. Intercontinental Bank’s Biggest Debtors Are Its New Owners
Street Journal’s investigations have revealed discrepancies in the sale of Intercontinental Bank Plc to Access Bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria. It has been discovered that the Central Bank Governor, Malam Sanusi Lamido waived a loan of N8.9Billion for Senator Bukola Saraki and another N16.2 billion loan for Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, the MD of Access Bank, to help them buy Intercontinental Bank over. Before now, there had been allegations that the former Kwara State Governor was at the background of a grand scheme to take over Intercontinental Bank.
After Erastus Akingbola was sacked as the bank’s MD, Mahmoud Lai Alabi was named as his replacement. Alabi was until his appointment on Saraki’s payroll, being the Chairman of Shonga Farms, a Saraki initiative that brought displaced Zimbabwean farmers to Kwara State. It was reported then that one of the first steps Alabi took as MD was to write off Dr. Saraki’s N8.1 billion loan. Alabi also went ahead to sack Executive Directors of the bank who were replaced one after the other with staff of Saraki’s Societe Generale Bank. It might not be wrong therefore to conclude that Saraki has been running Intercontinental Bank by proxy since the new management took over.
Questions are already being asked within the banking sector regarding how Aig Imoukhuede who is one of the biggest debtors on Intercontinental Bank’s list suddenly mustered enough resources to buy the bank.
It was announced recently that Access Bank would acquire 75% stake in Intercontinental Bank for N 50 billion and combine both firms’ operations within one year of the merger. Shareholders of the latter had reportedly given their support to the merger, though it remains unknown whether the shareholders are aware of the situation or they just decided to ignore.
The move which is plagued with irregularities has exposed the Central Bank Governor’s inadequacies. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi who has hitherto been seen as one of the most upright men in the country has come under criticism especially regarding the motive behind the sale of the bank. Questions are also being raised about his sincerity in the deal. Documents in Street Journal’s possession revealed that a N 16.2 billion loan was duly obtained from Intercontinental Bank Plc and signed for by Aig Imokhuede, the Access Bank MD in favour of United Alliance Company of Nigeria.
Sequel to the Central Bank’s regulatory action on five banks two years ago, the apex bank published a list of defaulting customers of the banks who were asked to pay up to prevent appropriate legal actions from being taken against them by the apex bank. Those on the list were described by the Central Bank as the “largest debtors.” Incidentally, the third slot on the list of the largest debtors published on August 18, 2009 was occupied by United Alliance Company of Nigeria and the balance of its indebtedness as of May 31, 2009 was N 16, 247,686,168.18. Its Directors were listed as Mr. Aig Imoukhuede and Mr. Herbert Wigwe both of who are also Group Managing Directors of Access Bank.
In a letter sent to the United Alliance Company from Intercontinental Bank Plc on November 19, 2009, terms of restructuring a N 10.3 billion loan facility were outlined. The loan had a tenure of 36 months and according to the purpose stated in the document, the time extension was to enable the borrower, i.e United Alliance to liquidate its outstanding indebtedness to Intercontinental Bank in line with its cash flow.
While repayment was to commence in April, 2010, an interest of 18% was agreed on. And as part of the conditions, 894,690,600 units of Access Bank shares were listed as security as well as “joint and several personal guarantees of Mr. Herbert Wigwe and Mr. Aigoje Aig-Imokhuede for the full facility amount and accrued interest.”
A letter from United Alliance to Intercontinental Bank dated 10th March, 2011 showed that Intercontinental Bank was being owed the sum of N 10.2 billion by United Alliance, a company headed by Aig Imokhuede, Intercontinental Bank’s new buyer. Street Journal gathered that as it stands, Access Bank’s two Group Managing Directors are indebted to Intercontinental Bank to the tune of N 10.2 billion.
The March, 10 letter which was to help United Alliance get an extension for the repayment of the facility reads inter alia: “we would like to assure you of our absolute commitment in repaying the above facility. Repayments of these facilities are based on the cash flows generated by United Alliance through its investment management activities. However we are currently having difficulties matching our cash flow with the current agreed repayment dates. We hereby write to formally request for a change in the repayment dates of our facility to ensure that it synchronises with our cash flow in order to meet the obligation as the fall due.”
It was also requested in the letter that the dates be moved to “at least the last day of the first week of each calendar quarter. In other words to at least the 7th day of April, July, October and December respectively of the year.”
Another letter confirming the status of United Alliance was received by Intercontinental Bank Plc when the July fall date came. A letter signed by Chizoba Ufoeze on behalf of the United Alliance Company of Nigeria Limited read in part “we acknowledge the receipt of your letter dated 30th June, 2011 informing us of the portion of the term loan (N 1, 307, 465,060.12) due on 7 July, 2011. However, due to constrain in our cash flow, we humbly request a 30 day extension to clean up this obligation. We assure you of our determination to liquidate this term loan within the term specified in the offer letter and thanks for your patience. ”
Many of those who know the internal workings of Intercontinental and Access Banks are yet to come to terms with how Aig-Imokhuede, one of the biggest debtors of Intercontinental Bank, who has asked for extension of repayment over and over would offer to buy the bank over and Malam Sanusi Lamido would go ahead to sell the whole Bank to him at a ridiculous N50 billion when even the quarterly profit of Intercontinental Bank is more than 50billion Naira.
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By NewsAdmin on October 6, 2011
. Intercontinental Bank’s Biggest Debtors Are Its New Owners