CBN denies giving NEXIM N200 billion

Sarah Alade

The bank has sought reprieve against CNPP in court.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has denied allegations that it gave a N200 billion stabilisation fund to the Nigerian Export Import Bank, NEXIM.

The Acting Governor of the CBN, Sarah Alade, said in Abuja that the bank did not give NEXIM up to N2 billion contrary to allegations by the Secretary General, Conference of Nigerian Political Parties, CNPP, Willy Ezugwu.

Ms. Alade was addressing a session of the House of Representatives Committee on Banking/Currency on the issue.

“We have not given NEXIM Bank even N2billion, let alone N200billion,” she said. “I am surprised that the House committee is raising the
issue. The CBN also heard about the allegation in the media just like the committee members did,” she said.

Following the allegation, the management of the bank on Wednesday filed a suit against CNPP seeking remedies for aggravated damages over alleged libel and defamatory publications.

In the suit filed at the Federal High Court, Abuja, legal counsel to the bank, Friday Onoja, gave the Secretary General of CNPP, Willy Ezegwu, eight days from the day of the service of the writ of summons to enter appearance to substantiate or retract the allegations against its Managing Director/CEO, Roberts Orya.

In the application, Mr. Onoja asked the court to grant an order of perpetual injunction restraining Mr. Ezegwu, “by himself, his servants, agents, privies, associates, friends or otherwise from further publishing or causing to be published” the said defamatory words against his client.

Mr. Onoja said the publication had damaged the reputation of the NEXIM bank and its MD/CEO, Mr. Orya, built after several years of hard work, dedication and sacrifice, which resulted in the turnaround of the fortune of the bank.

The lawyer therefore demanded the payment of N600 million (including aggravated damages) for the libellous materials contained in the press release issued by Mr. Ezegwu.

The CNPP leader had on May 16 issued a press statement on the N200 billion stabilisation fund through his email address to several media houses and journalists.

In the statement titled “CNPP calls for the suspension of the MD of NEXIM Bank; …demands immediate probe of N200bn Stabilization Fund,”

Mr. Ezegwu called for the immediate suspension of Mr. Orya for “dereliction of duty, gross abuse of office and misapplication of the N200bn stabilization and loan guarantee fund advanced the agency by the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria).

He had also accused Mr. Orya of turning NEXIM, which is responsible for the promotion, investment and stimulation of national industrialisation drive in the import and export sector, into a personal fiefdom.

This, he said, was done through the recruitment of unqualified staff, alienation of directorate and executive staff in the decision making process, favouritism in the grant of loans and gross misapplication of agency fund.

“The CNPP is particularly incensed by the allegations that Mr. Robert Orya has turned the agency into one-man show, by flouting laid down procedures and extent rules in the disbursement of loans to    individuals and corporate organisations.

“Whereas the NEXIM fund is strictly meant for the stimulation of Nigerian industrials growth and export trade by building the financial capacity of operators in the sector, NEXIM Bank MD has the penchant of advancing loans to his cronies, friends and godfathers for ventures like the building of hotels, land purchase and property speculation which have no direct bearing on the bank’s core mandate.”

According to the CNPP Secretary General, “Robert Orya cannot hide under the shadow and near invisible manner the bank operated to perpetuate all sorts of financial impunities without being upon to render the account of his stewardship.

“The CNPP thus calls upon the CBN Governor, the Minister of Finance and the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria to commence an immediate probe of Robert Orya’s tenure, especially the utilisation/disbursement of the N200billion fund made available to the bank and whose poor, improper, and injudicious application is allegedly raising deep concern among stakeholders in the sector.”

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