. Union Bank, Titan Trust Bank, Polaris, Keystone Bank affected
. President hands over report to CBN as Cardoso sacks banks’ managements, dissolves Boards
. New managements, Boards, names of the two new emerging banks already being considered
President Bola Tinubu on Wednesday began the implementation of the reports of the Jim Obazee-led Special Investigation team with the directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Yemi Cardoso, to sack the managements of four banks and dissolve their Boards, First News has learnt.
In line with the President’s directive, the CBN, was said to have on Wednesday, summoned the affected banks’ managements to its head office in Abuja, where the operating licences of their banks were withdrawn and their Boards also dissolved immediately.
The affected commercial banks are Union Bank, Titan Trust Bank, Polaris and Keystone Bank.
The implementation of the Special Investigator’s report, it was learnt, was commenced by the CBN at an emergency meeting supervised by the apex bank Governor, Cardoso.
With Wednesday’s take over of the assets of the four banks by the FG through the CBN, it was further learnt that both Union Bank and Titan Trust Bank are to be merged into one entity, while Polaris and Keystone Bank are also to be similarly merged to become one.
Government, through the CBN, is also to appoint the managements and Boards of the emerging two new banks.
Already, new names are being considered for the two new banks that will emerge from the merger of the four banks. A reliable source at the CBN listed such new names of the two emerging commercial banks being considered to include Nigeria National Bank and National Bank of Nigeria.
Recall that the final report of the Special Investigator submitted to President Tinubu late last December had accused the immediate past governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, of using stolen funds to acquire Union Bank and Keystone Bank through proxies.
Following the release of the report of the Special Investigator into the activities of the CBN and other related entities, a former deputy governor of the apex bank, who is now Chairman of TTB, Mr Tunde Lemo, had insisted that the establishment of TTB and the acquisition of Union Bank were transparent and duly verified by the relevant regulatory bodies, including the apex bank as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission.
But Lemo and the two major foreign shareholders of TTB and UBN, Messrs Cornelius Vink and Rahul Savara had consistently shunned series of invitations extended to them by the office of the Special Investigator for further interrogation on the acquisition of Union Bank by TTB.
This development led to the “final warning” by the office of the Special Investigator on December 27 to Lemo and the two foreign shareholders of TTB and UBN to honour the meeting scheduled for Thursday December 28, 2023 or risk forfeiting their shares to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Lemo and the two foreign major shareholders of TTB and UBN did not eventually honour the meeting as their lawyers pleaded that it should be rescheduled till January 2024 when they’ll all have been back into Nigeria from their trips abroad.
Meanwhile, following the implementation of the Special Investigator’s report by President Tinubu and the takeover of the four banks by the Federal Government, a coalition of 259 anti-corruption, civil society and human rights groups, Coalition for Transparency and Economic Reforms (COTER), has commended the Special Investigator, Jim Obazee, for a job well done.
COTER, which also gave kudos to President Tinubu for his courage, determination and tenacity, also recommended Obazee for a special national honours and award for successfully discharging the onerous, dangerous and delicate national duty thrusted upon him by the President without entertaining any fear for his life.
COTER’s President, Dr Peter Chima Chukwu and General Secretary, Mallam Auta Ibrahim Koko, stated these in a statement on Wednesday in reaction to the implementation of the report of the Special Investigator which has led to the takeover of the four banks by the Federal Government.
According to them, “Obazee should be singled out by the President as an incorruptible Nigerian who is sacrificing his personal pleasure, liberty to carry out the dangerous national assignment of investigating the rot at the CBN under Emefiele. Obazee is a selfless individual who should be highly commended and recognised for all his sacrifices. Inspite of all the threats to his life and that of his family members by the agents of the corrupt people he’s investigating, he has remained unshaken and undeterred in carrying out his assignment.
“We commend the Federal Government for fishing Obazee out for the job and we urge the President to adequately appreciate him with a special National honour/award.
“The Special Investigator should also be considered for higher national assignments because we have the confidence in him, that he’ll always deliver. Nigeria should not make the mistake of allowing other countries, international agencies and organisations who are watching events in Nigeria now with keen interest to snatch Obazee away from us. Nigeria seriously needs Obazee at this moment of our journey as a nation.”