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Published On: Tue, Mar 17th, 2015

AMCON May Drag Cecilia Ibru Back to Court over Non-Refund of N16.1 Billion

Cecilia Ibru

Cecilia Ibru

Four years after entering into a plea bargain with the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF), the Managing Director of the defunct Oceanic Bank Plc, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, is yet to remit N16.1 billion to the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), it was revealed Monday.
This revelation was made at a meeting of AMCON, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with the Senate Committee on Drugs, Narcotics and Financial Crimes (EFCC) in the National Assembly.

The meeting was a response to a petition written to the committee by some stakeholders that AMCON had failed to remit proceeds of Mrs. Ibru’s loot to shareholders of both Oceanic and Ecobank which later acquired the former.
According to the acting Managing Director of AMCON, Mrs. Foluke Dosunmu, the corporation is neither owning Oceanic nor Ecobank, adding that the asset management body was not duty bound to render any account to either the Oceanic Bank or Ecobank.
Dosunmu who dismissed part of the petition which alleged that AMCON had sold an aircraft belonging to Mrs. Ibru, said neither an aircraft nor cash was contained in the list of assets handed to the corporation. She said the bargain was gazetted on October 20, 2010.
The AMCON boss who also said the corporation was not involved in the plea bargain involving Ibru, added that the action was carried out between only Ibru and the AGF, Mohammed Bello Adoke, only to be handed to AMCON after it had been gazetted.
The bargain was a soft landing arrangement for Ibru after she was convicted on October 8, 2010.
Furthermore, Dosunmu said a total sum of N570 billion was injected into Oceanic Bank to save it from collapse, explaining that the sum included N151 billion non-performing loans, N83 billion recovered from Ibru and another N336 billion paid to Oceanic Bank as depositors’ funds.
“The assets which were gazetted were forfeited to AMCON. It was not meant to be managed by AMCON but forfeited to it. They are two different things. AMCON has the ownership of the money. The first set of funds paid to Oceanic Bank was non-performing loan. The second was depositors’ fund illicitly acquired by the institution. One point we made was that no depositor would lose his fund. Ibru entered into plea bargain with the AGF and not with EFCC. The court order forfeiting Ibru’s assets to AMCON was given on October 10, 2010.
“By this order, AMCON became the beneficial owner of the assets by virtue of the forfeiture. We were not part of the plea bargain. We paid N83 billion to Oceanic Bank. That was what we took the liberty to do although there is a shortfall of N16.1 billion yet to be paid by Mrs. Ibru. After parting with such money, we are not supposed to render any account to Oceanic Bank. What was owed had been paid. The assets were meant to either be in AMCON custody or sold by it. We are not liable to render accounts to Oceanic Bank or Ecobank.
“The list of assets gazetted is different from what was reported in the newspaper. It did not include an aircraft and we never got any cash. We have evidence of sales recovered from Ibru. We provided over N300 billion to shore up depositors’ funds. The recovery of shareholders’ funds is not the responsibility of AMCON. All that was done was to ensure the safety of shareholders’ funds. EFCC did not recover any property from Ibru. There is no issue of remittance of proceeds from Oceanic to Ecobank because AMCON had injected N570 billion into Oceanic bank,” Dosunmu submitted.
She also disclosed that some of the assets on the list of seized assets were located in Dubai, United States and Nigeria.
She further disclosed that some of the assets could not be traced, adding that the list did not include her property in the United Kingdom.
She said AMCON had not taken up Ibru over the N16.1 billion she’s yet to pay because it had not ascertained her unwillingness to pay it, saying once it is confirmed that she’s not ready to pay, the corporation would take her back to the court.
But the committee Chairman, Senator Victor Lar, said the inability to pay the sum after four years of agreement was enough evidence of her unwillingness to pay as he wondered what further evidence AMCON needed.
However, Dosunmu explained that some cases were still pending in court over the matter.
He also queried AMCON’s submission that some of the property could not be traced as he asked why the corporation had refused to report such a situation to the appropriate authority since it was discovered.
Lar also queried AMCON over its failure to follow due process in the sales of some of the recovered property as the meeting revealed how the corporation had failed to advertise the property before embarking on sales as required by the rules governing sales of government property.
Lar also criticised AMCON for allowing alleged moves by Ibru to re-acquire some of the forfeited property.
“It is criminal, wrong and obnoxious for a person to go back to re-acquire the property. Did you advertise the sales of the property? Those that were sold, who bought them? If we had seen advertisements, we might have dismissed the petition so that it didn’t waste our time. We are just getting to know here that AMCON had commenced sales of the property. Why should the matter be handled in a surreptitious manner to the extent that the person who forfeited the property would go back to re-acquire them?” he said.
But Dosunmu explained that to the best of the corporation’s knowledge, no forfeited asset had been re-acquired by Ibru as erroneously conceived.
In its submission, CBN said it was at a loss over developments on Ibru’s forfeited assets, saying since it was not an undertaker, having completed the process of recovering assets from Ibru and selling Oceanic Bank to Ecobank, it had not known anything further on the matter since then. The apex bank however, reiterated that Nigeria’s financial system was safe.
In the same vein, SEC said it knew nothing about the N16 billion worth of shares said to be owned by Ibru, explaining that it did not even possess the lists of assets forfeited by Ibru. But Lar explained that some shares were under contention and hence the committee had invited SEC to find out if the shares had been sold or not. He therefore promised to forward the list of the shares to SEC.
In its submission, Ecobank, which was represented by one of its Executive Directors, Mr. Shehu Jafiya, said Oceanic Bank was like a car driven roughly and which consequently crashed.
According to him, what CBN and AMCON did was only to panel beat the crashed car and then sold it to Ecobank as he argued that the bank was in a terribly bad state before it was sold.
Jafiya also said Ecobank had no record of any property seized from Ibru in any part of the world, adding that it had known nothing beyond the assets sold to it.
In its submission, EFCC which also said it was not part of the plea bargain, said it was not in possession of any of the assets.
While closing the meeting, Lar described the meeting as the first phase of investigation into the matter, adding that the scrutiny would continue


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