Alleged Money Laundering: Court Freezes Patience Jonathan’s Accounts In Five Banks

Alleged Money Laundering: Court Freezes Patience Jonathan's Accounts In Five BanksA Federal High Court in Lagos has frozen multiple accounts in five Nigerian banks allegedly belonging to former first lady, Patience Jonathan over allegations of money laundering.

Justice Mojisola Olatoregun made the order freezing the accounts after listening to an exparte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), sometime in November.

The order, according to the Commission, covers Mrs. Jonathan’s accounts in Ecobank Plc, Skye Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Diamond Bank Plc and Fidelity Bank Plc.

The anti-graft agency said that the move to request the freezing of the accounts became necessary after it received intelligence report, which showed that the accounts ought to be investigated.

The ex-parte application to freeze the accounts was supported by an originating summons sworn to by one Abdulahi Tukur, an operative of EFCC, and filed before the court by the EFCC prosecutor, Rotimi Oyedepo.

It requested the court to urgently direct the managers of the bank accounts to, in the interim, forfeit the money in the accounts, to prevent further tampering with same.

After issuing the order, Justice Olatoregun directed the anti-graft agency to enter into an undertaking to pay damages to the former first lady if it turns out that the order should not have been made.

One of the account, domiciled with Skye Bank plc, is said to have a balance of $5,316.66.

Also affected by the order are five companies namely; Finchley Top Homes Limited, Aribawa Aruera, Magel Resort Limited, AM-PM Global Network Limited and Pansy Oil and Gas Limited.

Also affected is one Esther Oba who is said to have a balance of $429,381.87 in her Diamond Bank account while the companies collectively have a balance totaling N7,418,829,290.94 (Seven billion four hundred and eighteen million eight hundred and twenty nine thousand two hundred and ninety naira ninety four kobo).

Fitch Ratings Reviews Nigerian Banks’ Support Rating

Fitch Ratings, First Bank, seven energyFitch Ratings has revised down the Support Rating Floors (SRF) of 10 Nigerian banks to ‘no floor’ and downgraded nine banks’ Support Ratings (SR) to ‘5’ following a reassessment of potential sovereign support for the banking sector.

As a consequence, the long-term issuer default ratings of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, FBN Holdings PLC, Diamond Bank PLC, Fidelity Bank PLC, First City Monument Bank Limited and Union Bank of Nigeria PLC are downgraded to ‘B-‘ from ‘B’, in line with their stand-alone creditworthiness as defined by their viability ratings.

The agency has affirmed the long-term IDRS of Zenith Bank PLC, Guaranty Trust Bank PLC, Access Bank PLC, United Bank for Africa PLC, Wema Bank PLC and Bank of Industry (BOI).

The downgrade of the nine banks’ SRS and the revision of 10 banks’  SRFs to ‘no floor’ reflects Fitch’s view that senior creditors can no longer rely on receiving full and timely extraordinary support from the Nigerian sovereign if any of the banks become non-viable.

Diamond Bank Declares N27.4 billion For 2012, Pays No Dividend

Diamond Bank PLC returned to profit in the 2012 financial year with its profit before tax climbing 253 per cent to N27.4 billion from a N17.9 billion loss in 2011.

According to its audited report for the 2012 year sent to the Nigerian Stock Exchange on Tuesday, gross earning moved up 34.8 per cent to N112.3 billion, while its net profit came in at N22.1 billion, a 261.1 per cent advance from the 2011 financial year.

However, despite the positive numbers, the bank’s stock fell10 per cent at the stock market on Tuesday because it said there would be no dividend.

Raising $550 million Equity

Meanwhile the bank has revealed plans to plans to raise $550 million in debt or equity to expand its lending operations this year, the bank’s chief financial officer said on Tuesday.

The bank’s Chief Finance Operations Manager, Abdulrahman Yinusa made this known during a Reuters Africa Investment Summit, stating that the bank would use the funds to increase lending to the oil and gas, power and infrastructure sectors.

He added that the bank expected a 20 per cent increase in its loan book this year, from its current N500 billion ($3.17 billion), after last year’s 40 per cent increase largely reflecting a recovery from write downs of bad loans.

The debt was part of $750 million needed for operations, of which $200 million had already been raised last year, he said.

“The balance of $550 million is what we will raise this year,” Yinusa said, adding that it would seek to close the gap while pricing was favourable. The bank had not yet decided whether to issue debt or equity, but Diamond will seek a shareholders’ vote on the plans this month, he said.

“We need to be able to do either equity or debt,” he said, adding that part of it could be a Eurobond. The bank last year appointed HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank and Renaissance Capital to lead manage a $300 million Eurobond, but Yinusa said whether that goes ahead would depend on how attractive the pricing is relative to other options.

Diamond Bank completed acquisition of a London-based niche operation owned by Access Bank last week, which Access had earlier bought off rescued lender Intercontinental Bank, Yinusa said.

The move would help Diamond profit from growing trade flows between Europe and Nigeria, he said.

Delta Blacklists Two Banks Over Missing N1.1billion

The Delta state Board of Internal Revenue (DBIR), has blacklisted Union Bank PLC and Diamond Bank PLC, from the list of banks that will be collecting its Internally Generated Funds (IGR) in the state for alleged unethical banking procedures.

Speaking on the issue, the executive chairman of the board Joel Onuawokpo, said the action was due to reports of alleged N1.1billion missing from DBIR accounts.

According to him, an investigation was instituted and the findings implicated,the two collecting banks for the state’s internally generated revenue.

He alleged that the banks had failed to remit N1.1billion tax revenue paid into its accounts several days after a multinational oil giant, Chevron Nigeria Limited, paid the money through the servicing banks.

Diamond Bank gets $70 million convertible loan from IFC

The private sector arm of the World Bank, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) on Wednesday, said it would buy $70 million worth of convertible loans from Diamond Bank PLC to boost the capital base of the lender.

Shares in the bank rose 1.4 percent to an 11-week high, bucking the trend on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, to value the bank at around N41 billion ($254 million).

The IFC said the funding would help finance lending to small and medium-sized businesses in the country.

“The investment provides a unique opportunity … to support Diamond Bank’s expansion into key economic sectors that have relatively low banking penetration,” IFC’s Marcos Brujis said in a statement.

Diamond Bank was not among the banks that had to be rescued in a 2009 bail out by the Central of Bank to prevent a collapse of the over-leveraged banking system.

Last month, it reported a fourfold increase in first-half profits to N .99 billion and raised its Return on Equity (ROE) target for the year to 15 percent from 10 percent.

Shares in Diamond Bank, which has over 200 branches in Nigeria, have gained almost 46 percent this year, compared with an overall rise in the sector of about 30 percent.

Diamond bank seeks merger talks

Diamond bank plans to ask shareholders for their approval to enter into merger talks with other banks.

The bank, who will solicit shareholders’ approval at its next meeting, also plans to raise $200 million in bond issues.

Although the lender did not provide details on timing for the debt issue, it however said it will target strategic investors including the World Bank’s private sector lender, the International Finance Corporation.