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Category Archives: Business

Diamond Bank Rewards Customers This Easter Season

Alex-Otti-MD-Diamond-Bank

Diamond Bank Plc, a leading financial bank in Nigerian Retail space is set to reward its customers this Easter season with fabulous prizes through the ‘’Diamond WIN-A-GIFT promo’’.

The WIN-A-GIFT promo is designed to reward customers for their patronage and loyalty to the brand over the years. The promo which kicked off on 1 April and will last till 31 April 2014 seeks to reward the first 1,000 customers that use their Diamond VISA debit card for online shopping or for making payments at any POS terminal anywhere in the world.

According to the Head, Corporate Communications, Mrs. Ayona Trimnell, the ongoing WIN-A-GIFT promo is designed to reward the Bank’s loyal customers during the festive season. “Diamond Bank will be making this Easter season as special one for our loyal customers by giving away various gift items to our customers through the WIN-A- GIFT promo”, she added.

To qualify for a free gift in the promo, all a Diamond Bank customer has to do is use his Diamond VISA debit card to make three foreign currency transactions such as online purchase of airline tickets, shopping for gift items at reputable websites like www.amazon.comwww.hawesandcurtis.co.ukwww.asos.com,www.aliexpress.com etc, or by simply paying hotel bills for foreign based hotels.

Customers can also visit www.hotelclub.com for the best hotel offers worldwide.

Winners of in the promo will be contacted in May 2014.

Dangote Slashes Price Of New 42.5 Grade Cement To N1660

cement-sand

Following the introduction of its newly launched 3X cement of 42.5 grade to various stakeholders, customers of Dangote Cement Plc, especially those from the South East would for the next one week purchase the commodity at a hugely discounted rate in the spirit of the 25th Enugu International Trade Fair.
Still savouring the successful launch of the new product, the company said it was rewarding its loyal customers and has therefore decided to slash the price of cement at the ongoing Enugu Trade Fair.
According to a promo being run on radio and television, visitors to the fair would have the opportunity to buy the commodity at N1,660 per bag.
Dangote Cement had last week in Lagos introduced the new 42.5 cement grade, which it code-named 3X.
It also hinted that it had also embarked on the production of another higher cement grade of 52.5, pointing out that all it was doing was to offer its customers variety of choices among quality cement as obtained in other countries.

The promo, which kicks off on March 31 will run till April 6.
According to South East Regional Sales Director, Dangote Cement, Tunde Mabogunje, the promo allows customers to buy a minimum of 50 bags of cement or a maximum of 100 bags of cement at the factory price instead of the existing policy, which requires purchase of several trucks of cement at factory price.

Said he: “Two or more people can come together to buy 100 bags. We are partnering with Access Bank, Fidelity Bank and Zenith Bank whose representatives are at the Dangote pavilion.  Customers will pay and get tellers/codes from any of the stated banks’ representative. Collection of cement is the next day at Dangote Cement depot at Emene.”

Director General of the Enugu Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Mr. Emeka Okereke, who was delighted at the promo said it would enrich the fair and attract visitors and commended Dangote Cement on the initiative, saying the promo will without doubt bolster the fair and increase patronage.

He pleaded with other participating companies to consider running a promo to attract and reward their customers just as Dangote has done.

10 Points To Examine As Dangote Introduces 42.5 Grade Cement

dangote cement

The 23rd richest man in the world is at it again! Some think the new product is driven by commercial interest, some believe different grades of cement should be allowed in the market for the sake of price and different usages.

Below are 10 things you should know:

(1.)    The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) as formally given approval to Dangote Cement Plc to commence the rolling out of  42.5 higher grade of cement into the Nigerian market.

(2.)    Dangote Cement Plc manufacturing facilities across the country have been upgraded to efficiently  produce the 42.5 cement grade, which provides higher strength in building and construction.

(3.)     The SON Director General, Dr. Joseph Odumodu, who was represented by an enforcement official of the agency, Mr. Adeoye Onipede, commended the move by Dangote to increase its value proposition to Nigerians with the new product and urged the company to keep abiding by the strictest manufacturing standards.

