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Barclays Africa, Accused of Opacity In 9mobile Bidding Process


Barclays Bank was saddled with the responsibility to seek new investors for 9mobile after the CBN intervened in its episode of financial crisis. However, new reports reveal that Barclays Africa hasn’t been transparent in the entire bidding process.

Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Vice-Chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission and Godwin Emefiele, Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria have expressed their displeasure via a joint letter to Guaranty Trust Bank, the facility agent for the syndicated loan acquired by 9mobile. In the letter, both parties queried Barclays Africa for its unwillingness to follow the due process in the bid.

So far, there was no press release or public announcement on how the bank arrived with the final conclusion of the bidding process, as more qualified bidders were not shortlisted. The CBN and NCC disclosed that bidders and stakeholders of the bid had laid complaints about the obscurity of Barclays bank during the entire process. 

This attitude of Barclays bank bothers on trustworthiness and integrity.

Related: Etisalat Nigeria Parent Company To Leave Nigeria Over $1.2b Loan, Considers Merger

The two regulators exonerated themselves from the opacity stating clearly their stand on transparency and fairness from the inception of the bidding process, which is why they have every power to question the criteria used to arrive at the final selections of the process. As agreed, the selected companies must have a solid financial strength an advanced technical capability to bear the responsibility, so as to avoid another brouhaha.

However, it appears that this may not be the case with the selection process as the regulators have observed that ‘they have repeatedly exhibited signs of opacity in the sale process for 9mobile. Given the overriding public interest in the company and the need for transparency, we advised that Barclays advertise the call for expression of interest’. They said further that ‘Barclays declined, insisting instead, that the company being a private one, should not be taken through a public sale’.

The response given by Barclays, is proof enough, according to the regulators that Barclays is in for something shady and may have a ‘rigged predetermined outcome’ as with the Nigerian elections. ‘This lack of transparent process has proven to be selective and arbitrary…’, the letter read.  

Too much for having a secretive selection process.

The CBN and NCC have warned that every decision taken by the financial advisers and those that have expressed interest in the telecom firm must be communicated via writing for approval. Anything written and signed cannot be denied.

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