Cover Stories, Politics

Erastus Akingbola’s London house sold for N1.5 billion

+the disgraced banker’s new plot

The well-appointed London, the United Kingdom home of disgraced erstwhile Managing Director of subsumed Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola  acquired with stolen funds  has finally been sold!

The North-West London show- place (at 19, Embassy Court, NW8 9S X) found a new owner last week.

And £5.7 million (N1.55 billion) exchanged hands in the sale ordered by Justice Michael Burton of the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London, who found Akingbola guilty of sharp practices, theft and fraud of over N165 billion on July 31, 2012.

Even the appeal of the grass-to-grace-and-grass banker described as roguish failed in the United Kingdom on February 18, 2013.

The grand machinations of Akingbola and the elaborate schemes used in stealing £654 million (N165 billion) was exposed during the proceedings before Justice Burton .

The case (number 2009 Folio 1680) was filed against Erastus Bankole Oladipo Akingbola, Kayman Company Ltd, Verndale Properties ltd, Jasmine Properties Ltd, Caelum Ltd and Sanami Ltd, by Access Bank Plc, in the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division, Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC 2A 2LL.

The court ordered, after the long trial (which began in 2009), that Akingbola should refund £654 million stolen directly from the bank to buy property in the United Kingdom and pay debts owed by his companies, among other greedy considerations.

Akingbola was ordered to refund N145 billion for illegal share purchase scheme because he was fully aware that Intercontinental Bank was buying its own shares with the aim of reselling in future after artificially manipulating its price.

That he actually borrowed N9.3 billion from the bank to buy shares personally.

“Quite apart from being contrary to Nigerian law, Akingbola’s strategy for the bank to buy its own shares was simply wrong-headed, and was plainly a substantial contributing factor to the collapse of the bank,” Burton ruled.

“I have no doubt that all the staff in the bank were in awe of him and his authority…”

In addition, the former bank boss misappropriated N16 billion and paid it to his companies when Intercontinental Bank was clearly showing signs of distress and liquidity strain. The money was used to offset the debts of some of his companies.

£8.5 million was also traced to Akingbola which he used to buy property in the United Kingdom. Erastus Akingbola, who is still facing corruption charges in Nigeria brought against him by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, is struggling to clean up his image and possibly reclaim the bank. Suits challenging the proprietary of his arraignment are flying everywhere.

But EFCC insists that he’s culpable in stealing N47 billon depositors’ funds from Intercontinental Bank.

Last week, at the sitting of Financial Reporting Council of Nigeria in Ikeja (Lagos), there was a mid drama. The council investigating the activities of Central Bank of Nigeria for financial years ended December 31, 2011 and 2012, was told by Akingbola that he was constrained to participate because the matter was before the courts.

The session which started as scheduled had set-up audio-visual mechanisms for ease of presentation by the individuals invited to appear before its investigating panel and Dr. Akingbola, after the introduction of the Parties and their counsel including international lawyers. Mr. Akingbola informed the panel that he was constrained due to the fact that the subject of his petition is currently before a court of Competent Jurisdiction and that based on the advice of his lawyers, it would be wrong for him to comment on the same issues before the panel.



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