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ADEDUNTAN SUSTAINS HIS WINNING STREAK, PIONEERS LEADERSHIP EXCELLENCE IN BANKING

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Since his appointment as MD/CEO of First Bank of Nigeria Limited in 2016, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan has completely transformed the financial institution and has made it attractive to every strata of the society. From an institution that used to be perceived as an old-generation bank, FirstBank is now a darling to all as it leverages latest digital tools to meet its customers’ needs. Also, under Adeduntan’s leadership, the 128-year old bank has made huge contributions to national development, thereby stimulating development, setting standards and motivating excellent output across sectors. Clearly, these contributions to national development were what endeared Adeduntan to President Muhammadu Buhari who recently saluted him on his recognition by Cranfield University, UK, one of the most prestigious citadels of learning in Europe. Adeduntan will on Wednesday, June 22, be conferred with Doctor of Science, Honoris Causa and he would be delivering an address to the graduating class of the university. This feat, the president in a statement by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Femi Adesina, described as, “another testament to the fact that Nigeria is blessed with the brightest and the best in all areas of human endeavor.” Buhari lauded Adeduntan for being a role model to the younger generation, showing that hard work pays, and with resourcefulness and doggedness, great heights are achievable.

Adeduntan holds a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of Ibadan, Master’s in Business Administration from Cranfield University, and is Fellow of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), as well as Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

The president sent best wishes to Adeduntan and family as he hoisted Nigeria’s flag proudly to receive an honor Cranfield University said was in recognition of his outstanding contribution to business. Incidentally, Buhari’s commendation came on the day the bank successfully held its AGM which showed a stellar performance in its financials, a transformational result that put the bank on course to reclaiming its leadership position of the financial sector.

Adeduntan has a distinguished career in finance having held senior positions at Citibank Nigeria, KPMG and Arthur Andersen Nigeria. He studied at Cranfield University as a British Chevening Scholar, achieving an MBA in 2005.

Commenting on the honour by Cranfield University, the FirstBank boss said: “I am extremely humbled and most grateful to the university for this recognition. My time at Cranfield served as a catalyst for my professional and personal development propelling me to the leadership position I occupy today.

“I am a firm believer in talent management, being vital to further accelerate Africa’s growth to enable it to benefit from its demographic dividend and the opportunities therein. I look forward to sharing my experiences with the students on the universal applicability of the skills the Cranfield MBA provides to positively impact the world.”

On his part, the Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University, Professor Karen Holford CBE FREng also congratulated Adeduntan, saying: “It is an honour to welcome Dr Adeduntan back to Cranfield to recognise all his professional achievements in this way. His own experience at Cranfield University has propelled his career forward and this serves as a true inspiration for our graduates both this year and in the future.”

Indeed, Adeduntan is an accomplished professional with distinctive international and domestic experience in commercial and investment banking, development finance, audit, and consulting; a philanthropist and leader with keen interest in providing platforms for the development of other young leaders.

The FirstBank Group, the commercial banking arm of FBN Holdings Plc, which he heads is made up of First Bank of Nigeria and subsidiaries including FBNBank UK, FBNBank DRC, FBNBank Ghana, FBNBank Senegal, FBNBank Guinea, FBNBank Gambia, FBNBank Sierra Leone and First Pension Custodian as well as Representative Offices in France and China.

Adeduntan is overseeing one of the most extensive transformation programmes in sub-Saharan African financial services industry, with the goal to reposition FirstBank Group to market pre-eminence.

He is leading FirstBank Group on the journey to win the most significant emerging business opportunities in the financial services industry through the development and execution of a digital-led strategy that has established FirstBank as the dominant player in digital banking.

FirstBank Group’s transformation programme, under the leadership of Adeduntan has enabled the bank to grow customer accounts from about 10 million in 2015 to over 36 million (including digital wallets), become the second largest issuer of cards in Africa with over 11.8 million issued cards, onboard over 18.6 million active customers on FirstBank’s digital banking platforms, and initiate and grow the most expansive bank-led Agent Banking Network in Africa with over 170,000 agents.

