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Ex-JAMB Staff Allegedly Dupes Bank N10m

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Olayiwola Oguntade Ex-JAMB Staff

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A former employee of the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB), Mr Olayiwola Oguntade, has been accused of duping a bank in Oyo State.

Mr Oguntade was arraigned at the Oyo State High Court in Ibadan, on Tuesday, October 13, 2020, on a three-count charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretence, forgery and altering.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which brought the suspect before Justice Bayo Taiwo yesterday, alleged that he defrauded the PolyIbadan Microfinance Bank of N10 million.

Mr Oguntade, who worked at the Finance and Account department of JAMB’s head office in Abuja, had the EFCC questioning him after it received a petition from the lender against one Kola Al-amin, a businessman.

The bank had accused the businessman of refusal to pay up a N10 million loan he obtained to finance a project he was to execute for JAMB.

However, investigations into the allegations revealed that it was Mr Oguntade who allegedly tricked Mr Al-amin into obtaining the loan through a fathom contract.

According to findings, Mr Oguntade contracted the businessman sometimes in 2019 to supply internet services to the JAMB office in Abuja, issuing a Local Purchase Order (LPO) and a letter of Domiciliation purportedly from JAMB to back up the ‘contract’.

Brandishing the ‘contract documents’ with the confidence that they were genuine, Mr Al-amin approached the bank for the credit facility and was granted.

But rather than allow him to use the money to execute the project, Mr Oguntade allegedly cajoled Mr Al-amin into paying the N10 million into a certain account, which, according to him, belonged to the company that would execute the project. He made the payment as directed.

He, however, realised that he had been duped after waiting in vain for the completion of the project and payment of his money by JAMB to allow him to liquidate the loan.

His failure to repay the loan prompted the PolyIbadan Microfinance Bank to petition the EFCC, leading to the discovery of Mr Oguntade’s alleged fraudulent acts.

The EFCC accused the suspect of forging the LPO and the Letter of Domiciliation bearing a fake signature of JAMB’s Registrar and Director of Finance. It was also discovered that the account he directed Mr Al-amin to pay into was his.

In one of the charges against him, the EFCC said, “That you, Olayiwola Oguntade sometimes in 2010 at Ibadan within the jurisdiction of this court, with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N10 million by false pretence through Kola Al-Amin from PolyIbadan Microfinance Bank Ltd. and thereby committed an offence.”

But the accused pleaded not guilty to all charges, which prompted the prosecution counsel, Mr Mabur Mabas, to ask the court for a trial date.

However, the defence lawyer, Mr Bamidele Salawu, moved for the bail of the accused, which Justice Taiwo granted in the sum of N1 million with two sureties in like sum.

The judge, who adjourned the case to November 5 for trial, noted that one of the sureties must have a landed property and both should identify themselves with valid identity cards to be verified by the EFCC.

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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Banking

First Bank Reacts to Rumoured ‘Acquisition’ by Otedola

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First Bank Otedola

By Dipo Olowookere

One of the news items that has dominated the business space in the past few days is the rumoured takeover of FBN Holdings Plc, the parent company of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Limited, by Mr Femi Otedola, a businessman in the country.

It was reported that he has ‘acquired’ the lender by pumping about N30 billion into the shares of the company at the stock market, making him the single largest shareholder.

This was linked to the recent rise in the trading volume and value of FBN Holdings equities at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, which has spurred questions from various quarters.

But in a statement issued on Friday, the management of FBNH said it was not aware of the businessman emerging as its new shareholder, though it pointed out this could have happened as its shares are always available for purchase at the market by anybody.

In the notice signed by the company secretary, Seye Kosoko, the bank said once it receives notification from Mr Otedola, it will promptly inform the regulators about it as required.

“The attention of FBN Holdings has been drawn to media reports today, October 2021, purporting that a certain individual has acquired a significant shareholding interest in FBN Holdings, therefore making him the majority shareholder of the company.

