Ex-Intercontinental Bank Employee Testifies In Akingbola’s Trial

Ex-Intercontinental Bank Staff Testifies As Akingbola’s Trial Continues In Court
A file photo of Erastus Akingbola

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos on Thursday heard how loans running into billions of naira owed to defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc by some companies were written off while some enjoyed some waivers.

The information came to light while a witness of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Jimoh Abdurahim, testified in the trial of the former Managing Director of the bank, Dr Erastus Akingbola.

Akingbola is facing a 22-amended charge bordering on misleading appearance of active trading in the shares of Intercontinental Bank, granting of reckless credit facilities, conversion, and mismanagement of depositor’s funds.

He, however, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Abdurahim, a former chief investigator of the defunct bank, who now works for Access Bank Plc, informed the court that some of the companies which benefitted from the privileges allegedly belonged to former Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Aig Imokhude; his successor, Herbert Wigwe, and the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

He gave the name of one of the companies as United Alliance Company Limited, with non-performing loans of N4.5 billion, N4.27 billion, and N10.97 billion.

He testified that he was aware of some other companies allegedly owned by Senator Saraki and his late father, which were also indebted to Intercontinental Bank.

The court also heard that the CBN-appointed MD of Intercontinental Bank, Lai Alabi, was also a former Managing Director of Songai Farms Limited, a company said to be established by the Senate President.

The witness mentioned companies such as Dice trade Nigeria Limited, which was said to be indebted to the defunct bank, in the sum of N1,892,313,792.14; Joy Petroleum Limited – N3.932 billion, Linkers Limited – N3,617,694,988.99; and Skye View Property, which loan of N200.8 billion was allegedly written off by Alabi.

While being cross-examined by counsel to Akingbola and a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Mr Wole Olanipekun, the witness claimed that he was aware that Intercontinental Bank has merged with Access Bank.

He added that before then, Intercontinental Bank was larger and bigger than Access Bank in asset and capital base.

Abdurahim also informed the court that as at the time Access Bank took over Intercontinental bank, he was aware it had branches and subsidiaries internationally, including Ghana and the United Kingdom.

He claimed that at that time, Imokhude and Wigwe were MD and Deputy MD respectively at the Acess Bank.

The witness, however, said he would not confirm the suggestion put to him by Mr Olanipekun that “some people at the top” made Alabi the MD of Intercontinental Bank for the purpose of writing off their loans in the bank.

He also said he was not aware that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) queried Alabi for writing off the loans.

After listening to the testimony, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun has fixed Friday for the continuation of trial.

In the 22 amended charges filed before the court, the prosecution had alleged that Akingbola, while he was MD and CEO of Intercontinental Bank between November 2007 and July 2008, was involved in reckless approval of credit facilities without adequate security for a number of firms.

The prosecution also claimed that for instance, Akingbola approved a credit facility of N8 billion each to Soo-Kok Holding Limited, Tofa General Enterprises, Cinca Nigeria Limited, Harmony Trust and Investment Limited, Stanzus Investment Limited.

The EFCC said the alleged illegal transactions were carried out between May 2008 and May 2009 in contravention of “accepted practice or Intercontinental Bank Plc’s regulations.”

The Commission maintained that Akingbola violated Section 15(1)(a)(i) of the Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Banks Act, Cap F2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and was liable to be punished under Section 16(1)(a) of the same Act.

N47.1bn Theft Charges: Akingbola Files Appeal, Seeks Stay Of Proceedings

ERASTUS AkingbolaThe former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Erastus Akingbola, on Monday, asked the Lagos High Court, Ikeja, to stay proceedings in the N47.1 billion theft trial levelled against him by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

His co-defendant, Mr Bayo Dada, the General Manager of Tropics Securities Ltd., also made a similar request before the presiding judge, Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo.

Mr Akingbola’s counsel, Wole Olanipekun, who filed an application to stay the proceedings, told Justice Lawal-Akapo that the application was premised on an appeal challenging his ruling of May 2.

On May 2, Justice Lawal-Akapo had dismissed an application by the defendants seeking to quash the charges against them. With that dismissal, the court then assumed jurisdiction to hear the matter and fixed Monday June 23 for arraignment.

