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FG begins probe of its ex-minister over alleged fraud

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The Federal Government has begun interrogation of those implicated in the alleged fraud that left over 65,000 Nigerian shareholders losing two billion dollars worth of shares.

Mr Chukwuemeka Obasi , the legal representative of the whistle-blower disclosed this to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja.

Obasi said the various representatives of all private and public institutions linked with the fraud were also invited and quizzed.

Obasi said the establishments mentioned in the petition included the Chapel Hill, National Security Exchange (NSE), Security Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The interrogation hinged on a petition reporting the alleged fraud submitted to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, dated April 3, 2019.

The petition is titled “Official corruption, misuse of FGN USD two billion, fraud and unjust enrichment of persons who dispossessed more than 65,000 Nigerians and conferred ownership of the Bank on few Nigerians and their foreign accomplices’’.

The petition did finger former Central Bank Governor, under whose watch the alleged fraud was perpetuated.

Also accused of alleged complexities in the transactions were the two former ministers.

A minister was particularly fingered as the mastermind of the transaction by allegedly leading Africa Capital Alliance to form the Mauritius shell company to house Nigerians pretending to be foreign investors.

The transactions allegedly dispossessed Nigerian shareholders and investors in order to transfer ownership of the bank to a few persons including insiders, chieftains of competitor banks and others who would not pass CBN’s “fit and proper’’ test for bank ownership.

The petition claimed that the minister allegedly organised the registration of the offshore shell company in Mauritius called Union Global Partners Limited for the purpose of disguising the true majority ownership of Union Bank shares concealed in the offshore company.

The petition also alleged that the transactions commenced under an other ministre’s supervision as Chairman of Security and Exchange Commission and sealed up when he became the Chairman of a bank.

“The circumstances can best be described as official corruption and insider trading’’, the petition alleged.

The petition further alleged that a mini and other officials illicitly granted a renewable five year waiver to Union Bank of Nigeria to remain listed on the exchange in spite of being owned by a few private equity firms till today.

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