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Banks, 18 Others, Dined N125m For Late Filings

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At least eight banks and 18 other listed companies have been fined N125m for failing to file their 2022 audited financial statements and quarterly reports for the first half of 2023 as required by Nigerian Exchange, The PUNCH findings have revealed.

The affected banks were Unity Bank, FBN Holdings, Access Holdings, Fidelity Bank, Jaiz Bank, Wema Bank, Guaranty Trust Holdings Plc and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated.

John Holt, PZ Cussons, Notore Chemical, Glaxo SmithKline Consumer Nigeria, Industrial Medical and Gases Nigeria and Juli Plc were also affected by the sanction.

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According to the NGX’s post-listing rules, quoted companies are required to submit their audited results, not later than 90 calendar days, or three months, after the expiration of the period. The rules also require quoted companies to submit interim reports not later than 30 calendar days after the end of the relevant period.

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Based on the latest X – Compliance Report issued by the regulatory arm of the NGX, FBN Holdings was fined for delay in submitting its 2022 financial results and its quarter one report for 2023. The lender paid N6.3m for the former offence and paid N3.3m for the latter.

For failing to submit its 2022 results on time, Unity Bank paid N6.4m and another N3.4m for the delay in submitting its interim reports for Q1, 2023.

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The report showed that Fidelity Bank, GTCO and Wema Bank paid N2.7m, N1.4m, and N1.9m, respectively as fines.

While Access Holdings paid N2m, Jaiz Bank, Ecobank, and John Holt coughed out N600,000, N3.2m and N3.2m, respectively as penalties.

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The NGX fined PZ Cussons N4.8m, Notore Chemical paid N500,000 and GSK, which announced the closure of its operations in Nigeria also paid a fine of N1.3m for failing to file its 2022 financial results as and when due.

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Others also sanctioned for delay in filing their 2022 audited accounts include Industrial Medical and Gases Nigeria, which paid a fine of N1.2m, Juli Plc paid a penalty of N120,000 and NPF Microfinance Bank paid a fine of N1.8m.

The regulator also sanctioned Daar Communications, paying N1.7m fine, Champion Breweries and Abbey Mortgage Bank Plc were also fined N1.6m and N1.4m, respectively.

Regency Alliance Insurance and Thomas Wyatt Nigeria also paid N1.4m and N4.9m fines, respectively, for the same offence.

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The NGX hammer also fell on Presco Plc (N24.8m); Ardova (N18.6m) and Universal Insurance Plc (N12.4) for flouting the filing regulations.

Conoil was also fined N7.9m for not filing its results within the stipulated period, while Caverton Offshore Support Group paid N5.7m as a penalty for the same offence.

Telecommunications services firm, Briclinks Africa Plc also cough out N590,000 fine during this period.

The Vice-chairman of Highcap Securities, David Adonri, said the fines were necessary to maintain the sanctity of the market.

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A lot of them relate to corporate disclosures. The capital market is information-driven. There is certain information that the listed companies must disclose at the appropriate time. If a company realised that it may not be able to disclose such information, the company can send a request to the exchange requesting additional time.”

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N17bn Debt: GTBank Drags 60 Bank Chiefs To Court

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Guaranty Trust Bank has dragged no fewer than 60 top executives of 13 commercial banks to court as a pending suit between GTBank and Afex Commodity Exchange over N17bn Anchor Borrowers Programme loan lingers.

The 60 executives including the chairmen, chief executive officers, directors, and company secretaries of the 13 banks are facing contempt proceedings for allegedly failing to implement a No-Debit-Order reportedly placed on the accounts of Afex Commodity Exchange with the banks.

In suit no FHC/L/CS/911/2024 involving Guaranty Trust Bank Limited and AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited, the Federal High Court, Lagos division presided by Justice CJ Aneke signed an order for the bank chairmen, MDs, directors, company secretaries and the liquidator of Heritage Bank (Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation) to be committed to jail for failing to obey its May 27, 2024 ruling.

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A legal notice titled ‘Order to serve notice of disobedience to order of court vide newspaper publication’ published in some national dailies including The PUNCH on Thursday, partly read, “An order granting leave to the Plaintiff Applicant to serve Form 48 (Notice of Consequences of Disobedience to Order of Court) dated 11th June, 2024 and all other forms and processes that may be issued in this contempt proceedings inclusive of Form 49 on the 1st-60st parties cited for contempt

The matter was adjourned to next Thursday.

