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Return seized funds to banks, Fasheun tells EFCC, CBN

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The founder and Chairman of the Oodua Peoples Congress, OPC, Dr Frederick Fasehun has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, to return all the funds seized from Mr Erastus Akingbola, former Managing Director/Vice Chairman of Intercontinental Bank Plc and Mrs Cecilia Ibru, Managing Director, Oceanic Bank Plc to the two banks.

Dr Fasehun argued that since Akingbola and Ibru had no other means of livelihood while they were in charge of the two banks, it stands to reason that the money seized from them could not have come from any other source than the banks.

“Fair is fair, this is depositors’ money that found its way out of the bank’s vault, now that it has been located by the EFCC and the CBN, the money should be returned to the vaults of the banks”, he said.

Speaking further, Fasehun contended that the money could also serve as a bailout for the banks. “Early this month, during a conference hosted by The Economist of London, Sanusi had said CBN was welcoming bids for investments in some distressed banks, the return of the seized money which is about N346billion for Intercontinental and Oceanic would be enough to boost the banks’ capital base and also help the banks out of any problem, real or imagined that the CBN says the banks have,” he said.

EFCC had seized property belonging to Akingbola and Ibru.  Among the assets seized from Akingbola are his main house on 12, Ruxton Street Ikoyi, Lagos. 15 exotic cars found in the home were also seized.

A Lagos Federal High Court had ordered the interim confiscation of Akingbola’s property in Lagos, the United Kingdom, Dubai, and Accra.

Among other property targeted are Amazing Grace Plaza, Ligali Ayorinde Street, Victoria Island, Lagos; cars, and personal assets on Milverton Road, Ikoyi; 2 Bedwell Road, Ikoyi, Lagos; 26 Chester Terrace, London; 65 Gove-End Road, London; and 8 Connaught Street, London.

Also confiscated are his shares in Intercontinental Bank and Access Bank, Tropics Securities, Tropics Property, Tropics Holdings, Summit Finance Company, Tropics Finance and Investments Company, Yankuri Nigeria, Regal Investments Nigeria, Bankinson Discount House, and Associated Discount House.

The Courts also restrained the ex-bank chief from touching the NGN 346 billion (USD 2.3 billion) in his bank accounts, pending his arrest and prosecution for alleged mismanagement of depositors’ funds and abuse of office.

In the case of Ibru the EFCC  recently released a list of 103 choice property allegedly belonging to the  former Managing Director of Oceanic Bank.

The commission had earlier seized the property and shares linked to her in 27 companies, including banks, oil and gas, telecommunications, aviation as well as real estates and manufacturing firms.

The anti-graft agency claimed that some of the property were bought with funds belonging to Oceanic Bank.

Details showed that the choice property were in Nigeria, South Africa, Dubai, London and the United States and are worth about N400billion..

In August, last year, the CBN had sacked the Managing Directors of five banks- Afribank, Finbank, Intercontinental Bank, Oceanic Bank, and Union Bank, saying they were distressed, while over N400billion ($2.67 billion) was injected as bail out into the banks.

He also promised that no bank would be allowed to go under.

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