Intercontinental and Heritage Bank Deals: Real Reasons Bukola Saraki and Aig Imoukhuede Are Battling New CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele

aig-july1bukola_sarakiAngry losers in the race in the race to succeed ousted CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi are persistent in their bidto get the senate to stop President Jonathanโ€™s nominee for the post, Godwin Emefiele, the incumbent Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc.
The aggrieved contestants have shifted their battle to the floor of the Senate where Emefiele is awaiting confirmation as the new governor of the apex bank.
Notable among the aggrieved losers was a onetime Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, Mr. Aig Imoukhuede, who, last year, quit his job, after staying more than the mandatory 10 years stipulated by the financial industry regulator. Aig, a very close ally with alleged business links to Sanusi got the special waiver courtesy of his chummy relationship with the former CBN boss. His bank โ€˜importedโ€™ an American female act to celebrate his retirement and it generated a crisis in the industry.
The aggrieved banker who also hails from the Niger Delta never hid his ambition to sit on the CBN governorโ€™s chair and was at different times touted as anointed replacement for Sanusi with whom he maintained a very close personal and business relationship. He was said to have used his connection with the CBN governor to elongate his tenure by about a year and a half so as to close the gap between when he would assumed the CBN top post and his time of retirement.
Under Sanusi, Aig Imoukhuedeโ€™s Access Bank acquired Intercontinental Bank under controversial circumstances. Among those mentioned in the alleged Intercontinental Bank dubious deals were Senator Bukola Saraki, whose multi billion naira debt to the bank was controversially written off. When the CBN acquired the bank, Saraki through using his connection with Lamido Sanusi had gotten one of his aides, Mahmoud Lai Alabi, appointed as Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank. It was Alabi, who presided over the liquidation and eventual sales of the bank to the trio of Aig Imoukhuede, Bukola Saraki and Sanusi Lamido as alleged in a letter dated February 9, 2014, addressed to the President and Commander-In-Chief, by the deposed founder of the bank, Erastus Akingbola and made available to National Infinity magazine.
On April 18, 2012, Mahmoud Alabi was arrested for questioning by the Special Anti-Fraud Unit of the Nigerian Police Force over the $133.5m loan write off fraud. Later on after several failed attempt to question Bukola Saraki over the N11bn loan deal, the SFU at its Milverton, Ikoyi Headquaters declared him wanted. The SFU was then headed by Mr. Tunde Ogunshakin, now commissioner of Police Rivers State.
Another reason why Bukola Saraki is mobilizing seriously against Emefieleโ€™s appointment and would rather have any of his cronies there, is the future of Heritage Bank, a bank principally owned by the Saraki family. Heritage Bank was an offshoot of the Societe Generale Bank (Nigeria) (SGBN) founded by the late Dr. Olusola Saraki in the late 80s. In January 2006, the Central Bank closed down SGBN on account of failure to meet its obligations to customers and the N25bn minimum capital for banks. Fortunately for Bukola Saraki, Sanusi became the CBN governor in 2009, and by then he was already a second term governor, with enough cash to open a bank, he challenged CBNโ€™s closure of SGBN in court. In December 2012, under Sanusi, CBN re-issued SGBN’s banking license as a regional bank. The bank re-branded as Heritage Banking Company Limited and reopened for business under the new name on 4 March 2013.

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