(4.)     Safety is the major reason for the new product: The Group Managing Director, Dangote Cement Plc, Mr. Devakumar Edwin, who presented samples of the new product at the event said the launch by Dangote was to show the company’s commitment to the safety of human lives rather than maximising profits alone in the country, maintaining that incidences of building collapses in the country do not only destroy lives and properties, but also bring about huge economic losses to the nation.

Edwin said most of the building collapses in the nation were caused by varied factors among which poor quality cement is significant, pointing out that the lifetime investment by Dangote was to further demonstrate the company’s effort to guard against unfortunate incidents of failure of buildings and the attendant loss of lives and property.

(5.)   Dangote has stopped the production of the 32.5 lower cement grade,because as a corporate organisation, it values human lives rather than just making money. According to Edwin, “This is why we are focusing heavily on 42.5 cement grade, because we believe as a responsible organisation, human life is more precious than making profits.”

(6.)      Following global trend is another reason for introducing Dangote 42.5, 3X cement, is not to dominate the cement industry. The new grade has also been adopted by West African countries like Ghana, where the focus is shifting towards the 42.5 cement grade as the preferred quality of cement for building and construction activities.

(7.)    Describing the features of the Dangote 3X 42.5 cement and the differences between the 32.5 and 42.5 cement grade, the Group Chief Marketing Officer, Dangote Cement Plc, Mr. Oare Ojeikere, stated that the 42.5 cement grade is 30 per cent stronger than the 32.5 cement grade.

(8.)     The 3X is specifically designed according to the block maker’s specification. The president, Brick Moulders Association, Mr. Abel Kayode, said brick moulders were very excited about the introduction of the 3X and said the association would recommend the product to it’s over 3 members. ”We have been looking for a product like 3X and we believe this cement will help us carry out activities in the most efficient and affordable manner,” he said.

(9.)     The 3X, which stands for “Xtra strength; ‘Xtra life and Xtra yield” is the brand name for the Dangote 42.5 cement grade now sold in 50 kilogramme bags across  the country.

(10.)     42.5 grade cement gives higher yield than 32.5 to users in situations where strength is not a crucial factor.

 

Akingbola’s Comeback Bid Suffers Monumental Setback, Witnesses’ Revelations Nail Him

