News From Nigeria

LAGOS?INDICATIONS emerged, early in the week, that some top officials of the Nigerian Stock Exchange may have used their position to acquire
the exchange?s land at Temple Road, Ikoyi, for a meagre N495 million.

The land was said to have been paid for in four tranches with the following
First Bank?s draft numbers: 029128, 090755 and 818905. The payment was
alleged to have been made as follows: N 49 million in 2005; N 74.3
million; N100 million in 2006 and the final payment made on April 24,

Sources in the NSE said the land originally belonged to the Exchange.
This fact is one of the revelations of the ongoing audit of the accounts of
the exchange which auditors and forensic experts are said to have
described as misleading and meaningless according to comments made by
some of the auditors who are looking at the books.

Vanguard gathered that the auditors and forensic experts currently looking into the books
of the Exchange said the account contains some inconsistencies and

A source said: ?What has so far been revealed is alarming and you will be surprised to see the extent of undercurrent in
the accounts. The figures are not very factual and there are so many
inconsistencies in what has been put together.?

But in defence of the allegations of wrong doings in the Exchange, former
Director-General and Chief Executive, Dr. Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke told
members of the Capital Market Committee recently that the Exchange
never exceeded budgetary approval nor falsify its account in anyway.

She said: ?I wish to emphasise that the management of the Exchange never
exceeded budgetary approval by Council and if there is need for any
explanation on the published accounts of an organisation, the Board,
led by the Chairman, has the primary duty of offering insight, working
with the Chief Financial Officer of the organisation. In this instance,
I was neither the Chairman of the Council nor the Chief Financial
Officer of the organisation.?

Figures gathered from the NSE Management Account for the year ended December 2009 yet to be published showed that the
Exchange spent N 7 billion between 2007 and 2009 in market development
and N 1.230 billion in public enlightenment.

In 2007 alone, at the peak of the Exchange boom, market development gulped N 4.13 billion;
while it took N2.24 billion in 2008 and N 0.68 billion in 2009. In
three years, air travels swallowed up to N 2.52 billion, while N645
million was spent in 2007, N1.5 billion in 2008 and N 437 million in

In 2008, salaries and allowances of the staff hit N3.33 billion as against N1.58 billion budgeted, more than 100 per cent

The Exchange claimed that ?the drastic staff cost was due to top level recruitment made during the period. Curiously in 2009, the
salary also came down to N 1.62 billion, raising question as regards
whatever happened to the top level staff hired in less than nine
months; either retrenched or disengaged.

In 2009, NSE made a deficit of N 2.752 billion. This apparently explained the NSE former
President, Aliko Dangote?s alleged insolvency of the Exchange.

Furthermore in 2009, NSE incurred interest expenses and similar charges of N37.9
million. In 2010, it budgeted increase in interest charges of N 45
million, implying continued borrowing or subsisting debts. Sources
further revealed that N1.6 billion was borrowed from CSCS account to
support the deficit cash flow of the Exchange.

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