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Saturday , 6 February 2016

Business

150bn suit:Dokpesi Apologises To Tinubu Over AIT’s Damaging Documentary During Election.

asiwaju bola ahmed tinubuDAAR Communications, owned by Chief Raymond Dokpesi has tendered an unreserved apology to the national leader of the All Progressive Congress (APC) Asiwaju Bola Tinubu over a documentary aired on African Independent Television (AIT) titled, “Lion of Bourdillon”

‎DAAR Communications also opted for an out of court settlement in a N150 billion libel suit filed against the company before a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja.

On another hand, Asiwaju Tinubu agreed has also accepted the apology tendered by DAAR Communications as settlement for the libellous documentary.

Tinubu had instituted the N150 billion suit before the court against Daar Communications Plc, owners of AIT, for airing the documentary‎.

He said the money represented aggravated and exemplary damages for the libelous documentary.

He had alleged that the documentary, which started airing on March 1, 2015, was libelous and aimed at tarnishing his image.

DAAR communications, as defendant/claimant, also filed a counter claim of N200 billion‎ as aggravated, punitive and exemplary damages against the claimant.

The matter which came before Justice Iyabo Akinkugbe was later referred to ‎Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) in December last year.

At the resumed proceedings Monday, counsel to Dokpesi, Mike Ozekhome (SAN) informed the court of his client’s wish to embrace alternative dispute resolution.

“My lord, we have come to court today to embrace Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). Every war that is fought is always settled amicably on a roundtable.

“Both parties have expressed their desire to settle amicably based on the terms of settlement which the My Lord has been furnished with.

“We reached the agreement to enable both parties to continue with the good relationship that they have always had. We have driven the devil away with a spiritual “Koboko”, Ozekhome told the court.

Tinubu’s Counsel, Wole Olanipekun (SAN) also informed the court of his client’s willingness to settle out of court,

“I align myself with the submissions and sentiments of my learned friend. I can also confirm that the term of settlement which was drawn up on the 29th of January has been accepted by both parties,” Olanipekun said.

“I also want to appreciate my Lord for her patience all through the duration of the suit. I also appreciate the Claimant who magnanimously agreed to settle out of court,” Olanipekun said.

The trial judge, Justice Iyabo Akinkugbe adopted the terms of settlement as judgement of the court having acknowledged that it has been filed before the court.

The terms of agreement adopted as judgement of the court include a retraction of the broadcast by AIT, an apology by AIT which should be aired three times, once daily on AIT, and that the claimant and the defendant shall bear their respective costs in the suit.

A copy of DAAR Communications apology letter titled, “Retraction and Apology by DAAR communications PLC to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinuby” circulated to journalists stated: “Further to the terms of settlement in suit No: ID/196GCMW/2015 between Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and DAAR Communications Plc filed as a result of the broadcast‎ of a documentary titled, “Lion of Bourdillion” and which terms were adopted at the High Court of Lagos State on 5th February, 2016 as the judgement of the court, the defendant DAAR Communications Plc hereby retracts and apologises to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu as follows:

“Daar Communications Plc, acknowledges that Asiwaju Bola Tinubu is an outstanding political leader of unblemished character and integrity, as well as a leading public figure and opinion moulder who has made and continues to make immense, colossal and gargantuan contributions to the progress and development of the nation in general and Lagos State in particular.

“Daar Communication Plc admits that in airing the said documentary, it had no intention whatsoever to embarrass or diminish the high reputation of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu which it respects and attests to.

“Daar Communications Plc hereby makes a public and unequivocal retraction of the said documentary titled ‘Lion of Bourdilon’, which was broadcast on its television station, AIT.

“Daar Communications Plc hereby tenders unreserved apology to Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu for the broadcast of the documentary on its television station, AIT.

“Daar Communications Plc prays that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu will live long to make more enormous contributions to the advancement of our nation, Nigeria, Lagos State and the world at large,” the statement read.

Labour Set For Nationwide Protest Against Electricity Tariffs Hike On Monday

The labour movement has commenced mobilisation of Nigerians fbabatunde raji fashola (BRF)or a nationwide protest on Monday over the increase in electricity tariffs announced by the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission.

