Polaris Bank acquisition: CBN shortlists 7 companies

The House of Representatives has revealed that 7 banks have been shortlisted by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to acquire Polaris Bank.

The revelation came at the sitting of the ad-hoc committee probing the sale of Polaris Bank.

The sale of the bank has generated so much controversy following reports that the Apex Bank is planning to sell the bank for N40 billion, below the N1.2 trillion that the financial regulator and Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) pumped into the firm to revive it.

According the committee chairman Henry Nwabuba, 35 companies initially bided to acquire the bank.

Polaris Bank was previously known as Skye Bank, which liquidated after allegation of financial mismanagement by the top executives. The license was revoked by CBN, before it was reissued under a new name, Polaris Bank in 2018, with AMCON and the apex bank financially supporting the operation.

In a resolution, the House asked the CBN and AMCON to halt the sale of the bank halt the sale of Polaris Bank to ensure open, transparent, and competitive bid process, as well as not endangering the investment and interests of the general public.

The ad-hoc committee was directed to probe the sale process, and in a recent update, Nwabuba said it was discovered that 35 companies bidded for Polaris Bank. The list was later shortened to 15, then seven afterwards.

Following the shortlisting, Nwabuba said a presidential approval was issued, so there’s no concern over the sale for now. However, he said investigation will continue.

Nwawuba explained that, “On the last legislative day before we broke up from plenary sessions to work on the budget, there was a motion on the floor asking the CBN to suspend the sale of Polaris Bank and cutting up an ad-hoc committee to investigate the circumstances, and I happened to have emerged to chair that committee.”

Adding further, “We are happy so far, but as you know it is an investigation and hopefully, we intend to conclude this investigation and lay the report before we commence sitting.

“So far everything looks really good. We do not have any cause for concern for now. For the stability of the financial systems in Nigeria, we would call on Nigerians to know there is nothing wrong with Polaris Bank as a bank.

“What the house is looking at is the process of the acquisition or the sale and so far, we are confident from what we are seeing.

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