BoI: Our Row with EFCC over Alleged Cement Fund Abuse Has Been Settled

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Fund rises to N13.2bn, not misapplied
James Emejo in Abuja

The Bank of Industry (BoI) on Tuesday said allegations over the misapplication of the cement funds which had prompted investigations by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had now been resolved.
The bank in a statement issued yesterday said parties to the transaction have now
addressed the concerns raised.

It further explained that new terms had been reached on how to manage the funds which had grown from N9 billion in 2011 to N13.2 billion as at last week Friday.
BoI was appointed in 2009 to manage the fund that accrued from levies on imported cement for the development of Nigeria’s cement industry.

According to the statement which was endorsed by the management of the development finance and made available to THISDAY, it stated that “As and when the funds were released since its inception, BoI granted loans to entrepreneurs in the cement value chain, specifically for investment in risk assets in the cement industry’s value-chain. Between 2011 and 2015, the federal government transferred N9.6 billion to BoI based on earlier scheme as approved by the federal government.

“When the CTIN was later established, BoI was in 2013 asked to transfer the fund to CTIN’s account with a private commercial bank. A directive that was not carried out by the then management of the bank. In late 2015 the CTIN petitioned the Presidency following which an investigative panel was established.”

It said: “However, BoI management had since resolved the matter amicably with CTIN since late February 2016 during which it was agreed that an interest rate of eight per cent should be applied to the fund retroactively to previous releases based on which the fund grew to N12.3 billion as at December 2015.
“The management of the bank had since February 2016 met and agreed with the Chairman of the Board of CTIN and President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote on further utilisation of the fund, based on agreement by the two parties-BoI and CTIN.”

The statement added: “Going forward, effective from last Friday 17th February, 2016 BoI and CTIN agreed that the bank should invest the sum that has now risen to N13.3 billion in the money market on behalf of the institute at an interest rate of nine per cent.”

The bank, however, maintained that the fund was not misapplied as stated in the said petition as the bank had furnished EFCC with all documents relevant to the fund since its inception in 2009 and documentary evidences that showed that the matter had been resolved between it and CTIN since late February, 2016 when it was agreed that it was better for the fund to be managed by a federal government owned bank rather than privately owned commercial banks.