Heritage Bank denies involvement in N13bn fraud

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By Odunewu Segun

Heritage Bank has described as untrue the report circulating in some media that its Managing Director and some officials of the bank are being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) over a N13bn funds belonging to the Oyo state government.

Last week, some media houses had carried a report alleging that the EFCC was after the Managing Director of Heritage Bank Plc, Ifie Sekibo, who has allegedly ignored a series of invitations from the commission.

According to the report, Sekibo was alleged to have been invited for his role in the alleged diversion of N13bn belonging to the Oyo State Government.

The report claimed that the money was lodged in some secret accounts in the bank in connivance with some top state government officials.

It was also alleged that about N180m was traced to Sekibo, while another N85m was kept in a fixed deposit account on behalf of some top bank officials.

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“About N1.3bn was paid into a company’s account from which the bank’s managing director, directly benefitted N180m. The sum of N85m was kept in another fixed account in 2015, suspected to be for another top executive of the bank. There are other fixed deposit accounts where money had been lodged since 2015, known to and operated by top management of the bank, without proper documentations,” the report said, quoting an unnamed source from the EFCC.

But in a statement released by the bank on Sunday, 27th of August, and made available to National Daily, the bank stated that neither the MD – Mr. Ifie Sekibo nor any member of the management staff of the bank is being investigated by the EFCC on a N13billion fraud.

“Contrary to the false report released by the  Newspaper and other online news platforms, the EFCC had informed the bank of an account (not related to OYO state government as likewise verified by the Punch Newspaper via the State’s Finance Commissioner) being investigated by the agency.”

The bank said it has fully cooperated with EFCC by providing various documentation and also presented its staff in this regard. “Management finds it distasteful, unethical and unprofessional of these media houses to tarnish the image of Mr. Ifie Sekibo – MD/CEO and the bank.”

It there urged the general public to disregard the said article, describing it as false and baseless.

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