Dissatisfied with the ruling, Mr Akingbola headed to the Court of Appeal where he filed a notice of appeal.

His lawyer, Olanipekun, therefore informed Justice Lawal-Akapo that the Court of Appeal had already fixed July 3 for hearing of the appeal; he urged the court to wait for the outcome of the proceedings, in the interest of justice.

Counsel to the 2nd defendant, Prof Taiwo Osipitan, aligned with his submissions. He further urged the court to adjourn proceedings pending the hearing and determination of Mr Akingbola’s appeal.

Counsel to the EFCC, Mr Godwin Obla, said, though, he had only just been served the application for stay of proceedings, he was, however, willing to respond orally on points of law to accelerate proceedings.

He urged the defendants to move their application and to desist from seeking an adjournment through the backdoor.

In a short ruling, Justice Lawal-Akapo granted the request of the defence counsel and adjourned till July 11 for arguments on the application to stay proceedings.

N212b Fraud: Court Refuses To Register Foreign Judgment Against Akingbola

A Lagos High Court sitting in Igbosere area of Lagos Island, today discharged an ex-parte order which ordered the former Managing Director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola to pay Access Bank £654 million that’s about N212.2bn.

The High Court of Justice, Queens Bench in London, had on August 1, 2012, ordered Mr Akingbola to pay Access Bank the money for some fraudulent practices committed when he was in charge of the defunct Intercontinental bank which was acquired by Access Bank on the 31st of January 2012.

In a bid to enforce the London Court judgment in Nigeria, Access Bank had approached Justice Adedayo Oyebanji of the Lagos High Court with an ex-parte application. In the ex-parte application, the bank sought to register the foreign judgment and the accompanying order of Justice Michael Burton, dated September 13, 2012.
Justice Oyebanji had granted the request of Access Bank by registering the London judgment and ordering Mr Akingbola to pay the judgment sum.

Dissatisfied with the decision, Mr Akingbola, through his lawyer, Wole Olanipekun (SAN), filed an application before Justice Babajide Candide-Johnson of the same court seeking to quash the registration of the foreign judgment for lack of jurisdiction.

In a ruling on the application today, Justice Candide-Johnson discharged the ex-parte order on the grounds that the subject matter of the London judgment, an unlawful share purchase orchestrated by Intercontinental Bank and Mr Akingbola’s breach of statutory duties as director of the Bank were matters relating to the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), which the British judge admitted he relied totally on but which only Nigerian Courts and specifically the Federal High Court could properly exercise jurisdiction.

Justice Candide-Johnson then held that since Federal High Courts alone have exclusive jurisdiction on CAMA related cases, his court could not have entertained the claims leading up to the judgment and consequently could not register same as that would make it a judgment of the court.

The judge, however, refused Mr Akingbola’s application seeking to restrain Access Bank from enforcing the London judgment in any other court.

EFCC Arrests Akingbola Ahead Of Tuesday’s Trial

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) will tomorrow, Tuesday, re-arraign the former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Mr. Erastus Akingbola, on charges of theft of the bank’s funds.

Meanwhile, the anti-graft agency in a statement released today said  it had arrested Mr. Akingbola in preparation for his arraignment before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of a Lagos High Court, Ikeja.

The former bank boss is currently being held at the Commission’s facility in Ikoyi, Lagos.

His re-arraignment  was necessitated  by the elevation of former trial judge, Justice Habeeb Abiru, to the Court of Appeal.  Justice Abiru had on the 22nd of October, 2012 adjourned the matter till the 22nd of November, 2012 for adoption of final addresses of the counsel in the matter.

He was, however, sworn in as a Justice of the Court of Appeal on the 5th of November, 2012.

The development rendered Justice Abiru “functus-officio” and there arose the need to re-assign the case to another judge for it to start de novo (afresh).

In the former charges,  the EFCC alleged that Mr. Akingbola and his aide, the General Manager, Tropics Finance Ltd, Mr. Bayo Dada, stole about N47.1 billion belonging to the bank.

EFCC Arraigns Bank Official For Defrauding Customer of N672 million

A regional manager with Intercontinental Bank (now Access Bank), Olayinka Sanni was on Thursday docked before a Lagos High Court in Igbosere over alleged fraudulent conversion of N672 million from the account of one of the bank’s customers, Murhi International Group.