The President, Nigeria Labour Congress, Mr. Ayuba Wabba, said in a statement on Thursday that the planned protest, which will involve the NLC, the Trade Union Congress and electricity consumers, would hold simultaneously in all the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory.

Wabba said that all electricity consumers, who were unhappy with the new price regime, were invited to participate in the protest.

The NLC president said that the organised labour decided to embark on the protest after all efforts to get NERC to drop the idea of increasing the tariffs

He said the stipulated procedure for an increase in tariff as stated in Section 76 of the Power Sector Act, 2005 was not followed.

Wabba said there was a subsisting court order by Justice Mohammed Idris of the Federal High Court, Ikoyi, Lagos, in a case between Toluwani Yemi-Adebiyi and NERC, that there shall be no further increase in electricity tariffs.

He said that the current tariff increase was illegal as it was announced in violation of a subsisting court order.

Access Bank Becomes Toast Of Town As Lagos Marathon Hots Up, N92m for Grab!

ambode & access bank md

At least 50 elite athletes who are part of the star-cast for this weekend’s Access Bank Lagos City Marathon will arrive in the country on Thursday….and Access bank is getting kudos here and there,for daring to throw her weight behind the laudable project.

The General Manager for the marathon race, Yussuf Alli revealed that most of the expected athletes will be coming from Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Bahrain, Cameroon and Rwanda.

Alli further stated that the incoming athletes will drive straight to the Expo Centre of the Marathon race at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos to collect their race bibs and numbers.

The athletes will also be received by Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission and head of the organising committee of the event, Deji Tinubu.

“We are expecting the bulk of our elite athletes on Thursday from their respective bases. They are all eager to be here for the Lagos City Marathon,” Alli stated.

Top on the list of those expected in Lagos on Thursday is Kenya’s Josphat Kifanni Too who has a personal best time of 2.08.23secs.

Peter Kiplagat who won the 2015 Geneva Marathon is also expected from Kenya as well as his compatriot Sammy Kibet; winner of the 2011 Warsaw Marathon.

Abebe Negewo winner of the Rome 2012 Marathon is also expected from Ethiopia.

Meanwhile, organisers have confirmed that as many as 150 Nigerian elites, mostly from Jos will also be arriving in Lagos on Thursday.

Over 20,000 athletes are expected to feature in the 6 February marathon which is the first of its kind in over three decades.

About N92 million is up for grabs for marathoners who can run from the Old Lagos (National Stadium Surulere) to New Lagos (Eko Atlantic City), a distance of 42.195 kilometres.

At least 50 elite athletes who are part of the star-cast for this weekend’s Access Bank Lagos City Marathon will arrive in the country on Thursday.

The General Manager for the marathon race, Yussuf Alli revealed that most of the expected athletes will be coming from Kenya, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Bahrain, Cameroon and Rwanda.

Alli further stated that the incoming athletes will drive straight to the Expo Centre of the Marathon race at the Teslim Balogun Stadium in Surulere, Lagos to collect their race bibs and numbers.

The athletes will also be received by Chairman of Lagos State Sports Commission and head of the organising committee of the event, Deji Tinubu.

“We are expecting the bulk of our elite athletes on Thursday from their respective bases. They are all eager to be here for the Lagos City Marathon,” Alli stated.

Top on the list of those expected in Lagos on Thursday is Kenya’s Josphat Kifanni Too who has a personal best time of 2.08.23secs.

Peter Kiplagat who won the 2015 Geneva Marathon is also expected from Kenya as well as his compatriot Sammy Kibet; winner of the 2011 Warsaw Marathon.

Abebe Negewo winner of the Rome 2012 Marathon is also expected from Ethiopia.

Meanwhile, organisers have confirmed that as many as 150 Nigerian elites, mostly from Jos will also be arriving in Lagos on Thursday.

Over 20,000 athletes are expected to feature in the 6 February marathon which is the first of its kind in over three decades.

About N92 million is up for grabs for marathoners who can run from the Old Lagos (National Stadium Surulere) to New Lagos (Eko Atlantic City), a distance of 42.195 kilometres.

Meanwhile, Lagos State Government on Wednesday announced restriction of movement in some of the major highways to be used for the February 6, 2016 International Marathon scheduled to start by 7am at National Stadium Surulere and terminate at Eko Atlantic City.

