This article is published in the Nation. You can read it here:
It is became suitable in this circumstance to also publish it here for ease of reference because it would form a nucleus of subsequent discussions.
The Governor of Anambra State , Chief Willie Obiano has disposed the dollars saved for Anambra State by his predecessor, Mr. Peter Obi.
According to our sources, he started selling these dollars as soon as he became the Governor and has been selling them at intervals thereafter culminating in the last transaction over which 10 Billion Naira was realized.
Letters available to the Nation show that the last transaction was carried out following a letter by Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency dated March 17th, 2017 and with the reference no of ANSIPPA/MD/CEO/028/12A and signed by the Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Joe-billy Ekwunife directing Afrinvest, the firm Gov. Obiano immediately on assuming office appointed to manage the savings to “to execute a partial sale of the Eurobond Portfolio domiciled with Fidelity Bank Plc and Access bank plc to raise the sum of N3.7 Billion and N6.3 Billion respectively.”
Our source revealed that acting as instructed, Afrinvest executed the deal in utmost confidentiality (over the counter) as requested by Anambra Government.
The bonds in Fidelity Bank that were disposed by the directives were: 6.75% 28 January 2021 FGN Bond with facevalue of $30,000; 6.38% 12 July 2023 FGN bond with facevalue of $50,000 in Fidelity Bank. Also affected were the 10.5% 19 October 2021 Access Bank with facevalue of $21,000 and 8% 23 July 2021 FBN bond with facevalue of $14,000. The FBN bond was sold in two tranches of $9,000 and $5,000.
The bonds in Access bank that were also disposed were $70,825 of the 9.0% 26 March 2018 Seatruck and $147,000 of 9.25% 24th June 2021, Access Bank.
Prior to their sale, the savings had yielded billion of Naira as reveled by the Managers.
As has become customary each time the bonds were sold, Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency in a letter of April 25, 2017, with the reference no of ANSIPPA/MD/CEO/028/12 and signed by its CEO, requested Afrinvest to credit the money realized into Anambra State Special Excess Crude Account 1 in Fidelity Bank with the account number of 5030005239, curiously not under the Accountant General of the State.
In March 15th , 2015, Nation Newspaper had reported the first sale of Anambra dollars by Gov. Willie Obiano thus: “the transaction consummated on December 16, 2015 through Anambra State Investment Promotion Agency (ANSIPA) saw the disposal of 8.25 % of First Bank of Nigeria Plc Bonds from which about $10.2 million was realized. This amounted to about N3 billion going by the exchange rate of the day. The bond, which was to mature in August 2020 had an annual coupon yield of 8.25% and was purchased by Access Bank at a much discounted rate on December 18, 2015. The sale was carried out ‘over the counter’ to keep it away from public glare, it was alleged.”
The agency’s chief executive, Bill-Joe Ekwunife, declined to comment when his reaction was sought. He cut the phone when the allegation was mentioned to him.
Budget and Planning Commissioner Mark Okoye could not be reached for comments; he did not pick his phone.
In his own reaction, the former Commissioner for Information in Anambra State, Chief Joe-Martin Uzodike, commended the Nation newspaper for its painstaking investigations, which he said , collaborated what people like him had been shouting over the years about how Obiano was turning Anambra State upside down. He said that the sale of foreign savings that if left intact would have been about 200 Billion Naira showed that Obiano came to kill rather than save the State.
When contacted on the matter, the media aide to former Gov. Obi, Mr. Valentine Obienyem said that what was even most painful was that he sold the last dollars at N314, when the dollar was N415. Further, he revealed that Gov. Willie Obiano insisted on under selling against all advice fueling suspicion that there was other considerations. even when better prizes were presented to him, fueling suspicion of who actually bought the dollars. Obienyem regretted that the same person selling the dollar savings had about 50 Billion Naira in local currency handed over to him, which he had squandered.
“Regrettably, today, Anambra is owing over 60 Billion Naira in debts, has the highest number of abandoned projects. In four years he is yet to complete 3kms of roads in any local government except his town ,” Obienyem concluded.