Business - Business & Economy - News - August 22, 2021

Akwa Ibom APC calls out Udom Emmanuel on Globus Bank alleged N3.4b bond scandal

MEDIATRACNET

The All Progressives Congress (APC) in Akwa Ibom has challenged the state governor, Udom Emmanuel, and his government to come clean of allegations of their involvement in a multi-billion financial scandal.
The state opposition political party in a statement on Saturday accused Governor Emmanuel of involvement in a scandalous investment in Globus Bank in which he is said to have controlling equity interest.
“It is important for Governor Udom Emmanuel to come clean with Akwa Ibom people on his stakes in Globus Bank and the relationship between Akwa Ibom State government and Bond Holdings and Investment Limited, a financial management consultancy company.
“The governor should also explain to Akwa Ibom people why the State has been mired in this scandal-prone act with Bond Investment.
“What we know is that Globus Bank Limited, one of the Bankers to Akwa Ibom State Government, has agreed to withhold N3,500,000,000 in the state’s account, pending the conclusion of the garnishee proceedings initiated against the state government over a N4.2billion judgment debt.
The APC alleged that Bond Investments and Holdings Limited initiated  the garnishee proceedings following an order of the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) in its judgment of June 11, 2020  awarding N4.2billion against the state government 
This newspaper learned that Bond Investments Limited had sued the Akwa Ibom State government, accusing it of failing to meet its obligations concerning an existing contract agreement allegedly between them.
In the suit, the APC said Bond Investment claimed the state government hired it to offer financial consultancy services to reconcile and recover excess deductions/charges on all the state’s foreign loan debts.
The consultancy agency alleged parties signed a consultancy services agreement on June 30, 2010, including that it would be paid 15 percent of any sum refunded to Akwa Ibom State based at the completion of its assignment.
Bond Investments said during the lifespan of the agreement, it successfully reconciled and recovered about $61,277,096.07 for the state from the Federal Government on the London Club debt.
Bond Investments accused the state government of refusing to keep its part of the agreement by paying the 15 percent of the recovered sum despite several demand notices.
In the June 11, 2020 judgment, Justice Olukayode Adeniyi agreed with the plaintiff’s lawyers, Kehinde Ogunwumiju, a senior advocate of Nigeria (SAN) that the state government was liable.
“This is yet another very embarrassing financial scandal involving the Udom Emmanuel administration, and Akwa Ibom State Chapter of APC is appalled that the governor has kept Akwa Ibom people in the dark over this matter for this long,” the APC said in its statement signed by its spokesperson, Nkereuwem Enyongekere, on Saturday.
The party three aspects of the case the government should explain to the people.
“(1) What did the state governor do with the $61,277,096.07 (equivalent of over N30 billion) Bond Investment recovered for the state government?” “Why has the state governor been so silent on such an extra ordinary inflow into the government’s treasury?
“2. Why is the government unwilling to pay Bond Investment its agreed professional fees for this recovery?
“As a banker, does the governor not know the implications of refusing to fulfill contractual obligations?”
With the decision of Globus Bank to withhold the N3. 5 billion belonging to the state government due to the garnishee order and a judgment debt of N4.2 billion as a result of the case, the APC said  it’s not difficult to see why state’s credit rating was falling and its reputation dragged in the mud.
“Mr Udom Emmanuel should take responsibility for this badge of shame. Only he can do it!
“What is the truth behind the ownership of Globus Bank? Is it true that the governor is a major investor in this new bank, which is just three years old in the market?
“How could such a young Bank become the main banker to Akwa Ibom State government? 
“How much did the governor invest in the Bank, and what is the source of this investment?” the APC queried.
Akwa Ibom people, it said, are once again embarrassed by this financial scandal, which it noted, has been a reminder to the opacity with which the Udom administration has been managing the state public finances.
The refusal of the government to disclose the $61.277 million recovered for the state government by Bond Investment, it said, was tantamount to financial dishonesty and lack of transparency.
This, the state APC said, is a new low for a government it described as “notorious for its poor performance in the last six years plus.”
Recalling that the governor and some officials of his cabinet were indicted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) three years ago over money laundering, the APC said the latest case puts the governor in a position as one the governors would be standing trial by the anti-graft agency when he leaves office.

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