The Lagos International Marathon, which was last held in 1983, is billed to be attended by over 20,000 athletes, including over 20 world class marathoners.

Speaking during a press conference at the Bagauda Kaltho Press Centre in Alausa, Special Adviser to the Lagos State Governor on Transportation, Prince Olanrewaju Elegushi disclosed that the Marathon will start from the National Stadium and move to Anthony, and thereafter to Gbagada Road, Third Mainland Bride through Alfred Rewane to Lekki Ikoyi Bridge and terminate at Eko Atlantic City.

Elegushi, who explained that the Marathon will commence at 7am, said the restriction of traffic will however start from 6:30am and end at 1pm, adding that adequate arrangements have been put in place to ensure that security operatives and officials of the Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) barricade access to the dual carriage way to be affected by the event.

According to him, all traffic flow and access from Alaka and Alhaji Masha to National Stadium towards Ojuelegba and along Western Avenue terminating at Anthony Bus stop would be blocked, while the whole stretch of the Anthony Oke to Gbagada unto Third mainland Bride along with accesses at New Garage, Adeniji Adele interchange; Sura/Simpson and Obalende would equally be blocked.

He added that all access from Dolphin Estate towards Osborne terminating at Falomo Road About would be blocked for the event, while access to Falomo Roundabout from Alfred Rewane (Kingsway Road), Awolowo Road and traffic from Victoria Island would also be affected.

According to Elegushi, other areas to be affected include all access/link roads along Bourdillon up to Lekki-Ikoyi Bridge Roundabout and the Link Bridge, while there would also be blockade of traffic on Admiralty Way from the bridge outlet inward Lekki-Epe Expressway inward Ozumba Mbadiwe to Akin Adesola, Bishop Oluwole and Bar Beach (Atlantic City).

He, however, call on all Lagosians “to see the event not only as a sporting event but for its tourism content. As a people who are naturally friendly, we should put on display, our positive attitude to visitors,” Elegushi counseled.

He said governor would not hesitate to lift the restriction if and when it is perceived as necessary to bring about free flow of traffic.

While regretting any inconveniences that the residents might suffer as a result of the restriction, Elegushi said the security operatives and LASTMA officials have been stationed to ensure free flow of traffic in all the other alternative routes which the people could make use of during the event.

On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of LASTMA, Christ Olakpe assured residents of the preparedness of his men to ensure a hitch-free tournament.
Olakpe, a retired Assistant Inspector General of Police, added that instructions have been given to his men to be civil in dealing with residents.

Atiku,Dariye & Mantu In N1.162bn Ecological Fund Scandal

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday continued its case against a former Governor of Plateau State, Joshua Dariye, with one of its detectives, Musa Sunday, telling a Federal Capital Territory High Court in Gudu how the former governor allegedly shared N1.162bn belonging to the state.

Dariye, who is now the senator representing Plateau Central Senatorial District in the Senate, allegedly obtained N1.162bn ecological funds as Governor of Plateau State in 2004.

Dariye, who served between 1999 and 2007, is being prosecuted for allegedly diverting Plateau State’s ecological funds while in office as governor.

Sunday, an investigator with the EFCC was cross-examined by Dariye’s lawyer, Garba Pwul (SAN) on Tuesday.

The detective who had earlier been led in evidence by the lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), under cross-examination gave a breakdown of how Dariye allegedly disbursed the N1.16bn to his political associates and officials of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, in Plateau State.

He said investigations by his team of detectives revealed that the ex-governor gave N100m traced to a company – Marine Float Nigeria Limited owned by former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar.

“The Ecological Fund Office is under the Presidency but the Office of the Vice-President oversees it and the vice-president chairs the agency’s activities. The vice-president at that time was Alhaji Abubakar Atiku,” the witness said.

He also said N100m was traced to the South-West PDP, which was received by then Minister of Special Duties, Yomi Edu, N80m to then Permanent Secretary of the Ecological Fund Office in the Presidency, Kingsley Nkoma; N10m to a former Deputy Senate President, Ibrahim Mantu, N6.8m to the PDP Plateau State and N66m to 274 PDP wards in the state.