His career in banking and finance, spanning almost three decades, has earned him various recognitions and awards including Forbes Best of Africa – Outstanding Leader in Africa, Distinguished Alumnus Award by both the Cranfield University’s  School of Management and the University of Ibadan, African Banking Personality of the Year,  African Banker of the Year Award; Banking Icon of the Decade by the Sun Newspapers and induction into the African Leadership Magazine (ALM) Hall of Fame, Honorary Citizenship of the State of Georgia and Congressional Commendation Award from the Georgia Senate – USA, Bank CEO of the Year by the AES Excellence Club and several other awards.

He has attended various executive and leadership programmes at Harvard Business School (USA), Wharton School (USA), London Business School (UK), IESE (Spain), University of Oxford (UK), University of Cambridge (UK), CEIBS (China) and INSEAD (France). He is a fellow of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN).

Adeduntan’s leadership drive also reflected in First Bank Nigeria Limited’s recently released full year 2021 financial statement. The results clearly showed the strength and resilience of the iconic African elephant as well as the financial institution’s leadership in the industry. The impressive results were a reflection of the robust strength and growth of the iconic African elephant, showing that the bank has taken its rightful position among the industry leaders.

In addition, it showed the level of work the current board, management and staff of the bank have put in to turn the tide in the 128 years old institution with entrenched corporate governance.

The full year 2021 performance by the bank represented a shift in the financial institution’s performance trajectory and was made possible through its undeterred commitment in pursuing its transformational agenda; cutting across customer-led innovation, building a digitalised bank, culture change, reinventing the bank’s workplace and safeguarding its assets for the digital age.

For the first time, FirstBank Group posted the best result in more than a decade history of the bank by crossing the N100 billion profit line. Specifically, in the full year 2021 financial statement, the FirstBank Group reported a 73.9 per cent growth in its profit after tax to N117.8 billion, as against the N67.8 billion recorded as of December 2020, just as its profit before tax stood at N130.9 billion, which was a significant rise by 77.9 per cent year-on-year, as against the N73.6 billion it was as of December 2020.

FirstBank’s gross earnings also increased by 30.3 per cent to N716.8 billion in 2021, up from N550.3 billion it was as of December 2020. Also, it recorded non-interest income of N342.2 billion in the year under review, which was 106.4 per cent higher than the N165.8 billion recorded as of December 2020. As a result of years of strategic restructuring of its balance sheet and operations, its gross earnings also moved northwards by 30.3 per cent, its total assets was up 15.9 per cent to N8.5 trillion as of the end of 2021, as against the N7.4 trillion recorded the previous year, just as its customer deposits also climbed by 19.5 per cent to N5.6 trillion, up from the N4.7 trillion recorded the previous year. The bank’s customer loans and advances also improved by 28 per cent to N2.8 trillion in the year under review, up from N2.2 trillion the previous year.

FirstBank has shown innovation, resilience and commitment to growth by significantly reducing its non-performing loans (NPL) from 25% in 2016 to an acceptable level of 6.1% in 2021.

To demonstrate that the bank’s performance in 2021 was not a fluke, the Bank equally performed excellently well in Q1 2022. FirstBank recorded 32% increase in gross earnings to N180bn in Q1’22 from N136.6bn in Q1’21. Profit after tax was up 108% to N32.4 billion (Q1’22) relative to N15.6 billion (Q1’21). This impressive performance is hinged on robust loan portfolio, effective cost structure and increased digital services.FirstBank recorded the highest decline in its cost-to-income ratio in Q1 2022, dropping from 79.5% recorded in Q1 2021 to 67.03% amongst tier-1 Banks in the review period.

With FirstBank under Adeduntan, the safety of customers and the security of their transactions come first. This has ensured the bank keeps the trust of Nigerians gained over the many years of its enduring legacy of safety and security.

