• Saturday, July 20, 2024
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FRC hearing stalls as Akingbola fails to speak


The much-awaited investigative hearing on the accounts of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and petition by the erstwhile managing director of the defunct Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola, chief complainant and petitioner, ended in a mild drama as Akingbola refused to speak, BusinessDay gathered at the Alausa, Ikeja-Lagos venue of the sitting yesterday.

In a dramatic twist, after the setting-up of the audio-visual mechanisms for ease of presentation by the invitees, Akingbola, after the introduction of the parties and their counsel, including international lawyers, informed his audience that he was constrained since the matter in question is currently before a court of competent jurisdiction.

BusinessDay further gathered that Akingbola, whose property worth £5 million has just been sold in the United Kingdom in execution of  earlier UK court judgment asking him to refund £654 million to Access Bank, further said that based on the advice of his lawyers, it would be wrong for him to comment on the same issue before the panel.

Erastus  Akingbola
Erastus Akingbola

Specifically, one of Akingbola’s properties at 19 Embassy Court, London NW8 9SX, was sold yesterday for £5.7 million pursuant to the judgment of Justice Burton of the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London, ordering him to refund £165 billion to Intercontinental Bank, now Access Bank plc.

Akingbola had in February 2014 petitioned the presidency, alleging that Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, suspended CBN governor, Bukola Saraki, former Kwara State governor, and Mahmoud Lai Alabi had conspired to take over the now defunct Intercontinental Bank from him.

However, Sanusi had in response to the allegations levelled against him by FRC described Akingbola’s petition as a rehash of baseless allegations that the sacked bank MD had been making since 2010.

At the failed sitting yesterday, Akingbola was said to have been given opportunities three times to defend his petition, but he insisted that he had been advised by his lawyers not to speak on the matter.

“Akingbola must have realised that FRC is not the best platform he can ride on to achieve his aim of attempting to reclaim what no longer exists,” one respondent said.

“What is Akingbola’s motive for sneaking a petition on an old issue to President Goodluck Jonathan, obviously to take advantage of the problems the presidency has with Sanusi, and the attempt to dig up the past and reclaim Intercontinental Bank, which is currently non-existent?” he added.

The hearing session continues today with Sanusi, Tunde Lemo, former CBN deputy governor, Evelyn Oputu, managing director, Bank of Industry (BOI), Sarah Alade, acting CBN governor, Kingsley Moghalu, Suleiman Barau and others scheduled to appear.