The Central Bank of Nigeria has ordered the resignation of all boards and managements of Union Bank of Nigeria, Keystone Bank and Polaris Bank over alleged corporate governance infractions and non-compliance with regulatory requirements.
This was contained in a statement issued by the acting Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Sidi Hakama, on Wednesday, January 10.
The announcement came barely three weeks after Special Investigator Jim Obazee submitted the final report to President Bola Tinubu on the CBN and Related Entities, with claims that the bank were acquired by Emefiele, using fronts.
The statement issued by Hakama, announced the sacking of the boards of the banks, noting that the central bank said the affected banks’ alleged infractions varied from regulatory non-compliance, corporate governance failure, disregarding of the conditions under which their licences were granted, and involvement in activities that posed a threat to financial stability, among others.
The CBN statement read, “ Central Bank of Nigeria has dissolved the boards and managements of Union Bank, Keystone Bank, and Polaris Bank.
“This action became necessary due to the non-compliance of these banks and their respective boards with the provisions of Section 12(c), (f), (g), (h) of Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, 2020. The banks’ infractions vary from regulatory non-compliance, corporate governance failure, disregarding the conditions under which their licences were granted, and involvement in activities that pose a threat to financial stability, among others.
“The CBN assures the public of the safety and security of depositors’ funds and remains resolute in fulfilling its mandate to uphold a safe, sound and robust financial system in Nigeria. Our banking system remains strong and resilient,” it stated.
Section 12 of the BOFIA 2020 quoted by the apex bank as the basis for the dissolutions of the board deals with the revocation of a banking licence and the conditions under which it can happen.
The affected portion of the Act read, “12.(1) Notwithstanding the provisions of this Act or any other law, the Governor may, with the approval of the Board and by notice published in the of Federal Government Gazette, or print and electronic media, revoke any licence granted under this Act if a bank-
“(c) fails to fulfil or comply with any condition subject to which the licence was granted
“(f) is involved in a situation, circumstance, action or inaction which constitutes a threat to financial stability;
“(g) fails to comply with any obligation imposed upon it by or under this Act, or the Central Bank of Nigeria Act or any other rule, regulation, guideline or directive made hereunder;
“(h) is, in the opinion of the Bank critically undercapitalised with a capital adequacy ratio below the prudential minimum or such other ratio as the Bank may prescribe.”
Meanwhile, the CBN statement is silent on Titan Trust Bank, even though the bank has reportedly acquired Union Bank.
The special investigator had given Titan Trust Bank and Union Bank investors December 28, 2023 deadline to present themselves before its panel.