Sanni, who has now been relieved of his job, was said to have committed the fraud while serving at the Ikeja regional office of the bank.

Sanni along with others, were brought before Justice Deborah Oluwayemi on an eight-count charge of fraudulent conversion by stealing and other sundry offences by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Others docked alongside Sanni are Oyebode Atoyebi and a company linked with him, Sidaw Ventures Limited.

The three accused persons were said to have conspired to perpetrate the fraud.

Counsel to Sanni, M.O Atanda, said he was under the instruction to announce appearance for only the first accused (Sanni) and not the third (Sidaw Venturtes) because there was no link between them.

But Counsel to EFCC, Oyedepo Rotimi, faulted the claim, saying it was just a mere ploy to frustrate the arraignment.

After entertaining all the submissions, Justice Oluwayemi said that it would be neater for the preliminary issues to be resolved, and fixed December 21, 2012 for arraignment.

 

Akingbola takes his chance in court, says I never stole a kobo

The former Managing Director of defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Erastus Akingbola, who is standing trial over allegations of stealing N47.1 billion from the bank, on Wednesday, had a chance to defend himself in court.

The former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola is standing trial for allegedly stealing N47.1 billion from the defunct bank

Mr Akingbola, who testified in his own defence before a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja that is trying him and his aide, Bayo Dada, the General Manager of Tropics Securities Limited for stealing, denied ever stealing or defrauding the bank he help founded in 1989.

The former bank boss said the 16 counts of stealing brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) before the court presided over by Justice Habeeb Abiru are spurious, malicious and false.

While being led in evidence by his counsel, Felix Fagbohungbe, Mr Akingbola said “the allegations are false and it is incorrect because I never posted, receive or authorize any such amount and I did not receive or see any money. I didn’t convert Intercontinental Bank Plc funds fraudulently to Tropics Securities Limited”

Mr Akingbola said though he is the Chairman of Tropics, he never authorised, signed or paid any money to Tropics Finance and he was not aware of the transactions on purchase of shares as he was not involved in the day to day running of the company as there was an Executive Director in charge of shares in Intercontinental Bank.

“Intercontinental Bank has 200 branches within Nigeria, 57 in Ghana and many subsidiaries so there are about 10 Executive Directors that have autonomy and are checked through countersigns by other Executive Directors,” he said.

He said the alleged transactions were carried out by the Executive Director in charge of Investments and Subsidiaries, Yinka Adebiyi who he has not seen since he left the bank in August 14, 2009 but who he learnt is still wanted by the EFCC.

“I was not aware that Intercontinental Bank Plc instructed Tropics Securities to purchase shares in 2008. This was carried out by one of the 10 Executive Directors under me who process transactions in their directorate,” he said.

Mr Akingbola also denied the allegation that he had between March and July 2009, transferred 8.5 million and 1.3 million Pound belonging to the bank to Fulgher Solicitors, a United Kingdom- based law firm.

“My Lord, this is not correct because money was not paid from the bank’s NOSTRO account but through the NOSTRO account. Like any other customer of the bank or any Nigerian that needs foreign exchange, I commissioned the bank to buy them for me.

“I put the naira equivalent down before they bought the exchange and my transfers did not go through until the naira equivalent was in the hands of our foreign operations department staff,” he said.

According to him, he financed the transaction through a N2.2 billion loan obtained from Regal Investment Company Ltd, owned by the Chairman of Board of Intercontinental Bank, Raymond Obieri.

Mr Akingbola when asked if he knew how the forex was sourced said he did not know as he does not poke nose into what does not concern him as people assigned the responsibility knew how to do their job and as a customer, he can’t be asking them and since there was no complaint from the beneficiaries.

Though Mr Akingbola admitted that he was the chairman and a signatory to the accounts of Tropics Securities Ltd, Tropics Property Ltd, Tropics Finance Ltd and Bakinson Nigeria Ltd, he was emphatic that he was not aware of the transactions.

“I am only a signatory to their accounts because I signed when the accounts were being opened about 15 years ago. I have never signed any cheque or document for these companies since then”.