Parties cited for contempt include Access Bank, Citibank, Jaiz Bank, Union Bank, Fidelity Bank, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, First City Monument Bank, NDIC (liquidator for Heritage Bank), Polaris Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Standard Chartered Bank, Taj Bank, United Bank for Africa and Zenith Bank alongside its principal officers.

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In the court ruling dated May 27, 2024, twenty banks were directed to transfer monies standing to the credit of the respondent into the AFEX’s account with GTB until the N17.81bn is repaid.

The N17.81bn loans comprise N15.77bn; the amount outstanding and unpaid, as of April 17, 2024, and the cost of recovery and incidental expenses in the sum of N2.04bn.

The court also granted an injunction allowing GTB to take over AFEX 16 warehouses located across seven states and sell the commodities stored in them, which it said were procured with the Central Bank of Nigeria Anchor Borrowers’ loan facility.

Earlier in the month, the court had served contempt proceedings against AFEX and some of its principal officers including Ayodele Balogun, Jendayi Fraaser, Justin Topilow, Mobolaji Adeoye and Koonal Ghandi.

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According to court papers, AFEX had sourced the Anchor Borrowers Programme Loan facility from GTB to provide finance for smallholder farmers registered under the CBN Anchor Borrower’s programme.

The loan was expected to be repaid from the sale of commodities. However, AFEX failed to uphold its end of the deal even after an extension.

In a statement following the interim court order, AFEX claimed that it had repaid about 90 per cent of the loan facility.

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However, a portion of the loan remains outstanding with the farmers and while we have paid out a portion out of our own purse, we remain in discussions with CBN over the outstanding amounts of the said facility,” the exchange said.

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It also said the full value of the loan was utilised to provide input to farmers in three consecutive seasons, starting in 2020.

The exchange added that it had remained consistent with repaying the loans until economic headwinds impacted the operations of the farmers that they had disbursed the money to.

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Over 800,000 hectares of farmland were financed through the course of the programme’s operationalisation; however, significant macro and policy headwinds, including the cash crunch on the back of the Naira redesign policy, severely impacted the productive capacity and market participation of the smallholder farmers in the 2022/2023 season.

“This resulted in less than 40 cent repayment from farmers on their input loan bundles, down from our 90per cent repayment rates in the previous eight years of providing input financing for farmers. The low repayment rate ultimately impacted on our ability to refund the full value of the loan at the end of Q1 2023 and following a 6-month extension period,” AFEX added.

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The commodities exchange also stated that the lingering effects of the cash crunch have continued to impact farmers, who sold at below market value to get immediate cash inflows to sustain their families in the period and remain unable to pay back.

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Meanwhile, AFEX has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria to activate the collateral guarantee of up to 70 per cent clause included in the Anchor Borrowers programme.

“Evidenced in the attached letters, our engagements with Guaranty Trust Bank Limited, a Participating Financial Institution in the program, as well as the apex bank have seen us highlight these limitations on the part of the defaulting farmers with suggestions being made to the CBN to activate the risk-sharing structure put in place for the program and release funds accordingly to sustain activities and allow for needed recovery efforts in our agriculture sector.

“In light of these engagements, we consider the recent steps by Guaranty Trust Bank Limited to be premature, coming in the midst of open conversations that are being had with all parties to find a path to resolution that does not unduly punish farmers, who have been the biggest hit by macroeconomic conditions that they had no control over,” AFEX concluded.

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CBN at the inception of the programme in 2015 said the broad objective was to create economic linkages between smallholder farmers and processors to increase agricultural output and ensure food price stability.

The Anchor Borrowers’ Programme guidelines stipulate that upon harvest, benefiting farmers are to repay their loans with produce (which must cover the loan principal and interest) to an anchor, who pays the cash equivalent to the farmer’s account.

By 2022, at least 4.8 million people had benefitted from the Anchor Borrowers Programme and the CBN in a 2023 statement said it released N1.079tn under the programme, out of which over N500bn is due for repayment.

The programme has since been discontinued by the CBN as it pivots from development financing interventions to its core duty of price and monetary stability.
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Marketers Distribute 25 Million Litres Dangote Diesel

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Independent marketers have lifted and distributed over 25 million litres of Automotive Gas Oil, popularly called diesel, produced by the Dangote Petroleum Refinery in less than three months after the plant started releasing AGO to the market.