Sunday, who is the first prosecution witness, read out the portion of the statement made by Dariye to the EFCC where he confirmed the distribution of the money among his political associates in a statement he wrote to the EFCC in July 2007.

When given Dariye’s statement to read, the witness read from page 10 of the statement marked Exhibit P13(A) which highlighted how Dariye gave a breakdown of how he disbursed the N1.162bn received from the Ecological Fund Office.

“In the course of investigation, Marine Float was found to be a company owned by the former Vice-President, Alhaji Abubakar Atiku. As at when the money was paid, the Vice- President was the Chairman of Ecological Fund Office,” the witness said.

He denied knowledge whether the N100m was recovered from Atiku.

When Pwul suggested to the witness that the then President, Olusegun Obasanjo, returned to Plateau State in 2004 the N100m paid to the South-West PDP by Dariye, the witness denied knowledge of such development.

He added that investigation into the issue revealed that Dariye paid N80m to the then Permanent Secretary of the Ecological Fund Office, Kingsley Nkoma, “for facilitating the prompt release of N1.62bn ecological funds to the state.

“The N80m paid in favour of Union Savings and Loan, was traced to Kingsley Nkoma, Permanent Secretary of Ecological Fund Office. We recovered the N80m from Nkoma, who said that was his share for facilitating the release of the money. That was the bribe he collected.

“Investigation proved, while he was invited, that the N80m paid to him through Union Savings and Loan was a bribe money paid to him by the defendant. The money was recovered from him. The N80m registered from Nkoma is registered as exhibit and it is with the EFCC. When we invited him, Nkoma said that that was his share of the money and he was made to return it.”

The witness restated his earlier claim that Dariye made his banker, All States Trust Bank (now defunct) to conceal his identity.

He said their investigation revealed that the mandate card for the account allegedly operated by a firm linked to Dariye – Ebenezer Ritnan Venture – did not carry anybody’s photograph as required.

He said they were able to uncover the company’s true ownership by Dariye’s signature on the mandate form.

He said Dariye allegedly diverted his share of the N1.162bn into the company’s account.

The witness said the bank and its officials, who claimed to have granted Dariye waiver by not including his photograph in the account opening documents, had since been convicted by a Federal High Court in Kaduna for aiding fAtiku-Abubakar

GTBank Gives Brand New Car To GTCrea8 Winner

GTBank has restated its commitment to continue investing in both the academic and social well being on Nigerian university undergraduates, as it unveils the latest Mini Cooper winner. Hassan Jamiu Olawale who emerged winner of the 3rd Season of the GTCrea8 Mini Cooper giveaway special.

At the events draw which held recently at the GTBank head office. Hassan Jamiu Olawale, a model and student of Kwara State University became the proud owner of a brand new Mini Cooper car.

Since the launch of the campaign, two lucky GTCrea8 customers have been rewarded with a brand new mini cooper car. In 2013, Shalom Wigwe Elisha – a 2nd year student of medicine at the University of Lagos became the very first recipient of the prestigious car. Maryam Adebiyi – a student of Lagos state Polytechnic was the next to win the car in 2014.

The aim of this Giveaway Mini Cooper giveaway is to appreciate and encourage GTcrea8 eSavers account holders in Nigeria and diaspora. The initiative also seeks to inspire young people to cultivate the habit of saving. Last year, millions of undergraduates from across Nigeria took part in this annual campus activation.

In a chat session with this season’s winner, elated Olawale revealed “I come from a family of four and currently a student at Kwara State University, department of Banking and Finance. I am a model (MR. KWARA INT’L CHARISMATIC 2015). I do not have much hobbies but I pride myself at solving problems around me especially business related puzzles. One of my recent business solutions is ICHOPPY a feeding app for students. The other is called SALUBATA a model invention of the past

“I heard about gtcrea8 from sources that include newspapers, online browsing and most especially there was a time I had issues with buying goods online. These made me go to my bank (GTBank) to enlightening me more about Internet transactions”.

“The GTCrea8 account has come in very handy in many and different forms. Fashion and style has been my tool to get people to listen to what I have to say when it comes to my ideas and business motives. Since most of my shopping is done online the GTcrea8 acct has made it very easy and fast indeed, therefore creating a seamless experience for me every time I shop, it usefulness can therefore not be overemphasized.”

