- Category: Society
- Published on Saturday, 07 August 2010 09:41
- Written by Nigerian Compass
- Hits: 1500
Sources in in the United Kingdom confirmed that Akingbola, who had stayed put in the UK when the mass arrests of his sacked colleagues by officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) began last year, formally received notice of Nigeria's request from the British authories two weeks ago.
What would have followed was his extradition to face trial, it was further learnt. Nigeria and the British government are currently co-operating in the bid to extradite former Delta State Governor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, from the United Arab Emirates (UAE), possibly to face money laundering charges in the UK.
If he had been extradited, Akingbola would have had a difficult time convincing trial courts in Nigeria that he would not jump bail. In effect, he would not have enjoyed the bail that has seen his sacked colleagues in Oceanic Bank, Bank PHB, Union Bank and Finbank facing their trial from home.
"He would have had to face his trial from prison," a source said yesterday.
It was also learnt that Akingbola had had some form of understanding with some top officials of the government that he would have a soft landing in Nigeria. That appears not to be so, going by his detention and the subsequent order extending his detention by the EFCC.
A confident Akingbola and his lawyer had arrived at the EFCC office on Tuesday this week, believing that his interrogation would be brief. But when the interrogation that began around 10.00 a.m. continued till 6.00 p.m. with no hope of ending, his aides made a dash into town to get him personal effects.
Just after Akingbola had paid over £9.8million Pound Sterling to his English solicitors, a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, on December 31, granted a Mareva injunction and attachment worldwide on the assets of the former bank chief for alleged offences to the tune of N346 billion and over 1 million GBP Sterling.
The Mareva Injunction is a worldwide court order to freeze all his assets and accounts, pending the arrest and trial of the suspect and restraining him, his wife, children solicitors, agents and relations from removing, alienating, disposing or diminishing the values of the assets, whether held in his name directly or indirectly.
The current management of Intercontinental Bank PLC had obtained a similar injunction from the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, Commercial Court, London dated December 24, 2009 freezing Akingbola’s assets up to the tune of GBP Sterling £10,500,00.00.
The EFCC had filed the application under sections 6 (D), 7(2), 24(11), 26(1), 28 and 34(1) of the EFCC Act 2004 seeking among others , the hearing of the Originating Motion within the shortest possible time to prevent Dr. Akingbola from dissipating the assets.
The EFCC in a document made available to the Nigerian Compass on Saturday disclosed that Akingbola used his wide knowledge of banking and finance to secure and collect the proceed of his crimes in various investment, instruments, assets and holdings in Nigeria, and various part of the world. Some of the assets have been traced to United Kingdom, United States, Middle East and some countries in Africa.
In an internal inspection `report of 1st December, 2009, prepared by Intercontinental Bank Plc, Akingbola was indicted for money laundering that corroborates the investigative findings of the EFCC. The foreign exchange elements of the charge were transferred abroad by elaborate scheme, where Akingbola transferred huge amount of money belonging to Intercontinental Bank Plc to Fuglers Solicitors Client Account in London at various periods when the said Clients are not Solicitors to Intercontinental Bank Plc and have never been retained by the bank for the provision of any service, and had no direct bearing or connection with the bank. Some of the amounts transferred to Fuglers Solicitors Client include a sum of £8.5 million in March 2009 and £1.3 million in July 2009.
Given the level of loss suffered by Intercontinental Bank Plc and massive scale of economic crimes perpetrated there, a team of examiners from the CBN, joined the investigation into the affairs of the bank and by its report dates 15 September 2009 allegedly unearthed more of such suspicious transfers to Fuglers Solicitors in 2007. The transfer included the sum of £450,629.74 in July 2007, £534,885.26 in August 2007 and £100,000.00 in September 2007.
One of his alleged local companies that also allegedly benefitted from such suspicious transfers is Summit Finance Company Limited, where he is believed to be a major shareholder. He was said to have transferred N5.5billion from the bank into the account of Summit Finance Company Limited, and subsequently paid N255 million out of it to himself in April 2008. In March 2008 he allegedly transferred N1.7billion to the company and subsequently paid the said money as bonus to the members of the Board of Director, executive management officers of Intercontinental Bank Plc and some companies belonging to him.
On 20th day of March 2008 he collaborated with other Directors of Intercontinental Bank Plc to illegally transfer N770 million to the company and subsequently took direct benefit from the fund in the sum of N50million and indirect benefit through his proxies/associated companies: namely, Tropic Holdings Limited, Tropic Security Limited, and Tropic Properties Limited in the sum of N145 million
In May 2009, he withdrew the sum of N1.2billion from the bank for the account of Tropic Securities Limited, a company in which he is a major shareholder and Director, with the aim of concealing the illicit origin of the said money.
Further by an internal investigation of Intercontinental Bank Plc, just concluded on December21, 2009, 0ther suspicions economic crime being investigated by EFCC, were corroborated by the said internal investigation, showing that between 13 May 2009 and 30 June 2009, an aggregate amount of N8,6 billion was converted and stolen from the bank and its subsidiaries for the benefit of laundered through the account of Tropics Finance Limited, amongst others. With more details of his assets and accounts being revealed, the investigators said “investigations are still on-going into the web of economic crimes committed by Dr. Erastus Akingbola, and at the conclusion of investigation, further charges of theft, criminal breach of trust, obtaining by false, pretence, and money laundering against him would be brought against him.”