Tunde Ayeni, billionaire businessman with deep connections to the Nigerian ruling class, has been fingered in a financial scandal currently threatening the stability of Skye Bank Plc. Ayeni is a former chairman of Skye Bank, who was compelled to step down in 2014 under a cloud of alleged financial infractions.
The Cable claimed to have sighted a recent letter the management of Skye Bank wrote to Acting President Yemi Osinbajo on Ayeni’s alleged infractions as then chairman of the bank. The current leadership of the bank reportedly said a sum of N33 billion was traced to Ayeni, out of which N7 billion was spent on the re-election campaign of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“The sum of N7bn was disbursed without due process to various individuals and corporate organisations on the request of Godknows Igali, a former permanent secretary of the federal ministry of power,” it read.
“The monies appear to have been expended essentially on the Jonathan-Sambo electoral campaign in 2015. That sum remains outstanding as at today”.
The said letter also alleged Ayeni ignored due process while using his positions to fraudulently procure loans from the bank.
“The bank’s total exposure to Ayeni as of the date is about N70bn. It is clear that he used his position as the chairman of the bank to obtain inside loans well above the regulatory thresholds for the acquisition of the following government enterprises: Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, Yola Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company and Nitel/Mtel. All the facilities are presently seriously challenged.
“As of today, Ayeni’s total industry indebtedness, covering both Nitel and the Electricity Distribution Companies (Discos) is estimated at about N150bn, and little, if any, of these obligations, are being doubtful that he will ever be in a position to service these loans satisfactorily.”
“There is ample evidence that he (Ayeni), among others, received large amounts of cash, totalling N29.5bn, from the bank, which appears to be connected to the purchase of Mainstreet Bank Limited, but which has not been accounted for.
“He was instrumental in the approval and disbursement of the liquidity management which went on throughout his tenure.”
The management recommended that the government assist it to seize Ayeni’s assets.
“The former chairman should be brought to account for his central role in many of the identified infractions,” the letter read.
“We have been able to perfect the debenture on the fixed and floating assets of Natcom, the vehicle that was used for the acquisition of Nitel and Mtel with asset estimated at N282bn (Open market value) and N183bn (forced sale value) by Knight Frank in 2014.
“This will put us in a position to place the company into receivership for recovery. However, in order to come to fruition, this approach will require strong and unyielding support from the regulatory and political authorities in the country.”
The management also indicted Akinsola Akinfewa, Kehinde Durosinmi-Etti and Oguntayo, all former GMDs of the bank.
Other individuals listed in the petition for various acts of infraction are Femi Otedola, chairman Forte Oil Plc, Festus Fadeyi and Jide Omokore.
The Cable said Ayeni refused to take his calls or reply to text messages sent to his phone for comment on the allegations.