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CBN Hits Hard on Union Bank, Polaris, Titan Trust Bank



The Central Bank of Nigeria has dissolved the board and management of Titan Trust Bank and three others, according to Inside Business.

This followed a report submitted to President Bola Tinubu by the Special Investigator on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Related Entities, Jim Obazee.

According to Inside Business, the others affected are Union Bank, Polaris Bank and Keystone Bank.

It was reported that the decision to dissolve the boards was taken after a meeting between the CBN Governor, Yemi Cardoso, Obazee and the boards of the four banks including Titan Trust Bank’s investors who had earlier avoided meeting with the Special Investigator.

SaharaReporters reported in December 2023 that the office of the Special Investigator had insisted that the Chairman of Titan Trust Bank (TTB), Mr Tunde Lemo, Mr Cornelius Vink and Rahul Savara must appear before it over the acquisition of the Union Bank of Nigeria.

The Special Investigator who had summoned Lemo, who is also a former deputy governor of the CBN, rejected Lemo’s request for an extension of time for shareholders to prove their ownership of Titan Trust Bank.

It insisted that Lemo and others summoned in a December 24 letter must appear to prove that their acquisition of Union Bank followed due process. It noted that they risked losing the financial institution to the Nigerian government.

SaharaReporters also reported that the Special CBN Investigator in a letter dated December 24, 2023, signed by the Head of Operations, Office of the Special Investigator, DCP Eloho Okpoziakpo, directed Lemo to report at the Department of Force Intelligence, opposite the Force headquarters, Shehu Shagari Way, Abuja on Thursday, December 28, 2023.

According to the letter obtained by SaharaReporters, Babatunde who was expected to be questioned over the UBN acquisition, was instructed to come along with the promoters of Titan Trust Bank, Mr Vink and Mr Savara, to meet with the team of special Investigators.

The letter directed all the summoned persons to “come along with all the documents/information requested from them by the letter to Mr Cornelius Vink dated 28th August 2023 (attached herewith as Appendix 1). You will also be required to make additional statements to your earlier statement on that day.

“Kindly note that if Messrs Cornelius Vink and Rahul Savara refuse to attend this meeting and provide/defend the requested documents/information, it will be construed that they have decided to forfeit their purported shareholdings in TTB and Union Bank of Nigeria; irrespective of which vehicle that they are using to own the purported shares.

“Should you also refuse to attend the meeting to provide an additional statement to your earlier statement made in August 2023, it will be construed that you misled the Nigerian public with your reaction in the PUNCH Newspapers today which has gained wide publicity in both electronic and print media.”

SaharaReporters had also reported that the report of the Special Investigator showed that the former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, allegedly used his proxies to acquire Union Bank.

The report further linked the late Alhaji Ismaila Isa Funtua, an ally of former President Muhammadu Buhari, alongside Emefiele to the acquisition of Keystone Bank and Polaris Bank.

According to the report, the acquisitions were carried out separately over time as seen in the report submitted to President Tinubu on December 20, 2023.

The Special Investigator said that it reached the conclusion following the failure of the purported shareholders to appear before its panel with the necessary documents to prove that they genuinely acquired the bank and recommended that the Nigerian government should take over the bank from the purported owner.

However, Lemo had in a widely circulated statement rejected the assertion by the Special Investigator, and asked the Special Investigator to give the shareholders seven days to prove their ownership of Titan Trust Bank and Union Bank of Nigeria with necessary documents, failure of which the two entities should be forfeited to the Federal Government.