Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) is a coalition of over hundred and fifty Anti-corruption organizations whose primary aim is to constructively combat corruption vigorously and to ensure the effective monitoring of the various Anti-graft agencies in the fight against corruption and contribute towards the enthronement of transparency, accountability, probity and total commitment in the fight to eradicate corruption in Nigeria.
On October 4th 2006, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through its Head of Corporate Affairs, Mr. Festus Odoko had disclosed that the CBN had apportioned $7billion out of the nation’s external reserves, which stood at $38.07 billion, as at the end of July, 2006, to 14 global asset managers and their 14 Nigerian banks local partners, to manage. The amount reportedly bequeathed to the asset managers represented 18.39 per cent of the total external reserves and was hitherto kept with foreign banks.
The 14 global asset managers and their local counterparts were Black Rock and Union Bank of Nigeria Plc; J.P. Morgan Chase and Zenith Bank Plc; H.S.B.C and; First Bank of Nigeria Plc; BNP Paribas and Intercontinental Bank Plc; UBS and United Bank for Africa Plc; Credit Suisse and IBTC Chartered Bank Plc; Morgan Stanley and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc; Fortis and Bank PHB Plc; Investec and Fidelity Bank Plc; ABN Amro and Access Bank Plc; Cominvest and Oceanic Bank Plc; ING and Ecobank Plc; Bank of New York and Stanbic Bank Plc and; Crown Agents and Diamond Bank Plc.
According to the reports, CBN gave each asset manager, $500m of the external reserves to manage. Almost nine years after this pronouncement, no public report or account has been rendered by CBN on these the $500 million given to each of the banks. Also realizing that 3 of the banks (Intercontinental Bank, Bank PHB and Oceanic) were bought over by other banks and or liquidated between 2006 and now.
This prompted CSNAC in a letter dated, June 17, 2015 (sent through IFEX Express Limited Postal service, with their assurance that the letter got to destination on June 25th, 2015), under the Freedom of Information Act, to request for information on the $7billion ‘soft loan’ granted to the aforementioned 14 consortium of bankers. Under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011, which stipulates that such information should be received within 7 days to the applicants. However, till today, 20 days after confirmation of delivery to the CBN governor, no acknowledgment or response from the apex bank has been received by our organisation.
The Bank’s non-response reeks of deceit and lack of transparency. Perhaps, those involved assume Nigerians suffers collective amnesia and will not remember. We do remember and we are asking questions without answers. CSNAC is hereby requesting that the Presidency probes this matter and inform Nigerians exactly what is going on or has gone wrong with the $7 billion soft loan.
You investigation might unofficial commence as you proceed on this official trip to the United States. The CBN governor is listed to be in your delegation, and some of the affected global assets managers; J P Morgan Chase and Bank of New York are U.S. Based. Obviously, the CBN Governor and many others in government are yet to imbibe or prepared to school in the culture of transparency and accountability as was promised in your covenant with Nigerians. The Vice President, Prof. ‘Yemi Osinbajo, recently reiterated this position, while addressing the world in Addis Ababa. He also assured the international community of your government’s commitment to sanctions of government officials in the act of refusing to respect the FoIA with regards to provision of information.
Mr. President, without appropriate sanctions and consequences, accountability from public office holders and respect for the provisions of FoI act is not likely to be achieved. The CBN governor must therefore be directed to respect the law by urgently responding to our request, whIle your office commences thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the loan in question.
While appreciating your anticipated swift action on this matter, please accept the assurances of esteem regards.