It was also gathered on Saturday that the registration of oil marketers with the $20bn firm was still ongoing, as more dealers register with the plant ahead of its readiness to push out Premium Motor Spirit, also known as petrol, into the domestic market in July.

Marketers are also ready to begin PMS distribution from the plant.

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The Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Major Energies Marketers Association of Nigeria, and Petroleum Products Retail Outlets Owners Association of Nigeria confirmed the registration of their members with the Lagos-based refinery.

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They also confirmed the continued lifting of diesel from the facility, stating that this has stabilised the price of the commodity and ensured its adequate supply since the commencement of production in March this year.

Diesel price crashed from about N1,800/litre to N1,200/litre after Dangote refinery released the product into the Nigerian market late March 2024, and since then the product’s availability has been guaranteed across the country.

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Commenting on the stability of diesel price and its availability since Dangote started production, as well as the registration of marketers with the refinery, the National Public Relations Officer, IPMAN, Chief Ukadike Chinedu, told our correspondent that over 25 million litres of AGO from the plant had been distributed by IPMAN members nationwide.

“Independent marketers are registering with Dangote, and many of us have lifted a lot of product from Dangote’s depot. I’m aware of so many marketers who have registered with the Dangote refinery.

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“I can also confirm that independent marketers have loaded over 25 million litres of diesel since the refinery started the domestic sale of diesel to downstream oil sector operators in Nigeria,” Ukadike stated.

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On April 2, 2024, oil marketers revealed that the Dangote refinery had commenced the sale of diesel to the domestic market.

Dealers and officials of the plant also confirmed the development at the time, as they explained that the plant actually started diesel sales the previous week.

They started pumping out diesel to marketers since last week. They also promised to sell aviation fuel soon. Some of my members confirmed this to me after making a purchase,” the National President, IPMAN, Abubakar Maigandi, had told our correspondent at the time.

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Maigandi had also stated that the move by Dangote would lead to a crash in diesel price, as the commodity rose to a high of about N1,700/litre at the time.

The price of diesel is going to fall because of the release of products from Dangote Refinery. In fact, it is already coming down in Lagos,” Maigandi had stated.

This eventually happened after Dangote crashed diesel price to N1,200/litre.

Although officials of the Dangote refinery have remained silent on issues about the plant, dealers stated on Saturday that the marketers were anxiously awaiting the release of petrol from the plant, with the hope that this may crash the cost of the commodity.

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“Marketers are loading more products from the plant and are eager to begin the lifting of PMS from the refinery, since the Chairman of the group has said that PMS should hit the market in July,” Ukadike stated.

He added, “I must say that it is a good thing to know that PMS is being finalised for release from that plant. This is because since Dangote diesel came into the market the price of diesel has not crossed the N1,200/litre mark.

“Independent marketers even in far away northern states are selling diesel at N1,200/litre at the pumps. So the coming of Dangote has slowed down the skyrocketing price of diesel. Now we are expecting PMS by July and this will end the importation of petroleum products.”

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How Oil Mafia Tried To Stop Our Refinery – Dangote

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The founder of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has revealed that both local and international criminal organisations, which he described as “mafia”, made repeated attempts to sabotage his $19bn refinery project located in Lagos.

Speaking at the Afreximbank Annual Meetings, Dangote likened the oil cartels to a mafia stronger than the drug mafia hell-bent on maintaining their grip on the industry.

“Well, I knew that there would be a fight. But I didn’t know that the mafia in oil, they are stronger than the mafia in drugs. I can tell you that. Yes, it’s a fact,” he said.

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Dangote, who described himself as a fighter, said they “tried all sorts” to stop him.

But I’m a person that has been fighting all my life. You know, so I think it’s part of my life to fight,” he said.

He added, “As a matter of fact during the COVID period, some of the international banks really were looking forward to making sure that they push us into default of our loans so that the project will just be dead. And that didn’t happen with the help of banks like Afreximbank.”

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The PUNCH reports that Dangote also revealed that he has paid off $2.4bn of the $5.5bn borrowed for the Lagos-based refinery.

Dangote also unveiled plans to diversify into the steel sector, aiming to utilise solely Nigerian-produced steel and achieve self-sufficiency.

Dangote Refinery recently rescheduled the launch of its petrol sales to July 10-15, pushing back its initial June target due to “minor” logistical issues.

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