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The sacked governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele allegedly used proxies and purchased Union Bank of Nigeria.

 

The sacked governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele allegedly used proxies and purchased Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN), a report by Jim Obazee, the special investigator appointed by President Bola has shown.

 

The late Alhaji Ismaila Isa Funtua, an ally of former President Muhammadu Buhari, was also fingered alongside Emefiele in the acquisition of Keystone Bank and Polaris Bank.

 

The acquisitions were carried out separately over time as seen in the report submitted to President Tinubu on December 20, 2023.

 

Daily Trust got access to some of the documents through credible sources as the report has not been made public yet.

 

It was on July 30, 2023 that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu appointed Obazee, the chief executive officer of the Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria as the special investigator.

 

The Union Bank Acquisition

In the report seen by our reporter, the detailed stages followed to acquire the Union Bank, one of the first generation financial institutions in Nigeria, were contained in a memo to President Tinubu, titled, “Report of the Investigation of the Acquisition of Union Bank of Nigeria by Titan Trust Bank.”

 

The special investigator had requested the CBN to provide his team with all relevant documents, and from what he got, the name of Titan Trust Bank (TTB) was seen as the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for the acquisition.

 

According to the report, in the documents from the apex bank, it was found that TTB had in a letter of October 25, 2021, sought CBN’s no-objection to its proposed consolidation with Union Bank excluding its UK operations.

 

This, the letter noted, should be in four phases: the acquisition of 91.5 per cent of the issued shares of the UBN; Mandatory Tender Offer (MTO) for the remaining shares of the UBN; buyout of any share not voluntarily sold to TTB on the MTO; and merger of TTB and UBN with UBN as the surviving entity.

 

It also stated that consolidation was to be funded via a combination of debt and equity, and CBN via letters dated March 3 and 9, 2022, which granted no objections to TTB’s request to obtain a $300,000,000 facility from Afrexim Bank, as well as capital injection of $175,000,000 from two existing shareholders of TTB; Messrs Luxis International DMCC and Magna International DMCC, all purportedly operating from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

 

And the TTB, via a letter dated June 3, 2022, informed the CBN that it had made the payment of the purchase consideration to the selling shareholders on June 1, 2022, and had thus successfully completed the acquisition of 93.4 per cent of the issued shares of the Union Bank.

 

The investigator stated in his report to the president that, “When carrying out our investigation, we discovered that some persons were used as proxies by Mr Godwin Emefiele to set up Titan Trust Bank and acquire Union Bank, all from ill-gotten wealth. We were able to secure some documents, and investigation reports will lead to the forfeiture of the two banks by the federal government.

 

“We have completed our investigation on this acquisition and have also held meetings with relevant parties except for Mr Cornelius Vink (currently hospitalised in Switzerland). We are on the verge of recovering these two banks for the federal government,” the document showed.

 

Acquisition of Keystone Bank

In another finding titled, “Report of the Investigation of the Acquisition of Keystone Bank,” submitted by the special investigator to President Tinubu, it was stated that after due diligence, it was discovered that some persons were used as proxies with the connivance and assistance of Emefiele and the CBN to acquire the bank without evidence of payment.

 

It stated, “AMCON MD moved N20billion to Heritage Bank as placement sometime in 2010. On the back of that, Heritage Bank granted a loan of N25billion to the promoters of Isa Funtua/Emefiele group’s acquisition vehicles to buy Keystone Bank.

 

“The loan was further backed by the shareholders of the bank. Upon acquisition, Keystone Bank returned the N20bn back to Heritage Bank as placement. Thereafter, Heritage Bank repaid AMCON from the cash flow created.

 

“When the loan granted by Heritage Bank to Isa Funtua/Emefiele’s acquisition vehicles matured with outstanding balance, the MD of Heritage Bank (which was then in serious liquidity crisis), called for repayment. Unfortunately for the shareholders of the bank, the Isa Funtua/Emefiele Group could not repay.

