A House of Representatives report on the near collapse of the capital market says it has found evidence of forgery and fraudulent misrepresentation involving the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and other top industry officials in the controversial nationalization of three commercial banks.
The report submitted to the House on Tuesday, says the nationalization of Afribank Plc, Spring Bank and Bank PHB, violated statutory provisions and remained a “major source” of investors’ loss of confidence in the troubled Nigerian capital market.
The document 81-page document provides, perhaps, the most indicting position on the sale of the three banks by the CBN last year, a move that has fetched the regulatory bank under Mr. Sanusi, intense criticisms and accusation of bias.
“This committee is of the view that due process was not followed, and that investors interests were not considered in nationalizing the banks,” the House capital market committee, headed by Ibrahim El-Sudi, stated.
“Public officers charged with the responsibility of protecting investors and depositors did not act in good faith, and there were evidence to suggest fraud, misrepresentations, and forgeries.”
Those cited to have been involved in the irregularities are the Chief Executive of the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation, Umaru Ibrahim, Managing Director, Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), Mustafa Chike-Obi, the CBN governor, Mr. Sanusi, the Registrar of the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Belo Mahmud, and the Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Arunma Oteh.
The committee faulted Mr. Sanusi for a range of several other anomalies and breach of procedures, and accused the CBN boss of deliberately withholding information from the lawmakers during the investigation.
It also indicted Ms. Oteh of multiple cases of irregularities, and accused the SEC DG of fraudulent conduct.
Ms. Oteh was recalled by the federal government on Wednesday after about a month on suspension. Her recall came as the House committee tabled its report.
On the nationalization of Afribank, the committee detailed shocking highlights of the behind-the-scenes leading to the change. The committee said the bank’s name was changed to Mainstreet Bank Limited, a private company with share capital of 100,000 ordinary shares of N1 each, owned by two persons, Gideon Agbedo, a lawyer, and a certain Innocent Obi.
The committee said it found out the Articles and Memorandum of Association transferring the ownership to the individuals, was stamped and verified by the CAC authorizing them to “assume all or part only of the deposits and liabilities of Afribank” and to “purchase such assets of Afribank” as are acceptable to the board.
This meant a publicly quoted company was acquired by a private company owned by two persons, the committee said.
Further, a Certificate of Incorporation no RC 969929 dated 5th August, 2011, signed by Bello Mahmud, Registrar General-CAC , certified that Mainstreet Bank was previously called ‘SHOKO CHUKIN LIMITED’.
“This action is completely false and dubious,” the committee said.
Again, the committee said the position of AMCON, CBN, SEC etc that the nationalized banks were owned 100 per cent by AMCON, were deliberate falsehood as it was clear the two individuals owned the banks with nine other names as the Directors of the bank.
For Bank PHB, changed to Keystone bank, the committee said a similar fraud was perpetuated with share capital of 100 000 ordinary shares of N1 each were owned by one Benson Igbanoi and the same Innocent Obi of Mainstreet Bank.
The object of Keystone Bank ltd was similar to that of the Mainstreet Bank, and has a Certificate of Incorporation no RC 969956 which certifies that Keystone Bank Ltd was previously called Michi Noku Resolution limited, another alleged fraud.