NLC Kicks Against Proposal for Naira Devaluation

NairaThe factional Deputy President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Mr Issa Aremu, has kicked against the call by the Managing Director of First Bank of Nigeria PLC, Mr Bisi Onasanya for the devaluation of the Naira.

The labour leader also called on the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to remove subsidy on petroleum products and fix all the existing refineries, pass the Petroleum Industry Bill and reorganize the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for optimal production.

In a statement he issued to newsmen on Sunday, the NLC factional Deputy President described the call for the Naira devaluation as anti masses and aimed at further impoverishing Nigerians.

While cautioning the First Bank Managing Director from trying to usurp the responsibilities of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Aremu commended the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, for managing the scarce foreign reserve through foreign-exchange restrictions on some frivolous imports.

He, however, urged the apex bank to reject any suggestion for further devaluation of the Naira.

According to him, the existing currency devaluation has further eroded wage income of millions of Nigerian workers and also increased the cost of domestic production, fuelled price inflation and undermined the competitiveness of locally surviving industries which has resulted to loss of existing few jobs.

CBN Explains Rationale Behind ‘Too Big To Fail’ Banks

Speaking on the CBN’s motive for designating 8 commercial banks as ‘too big to fail,’ the Director, Banking Supervision of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Agnes Tokunbo-Martins said the named banks are systemically important to the economy as their failure could have far reaching effect on Nigeria’s financial stability.

The implications of the designation for the banks is that banks are permitted to have 50% off their capital as subordinated debts or loans but if considered systemically important, they are required to have a capital that is 75% common equity.

This is because common equity is considered to be higher loss absorbency.

In terms of liquidity: “you’d have to have about 5% above the regulatory minimum which is 30%. She added that the average banks have about 50%, so their pronouncement does not place extra burdens on the said banks.

The MD of Cowry Assets Management Limited, Johnson Chukwu, avers that there is no bank that is too big to fail but the CBN has only identified banks whose failure could affect the banking system.

“Any bank could fail if they don’t manage their risk asset portfolio very well or if there’s a major fraud,” he said.

The banks named ‘Too Big To Fail’ are First Bank of Nigeria, Guarantee Trust Bank, Skye Bank, Access Bank, Diamond Bank, Zenith Bank, United Bank of Africa and Eco Bank.

Babalakin lied; He Owes AMCON N60 Billion – Agbakoba

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) says companies linked to businessman, Wale Babalakin currently owed the Corporation over N60 billion.

The Chairman of Bi-Courtney Nigeria Limited, Wale Babalakin

AMCON’s lawyer, Olisa Agbakoba, who disclosed this at a press conference in Lagos, said Mr Babalakin’s insolvency arose due to the loans granted his companies by First Bank and Guaranteed Trust Bank (GTBank), which currently remain unpaid.

The AMCON lawyer presented documents at the press conference to buttress his claims.

He advised Mr Babalakin to drop the litigation option and return to AMCON for negotiation.

“The most convenient way out of the dispute was for Babalakin to approach AMCON and seek the structuring of his debt,” he said.

Mr Agbakoba queried the B-Courtney’s boss’ decision to repossess the property on 43A, Afribank Street, Victoria Island, which was shut last Friday by court bailiffs upon an ex-parte order made on February 5 by Justice Chukwujeckwu Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos.

He said, “He (Babalakin) got loans from First Bank and GTBank. He has not been able to service the loans. He is fighting a battle that he cannot win. He should come to AMCON for settlement.

“I challenge him today, if he comes to AMCON, we will be ready to welcome him. If he comes today, he will be shocked because of the terms he will get. AMCON is not out to kill businesses. Its aim is to help businesses resolve the problem created by debt” he said.

He challenged Mr Babalakin to approach AMCON with evidence of his claim that the Federal Government owes him N132 billion by virtue of a March 3, 2009 judgment and other information.

“My advice for my friend, Babalakin is that he should pay his debt or come to AMCON and negotiate with these facts that he said he has. If this judgment is true, let him come to AMCON with it. Let him call me. I will take him to AMCON and the whole thing will be resolved. Others have done so before. So, he will not be the only one to ask for the restructuring of his loan,” Mr Agbakoba said.

Mr Babalakin had on Monday said his company, Bi-Courtney is not indebted to AMCON or any Federal Agency, neither was its office property mortgaged to any bank.

He had exhibited a court order dated the 5 April 2012 which shows that Bi-Courtney has a judgment credit of N132 billion in its favour, with the court directing that any debts to the federal government should be deducted from the amount.

Pension Scam: EFCC tenders documents on N2billion fraud in court

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has tendered two sets of documents in the prosecution of   Dr. Shaibu Sani Teidi and two others who are being tried for a  N2billion check-off dues fraud at the Federal High Court, Abuja. 

The two others, who are being prosecuted for defrauding the Nigerian Union of Pensioners, (NUP), are Ali Abatcha and Elder Actor Zal.

Two prosecution witnesses, Mr. Njoku Everest, Assistant General Secretary of the Union and Mr. Chikezie Aguocha, an official of First Bank of Nigeria, PLC were led in evidence by Emmanuel Nonso Egwuagu at the resumed hearing of the case.

While Everest tendered documents concerning total expenditure that was incurred by the union,  based on the money that came into the Union’s account between April 2008 to March 2011, Aguocha,  who was subpoenaed  on May 10, 2012, also produced seven documents which included statement of account of the NUP domiciled at the Garki branch of the bank and the statement of account from the date it was opened to December 31st , 2011 as requested.

Other documents submitted are the account opening forms, mandate cards and reference forms and account update form. The payment instruction/instrument of the account within the stated period was also tendered before the court, was

Dr. Shuaibu Sani Teidi,  Alhaji Ali Abatcha and Elder Actor Zal were alleged to have,  at various times,  between 2008 and 2011 conspired to defraud,  obtained from the Pensions Department, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation of Nigeria, various sums in the aggregate amount of over Two Billion Naira.

Dr. Teidi, while in the Pensions Department, Office of the Head of Service of the Federation of Nigeria, allegedly used his position to over pay the Check-Off Dues to the NUP which in turn returned the excess payment to Dr. Teidi.

In the proof of evidence presented before the court, Elder Zal had in his confessional statement to EFCC alleged that various sums of money were paid to Dr. Shuaibu.  Zal said the NUP received N60, 958, 850.48 on April 23rd, 2009. Of the amount, N20 million was allegedly given to Dr. Shuaibu as kick back.

On August 14, 2009, N65, 500, 650 was received as check off dues and Dr. Teidi allegedly got N20 million as kick back.

He also said that of the N2, 290, 593, 322.95 that fraudulently accrued to NUP in the period of 2008 and 2011, N245, 000,000 was allegedly given to Dr. Teidi as kick back.

According to Zal, the reason Dr. Teidi gave for his demand was for onward distribution to the Permanent Secretary, Head of Service, Accountant-general office, National Assembly and EFCC to facilitate smooth payment of monthly pensions to the pensioners.

After cross-examination of the prosecution witness by the defence counsels, the presiding judge, Justice Adamu Bello, adjourned the case till October 16, 2012.