Financial reporting council steps into N18bn IBTC, shareholders’ rights issue controversy

IBTCTHE Financial Reporting Council (FRC) has stepped into the controversy between shareholders and the Board of the Stanbic IBTC over the propriety of the latter’s book of accounts and plan by the board to raise a fresh N18 billion rights issue when the bank is allegedly warehousing several billions of naira for repatriation.

The FRC is responsible for developing and publishing accounting and financial reporting standards in preparation of financial statements of public entities in Nigeria; and for related matters.

The shareholders are contending that the franchise has not been sanctioned by the regulatory agency — the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP) — a claim the office confirmed in Abuja yesterday when the Executive Secretary of FRC, Mr. Jim Obazee, visited it.

Obazee said the Council was already looking into the books of Stanbic IBTC and had equally raised observation to which it is expected to respond expeditiously before a tripartite meeting involving the bank, shareholders and NOTAP would be held.

He explained that the FRC was interested in the matter because it was its mandate to protect investors and prevent attempts by unscrupulous public entities to deny government its fair share of revenue in the form of taxes for the business activities they undertake in the country.

The FRC boss also warned religious organisations, particularly some churches that have reportedly dragged the council to court over the request on them to prepare and render their accounts and forward same to the Council. He added that the churches risked being deregistered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) for allegedly flouting the order.

He had earlier described as worrisome the activities of some public agencies, particularly banks, concerning their observance of accounting standards in Nigeria citing the 2011 World Bank ROSC (Report of Observance of Standards and Codes) –Accounting &Auditing) — which was submitted to the Federal Government of Nigeria in June of the same year.

Acting Director General of NOTAP, Dr. Dan-Azumi Mohammed Ibrahim, while giving insight into the matter, said the Office had turned down the application for approval of the foreign franchise sought by Stanbic IBTC bank because the technology could be sourced locally.

He said: “We regulate the inflow of foreign technology into the country and at the same time develop local technology. NOTAP is expected to register Stanbic IBTC with its foreign partner and we have a guideline on how we do our registration. We are guided by the forex manual of the CBN.”

“So, whatever is not covered by the manual, we don’t approve. So, Stanbic IBTC applied for a franchising agreement, management fee agreement and we still did not render them that approval because management service agreement is not required in Nigeria. We have local firms that have this. So we felt we do not need foreigners to come and teach us how to manage banks. And also a franchise arrangement is not covered under banking facility.

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