We’ve No Hand In Skye Bank Current Travail, Says AMCON

Skye Bank HQs- 789marketingThe Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) has distant itself from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) takeover of the Skye Bank Plc and massive resignation that greeted the top echelon of the banks yesterday.

The Head, Corporate Communication of AMCON, Mr. Jude Nwauzor through telephone interview with our reporter said that the Asset Management Company has no business with Skye Bank, and that its relationship with the financial institution had ended in 2015.

The AMCON spokesman stated further that, it transaction with the bank started and ended last year, when AMCON sold Mainstreet Bank Plc to Skye Bank. “We sold Mainstreet Bank to Skye Bank, after a very transparent bidding process. After that, we have ceased to have any business transaction with Skye Bank” Nwauzor said.

The spokesperson further added “the takeover of the Skye Bank by CBN is none of our business and we should not be brought in to it.”

“CBN are doing their statutory duty, and besides they see more than AMCON, may be they have seen what you and I can not see at Skyebank, that may be the reason why they moved in. We cant not question the apex bank integrity, but what we want to say here is that, we no longer have business transaction with the bank and may not in the future.”

Recall that the management of Skye Bank PLC today (yesterday) announced what it called the voluntary resignation of its top officers.  The action followed plans by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to take over the bank due to distress arising from bad loans and alleged insider malpractices by board members.

In a statement, the management said the CBN has approved the appointment of Alhaji M.K Ahmad as the new Chairman of the Board, and Tokunbo Abiru the new Group Managing Director and CEO.   Bayo Sanni, Idris Yakubu, Markie Idowu and Abimbola Izu retain their positions as Executive Directors.

It was learnt that the Chairman of the bank, Tunde Ayeni, allegedly owed the bank at least N102 billion that had remained unpaid for several years.   He was one of those who resigned today.

Mr. Ayeni, who is a close associate of former President Goodluck Jonathan, had taken over what used to be Eko Bank, Bond Bank, and Prudent Bank.  He then used interbank loans to buy Mainstreet Bank for N135 billion and added it to his collection to create Skye Bank.

Since coming on stream, however, the bank has been consistently abused by its owners, who collect loans without collateral, and use them to fund lavish lifestyles and the acquisition of an assortment of private companies.  Ayeni, for example, bought parts of an unbundled electricity company from what used to be the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, using Skye Bank funds. At the last count, he also owned Ibadan and Yola Discos, and also acquired Nigeria Telecommunication Limited (NITEL) and also owned a private jet.

Mr. Ayeni was also a close associate of the late former governor of Bayelsa, Diepreye Solomon Alamieyeseigha, and was linked with money laundering allegations concerning the late governor.  It was through Alamieyeseigha that he became close to Mr. Jonathan during his time as deputy governor.  Ayeni spent months in Economic and Financial Crimes Commission detention as the agency carried out investigations into the massive theft of Bayelsa State funds, but he was never charged to court.

Other non-executive directors of the bank who owed the bank include Jason Fadeyi, the chairman of Pan Ocean Oil company, who owes N90billion.

Furthermore, several businesses with links to the bank owed large sums to it but refused to service their loans.  They include Atlantic Energy, owned by Jide Omokore and fugitive Kola Aluko, which is owing N70b; Oando Oil Company, N20b; and Captain Osa Okunbo.  Kola Aluko’s brother, Kunle, is among the non-executive directors who purportedly resigned from the bank’s board today.

Sources said Heritage Bank, which is co-owned by Mr. Ayeni and Senate President Bukola Saraki, is next in line for a takeover by the Central Bank, which is also looking to force out Oba Otudeko from the board of First Bank of Nigeria due to his indebtedness of about N82billion.

In his letter of resignation today, outgoing MD of Skye Bank, Timothy Ogunoye lamented that his efforts to turn the fortune of the bank was thwarted by forces within and without the bank.