 

“Consequently, the MD of Heritage got his lawyers to write to the bank on two occasions, threatening to take over Keystone Bank based on the shares they had pledged as security.

 

“After much pressure from him, Keystone Bank created internal loans of about N50bn between June and October 2019 and moved the proceeds to repay Heritage Bank on behalf of their group. However, the MD of the bank at that time had resigned due to consistent pressure from him and the shareholders to comply. The internal loans so created are not being serviced and have gone bad.

 

“The special investigator has commenced the interrogation of the MD of AMCON to clarify the situation of the acquisition of both Polaris and Keystone banks beside Arik Air, Aero Contractors and the financial reporting by AMCON,” it stated.

 

The document showed that the investigator would continue the interrogation of the AMCON MD yesterday, December 22, 2023; and based on preliminary report, Keystone was acquired for free, just as Polaris Bank.

 

On the issue of Union Bank acquisition, our correspondent last night tried to hear from the officials but was not successful.

 

However, after insider information in June this year, Daily Trust also wrote to Mrs Olufunmi Aluko, Head, Corporate Communication, Union Bank, to provide some clarification on the transaction surrounding the acquisition of the bank by Titan Bank.

 

This was before the appointment of the special investigator on happenings in the CBN.

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Baba Adinni and Iya Adinni: Harmony Gardens Chairman and Wife Inducted into Spiritual Roles

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In a momentous occasion of spiritual significance and community recognition, the Chairman of Harmony Gardens and Estates Development LTD, Hon. Dr. Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa, popularly known as Mr. Ibile, and his wife, Hadjia Aishat Adebimpe, were recently installed with revered titles at an event hosted by the Al-Irshad Islamic Foundation.

 

Hon Saheed Mosadoluwa Ibile inaugurated a multi-billion naira ultra-modern Central Mosque at Ibeju-Lekki immidiately after he got recognized by the West Africa Islamic Council as the AL Mujaddid in Rabbat, Morocco.

 

According to popular Muslim tradition, the term refers to an individual who emerges at the turn of each century in the Islamic calendar to rejuvenate Islam, purging it of extraneous elements and restoring it to its original purity. In contemporary times, a mujaddid is regarded as the preeminent Muslim figure of a century.

 

The concept of Mujaddid is based on a hadith (a saying of Islamic prophet Muhammad), recorded by Abu Dawood, narrated by Abu Hurairah who mentioned that Muhammad said:

 

Allah will raise Mujaddid for this community at the end of every 100 years the one who will renovate its religion for it.

 

Recall that in a grand ceremony attended by distinguished personalities and spiritual leaders, Hon Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa, Chairman and CEO of Harmony Gardens and Estates Development LTD, officially commissioned and handed over a state-of-the-art central mosque in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State, on Friday, January 19th, 2024.

 

The auspicious event witnessed the presence of esteemed religious leaders, including Sheik Semiu .A. Opeloyeru, The Grand Chief Imam and General President of the League of Imam and Alfa in Ibeju-Lekki L.G.A. The ceremony commenced with the arrival of Sheik Semiu .A. Opeloyeru, setting the tone for a day of spiritual significance and community celebration.

 

Representing the executive governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Babajide Sanwoolu, was Hon. Ahmed Abdulai Jembe, the Special Adviser on Islamic Affairs to the governor, graced the ceremony. The Onibeju in attendance emphasizing the significance of the event in the cultural and traditional context.

 

The event saw the attendance of various traditional rulers, highlighting the communal and inclusive nature of the mosque inauguration. Notably, the newly appointed Lagos NURTW Chairman, Mustapha Sego, drew attention as his presence added an extra layer of recognition to the occasion.

 

However, the prestigious ceremony, held at Monarch Hall in Osapa London Lekki, Lagos State, saw Hon. Dr. Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa bestowed with the title of Baba Adinni, signifying a revered position within the religious community. His wife, Hadjia Aishat Adebimpe, was similarly honored as Iya Adinni, a title of great respect and responsibility.

