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Femi Otedola tackles Jim Ovia, exposes ‘fraudulent transactions’ in Zenith Bank account

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The face-off between Femi Otedola, billionaire businessman, and Jim Ovia, chairman of Zenith Bank, over an alleged multibillion naira fraud has taken a turn for the worse, TheCable understands.Otedola had accused Zenith Bank of unlawfully using the account of his company, Seaforce Shipping Limited, to trade in 2011 without his knowledge or consent.Although this and other allegations are being investigated by the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID) of the police, moves are being made to resolve the matters amicably.TheCable has contacted Ovia and Zenith Bank for comments.

UNAUTHORISED TRANSACTIONSDespite having not been operated since 2010, Seaforce Shipping’s account continued to be used for trading — completely unknown to Otedola, according to his petition to the police.Although Otedola said Seaforce never applied for nor took a loan from Zenith Bank, unauthorised trading running into billions of naira continued on the account.

When asked to provide documentation — including offer letters to support the grant of the said loans — Zenith Bank reportedly failed to do so.Otedola discovered the suspicious activities only recently — 13 years after the transactions — when he was tipped off by a whistle blower in Zenith Bank.When he confronted Zenith Bank’s officials, TheCable learnt, they apologised.Otedola produced a letter written on March 19, 2018 by Zenith Bank to Shofolawe-Bakare & Co, Seaforce’s auditors, stating a debt of only N2,278,420 on the same account, as against the N5 billion recorded in the bank statement seen by TheCable.

Curiously, on the day the letter was written, the bank statement showed a debt of N2.9 billion — compared to the N2 million stated in the letter signed by Taofik Bashir (internal audit control) and Edwin Kind Olie (group head, telecomm).

Transactions of over N16 billion were recorded against Seaforce’s account from 2011 to 2024.

Otedola queried who made the payments to reduce the purported debt from N16,927,628,581.84 to N11,010,924,522.71 because he was not in the know of the transactions.

There were credits of N77,169,375.00 on April 18, 2011, N119,822,762.50 on December 01, 2011, N316,537,329.30 on December 8, 2011, N266,361,181.73 on December 15, 2011 and N444,304,524.50 on December 12, 2011.

Seaforce now has a debt of N5,916,704,059.13 as a result, a chunk of it being interest charges.

A senior official of the bank has already been questioned by the police.

Meanwhile, Zenon, Seaforce, Luzon Oil and Gas, Garment Care Limited, and Otedola have secured a federal high court injunction against Zenith Bank, Quantum Zenith Securities and Investment, Veritas Registrar, and Central Securities Clearing System, restraining them from trading with shares or paying dividends.This injunction subsists until the hearing of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

Crime

GTBank Staff Arraigned For Pilfers Customers’ N9.9 Million

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Guaranty Trust Bank, GTBank, has sued one of its staff, Komolafe Oluwayomi, 45, before a Lagos Magistrate’s court for allegedly breaking into the bank’s system to steal the sum of N9,989,000 from its account and converted the money to his personal use.The defendant was ordered arrested by the Divisional Police Officer, DPO in charge of Bar Beach division, Victoria Island, Lagos following a complaint by the management of GTBankAfter an investigation by Inspector Patience Eguabor and team, Oluwayomi, a resident of Unity Close, Ojodu, Lagos from Ondo State was charged before the Tinubu Magistrate’s Court, Lagos Island on a two-count charge bordering on conspiracy and stealing.Police counsel, Ben Ekundayo informed the court that the defendant committed the offence during working hours at the Guaranty Trust Bank Plc located at Oyin Jolayemi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.Ekundayo told the Court that the defendant betrayed the trust reposed in him by his employer as the officer in charge of payment of drivers’ retirement benefits by fraudulently including the name and account number of his friend in the retirement benefits payroll and used it to transfer the sum of N9,989,000 into his friend’s account as if his friend is a beneficiary of the retirement benefits and later transferred the money from his friend’s account to his personal account domiciled at GTB Bank and converted the money to his use.He said the management of GTB uncovered the fraud when they audited the drivers’ retirement payroll accounts.Ekundayo said the offences, the defendant committed were punishable under sections 411 and 287(7) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015.The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges, and Magistrate, M.A. Owunmi granted him N2m bail with two sureties in like sum.Owunmi adjourned the case till 11 June 2024 and ordered that the defendant be detained at the Ikoyi correctional facility till he perfected the bail conditions.

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Police Invades Ondo PDP Guber Candidate, Agboola Ajayi’s Lagos Home Over Forgery And Perjury (Video)

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The Gubernatorial Candidate of Peoples’ Democratic Party, for the forthcoming Governorship Election in Ondo State, Agboola Ajayi has been alleged of illegally occupying a Building property which is the beneficial property by purchase, of Segzyadet Integrated Ltd.The property is 5-Bedroom Duplex with Boys’ Quarter situate at 14B Abimbola Okulaja close, Lekki Phase1, Lagos Nigeria.

