Thursday, 23 May 2013
Joy Petroleum Writes to Senate President Over Accounts Frozen By Access Bank, Blames Senator Saraki And CBN Governor Sanusi
Joy Petroleum has written to the President of the Senate to intervene in its face-off with the management of the Access Bank in its efforts to unfreeze its accounts there, which it blames on Senator Bukola Saraki and Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Lamido Sanusi.
In the petition, Rotimi Johnson and Co., solicitors to Joy Petroleum, detailed how the company has been prevented from operating its accounts with Intercontinental Bank plc. (now taken over by Access Bank plc.), since December 2009
“The Bank has insouciantly held on to the said accounts against all known or cherished norms of bank-customer relations,” the statement said.
It noted that Saraki’s fronts in the Bank are the ones blocking the operation of its accounts in the former Intercontinental Bank, and that they are reportedly under Saraki’s instruction not to allow the operations of Joy Petroleum Ltd. Company accounts.
Said the complaint, “Against all known norms of practice of banking or of elementary law of contract, persons who are not connected – remotely or otherwise – with particular accounts in a Bank are issuing instructions to the Bank to block the operation of those accounts. Their aim is to emasculate the company, thwart the business plans of its directing minds and generally frustrate the company’s shareholders.”
Arguing that Mr. Saraki has run the Bank by proxy or vicariously through his agents, the statement used the example of Mahmoud Lai Alabi, who, within two months of assuming office as Managing director, had “curiously written off between N9 and N11 billion regarding loans to companies linked to Saraki including Dicetrade, Skyview Properties, etc.”
According to the account, Mr. Alabi is also alleged to have recruited former staffers at Societe Generale Bank as replacement for the appointment of senior management staff of Intercontinental Bank in order to complete the rout.
The statement pointed out that despite Joy Petroleum being barred from operating its accounts in the bank, withdrawals were curiously made therefrom during the period the former Managing Director was incapacitated and even after his death even though he was the sole signatory to the accounts.
One such transactions was a credit transfer of sum of N4,242,935,726.34 (four billion, two hundred and forty two billion, nine hundred and thirty five thousand, seven hundred and twenty six Naira and thirty four kobo) made from the account on the 18th of February, 2010 even after the said Managing Director had died.
Citing other developments concerning the account, the complaint pointed out the following:
• The accounts were closed by one Abdul Adanma, Senator Saraki’s aide;
• A loan sum of N9.7 billion was written off even as the account was closed; and
• A loan obtained by Joy Petroleum Limited was lumped together with loans by Dicetrade Nigeria Limited and Likam Limited even though they are separate entities and had separately obtained loans from the Bank.
The petition also drew attention to what it called a commando-style self-serving interference in the affairs and events of an independent private institution, especially the role of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“The questionable commonality of interest between Mallam Lamido Sanusi, the Governor of Central Bank and Dr. Saraki finds poetic expression in the reported concurrence of the Central Bank to the writing off of the loans of Dr. Saraki totaling N8.115 billion by his protégé, Mr. Lai Alabi,” the complaint said, pointing out that the loans had been secured with choice properties in Lagos and Abuja.
“Did the Central Bank authorise the writing off of this huge sum of money at a time that the Intercontinental Bank was reportedly in need of a surgical rescue?” the statement asked. “Did the writing off exercise conform with the Central Bank prudential guidelines on matters relevant to the requirement to salvage a supposedly tottering banking institution?”
It stressed that “the undisguised incoherent nature of the selective of application of the expressed guidelines points in the direction of important signposts to the oppositional relationships that peculiarly exist between policy and praxis in our country,” in which policies are clearly formulated and enunciated but abused in their invidious or sanguine application.
“A popular democratic social order devoid of a quixotic creative practice is a sure way in the direction of significant watersheds in the overall development of this beleaguered polity,” the complaint said. “The yearnings of our people for an orderly development of all facets of our national life are not promoted by a desultory, whimsical or irreverent application of rules or guidelines.”