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How Skye Bank Management Tampered With Figures to Deceive Regulators

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

More information are beginning to emerge on what led to the actual death of Skye Bank Plc few months ago, when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) revoked its operating licence and changed it to Polaris Bank.

It was gathered from the preliminary reports of the ongoing investigations of the management of the defunct Skye Bank Plc that the lender’s top shot allegedly carried out serial manipulations of the company’s reports, fraudulently masking details with the sole aim of deceiving regulators, including the CBN and the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

According to Guardian, the preliminary reports specifically identified fraudulent and false accounting, manipulation of accounting records to present false profits and ratios, unlawful loan and credit facilities, non-disclosure of directors’ interests and lending beyond the single obligor limit.

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The Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), in a disclosure, said it is currently monitoring the investigations in conjunction with the apex bank, which are ongoing, by the law enforcement agencies, against the directors and management of the failed bank, to determine their actual level of culpability.

In the evening of Friday, September 21, 2018, Governor of the CBN, Mr Godwin Emefiele, at a news conference, announced the revocation of Skye Bank licence.

During the announcement, Mr Emefiele said a bridge bank called Polaris Bank had been established to assume ownership of the assets and liabilities of Skye Bank and make sure it gets back on its feet and return to profitability.

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On Monday, September 24, 2018, the NSE suspended trading on the shares of Skye Bank at the stock market.

Days later, Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), Mr Umaru Ibrahim, while speaking at a function in Lagos, said a former chairman of Skye Bank, Mr Tunde Ayeni, as well as a director of the defunct bank, Mr Festus Fadeyi, were being investigated by government.

He had said as soon as investigations were finalised, the necessary action would be taken and those found culpable severely dealt with.

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In early October 2018, Minister of Finance, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, directed the CBN and NDIC to fully investigate and prosecute all the directors and executive management who contributed to the collapse of Skye Bank as well as other Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) in liquidation.

She had noted that the failure of Skye Bank must be used as an opportunity to deal decisively with those behind the collapse so as to serve as a deterrent to other operators in the financial system and according to her, federal government was no longer prepared to treat such serious infractions with levity.

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Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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