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CBN Takes Over Skye Bank



The management of Skye Bank PLC today announced what it called the voluntary resignation of its top officers.  The action followed plans by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to take over the bank due to distress arising from bad loans and insider malpractices by board members.

In a statement, the management said the CBN has approved the appointment of Alhaji M.K Ahmad as the new Chairman of the Board, and Tokunbo Abiru the new Group Managing Director and CEO.   Bayo Sanni, Idris Yakubu, Markie Idowu and Abimbola Izu retain their positions as Executive Directors.

It was gathered that the Chairman of the bank, Tunde Ayeni owed the bank at least N102 billion that had remained unpaid for several years.   He was one of those who resigned today.

Mr. Ayeni, who is a close associate of former President Goodluck Jonathan, had taken over what used to be Eko Bank, Bond Bank, and Prudent Bank.  He then used interbank loans to buy Mainstreet Bank for N135 billion and added it to his collection to create Skye Bank.

Since coming on stream, however, the bank has been consistently abused by its owners, who collect loans without collateral, and use them to fund lavish lifestyles and the acquisition of an assortment of private companies.  Ayeni, for example, bought parts of an unbundled electricity company from what used to be the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, using Skye Bank funds. At the last count, he also owned Ibadan and Yola Discos, and also acquired Nigeria Telecommunication Limited (NITEL) and also owned a private jet.

Mr. Ayeni was also a close associate of the late former governor of Bayelsa, Diepreye Solomon Alamieyeseigha, and was linked with money laundering allegations concerning the late governor.  It was through Alamieyeseigha that he became close to Mr. Jonathan during his time as deputy governor.  Ayeni spent months in Economic and Financial Crimes Commission detention as the agency carried out investigations into the massive theft of Bayelsa State funds, but he was never charged to court.

Other non-executive directors of the bank who owed the bank include Jason Fadeyi, the chairman of Pan Ocean Oil Company, who owes N90billion.

Furthermore, several businesses with links to the bank owed large sums to it but refused to service their loans.  They include Atlantic Energy, owned by Jide Omokore and fugitive Kola Aluko, which is owing N70b; Oando Oil Company, N20b; and Captain Osa Okunbo.  Kola Aluko’s brother, Kunle, is among the non-executive directors who purportedly resigned from the bank’s board today.

sources disclosed that Heritage Bank, which is co-owned by Mr. Ayeni and Senate President Bukola Saraki, is next in line for a takeover by the Central Bank, which is also looking to force out Oba Otudeko from the board of First Bank of Nigeria due to his indebtedness of about N82billion.

In his letter of resignation today, outgoing MD of Skye Bank, Timothy Ogunoye lamented that his efforts to turn the fortune of the bank was thwarted by forces within and without the bank