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Cecilia Ibru bids to recover seized N191 billion assets from AMCON

Olorogun n Cecila Ibru

+What engages her after Oceanic Bank

Former Managing Director of Oceanic Bank, Mrs Cecilia Ibru may have been stripped of her chief executive officer title of the bank and her properties confiscated, she is still very much busy. The 68 year old once regarded as the First Lady of Banking now enjoys high profile parties in an attempt to relaunch herself back to social prominence where she used to hold enviable position. Aside that, she is also channelling her energy into the running of an organisation she co-founded alongside her husband, Olorogun Michael Ibru…

 

THE MICHEAL AND CECILIA IBRU FOUNDATION

The foundation operates a charity endeavour by donating money to support vocational training, health care programmes, disease control and others, The Michael and Cecilia Ibru Foundation School at Ughelli south in Delta state is an arm of the proposed Michael and Cecilia Ibru University. Construction work on this project was halted when Mrs. Ibru was sentenced to six months prison term after she was found guilty of fraud in 2010 and the place converted to the Foundation school which she now oversees from their office in Ikoyi, Lagos.

However, the Ibru family, especially Mrs. Cecilia Ibru’s step children are said not to be happy with the way the government took over the bank the patriarch of the family, Olorogun Michael Ibru founded which went under the control of their step mother (Mrs. Cecilia Ibru).

Recently in an interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly, one of the children of the billionaire businessman, Elvina Ibru said her late mother, Mrs. Elsie Ibru was the brain behind the setting up of the defunct Oceanic Bank but as soon as the bank was about to take off, their mother passed on. The late Mrs. Elsie Ibru was a banker who convinced her husband to start a bank and she would oversee the operations.

Mrs Cecilia Ibru, who took over the running of the bank, recently attempted to recover all that was seized by the government through Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) but the effort is not yielding any fruit. The corporation (AMCON) objected to a suit filed by Mrs. Cecilia Ibru recently which sought to regain the properties she forfeited to the Federal Government on her conviction in October 2010.

She was, upon a plea bargain arrangement, convicted by a Federal High Court in Lagos, which sentenced her to six months imprisonment. She was made to forfeit assets worth N191 billion comprising 94 choice properties across the world including the United States of America, United Arab Emirates and Nigeria to AMCON. Mrs Ibru, who sued for herself, the Ibru Group and three others, is seeking, among others, to stop the Attorney-General of the Federation and AMCON from further steps towards implementing the terms of the plea bargain and settlement agreement leading to her conviction.

She equally wants an order directing parties to return to status quo prior to November 12, 2013, when AMCON obtained an ex-parte order in respect of the properties. Other plaintiffs are Sidochem Industries Ltd., Edgar Sido and Dr. Francis Sido.

Mrs. Cecilia Ibru alleged that AMCON “mischievously obtained an ex parte order from the court” on November 12, 2013, without disclosing material facts in the plea bargain agreement. And shortly after the case was filed, trial judge, Justice Ahmed Mohammed on April 29, 2014, granted an interim injunction restraining the two defendants (AGF and AMCON). The judge also ordered the defendants to appear in court to show cause why the order to maintain status quo should not be made. Only AMCON’s lawyer, Ademuyiwa Balogun was present and he urged the court to dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction.

AMCON’s lawyer also opposed an application by Ibru’s counsel, Mr. Ade Okeanya-Inneh (SAN) seeking preservative order restraining the defendants pending the hearing of the suit. The judge reportedly agreed he would not make any preservative order when his jurisdiction to entertain the suit was being challenged. He adjourned to June 22, for the hearing of the notice of preliminary objection by AMCON.

-FOLUSO SAMUEL

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