Nigeria will file criminal charges including money laundering on Monday against the former heads of five banks rescued in a $2.6 billion bailout, the anti-corruption agency said.

The central bank injected 400 billion naira into Afribank, Finbank, Intercontinental Bank, Oceanic Bank and Union Bank just over two weeks ago and sacked their senior management.

The banks had built up non-performing loans worth 1.14 trillion naira, leaving some of them close to collapse and at risk of triggering a systemic banking crisis in sub-Saharan Africa’s second biggest economy.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Nigeria’s anti-corruption police, has said some loans were granted without collateral or board approval and in some cases to individuals or companies using fictitious names.

“The charges will be filed against them today. They are criminal charges, especially money laundering,” EFCC spokesman Femi Babafemi said, declining to give further details.

Erastus Akingbola, former chief executive of Intercontinental Bank, is the only one of the five bank chiefs not to have been detained for questioning by the EFCC. He has been declared wanted by the agency.

EFCC agents have also been hunting debtors, including some of Nigeria’s most powerful tycoons, whom the regulator said owed the five banks 747 billion naira.

Babafemi said the agency had recovered 45.5 billion naira of that amount by the end of last week.



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