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Shareholders Demand Heritage Bank’s MD, EDs’ Probe

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A group of the minority shareholders community have called for a probe of the management and directors of the failed Heritage Bank.

According to The Punch, the call was made following the revocation of the licence of the bank by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

CBN, when announcing the bank’s licence revocation, said that it was with immediate effect, saying “This action has become necessary due to the bank’s breach of Section 12 (1) of BOFIA, 2020. The board and management of the bank have not been able to improve the bank’s financial performance, a situation which constitutes a threat to financial stability.

“This follows a period during which the CBN engaged with the bank and prescribed various supervisory steps intended to stem the decline. Regrettably, the bank has continued to suffer and has no reasonable prospects of recovery, thereby, making the revocation of the license the next necessary step.”

The apex bank then appointed the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation as the liquidator of Heritage Bank in line with Section 12 (2) of BOFIA, 2020.

The National Coordinator of Progressive Shareholders Association, Boniface Okezie, said that probing the bank managers would boost confidence in the sector.

He said, “CBN is also part of the problem in the system, if the bank had been insolvent over the years and they had been living under the mercy of CBN, which should have taken action. In all this, what is the role of AMCON? They should have taken over the bank after all, the bank was also paying a levy to AMCON. Instead, CBN has directed NDIC to take over for liquidation. Is that the way to go?

“Someone has N20m in the bank and you pay them N5m until the assets of the bank have been assessed and liquidated. That is wrong. It is going to discourage people from using banks.

“Besides, is it only Heritage Bank that is insolvent? What is the fate of some other banks in the sector? Are they strong and viable? They should tell us. The management should be called for questioning. Those who ran the bank aground should be called for questioning. It is not enough that NDIC should liquidate.”

According to Okezie, in other climes, the managers and directors would be held accountable.

“There must be a probe to recover people’s money. What assets does the bank have? CBN should probe the collapse of the bank so that others can learn. This is not good enough, something has to be done to arrest the situation,” he stated.

Also, the National Coordinator of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, Moses Igbrude, argued, “They must probe the management of the bank. They should not let it slide because it will happen again if people are let off the hook. Let them investigate exactly what happened to learn lessons and ensure it does not happen again.”

He added that the decision of the regulator was in line with its legal mandate but expressed concerns at the time it took to arrive at the decision.

“The CBN is the regulator, empowered by law to supervise, to know which bank is healthy and which is not, so they are just doing their job. However, why did it take so long to do what is necessary?

“Also, they had another option to rescue the bank, remove the management, and put in place a CBN-led management to ensure it is standing and no one loses anything. At the end of the day, they sell it to Nigerians. This option would retain the employees.

It was an option but they decided to revoke the licence,” he opined.

He went to ask, “What happened? Were those in charge not managing it well? Did they give loans that went bad? CBN didn’t tell us. In an environment like this, I would have preferred the option I suggested. That way, the signal would not be as bad as folks are thinking now.”

The President of the Pragmatic Shareholders Association, Bisi Bakare, remarked, “The CBN has taken the right step on it. The depositors are a bit covered. It is only the shareholders of the bank who will suffer for it.”

BIG STORY

MOHBAD: Late Singer’s Family Conducts Fresh Autopsy

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The family of late singer Mohbad (born Ilerioluwa Oladimeji Aloba) has ordered a second toxicology test to uncover the truth behind his mysterious death on September 12.

Following his burial the next day, Mohbad’s body was exhumed on September 21 for an autopsy, which was conducted on the same day.

However, in May, it was revealed that the pathologist conducting the autopsy informed the coroner that Mohbad’s body had decomposed by the time the test was performed, potentially compromising the results.

The new toxicology test aims to provide clarity on the circumstances surrounding his death.

The pathologist also said the cause of the singer’s death could not be ascertained.

Mohbad’s autopsy result from the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) showed that “no significant gross finding” could be attributed to the singer’s death.

The toxicology “revealed the positive finding of Diphenhydramine, an anti-histamine; however, this concentration was not in a fatal or lethal range”.

Last month, the Aloba family rejected the autopsy result while also demanding an independent post-mortem and toxicology test.

In a statement on Tuesday, Monisola Odumosu, a member of Aloba’s legal team, said a two-part autopsy is being conducted on Mohbad.

She disclosed that the first phase had been carried out last week while the second part involved “a toxicology and histology test”.

The lawyer added that the procedure was witnessed by Joseph Aloba, Mohbad’s father, and a pathologist representing Wunmi, the late singer’s wife.

“The second autopsy as requested by the Aloba family and ordered by the Magistrate of the Coroner Court, Ms. T.A. Shotobi, was conducted on Friday, July 19, and Saturday, July 20, 2024. This autopsy is a two-part exercise, with the first part now completed,” the statement reads in part.

“If the cause of death cannot be determined from this initial examination, the second part will proceed, involving a toxicology and histology test on the necessary samples already obtained.

“This comprehensive procedure, conducted last Friday, was witnessed only by Mr. Joseph Aloba, the forensic pathologist appointed by Mr. Joseph Aloba and his team, legal representatives of both Mr. Joseph Aloba and  a pathologist appointed by Wunmi Aloba to observe the procedure.”

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Nigeria’s Foreign Reserves Now $37bn, Up By $2bn In 18 Days — CBN Governor Cardoso

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The country’s foreign exchange reserves have surged to $37.05 billion as of July 18 according to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

CBN Governor Yemi Cardoso announced this development during a press briefing on Tuesday, following the 296th Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja.

The reserves experienced a significant boost, rising by $2.35 billion from $34.70 billion at the end of June to $37.05 billion in just 18 days.

“As of July 18, 2024, external reserves stood at US$37.05 billion, compared with US$34.70 billion as of June 2024. This represents 11 months of import cover for goods and services,” Cardoso said.

However, according to data published by CBN and seen by TheCable, Nigeria’s foreign reserves stood between $35.93 billion as of July 18, and $36.23 billion as of July 22, less than what Cardoso presented.

On July 18, CBN approved the sale of foreign exchange (FX) to eligible bureau de change (BDC) operators at N1,450 per dollar to meet the demand for invisible transactions.

Days after, CBN said foreign currencies worth $106.5 million were sold to authorised dealers.

CBN said the aim is to improve supply in the FX market in tandem with its price stability mandate.

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President Tinubu Signs South-East, North-West Development Commission Bills Into Law

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President Bola Tinubu has officially signed into law the South-East and North-West Development Commission bills.

The South-East Development Commission bill was sponsored by Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu, who represents the Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State.

After passing through the Senate and House of Representatives, the bill was transmitted to the President in June for his assent.

With the signing of the bill into law, the Commission will now receive funding to execute various projects in the South-East geopolitical zone.

The allocated funds will be used to address environmental challenges such as erosion, as well as reconstruct and rehabilitate roads in Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo, and Anambra states.

This move is expected to bring significant development and infrastructure improvements to the region.

In a statement issued by Levinus Nwabughiogu, his chief press secretary, Kalu expressed appreciation to the president for signing the bill into law.

The deputy speaker said the commission will “rehabilitate Igbo land” and foster unity among the people.

Tinubu also signed the north-west development commission bill into law.

Jibrin Barau, deputy senate president and sponsor of the bill, said the signing of the proposed legislation is a “testament” to Tinubu’s “commitment to addressing the challenges facing the north-west geopolitical zone and indeed all parts of the country”.

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