Reps want Union Bank acquisition process halted

Reps want Union Bank acquisition process halted

Probe ecological fund

Senate re-visits fuel subsidy removal

CITING non-compliance with the rules and regulations, the House of Representatives Committee on Capital Market yesterday urged the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to immediately stop the acquisition process of the Union Bank Plc.

The decision followed a meeting between the Committee, SEC and some parties to the acquisition.

In a letter addressed to the Director General of SEC, Aruma Oteh and titled “Re-interactive meeting in respect of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc” and signed by the chairman of the committee, Herman Hembe, the panel stated: “In view of the inability of the management of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc to provide key answers to various queries this committee has raised relating to the bank’s compliance with rules, procedure and statutes guiding rights issues placing and capital reorganisation, we request that the Securities and Exchange Commission withhold further approvals of the said transaction pending the outcome of a rescheduled hearing where Union Bank will be expected to come with relevant documents and information regarding the matter in question.”

And at a press briefing, Hembe disclosed that his committee was displeased with the refusal of the stakeholders to respond to questions asked on the process of acquiring banks. According to Hembe, the stakeholders at the meeting included officials of the Stock Exchange Commission and Union Bank.

The panel chairman explained: “We called the meeting as part of the process that we have started to look into merger of banks. We asked them pertinent questions on the recapitalisation process, particularly as regards the right issue that Union Bank undertook and we found out that they were not prepared to give us the necessary answers that we asked for. We are asking these questions particularly about the Union Bank because of petitions to this House by some Nigerians over the whole process.

“We were told that shareholders were not carried along in the process. We were told that approvals from the Securities and Exchange Commission were obtained without request from the shareholders of Union Bank. We have asked the Union Bank to stay the process of its recapitalisation and we have asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to withhold the final approval to Union Bank in its recapitalisation process until we are done with investigation of the bank. We are hoping that they will take a new date so that we can continue with the questioning.”

Also yesterday, the House of Representatives ordered investigation into the use of special intervention funds by the Presidential Committee on Desert Encroachment and Erosion Control in the North and South Eastern part of the country.

In the resolution following a motion by Ahmed Idris yesterday, the House, which mandated its Committee on Environment to carry out the probe and report back in three weeks, further directed the panel to look at the works of similar other committees, as well as the utilisation of the Ecological Fund.

Idris had, while moving the motion, lamented that in spite of the committee set up by the Presidency in 2009 to look at the issue of desert encroachment in the North, and erosion in the South East, the menace were still devastating communities in the concerned areas.

The lawmaker expressed worry that the issue of environmental protection was sill poor, after the enactment of the Ecological Fund Act, which mandated the executive to deduct at source, one per cent of revenue accruing to the Federation Account for the purpose of solving ecological problems in the country.

At the Upper Chamber, the senators revisited the 2012-2015 Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF) and 2012 Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) forwarded to the National Assembly by President Goodluck Jonathan. The framework indicates that subsidy on petroleum products would be removed as a way of stabilising oil supply in the country.

After a brief debate, the matter was referred to the committees on appropriation, finance and national planning.


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