CBN sacks Union, Keystone, Polaris banks’ boards over infractions

THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has dissolved the board and management of Polaris Bank, Union Bank and Keystone Bank for various infractions.

CBN disclosed this in an official statement released Wednesday, January 10, signed by its acting director, Corporate Communications, Hakama Ali.

It read, “The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has dissolved the Board and Management of Union Bank, Keystone Bank, and Polaris Bank.

“This action became necessary due to the non-compliance of these banks and their respective boards with the provisions of Section 12(c), (f), (g), (h) of Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, 2020.”

According to CBN, the banks’ infractions vary from regulatory non-compliance, corporate governance failure, disregarding the conditions under which their licenses were granted, and involvement in activities threatening financial stability.

“The CBN assures the public of the safety and security of depositors’ funds and remains resolute in fulfilling its mandate to uphold a safe, sound, and robust financial system in Nigeria. Our banking system remains strong and resilient,” CBN said.

The ICIR reports that the sack is not unconnected to the recommendation of the special investigator, Jim Obazee, appointed by President Bola Tinubu in July 2023 to probe the activities of the apex bank under embattled former governor Godwin Emefiele.

The special investigator had reportedly accused Emefiele of using his office to acquire banks for himself through proxies.




     

     

    In Obazee’s investigative report leaked to the media, he indicted Emefiele for using proxies to acquire Union Bank of Nigeria for Titan Trust Bank Limited and Keystone Bank without any evidence of payment.

    As a result, he recommended that the Federal Government reverse the sale of the banks and take over the management.

    Obazee had summoned the chairman of Titan Trust Bank, Tunde Lemo, and two other bank shareholders to a “follow-up meeting” over the controversial 2022 acquisition of Union Bank of Nigeria. Still, Lemo denied that Emefiele had any interest in the acquisition.

    TitanTrust Bank had, in June 2022, purportedly completed the acquisition of Union Bank in a regulatory filing almost half a year after both parties reached an agreement.

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