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Dangote, Oando, Rockson Dispute CBN Claim

Source: thisdayonline.com

Apex bank admits errors
By Ejiofor Alike in Lagos and Kunle Aderinokun in Abuja,

The managements of Dangote Industries Limited, Oando Plc, Rockson Engineering Limited and Global Fleet Oil and Gas Ltd. have disputed yesterday�s �non-performing� debtors� list published by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The CBN had last Friday removed chief executive officers and directors of Intercontinental Bank Plc, Oceanic Bank Plc, Afribank Plc, FinBank Plc and Union Bank Plc and replaced them with interim CEOs. The CBN cited the unacceptable levels of loans owed to these banks among other factors for the ouster of the bank bosses.

It also published yesterday the list of the big debtors to the banks to compel them to clear the indebtedness without further delay, failing which, it said the banks would take all appropriate legal actions to ensure repayment.

The said advertorial among others, had listed Alhaji Aliko Dangote as a director and shareholder of Dansa Oil and Gas Limited, and the above stated firms as some of the defaulting customers to Intercontinental Bank Plc.

But the banking watchdog in a statement posted on its website, said the list published yesterday was compiled from reports from the affected banks as at May 31, 2009, which was a cut-off date for the special examination in the first 10 banks. The apex bank said it was probable that the situation could have changed if certain individuals or organisations had effected fresh payments on their facilities.

It noted claims by some individuals on the published list of debtors/defaulters that the figures posted against them were not correct and threatened to go to court. The CBN also acknowledged some typographical errors regarding the titles of some government officials and some companies �and wish to comment as follows: �The general public and all concerned should note that the list published is as at 31st May, 2009 and if any of the defaulters/debtors have made any repayments after that date, they should sort it out with the relevant bank; the title �Accountant General� under Intercontinental Bank Plc list, should have read �Accountant General of Zamfara State�, while the name �Delta State Government� under the Oceanic Bank list, should have read �Delta Steel Company�.

Consequently, the CBN said it regrets �any inconvenience caused as a result of the typographical errors mentioned.�

It nonetheless, said the list of other debtors/defaulters was being compiled and would be published on an ongoing basis.

However, in a statement made available to THISDAY, the management Dangote Industries insisted that Dandote was neither a director nor a shareholder of Dansa Oil and Gas Limited.

According to the statement, �We wish to state for the records that Alhaji Aliko Dangote is neither a Director nor a Shareholder of Dansa Oil and Gas Limited as averred. This is verifiable through the company registration documents held by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) wherein directors of the said company are listed as Alhaji Sani Dangote, Alhaji Mohammed Dangote and Ali Dangote.�

The statement noted that Aliko Dangote is not the same as Ali Dangote �as erroneously published in the CBN advertorial.� Ali Dangote, the statement said, is the son of Alhaji Sani Dangote.

�Form CAC7 of the Corporate Affairs Commission shows Ali Dangote�s signature, which is very different from Alhaji Aliko Dangote�s signature. Furthermore, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has no part in the management and running of Dansa Oil and Gas Limited.

�A letter has been written to the Central Bank of Nigeria to correct this misrepresentation and to request the removal of the name of Alhaji Aliko Dangote from the list of non-performing debtors of Intercontinental Bank Plc.�

Concerning Dangote Industries Limited�s indebtedness to Oceanic Bank Plc to the tune of N2,526,460,000.00, the statement said: �We are in dispute over the charges and are very close to resolution.

�A company of our size will take on facilities from bankers and financiers in the course of our business. As a responsible organisation, we deliver to our obligations in servicing these loans. It is on record that our credit rating remains admirable and our bankers have confidence in our ability to meet our obligations.�

In a related development, the Group Managing Director of Global Fleet, Mr. Jimoh Ibrahim, in a statement yesterday said he and four companies in which he has interests namely - Global Fleet Oil and Gas Ltd., Global Fleet Industries, Fleet Hotels and NICON Group - owe Oceanic Bank Plc N8 billion and not N14.7 billion.

Also, Oando in a rejoinder to the CBN advertorial stated that there was no way its relationship with Oceanic Bank could be deemed non-performing.

The advertorial had stated that Oando had total non-performing loan facility of N7.1 billion with Oceanic Bank Plc and constitutes one of the big debtors in the bank.

In a statement signed by the management of the company, Oando stated that as part of its ongoing relationship with Oceanic Bank, it had different credit balances on its deposit account and other debit balances on its advised loans as at May 31, 2009, adding that none of the debit balances represented �a past due obligation�.

For instance, it stated that in the Oando Plc current and deposit account, it had a balance as at May 13, 2009 of N2.1 billion.

Oando demanded from CBN and Oceanic Bank to correct the erroneous impression in the report, adding that it is a responsible entity and committed to proper financial management practices.

Ibrahim said a letter written to him on May 18, 2009 by Oceanic Bank and titled �Re: Outstanding Indebtedness� put the total outstanding on the facilities of Global Fleet Oil & Gas Ltd., Global Fleet Industries, Fleet Hotels, NICON Group and Barr. Jimoh Ibrahim at N8 billion.

The letter jointly signed by Robinson Ofomata (Asst. GM, Corporate Banking) and Oti Ikomi (Executive Director, Corporate Banking Group) acknowledged the receipt of N3 billion to date on the outstanding of Ibrahim�s facilities with the bank.

�Subject to getting value for the N1,000,000,000.00 cheque payment�May 18, 2009, the total outstanding on your facilities will now be N8,000,000,000.00 (eight billion naira only),� the bank said, adding �we�look forward to a most mutually beneficial relationship even as it is our hope that other payments necessary to fully extinguish these facilities will follow soon.�

He said the CBN acted hastily and that in the light of its (CBN�s) allegations of inaccuracy and non-disclosure against the banks, should �have found time to get the current figure�.

Also, the Managing Director, Rockson Engineering Limited, Sir Arumemi Johnson- Ikhide, and its Chairman, Senator Aniette Okon, also described as false the publication by the CBN that their company�s indebtedness to Intercontinental Bank stood at N36, 989,685,692.84.

They insisted that the company�s indebtedness to the bank was N14, 423,291,589. 49. Okon said the company would write to the CBN for the retraction of the publication.

The Rockson Engineering executives said the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) might suffer a major setback as foreign manufacturers involved in the execution of major power projects under the NIPP had suspended the supply of equipment for the ongoing projects.

Rockson Engineering Company Limited is the contractor handling four of the nine ongoing power projects under the NIPP.

Specifically, they said all the foreign firms involved in the manufacturing of the equipment for the projects had suspended actions over fears that some Nigerian banks are distressed.

�The foreign manufacturers have said that they will no longer supply equipment for the projects and it will affect their completion dates. They are holding Letters of Credit (LCs) from the banks the CBN pronounced as distressed. No bank will fund government projects anymore; if you present CBN Letters of Credit, they will not honour it. The initial setback of the NIPP was the power probe by the House of Representatives. Today, the issue is on the integrity of the LCs issued by the CBN. It is based on the LCs that we obtained facilities from the banks. If the CBN is saying that the loans are non-performing, it means that their LCs are not credible,� said Okon.

Some of the projects to be executed by Rockson Engineering include the 1074 megawatts capacity Ala-Oji Power Station, the largest station under the NIPP, being built in Ugwunagbo Local Government Area of Abia State and the Gbarain Ubie power station in Bayelsa State.

Others include the Egbema Power Plant in Imo State and the Omoku Power Station in Rivers State.

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