The bank also delivers unique and bespoke financial services solutions across all customer segments underpinned by its commitment to innovation and the customer experience. It also leverages its strong investment banking capabilities to support clients in defining and executing innovative debt solutions as well as offer strategic advice at the highest level, arrange tailor-made financing structures, manage risk and ultimately help clients to realise their aspirations

Since its establishment in 1894, FirstBank has consistently built relationships with customers focusing on the fundamentals of good corporate governance, strong liquidity, optimised risk management and leadership.

Over the years, the bank has led the financing of private investment in infrastructure development in the Nigerian economy by playing key roles in the federal government’s privatisation and commercialisation schemes. With its global reach, FirstBank provides prospective investors wishing to explore the vast business opportunities that are available in Nigeria, an internationally competitive world-class brand and a credible financial partner. It is expected that the leadership excellence and recognitions accorded to Adeduntan would continue to reflect positively on the FirstBank brand and fundamentals of the bank so that the elephant will continue to stand ‘gidigba.’

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PDP NWC Rejects Wike’s Demands, reiterates confidence in Ayu – Official

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Working Committee has rejected the demand 

by Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers State for the removal of Senator Iyorchia Ayu, the party’s national chairman. 

The National Publicity Secretary of the party, Debo Ologunagba, made this known on Thursday at the party’s headquarters in Wadata Plaza, Abuja.

The leadership of the chairman was ratified in a vote of confidence despite disputations from some sections of the party and yearnings for him to step aside as the national chairman.

Wike met with some PDP serving, former governors, and other party stakeholders on Sunday.

The Rivers governor has been in disagreement with the party’s flag-bearer, Atiku Abubakar, in the fallout of the party’s special convention last May and the subsequent nomination of the Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, as the party’s vice-presidential running mate.

The development didn’t go well with the Rivers State governor and his camp, prompting calls for the chairman of the party to step aside, including the reorganisation of the executive arm of the party.

However, barely 24 hours after setting up a committee by the party’s Board of Trustees to wade into the disagreement between Atiku and Wike, the duo reportedly met at the residence of Jerry Gana, a pundit of the party.

According to the outcome of the meeting, Debo stated that the PDP has resolved to “restate confidence in the National Chairman, Sen. Iyorchia Ayu, and the National Working Committee NWC in running the affairs of the Party.

The party also “restates confidence in the capacity, experience, and competence of H.E Atiku Abubakar to rescue, redirect and rebuild this country to earn the respect of the international community.”

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EFCC To Quiz Jaiz Bank CEO, Hassan Usman, Others, Over AGF’S Alleged N109bn Fraud

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EFCC will question Hassan Usman, CEO of Jaiz Bank, and others for suspected N109 billion theft by AGF.

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, or EFCC, may soon summon Hassan Usman, the managing director of Jaiz Bank Plc, and other senior members of the Islamic bank for questioning regarding their alleged roles in the N109 billion thatAhmed Idris, the disgraced former Accountant General of the Federation, is accused of stealing, according to sources in the commission.

 

Idris, who is currently facing charges from the EFCC along with two other conspirators, Godfrey Olusegun Akindele and Mohammed Kudu, allegedly stole the enormous sums of money by hacking into the Treasury Single Account (TSA), Government Integrated Financial Management Information System (GIFMIS), Integrated Payroll and Personnel Information System (IPPIS), and smuggled away billions of naira that belonged to the government.

 

The group was last week charged before Justice A. O. Adeyemi Ajayi of the Maitama, Abuja-based Federal Capital Territory High Court.

Investigative work by the EFCC revealed that the former Accountant General had opened bank accounts with an Islamic bank and utilized those accounts to refine his money-laundering techniques.

 

Investigations indicated that the bank was used to launder a sizable amount of money to high government officials at the federal and state levels, while the magazine is unable to determine the extent of some bank employees’ involvement in the crime.

 

According to information obtained by The Source Magazine, the commission is currently working to uncover any shady dealings the former AGoF may have had with some Islamic bank executives, which may have “enabled him to use the bank to launder public monies.” The bank must respond to important queries, according to an EFCC source.