The GTCrea8 account is a trendy, card-based interest bearing account designed especially for undergraduates. It is part of the Bank’s value proposition to deliver banking in a different way to young people by engaging them with fun, exciting and interactive activities such as musical Campus Storms and master classes which resonates with their unique demographics. This year account holders of GTcrea8 account can look forward to yet another exciting season of the mini cooper giveaway as the Bank is set to commence the 4th editiongtb car

3 Ecobank Officers Forge Signatures To Steal N2.8million From Customer’s Account

ecobank mdBanking in Nigeria now goes with the caution Buyers beware! iInspite of the BVN,incredible intrernal theft is ongoing in banks..Three bank officials in Lagos have been arraigned for theft.

– The three men are accused of sealing N2.8 million from their clients.

 – The case will resume in late February.

Three Ecobank employees were arraigned in Lagos on Tuesday for allegedly stealing N2.8 million from their customers’ accounts.

The accused bank officials – Oluwatoyin Adetunji (41), Oluwatosin Obademi (32) and Olushola Ogunshina (39) – are facing a three-count charge of conspiracy, forgery and stealing before Tinubu magistrates court in Lagos

The prosecutor, Inspector Nurudeen Thomas, told the court that the accused persons forged the signatures of several Ecobank customers between July 10 and 14, 2015 and stole the sum of N2.8million from their accounts at the Iyan-Ipaja branch of the bank.

He said that Adetunji and Obademi were working as cashiers while Ogunshina worked in the informational technology department of the bank at the time of their crime.

According to the prosecutor, Obademi and Ogunshina claimed that Adetunji came to them with the dastardly criminal proposal and promised to pay them N350,000 each if they colluded with him.

The accused have been charged with offences under Sections 285, 361 and 409 of the Criminal Code of Lagos State, 2011.

The Chief Magistrate, Mrs K.B Ayeye, granted the accused individuals bail in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties held in like sum.

The case was adjourned until February 22 for further hearings.

Fashola Justifies 45% Electricity Tariff Increase Effective Feb 1,Promises More Megawatt

tunde raji FasholaThe Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has  justified the 45 per cent increment in electricity tariff, which took effect on Monday, stressing that the action remained the only way to enhance stable power supply in the country.

Fashola, who stated this when he appeared before the Senate Committee on Power, explained that an Act of the National Assembly actually empowered the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission to increase tariff, hence it would not be able to stop the implementation of the new tariff regime at this stage.

He explained that the rise in the cost of procuring raw materials to generate electricity was one of the reasons for increasing the tariff and that the best way to sustain the current stable power supply .

He said, “Electricity is a product; it is made from raw materials; some of the raw materials are gas, power plants; they are also related. So, the issue of tariff is the single issue of price; when the raw materials of course go up, the price cannot stay the same.

“Investments in power are not where they should be and part of the reason why the government opted for privatisation was to get more private capital. If the recovery price and the income and profit do not make economic sense to the investor, would you do that business if you are the one?”

Fashola maintained that the Federal Government and consumers had a duty to sustain the current tempo in the power sector by encouraging the power generating firms to produce maximally at the right price level.

He said, “Everybody is owing everybody in the power equation and they are also owing the banks. Now, if you want investment in power, the banks must continue to see confidence to lend; if they do not see a recovery tariff, then they will not lend money.

“There are a lot of investors who want to pay a little more than the open market tariff; if we want them to come into the industry, we have to allow the new tariff order, which allows for embedded order. There are a lot of people producing excess power, they want to put it on the grid but the price must be right.

“In the process of privatisation, the government was perhaps unwilling to confront Nigerians with the real market price so it was reviewing the price every two years. That gave the impression that price is reviewed every two years, but that should not have been; government should have told us what the price was.”

Fayose Attacks Buhari On 20 Foreign Trips @ $1million Per Travel

Fayose has labelled  Buhari a globetrotting president..for total period of two months travelling since he assumed office.counsels .”These incessant foreign trips are unnecessary trips bleeding country’s economy” Ekiti State Governor, Mr Ayodele Fayose has counselled President Mohammadu Buhari to stay at home and govern the country instead of junketing from one country to the other, saying; “foreign countries won’t solve our problems for us and the President’s incessant foreign trips is already bleeding the economy with about $1 million being spent per trip.”

