‘Mismanaging Officers’ Of Skye Bank Under Investigation

The events leading to capital erosion of the defunct Skye Bank Plc, and the roles played by its officers would be unearthed soon, going by assurances from the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC).

If the promises are made good, it would be the beginning of an end to the era of walking out freely by top executives of corporates, after superintending avoidable negligence resulting to losses.

The Chief Executive Officer of NDIC, Umar Ibrahim, while addressing the newsmen on the sidelines of the Africa Regional Committee workshop of the International Association of Deposit Insurers, in Lagos, yesterday, said the investigation has already begun.

Already, stakeholders have expressed dismay that some directors, who were part of the management that superintended capital erosion in banks, were usually allowed to remain by the regulators.

He said: “They are being investigated and I can assure you that when the time comes, the relevant security and law enforcement agencies will do their work.”

The Godwin Emefiele-led CBN had on July 2016, during an intervention to save Skye Bank, forced the resignation of the Chairman, all non-executive directors, as well as the Managing Director, Deputy Managing Director, and the two longest-serving executive directors, while appointing their replacements.

But at the take over of the bank by AMCON, Emefiele noted: “Given the good performance of the board and management, the CBN shall retain them.

In addition, all employees of Skye Bank shall be absorbed by Polaris Bank under a new contract, unless any employee decides to opt out.”

Meanwhile, the NDIC chief has declared as falsehood, the allegation that Polaris Bank was not registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), a day after Emefiele told Nigerians that the said bank was first registered two weeks ago as a limited liability company, thus reinforcing their objections to the claim.

Emefiele explained that the bank was registered as a bank 24 hours ahead of the announcement of takeover, calling on all to ignore those kinds of message and focus on the real issues, which bother on keeping a bank alive, protecting depositors and saving about 5,000 jobs.

Ibrahim added that Polaris Bank is now a full-fledged bank and no longer a bridge bank, largely owned by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, as the major investor.

“It is a lie. It is a total lie. Normally, you register a company first, before pursuing a licence; and when the licence is approved, you register again as a bank. These have been done, so they should check properly with CAC,” he said.

Speaking on the essence of the workshop, themed: “Financial Stability, System-Wide Crisis Preparedness and Effective Bank Resolution,” he said he is pursuing capacity building under his leadership of the regional group, to tackle cross-border and systemic risk crisis, through collaboration.

Noting that Nigerian banks have operations outside the country, he said that increasing inter-connectedness has shown that banking crisis can have contagion effects hence the need for a system-wide approach and collaborative efforts of safety net participants and regional deposit insurance systems.

“The fabric of the global financial stability is constantly being threatened by one form of crisis or the other.

These include policy normalisation in notable economies, which may result to sharp volatility and disruptions in financial markets.

“Another issue is the partial dis-intermediation of the banking system, arising from proliferation of digital currency like Bitcoin, as well as the activities of financial technology in general,” he added.

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