One of the nation’s topflight banking institutions, Wema Bank and Dana Air, owners of Sri Sai Vandana Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) have been fingered in a money laundering crime and may be prosecuted by the anti-graft agency.
According to a source, the airline’s inflight donation collected between 2014 and 2018 without following due process is the bane of contention.
“The EFCC will take it up. We will investigate and prosecute the crime element once prima facie is established,” the acting spokesperson of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Tony Orilade said.
Dana started Nigeria’s Sri Sai Vandana Foundation in 1995 and commenced the inflight donation in partnership with the Sickle Cell Foundation of Nigeria. But after the airline suffered a major crash in Lagos in 2012 in which 153 persons died, it ceased the collaboration, ‘re-strategised’, and solely ran the inflight donations.
Reports also reveal how Dana through Sri Sai Vandana Foundation, got the inflight donations between January 2014 and October 2018, raking in millions of naira deposited into the Wema Bank account number 0121291839 without due registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), a prerequisite for complying with the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (SCUML) regulations.
The EFCC official stated that the company will be sanctioned and that when there is a vacuum that is when we will lift the veil.
He further explained that by ‘lifting the veil’ he simply means “The company cannot run without humans. So, it is when everyone denies being members of the company that we go after the individuals.”
In line with the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, it is mandatory every Designated Non – Financial Institution, DNFI, to register with SCUML in order to legally operate in Nigeria.
Contravening the SCUML guidelines have some specific penalties, including “suspension or revocation of license, fines or imprisonment or both,” according to Sections 15 to 17 of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended).
It stipulates a maximum of 14 years jail term for an individual but, in the case of a corporate organisation, the law says such organisation would pay “a fine of not less than 100 percent of the funds and properties acquired as a result of the offense committed” and would also have its license withdrawn.
Precisely, the law defines the unlawful act listed in subsection (2) of the Act to include “corruption, bribery, fraud, counterfeiting, and piracy of products…or any other criminal act specified in this Act or any other law in Nigeria.”
As such, Wema Bank officials involved in Dana’s account opening process may as well be prosecuted by the anti-graft agency, as soon as SCUML forwards its findings to the EFCC.
Ecobank Nigeria to host Regional Trade Forum 2020
Ecobank Nigeria is set to host its 2020 Regional Trade Forum in Lagos.
The Witness gathered that the forum taking place in March, will be a two-day event, providing the opportunity for exporters and importers within the African region to exhibit their products in a marketplace scenario with panel discussions by highly experienced and diversified stakeholders and leaders of thought in the industry.
Ecobank Nigeria is a member of the pan African banking group with unparalleled Africa wide Network Advantage across 33 countries catering for businesses and providing world class trade services to its customers. The Ecobank Group network has over 30 years been enhancing the financial integration of the continent. The Group provides solutions to facilitate trade in the various trade corridors and groupings across Africa
Announcing the Trade Forum in Lagos, Sunday Abah, Head Trade Finance of Ecobank Nigeria said Ecobank is using the forum to unveil its comprehensive trade solutions to its existing and prospective customers alike by sharing the various payment methods available to facilitate cross border trade throughout its network across Africa. According to him, Ecobank recognizes the role of exporters and importers in driving economies through trade.
“By creating a networking forum for importers and exporters via the trade exhibition slated for the first day of the forum, the Bank extends support to stakeholders in export and import businesses.
“Ecobank’s trade products and solutions are designed around two broad areas: Trade finance which enables customers benefit from adequate and well mitigated credit facilitation in the area of Import finance, export finance, bill discounting, trade loans, distributor finance, structured trade and commodity finance amongst others; also we do Trade Services, which gives our customers the advantage of speedy turnaround time and error free processing of Import Letters of Credit, Import collections, Customs bonds, Export collections and regional trade services amongst others,” he noted.
Ecobank’s unique intra-Africa trade solutions enable settlements of trade transactions and mitigation of payment risk; provide regional solutions and enable exporters obtain payment guarantees without the need for a letter of credit and its related costs to the importer. Ecobank works closely with clients in reviewing key factors regarding transactions processing, settlements, financing, and risk mitigation as well as credit enhancement. The bank boasts of a unique and large Pan-African platform that positions it to support trade at all levels. Its technology platform is designed to help unlock the opportunities of the continent through standardization across 33 countries, while fueling regional integration, trade and investment across borders.