The governor, who said most of the trips embarked on by the President were unnecessary, added that ministers or at best the Vice President
could have been made to attend most of the functions being attended abroad by the President.According to a statement issued in Ado-Ekiti by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose said that “the President should rather listen more to those of us who criticise him instead of those hailing every of his wrong steps
either because of what they intend to gain or for fear of Gov. Ayo Fayosepersecution.”
The statement read; “Conservatively, about $1 million goes into every

of the foreign trips and the way the President is going, foreign trips

alone might gulp 20 percent of the Federal Government budget and that

will be disastrous for the dwindling economy of the country.

“It is even more worrisome that while the economy is already in

shamble and insecurity pervades the land with Boko Haram burning

Nigerians, including children alive in the North East, our President

is busy globetrotting.
“From available records, in June 2015 alone, the President travelled

to Niger Republic, Chad, Germany and South Africa. Also in 2015, the

President travelled to United States of America in July, Benin

Republic in August, Ghana and France in September, India in October,

Iran, France and United States of America in November and in December,

he travelled to South Africa, Benin Republic.
“This year alone, President Buhari has travelled to the United Arab

Emirate, Kenya, Ethiopia and he is leaving for France and United

Kingdom today to spend four days abroad.
“In most of these trips, about $500,000 is spent on estacode,

transportation, accommodation, honorarium, media coverage, contingency

and other expenses on accompanying Presidency officials. The

Presidential Air Fleet, which includes fuelling of the planes and

allowances for crew members as well as the President’s estacode per

night and those of the Minister of Foreign Affairs and his aides is

said to be in the range of $500,000.
“Out of his eight months as President of Nigeria, two months have been

spent outside the country, and one wonders how a country like Nigeria

can progress with its president spending the better part of his time

abroad.
“Mr President is therefore advised to focus more on governing Nigeria

from home because foreign countries won’t solve our problems for us.

He should fulfil his promise of leading the fight against Boko Haram

from the front. Most importantly, the President should pay more

attention to the ailing economy of the country while he carries on

with genuine fight against corruption.

Union Bank Struggle For Survival Yields Result… GMD’s 10 Game Changing Tactics Get Kudos

union bank - emeka emuwa

There are indications that Union Bank is reclaiming her place of pride among the comity of banks! She has emerge anew from the intense competition from new generation banks, challenges of digital technology, the regulatory policies apex bank and the general economic downfall at large.

After yielding significant ground in the competitive space Union is back simpler and smarter, while still big, strong & reliable. In September 2012, the bank executed a successful recapitalization plan which saw the injection of about $500m by a core group of investors under the auspices of United Global Partners Ltd.

The core Group acquired 65% interest in the bank and proceed to implement a Transformation Agenda aimed at not just restoring Union Bank as one of the leading brands in the Nigerian banking industry but a reliable creator of value to its stakeholders on a more consistent and sustainable basis. The new management accordingly focused on transformation of human capital assets, service culture, IT infrastructure and risk management framework.

A walk into any of the branches spread across 300 locations and other electronic channels reveals that the result is beginning to show in virtually all critical areas of assessments.

Leveraging on fresh capital injection, the bank invested heavily in technology for services delivery and transactions processing. All the branches are now linked using fibre optic connections while an oracle Flexicube UBS 12.2. This has helped to streamline operations and make for smarter services delivery to the delight of customers.

When a new management team led by Emeka Emuwa was hired to implement the strategic plan. One of the first things the Board and Management put together was the 2013-17 transformation plans which were duly approved by the Central Bank. As part of this plan, and in line with CBN’s regulation 3, the bank initiated the process of divesting its ownership from all non-bank portfolio companies within the group.

As at 2015, it succeeded in divesting from Union Capital Brokers Ltd, Union Assurance Ltd, Union Insurance Savings and Loans Plc, Union trustees Ltd and opted for a voluntary wind up of Union Pension Custodian Ltd. Only Union Bank (UK) was retained as a subsidiary. This has no doubt sharpened the bank’s focus on its core business areas and improved standard of Corporate Governance and risk management.

