EFCC Summons Odili, Okereke-Onyiuke

Former Rivers State Governor Peter Odili has been invited to appear before the  Econo-mic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) despite obtaining a court order barring the the anti-graft agency from arresting him over his indebtedness to FinBank Plc. Also to appear before the commission in connection with huge non-performing loans of five banks in the country are the Director-General of the Nigerian

 Stock Exchange (NSE), Mrs. Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke, and five directors of Transnational Corporation (Transcorp) Plc.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had published the names of debtors owing FinBank, Oceanic International Bank, Afribank Plc, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and  Intercontinental Bank Plc a total of N747 billion.
On the list of the debtors, among others, were Odili allegedly owing FinBank N189 million and Okereke-Onyiuke as Transcorp Chair-man and five other directors of the company allegedly owing the banks N30 billion.
Odili was served with EFCC’s letter of invitation at the weekend and he is expected to appear before the commission at 10 am on Wednesday.
EFCC sources said Okereke-Onyiuke and the five directors of Transcorp got their letters too at the weekend. They are to report at the EFCC headquarters before the end of this week.
Spokesman of the anti-graft commission, Mr. Femi Babafemi, confirmed last night that EFCC had invited Odili, Okereke-Onyiuke and the five Transcorp directors, saying the commission would not spare any loan defaulter.
A Federal High Court in Abuja had last Thursday barred EFCC from arresting, detaining, prosecuting or embarrassing Odili over the N189 million owed FinBank.
The former Rivers State governor also secured another order regarding his property in any part of the country.
Also, the CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi last Saturday met in Lagos with the new managing directors of the five banks whose managements were sacked last month, with a view to fashioning out the way forward.
At the meeting, which also had in attendance CBN’s lawyers and financial consultants to the five banks, the respective institutions submitted lists of four executive directors that could help them actualise their strategies.
These strategies are geared in the first instance at stabilising the banks after which they would be made attractive for core investors to take over.
Last Saturday’s meeting was a follow-up to last Wednesday’s parley held in Abuja.
The five sacked bank CEOs/Managing Director are Union Bank, Bartholomew Ebong; FinBank, Okey Nwosu; Afribank, Sebastian Adigwe; Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola; and Oceanic International Bank, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru.
Citing lax governance, which rendered the five banks hugely undercapitalised, the banking watchdog had injected a lifeline of N420 billion into the banks and appointed new helmsmen for them.
They are John Aboh (Oceanic Bank), Lai Alabi (Intercontinental Bank), Susanne Iroche (FinBank), Nebolisa Arah (Afribank) and Funke Osibodu (Union Bank).
THISDAY, however, gathered the executive directors for these institutions, which appointments are the prerogative of their respective CEOs, would mainly be sourced from outside and not within the banks.
“We are not also ruling out the fact that some EDs cannot be picked from within to buoy confidence in the banks, but all I can tell you is that they are mainly from outside,” a source close to the meeting, which held in the early hours of last Saturday, told THISDAY.
The source said the appointments of the new EDs are expected to be announced within the next few days to enable the CEOs fully commence their respective turnaround strategies.
According to information, the CEOs of these banks were said to have informed the CBN governor of their respective problems, challenges and the progress they had made so far.
The governor reportedly assured them that he would ensure that the five banks succeed by giving them all the necessary support.
For instance, the CEO of one of the big banks was said to have informed the gathering that her bank was not entirely bad because it had an institutionalised credit approval culture that made it difficult for a single person to unilaterally grant loans without passing through the laid down processes.
She insisted that the major problem her bank had was just that its past management was incompetent and the institution was undercapitalised.
Both the financial consultants and CBN’s lawyers were also said to have outlined their challenges and the progress they had made. 

Ayodele Aminu – THISDAY