A former Skye Bank boss has been accused of financial recklessness as head of the financial institution.
A trove of documents made available to Pulse, detail how a former chairman of Skye Bank, Mr Tunde Ayeni, allegedly used his exalted office in the financial institution to illicitly funnel monies into the Goodluck Jonathan presidential election campaign of 2015.
Ayeni was chairman of Skye Bank between 2010 and 2016.
His successor, Muhammad Ahmad, whose signature appears conspicuously in the document shared with Pulse, says “a forensic audit revealed that the bank operated two sets of financial accountability/books and this was responsible for the regulators/auditors inability to detect the massive losses and infractions, particularly the balance of N280B in suspense accounts".
The documents which were first made available to TheCable earlier in the week, allege that Ayeni “disbursed N7B without due process to various individuals and corporate organisations on the request of Godknows Igali, a former permanent secretary of the federal ministry of power.
“The monies appear to have been expended essentially on the Jonathan-Sambo electoral campaign in 2015. That sum remains outstanding as at today”.
Ayeni was also accused of using his position to purchase government assets and property across Nigeria.
“The bank’s total exposure to Ayeni as of date is about N70B. It is clear that he used his position as the chairman of the bank to obtain inside loans well above the regulatory thresholds for the acquisition of the following government enterprises: Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, Yola Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company and Nitel/Mtel. All the facilities are presently seriously challenged”.
NEW BANK DIRECTORS FUME
According to the documents, “As of today, Ayeni’s total industry indebtedness, covering both NITEL and the Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) is estimated at about N150B, and little, if any, of these obligations, are being doubtful that he will ever be in a position to service these loans satisfactorily.
“There is ample evidence that Ayeni, among others, received large amounts of cash, totalling N29.5B from the bank, which appears to be connected to the purchase of Mainstreet Bank Limited, but which has not been accounted for”.
Skye bank is asking the political leadership of the country and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to lend a helping hand as it seeks to emerge out of the shipwreck that Ayeni’s stewardship had herded it into.
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The new directors of the bank however want Ayeni “to account for his central role in many of the identified infractions”.
BANKS AND ILLICIT MONEY
It is not the first time that banks would be accused of aiding and abetting corruption during the Jonathan era.
In January of 2017, EFCC investigator, Moses Awolusi, alleged that four banks aided Diezani Alison-Madueke in siphoning the cumulative sum of $ 153.3M from the state-run Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
Diezani was petroleum resources minister during the Jonathan administration.
According to Awolusi, a former Fidelity Bank Managing Director, Nnamdi Okonkwo, was in constant communication with Diezani the entire time.
The EFCC says out of the amount, about N23B was domiciled with Sterling Bank Plc, N9B with First Bank Plc and about $ 5M with Access Bank Plc.
However, it was alleged, Fidelity Bank was the clearing house.
'WE ARE NOT OBLIGED'
Attempts to get Ayeni’s side of the story before press time, met a brickwall. His cellphone numbers were not going through and text messages sent his way weren’t replied.
When Pulse rang Skye Bank for comments and clues on how to reach Ayeni, the lady on the other end of the line was determined to give nothing away.
“We are not in the best position to give out details concerning Mr. Ayeni”, she said politely. “We are not obliged to do so. You are actually in the best position to source for his mobile number”.
Asked if Ayeni could possibly be on the run or has left the country, Skye Bank said: “we wouldn’t know if he’s in Nigeria. You are in the best position to source for his contact and any other information you may need to know about him. Enjoy the rest of your day”.