 

The Al-Irshad Islamic Foundation, under the guidance of its founder Sheik Rasheed Adeleke, who is also the owner of Al-Irshad Travel and Tours, organized the event as a Pre-Ramadan lecture, award ceremony, and Turbaning ceremony. The atmosphere was filled with spiritual fervor and communal joy as community members gathered to witness the momentous occasion.

 

Notably, Abu Abel and other prominent figures, was also present at the event, adding to the significance of the gathering. The ceremony, held on Sunday, February 25th, 2024, brought together individuals from diverse backgrounds to celebrate the exemplary contributions of Hon. Dr. Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa and his wife to both the community and the Islamic faith.

 

The Turbaning ceremony, a traditional rite of passage within the Islamic community, symbolizes a deep connection with cultural heritage and spiritual leadership. The titles of Baba Adinni and Iya Adinni carry great responsibilities, signifying the honorees’ commitment to serving the community and upholding the values of the Islamic faith.

 

As the community celebrates this significant event, the installation of Hon. Dr. Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa and Hadjia Aishat Adebimpe as Baba Adinni and Iya Adinni reflects their exemplary leadership and commitment to the principles of Harmony Gardens and Estate Development LTD. The event serves as a beacon of unity, spirituality, and communal recognition within the Osapa London in Lekki community.

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Squad Powers OmniPay’s Trade Business to Simplify Payments for FMCG Industry

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In a strategic move aimed at furthering its mission to empower African traders with the necessary payment solutions for thriving in the digital era, Squad, a fintech subsidiary of Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCO), offering comprehensive payment and e-commerce solutions for businesses, has entered a partnership with OmniPay, a subsidiary of OmniRetail Inc.

 

This collaboration has currently benefited more than 65,000 stakeholders, which include retailers, distributors, and manufacturers through improved payment and collection methods using Squad’s Virtual Bank Account without incurring any charges. Additionally, they have gained more accessible and affordable working capital to procure goods on credit for their businesses, contributing to the daily transaction volume exceeding N3 billion, and this figure continues to grow.

 

Adeyemi Atanda, the Chief Marketing Officer, Squad, shared insights on the partnership’s significance, emphasizing, “At Squad, our mission revolves around providing African businesses with the right solutions for effortless payment processes, available at their convenience. We understand the pivotal role small businesses play in our economy. Through strategic alliances like this, we aim to empower even more merchants by granting them access to rapid, user-friendly, and dependable payment solutions that optimize their business operations and, in turn, boost their revenue.”

 

Deepankar Rustagi, CEO of OmniRetail stated, “As we join forces with Squad, we are driven by our shared vision of transforming the digital payment landscape for African businesses. With OmniPay, businesses will gain improved payment methods with zero transfer fees, while retailers and distributors will have easier access to OmniPay’s BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) solution. This partnership aims to empower businesses, streamline payment processes, and enhance record-keeping accuracy through automated reconciliation for orders. This partnership reinforces OmniRetail’s commitment to innovation and financial inclusion.”

 

About Squad

 

Squad is a complete payment solution that is reliable, secure, and affordable, making receiving in-person and online payments simple and convenient.

 

Our goal is to support SMEs, micro-merchants, large corporations, and other fintechs (Tech Stars) with the tools they need to thrive in an evolving digital economy and expand beyond their current market reach.

 

Squad’s current products and service offerings include SquadPOS, Squad Payment Links, Squad Virtual Accounts, USSD, and E-Commerce Storefront.

 

Find out more at www.squadco.com.

 

About OmniPay

 

OmniPay, a subsidiary of OmniRetail Inc., is a company with a mission to simplify payments in Nigeria and provide working capital to trade businesses. OmniPay provides an API-based wallet built to simplify trade payments.

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