The Accountant General and his accomplices must have chosen Jaiz bank, in order not to draw any suspicion from the public and banking regulators. But it’s now obvious that there’s no hidden place for the bank and greedy government officials who committed the fraud. The EFCC will get to the bottom of the fraud and expose those involved” another EFCC top official said on Tuesday.

“There is a need to question more top officials of the bank apart from the chief executive who must be privy to how and when huge sums of money were moved without deeming it fit to alert constituted authority in the country and EFCC. There’s no way huge sums will be moved without the MD’s knowledge, and we are quite sure these officials are not unaware of the money laundering law,” the official said.

The EFCC claimed that Idris utilized a substantial portion of the stolen money to launch businesses and buy real estate in Kano, where he is from, as well as Abuja and other places.

These properties include, among others, the Kano City Mall, the Gezawa Exchange Limited, and the Gezawa Integrated Farms.

 

A portion of the earnings from the theft were also utilized by the disgraced former accountant general to bribe important members of the state and federal governments, including former governor Abdul’Aziz Yari of Zamfara state, who was at the time the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).

 

During the trial last week, an EFCC prosecution witness Hayatu Ahmed, said Idris has accounts with Jaiz Bank which he used to make payments to individuals and companies, including a N280 million he paid into “Gezawa Commodity Market with Jaiz Bank.”

 

Additionally, it was discovered from EFCC sources that the bank was used in a large number of transactions that the disgraced Idris conducted with bureau de change. Several bureau de change in Kano and Abuja were paid via the bank, according to credible proof. The source stated that the dollar equivalent was then collected in cash and afterwards paid directly to people who had benefited from the crime.

 

Giving an overview of the fraud last week, the EFCC witness claimed that three groups shared the stolen money, including members of the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), including one of its commissioners, Peace Akomas, a former deputy governor of the Abia State who is accused of collecting N18.8 billion.

The second group is the AGF group, and it got a total sum of N18.01 billion.

 

“The third group, the Commissioners of Finance in the nine oil producing states, received N21.4 billion. The money was withdrawn by Akindele, converted to US dollars, and handed over to Akomas on behalf of the group.

 

“The fourth group is called the Yari group. This group received N17.15 billion. The entirety of the sum was transferred to the account of Fimex Professional Services on the instruction of the representative of this group – Abdul’Aziz Yari, former Zamfara state governor.

 

“The remaining N8.9 billion was retained by the second defendant. Furthermore, N4.29 billion was converted to US dollars by Akindele as appreciation for the consultancy contract, and the balance of N4.6 billion was given to Akindele,” the EFCC witness said in court.

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LIRS Set To Launch Whistle-Blower Initiative August 5

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The Lagos State Internal Revenue Service (LIRS) is set to launch its Whistle-Blower initiative, a state-wide project, introduced to provide a platform for employees, stakeholders and the general public to report any observed violation, misconduct, or unethical behaviour across the state on Friday, August 5, 2022.

 

In a public notice signed by the LIRS Executive Chairman, Ayodele Subair, the Whistle-Blower initiative is a public policy of the State Government to encourage reporting of illegal actions or financial crimes, through the appropriate channel, with a view to correcting the violations or non-compliance.

 

According to the LIRS boss, “In line with the LIRS core values of integrity and accountability and our commitment to uphold the highest standards of openness, probity and accountability in our dealings with stakeholders, the platform is anonymous and confidential and it is independently managed by Deloitte, a globally accredited company.”

 

“The objective of the Whistle-Blower initiative is to guarantee transparency, accountability, and confidentiality to all taxpayers and stakeholders in general.

 

“The policy is designed to protect whistle-blowers from victimization and to encourage them to freely report without fear,” Subair submitted.

 

The launch of the Whistle-Blower initiative is scheduled to take place at the Protea Select Hotel, Assibifi Road, Alausa-Ikeja, Lagos.

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