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Polaris Bank in fresh crisis as shareholders accuse GMD, Tokunbo Abiru of fraud

Fresh reports have indicated, a bridge bank created by the Central Bank of Nigeria to take over the assets and liabilities of the defunct Skye Bank is galloping inward crisis as shareholders of the defunct bank have reportedly accused the current management of Polaris Bank, led by its Group Managing Director, Mr. Adetokunboh Abiru of conniving with the CBN to defraud them of their investment.

According to a report monitored on First Weekly magazine online, the recent takeover of Skye Bank Plc by Polaris Bank, shareholders are now at the risk of losing an estimated N10.69 billion, being the value of the shareholders’ fund.

However, there have been questions about why the apex bank would revoke license of a bank with a performing management.

Information made available revealed that the Mr Tunde Ayeni-led board was sacked by the CBN because the bank found itself in a non-performing loan mess estimated to be almost N700 billion.

“The criss-cross in the statement of the CBN has thus seen questions being asked with no one ready to answer them.

“There are some who said if the interim management set up by the CBN to manage Skye Bank for two years could not prevent its eventual fall, why keep the team to run the bridge bank.

“Also, there are those who insist that there is more to the whole development, as they keep asking if the bank would have been put to rest if it was really doing well. There are also those who believe that the hands of the CBN Governor Emefiele might be tied, hence he is maintaining the set of management and board.

“Whatever is the situation, one basic truth is that Polaris Bank in the hands of the same management that couldn’t salvage Skye Bank Plc is only poised to fail except of course if the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) can quickly find a buyer before the invested N786 billion is known,” said a source.

Explaining the consequences of the move recently by the apex bank, a Financial Analyst, Tunde Biobaku, said “when a bank is recapitalized, there is always the need to name a new board who will handle the new investment.

“If you use the same set of people, they will run down the business just like they initially did to make the bank need recapitalization in the first place, so what the CBN has done is very confusing because the same guys that couldn’t do well with Skye Bank are now managing Polaris Bank, the end result is already clear, crystal clear.

“They would leave Polaris Bank worse than they met it, you mark my words.”

Boniface Okezie, National Coordinator, Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), said that the CBN need to explain its actions to Nigerians for better understanding.

Okezie said the investors should not be allowed to suffer again for the misdeeds and mistakes of the regulations. He called on the Federal Government to investigate the incessant fall of banks in the country, adding that the past management and board of Skye Bank must be made to account of what led to the bank’s misfortune.

“Signs that the apex bank would move in, to take over the bank became obvious when it failed to declare its result under the mandatory window. The announcement of the takeover by CBN came like a surprise to many.

With the same old wine in a new bottle, it is hard to see a flourishing Polaris Bank in the near future, especially in the hands of Tokunbo Abiru, leader of the team” said a source.

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