Sunday, September 19th, 2021

CBN sacks board of the First Bank over insider’ meddling.

CBN sacks board of the First Bank over insider’ meddling.

Adedeuntan has over the years being a check on the excesses of the First Bank board members in securing insider loans. These loans often then go unpaid and labelled as bad debt in later years. This malaise has over the years ruined and run a number of Nigerian banks into oblivion. The scene seemed so

Adedeuntan has over the years being a check on the excesses of the First Bank board members in securing insider loans. These loans often then go unpaid and labelled as bad debt in later years. This malaise has over the years ruined and run a number of Nigerian banks into oblivion.

The scene seemed so serene in the FNB body system as of the 27th of April 2020 after FBN Holdings completed its Annual General Meeting held at the Oriental Hotel Lekki. Following the AGM, the bank recommended a dividend payment of N16.15 billion out of a profit after tax of N65.9 billion.

The bank further announced the appointment of Mr. Seni Adetu, Mrs. Julier Anammah, and Mr Out Hughes as non-executive directors of the bank. It also re-elected Mr. Oye Hassan Odukale, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, and Otunba Mrs. Debola Osibogun as directors of the bank.

But behind the scenes, the chairman of the bank, Dr. Oba Otudeko, and Chairman of the First Bank Ibukun Awosika were planning on rejigging the structure of the bank with the termination of Dr. Adesola Adeduntan as MD/CEO of First Bank Ltd.

The cause of the dissatisfaction within the board of the bank was as a result of the letter received by the bank’s chairman Ibukun Awosika from the CBN reiterating the need for the bank to divest its interest in Honey Well Flour Mills “despite several reminders” to it by the Apex bank.

The CBN also stated in the letter that it was giving the bank within 48 hours to ensure Honeywell repays its obligation to it “failing which the CBN will take appropriate regulatory measures against the insider borrower and the bank.” It also instructed the bank to divest from its holdings in Bharti Airtel Nigeria Ltd and Honeywell Flour Mills within 90 days. These loans are all related to the Chairman of the bank, Oba Otudeko.

Oba Otudeko who was the major target of this fiasco is believed to have obtained billions of unpaid loans in First Bank and had to be controlled by the CBN through Adeduntan.

“The insiders who took loans in the bank, with controlling influence on the board of directors, failed to adhere to the terms for the restructuring of their credit facilities which contributed to the poor financial state of the bank. The CBN’s recent target examination as of December 31, 2020, revealed that insider loans were materially non-compliant with restructuring terms (e.g. nonperfection of lien on shares/collateral arrangements) for over 3 years despite several regulatory reminders. The bank has not also divested its non-permissible holdings in non-financial entities in line with regulatory directives,” Emefiele revealed.

First Bank has over 31 million customers with a deposit base of N4.2 trillion, shareholders’ funds of N618 billion, and NIBSS instant payment (NIP) processing capacity of 22 percent of the industry.

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