According to the Executive secretary and CEO of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) Jim Obazee, the CBN did not act in good faith, and took ‘calculated’ steps to embarrass the FRC while attempting to resolve the issue of alleged irregularities in the financial statements of Stanbic IBTC.
FRCN had requested that the CBN “take disciplinary action against the bank” following its findings that the bank misstated its financial reports for the 2013-2014 fiscal year and ceded its banking application rights to Standard Bank of South Africa, against the directives of National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP).
In CBN’s letter to Obazee, which he alleged was leaked to the press before it arrived to his office, the CBN chided the council for taking inappropriate action over an entity that was not within its full regulatory oversight. The CBN Governor at the time informed the FRC that it over stepped its boundary as a regulator and did not follow laid down regulatory guideline in issuing its verdict on Stanbic IBTC.
In a new letter, which held Obazee’s latest response to the CBN, Obazee let on that the CBN was purposeful in its actions to deride the FRC. Obazee gave a sequence of events between October 29 and November 2, during which the Chief of Staff to the President instructed both regulators to come up with a harmonized position as regulators with regards to Stanbic IBTC’s financial statements. In the letter, Obazee stated that the CBN was instructed by the Chief of staff to instruct Stanbic IBTC to immediately stop all negative publicity sponsored against the FRC. Obazee said Stanbic IBTC increased the negative publicity “even to include his person”. On an October 30 front-page Thisday newspaper article allegedly sponsored by Stanbic IBTC, the FRC was “painted in bad light.
“The CBN issued a letter to our Council, and posted it on the internet, claiming the CBN had cleared Stanbic IBTC and maligned the FRC. The said letter to our council, which the news media noted with pride was leaked to them, did not get to our office in Abuja until 6.30p on Tuesday 3rd November, 2015.
I have taken time to outline the sequence of events to you so as to let you know that the CBN has not acted in good faith and that he actions of the CBN were calculated to embarrass the FRC and indeed the federal government of Nigeria.
The FRC in its letter also suggested that the CBN was hasty in its decision over Stanbic IBTC. According to Obazee’s letter, the Chief of Staff stated that if the CBN was found to be wrong and the errors truly did exist, the CBN should be sanctioned because it gave its approval before the statements were issued.