House of Reps Ask CBN To Suspend Sale Of Polaris Bank
Fred Omotara, Lagos
The House of Representatives on Wednesday directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to immediately suspend the sale of Polaris Bank Plc.
The House said the suspension should be until the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) concluded all processes for open, transparent, and competitive bid process.
The house said it should be in line with best practice and procedure for divestment of this nature.
This followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance by Henry Nwauba (APGA-Imo) at the plenary on Wednesday.
He said public attention had been drawn through a circulation currently on social media in respect of the proposed sale of Polaris Bank for N40 billion.
He said that there was a need to ensure that the divestment in the bank did not jeopardise the core reason for the CBN intervention in the bank in the overall public interest.
He added that the divestment should be done most transparently following the required due process.
He said that this was necessary to avert public outcry and untoward reaction from critical stakeholders in the economy, foreign business partners, banking community, depositors and correspondent banks.
He added that it was crucial to avoid the shortcomings of a previous similar exercise undertaken in the past.
He said that Polaris Bank was borne out of the bailout of the defunct Skye bank Plc that failed due to poor corporate governance and non-performing loans.
This, he said, was for which close to a trillion naira of public fund was committed to resuscitating the bank.
He said that the proposed sale was shrouded In secrecy and was opaque and required that it was done in transparency and accountability to eliminate insinuations of corruption.
He said the transited defunct Skye Bank was a systemically important bank with a large pool of employees, customers, and other stakeholders.
He said that the bank without a bailout would have had a serious contagion effect on the economy and global perception/reputation.
The House therefore set up an ad hoc committee to within 20 days, review the total outlay by the Federal Government of Nigeria in Polaris Bank and account for the entire financial input in the bank by the Federal Government.
The House said this should be through CBN, NDIC and AMCON to determine whether the conditions and terms of sale were likely to ensure positive return on public funds thus far committed to the bank, whether as bailout funds or other investments