defaulters.”
The report also observed that “less than 10percent of the total numbers of debtors owe 94.4percent of the debts owed to the bank.
City Express bank loan portfolio: “The bank had a N12,293,871,073.77 loan portfolio at the time of its takeover by UBA, which NDIC described as hardcore, non-performing, without collateral and irrecoverable.”
Also in the debt portfolio are names of the debtors put at 1,652 with outstanding balances ranging between N6.83m and N144million.
A sample of the list of the 1,652 debtors in the books of City Express Bank showed that there were 156 debtors or 94.4percent of the total number of debtors with outstanding balances of N5million and above, totalling N11,156,421,790.2 as at January, 2006.
Of the 156 debtors, 45 of them or 28.8percent of the total number of debtors had outstanding loan balances ranging between N 5million and N 10million.
In its conclusion, the report indicated that “since most of the debtors of the N12.239billion loans are known individuals and corporate entities, EFCC should identify those who have repaid, where such recoveries are kept and go after those who have refused to pay back.”
It would be recalled that PAC in the last two years, carried out various investigative hearings based on queries raised by office of the AuGF.
The Solomon Olamilekan Adeola-led PAC had in different investigative hearings, made MDAs make necessary amendments in such queries.
More than 14 MDAs have been investigated and the committee is currently looking at queries raised by the AuGF since 2009.