Erastus Akingbola: Banker in exile speaks out
Erastus Akingbola was group managing director of Intercontinental Bank until August 14 2009, when he was deposed by order of the Central Bank of Nigeria. Akingbola had founded the bank 20 years earlier and taken it into the top five of Nigerian banks. The bank was the country’s first to acquire more than $1 billion of capital. Intercontinental has 400,000 shareholders and 12,000 staff.
Akingbola was a doyen of the banking system, a chairman of the Lagos Stock Exchange and many other industry bodies. He says he got advance notice of the actions of the central bank and was out of the country when the Economic Financial Crimes Commission swooped on the bankers and put them behind bars. By this point, Akingbola had decamped to London, where he intends to stay until he can return to the country in safety. He spoke to Euromoney at a hotel in central London.
The action of the central bank was well intended, but the ramifications were not well thought through. They did not take a proper account of unintended consequences.
For any discerning person it smells for the following reasons. First, the process of the investigation was abused. Second, the actions defaced the appearance of Nigerian banking.