The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has denied a viral report, alleging that Polaris Bank was sold to an influential clique of President Muhammadu Buhari’s cronies.
A report published on Saturday, December 31, 2022, claimed that Aishah Ahmad, the Deputy Governor of CBN, turned down a N1.04 trillion offer for the purchase by London-based Fairview Acquisition Partners, which offered N200 billion in immediate disbursement for the asset, to Strategic Capital Investments (SCI) Ltd for N50 billion.
“With her eyes on the highest job for monetary transactions and regulations in Nigeria, Ms Ahmad, the only female deputy governor at CBN, played along in a scheme that ultimately handed a key federal asset to the president’s cronies at ‘a giveaway price’,” the report read partly.
In a statement by the Director of Corporate Communications, CBN, Osita Nwanisobi, the apex bank described the report as spurious, malicious, and misleading.
“For the records, the public is referred to the statement dated October 20, 2022 by CBN & AMCON announcing the sale of 100 per cent equity in Polaris Bank to a new core investor, Strategic Capital Investment Limited, wherein it provided copious details of the process by which the sale was conducted.
“Contrary to claims in the aforementioned online publication, the divestment from Polaris Bank was supervised by a divestment committee comprising of senior representatives of AMCON and CBN, and supported by reputable legal and financial advisers.
“In addition, the divestment mode, process, and decision received requisite board and regulatory approvals. At no time did any other party make a higher purchase offer as falsely claimed by the online publication.
“The entity in question, Fairview Acquisition Partners, had indicated an interest in acquiring two banks, including Polaris Bank, for a total sum of N1.2 trillion, an indicative offer which significantly discounted the existing N1.31 trillion debt owed by Polaris Bank to AMCON and so represented a material loss to the Federal Government.
“Notwithstanding, along with 24 other parties, Fairview Acquisition Partners was invited by the financial advisors to participate in the sale process via the execution of a non-disclosure agreement (NDA), the first stage of the process,” the statement read.
Explaining why Fairview Acquisition Partners’ proposed acquisition of Polaris Bank collapsed, the CBN spokesperson said the company neither executed nor returned the NDA despite verbally confirming receipt of the agreement and after follow-up from the financial advisors.