Over the weekend of September 21st, 2018, Nigeria’s Central Bank revoked the trading license of one of Nigeria’s top commercial banks, Skye Bank. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) noted that this was due to the results of recent 2018 examinations and forensic audit of Skye Bank that revealed that the Bank requires urgent recapitalisation as it can no longer continue to live on borrowed times with indefinite liquidity support. CBN proceeded to establish a bridge bank ‘Polaris Bank,’ to assume the assets and liabilities of Skye Bank Plc, pending final buyout.
1. Skye bank was dead years ago, but in 2016, The Central Bank of Nigeria sought to protect the bank from a significant collapse and thus appointed a new board and management for Skye Bank in a bid to encourage the public that all was well with the failed financial institution. The new board, led by Chairman Muhammad Ahmad and Chief Executive Officer Adetokunbo Abiri, in a scandal-filled letter to the Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osibanjo, detailed a bit of the decay in the bank: In 2016, Abiri engaged KPMG to do a forensic audit of the bank. The results of the audit noted that Skye Bank was illegally operating 2 sets of accounts. One capable of being shown to shareholders and the Central Bank of Nigeria and the other filled with corruption, particularly a balance of N280 billion in suspense accounts. The then chairman of the bank, Tunde Ayeni was indebted to the bank in excess of N70 billion. He used his position as then chairman of the bank to obtain loans well above the regulatory limits. Blatant, Unethical, Criminal Mismanagement. For Ahmad and Abiri to write such an open letter to the Vice President of the nation, they were beyond appalled at the extreme levels of corruption with Skye’ s financial records. What actions did the presidency and other arms of government take to admonish or incriminate Tunde Ayeni and other culprits? Nothing it seems, as Ayeni is walking a free man today, still a billionaire.
2. Towards the end of Jonathan’s tenure as President of Nigeria, he outrageously, albeit illegally, paid Tunde Ayeni $213 million from the national treasury. This he said was compensation to Ayeni for purchasing boko-haram-struck Yola Distribution for over $40 million after Tunde complained that Boko Haram activities affected the takeoff of the Yola project. It is legal to “compensate” a buyer for a purchase using public funds? It was only once Buhari’s era began, that Tunde Ayeni’s world of corruption and free money which he enjoyed all through Jonathan’s tenure, came crashing down. Despite receiving $213 million, and much more, he paid back only $10 million (plus other quarterly payments) to Skye Bank to service his debt of over $120 million. And we wonder why the Bank went under? He remains a billionaire, shareholders bear the mountainous challenges. Now, what exactly does CBN have planned between Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and Polaris? The scandals that erupted from Goodluck Jonathan’s “shoeless” leadership tenure in Nigeria remain unbelievable and worthy of a historic book. From Diezani “I now have cancer” Alison-Madueke to Corrupt Billionaire Tunde Ayeni. The leadership at Skype Bank failed the bank significantly. They should not have waited for the Central Bank of Nigeria’s intervention. It was glaring in their financial reports that the bank was under significant financial turmoil.
3. In 2017, despite Nigeria’s ailing recession and despite the debt and corruption scandals supposed to be hoovering over his head, Tunde Ayeni threw a lavish 50th birthday party for his wife Biola Ayeni, filled with many who’s who, lots to drink, lots to eat and lots of lavish gifts. This leads us to presume that he won his way over with Buhari’s administration to the detriment of Nigeria’s economy. Not surprising, Tunde Ayeni is very close to Otunba Segun Awolowo, the Executive Director/CEO, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and one of the guests at Tunde Ayeni’s wife’s lavish birthday party. Want to know more? Segun Awolowo is related to the Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbanjo, who received the fault-filled letter against Tunde Ayeni from the new management of Skye Bank. Tunde Ayeni is also close friends with Ibikunle Amosun, who is very close to President Buhari. Now who do you trust in leading Nigeria to Unity, Peace, Progress and Prosperity? Pastor Vice President? CBN that is bailing out a failed bank without repercussions? EFCC that has let the case linger? Buhari that has done nothing?
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