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$115m election slush fund: EFCC clamps down on banks, Deziani



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• Recovers N10bn from two bank CEOs

THIS is a turbulent period for Managing Directors and Chief Executives of commercial banks in the country as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) swoops on the banks to recover the $115 million shared distributed by former Minister of Petroleum, Deziani Alison-Madueke mobilizing support for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2015 general elections.

Two CEOs of commercial banks have been quizzed by the EFCC, both of whom have made part refund of the money shared to them by the former minister. A third bank MD was said to have been identified at the weekend and is expected to be guest of the EFCC this week.

Yemi Adeola, CEO of Sterling Bank, and Herbert Wigwe, Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, were said to have each refunded the sum of N5 billion, totaling N10 billion to the coffers of the Federal Government through the EFCC from political slush funds they fraudulent received from the former Petroleum Minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The two bank CEOs were said to have since been released week after making the part refund of the loot for which they were being investigated.

The Sterling Bank CEO, Yemi Adeola, was arrested last Wednesday during a raid on the bank’s headquarters by EFCC operatives.

ALSO SEE: $115m scam: Fidelity Bank’s MD to remain with EFCC

Reports had it that the money returned by Adeola was in partial refund for a transaction of $88 million he received from the Diezani Alison-Madueke.

Adeola is expected to pay back a total of N17 billion to the recovery accounts of the country’s treasury within two weeks.

Herbert Wigwe, Managing Director of Access Bank Plc, was arrested last week after EFCC agents raided the bank headquarters in Lagos. A report had it that some notable personalities, including Oba Akiolu of Lagos and the bank’s former CEO, Aig-Imoukhuede, had pressured the EFCC agency to grant Wigwe bail. “We refused all such entreaties until Mr. Wigwe returned $5 million,” an EFCC official was cited to have said. EFCC investigators were said to have revealed that Zenith Bank illicitly transferred the $5 million to Access Bank from a slush fund arranged by Alison-Madueke.

It was gathered that the EFCC was conducting discreet investigations and recoveries of plundered funds from rogue bank CEOs who assisted Alison-Madueke and other officials of President Jonathan’s administration to launder funds. It was disclosed that most of the funds were laundered through opaque accounts that were kept “off records” by bank MDS.