By ODUNEWU SEGUN
RECENT spate of arrests of top commercial bank CEOs in the last ten days over financial impropriety linking the affected banks to some illegal transactions of the former Minister of Petroleum resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission is giving other bank CEOs sleepless nights, National Daily has gathered.
First, it was the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo for allegedly helping the embattled minister to launder $115 million cash two days to the last general elections.
The high point of his arrest however boiled down to Okonkwo’s failure to report the matter to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, NFIU, as required by the law.
Also, the operatives of the anti-graft agency on Wednesday for reasons yet to be ascertained also quizzed the Managing Director of Sterling bank Plc, Yemi Adeola.
Officials of the bank had refrained to comment on the visit. This is even as the anti-graft agency had yet to give any explanation for its action. It is also not clear if such visit has anything in common with the alleged dealing between Dieziani and Okonkwo who is still in the custody of the commission.
Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) last Friday visited the headquarters of Access Bank, in the Victoria Island area of Lagos.
National Daily gathered that the visit of the anti-graft agency is connected to ongoing investigations into alleged bribery of election officials ahead of the 2015 presidential elections, to the tune of N2.3bn.
The managing director of the bank, Mr. Herbert Wigwe may have been arrested by the EFCC officials, according to reports from those familiar with the raid.
Meanwhile, OlatundeAyeni, Chairman of Skye Bank and NATCOM, on his own part had absolved himself of being shareholder in an oil company called Auctus Integrated.
Auctus Integrated is one of the companies mentioned in the $115 million fund said to have been paid into Fidelity Bank by Diezani Alison-Madueke, former Minister of Petroleum Resources.
A breakdown of the funds given by the EFCC shows that Acutus Integrated paid in $17,884, Northern Base Gas Company, $60m; Midwestern Oil and Gas, $9.5m; and Laitan Adesanya, $1.35million.
According to a press statement signed by Ademola Adedoyin, Special Adviser, Corporate Communications, to Olatunde Ayeni, the alleged link was best described as without an iota of truth.
“Following persistent enquiries from a section of the media, we deem it fit to lay this speculation to permanent rest as our chairman, Dr. Olatunde Ayeni, has no interest whatsoever and has no link in whatever capacity with the said Auctus Integrated,” the statement read.
“The attempt to link the chairman’s name to the $115 million Slush Fund with Fidelity Bank is not only mischievous but disingenuous handiwork of adversaries who will stop at nothing to concoct stories no matter how ridiculous about our chairman.
Indications have also emerged the massive heist which defined the tenure of the immediate past administration as it implicates many banks is gradually coming to the fore.
National daily gathered that more startling revelations are set unfold in the coming weeks and months as the recent events have sent jitters down the spine of other bank CEOs.