The Board is currently composed of 15 members largely representing key interests in the bank out of which 8 are non Executive Directors. As a way of ensuring independence of Board and Management, the Chief Executive Officer and the Board chairman were made to emerge from different but key interests in the bank. The bank also made conscious effort to hire independent experts to manage critical aspects of the transformation.

Apart from emphasis on culture change and technological awareness, greater motivation was introduced even as staff number declined from about 3778 in 2013 to 2976 in 2014. Average cost of retaining a staff reduced from N10.9m to N9.66m (inclusive of pension contributions and others), but staff productivity in terms of what an average staff returned to shareholders increased from N1.36m to N6.88m. Accordingly every indicator points to management and staff that are increasingly becoming more efficient not only in the area of services delivery but also from the perspective of what is returned to the owners of the business.

Up till 2011, one area the bank’s weakness showed clearly was inadequate capital to carry on the normal business of banking. Indeed capital was completely eroded and the bank become technically insolvent which required regulatory intervention. It was therefore not a surprise that the restructuring of 2012 came with substantial injection of capital.

With a negative shareholders fund of about N142b in 2010, equity capital closed at a positive N188billion in 2013. This further increased to N206billion in 2014 following a 100% plough back of profit. Our measure of Risk weighted asset ratio stood at a relatively healthy Basel I figure of 31% in 2014 declining marginally from 32% in the preceding year. This is about 16% under standardized approach of Base II. For a bank with international banking license, 15% is generally considered adequate.

Tier I capital to net loans was as high as 65% while Tier I capital to vulnerable deposit liabilities stood at 34%. Perhaps the only critical challenge facing the bank in its current composition of equity capital is the existence of a negative general reserve of N194billion which is outstanding from past business losses. The good news is that the current fast pace of growth in profit if sustained will extinguish the loss in a few years. The bank has some scope to increase risk assets by about N50billion at existing capital without unnecessarily exposing itself to regulatory head winds.

Effective risk management is at the core of operations of the new Union Bank and sound management of Credit is understandably a key component of the transformation. The Credit Risk Rating framework is in place to ensure quality of loans booked and consistently guaranteed. Analysts considered a judicious adherence to this new model and framework necessary to ensure that AMCON will not have cause to buy over bad loans from the bank in future.

Early signs indicate that Union Bank is in the right trajectory. Though gross lending amount increased from N23billion in 2013 to N325billion in 2014, or whopping 41%, non-performing loan ratio declined from 6% to 5%, an indication that quality of risk management is on the rise and the bank is truly on a new era. This meant that relative levels of provision for sticky assets have declined.

Our independent estimate shows that the proportion of total asset portfolio adjudged to be subject to impairment stood at 56% in 2014. Given industry figures and the new found measure of efficiency in management of credits, this clearly supports the view that Union Bank is a good position to expand risk assets without compromising quality.

In 2014, reported gross earnings rose marginally from 2013 figure of N103billion to 109billion, however when a nominal provision of about N8.0billion no longer required is removed, gross earning actually declined to N101billion. Although the Bank ramped up lending and increased interest on loans from N30billion to N38billion, interest on investment securities and placements declined significantly from N49billion to N36billion resulting in reduction of contribution of interest income from 77% to 74%. The bank faced challenges in pricing of assets. Fee based income and foreign exchange earnings made encouraging impact as their contribution rose from 9% in 2013 to 15% in 2014.

Three factors made the difference in the bottom-line during the period. Firstly the decision to take the divestment option towards complying with CBN’s regulation 3 resulted in extra-ordinary income of more than N6billion following disposal of 5 subsidiary companies including its very profitable registrars business.

Secondly the new credit risk management and review framework yielded substantial recoveries and reduced provisions for bad loans. Accordingly impairment charge for credit losses came down from N13billion in 2013 to just N3billion in 2014. Thirdly, although other operating overheads increased as a result of transformation related expenses, personnel cost was brought down remarkably from N39billion to 29billion following the right sizing measures undertaken by the bank.