He also denied that he had in February 2009, transferred N2.5 billion from Intercontinental Bank’s account with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to his personal account.

Justice Abiru adjourned the trial till 26 September to enable the EFCC’s counsel, Emmanuel Ukala cross examine Mr Akingbola.

Akingbola’s lawyer accuses judge of bias

Felix Fagbohungbe, lawyer of the former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola on Tuesday accused the Judge hearing the former bank boss’s corruption case, Justice Habbeb Abiru of bias.

Mr Fagbohungbe had protested when the Justice Abiru overruled his request for an adjournment till Wednesday to enable him conduct some investigation to be in a better position to continue to leading Mr Akingbola’s co-accused, Bayo Dada, who is in the witness box, in evidence.
The request was turned down by the judge, who ordered Mr Fagbohungbe to continue with the proceedings, the development got the lawyer angry and in the process he accused the court of only interested in hearing the case of the defence.

However, Justice Abiru, who had earlier in the proceedings expressed dissatisfaction over the manner in which the defence have been conducting their case, said Mr Fagbohungbe’s request for an adjournment was unnecessary.

“Since morning you have been with the witness and you spent five minutes on each question. You delayed the progress of the court and now you are seeking for adjournment, in respect of investigation. No there is no adjournment,” the judge said.

“Since the last adjourned date in July, you should have done whatever investigation you wanted to do. You had July, August and even September before yesterday’s sitting. You should continue with your question, there is still time,” he added.

Mr Akingbola’s lawyer however said, “My Lord, it is like you are angry with me. It is like you want to be hearing one side of this case. I’m not asking for too much. I was only asking for tomorrow. After all, you granted my learned friend (counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission) when he requested for an adjournment yesterday (Monday) till today (Tuesday).”

Reacting to the accusation of been biased, the judge said “I’m not being biased. You have been given enough time to do your investigation before court resume. I’m friendly with everybody.”

Earlier, Mr Fagbohungbe had also while leading Mr Dada in evidence complained that the judge was not writing down some of the testimonies.

But the judge, in his response said he did not have to record everything the witness said.

“I don’t have to record everything. I am recording the important things he said. There is recording machine; there is verbatim recorder. If you want a comprehensive record of proceedings you can apply for anyone of them.”

Mr Dada, who was being led in evidence by Mr Fagbohhungbe, was accused by the EFCC along with Mr Akingbola of stealing about N47.1 billion belonging to Intercontinental Bank (now Access bank).

He was the General Manager of Tropics Finance Limited, a company in which Mr Akingbola and his wife, Anthonia had interest.

Tropics Finance Limited and its subsidiaries, the EFCC alleged were part of the firms used as vehicles for stealing the money from the bank.

In his testimony, Mr Dada told the court that the transactions of shares purchasing, which a subsidiary of Tropics Finance, Tropics Securities Limited, carried out on behalf of the bank had the approval of the bank’s management.

He also said Tropics Securities obtained separate credit facilities of N12 billion from Access Bank Plc, N2 billion from Intercontinental Capital Market Limited; N320 million from Intercontinental Homes and Savings Limited and between N100 million to N150 million from Associated Discount House, to fund the deal.

The transactions, which form part of the charge instituted against the accused, were said to involve the purchase of the bank’s share for the customers of the bank.

Justice Abiru adjourned the trial till Wednesday for continuation of cross-examination upon the request of the EFCC counsel, Emmanuel Ukala.

I am disappointed with judgment of UK court; I am innocent – Akingbola

Former Chief Executive Officer of defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc, Erastus Akingbola on Wednesday said that he is disappointed with the judgment of a UK court which indicted him of corruptly enriching himself with the fund belonging to the bank he managed.

In a press statement signed by Charles Nwagwu, the media counsel to the embattled former bank chief, Mr Akingbola said that the Justice Michael Burton’s judgment “is at variance with all evidence at the hearing.”

He said that his lawyers “have been instructed to pursue an appeal of the judgment as well as consider all further legal options.”

The statement further said that “the judgment did not order Dr. Akingbola to pay any sum of money as at today contrary to claims, in the media reports.

“This civil case in London is the fourth variant of the various cases in the Nigerian courts emanating from the forceful takeover and subsequent sharing of the assets of Intercontinental Bank and the ruthless suppression of any opposition.

