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President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Executive Council may have been deceived into approving N4 billion for the purchase of a new office complex in Abuja for the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM.

 

The approval, according to reliable sources, was based on the presentation by the NAICOM management to the office of the President that they were buying a ready-to-use magnificent office complex better than what they were currently using in Garki 2 District of Abuja.

 

The said building, which was initially valued at N2.5 billion, was surreptitiously raised to N4 billion by the time the presidential assent was obtained.

 

 

The cost of the building is expected to further rise by the time agency fees and taxes are added but the commission may also need to expend additional N5 billion or more to put the carcass into a functional office use.

 

Celebrityplusnonline gathered that trouble, however, started when the management of the commission went to draw the cash but was promptly informed by the Director of Finance and Administration that there was no cash backing for the payment and that it would be imprudent to expend such cash towards the end of the year that could affect staff salaries and other recurrent matters.

 

At the same time, Celebrityplusnonline learnt that many of the board members were dissatisfied with the discovery that the building for which the huge sum was to be committed was still under construction, against the position of management that it was a ready-to-use complex.

 

Many of the board members were, therefore, opposed to paying the huge cash for the uncompleted structure.

 

A source in NAICOM said that the Deputy Commissioner and other senior management staff of the commission opposed the move on the ground that the building was not worth the huge amount and that the agency had a beautiful and functional office complex in place.

 

But it was learnt that some top officials of NAICOM working with some powerful officials in the Presidency had pushed for the cash to be taken out of the commission on or before August 25, 2022.

 

It was gathered that moves are being made to get the money out of the Dollar Account of NAICOM with the CBN.

 

Apparently to pave way for the cash to be easily taken out and ‘spent on agreed formula’, the Director of Finance and Administration, who advised against the expenditure until the approval is cash-backed, had been removed from the headquarters and sent to Lagos office.

 

In the place of the DFA, the leadership of NAICOM reportedly handpicked an assistant director to handle the finances of the commission with immediate effect.

 

Similarly, the commissioner for Insurance has gone ahead to effect the signatories with the accountant-general’s office so as to pave the way for the cash withdrawal.

 

However, things came to a head on Monday when the Chairman of the Governing Board led the members to inspect the building.

 

It was gathered that the board members discovered to their chagrin that the purported ‘completed office building’ was nothing but an uncompleted building originally slated for a hotel that could require another N5 billion to complete and put to office use.

 

An inside source said: “The commissioner got the approval from FEC to acquire a befitting office complex for NAICOM but the approval is yet to be backed with cash.

 

“Surprisingly, the man became desperate after being advised to get cash backing before drawing the cash. The commissioner decided to boycott necessary protocols by transferring the finance director and mounting pressure on an assistant director in the finance and accounts department to proceed to the Accountant General’s office to effect a change in the mandate to enable him move out the money.”

 

‘The union and staff members are aggrieved and are battle ready should the purchase be carried out.

 

This is so as some of them contacted claimed that there would be no money left in the account should the property be purchased in this budget year.

 

But when contacted the spokesman of NAICOM, Razak Salami, neither confirmed nor denied the claims but promised to make an official position of the agency known next week.

 

“I will respond to the matter once I settle down,” Salami promised when contacted by one of our correspondents.

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Fidelity Bank Wins Best SME Bank Nigeria at Global Banking & Finance Awards 2022

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Fidelity Bank Plc, has been announced as the 2022 Best SME Bank in Nigeria by the Global Banking & Finance Review at its Annual Global Banking & Finance Awards which held in London, UK recently.

 

Global Banking & Finance Review is the leading online, digital, and print magazine for the banking and financial sector. The website receives over 7 million page views each year thanks to its balanced views and informative, independent news centered on the financial sector. The Global Banking & Finance Awards was created to recognize companies of all sizes that are prominent areas of expertise and excellence within the global financial community.

 

“Global Banking and Finance Review is privileged to honor those financial institutions that have achieved outstanding results and who stand out in their particular area of expertise in the banking and finance industry. Global Banking & Finance Review would like to congratulate the award winners and look forward to their continued success.

 

“The awards were created to recognize companies of all sizes that are prominent in particular areas of expertise and excellence within the financial community. They reflect the involvement of leading financial organizations and recognize the accomplishment, achievement, innovation, strategy, and progressive and motivating changes taking place within the financial sector”, reads a statement on the Global Banking and Finance Awards website.

 

Commenting on the award, MD/CEO Fidelity Bank Plc, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe said, “We are grateful for this recognition and dedicate the award to our customers who rely on us to provide the right support for scaling their business. Receiving this award at the beginning of the year, provides us with increased motivation to do more in helping our clients achieve their strategic business goals.”

 

Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria with over 7.2 million customers serviced across its 250 business offices and digital banking channels. The bank was recently recognized as the Best Private Bank in Nigeria and Best Private Bank Digital Solutions for Clients in Africa in the Global Finance’s World’s Best Private Banks 2023 Awards; as well as the Best Commercial Banking Brand in Nigeria by the Global Brands Magazine Awards. The bank has also won awards for the “Fastest Growing Bank” and “MSME & Entrepreneurship Financing Bank of the Year” at the 2021 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.

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Buhari Will Commission Dangote Refinery Before May 29 -Dangote Group

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The attention of Dangote group has been drawn to some misleading reports regarding the commissioning of its Dangote Refinery during the present working visit of President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR to Lagos State.

 

In a terse statement signed by the Group Chief, Branding & Communications Officer, Dangote Industries Limited, Mr Anthony Chiejina, the Group averred that “We want to state categorically that our 650,000 barrels per day (bpd) Refinery project was never part of the President’s programme on projects to be commissioned.

 

“For the record, the projects slated for commissioning in Lagos State by President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR include: Lekki Deep Sea Port; 32-Metric Tonnes Lagos Rice Mill, Imota; 18.75km Eleko to Epe T Junction Express road; John Randle Centre for Yoruba Culture and History, Onikan, Blue Line Rail (Phase 1) commissioning (Marina to Mile 2); Groundbreaking for the Blue Line Rail Phase 2 (Mile 2 to Okokomaiko), and MRS Lubricant, a private project in Apapa.

 

However, our Refinery will be commissioned before President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR formally leaves office in May, 2023, and the public will be duly informed and invited to the epic event.”

Before this statement today, Business Hilights recalls that there had been a fake news in an unverified twitter handle saying President Buhari will among other things commission the refinery which the company debunked and described as fake.

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