The picture one naturally has of Mallam Sanusi Lamido, the current Central Bank Governor is that he is pious spotless and saintly. One always thinks that he does not live in a glass house so is capable of throwing stones fearlessly without looking behind.
It has however been revealed that holy Mallam Sanusi has fingers in several unholy pies. One of such is his deal with the retiring Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Aigboje Aig Imokhuede.
The story from highly placed authentic sources within the CBN who have squealed recently is that at the time Access Bank made a bid to purchase the insolvent Intercontinental Bank under Saudi’s bank reconstruction schemes Aig Imokhuede was one of the largest debtors on the books of the bank. In a nutshell Imokhuede owed Intercontinental Bank sums running into billions of naira for loans he took to buy intercontinental shares in the good old days of margin lending.
The highly placed sources within the CBN also revealed that Erastus Akingbola, the then CEO of Intercontinental Bank also took a similar loan from Access Bank approved by Imokhuede, to enable Akingbola purchase Access bank shares. It was not unusual for M.D.’s of banks to do such loan exchanges in those inglorious days of margin lending.
Open chapter two: according to the source, in the course of reviewing Access bank’s bid for intercontinental bank, it was discovered that Imokhuede was one of the largest debtors in the books the bank and corporate governance issues were raised: Can Imokhuede make a bid to purchase a bank where he is one of the highest debtors? Should he not be made to pay the debt before Access bank can be pre-qualified to make a bid for Intercontinental Bank?
Our sources within the CBN revealed that Sanusi was having none of this corporate governance argument. He suddenly was no longer “Mr. Governance”. Would you believe that our Holy Mallam would suddenly change the colour of his skin and uncharacteristically become one who would jettison rules of corporate governance and propriety? Why would he do so? No not Sanusi.
It would seem that Sanusi is also a business man and a pretentious profiteer clothed in the Marxist grabs. He too cannot resist sweet deals that may come with the clear danger sign. Sanusi not only went blind, deaf and dumb on the corporate governance issues, he went a step further to handle the deal personally and closed hurriedly and surreptitiously in favour of Imokhuede.
In simple terms Access Bank led by Imokhuede purchased Intercontinental Bank whilst he was one of the highest debtors of the bank. The open secret is that Sanusi in consideration for approving this deal that allowed a debtor buy a creditor without paying his loan has become a shareholder in Access bank. Sanusi’s favour to Imokhuede has been converted to a share of the equity in the deal.
Some may say this is all conjecture. If indeed this is so, then Sanusi should show proof that at the time Intercontinental Bank was purchased by Access Bank, Aig Imokhuede was not owing the bank. Sanusi should also show proof that the billions owed by Imokhuede has been paid as at today.
He should also show proof that this transaction was well above board and no shady share exchanges in his favour.
Written By Ahmed Mohammed.