The Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, in charge of Financial System Stability, Aishah Ahmad, has been apprehended by the Department
Ahmad, who joined the central bank in October 2017 to replace Sarah Alade, who retired in March 2017, is the latest to be quizzed by the DSS.
Her interrogation is coming a week after another Deputy Governor of CBN in charge of Economic Policy, Kingsley Obiora, was questioned by the agency.
Ahmad was apprehended by the country’s secret police to obtain vital information from her over the sale of a first-generation bank, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, to a relatively new lender, Titan Trust Bank Limited.
The acquisition of the more than 100-year-old financial institution by the less than 5-year-old bank raised eyebrows because the buyer coughed out $300 million to complete the transaction.
Titan Trust Bank is chaired by a veteran banker and former deputy governor of the CBN, Mr Tunde Lemo, and the acquisition came after the likes of Access Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc had been previously linked with the transaction, though both denied it.
In June 2022, it emerged that Titan Trust Bank got a $300 million loan from African Export-Import Bank, Afreximbank through PAC Capital Limited, the investment banking arm of PanAfrican Capital Holdings, to complete the acquisition.
The DSS seems to be interested in how this process went and interrogated Ahmad to get to the root of the matter.
In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, NTA claimed the intelligence gathering agency detained the Deputy CBN chief to also extract details concerning Polaris Bank, especially its sale to Strategic Capital Investment Limited (SCIL).
Polaris Bank was established after the apex bank revoked the operating licence of Skye Bank Plc in 2018, and in 2022, it sold the lender to SCIL. This deal generated controversy over the value. It was alleged that it was disposed of at a very cheap price of N50 billion despite the CBN injecting over N1 trillion to save the bank from collapse.
The Union Bank and Polaris Bank sales happened under the leadership of the suspended CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who is currently in the custody of the DSS. Emefiele was asked to stay away from his position in June by President Bola Tinubu and was arrested a few days later.