“Dr. Akingbola restates his Innocence and is determined to clear his name. He remains confident that the judicial system will eventually vindicate him.”

A High Court in London found Mr Akingbola guilty of misappropriating the funds belonging to former Intercontinental bank (now Access Bank) and diverting the money for his personal use.

Delivering the judgement in a fraud lawsuit filed by Access Bank against Mr Akingbola, the presiding judge, Justice Burton ruled comprehensively in favour of the bank in respect of all aspects of its claims against the defendant.

Justice Burton said Mr Akingbola is responsible for directing the bank to buy its own shares at a loss of about N145 billion, siphoning money to companies controlled by him or his family and using Intercontinental bank’s funds to buy real estate in the U.K.

According to the judgment, Mr Akingbola wrongfully caused the bank to acquire 3.7 billion of its own shares between 2007 and 2009, and that he directed about 68 million pounds to a group of companies in which he had an interest in order to help them pay off “substantial debts.”

Intercontinental Bank one of eight lenders bailed out by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2009 after a debt crisis caused in part by loans to speculators in equities was later acquired by Access Bank.

The CBN had asked the U.K. to extradite Mr Akingbola after the bailout, though he later returned voluntarily to Nigeria in July 2010 to face the criminal case.

A trial in that matter is still ongoing.

Court orders Akingbola to return N164 billion to Access Bank

A High Court in London has found the former chief executive officer of Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola guilty of misappropriating the bank’s funds and diverting the money for his personal use.

Delivering the judgement in a fraud lawsuit filed by Access Bank  against Mr Akingbola, presiding judge Michael Burton ruled comprehensively in favour of the bank in respect of all aspects of its claims against the defendant.

In his ruling, Judge Burton said Mr Akingbola is responsible for directing the bank to buy its own shares at a loss of about N145 billion, siphoning money to companies controlled by him or his family and using Intercontinental bank’s funds to buy real estate in the U.K.

According to the judgment, Mr Akingbola wrongfully caused the bank to acquire 3.7 billion of its own shares between 2007 and 2009, and that he directed about 68 million pounds to a group of companies in which he had an interest in order to help them pay off “substantial debts”.

Intercontinental Bank one of eight lenders bailed out by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2009 after a debt crisis caused in part by loans to speculators in equities was later acquired by Access Bank.

The CBN had asked the U.K. to extradite Mr Akingbola after the bailout, though he later returned voluntarily to Nigeria in July 2010 to face the criminal case.

A trial in that matter is still ongoing.

Judgement delivered by Justice Michael Burton on the case: Access Bank Plc vs Erastus Bankole Oladipo Akingbola.

N47 billion theft: Court says Akingbola has case to answer

A Lagos high court sitting in Ikeja has thrown out the no case submission filed before it by the former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank (Now Access Bank), Erastus Akingbola, and his aide, Bayo Dada, over the N47.1 billion theft charge brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

In his ruling, presiding judge Justice Habeeb Abiru, held that there was a connection between the evidence of the prosecution and the charges preferred against the defendants.

“At this stage, it is not for the court to look at the credibility of the evidence, but to see whether a prima facie case has been established against the defendants,” he said.

Counsel to Mr Akingbola, Deji Sasegbon had informed the court at its last sitting that though they were just served the prosecution, he had a-no-case application before the court; and therefore subject to the court’s convenience, he was ready to move same.

N47.1 billion theft: Akingbola tells court he is innocent

The Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has fixed Wednesday the 30 May to decide whether the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has established a prima facie case against the former Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank Plc (now Access Bank Plc), Erastus Akingbola.

Justice Habeeb Abiru fixed the date after hearing arguments for and against a “no case submission” filed by Mr Akingbola, through his counsel, Deji Sasegbon.

The counsel insisted that the EFCC had failed to link his client to the crime and it also failed to prove the ingredients of stealing as specified in section 383 subsection 2F of the Criminal Code Law of Lagos State.

The former bank chief, who is facing allegations of stealing about N47 billion belonging to intercontinental bank, is standing trial alongside his associate, the General Manager of Tropics Securities Limited, Bayo Dada.

