Buhari Campaign Group Sues Atiku For Alleged Defamation

‘Choose A Date And Time’: Atiku Challenges Buhari To Debate

 

The Buhari Campaign Organisation, has instituted a N40million defamation suit against the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, accusing him of defaming President Muhammadu Buhari and his family.

In the suit filed before a High Court of the Federal Capital Territory, President Buhari is cited as the second plaintiff.

READ ALSO: PDP Accuses Buhari Of Shielding Corrupt Family Members

The group is asking the court to compel the PDP flag-bearer to pay damages for alleging that the President and his family members own substantial shares in 9mobile and Keystone bank.

They claim that the suit which has one of Atiku’s aides, Mr Phrank Shaibu, as the first defendant, was not only false but highly libellous.

The campaign organisation is asking for damages for the embarrassment, pain and unnecessary financial loss suffered by the President.

AMCON Appoints Managers To Sell Keystone Bank

Keystone BankThe Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria has appointed managers to divest its 100% interest in Keystone Bank.

In a public notice issued by AMCON on Monday, the corporation announced the appointment of Citibank’s local unit and FBN capital as financial advisers to manage the process.

AMCON is asking prospective investors to submit bids, showing evidence of credibility and eligibility for the transaction by March 4, 2016.

Based on its audited account as at June 2015, Keystone Bank has a total assets of about 317.6 billion naira, equity of 18.9 billion naira and a loan portfolio of about 98.2 billion naira.

By December 31 2015, Keystone Bank had 156 branches across the country with four subsidiaries.

AMCON Seek Advisers On Selling Mainstreet, Enterprise, Keystone Banks

The Chief Executive Officer of Asset Management Company (AMCON), Mustapha Chike-Obi

The Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) has announced that it will appoint financial advisers by June 15 to manage the sale of Mainstreet Bank, Enterprise Bank and Keystone Bank.

The three banks were nationalised in 2011 following mismanagement of bad loans and recapitalised by AMCON.

AMCON’s Chief Executive Officer, Mustapha Chike-Obi, made this known on Thursday in an interview where he revealed plans to sell 100 percent of each of the bank.

He however added that AMCON is yet to decide on the best way to proceed.

“We have advertised for a financial adviser who will take charge of the process” said Chike-Obi.

He said the advisers would solicit expressions of interest from prospective investors.

Mr Chike-Obi said he expected strong interest in the three banks from local and foreign institutions, pointing out that South Africa’s leading bank, FirstRand, had informed AMCON of an interest in acquiring Keystone bank.

FirstRand CEO Sizwe Nxasana told Reuters last week that the South African lender was keen on buying either Keystone or Mainstreet.

Skye Bank is also expected to bid for one of the three banks, depending on valuations, its CEO Kehinde Durosimi-Etti told a shareholder meeting last week, where management sought approval to raise N50 billion.

AMCON said last week it expected to complete the sales by the third quarter of 2014.

 

EFCC Again Arraigns Atuche And Two Others For Forgery

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has arraigned the sacked Managing Director of Bank PHB (now Key Stone Bank), Mr. Francis Atuche on a fresh 9-count charge of forgery.

This is the third in the series of charges brought against Mr. Atuche by the EFCC since his removal as the bank’s chief executive officer in 2008.

In the fresh charges before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, the former bank boss was arraigned alongside two officials of Central Shared Services Centre, an arm of Keystone Bank Limited, Joachim Nnosiri and Uguru Onyike.

In the charges, the EFCC alleges that the former bank boss and the others had on the 4th of March, 2013 in Lagos, attempted to smuggle forged board resolutions of some companies into Keystone Bank, the successor of Bank PHB.

The anti-graft agency also claimed that the forged board resolutions were said to have emanated from Future View Securities Limited, Tradjeck Limited and Extra Oil Limited.

According to the EFCC, the main purpose of the board resolutions was to request a N10.9 billion credit facility from the bank.

The resolutions were allegedly signed by the managing director of the companies, Mrs Elizabeth Ebi and addressed to Keystone Bank.

Mrs. Ebi had earlier testified in another case against Mr. Atuche in which he is facing a N25.7 billion fraud trial before Justice Okunnu of a Lagos High Court also sitting in Ikeja.

In that case, she testified that Mr. Atuche had granted a N10.9 billion loan facility to her companies without their knowledge or request.

The EFCC had contended that the alleged offence contravenes Sections 361 and 409 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011.

The former bank manager and his co-defendants have, however, pleaded not guilty to these allegations.

The court has fixed hearing of the bail application till the 27th and 28th of March.

Justice Onigbanjo also adjourned trial in the matter till the 10th of October 2013.

 

S.Africa’s FirstRand eyes retail banking in Nigeria – CEO

South Africa’s FirstRand will use Thursday’s launch of its new merchant banking business in Nigeria as a springboard to move into retail and commercial lending in Africa’s second biggest economy, the bank’s chief said.