Segzyadet Integrated Ltd claimed it has purchased the said property through public bidding/auction, in 2023 and since then the occupant of the property who is Alfred Agboola Ajayi has refused to vacate the property, thereby inhibiting the occupation of it by the new owner.On Monday 6th of May when Newsmen were visited the premises to access the situation, it was discovered that the said occupant is still living therein. What is more, the staff of Segzyadet Integrated Ltd in the presence of Police Officers, were prevented from entering the Building premises.It took the effort of someone who came over and intervened before Journalists gained access into the premises.Speaking with Newsmen, Segzyadet Integrated Ltd CEO, Adetuwo Oluwasegun said the said Occupant of the building has refused to vacate the premises despite several notifications, in a manner that smacks of impunity.Check the video:https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMMW8ReAbHe said the occupant is leveraging on his connections as a politician to frustrate the Company from having quiet possession and occupation of the property. He called on all relevant Authorities to rise up to the occasion and call Alfred Agboola Ajayi to order.According to a reliable source, AGBOOLA AJAYI was said to have been using his father’s inlaw name as pseudo in most of his dealings including this particular property.The police has gotten confessional statement from the father in-law who denied his involvement in all the deals traced to him including the affidavit he was alledged to have disposed to.

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EFCC Arraigns Ex-Governor, Kwara Ex-Finance Commissioner for N1.22bn Fraud

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The Ilorin Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Monday April 29, 2024 arraigned a former Commissioner for Finance in Kwara State, Ademola Banu before Justice Evelyn Anyadike of the Federal High Court sitting in Ilorin over alleged money laundering and misappropriation of state funds to the tune of N1.22billion.

The defendant was alleged to have among sundry issues conspired to divert the said sum during the administration of governor Abdulfatah Ahmed between May 2011 and May 2019 when he served as the Commissioner for Finance.

Banu was to be arraigned alongside his principal, former governor Abdulfatah on February 23, 2024, but when the case came up, he was absent in court and had no legal representation, prompting the court to issue a bench warrant against him upon the application by counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Jacobs, SAN.

The court, on the said date, took the plea of the former governor Abdulfatah on the 12-count charge preferred against him and his finance commissioner by the EFCC and adjourned till Monday, April 29, 2024, while ordering the prosecution to produce Banu for trial.

At the resumed sitting on Monday, the two defendants – Abdulfatah Ahmed and Ademola Banu, who were listed as first and second defendant in the charge, were present in court.

When the case was called, A. A. Ajibade, SAN announced appearance for Abdulfatah, Gboyega Oyewole, SAN for Banu, while the prosecution team was led by Rotimi Jacobs, SAN.

Jacobs informed the court that the second defendant who was unavailable at the last sitting when his co-traveler, Abdulfatah was arraigned, was finally in court to take his plea.

“My Lord, at the last adjournment, the first defendant (governor Abdulfatah) took his plea, but the second defendant (Banu) was not available in court that day, causing your lordship to issue a bench warrant against him”.

“Following the order of the court, counsel to the second defendant called me and explained that he would produce his client before the court today, which he has done. I pray the court to allow the charge to be read to him”, he said.

In response, Banu’s counsel, Oyewole prayed the court to discharge the bench warrant earlier issued against his client, which Jacobs did not oppose.

In a short ruling, Justice Anyadike vacated the bench warrant on the second defendant, setting the stage for his arraignment. Therefore, he was ordered to enter the dock to take his plea.

Count three of the charge reads:
“That you, ABDULFATAH AHMED (while being the Governor of Kwara State) and ADEMOLA BANU (while being the Commissioner of Finance of Kwara State), between January and December 2018 in Ilorin, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, conspired between yourselves to commit an offence, to wit: conversion of the sum of
N411,000,000 (Four Hundred and Eleven Million Naira) property of Kwara State Government meant for the provision of security in Kwara State, which sum you reasonably ought to have known was a proceed of an unlawful act, to wit; theft/fraud and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) (Amendment) Act, 2012 and punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act.”
The defendant pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to him.

Following his plea, Oyewole, SAN, moved a motion for the bail of his client. He prayed the court to grant the application on liberal terms citing the medical conditions of the client as reasons.

Jacobs however did not oppose the application in view of the earlier ruling.

Justice Anyadike admitted the second defendant to bail in the sum of N20million with two sureties in like sum, who must have landed property within the jurisdiction of the court. The sureties must deposit three passport photographs with the court’s registrar. The sureties must also produce evidence of payment of electricity bills for the last three months.

Furthermore, the judge ordered that the sum of N5million must be paid as bond into the litigation account of the Federal High Court by the defendant, which will be returned to him after the final determination of the case, but forfeited to the Federal Government in the event the defendant jumps bail.

The judge also ordered the defendant to deposit his international passport with the court, adding that the defendant must not travel without the permission of the court, but may apply to get it on medical grounds if the need arises. Thereafter, the judge ordered the defendant to be remanded in the custody of the EFCC pending the perfection of his bail conditions.
The case has been adjourned to June 25 and 26, 2024 for trial.

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