By OHIA ISRAEL
The craze of living ostentatious and flamboyant lifestyles among Nigerian billionaires is becoming increasingly high, as this is seen in their top mansions they acquire or build, and the luxury and posh state of the arts cars they parade and not forgetting the highly expensive Private jets they have in their kitty.
DESERT HERALD can authoritatively tell that the ostentatious life styles of these Nigerians may not be far from immense debts owed by top politicians and business moguls.
According to a latest Central Bank survey, a lot of those that dine and wine with President Goodluck Jonathan are among these billionaire debtors. These include even those in his economic team and even his economic advisers. The apex bank listed 113 companies and 419 directors/shareholders and directed banks in the country not to extend further credit facilities to them.
Prominent among the blacklisted names and companies are Femi Otedola, Sayyu Dantata, Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide, Barth Nnaji, Elizabeth Ebi and Wale Babalakin.
“The debtors have refused to pay back their loans despite the purchase of the debts at an agreed price by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON),” the reports states.
Meanwhile, the CBN also observed that the restriction would apply to individuals, organisations, companies, as well as principal shareholders and directors of companies where the outstanding value of loans purchased by AMCON amounted to N5 billion or above as at the day of purchase, without regard to the actual amount paid by AMCON.
“It has become necessary to stop debtors who fail to repay their loans to banks, and had these loans subsequently transferred to AMCON, from further enjoying credit facilities from deposit money banks until they fully repay agreed outstanding to AMCON,” stated the CBN.
These big debtors are also among the nation’s richest companies and individuals, and their extensive uncollateralized loans from Nigerian banks to the tune of billions of dollars led to the collapse of the banking sector. Several of the debtors were also involved in the petroleum subsidy scam that bled the Nigerian economy of some $6.5 billion.
However, Nigeria has refused for years to prosecute the predatory lenders and borrowers but rather set up the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to absorb the debts and enable the debtor roam free and engage in more economic crimes.
The CBN has therefore warned local banks from extending even one more kobo of credit to them until they clear all debts. These debtors include about 113 companies and 419 directors/shareholders.
“It has become necessary to stop debtors who failed to repay their loans to banks and had these loans subsequently transferred to AMCON, from further enjoying credit facilities from Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) until they fully repay agreed outstanding to AMCON,” said the circular, which was signed by CBN’s Director of Banking Supervision, Mrs. A. O. Martins.
According to the CBN report, which had a detailed list of the blacklisted debtors, worst hit by the directive are Zenon Petroleum, owned by Otedola, which was indebted to banks to the tune of N192.4 billion; MRS Holdings Limited, which belongs to Dantata – N119.98 billion; Seawolf Limited – N98.32 billion; Arik Air Limited, belonging to Arumemi-Ikhide – N85.481 billion; NITEL Plc/M-Tel – N71.547 billion; and Capital Oil and Gas Limited, which belongs to Ifeanyi Ubah – N48.014 billion.
Others include Falcon Securities, whose Managing Director, Mr. Peter Ololo, was arraigned alongside several bank executives in 2009 by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) – N162.9 billion; Rockson Engineering Limited, owned by Arumemi-Ikhide – N60.475 billion; BGL Securities – N6.44 billion; Rahamaniyya Oil & Gas Limited – N46.38 billion; Bi-Courtney Limited – N20.214 billion; and Geometrics Engineering, owned by Nnaji – N19.76 billion.
Other companies also to be affected by the restriction include: Aero Contractors Company, owned by the family of Olorogun Michael Ibru – N32.579 billion; Tinapa Business Resort – N18.509 billion; Nestoil Limited, belonging to oil and gas entrepreneur, Ernest Azudialu – N13.506 billion; Dorman Long Engineering – N9.667 billion; Ascott Offshore Nig. Ltd, belonging to former banker, Henry Imasekha and the Berkley Group – N64.728 billion; Gitto Constuzioni – N11.838 billion; and Dansa Foods – N14.880 billion, whose directors, Sani and Abdul Dangote, are the brothers of business mogul, Alhaji Aliko Dangote.
Meanwhile, two states were also barred from taking loans and credits from Nigerian banks. These include Cross River and Zamfara, because of the failure of the Tinapa Business Resort and the Zamfara Accountant General to pay back loans collected.
As it is for Zenon Petroleum, whose initial debt of N192.423 billion was priced by AMCON at N140.999 billion, the memo showed that “negotiations are ongoing and with fairly clear roadmap”. It also revealed that MRS Holdings’ debt of N119.986 billion, acquired by AMCON at a price of N91.620 billion, has been “restructured and is performing”.
Similarly, Seawolf’s debt of N98.328 billion that AMCON priced at N88.496 billion was put at “negotiations ongoing”; while Arik Air’s debt of N85.481 billion, which was acquired by AMCON at N62.970 billion, has been “restored but there is a moratorium”. It also showed that while Capital Oil and Gas’ N48.014 billion has been “restructured and awaiting performance”; Rockson’s debt of N60.475 billion, which was acquired by AMCON at N36.331 billion, is still “pending”.
However, just as Arik Air was last week shut down due to an alleged indebtedness of about N18 billion before it resumed flight last Sunday, the second biggest airline in the country, Aero Contractor, has been taken over by the federal government through the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) which is now taking responsibility for the N32 billion debt the airline has accumulated from many commercial banks as non performing loans.
This is coming weeks after another major airline, Air Nigeria, shuts down and sacked all its workers due to huge indebtedness and alleged fraud by the management led by controversial billionaire, Jimoh Ibrahim.
The airline which is managed secretly by the convicted ex-managing director of the now acquired Oceanic Bank, Mrs Cecilia Ibru, announced the taken over today saying: “We can confirm that Aero’s debt has been taken over by AMCON. Currently Aero is going through a restructuring exercise under AMCON, pending final approval by AMCON board which is expected very soon. However the airline is allowed limited access to funds by the banks through AMCON for its working capital.”
The move by AMCON, it was learnt, had already created panic in the unstable aviation sector where most of the airlines are highly indebted, as a result of which they provide poor services to passengers. CBN warned that any bank that flouts the guidelines would be made to make an immediate provision of 100 per cent of total principal and interest outstanding in the account of the customer and related parties, in addition to whatever regulatory penalties it may decide to impose.
November 27, 2013 //
The state of affairs in Zamfara state which is currently under Governor Abdulaziz Yari is now bedevi...
November 19, 2013 //
By Ohia Israel In 2000, the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, was established with the mi...
November 4, 2013 //
The Acting Governor of Taraba, Alhaji Garba Umar, on Monday condoled with the family of the late Spe...
June 19, 2013 //
BY OHIA ISRAEL When in 2012 flood disaster affected a lot of states in the country, there were wail...
June 6, 2013 //
- Tukur Mamu Ever since the promotion of the book “FCT Administration: The Rot Within!’ and the ...
May 22, 2013 //
A book chronicling the scandals and the dirty politics in the current Federal Capital Territory F...
May 7, 2013 //
BY IFEANYICHUKWU NWANNAH The lingering issue of the diversion of petroleum products allocated to Za...
April 9, 2013 //
BY NICHOLAS IBEKWE While the Federal Government has concluded plans to spend N75 billion ($500 mill...