N136m Fraud: Court Finds Ex-NIMASA Boss, Obi, Guilty
The Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday convicted a former acting director-general of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, Calistus Obi, who was charged with N136m fraud.
Justice Mojisola Olatoregun convicted Obi alongside Dismal Alu, who was the second defendant in the case.
The duo had been standing trial alongside two firms, Grand Pact Limited and Global Sea Investment.
The judge held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission proved the charges against them beyond reasonable doubt.
In the eight counts filed against them, the EFCC said they conspired among themselves on August 5, 2015 to convert N136m belonging to NIMASA to their own.
The prosecution said they acted contrary to Sections 15 and 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012.
Upon being arraigned, Obi and Alu and the firms pleaded not guilty.
To prove the allegations, the EFCC called eight witnesses and tendered 32 exhibits.
At the close of the prosecution’s case on November 11, 2016, the convicts filed a no-case submission, insisting there was no prima facie case against them.
But in a ruling on February 21, 2017, Justice Olatoregun dismissed the no-case submission and ordered them to enter their defence.
After convicting them on Thursday, Justice Olatoregun adjourned till May 28 to pronounce her sentence.
She ordered that the convicts be remanded in prison until then.
2022 Financial Year: Unity Bank Grows Gross Earnings to N57bn
Nigeria’s retail lender Unity Bank Plc has posted a Profit Before Tax of N1.1 billion for its full-year results that ended Dec 2022, even as its gross earnings rose by 13.1% to N57 billion from N50.2 billion in the corresponding period of 2021.
The Bank in its audited full-year financial statement submitted to the Nigeria Exchange Group Limited recorded growth in key performance indicators as reflected in the interest income, loans and advances to customers, customer deposits, and profits.
A major highlight of the financial year is the growth in total comprehensive income, which rose by 262.1% to N1.2 billion from N744 million in the corresponding period of 2021. The Bank grew Profit Before Tax (PBT) by N1.1 billion, while Profit After Tax stood at N941.4 million.
With the loan book sustaining an expansion by 7.5% to N289.4 billion from N269.3 billion within the period under review, the interest and similar income consequently witnessed significant growth rising 7.5% to close at N48.9 billion compared to N43.2 billion in the corresponding period of 2021.
Similarly, income from fees and commissions recorded significant growth, rising by 25.7% to N7.68 billion from N6.1 billion within the period under review.
More so, deposits from customers saw marginal growth, increasing by 1.6% to N327.4 billion from N322.2 billion in the corresponding period of 2021 as the Bank pushes for deeper penetration of its retail footprint with the rollout of products targeting different segments of the market.
Meanwhile, the Bank also released its unaudited financials for Q1, 2023, in which it sustained improved performance, posting
Commenting on the financial statements, the Managing Director/CEO of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun noted that the Bank’s focus on building back momentum continues to reflect in the key performance indicators despite economic headwinds and volatilities that characterized the operating environment in the 2022 financial year.
“There are highs and lows as we look at the gross earnings, with 13.7% growth, increase in liquid assets by 7.5% and deposits recording moderate growth of 1.6%, while maintaining steady growth in profitability”, she stated.
“Overall, the financial statement thus threw up both strong and less optimal points which inform the outlook for our business”, she further stated.
She reassures that going into the new financial year, the Bank will remain laser-focused on our strategic choices and key growth drivers to push all the indices and elevate growth to double-digit territory. “The performance posted for Q1’23 in terms of the PBT, gross earnings, and other key indicators are strong reinforcement of adequate measures being adopted and a testament of our resolve to sustain and equally improve upon the fundamental initiatives adopted to strengthen growth throughout the course of the financial year”, Mrs. Somefun stated.
She further said: “Since late 2022, the Bank has begun significant investment in technology and innovation in line with its strategic pursuits to win in the retail space with our focus on digital and lifestyle banking, dynamic product development, and accelerated onboarding. As part of our transformation journey, we will double down on these investments in the coming months in order to achieve our aspirations of (1) significantly reducing customer pain points and simplifying customer experience; (2) increasing the rate of customer acquisition; (3) expanding the frontiers of partnerships; and (4) ultimately developing new and sustainable income lines for the Bank.”
According to her, the Bank will further give attention to fast-paced process automation, cost and resource efficiency, targeted value chain relationships, and brand visibility as it expands the range of products and services to meet the evolving needs of its esteemed customers.
Analysts are of the view that the growing retail footprint driving the repositioning strategy of the Bank aligns with the market expectations, which is also reflected in the increasing uptake of the Bank’s offering.
CBN Denies Devaluating Naira, Says Trending Story Fake
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has debunked a report by a national daily that it has devalued the naira to N631 per dollar at the Importers and Exporters’ (I&E) window.
A top official of the apex bank, who told this medium that the report is completely false , warned that such reports could have serious adverse consequences for the economy.
According to the top official, the CBN has not changed its strategy of allowing a gradual convergence of the parallel and official market exchange rates.
“The report is not true. The CBN has not devalued the naira. The exchange rate of the naira on the FMDQ website as at yesterday was N464.67 per dollar. The authors of the report may have their own agenda, but the CBN’s plan is that the best approach is to allow for a gradual convergence of all the rates.”
Again, Zenith Wins Africa Best Corporate Governance ‘Financial Services’ Bank Award
For the fourth consecutive year, Zenith Bank Plc has been named as the Best Corporate Governance ‘Financial Services’ Africa 2023 by the Ethical Boardroom. The award, which was published in the Spring 2023 edition of The Ethical Boardroom magazine, is in recognition of the bank’s adherence to global best practices and institutionalization of corporate governance, setting an industry-wide example of best practices in that field.
Speaking on the recognition, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, said: “I am extremely pleased that Zenith Bank has been awarded the Ethical Boardroom Corporate Governance award as a regional governance champion for the fourth year running. No doubt, the bank’s board has pioneered the exemplary governance culture for which we are now renowned.
“Indeed, this recognition reflects our steadfast commitment, discipline and high ethos in the conduct of our business and dedication to the principles of good corporate governance. This award will motivate us to strengthen this culture internally and advocate for good governance at every forum”.
He dedicated the award to the Founder and Group Chairman of the bank Jim Ovia, for providing the template for an enduring and very successful institution; the Board for their vision and outstanding leadership; the staff for their dedication and commitment; and the bank’s customers for their unwavering loyalty to the brand.
Ethical Boardroom is a trailblazing and leading international magazine that delivers in-depth coverage and critically-astute analysis of global corporate governance issues to help boards stay ahead of the governance curve.
Zenith Bank has been generally adjudged a Corporate Governance compliant bank by the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) hence its listing on the Premium Board of the Exchange. The bank continues to sustain this reputation and reappraise its processes to ensure that its business conforms to the highest global standards at all times.
The bank’s track record of excellent performances has continued to earn it numerous awards including being recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital, for the 13th consecutive year, in the 2022 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking published by The Banker Magazine; Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year awards 2020 and 2022.
It has also won the Best Bank in Nigeria, award for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks awards; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria 2021 and 2022 in the World Finance Banking awards; Best Corporate Governance Bank, Nigeria in the World Finance Corporate Governance awards 2022; Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria and Best Innovation In Retail Banking, Nigeria in the International Banker 2022 Banking awards.
Also, the bank emerged as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands 2020 and 2021, and Retail Bank of the year, for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022, at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) awards.
Similarly, Zenith Bank was named as Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay awards 2020, Bank of the Year 2021 by Champion Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2022 by New Telegraph Newspaper, and Most Responsible Organisation in Africa 2021 by SERAS awards.