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N9.97 BILLION INTERCONTINENTAL BANK WAIVER: SFU INVITES SARAKI, ARRESTS EX-MD

SFU is the Special Fraud Unit

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N9.97bn Intercontinental Bank waiver: SFU invites Saraki, arrests ex-MD

The Special Fraud Unit, Nigeria Police Force, Ikoyi, Lagos, has begun investigation into the controversial N9.97bn waiver granted by the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc to companies believed to be promoted by former Governor Bukola Saraki of Kwara State.

The SFU, therefore, invited Saraki for questioning over his alleged role in the loan waiver.

In a statement signed by the Commissioner of Police, SFU, Mr. Tunde Ogunsakin, and made available to SATURDAY PUNCH on Friday, the body said, “A sum of N9.97bn waiver was allegedly granted four companies said to be promoted by Saraki while he was governor of Kwara State.

“This controversial waiver of N9.97bn represents about 82 per cent of the N11.97bn indebtedness granted some companies in February 2010 by the board of the now defunct Intercontinental Bank.

“The bank was then under the headship of Mahmood Alabi as the MD/CEO. SFU is investigating this waiver.”

The companies said to have jointly incurred this indebtedness are Joy Petroleum Ltd., Skyview Properties Ltd., Dicetrade and Limkers Nigeria Ltd.

The debts originated from several loans/facilities worth billions of naira granted the companies, which were allegedly promoted by Saraki between 2004 and 2009 while he was governor.

Ogunsakin said, “The loans were used to purchase shares of blue chip companies and choice landed properties in Lagos and Abuja.

“Some of the landed properties worth billions of naira used to secure the loans were curiously released after payment of only N2.3bn out of the N11.97bn jointly owed the bank by the companies.

“A Central Bank report of November 2010 had indicted the management of the bank headed by Alabi for granting the waivers. It noted that the companies’ chief promoter had ‘what it takes to pay the indebtedness.”

The statement said that a post-CBN Credit and Investigation Committee set up by then Intercontinental Bank Plc to consider Saraki’s request for the waivers had also cautioned against it.

The report had warned that the waivers might be called for a review in future as they constituted a depletion of the bank’s shareholders’ funds.

Punch Newspapers

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