The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been charged to investigate and respond to claims that the seven billion dollars ($7b) bailout fund to commercial banks in October 2006, is “free money”.
This was contained in a statement signed by the convener, South South Reawakening Group, Joseph Ambakederimo, and issued to newsmen in Warri.
Ambakederimo, in the statement demanded that all information regarding the transaction be made available to Nigerians, in line with the Freedom of Information Act, adding that the fund which belongs to the three tiers of government, could be deployed to infrastructural development of the nation.
Describing as a “rape of the Nigerian State”, reports that the then CBN Board of Directors resolved that the bailout money to the banks was “not repayable”, the statement emphasized that the banks are private establishments with aim to make profits. Hence, the $7 billion and its dividends over the years should be recovered and “returned to taxpayers”.
“We have come to conclusion on the $7BN bail out funds given to banks in October 2006 was a grand scale fraud primarily designed to deny the Nigerian people of good life and happiness. It is safe to say that this could be the first of its kind we have seen were people in the private sector colluding with people in the public sector to deliberately engage in schemes that would take away so much money and deprive the Nigerian people good infrastructures these funds would have provided for them.
“If what we are hearing is true that the funds are a “Dash” “not repayable” to the banks who are purely private entities that were setup by private people to make profit that would pay for their holidays in the Bahamas and Acapulco, then it is nothing but a rape of the Nigerian State. The claim that the then board of Directors of the CBN through a resolution passed and gave out such an amount of money free of charge sounds very insulting and nonsensical and a joke taken too far.
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“The conduct of those who superintended over this mess breached professional standards, their duties, responsibilities, discreditable conduct, integrity, authority, respect and courtesy. It is an abuse of position for personal gains.
“It is for this singular reason that the South South Reawakening Group is working with the special panel on recovery of public property to ensure that we unravel the mystery surrounding this issue. Our mandate would be to unravel the many unanswered questions. Those who authorized the resolution of “Dashing $7BN to private entities,” what were the conditions attached to the transaction, the memorandum of Understanding between the CBN and the Banks which was deliberately executed in secrecy,” the statement read.
Commending the federal government for bringing the matter to public’s notice, the statement observed that similar bailouts given to banks in the United States of America and Scotland, were repaid with interests and dividends to the countries’ treasury departments.
Wondering why the Nigerian case will be different and why the CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, is yet to address the issue, the SSRG convener continued in the statement: “If the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, does not have the wherewithal to recover this fund with all accumulated and accruable interest and dividends, he should honourably resign from office. We are going to pursue this matter to its logical conclusion until every kobo of the $7BN is returned to taxpayers.
“In fact, let it be known to the Central Bank that this statement we have issued should be taken as our request for information on the whole transaction as consummated in line with the Freedom of Information Act. We want to hear from Mr. Godwin Emefiele that the $7BN given out as bailout to banks in October 2006 is indeed a “Dash” free money, as been reported by the media quoting the CBN.
“And to our utmost consternation, the fact that the present governor of the CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele has not deem it fit to look into this matter judiciously and appropriately address this scandal, goes to show perhaps the cover-up, or is it because his bank ( Zenith Bank) then was a beneficiary? These and many more issues are agitating our minds and they needed to be addressed.
“We charge Mr Godwin Emefiele, to quickly put in motion a process to recover this fund and ensure that this fund given out since 2006 should earn interest to be calculated from the date the funds were disbursed. This is the only way this matter could be resolved because the beneficiaries of this fund do charge interest on any funds given out as loans or overdraft and therefore there is no reason why they ( banks) should not be made to repay and pay interest on what each bank got and pay dividend to the federal government”, the statement said.