President Jonathan's Economic Advisers Owing Nigeria N1.3 Trillion; CBN Bars Banks From Doing Business With 419 Deadbeat Companies And Individuals
An explosive Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) circular published today by a local Nigerian newspaper lists some of President Goodluck Jonathan's economic advisers among the country’s worst deadbeat debtors.
Some of the worst offenders are household names: Mr. Femi Otedola, Alhaji Sayyu Dantata, Sir Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide, Prof. Bart Nnaji, Mrs Elizabeth Ebi and Dr. Wale Babalakin.
And businesses too: Zenon, Arik, MRS, Aero Contractors, Capital Oil and Gas, to list just five.
But now local banks are barred from extending even one more kobo of credit to them until they clear all debts.
The big debtors are also among the nation’s richest companies and individuals, and their extensive uncollateralized loans from Nigerian banks to the tune of billions of dollars led to the collapse of the banking sector.
Several of the debtors were also involved in the petroleum subsidy scam that bled the Nigerian economy of some $6.5 billion.
Instead of prosecuting the predatory lenders and borrowers the Jonathan government pushed the problem aside by setting up a bogus body known as the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to absorb the debts and enable the debtor roam free and engage in more economic crimes.
They apparently roamed far and wide, all 113 companies and 419 directors/shareholders. 419 is the actual number given by the CBN.
The document circular obtained by Thisday, dated last Monday, September 17, showed that the disdain by these rich individuals and companies for their debts has grown so much that the CBN decided to bar banks in the country from extending further credit to them.
“It has become necessary to stop debtors who failed to repay their loans to banks and had these loans subsequently transferred to AMCON, from further enjoying credit facilities from Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) until they fully repay agreed outstandings to AMCON,” said the circular, which was signed by CBN’s Director of Banking Supervision, Mrs. A. O. Martins.
According to ThisDay:
• The circular, which was accompanied by a detailed list of the blacklisted debtors, showed that worst hit by the directive are Zenon Petroleum, owned by Otedola, which was indebted to banks to the tune of N192.4 billion; MRS Holdings Limited, which belongs to Dantata – N119.98 billion; Seawolf Limited – N98.32 billion; Arik Air Limited, belonging to Arumemi-Ikhide – N85.481 billion; NITEL Plc/M-Tel – N71.547 billion; and Capital Oil and Gas Limited, which belongs to Ifeanyi Ubah – N48.014 billion.
• Others include Falcon Securities, whose Managing Director, Mr. Peter Ololo, was arraigned alongside several bank executives in 2009 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) – N162.9 billion; Rockson Engineering Limited, owned by Arumemi-Ikhide – N60.475 billion; BGL Securities – N6.44 billion; Rahamaniyya Oil & Gas Limited – N46.38 billion; Bi-Courtney Limited – N20.214 billion; and Geometrics Engineering, owned by Nnaji – N19.76 billion.
• The restriction also applies to: Aero Contractors Company, owned by the family of Olorogun Michael Ibru - N32.579 billion; Tinapa Business Resort – N18.509 billion; Nestoil Limited, belonging to oil and gas entrepreneur, Ernest Azudialu – N13.506 billion; Dorman Long Engineering – N9.667 billion; Ascott Offshore Nig. Ltd, belonging to former banker, Henry Imasekha and the Berkley Group – N64.728 billion; Gitto Constuzioni – N11.838 billion; and Dansa Foods – N14.880 billion, whose directors, Sani and Abdul Dangote, are the brothers of business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.
Furthermore, the banks have also been directed not to grant further credit to two States: Cross River and Zamfara, because of the failure of the Tinapa Business Resort and the Zamfara Accountant General to pay back loans collected.
The Central Bank warned that any bank that flouts the guidelines would be made to make an immediate provision of 100 per cent of total principal and interest outstanding in the account of the customer and related parties, in addition to whatever regulatory penalties the CBN may decide to impose, ThisDay said.