Erastus-AkingbolaThe very  recent last minute attempt by Erastus Akingbola to reclaim Intercontinental Bank and come out with clean reputation has suffered a setback, and things are no longer the same for him!
Perhaps unaware that there is nothing left of his reputation after the land judgement delivered by Mr. Justice Burton of the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London in a suit instituted by Intercontinental Bank soon after the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission charged him for fraud in 2010, Akingbola who was ordered to refund the about N165bn stolen from the Bank through various fraudulent means, is still struggling to find relevance in the society.
He is trying to exploit current situation to bury some of his unwholesome practices while in office such as granting and guaranteeing loans to his companies to the tune of N16bn in respect of Tropic Finance and unlawful share purchase scheme of N145bn and about £10.5million in respect of Furgler Payment claim, has begun to run from pillar to post, seeking sympathy from the President of the country and many government financial regulatory bodies, but it seems nobody is ready to look his way because of the weight of evidences against him.
Unfortunately for the former Banker, the story of how he looted Intercontinental Bank is still fresh in the memory of Nigerians. According to available facts presented by Jimoh Ibraheem, the Bank’s Chief Inspector who was prosecution witness in the high profile case of fraud and stealing against Dr. Erastus Akingbola. He detailed how funds were transfered to the offshore account of Dr. Akingbola.
Led in evidence by defence counsel, Godwin Obla, Abdulraheem told the court that he was once invited by the EFCC to give statement about the movement of funds from Intercontinental Bank to various companies account on the instruction of Akingbola while he held sway as Managing Director of Intercontinental Bank.
He went on to identify a copy of the statement he wrote on  28 January, 2011. Obla consequently urged the court to admit the document as exhibit but defence counsel, Felix Fagbohungbe, SAN objected, arguing that he needed time to study the document. The objection was over ruled by the court and the document was admitted as exhibit.
Another document authorizing the transfer of £1.3 million was also tendered by Obla. After certifying that he recognized the document, the witness informed the court how he was ordered via an instruction memo to transfer the sum of 1.3 million pounds to the account of a British Law Firm,  Fulgers Solicitors. “I was authorized by Dr Akingbola to inform the Head of Funds Department, prior to the instructions; there were discussions that the said amount be transferred to the account of Tropic Finance Limited. The instruction came via a memo and the order was swiftly carried out. Mr. Akin Fabunmi who is the Head of Funds Department carried out the instruction, “he stated.
A copy of an unsigned memo conveying Akingbola’s instruction to effect the transfer was given to the witness to confirm if that was the memo containing the instruction. The witness confirmed the document which was subsequently admitted as exhibit. As to the where about of the originals, Jimoh said all original documents relating to the trial were lost in the cause of investigation.
He continued that the instructions were carried out and the funds were transferred to the account of a British Law Firm, called Fulgers Solicitors. Obla asked the witness if there was any evidence to back up what he said. The witness said an electronically generated swift message is attached to the unsigned memo which represents the confirmation of payment. He was asked if he would recognize the said message. He answered  in the affirmative and the court handed him a copy of both the message which he confirmed.  He said such messages are usually printed out of the computer if foreign account transfers are carried out.
Counsel to Akingbola said the documents tendered are not original and urged the court not to admit them as exhibits.Obla responded saying the originals have been misplaced as stated by the witness in the process of investigation. He referred the court to section 97(1) C of the Evidence Act which said copies of documents can be admitted. The objection was overruled by the court and the documents were admitted as exhibit
Another document tendered by Obla was a letter written to the Bank (Intercontinental Bank Plc)  by one Corporate Securities Nigeria Limited requesting that  the Bank should make a payment of 10 billion naira for some shares purchased for the bank. The letter listed how the payment was to be made to some companies. These companies are: Tropics Securities, Bankinson Nig. Ltd, and Tropics Properties.
The letter was signed by Bayo Dada, who is a co- accused. The witness said that instruction was also carried out as the funds were taken from pre- payment account of the Bank and credited to those companies. He said while investigations commenced, the Bank management asked him to conduct investigations as to the movement of cheques issued to those companies and it was discovered that the three cheques have been deposited in those companies’ accounts at Access Bank.
Further investigations revealed that the companies were linked to Akingbola and his wife, Antonia. Jimoh said the instruction to effect payment was given by Akigbola through verbal instruction. A certain Mr Fabunmi then raised a memo to effect it.
Another 8.6 billion naira was also taken from the bank through the same General Ledger manipulation. Dr. Akingbola  had written a letter instructing that the said sum should be credited to the accounts of Tropics Properties Ltd., Bankinson Nig. Ltd and Tropics Finance Ltd around May and June, 2009.Through the same manipulation the sum of 3.35 billion naira was also moved via an instruction given by Tropics Finance Ltd. to Bankinson Nigeria Ltd., a company where his wife, Mrs. Antonia Akingbola has interest.
Also on the 15 May, 2009, the sum of N350 million was paid into the account of Intercontinental Homes, N500 million was paid to the account of Intercontinental Securities and another N250 million  was paid into the account of Intercontinental Capital Market, all subsidiaries of the Bank. The said payment was effected based on a letter dated 18 May 2009, received from Bayo Dada of Tropics Finance. The witness said this particular transaction was manipulated as the date of transfer on the statement varied from the day the instruction was received.
The sum of N1.550 billion was also moved fraudulently on the 22 May, 2009 in the same manner. An instruction from Akigbola was passed to the bank for the said money to be moved into the accounts of Tropics Finance Limited and Associated Discount House. The sum of 1.5 billion was moved to Tropics account to be fixed for one month while 50 million naira was paid to Associated Discount House to pay off debt owned by Tropics Finance Ltd.  By this, Dr. Akingbola and his associate Bayo Dada are standing trial on a 22 count charge bordering on stealing of over N42.4 billion from the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc.
Yet to be absolved of these heinous crimes, the banker is desperately using different methods to frustrate his trial and escape spending years in jail. But a top government official disclosed to us that Akingbola, no matter how long, will be punished under the law for his economic atrocities in the country and that president Jonathan has said the law must take its course despite the pressure being mounted on the presidency by the disgraced banker to get Intercontinental bank back.

Female Banker Steals N17M From Emir Of Kano, Ado Bayero’s N46M Account

emir

The princely amount of N46 million in the dormant bank account of the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Ado Bayero, was simply irresistible for the young female banker.

