Following the report on the United Bank Of Africa’s Chairman’s alleged involvement in N41 Billion NITEL Fraud,published on 28th July, 2020, the bank through a statement to the Nigerian Stock Exchange and duly signed by its Company Secretary, Bili Odum, has denied media reports alleging that UBA and some of its principal officers have been indicted in a N41 billion fraud.
According to to the Company Secretary, Bili Odum, ‘‘UBA has set in motion all appropriate legal actions to ensure that the misleading reports are retracted and the perpetrators held accountable for their actions.’’
Meanwhile, in a connected development, sources close to officials and top management of the the United Bank for Africa , have reached to the the Senate and Media Organisations to kill the further spread of the news and case, whilst mainstream and online news organisations have been approached to pull down the article from their various website, offering mouth-watering financial inducements
In the same vein,Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr. Tony Elumelu, has given a seven-day ultimatum to the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public petition, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, to retract a statement credited to him linking the banker and the UBA to a N41billion fraud allegation.
Two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs), Mr. Lawal Rabana and Ms. Oluwakemi Balogun, who are lawyers to Elumelu, in a letter to the senator threatened to sue the lawmaker if he fails to retract the statement and publicly apologise to Elumelu within seven days over his fraud allegation.
“We have our client’s further instruction to take all appropriate legal actions against Senator Akinyelure and his media agents if our above-stated demand is not met within seven days of their receipt of our demand letter,” Elumelu’s lawyers said.
The lawyers added that they were appalled by the deliberate peddling of falsehood and misinformation against an unblemished personal and business reputation, painstakingly built over several decades with great personal sacrifice and unquestionable integrity.
According to the lawyers, “It is important to emphasise that when UBA appeared before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, attention was drawn to the fact that the facts and circumstances leading to the disputes on the alleged financial indebtedness was pending before the Supreme Court in SC/CV/112/2020. It was resolved that given the pendency of the matter at the Supreme Court, it was subjudice and all actions on the matter be suspended.
“It is shocking and sacrilegious that a matter pending at the apex court could be subjected to debate contrary to the Rules of the Senate and by extension, the principle of law that when a matter is subjudice, it should not be subjected to debate before a decision is reached by the court. “The publication ascribed to Senator Ayo Akinyelure is in total disregard of the Rules of Senate and the rule of law.”
The lawyers, therefore, demanded an immediate open, public and unreserved retraction of the statements credited to Akinyelure as well as an apology from him for “this false allegation and defamation” of their client.
Akinyelure was reported to have claimed that Elumelu, who is also the Chairman of Tony Elumelu Foundation and the Heirs Holding Group, was indicted in a N41 billion naira fraud when he was the managing director of the bank.
It is very instructive to note that the Senate Committee Chairman on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, fingered the Chairman, Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp and founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation,Tony Elumelu in a whopping N41 billion fraud committed against the defunct Telecommunications company and National Carrier, NITEL before his retirement as the Managing Director of the bank.
According to the Senator Ayo Akinyelure, ” the United Bank for Africa withdrew the whopping N41 billion from the N42billion the liquidator of the defunct government owned telecommunications company deposited with the United Bank for Africa after being sold to MTEL by the by the Bureau for Public Enterprise.’’
Under his watch, and prior to Tony Elumelu’s retirement as United Bank for Africa’s(UBA) Chief Executive Officer In 2010, after which he returned to chair the board, the whopping sum was said to have been withdrawn systematically from NITEL for nine years under Tony Elumelu’s watch and two other former Managing Directors of United Bank for Africa, the Senator revealed.
The serving Senator, Akinyelure, went further to disclose that United Bank for Africa made several unathorised withdrawals from the accpunts of the liquidated Telecommunications companies, four different times by systematically stealing whopping sums in billions.
The petition by counsel to NITEL, J.U Ayogu and Co to the Senate Committee which revealed United Bank for Africa’s withdrawal of N29 billion, N1 billion and N22billion intermittently for the nine years without authorisation, necessitated the Senate Committee Chairman on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, to summon the Group Managing Direct( GMD) and Chief Executive Officer, CEO of the United Bank for Africa, Kennedy Uzoka to appear before the committee on August 5, 2020.
BnlPulse also reported that the Tony Elumelu-led United Bank for Africa management has tried to reach out to the leadership of the Senate to help defray further investigation into the alleged fraud through some influential lawmakers in the National Assembly, including the House of Representatives minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu who is the younger brother to Tony Elumelu, Chairman of the United Bank for Africa.