HEADLINERS OF 2010: BUSINESS
Okereke-Onyuike & Sanusi
Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi,
Governor , Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN)
The most memorable performance of the CBN governor this year was his eyeball-to-eyeball stand-off with members of the National Assembly(NASS) on their jumbo pay. Sanusi told the members the home truth that they consume 25.41 per cent of the national budget. Using figures from the Budget Office to buttress his point, he explained that the lawmakers' vote currently stands at N136,259,768,102 billion against a national overhead of N536.2 billion. According to him, the figure represents 25.41 per cent of the total Federal Government overhead.
He warned that a country in the quest for development, capital expenditure should always be accorded higher priority in order to increase the stock of capital formation needed to grow the productive base of the economy, adding that borrowing long-term for current consumption, rather than capital expenditure, does not augur well for the economy.
His words: 'If the pattern of expenditure and consumption continues without the necessary revenue generation from capital, it could lead to crisis in the nearest future.'
The banking czar also pegged the maximum tenure a bank managing director can serve at 10 years, saying each Chief Executive Officer (CEO) can now serve for maximum two terms of five years each.
According to him, 'this is actually done to enthrone good corporate governance in our banks, to institutionalise the arrangement of the appointment of CEOs in banks, to ensure to that banks put in place a good succession plan and programme.'
This measure spelt the end to the tenure of three bank chiefs. They are Mr Tony Elumelu of the United Bank for Africa (UBA)Plc; Mr Jim Ovia of Zenith Bank Plc and Mr Akinsola Akinfemiwa, Skye Bank Plc.
Another landmark of the apex bank under Sanusi is the phase out of the universal banking system.
The CBN had on March 15 said that it would issue fresh licences to categories of banks and phase out universal banking within 18 months.
By universal banking, which was introduced in 2000, banks became one-stop shops, offering a range of financial services – insurance, mortgage, stock broking, merchant banking, commercial banking and bureau de change – under one group.
It is also to the credit of Sanusi that the much-expected Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON)finally took off after the bill establishing it had been signed into law by President Goodluck Jonathan. AMCON is to act as a resolution vehicle that will buy qualifying non-performing loans from banks in order to help them repair their balance sheets thereby improving their capital and liquidity positions.
Prof (Mrs) Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke
Former Director-General, Nigerian Stock Exchange(NSE)
On August 4, her dream to voluntarily retire from office was truncated as the Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC) announced her sack over alleged financial mismanagement and other allegations relating to inadequate oversight of The Exchange. The NSE President, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, was also suspended from acting .
Despite her acclaimed success at The Exchange, her travails actually started in 2008, when she tried to raise funds for the presidential campaign of Mr Barak Obama through an outfit known as 'Africa For Obama,' but a swift disclaimer by the Obama campaign team in the US led to the subsequent collapse of the scheme. Earlier, she was embroiled in the controversy surrounding her chairmanship of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc(Transcorp), a company established by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to serve as a private sector response to economic reform initiatives of his administration.The thd cause of her problem was the capital market crash that saw investors lose about 60 per cent value on their investments. Many operators and investors had complained then that the pre-May 2008 Okereke-Onyiuke/Musa Al-Faki leadership was a bad combination that must be changed if investor confidence should return to the market.
Ms Arunma Oteh
Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC)
Since Oteh's appointment, her most popular achievement till date, even as controversial as it seems, has been the sacking of the Director-General of The Nigerian Stock Exchange(NSE), Prof (Mrs) Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke and the appointment of independent auditors to carry out forensic examination of the books of the bourse.
SEC, in a statement , said that it has closely followed the developments in the Nigerian Stock Exchange, particularly with respect to its inadequate oversight of affairs under its purview, ongoing litigation, allegations of financial mismanagement, governance challenges, and the inordinate delays in the implementation of the succession plan for The Exchange.
The statement adds: 'In following the developments, the commission has, at all times, carefully deliberated on the implications and ramifications of a direct intervention in the affairs of the Exchange. In this deliberation, the commission weighed the consequences on the market of a direct intervention set against the broader goal of safeguarding the interest of the public and protecting the investor.'
As a result of this, the Commission decided to take a number of decisions, which are as follows:
'That the council member elected as President of the Exchange in defiance of the Court order cease acting as the President pending the outcome of the ongoing litigation; council members elected in defiance of the court order cease acting as members of the Council pending the outcome of the ongoing litigation; current Director-General of the Exchange, Prof Ndi Okereke-Onyuike, be removed from the office of Director General/Chief Executive Officer of the NSE; That the affairs of The Exchange are managed by an Interim Administrator appointed by the commission pending the selection of a new Director-General.'