So the suspect, Amina Magaji, was prepared to risk everything to reactivate the account and convert part of the balance there in to her use. The account was said to have been opened  in 1967 but went dormant later. The suspect allegedly applied for a cheque book, got it and began to operate the account. By the time the bubble burst, she had, according to a source, withdrawn N17million from the account. Amina, alongside 12 other staffers of the old generation bank, is answering questions from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on the alleged fraud.
The suspect is allegedly married to a senior staff of  a broadcast organisation.
Amina, believed to be in her late 30s, allegedly began systematic withdrawal from the monarch’s account since 2011 before she ran out of luck when her boss discovered discrepancies in the Emir’s signature.
An EFCC source disclosed that the suspected fraudster requested for a cheque book purportedly on the order of Bayero which the bank obliged her, but, unknown to other bank officials, the cheque book remained in her custody.
She consequently used the cheque to make withdrawals from the monarch’s account.
Bank sources revealed that Amina within the last four years withdrew N17 million from the Emir’s account  before the scam blew open.
The EFCC source said the matter was reported to the anti graft agency for appropriate action, stressing that “consequent upon that, we invited and quizzed 12 staffers closely related to the account”.
An EFCC operative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, revealed that “preliminary investigations indicate that many of them have case to answer as we are able to establish conspiracy and negligence on the part of those connected with the monitoring and control of the bank account in question”.
It was learnt that “the bank has raised the alleged stolen money through the 12 staffers quizzed by the EFCC and returned same to the Emir while the principal suspect has been fired as part of measures adopted by the bank to restore confidence.”.
In the meantime, the principal suspect is said to be cooling her feet in the EFCC custody pending the completion of investigation into the case.
EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwajeren, confirmed the story; but refused to go any further.

Reputation Throws Spanner Into Ex – Access Bank MD, Imoukhuede’s CBN Ambition!

aig_imokhuede_gmd_access_bank

Indication that recently retired of Access Bank, Aigboje – Aig – Imoukhuede is emerging as the best man to step into Sanusi Lamido’s shoe has suffered a terrible blow!

The singular decision of spending whopping amount for his retirement cum end of the year 2013 party has resulted in revelations and petitions to the Presidency, on why he should not be chosen.

Before now, the Presidency favoured him because of his experience, fraternity with establishment and world view economic outlook.

Tunde Lemo, Younews learnt is more favoured now – He is an insider and Jonathan need to pacify the west over allegation of marginalisation.

Over N200m were said to have been lavished in bringing songstress Mariah Carey from the U.S for the one in town party by Access Bank.

Incidentally over 200 top Staff of the bank were laid off months before the party

Sanusi’s five-year single term tenure expires in June and he has consistently said he will not seek a second term in office.

Among those reportedly vying for the position of the CBN governor are the Managing Director, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede; Managing Director, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Mr. Bisi Onasanya; and Managing Director, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria, Mr. Mustapha Chike-Obi.

Others are the four Deputy Governors, Mr. Tunde Lemo (Operations); Dr. Kingsley Moghalu (Financial System Stability); Dr. Sarah Alade (Economic Policy); and Alhaji Suleiman Barau (Corporate Services Directorate); as well as the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga; and the Minister of State for Finance, Dr. Yerima Ngama.

Out of the lot, Onasanya, Alade and Lemo are from the South-West region, while Aganga is representing Lagos State in the federal cabinet, though originally from Edo State in the South-South region.

Investigations revealed recently that some of the candidates being speculated to become the next CBN governor had begun to lobby friends and close aides to the President to aid their emergence as the preferred candidate.

A senior government official, who spoke with one of our correspondents on the condition of anonymity, said since last week when Sanusi reportedly fell out of favour with the President, a lot of politicking had been going on among the contenders for the office.

The source said, “You know that the appointment of the CBN governor is a political rather than a technical decision and remember that we are in a pre-election year where a lot of politicking is going on.

“Within the last one month, a lot of names have been brandished and I can tell you that some of those people have started serious campaigns and lobbying.

“But, again, there are feelers that whoever will become the CBN governor will have to be someone that is a friend of the President because I am sure that unlike Sanusi, the Presidency will not want to appoint anyone that will not be loyal to Jonathan.”