“As a listed company, shares of FBN Holdings are publicly traded and sale and acquisition of shares are expected in the normal course of business. We operate in a regulated environment, which requires notification of significant shareholding by shareholders to the company, where shares are held in different vehicles, further to which the company will notify the regulators and the public as appropriate.

“The company is yet to receive any notification from the individual mentioned in the media report of such acquisition. FBN Holdings will always notify the appropriate agencies and authorities whenever it receives any notice of significant shareholdings by the shareholders and the company’s registrars,” the disclosure read.

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Banking

Femi Otedola Quietly Takes Over First Bank

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Femi Otedola First Bank FBN Holdings

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

There are reports that a billionaire businessman, Mr Femi Otedola, is coming back into the capital market on a big scale a few years after he offloaded his stake in Forte Oil, 75 per cent, which later became Ardova Plc under its new owners.

It is believed that business mogul has pounced on the crisis at FBN Holdings Plc, the parent company of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, which also recently had a board crisis, to take over the company.

According to reports, which is yet to be independently verified by Business Post, Mr Otedola, son of a late Governor of Lagos State, Sir Michael Otedola, is now the single majority shareholder of the first generation lender in Nigeria.

He is said to have acquired N30 billion worth of the company’s equities at the Nigerian Exchange (NGX) Limited, where the firm is listed.

In recent times, there has been an upward movement in the share price of FBN Holdings at the stock market and this has raised many eyebrows as some investors were asking what was driving the hike.

Mr Otedola is not new to the boardroom and it is believed that his entry into the banking space would cause a disruption and make him rub shoulders with renowned bankers like Mr Jim Ovia of Zenith Bank Plc, Tony Elumelu of United Bank for Africa (UBA), amongst others.

Some months ago, many observers were shocked when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) sacked the boards of FBN Holdings and First Bank of Nigeria Limited and it was learnt that the financial institution has been on the life-support of the regulator.

The FBN Holdings board led by businessman, Mr Oba Otudeko was asked to leave and the CBN further ordered the bank to ensure that the debts owed by the directors, including Mr Otudeko, who sits on the board of Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, should be recovered.

A few months after this directive, shares of FBN Holdings and Honeywell have enjoyed a significant rise in value, causing people to ask questions.

If the latest information is correct, it would mean that Mr Otedola was likely the reason for the uptick witnessed in First Bank stocks at the exchange lately.

It means he will have a good representation on the board of the lender and turn its fortunes around.

First Bank is yet to officially inform the investing public about this development.

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Banking

Heritage Bank in Debt Crisis, Reps May Order CBN Takeover

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Heritage Bank CEO Ifie Sekibo

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

The banking industry in Nigeria may be plunged into another crisis if urgent steps are not quickly taken to address the issue so as to douse the looming tension.

Business Post reports that a few years ago, precisely in 2018, depositors and shareholders of Skye Bank were in a panic mood after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) nationalised the lender to Polaris Bank Limited because of debts and the House of Representatives on Thursday raised an alarm that another financial institution, Heritage Bank, is allegedly swimming in huge debts.

The lower chamber of the National Assembly had invited the bank and its Managing Director, Mr Ifie Sekibo, to explain why the amount the company owes the federal government is more than its share capital, but he has failed to honour the request.

This action has infuriated the parliament, which has threatened to direct the CBN to take over the ownership of Heritage Bank if Mr Sekibo and the bank ignore their latest invite next Wednesday.

Mr Adejoro Adeogun, Chairman of the Adhoc Committee on Assessment and Status of All Recovered Loots, Moveable and immovable Assets from 2002 to 2020 by agencies of the federal government for Effective and Efficient Management and Utilisation, issued this threat at the resumed hearing of the committee yesterday.

“I need to send this message to Heritage Bank that we are not comedians here and we are not joking here. If Heritage Bank owes Nigeria more than its share capital, we will not hesitate to ask the National Assembly to write to CBN to take over Heritage Bank.

“They cannot be owing more than their share capital and feel too big to respond to invitations from the National Assembly. Clerk, you have to write them, give them till Wednesday next week. That is the last time we are going to give them,” an angry Mr Adeogun barked.

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