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Ibru accuses Sanusi of plotting to sell Oceanic Bank to friends

By Innocent Anaba
LAGOS — SACKED Managing Director of Oceanic Bank Plc, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru,  has filed a suit before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, challenging her removal as the Chief Executive of the bank by the Central Bank, CBN, accusing the Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido of plotting to sell Oceanic bank to his friends under the guise of core investors.

Mrs. Ibru, who was on August 14, 2009, removed as MD of Oceanic bank alongside four other bank Chief Executives by the apex bank for allegedly acting in a manner detrimental to the depositor’s funds and abuse of office, is contending in the fresh suit that the CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi acted hastily and in bad faith in removing her as Chief Executive of the bank.

Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido and Sacked MD, Oceanic Bank Plc, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru
Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido and Sacked MD, Oceanic Bank Plc, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru

She is further claiming that she was never given any opportunity to defend herself before she was sacked. The matter is before Justice Mohammed Liman.

Mrs. Ibru, in an affidavit she deposed to in support of the suit, averred that her sack as Oceanic Bank Managing Director (MD) on August 14, is part of an elaborate design by Mallam Sanusi, to sell Oceanic Bank to his friends under the guise of “core investors.”

She further averred that “the appointment of John Aboh to replace her was part of Sanusi’s design to sell the bank to his nominees”.

She said Sanusi acted hastily and in bad faith in getting rid of her.

“Neither Sanusi nor officials of the CBN gave any report of special examination to me in my capacity as the Chief Executive Officer of the bank or in my private capacity for the purpose of enabling me defend myself and the bank prior to my removal from office,” she averred.

She therefore, wants the court to determine, among others, “in the light of Section 36(1) of the Constitution and Section 35(d) of the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA), whether Sanusi and the CBN were bound or not bound to observe the rules of natural justice and fair hearing by hearing her side of the story before sacking her”.

She is further seeking an order of the court, setting aside her removal and an order restraining Aboh from occupying or parading himself as the Chief Executive Officer of Oceanic bank.

She also wants the court to stop Sanusi and the CBN, their servants, agents or privies from acting in pursuance of their directives and from interfering with her functioning or preventing her from functioning as the Managing Director of the bank.

The apex bank in its preliminary objection to the suit, is contending that Mrs. Ibru lacked the locus standi to institute the action and that the court lacks jurisdiction to entertain same.

According to the CBN, the suit is not justiciable, as it didn’t disclose a reasonable cause of action and the suit constitutes a gross abuse of court process and that it ought to be dismissed.

No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.


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