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SERAP Files Lawsuit Against Buhari Over Missing N106B From 149 Ministries

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SERAP- Investors King

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has filed a lawsuit against President Muhammadu Buhari “over his failure to probe allegations that N106bn of public funds are missing from 149 ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), and to ensure the prosecution of those suspected to be responsible, and the recovery of any missing public funds.”

The suit followed the grim allegations by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation in his 2018 annual audited report that N105,662,350,077.46 of public funds are missing, misappropriated, or unaccounted for across 149 MDAs.

In the suit number FHC/ABJ/CS/903/2021 filed last week at the Federal High Court in Abuja, SERAP is seeking: “an order of mandamus to direct and compel President Buhari to promptly investigate the alleged missing N106 billion of public funds, ensure prosecution of anyone suspected to be responsible and the full recovery of any missing public money.”

In the suit, SERAP is arguing that: “Recovering the alleged missing public funds would reduce the pressure on the Federal Government to borrow more money to fund the budget, enable the authorities to meet the country’s constitutional and international obligations, and reduce the growing level of public debts.”

According to SERAP: “Directing and compelling President Buhari to ensure the investigation and prosecution of the alleged grand corruption documented by the Auditor-General would be entirely consistent with the government’s own commitment to fight corruption, improve the integrity of MDAs, and serve the public interest.”

SERAP is also arguing that “The alleged missing public funds have hampered the ability of the indicted MDAs to meet the needs of average citizens, as the missing funds could have helped the government to invest in key public goods and services, and to improve access of Nigerians to these goods and services.”

Joined in the suit as Respondents are Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation; and Mrs Zainab Ahmed, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning.

SERAP is arguing that “It is in the interest of justice to grant this application, as it would improve respect for the rights of Nigerians, and improve their access to essential public goods and services. The suit is in keeping with the requirements of the Nigerian Constitution 1999 [as amended]; anti-corruption legislation, and the country’s international obligations including under the UN Convention against Corruption; and the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption to which Nigeria is a state party.”

SERAP is also seeking an order to compel the president “to publish full details of the yearly budgets of all MDAs, and issue regular updates that detail their expenditures, including by making any such information easily accessible in a form that can be understood by the public.”

The suit filed on behalf of SERAP by its lawyers Kolawole Oluwadare and Ms Joke Fekumo read in part: “The failure to investigate the allegations of grand corruption in the 2018 annual audited report constitutes a grave violation of the duty placed on the Nigerian government to take appropriate measures to promote transparency and accountability in the management of public finances.”

“President Buhari’s constitutional responsibility to ensure the investigation and prosecution of allegations of corruption, as well as recovery of any missing public funds, is contained in Section 15[5] of the Nigerian Constitution, which provides that ‘the State shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power’, and in the Oath of Office in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution.”

“The Oath of Office of the President has considered of such importance that section 140 of the 1999 Constitution provides that the President cannot perform his or her respective official functions as President without taking the oath of office.”

No date has been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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Banking Sector

FirstBank Commemorates 2022 International Youth Day, Dedicating the Week to Celebrating the Youth

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced its commemoration of the 2022 International Youth Day, globally celebrated today, 12 August 2022.

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FirstBank Headquarter - Investors King

First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced its commemoration of the 2022 International Youth Day, globally celebrated today, 12 August 2022 and themed “Intergenerational solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages.” 

The International Youth Day is commemorated every year on 12 August, bringing youth issues to the attention of the international community and celebrating the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society. The Day also amplifies the message that action is needed across all generations to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and leave no one behind.

Leading up to the day, the Bank dedicated the week of 8 – 12 August with a lineup of activities to reiterate its commitment to Youth Empowerment.

As a Bank renowned for its role in developing the economy through sustainable employment and entrepreneurship endeavours, the 2022 edition of the Youth Week will promote economic empowerment and employment, digital technology, and education as its focus during the celebration.

The Youth Week comprises various activities, including a Fashion illustration workshop, Design skill training, Gen Z/Millennial Webinar and many more exciting activities. These activities would give participants opportunities to win various exciting gift items.

Under the First@arts program, the Bank will empower the youths through Artistry Workshop Sessions & Arts Classes. Interested in the art of fashion design and illustrations, visit the Bank’s social media handles – Instagram: @firstbanknigeria, Facebook: First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Twitter: @FirstBankngr – for information on how you can be among 10 lucky winners to have the opportunity to learn the business of fashion at Claire Idera fashion studio.

Likewise, the Creative design workshop will enable youths design skill training; design thinking principles and their application in the context of layout, typefaces and colour. Interested youths can also participate on the FirstBank social media handles, where 25 lucky winners will be selected to learn the Art of Design at Geneza School of Designs.

