Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Erastus Akingbola: I’m not owing Intercontinental Bank

A former Group Managing Director, Intercontinental Bank Plc, Mr. Erastus Akingbola, has said that he is not indebted to the bank.

He also denied reports that he was negotiating a plea bargain deal as regards the pending court cases arising from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s banking sector reforms.

In a statement signed by his Public Affairs Counsel, Mr. Charles Nwajagu, Akingbola said that he never sought any approval to pay Intercontinental Bank because he did not owe the bank any money.
The former GMD was sacked on August 14, 2009, along with the erstwhile chief executive officers of Oceanic Bank International Plc, Afribank Plc, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and Finbank Plc, for alleged reckless credit management among other infractions.

The CEOs of Equitorial Trust Bank, Spring Bank Plc and Bank PHB Plc were sacked on October 2, 2009 after the second round of the CBN/Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation audit.

The statement quoted Akingbola as saying, “In the light of the continued deliberate misleading campaign against me, I feel compelled to issue this statement with the hope that it will dispel the cruel insinuations and correct the impression that I am negotiating a plea bargain deal concerning my pending court cases arising from the controversial banking reform.

“I hereby state that neither myself nor my lawyer ever wrote any letter to the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice in order to secure a plea bargain or on any other issue. In the same vein, I never sought any approval from Intercontinental Bank in order to pay the bank as I am not owing them any money.”

He added that no court order anywhere in the world compelled him to pay any sum of money to Intercontinental Bank, noting, “There is no doubt that these allegations are similar to the phantom N346bn I was alleged to have stolen from the bank. For the avoidance of doubt, I do not intend to plea bargain. I am resolute in my belief that it is better for my persecutors to prove my guilt before the law courts.

“If my accusers have a good case as they claim, why are they interested in harassing me to plea bargain to justify their incursion into private businesses. Justice should be allowed to take its course.”

He said, “The case I am being tried for in Nigeria is exactly what I am equally facing in the United Kingdom. If you add the Securities and Exchange Tribunal, it will mean the cases are being tried in three courts.

“Yet, not satisfied, my accusers continue to employ all manner of underhand tactics to make it impossible to defend myself; denying me access to relevant documents, starving my UK lawyers of legal fees through a Freezing Order, engaging an Internet company to post hundreds of comments on my case with pseudo-Nigerian names and generally resorting to media trial.”

The former bank chief described the reports that he was working on a plea bargain as misleading, noting that “the campaign should be seen for what it is: a deliberate ploy to justify the illegal hijack of the bank and the planned sale to their special interest group.”

However, the Head, Corporate Affairs, Intercontinental Bank, Mr. Eddy Ademosu, told our correspondent that Akingbola’s claims were not true.

He said, “I can assure you that there is a letter signed by his lawyer in the United Kingdom where he undertook to refund £9m to Intercontinental Bank.

“The judge has also ruled that he should put in the custody of the court a specific amount otherwise he would give summary judgment against him. He was also asked to pay Intercontinental Bank legal costs.”

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