The Ecobank Africa Trade Forum is expected to attract hundreds of guests and participants. Leaders from across Ecobank Group will also be attending to share their market specific trade knowledge and information.
Zenith Bank maintains market leadership as PAT crosses N200bn mark
In a clear show of its resilience and market leadership, Zenith Bank has announced an impressive result for the year ended December 31, 2019, with profit after tax (PAT) of N208.8 billion, achieving the feat as the first Nigerian Bank to cross the N200 billion mark.
According to the bank’s audited financial results for the 2019 financial year released in Lagos on Friday, profit after tax rose by 8% to N208.8 billion from the N193 billion recorded in the previous year.
The Group also recorded a growth in gross earnings of 5% rising to N662.3 billion from N630.3 billion reported in the previous year. This growth was driven by the 29% increase in non-interest income from N179.9 billion in 2018 to N231.1 billion in 2019. Fees on electronic products continues to grow significantly with a 108% Year on Year (YoY) growth from N20.4 billion in 2018 to N42.5 billion in the current year. This is a validation of the bank’s retail transformation strategy which continues to deliver impressive results.
Profit before tax also increased by 5% growing from N232 billion to N243 billion in the current year, arising from topline growth and continued focus on cost optimisation strategies. Cost-to-income ratio moderated from 49.3% to 48.8%.
The drive for cheaper retail deposits coupled with the low interest yield environment helped reduce the cost of funding from 3.1% to 3.0%. However this also affected net interest margin which reduced from 8.9% to 8.2% in the current year due to re-pricing of interest bearing assets. Although returns on equity and assets held steady YoY at 23.8% and 3.4% respectively, the Group still delivered an improved Earnings per Share (EPS) which grew 8% from N6.15 to N6.65 in the current year.
The Group increased its share of the market as it secured increased customer deposits across the corporate and retail space as deposits grew by 15% to close at N4.26 trillion. Total assets also increased by 7% from N5.96 trillion to N6.35 trillion. The Group created new viable risk assets as gross loans grew by 22% from N2.016 trillion to N2.462 trillion. This was executed prudently at a low cost of risk of 1.1% and a significant reduction in the non-performing loan ratio from 4.98% to 4.30%. Prudential ratios such as liquidity and capital adequacy ratios also remained above regulatory thresholds at 57.3% and 22.0% respectively.
In demonstration of its commitment to its shareholders, the bank has announced a proposed final dividend pay-out of N2.50 per share, bringing the total dividend to N2.80 per share.
In 2020, the Group remains strategically positioned to capture the opportunities in the corporate and retail segments, while efficiently managing costs and expanding further its retail franchise employing digital assets and innovation.
Consistent with this superlative performance and in recognition of its track record of excellent performance, Zenith Bank was voted as the Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria 2019 by the World Finance and the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria 2019 by The Banker. The Bank was also recognized as Bank of the Year and Best Bank in Retail Banking at the 2019 BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Awards, and was ranked as the Best Digital Bank in Nigeria 2019 by Agusto & Co. Most recently, the Bank emerged as the Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the Thisday Awards 2020.
Keystone Bank restates commitment to environmental sustainability
Keystone Bank Limited, Nigeria’s most innovative banking services provider, has restated its commitment to environmental sustainability as it recently embarked on tree planting campaign.
According to the lender, the event which saw staff of the bank plant trees at the Nigeria Conservation Foundation in Lagos, is in line with its bid to further align with the Sustainable Development Goal 15, which stresses the call by the United Nations to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, halt and reverse land degradation, halt biodiversity loss and ultimately for environmental sustainability.
Commenting on the initiative, Keystone Bank executive director, Adeyemi Odusanya said: “As a bank, our goal is to lead the movement promoting environmental sustainability in Nigeria and we are clearly going to sustain that.
“One of the ways to sustain this initiative is by planting trees to preserve the environment. Tree planting remains a strong tool to tackle the effect of climate change. Climate change is the most significant material risk to the future because it poses most devastating threat to human survival.
“Keystone Bank fully aligns itself with the UN ideology.
“We cannot live a healthy life, conduct business and create wealth amidst a sick environment. Hence, this gesture is our commitment towards a sustainable future that will benefit all,” Odusanya noted.
Keystone Bank is a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers.
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