South Africa’s number two lender won Nigeria’s first merchant banking license in more than a decade last November and opened its doors in Lagos on Thursday.

Now it wants to expand its operations in Nigeria, organically or through an acquisition, First Rand Chief Executive Sizwe Nxasana told Reuters in Lagos during the launch of Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) Nigeria.

“We are looking at having a universal banking operation in Nigeria … growing on the back of our investment banking operations into the retail and commercial banking,” he said.

“Our appetite for Nigeria is growing and we are going to be looking at opportunities that will put us in a position where we are becoming a seeded player … in other words among the top five banks in Nigeria in the next few years.”

FirstRand has been looking for an entry into Africa’s most populous country for years. It ended talks last year to buy a majority stake in Nigeria’s Sterling Bank after they both failed to agree on price.

Nxasana said FirstRand was still interested in acquiring one of the three banks, Mainstreet Bank, Keystone Bank and Enterprise Bank that were nationalised two years ago, but could also enter retail operations on its own.

FirstRand in November had said it could spend more than $300 million to buy a retail and commercial bank in Nigeria.

Banks To Stop N100 ATM Charges Next Monday

The Bankers’ Committee on Sunday said the decision earlier reached to suspend all charges accruing from the use of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) of other banks would be implemented from Monday, December 17.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Chairman of the Bankers’ Committee, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi disclosed this while addressing journalists at the end of the fourth annual Bankers’ Committee retreat held in Calabar, Cross River State.

The CBN governor said the delay in implementing the policy was to allow banks configure their information technology infrastructure for the effective implementation of the policy.

“We have agreed on a final date of Monday, 17 December, 2012 for the kick-off when every bank will remove the charges. We allowed some time for banks that have not configured their IT to do so and stop charging and hopefully by 17th of December, you are not going to have any customer pay additional charges,” he said.

Mr Sanusi further said that the CBN was working on a programme that would ensure that from June 1, next year, the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) commences the process of divesting from the three nationalised banks – Keystone Bank Limited, Enterprise Bank Limited and Mainstreet Bank Limited – which are wholly owned by the corporation.

“We want to start the process by June 1 next year of getting AMCON to divest from the three banks so that by 2014, the process would have been completed,” he said.

Commenting on the privatisation of power assets, the CBN governor said the committee would advise the Federal Government to ensure that the proceeds to be derived from the sale of power assets are invested in infrastructural projects, adding that this would enhance investor confidence in the system.

He said: “With a vision for a better future for Nigerians, the Bankers’ Committee is committed to play a lead role as catalyst for economic development, improving access to finance for the unbanked and under-banked population and growth of the real sector.

“The Bankers’ Committee has focused on the power, agriculture and Transport Infrastructure sectors for driving growth and identified opportunities for financial system intervention in the transformation of these critical sectors of the economy.

“Through collaboration with the government, the banking community and real sector stakeholders, the Bankers’ Committee programmes and initiatives have contributed to a tangible improvement in the enabling environment and private sector funding for the power and agriculture sectors.”

Mr Sanusi added that banking sector lending to the agriculture sector had increased significantly from 1.5 per cent of total industry portfolio to 3.5 per cent in 2012.

He also said that the banking industry has set a target of 7 per cent for agriculture sector lending by 2013 and 10 per cent by 2017.

AMCON may list nationalised banks

The Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) on Tuesday said it may list three banks that were nationalised as part of a bailout in 2009, instead of selling them to rivals, as it seeks to determine fair value for the banks.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), Mustapha Chike-Obi

Mustapha Chike-Obi, the chief executive of AMCON, said the AMCON will need to find financial advisers before finalising its decision on whether to list directly or sell to competitors.

“AMCON is appointing an adviser that will evaluate and determine the value of the banks, evaluate all the options available to AMCON,” he said.

“We expect our eventual adviser to consider this (listing) among other options,” Chike-Obi said. He said in April that all three rescued banks were now profitable.

Previously, AMCON said that more than 20 firms — banks and private equity investors — had expressed interest in acquiring the nationalised lenders, but AMCON is keen to have them valued before starting any negotiations.

It may opt to take them public if it can get a better deal.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) nationalised three banks changed their names to Mainstreet Bank from Afribank; Enterprise Bank from Spring Bank; Keystone Bank from Bank PHB, for failing to find new investors before a recapitalisation deadline.

The CBN then injected N620 billion into nine banks in 2009, judging that they were dangerously undercapitalised.

Nationalised Banks: CBN asks court to dismiss Bank PHB’s suit

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Federal Government and Keystone bank limited have urged a Federal High Court in Lagos to dismiss a suit instituted by some shareholders of the defunct Bank PHB seeking to void the August 2011 action of the apex bank nationalising their bank.

The shareholders on behalf of Bank PHB had through their counsel, Anthony Idigbe contended that the apex Bank in nationalising their bank last year acted maliciously by singling them out for punishment without considering their investments.