Commemorating the Youth Week, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank said: ‘’We remain committed to celebrating the younger demography whose voices, actions, vigour, and tireless participation in the political, economic, and social activities have continued to birth major contributions towards the sustainable development of Africa and the world at large. The planned activities will promote better collaboration and solidarity across generations to foster successful and equitable relationships, and partnerships thereby ensuring “no one is left behind” and empowering everyone to leverage their full potential toward achieving the much-desired Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

This Youth demography has a striking significance for us at FirstBank with the Millennials and Gen Zs constituting almost 60% of our workforce. This shows that youths are an integral part of our organisation and every country where we operate”, he concluded.

For more information and participation in the Youth Week, kindly visit the bank’s verified social media platforms; Instagram: @firstbanknigeria, Facebook: First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Twitter: @FirstBankngr

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Banking Sector

FBN Holdings Reports 49% Increase in Profit in H1 2022

FBN Holdings Plc has reported a 48.9% increase in profit after tax for the first half (H1) of 2022.

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Nnamdi Okonkwo

FBN Holdings Plc, the parent company of FirstBank of Nigeria Limited, has reported a 48.9% increase in profit after tax for the first half (H1) of 2022.

The financial services provider announced gross earnings of N359.2 billion for the period under review, an increase of 22.4% when compared to the N293.4 billion recorded in the first half of 2021.

Interest income jumped 40.6% from N161 billion achieved in H1 2021 to N226.4 billion. While the Group’s net interest income rose a whopping 47.3% to N152.9 billion, up from N103.8 billion in H1 2021.

Non-interest income remained largely unchanged at N120.6 billion, a 0.2% decline from N120.9 billion posted in the corresponding period of 2021.

FBN Holdings’ operating income expanded by 21.7% to N273.5 billion from N224.7 billion in H1 2021. The lender’s impairment charges improved by 18.7% to N21.7 billion, down from N26.7 billion in the same period of 2021.

As expected, operating expenses inched higher to N186 billion from N152.6 billion recorded in H1 2021. Profit before tax stood at N65.7 billion a 45.3% increase from N45.2 billion filed in H1 2021.

The total profit realised for the period grew by 48.6% from N38.1 billion in H1 2021 to N56.5 billion in H1 2022.

Earnings per share also rose 48% to N1.55 from N1.05.

Speaking on the group performance, Nnamdi Okonkwo, the Group Managing Director said “FBNHoldings continues to demonstrate resilient performance despite the challenging operating environment with an impressive improvement in revenue and profitability. For the half year 2022, gross earnings and profit before tax grew by 22% y-o-y and 45% y-o-y to N359.2 billion and N65.7 billion respectively. Furthermore, we continue to see good progress across our performance metrics, which remain in line with our focus on driving sustainable growth.

“The Group remains committed in its transformation drive, which has resulted in stronger balance sheet and better asset quality with non-performing loans closing at 5.4% at H1 2022. Similarly, risk management capability remains robust across the Group supporting the drive for enhanced earnings for sustainable capital accretion.

“During the period, cost to income ratio remained flat y-o-y despite the inflationary and currency pressure, as we continue to focus on optimising overall efficiency.

“Our strategic intent remains unchanged in optimising opportunities that drive growth in revenue, profitability, capital accretion and overall operational efficiency that delivers sustainable value to our stakeholders.”

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Finance

Nigeria’s External Debt Rises by N560 Billion on Weaker Naira

Nigeria’s total external debt has increased by N560.048 billion in the last eight months, according to the analysis done by Investors King.

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debt

Nigeria’s total external debt has increased by N560.048 billion in the last eight months, according to the analysis done by Investors King.

Economic uncertainty amid chronic foreign exchange (forex) scarcity has plunged the Nigerian Naira from N414.11/US$1 recorded on 21st December 2021 to N428.122 as of August 4, 2022 at the Investors and Exporters (I&E) Forex Window, Nigeria’s official forex rate.

According to the latest Debt Management Office (DMO) report, Nigeria’s external debt stood at $39.969.19 billion as of March 31, 2022. A quick analysis revealed that $39.969.19 billion would have been N16.552 trillion in December 2021 if the nation’s exchange rate had remained at N414.11 to the U.S. Dollar.

However, because of the continuous decline in the value of the Nigerian Naira, the nation’s external debt now stood at N17.112 trillion, using the N428.122 exchange rate. This means the Nigerian nation has incurred a sum of N560.048 billion between December 21st, 2021 and August 4, 2022.

A breakdown of Nigeria’s external debt showed that Africa’s largest economy borrowed $18.957 billion or 47.43% of the total external debt from multilateral financial institutions, International Monetary Fund, the World Bank Group and the African Development Bank Group. 

While the bilateral loan from China, France, Japan, India and Germany accounted for $4.495 billion or 11.25%. Nigeria raised $15.918 billion or 39.83%.

The country raised $15.918 billion or 39.83% via bonds. Promissory notes constituted $597.75 million or 1.50%.

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