Ultimately profit after tax increased from N5billion in 2013 to about N20billion in 2014. Accordingly return on average equity increased from a paltry 3% to 10%. Although this remained below historical average for the industry the growth is impressive considering that in 2011, a year prior to the transition, the bank incurred a whopping loss of N76.7billion.

The 2014 figure also translated to Earnings per share of N1.21k up from 30k in the preceding year. Notwithstanding the impressive bottom-line, the bank did not declare dividend to shareholders as a result of constraints imposed by negative revenue reserves that subsists in the balance sheet and the need to build up capital base.

To underline the importance Union Bank attaches to its sustained capacity to meet obligations to counter-parties, it set up a market and liquidity Risk Management Department charged with the responsibility to provide guidance on issues of match or mismatch of fund inflow and outflows, and liquidity risk arising from market positions. The Department monitors closely movements in key Risk indicators including maturity mis-matches, liquidity ratios, prudential portfolio limits on asset mix and concentration risks.

Contingency plans were put in place to address any unexpected liquidity crises that may arise. One key risk indicator banks generally consider is the structure of deposit liabilities. Our analysis, however, shows what may be considered vulnerable liabilities of about N609 billion, which remained virtually unchanged from N605billion in 2013. This is a measure of the banks liabilities that may suddenly fall due and put pressure on the bank to discharge. Out of this, demand deposit liabilities stood at N209billion in 2014.

Liquid assets in form of cash and cash equivalents including unrestricted balances with Central Bank and marketable securities stood below N252billion and suggested that the market and liquidity risk department needed to be on top of their game to ensure that not only regulatory requirements are met but also that implicit and explicit cost of meeting obligations to counter parties is low. Our analyst’s estimate of qualifying liquid assets to total assets declined marginally from 29% in 2013 to 27% in 2014.

Other key indicators reveal a decline in adjusted liquidity ratio from 30% to 23%. CBN’s measure of liquidity ratio as at then required banks to maintain a minimum of 30%. Union Bank’s cash and adjusted cash ratios closed at 8% and 10% respectively. Our independent view is that the liquidity levels could have been enough to meet regulatory requirement but a stress test against possible regulatory changes would reveal that the bank operated at limits of prudential requirements supported ostensibly by an active liquidity risk strategy.

In the past, Union Bank appeared to lag behind its peers in devising active strategy to deal with shareholders and also return benefits to them. Perhaps the ownership structure that existed in that era was largely complacent and managers who controlled the bank invested relatively less effort in building a strong investor relations organization.

The new Union Bank is keenly interested in building a reputation that covers the entire stakeholder strata particularly shareholders, depositors, society, staff and government. The key question to an investor is: What is the investment value of Union Bank? Following the transition and capital restructuring that was embarked upon, Union Bank has shown promises of returning as preferred investment destination to discerning investors. Net book value per share which closed negative to N12.16 in 2014, up from N11.09 assets rose to N920billion from N802billion.

However the attraction in the investment quality of Union Bank is not so much on the figure of current earnings and net assets but on the potentials for sustained earning in the future. Our upcoming report on the bank’s 2015 full year results will tell much about how bright the future would set.

NEMESIS?–Stella Oduah,Andy Uba Sacked From House Of Rep!

Jubilation eveloped the air today..and the populace who felt both have anti-people,greedy past rejoiced as, the Supreme Court sacked the former Special Assistant to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo on Domestic Affairs, Andy Uba, former Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah, and other House of Representatives members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from Anambra State.

The apex court, in a judgment Friday morning, upheld Ejike Oguebego-led Executive Committee of the PDP in Anambra State and the list of candidates it sent to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) before the last general election.

The court upheld the appeal filed by Ejike Oguebego-led Executive Committee of the PDP in Anambra against the judgment of the Court of Appeal on the issue.

By the judgment, Andy Uba, Stella Oduah and others, who were products of a second list submitted to INEC by another faction of the PDP, are now to be replaced by those on the earlier list submitted to INEC by the Ejike Oguebego-led Executive Committee of the PDP in Anambra.

Also by the judgment, Annie Okonkwo now automatically becomes the candidate of the PDP for the rerun election for the Anambra Central Senatorial district, which election was voided recently by the Court of Appeal.