A group of lawyers have threatened to challenge the recent acquisition of 89.39per cent stake in Union Bank Plc by Titan Trust Bank Limited before the court.
Union Bank Plc and Titan Trust Bank had on December 23, 2021, announced that Global Partners Limited, Atlas Mara Limited, the core investors and other shareholders had agreed with Titan Trust Bank to sell and transfer their shareholding in the country’s second oldest bank to Titan Trust.
But addressing a press conference in Lagos, the lawyers led by Adedotun Makinde, SAN and Dr. Charles Mekwunye, SAN, faulted the transaction, saying it was strange that a privately owned bank that had neither published it’s account nor broken even in the corporate world would suddenly purchase one of the oldest banks in the country.
Insisting that the transaction was not only in violation of several sections of Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020, CAMA, including Section 342(2), the lawyers noted that the sale and transfer of shares of the Union Bank to Titan Trust Bank was a flagrant abuse of financial regulations.
They said: “Everything is wrong with Union Bank transfer to Titan Bank and as stakeholders if we do nothing, a lot of things will go wrong. A lot of Nigerians will lose their jobs. We know with our vast experience in the sector that if a small bank swallows a big bank, the casualties will be huge.
“We are also surprised that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) has not looked into this transaction to know where such huge amount of money to purchase Union Bank is coming from. We know that if the right questions are asked, that transaction will not proceed so we are going to use the instrument of the law to ensure that the right thing is done.”
As part of the legal process to stop the Union Bank/Titan Bank transaction, the lawyers have written separate letters written to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Director-General, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) demanding full details of the transaction.
In a letter to the CBN dated March 14, 2022, signed by Mr. Adedokun Makinde, SAN, titled ‘Unlawful Sale and Transfer of the Majority Shares of Union Bank to Titan Bank Limited and Violation of the CBN Code of Corporate Governance for Banks and Discount Houses and Other statutory law,” the lawyers requested for the date the sale, and transfer of all the shares of Union (United) Global Partners Limited, and Atlas Mara Limited were consummated on the floor of the Nigerian Exchange Limited as required by Section 106 (4) of the Investment, and Securities Act, 2007.
The letter also demanded details particulars/reports of the sale of the shares of Union (United) Global Partners Limited and Atlas Mara Limited in Union Bank of Nigeria to Titan Trust Bank limited in the record of the apex bank.