A report has emerged that a consortium of 13 banks, involved in Etisalat Nigeria’s $1.2 billion loan is seeking the federal government’s intervention to investigate the telecommunications company.
A management source in Lagos disclosed that the banks want the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to wade into the matter, by investigating what the company did with the loan.
The source alleged that the loans were siphoned and needed to be probed by the anti-graft agency. He noted that there was no proof of what the company did with the money.
He said that the affected banks had rolled out a lot of viable options to Etisalat for the loan to be restructured, but was rejected by the company.
The source added that the banks had no intention of taking over Etisalat.
“All we want is to recover the loans; we cannot write off the loans as being demanded by Etisalat, because the company is viable.
“All we are requesting is for the Federal Government to wade into the issue and carry out due diligence on what the loan was used for.
“A foreign company cannot come and ride us in Nigeria, if this issue is not handled carefully, others will do the same thing,” the source said.
In the last few months, Etisalat Nigeria had been in talks with Nigerian banks to restructure a $1.2bn loan after missing repayments.
The loan is a seven-year facility agreed with 13 banks in 2013 to refinance a $650m and fund expansion of the telecommunication’s network.
The Nigerian Communications Commission and the Central Bank of Nigeria stepped into the fray to prevent a takeover by the banks. The discussions however, failed to produce an agreement on restructuring the debt.
- Bola Kougbe