In the suit, which had the CBN, the Federal government and Keystone bank Limited as defendants, the shareholders argued that the action of the apex bank was discriminatory and constitutes an abuse of its powers by nationalising the assets of Bank PHB and transferring the same to third defendant ( Keystone Bank limited).

The bank also contended that no compensation was given to its shareholders as a result of the action.

However, in three separate preliminary objections filed by Kola Awodein for the CBN, Fabian Ajogwu for the Federal Government and Khrushchev Ekwueme for Keystone Bank limited, the defendants urged the court to dismiss the action on the ground that it was not brought within the three months period stipulated by the Public Officers Protection Act.

They also submitted that the shareholders had not shown that the action by the apex bank on August 2011 was in bad faith.

The defendants further argued amongst other grounds that the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) was the proper person to bring the action, and not the plaintiff, whose operating licence had been revoked.

In his responding to the objections, Mr Idigbe, faulted the arguments of the defendants on the issue of time limit, saying the action was brought within the three months’ time frame provided by law.

He also contented that Bank PHB had shown by its statement of claims that the CBN acted in bad faith by singling it out for punishment.

He further argued that the plaintiff and not the NDIC who can complain about the nationalisation of the former bank PHP.

On the issue on the revocation of Bank PHB’s operating licence, he said it was a substantive issue that the court cannot determine at the preliminary stage.

Ruling on the matter has been fixed for May 12, 2012 by the trial judge, Justice Charles Archibong.

The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) last August announced revoked the operating licenses of Afribank Nigeria Plc, Spring Bank Plc and BankPHB on the bases that they have not shown capacity and ability to recapitalise before the September 30 deadline.

Court insists Atuche has a case of fraud to answer

An Ikeja High Court sitting on Monday dismissed an application filed by the former Managing Director of Bank PHB (now Keystone bank), Francis Atuche seeking an order to quash the charges of stealing brought against him and a former Director of the bank, Lekan Kasali by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Presiding Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo said that the application lacks merit and that the charge against the former bank chief is not defective and incompetent.

Mr Atuche had sought an order striking out his name from the charge on the basis that the transactions on another charge against him before the Federal High Court and the one at the Lagos High Court were interlinked.

He added that the EFCC, acting for the Attorney-General of the Federation, can only prosecute a crime under a Federal Law, and not under the Administration of the Criminal Justice Law of Lagos State.

Justice Onigbanjo in his ruling dismissed all the arguments raised by Mr Atuche.

The judge distinguished between the cases at the Federal high court & that at the State High Court. He said the charges at the Federal High Court bordered on his alleged granting of credit facilities illegally while that before his court had to do with stealing and conspiracy to steal.

The court also maintained that the two matters before it and the one before Justice Lateefah Okunnu of the same court had to do with different transactions that Mr Atuche was allegedly involved in, though all the alleged offences were committed when he was the Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Bank PHB.

The judge also overruled Mr Atuche’s argument that the way the case was being handled could prejudice his right to fair hearing.

The judge said that though the case had generated public interest, it would not in anyway affect the decision of the court.

Justice Onigbanjo rejected the former bank chief’s argument that the proof of evidence did not disclose a prima facie evidence against him before adjourning till the 24th of May for commencement of trial.

Case Trial for Former Keystone MD, Francis Atuche Continues in Lagos High Court

he trial of the former Managing Director of Keystone Bank (formerly called Bank PHB), Mr Francis Atuche, his wife Elizabeth and one Ugo Anyanwu, a former director of the bank, continued today at the Lagos High Court in Ikeja.

Court Gavel

In the court room, the fifth prosecution witness, a relationship manager, Miss Helen Eriyo testified that the transactions for which the trio are standing trial took place before she joined the bank on the 3 December 2007.

Led in evidence by counsel to the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Kemi Pinheiro, the witness said she brought in a big customer, Mr Peter Ololo and had secured five accounts from him, which she opened in the head office branch of the bank shortly after her resumption.

Under cross examination, the witness admitted that she was not aware of a N4billion loan facility approved for her client Mr Ololo, an approval granted in November 2007 under one of the accounts, Peterson Oil and Gas which she opened for him in the bank a month later in December.

Though she agreed that all documentation including application for loan, board resolution,offer of facility and availment utilization ticket were all prepared before she opened the account, she explained that it was not an unusual occurrence as the bank has a deferral framework to enable it have an edge in the market.

According to the witness, Miss Eriyo, the bank has what is called a time shift, a procedure where the bank makes a pre-packaged proposal to a customer they wanted to entice though disbursement of such funds cannot be processed until an account is opened though this is not in all situations” as it depends on the agreement between the bank and the potential customer.

However, she contradicted herself in her testimony. The statement she made at the EFCC which was tendered before the court by the defence team where she wrote that she assumed duty in November 2007 instead of December 3, 2007 that she told the court.

The case has been adjourned till Friday the 20 January, 2012 for continuation of trial.