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Friday, 04 August 2017 15:14

AMCON, EFCC collaborate to recover N4.6tr debts

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The Asset Management  Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have partnered to recover over N4.6 trillion debts owed the corporation by debtors. Both agencies, had in a meeting yesterday in Abuja, agreed to consolidate on the gains of their relationship especially in the areas of investigating, prosecuting and compelling all debtors of AMCON,  in accordance with the relevant laws.

The AMCON Managing Director/CEO Ahmed Kuru and EFCC’s Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu agreed on the need to revisit some banks and their officials that were instrumental to the abuse and violation of internal processes that led to the huge non-performing loans in AMCON’s portfolio.

Kuru said AMCON acquired debts from 22 banks worth N3.7 trillion and provided financial accommodation to 10 banks of about N2.2 trillion. He observed that despite AMCON’s recovery efforts, the corporation still holds unresolved loans in excess of N4.6 trillion which represents about 75 per cent of total national budget. He expressed concern that failure on the part of AMCON to resolve the debts will have far reaching implication for the nation at large.

Both agencies are planning to revisit, reinvestigate and duly prosecute such banks and the responsible officials.

Magu described the assignments of both agencies of government as “very tough, overwhelming and challenging.” He however added that he was happy that AMCON under Kuru is doing everything within its mandate to confront the obligors with all the risks involved in the process of doing so.

He said it was for that reason that EFCC established AMCON Desk with dedicated EFCC officials that ensures that all AMCON related cases in EFCC received speedy attention. Magu assured Kuru that the AMCON Desk at EFCC will continue to be functional adding that the EFCC is willing to increase the number of personnel on the Desk if so required and would be willing to establish a Lagos branch if necessary to make sure these huge loans are recovered in the interest of the Nigerian economy.

Condemning the impunity with which those transactions were done, the EFCC boss affirmed that some of these obligors “who took loans without the intention of paying back” did not envisage that someday an agency like AMCON will come knocking on their doors seeking to recover the loans. According to him, giving the similarity in the objectives of both agencies, the acting EFCC Chairman said there is need for joint trainings towards fostering better understanding between AMCON and the EFCC.


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Banks Move to stabilise 9mobile before sale

The 13 commercial banks that gave $1.2 billion loan to 9mobile  will try to stabilise the business of the firm  until new  investors step in, First Bank of Nigeria Chief Executive Officer, Adesola Adeduntan, said yesterday.

The bank chief said  there was no need to impair the loans extended to the telecom firm, because of its cash flows.

“On the part of lenders, we are trying to reposition the company till we find new investors. With the level of cash flow we believe there will be no need for impairment,” Adeduntan told Reuters.

Another lender, FCMB, said on Tuesday lenders had agreed to extend a $1.2 billion loan which the mobile operator, formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria, took out four years ago but struggled to repay due to a currency crisis and a recession in Nigeria.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) stepped in last month to save Etisalat Nigeria from collapse and prevent lenders placing the country’s fourth biggest telecoms group into receivership, prompting a board, management and name change.

The local banks which participated in the loan, many of which are reporting first-half results, have been trying to work out the value of 9mobile before deciding whether to impair the loan or wait until the company finds new investors.

Banks involved in the loan deal include: Zenith Bank , GT Bank, First Bank, UBA , Fidelity Bank, Access Bank, Ecobank, FCMB, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Union Bank.

GT Bank with $138 million in outstanding loans to 9mobile and Access Bank with $131 million are among the most exposed. The telecoms group has asked Citigroup and Standard Bank to find an investor to buy into the firm and three companies have shown interest, a banking source close to the deal said.

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NDIC: Banking Industry Fraud Drops by 48.12% in 2016

The banking industry recorded a decline in the rate of successful fraud incidences and extent of amount of losses in 2016, compared to 2015.

The NDIC Managing Director/Chief Executive, Alh. Umaru Ibrahim, disclosed this while delivering a lecture: ‘The Role of NDIC in Mitigating Corruption in the Nigerian Banks’ at the general meeting of the Abuja Chapter of the Alumni Association of the National Institute (AANI).

According to Ibrahim who was represented by a Deputy Director in Research, Policy and International Relations Department, Mr. Hashim Ahmad, the reported cases of frauds, forgeries and outright theft involving bank staff recorded a huge decline of 48.12 per cent from N18.02 billion in 2015 to N8.68 billion in 2016, while the actual losses to the nation’s banking industry dropped by 24.29 per cent from N3.17 billion in 2015 to N2.40 billion in 2016.

Also, the level of attempted cases of frauds and forgeries declined by N0.329 billion or 11.94 percent from N2.756 billion in March 2017 to N2.427 billion in June 2017.

The NDIC boss also stated that although reported cases of fraud and forgeries rose by 36.42 per cent from 12,279 cases in 2015 to 16,751 cases in 2016, the reduction in the rate of successful fraud incidences and actual losses was an indication of improved regulatory/supervisory oversight, increased vigilance by banks and the deployment of improved security architecture in the banking industry.

He attributed the factors breeding corruption in Nigerian banks to poor corporate governance, infractions in foreign exchange operations, cumbersome legal process and lack of effective sanctions of offenders, amongst others.

Ibrahim reiterated that the NDIC in conjunction with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) continuously supervise the banks to ensure their strict adherence to sound corporate governance practices. He added that issues bordering on unethical financial practices and the resolution of conflicts between customers and their banks were being addressed by the Bankers Committee.

The NDIC boss also noted the rising trend in the level of banks’ non-performing loans (NPLs) and stated that the NDIC had recommended the prohibition of Directors of licensed banks, including microfinance banks (MFBs) and primary mortgage banks (PMBs) from obtaining credit facilities from their respective banks.

Ibrahim, in a statement, pointed out that the NDIC collaborated with other stakeholders such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) and the Financial Malpractices Investigation Unit (FMIU) to conduct investigations into banking malpractices. He also stated that the NDIC provided capacity building programmes for the agencies in addition to seconding some NDIC Staff to the institutions to assist them in investigating financial crimes.



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