Intercontinental not a failed bank at time of take-over, says NDIC

By Editor.

A prosecution witness with the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Mr. Paul Ndubuisi Akani, on Friday, March 20, 2020, told a Federal High Court sitting before Justice Ayokunle Faji that Intercontinental Bank Plc after their forensic examination in 2009 did not fall within the category of failed banks, and that his committee did not in its special investigation report recommend its take-over by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The witness in the ongoing trial of the bank’s former managing director and chief executive officer, Dr. Erastus Akingbola, also told the court that the report which his committee prepared which the CBN and NDIC used in removing Akingbola from office was not a perfect one. 

Akani made the assertions while being cross-examined by Professor Taiwo Oshipitan (SAN) counsel to Dr Akingbola in the ongoing trial of the former managing director of Intercontinental Bank Plc.
His words: “Our report is not perfect,  our report cannot be error free, if our report achieved 75 percent success, then it is good. But we tried our possible best and what is humanly possible to minimise errors”.

When asked whether in his committee’s report there was any place it was mentioned that CBN should take over Intercontinental Bank as a failed bank, he said: “I have just read out our recommendations from the report, there was no place that item is contained in the report. Our report was just one source of information CBN used to take decision on the bank. There are other sources CBN could use including CBN Discount Window”.

The former Intercontinental Bank Plc boss, is being tried by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), on the allegation of granting “unsecured credit facilities” worth billions of naira to different companies, among others. According to EFCC, the alleged offence violates Section 14 (1) of the Money Laundering Act of 2004.

The prosecution witness also confirmed to the court that the 12 recommendations in his team’s Special Examination Report did not include criminal prosecution of Dr. Akingbola. 

Akani when asked by Oshinpitan (SAN) if a copy of the report was given to Akingbola or if he came across any document showing that NDIC or CBN sent the report to Akingbola,  he replied that it is not his responsibility to do so.

The witness who had at last proceedings told the court that his team report did not recommend Dr. Akingbola’s removal as the bank’s CEO and taking ove of the bank by CBN and NDIC,  however told the court today that the decision to remove the CEO and take over of the bank may not solely be based on his special examination team’s report. 

He said: “Our report is not only what the CBN and NDIC relied on to make their decision. They usually also use other sources to arrive on their decision

“They could use an offsite report, CBN discount window, bank’s supervision report and others, but I don’t know if offsite report was used in this case”.

When confronted with a copy of his team’s report which has been admitted by the court, to explain the meaning of ‘P’ in each column of the document,  the witness said the ‘P’ means ‘performing’, indicating that loans allegedly taken from the bank by some top customers of the bank were still performing as at the time the bank was taken over by CBN.