Incredible! FCMB Emerges Largest Fund Raiser In Syndicated Loan Market

Managing Director & Head of Syndications Europe & Africa of Standard Chartered Bank; Mr. Hiren Singharay; Director, Financial Institutions North Africa Coverage of Commerzbank AG;  Mrs. Mathilde Anthuber;  the Deputy Managing Director of First City Monument Bank Limited, Mr. Segun Odusanya and the Bank’s Group Head, Treasury & Financial Markets, Mr. Gerald Ikem, at the agreement signing ceremony which took place recently in London.

Managing Director & Head of Syndications Europe & Africa of Standard Chartered Bank; Mr. Hiren Singharay; Director, Financial Institutions North Africa Coverage of Commerzbank AG; Mrs. Mathilde Anthuber; the Deputy Managing Director of First City Monument Bank Limited, Mr. Segun Odusanya and the Bank’s Group Head, Treasury & Financial Markets, Mr. Gerald Ikem, at the agreement signing ceremony which took place recently in London.

Ladi Balogun led FCMB, caused a stir in commercial loan market days back. The bank dazzled with whopping loan deal.

Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft and Standard Chartered Bank, acting as Initial Mandated Lead Arrangers and Book-runners, have disclosed the successful signing of a US$ 150,000,000 Senior Unsecured Term Loan Facility for First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Limited. The agreement was signed recently and represents First City Monument Bank’s largest fundraising to date in the commercial bank syndicated loan market.

The Facility, which was pre-funded by Commerzbank Aktiengesellschaft and Standard Chartered Bank, was launched at US$100,000,000 and subsequently increased following a highly successful general syndication phase. Proceeds of the Facility will be used for general lending purposes.  Standard Chartered Bank is acting as Facility Agent.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, the Deputy Managing Director of First City Monument Bank, Mr. Segun Odusanya, said, ‘’the successful conclusion, oversubscription and the number of international financial institutions that participated in the loan syndication indicates the level of confidence which the international banking community have in First City Monument Bank Limited and the Nigerian market as a whole”.

“The proceeds of the fund raising will be used to support medium term lending to key sectors of the economy such as Power, Oil & Gas Upstream , Manufacturing and Agri-business in line with the Bank’s commitment to supporting the critical areas to the success of the Nigerian economy”, Mr. Odusanya revealed.

FCMB is a full service banking group, headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria. As at December 2013, FCMB had 2 million customers, N 1 trillion in assets, over 270 branches in Nigeria and a licensed banking subsidiary in the United Kingdom (FCMB UK) and a representative office in the Republic of South Africa.

Much Ado About Creditor’s Drama At Skyebank Headquaters

Mr.-Kehinde-Durosinmi-Etti - skye bank

The talk is in town about a mild drama at Skyebank on Wednesday 27th Nov, but younewsng.com investigation was revealed that it is overblown beyond proportion and that the management5 is already looking into the issue.

On Wednesday, November 20, 2013, at about 12 noon, an elderly Chief (name withheld), stormed Skye Bank’s Corporate Affairs, Headquarters extension located at 3, Akin Adesola, Victoria Island, Lagos, to request for his money owed him by the bank.

We reliably gathered that the bank rented one of the man’s warehouses for their banking operations in Lagos. The visibly angry Chief created a big scene that day as he insisted on seeing the bank’s MD.

He had first requested to see one Mrs. Bakare, but was told the woman was not on seat. He thereafter asked to see one Mr. Tunji, who later came out to attend to him. The embittered Chief lamented that after sending all the necessary documents to Skye Bank to get his money, he had still not gotten his cash.

At that time, the man told Mr. Tunji that he won’t leave the bank until he gets his money. He even went ahead to say he had ordered his wife to bring his food to the bank as he was ready for a showdown with Skye Bank even if his protest takes days.

It took several pleas from Mr. Tunji and some other staff of the bank to persuade the elderly man to return this week for his money.

He however threatened more brimstones if his money is not paid this week as promised.

Depositors Wary Of Union Bank’s Reliability As Staffers Steal Billions Of Naira

unionbank-logo

An Ikeja High Court on Tuesday remanded a staff of Union Bank Plc, Danasabe Ibrahim, and three others in prison, for allegedly defrauding the bank of N2.05 billion.

