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CBN Reacts To Claim Of Fraudulent Act In Sale Of Polaris Banks

Recall that in October 2022, CBN in a press statement announced the completion of the sale of shares in Polaris Bank to Strategic Capital Investment Limited (SCIL).

Few months after that, various online publications have claimed that another party (Fairview Acquisition Partners) made a higher purchase offer during the sale of the bank compared to the SCIL offer that was eventually accepted and announced by CBN.

The offer by Fairview Acquisition Partners was staked at N1.2 trillion compared to the N1.305 trillion offer by the SCIL with immediate upfront of 50 billion making a total of N1.355 trillion.

This claim prompted the swift response by the apex bank through a press release by its Director of Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi.

It reads, “The attention of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been drawn to a spurious, malicious, and misleading online publication, which made several false claims concerning the recent sale of the Federal Government’s interest in Polaris Bank Ltd.

“For the records, the public is referred to the statement dated October 20, 2022 by CBN & AMCON announcing the sale of 100% equity in Polaris Bank to a new core investor, Strategic Capital Investment Limited (SCIL).

“SCIL’s binding offer involved an immediate upfront consideration of N50 billion and full responsibility for the debt of N1.305 trillion owed to AMCON, essentially a total purchase consideration of N1.355 trillion. This offer was the most competitive and provided taxpayers and the Federal Government with more than full recovery of its intervention cost

“At no time did any other party make a higher purchase offer as falsely claimed by the online publication, The entity in question, Fairview Acquisition Partners, had indicated an interest in acquiring two banks, including Polaris Bank, for a total sum of N1.2 trillion, an indicative offer which significantly discounted the existing N1.305 trillion debt owed by Polaris Bank to AMCON and so represented a material loss to the Federal Government.

“Notwithstanding, along with twenty-four other parties, Fairview Acquisition Partners was invited by the financial advisors to participate in the sale process via the execution of a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA), which is the first stage of the process.”

The apex bank also revealed that Fairview Acquisition Partners never participated in the divestment process , adding that no purchase for Polaris Bank was made by Fairview Acquisition Partners.

The CBN further revealed that the offer by SCIL was the highest financial offer for the bank, which was significantly above its core valuation and reserve price, so there was no need to go below it.

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