By Kola Animasaun
Cecilia Ibru, the former Managing Director of Oceanic Bank, is a meek woman. She looks meek and behaves like it. I was surprised she admitted the fiddling she did.
She had buildings and properties in Lagos. She also had properties in the United States, at least 11 of them, in that country in the name of Anita Da Silva Ibru; Edesin Onatejerohere Ibru and Obaro and Hiruf Ibru; and some to others in her own name.
There were also some in the name of Janet Ibru.
These were heavy investments in the region of nothing less than $440,000. There was one in which she invested nearly $1 million dollars. The investments were made between May and November 2008 and in 2009 April she bought five of them and another in March of the same year.
Ihave listed 50 numbers of frozen assets and these are in Ikoyi, Victoria Island, in Dolphin Estate, Lekki, Marina, Ikeja GRA, Ikorodu Road, Ebute Metta and Apapa.
There are others in Port Harcourt and in Abuja. There are others numbering 20 properties in Dubai; and 15 in South Africa and others in London.
Many of the properties carry fanciful names like Michelangelo Properties Limited. There are about six of them in Ikoyi alone.
For Cecilia, substitute Briskey Gold Nigeria Limited, who had shares in Access Bank Plc; Africa Petroleum; Dangote Flour and its Sugar Refinery counterpart. She had shares in Fidelity Bank Plc; First City Monument Bank Plc; Guarantee Trust Bank; Bank PHB Plc; United Bank for Africa Plc; Union Bank of Nigeria and Zenith Bank Plc.
There are shares held in millions. There are 28 others held in other names and in Cecilia‘s own name. There were cars and personal assets to be forfeited and these include two aircraft worth $100 million. You ask me, what you need them for.
Cecilia does not need to look like a wet chicken; she already looks like one: meek. She was hemmed on both sides by the EFCC men, who brought her to court or she probably looked wet for the party.
So when the judge pronounced the judgement, she looked contrite. She was asked to go to prison for only six months and to forfeit 150 billion naira in assets and cash.
She was following the examples of the Governor-General of the Ijaw Nation, DSP Alamieyeseigha and Tafa Balogun, a discredited Inspector-General of Police; he was jailed for six months which included all the months spent in detention during the trial.
The only indignity Tafa Balogun suffered was in the hand of Ribadu. Of course, for DSP, his removal from office of governor was stage-managed and he became a refugee from justice.
He was also sent to jail for the same amount of time – six months.
The punishment was not meant to deter but punish those who may not play ball.
I would not know what happens to Cecilia; she was so-so invincible-untouched.
Before her sentencing, people had asked for heavy sanctions. Some asked for six years to life; some asked for execution – Chinese style.
I do not know where the judge has dredged up the sentence – six months, when some miscreants have been given up to six years.
The truth is that the sentence is on statue. That shows the law can be an ass if it chooses or if it is a set of law for the rich and another set of law for the poor.
I expect those who are being arraigned for bleeding us to go in quickly and claim their six months like Cecilia; like Tafa and DSP.
Let them, at least, coll-ect all their ill-gotten gains from them and the seized assets from Cecilia Ibru should go to capita-lise the Oceanic Bank and that should impro-ve the bank’s liquidity and help move employment.
Some interested bankers who advertised on behalf of this banker and others should now hang their heads in shame. Lamido Sanusi has shown that his gambit is paying off. The CBN governor means to clear the banking industry.