• Wednesday, February 28, 2024
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BusinessDay

CBN investigator to Lemo, others: Appear today or lose your shares

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The Central Bank special investigator is insisting that Babatunde Lemo, the chairman of Titan Trust Bank; Cornelius Vink, TGI Group boss; along with Rahul Savara must appear before him today or lose their shares in the TTB acquisition of Union Bank deal.

The investigator made this known in a Letter to the trio seen by BusinessDay Thursday.

“I am to further inform you that your invitation to appear before the Special Investigator on 28th December, 2023 by 2pm prompt in respect of the matter under investigation and for which you had earlier made statement, stands,” the letter signed by DCP Eloho Okpoziakpo head of operations, office of the special investigator read.

“Kindly note that the conditions on paragraphs 6 to 8 in our earlier letter to you with reference number CR:3000/TSI/ABJ/VOL 1/69 dated 24th December 2023 remains effective and shall be triggered if you or Messrs Vink and Savara fail to attend the meeting as scheduled.”

Lemo, who is currently abroad celebrating his birthday, received a notice to attend a meeting set for December 28th, 2023, concerning the investigation into the purported ownership of Titan Trust Bank and Union Bank of Nigeria.

However, citing his absence and the failure of Cornelius Vink and Rahul Savara to provide requested ownership documentation, the Investigator’s office has deemed these actions as obstructive to their duties.

Furthermore, the directive emphasizes that documents submitted through proxies will not be accepted, stressing the need for direct engagement with the involved parties.

Consequently, Lemo has been reminded of his obligation to appear before the Special Investigator on December 28th, 2023, at 2 pm as initially requested, of which failure to comply with this summons could trigger further actions as outlined in the previous communication sent to Lemo.

CBN investigator stated, “Consequently. I am to further inform you that your invitation to appear before the Special Investigator on 28th December, 2023 by 2pm prompt in respect of the matter under investigation and for which you had earlier made statement, stands.”

The CBN investigator stressed the seriousness of the matter and reiterated the importance of compliance with the investigation process.

In a counter response to the letter from the CBN special investigator, lawyers representing Titan Trust Bank Ltd. and Union Bank Plc appealed for understanding as Lemo, Vink, and Savara are currently out of the country due to personal and family commitments and are expected back in the second week of January 2024.

In the letter signed by Prof. Gobolahan Elias, the lawyers assured the Special Investigator of the banks’ commitment to full cooperation once these individuals are back in Nigeria.

Furthermore, it pledged to resubmit the requested information, previously provided on September 1, 2023, for review the following morning.

Elias expressed gratitude for the attention given to the matter and urged any further inquiries to be directed to their law firm.

Read the content of the letter below:

“We trust that this letter meets you well. We are lawyers to Titan Trust Bank Ltd. (“TTB”) and Union Bank Plc (“Union”) (the “Banks”). We respectfully have their instructions to write this letter in respect of the invitations in your letter to TTB dated December 23.2023.

“Unfortunately, both Mr. Tunde Lemo and the two largest ultimate investors in the Banks (Mr. Cornelius Vink; Mr. Rahul Savara) are away from Nigeria at the moment for family and other reasons. That is typically so at this time of the year. They are not due to be in Nigeria before the second week in January 2024. They will honour the invitations fully soon after they come in.

“With regard to the information requested, which we submitted earlier on 1st September 2023 at the DSS HQ as evidenced in Annex 1 therewith, we will resubmit the information tomorrow morning for your kind review. The individual invitees and the Banks re-iterate their willingness and readiness to co-operate with your good selves in your important work.

“We respectfully thank you very much for your attention. Please direct all further enquiries on this matter to our law firm

“Yours faithfully,

“Prof. Gobolahan Elias, SAN (For: G. Elias)

“GE/Investigator/GE/01/27122023”