Keystone, Polaris, Union banks get new management teams

THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has appointed new management teams for Union Bank Plc, Keystone Bank Limited and Polaris Bank Limited following its dissolution of the banks‘ boards on Wednesday, January 10, over various infractions.  

In an earlier statement on Wednesday, January 10, signed by its Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Hakama Ali, the CBN said the dissolution became necessary due to the non-compliance of the banks and their respective boards with the provisions of Section 12(c), (f), (g), (h) of Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, 2020.

“The bank’s 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,” CBN stated.

In another statement CBN released on Thursday, January 11, the apex bank said it had appointed a new management team for Keystone, Union and Polaris banks.

It said, “Following the dissolution of the board and management of Union Bank, Keystone Bank and Polaris Bank on Wednesday, January 10, the CBN has appointed new executives to oversee the affairs of the banks.”

For Union Bank, CBN named Yetunde Oni, the new managing director/chief executive officer and Mannir Ubale Ringim, as the executive director.

For Keystone Bank, the apex bank appointed Hassan Imam to take over the helm of affairs as managing director and chief executive officer and Chioma Mang to serve as executive director of the bank.

For Polaris Bank, the Bank named Lawal Akintola as managing director/chief executive officer and Chris Ofikulu as executive director.

“The appointments take immediate effect,” CBN added, assuring the public of the safety and security of depositors’ funds.

The National President of New Dimension Shareholders, Patrick Ajudua, told The ICIR that CBN’s move was a welcome development following the special investigator’s report.

“This is a reward for various financial misconduct that went on during the tenure of Godwin Emefiele. We expect that the law must be applied firmly, and anybody found to be a culprit should be made to account for it and punished.

“You can’t imagine how that bank was acquired, how CBN just took up the bank under Emefiele with impunity without recourse to shareholders. This led to most of us, bank shareholders, losing our investment.”

Ajudua also said stakeholders had anticipated a day like this for reckoning and accountability.

“You can’t justify the impunity leading to their acquisition—a situation where a two-year-old bank can acquire a bank of 114 years. You can’t place something upon nothing. Let the Federal government prosecute all those guilty for this financial rascality,” he added.

Also commenting, the Executive Vice Chairman of Highcap Securities Limited, David Adonri, said, “CBN has stated that the changes were made in those banks because they failed to comply with provisions of BOFIA. The signs were evident that the regulatory hammer would fall on the bank’s leadership, having been indicted by the report from the special investigation.”

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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