The 47-year-old banker was arraigned alongside Salihu Mahmoud, 34; Friday Isaiah, 33; and Samuel Azaaior, 30, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo, ordered that the accused persons be remanded in Kirikiri Prison after the arraignment.

They are to remain in prison, pending the hearing of their bail applications fixed for November 26.

Mr. Ibrahim gave his address as Union Bank Plc, Jos Market Branch in Plateau; while Mr. Mahmoud lives at No. 339, Borno Way, Alagomeji, Yaba, Lagos.

Messrs Isaiah and Azaaior live at Fuduna and Rukabu areas of Jos, respectively.

The accused persons are facing a three-count charge of conspiracy to defraud, unauthorised access to computer and unauthorised modification of computer data.

The EFCC Counsel, Kayode Oni, alleged that the accused persons had conspired with others (still at large) to commit the offences on January 9.

Mr. Oni alleged that they had fraudulently transferred N2.05 billion from the General Ledger Account of the Jos Branch of Union Bank by hacking into the bank’s data base, known as Flexcube.

He also alleged that the money was transferred to Union Bank Plc accounts of Gona Bureau de Change and Dankawa Bureau de Change, domiciled in Marina and Moloney Street, Lagos.

According to him, other accounts credited with the money are Godswill Great Commodity Services, domiciled in Union Bank, Akure and ZHG Services Ltd., Abuja Branch.

Mr. Oni said their offences contravened Sections 323, 385 and 387 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria 2011.

Conspiracy to defraud is punishable with a minimum of seven years imprisonment, if the accused are convicted.

The four accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Board Crisis In Ecobank Over Assets

Jibril Aku, ecobank md

Jibril Aku, Ecobank MD

Oba-Otudeko

Oba-Otudeko

One of the most senior figures at First Bank, Nigeria’s oldest and largest bank, has been dragged into the boardroom drama unfolding atpan-African lender Ecobank Transnational (ETI), which is under investigation following alleged mismanagement. Oba Otudeko, chairman of the holding company of First Bank, is one of Nigeria’s richest businessmen and a leading individual shareholder in both banks. He is said by ETI directors to have been involved in a number of proposed deals, including a debt writedown and asset sales, which have contributed to unease among some of the pan-African bank’s shareholders and executives. The board of ETI will hold another emergency meeting on Friday with directors still split on how to resolve governance concerns at the top of the bank.

Laurence do Rego, ETI’s suspended executive director in charge of finance and risk, flagged the proposed deals in a written response last month to enquiries from Nigeria’s capital markets regulator.

Among Ms do Rego’s allegations was that ETI’s chairman and its chief executive planned to sell non-core assets at “well below the market value”, which she opposed.

ETI owns 16m shares in the Nigerian subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, the Indian telecoms group. These were acquired in 2011 at $101m. According to people familiar with the matter, Mr Otudeko sought a discounted price of $88m to buy these shares, and ETI was considering the offer.

According to bankers in Lagos, Mr Otudeko in February obtained a price of $7.50 per share when selling a personal stake in the telecoms company back to India’s Bharti family. That would value ETI’s stake at about $120m. Some analysts said they could be worth even more. In an interview with the FT in London, Thierry Tannoh, chief executive of ETI, and Kolapo Lawson, its chairman, denied attempting to sell this and other assets cheaply. ETI’s ownership of the shares was complicated by litigation, they said. Mr Otudeko has claimed historic pre-emptive rights to buy the shares. “Because of these litigations an asset which in theory we should have been able to sell easily . . . we have difficulty selling it,” Mr Tanoh said, adding: “I have said to the board repeatedly that I don’t want to sell this asset at a loss.” Other correspondence seen by the FT shows Mr Otudeko’s Honeywell conglomerate has pressed Ecobank Nigeria into approving a $12.5m writedown of its debts to the bank. ETI inherited the Honeywell debts worth $35m overall, when it bought Oceanic Bank, one of the largest banks that went under during Nigeria’s 2009 banking and stock market crash. In a separate move, First Bank lent money in July to a company for a former director at the Nigerian bank to buy property from Mr Lawson’s family real estate company. The proceeds of the sale were used to repay a loan owed to ETI. Mr Lawson said there was no connection between the deal and Mr Otudeko. Mr Otudeko declined to comment on the details but said the business relationship his companies have with ETI are “at arms length and on terms commonly available in the industry”.