The theory is emerging that the Financial Reporting Council’s media attack on Stanbic IBTC is merely the actualization of a script handed down to Jim Obazee, Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) by his benefactors, the Mahtani brothers.
People familiar with Obazee’s reputation however, betrayed little surprise noting that he had always been known to swing like a pendulum in the direction of money and power.
The FRC issued the suspension accusing the affected parties of what it called, ‘financial misstatements.’ The council also called on the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) and the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) to investigate Stanbic IBTC and KPMG. The council in a report released on Monday, also noted, that KPMG Professional Services, remains suspended until its innocence in the matter is ascertained.
According to FRC, “the schedules supplied to the council by Stanbic IBTC revealed that the total fee paid to KPMG Professional Services for non-audit services was inconsistent with what was disclosed in the financial statements for the years under review.”
The Mahtanis used to own 100 per cent of the former Regent Bank Plc which in the various mergers and acquisitions that took place in the Nigerian finance industry teamed up with IBTC and Chartered Bank in 2005 to form IBTC Chartered Bank Plc and they held significant shares of the hybrid institution resulting from that merger.
However, the Mahtanis’ stake suffered significant decline when IBTC Chartered Bank Plc in further consolidation, aligned with Standard Bank in 2007. At the end of this second merger, the equity of the Indians was notably diluted and it seemed like they were left holding the short end of the stick, with just a paltry amount of shares in Stanbic IBTC Plc.
Ever since, the Indians with Nigerian passports have resorted to desperate tactics to arm-twist the financial institution to their advantage.