Muhammadu Sanusi II, the emir of Kano and former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, says the Atlas Mara transaction which resulted in the change of Union Bank’s ownership was carried out months after he left the apex bank.
He was responding to TheCable’s inquiry on a petition submitted to Abubakar Malami, then attorney-general of the federation, on April 3.
“This Atlas Mara transaction was approved several months after I left the CBN,” he told TheCable.
“I left CBN in February 2014 and the transaction was approved in July 2014 when I was already emir of Kano.
“I have no idea what this petition is about but I do not believe the CBN was part of any fraudulent transaction given what I know of its due diligence processes.”
Petitioners allege that the Atlas Mara transaction dispossessed Nigerian investors and transferred ownership of Union Bank to a few persons including insiders, chieftains of competitor banks and others who would not pass CBN’s “fit and proper test” for bank ownership.
The petition claimed that Okechukwu Enelamah, former minister of trade and investment, allegedly organised the registration of the offshore shell company in Mauritius called Union Global Partners Limited for the purpose of disguising the true majority ownership of Union Bank shares concealed in the offshore company.
The petition also alleged that the transactions commenced under Udoma Udo Udoma’s supervision as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and sealed when he became the chairman of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.
The official record has it that Atlas Mara holds 49% stake in the bank which is in turn controlled by Fairfax Africa based in Canada and the United States.
NAN reported that the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) was also compelled to divest its 20% shares of Union Bank to Atlas Mara.
The establishments mentioned in the petition included the Chapel Hill, National Security Exchange (NSE), SEC and the CBN.