…Fingered in NITEL, Centenary City and Aso Savings deals
Following the dissolution of the Board of Directors of Skye Bank Plc by the Central Bank of Nigeria, Chairman of the board and an ally of former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, Mr. Olatunde Ayeni is on the run as fresh reports of shady deals attributed to him emerge.
One of such deals that has put him in the full glare of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is the acquisition of NITEL through a consortium owned by him.
The investment vehicle, NATCOM Telecommunications, allegedly owned by Ayeni and two others won a bid in which they were the sole bidder to take over the country’s moribund, but potentially lucrative telecom carriers, NITEL and MTEL.
NATCOM has as members NATSPACE Telecommunication Investment Limited, PCCW Global Limited, Prime Union Investment Limited, Olutoyi Estate Development & Services Limited, Legal Resources Alliance & Co., Sahara Energy Resources Limited, and LM Ericsson Nigeria Limited. NATCOM, which merges the seven firms, was a new corporate entity created solely for the purchase of NITEL/MTEL as very little is known about the consortium.
Of the seven firms, Mr. Ayeni, profiled as a businessman and lawyer on Skye Bank’s website, owns three.
He is also fingered in the Centenary City project in Abuja, a project which has reportedly robbed the Federal Government of Billions of naira in its capacity as a free trade zone. When President Goodluck Jonathan inaugurated a committee for the centenary city project where it was revealed that 1,264 hectares of land was earmarked for the project, a firm that goes by name Centenary City Plc was set up with mandate to build the Centenary City.
This company incorporated in April 2013 was said to have heeded to the call by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) Anyim Pius Anyim for investors willing to put down not less than $100 million (N1.6 billion) investment toward the building of the Centenary City. It is said that 19 companies pooled their resources and became foundation shareholders.
President Jonathan inaugurated the company’s board of directors in October last year. On the list of the directors are: General Abdulsalami Abubakar (chairman), Mr Victor Udeh, Mr Monabee Mitee, Dr Pamela Obaze, Mr Olatunde Ayeni, Mr Adetokunbo Kayode, Mr Ugochukwu Nkwocha, Mr George Marks, Mr Hani Tanois Saliba, representative of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) and the representative of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment.
Also, the Nigeria Export Processing Zones Authority [NEPZA] has confirmed that it did not receive any application from the Centenary City applying for Free Trade Zone as the Centenary City is not qualified as a Free Trade Zone.”
His involvement in ASO Savings & Loans PLC, a Primary Mortgage Institution (PMI), incorporated in Nigeria as a limited liability company on November 9, 1995 is also under scrutiny.
Recall that earlier in the day the CBN informed the general public of its decision to effect changes in key personnel on the Board and Management of Skye Bank PLC with immediate effect. Specifically, these changes relate to the Chairman, all Non-Executive Directors on the Board as well as the Managing Director, Deputy Managing Director, and the two longest-serving Executive Directors on the Management Team.
The country’s apex bank cited persistent failure of Skye Bank PLC to meet minimum thresholds in critical prudential and adequacy ratios, which has culminated in the bank’s permanent presence at the CBN Lending Window as one of the reasons for the changes that has swept across the bank. In particular, Skye Bank’s Liquidity and Non-performing loan Ratios have been below and above the required thresholds, respectively, for quite a while.
CBN also announced the selection of Alh. M. K. Ahmad to be the new Chairman while Mr. Adetokunbo Abiru was also announced as the new Managing Director.