It then appointed Aluko & Oyebode law firm and KPMG accounting firm as independent auditors to investigate the allegations which suggest that the affairs of The Exchange may have been managed in a manner detrimental to the interest of the investing public.
Alhaji Aliko Dangote
The billionaire held majority stakes in Benue Cement and Dangote Cement through his holding company Dangote Industries, meaning the free float of the listed entity was initially just 4.1 per cent below the regulator's 25 per cent minimum. The company is setting up cement plants and import terminals around Africa including Ethiopia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Zambia, and aims to produce 46 million tonnes of cement a year on the continent by 2015, 30 million of it in Nigeria. Dangote said that he planned to transfer all his cement assets outside Nigeria into Dangote Cement by the first quarter of next year.
Mrs Cecilia Ibru
Former Group Managing Director, Oceanic Bank International Plc
This former bank chief broke the record of being the first in the country to make the largest forfeiture in history. She forfeited assets worth over N191 billion worldwide in a plea bargain that saw her case mitigated.
A High Court in Lagos presided over by Justice Dan Abutu had on Friday ,October 8, 2010 found Mrs. Ibru, guilty on a three-count charge of giving loans beyond her credit limits, giving wrong accounts and giving out loans of N20billion without due process and subsequently jailed her for 18 months. Mrs Ibru also voluntarily forfeited assets worth N191.4billion. The assets include 94 choice properties around the world (USA, Dubai and Nigeria) and shares in 100 Companies, 80 of which are listed on The Nigerian Stock Exchange, while 20 of them are non-listed, all valued at the sum of N191.4billion.
Savouring the judgment, CBN said in a statement that her conviction was a vindication of the report of the CBN/NDIC examiners that found serious infractions against her which led to her removal as the Managing Director of the bank by its Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, on August 14, 2009.
Prior to the court order by Justice Abutu, Mrs Ibru admitted to all the allegations against her, but by the provisions of the settlement agreement entered into by the two parties, she pleaded guilty to three of the 27 charges against her. She is expected to spend six months behind bars as the sentences on the three-count charges run concurrently.
According to the order of the court, the assets are forfeited to Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) which was set up to assist the recapitalization of the bailed out banks. With this, it is clear that Oceanic Bank will soon be in the position to return to the CBN the N100bn injected into the bank and also get adequately recapitalized and thus survive the banking crisis.
It is worth noting that this development is unprecedented in the history of banking in Nigeria. In fact, according to Dr. K. Ajayi (SAN), 'in the history of criminal Justice Administration in Nigeria, nothing like this has been recorded since amalgamation in 1914'.
Dr Erastus Akingbola
Former Group Managing Director , Intercontinental Bank Plc,
Akingbola, who was spirited out of the country on August 19, 2009 quietly breezed in early August 2010, after spending more than one year in a self-exile.
Shortly before he was detained by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC), he sent a 28-point petition to President Goodluck Jonathan through the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF)and Minister of Justice, Mr Mohammed Adoke (SAN), and alleged how Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State, working hand-in- hand with the Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, arm-twisted him over a business he started and nurtured for over 21 years.
Explaining how the whole plot was hatched, Akingbola accused both Sanusi and Saraki of using the former's ongoing banking reforms as a smokescreen, almost immediately he was appointed the CBN chief on June 4, 2009, to engineer a take-over plan, using Mahmoud Alabi, a former employee of Saraki, as a front.
In the petition titled: 'Fraudulent Take over of Intercontinental Bank Plc by Dr Bukola Saraki, Mallam Lamido Sanusi & Mahmoud Lai Alabi.' the ex- bank chief appealed to the AGF to institute an independent investigation into the 'so-called' banking reform of Sanusi, the fraudulent N32 billion loan write-off at Intercontinental Bank Plc and all the allegations against the banks' CEOs. Also he urged the Jonathan government,which he said believes in the rule of law, to reverse the fraudulent take-over of the bank and return it to its board, management and shareholders.
Akingbola assured the government that 'even with the deliberate damage being done to the banks and their stock prices on a daily basis, if we are given six to nine months, the banks will be restructured to normal, favourable and fair positions.'
His pleas spin off from his conviction that Governor Saraki used his political power to take over IB Plc after his failed peaceful merger attempts.