The court had adjourned the matter till today for the accused persons to open their defence, but when the case was called, the defence counsel informed the court that his client would not be opening their defence, as they had instead, filed an application of no-case-submission which he urged the court to hear first.

This move was strongly opposed by the counsel to the EFCC, Emmanuel Ukala who argued that it was too late in the day for the accused persons to file an application of no-case-submission, having earlier given an impression that they were ready to open their defence.

He asked the court to order the accused persons to open their defence, stressing that the application was “a ploy to delay the trial and determination of the case”.

Justice Abiru, in a short ruling, allowed the application to be moved, but complained that he had to cancel two dates earlier fixed last week for the accused to open their defence.

If the “no case application” succeeds the accused person will get an acquittal.

Internal fraud in Banks responsible for collapse of Capital market – CBN deputy governor

The deputy governor, financial systems stability, of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kingsley Moghalu on Wednesday said that lending to non-priority sectors and to operators of the capital market by commercial banks in Nigeria were key factors responsible for the near-collapse of the nation’s capital market in 2009.

The deputy governor, financial systems stability, of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kingsley Moghalu

Mr. Moghalu disclosed this while he was making a submission at the resumed hearing of the House of Representatives ad-hoc committee investigating the collapse of the capital market.

He said that the nation’s financial system would have collapsed if the CBN had not exercised its responsibility as the lender of last resort as he replied to questions by members of the ad-hoc committee on who authorised the CBN to nationalise the bank.

The CBN in November 2008, injected N602 billion into eight banks that were almost running aground.

Giving a breakdown of how some of the banks manipulated their share prices, Mr. Moghalu said that “Afribank PLC via a share buy-back arrangement manipulated its share price when it went to the stock market in 2007.”

He claimed the bank through the services of three stock broking firms bought 66 per cent of the bank’s offer using fictious name of 1,258 subscribers and at the end of the offer, they will announce that their offer was over-subscribed.

He also revealed that Finbank in August 2006 conspired with three companies incorporated by the bank to buy N2.8billion worth of its own shares between August 2006 and August 2008, adding that the bank will claim the offer was over-subscribed.

Another bank accused of the fraudulent shares buy-back was Intercontinental bank. The CBN deputy governor said that the bank bought 3.4million units of its share which constitute 29 per cent of the bank’s share value on the stock market between September 2007 and December 2009.

He gave a breakdown of the non-performing loans by the eight liquidated banks as below:

  • Bank PHB – 40.86%
  • Oceanic Bank – 44.35%
  • Afribank – 47.0%
  • Finbank – 47.45%
  • Intercontinental bank – 48%
  • Equatorial Trust Bank (ETB) – 57%
  • Wema bank – 77%
  • Spring Bank – 85%

He described the banks as ‘net-takers’ that are only surviving exchanges from the inter-bank rate markets’. He added that between 2008 and 2009 “the banks were also on ‘life-supports’, surviving on sub-ventures from the CBN such as the Expanded Discount Window and Standing lending facility.

Bank Consolidation

A member of the committee, Bimbo Daramola, raised the issue on how the bank consolidation of N25 billion forced on the bank’s was the reason why the banks were involved in the round-tripping of share buy-back in a bid to rush and make the N25 billion.

Mr. Moghalu noted that it was just eight banks that were culpable of the wrong-doing and not all the banks that sort to carry-out the consolidation. “Without the consolidation, the global financial crises would have wiped out all the Nigerians bank” he said.

He added that the knock-on effects of the global financial crisis and the capital flight of $15 billion also contributed to the crash of the capital market.

Another Member of the ad-hoc committe, Representative Usman Mohammed, noted that despite the huge investment of funds into the banks, the lending rate to the real is still poor. Responding to the observation, Mr Moghalu stated that “the most important obstacle and challenge to the nation’s real sector is the absence and lack of power and not interest rate”, adding that “loans to the agriculture sector has risen from 1% to 3% in the last one year.”

He also assured the hearing that with the ongoing reforms across the nation’s economic sector, the banks will start granting more loans to the sector once the reforms kick-off.

He further explained that banks lending has increased drastically due to AMCON’s purchase of all bad loans. “Just about 5% of banks loans are now bad loans” he stated.