One of the major societal benefits of a free press is to hold power to account and expose hypocrisy and wrong doing.
Unfortunately, evidence has been provided that our national mainstream media is either lazy or complicit in wrong doing.
Either is unforgivable.
The report of the sale of Keystone Bank by Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) is extremely depressing.
Making matters worse is the abject failure of the mainstream media to investigate the sale or even raise a journalistic eyebrow.
Whistle-blowers within AMCON itself raised alarm last year concerning their suspicion that the MD of AMCON had bypassed the bidding process where there were approximately 13 bids, in order to effect the sale of Keystone to a group of cronies.
The implication was that there was a “Northern cabal” in operation to ensure the sale of the rescued bank to a select group of investors.
To be clear, this writer cares not whether the cronies were from the North, East, West or South, but more that there is the whiff of cronyism.
This was widely reported from the 20th March 2017 onward, when the story of the sale was released.
The sale has been effected (dependent on “conditions precedent” in the sales contract) to a consortium.
Strangely, for a successful consortium buying a bank that Nigerian taxpayers have paid to rescue and support, the investors are unknown, there is no banking track record and the beneficial owners of the companies involved in the consortium are not transparent.
Nothing recently coming out of AMCOM Towers has smelt so badly as this deal.
Well, not since various big men’s oil company assets were taken on for hugely inflated values above market price.
(By the way, sources within AMCON said that a certain mega yacht that dominates the Lagos Lagoon owned by a certain oil man was not touched as it was tied up in so many Caymen Island companies that it required forensic analysis and overseas prosecution to try and seize it).
There is no transparency on the sales process, no transparency on the contract and no transparency on the buyers.
The nearest closest bidder, bid less than 50% of this consortium but the successful consortium appears to have not paid a kobo yet as conditions precedent have to be met.
Who knows? They may end up paying a quarter of the announced price depending on how the conditions are met or not met.
No mainstream media outlets in Nigeria have picked this up very skeptically.
No one has investigated or sufficiently questioned the deal.
Are they too lazy or too afraid of power or have they been bought off.
One of these explanations has to be correct.
Naira Insider will not stand by.
We offer cash to any whistle-blower who can provide verifiable and incontrovertible evidence of wrong doing.
We stand for transparency and the advancement of the citizens of this great nation, we will not stand idle when faced with such possible cronyism and thievery.