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ANALYSIS: Sekibo’s Alleged Many Frauds and Heritage Bank



Photo: Embattled Heritage Bank MD/CEO, Mr. Ifiesimama Sekibo

BALTIMORE, MD (AFRICAN EXAMINER) – The misfortune which has since befallen the Heritage Bank Plc after it opened to customers for full operations, till present, effectively cannot be isolated from the many past but questionable business transactions involving its Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Ifiesimama Sekibo and some of his cronies.

The embattled Sekibo and his syndicate have been caught using his Bank (Heritage) and other proxy firms as networks to mismanage and syphon customers’ monies allegedly amounting to N1bn for private use. The frauds which were perpetrated at different times, transpired from Sekibo’s former Bank (while still an employee) to Heritage Bank and subsequently to other firms.

For two years, huge sums were moved from one company to another for many unclear and dubious deals. No wonder, the many past and present troubles including alleged insolvency that had plagued the young and controversial Heritage Bank.

As we speak, Sekibo faces two serious challenges – surviving in business and clearing his soiled name, as he and five other suspects have been arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos Court by the Nigeria’s anti-graft body – the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Sekibo, alongside other suspects including:  Dimire Dike, Wumi Adeniyi, Kolapo Daisi, Funmilayo Taiwo and Akeem Durotoye are being arraigned over alleged N1bn fraud.

Other charges levelled against him and co-accused were related to ‘’conspiracy, stealing, obtaining money under false pretenses as well as forgery’’.

The suit charge sheet which was marked FHC/C/95C/18, joined embattled Sekibo with another suspects identified as Kolapo Kola Daisi and a private company, named Greame Properties Limited.

Counsel to the EFCC, Mr. Ekene Iheanacho in the suit alleged that Sekibo, had on July 29, 2016, while still an employee, ‘’to wit:  Managing Director of Heritage Bank, acquired the sum of N180m beyond his legitimate income through Greame Properties Limited, a company he owned’’.

This act, according to Iheanacho violated Section 7(1) of the Bank Employees, Etc (Declaration of Assets) Act, Cap B1, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, therefore, liable to be punished under Section 7(2) of the same Act.

In other sleazy conducts, EFCC alleged that Sekibo and Greame Properties Limited were caught retaining in the Diamond Bank Plc account number 0006129214 operated by Greame Properties Limited the sum of ‘’N180m, received from the account of Vlamings Professionals Limited when they reasonably ought to know that the said money was direct proceeds of unlawful activity, to wit: conspiracy and fraud.”

Similarly, the Heritage Bank boss allegedly acquired N125, 321, 051.05 – the sum which is beyond his legitimate income through the Diamond Bank Plc account of FIFC Development and Management Limited operated by him.

Sekibo has also been found conspiring with Daisi to transfer the sum of N300m proceeds of illegal business activity into the account of another company – Hiltrans Global Investment Limited, whereas, he reasonably ought to know that the fund in question was fraudulently withdrawn from the account of Heritage Bank Plc in Access Bank Plc.

Some of these unlawful business activities and others have in the past and till present affecting the solvency of the Bank. These issues have consequently caused panic among its customers, fearing the  Bank may go down.

Ironically, the Bank through its Public Relations agents each time the alarm was blown concerning the mind boggling alleged fraudulent transactions by its CEO, engages in cosmetic rebuttals that do not match the reality on the ground.    

The tale of syndicated frauds involving the Heritage Bank Chief was not limited to the aforementioned only, as Sekibo and other suspects were accused by the EFCC of forging a document titled ‘RE: Expression of Interest in Agric Fund Management Scheme.” Mr. Sekibo and co-defendants allegedly forged the document which was dated April 2, 2015, “purporting it to be a loan scheme executed in favour of Vlamings Professionals Limited.”

In a related scam, Sekibo and five others allegedly forged another document titled, “Agric Management Scheme” claiming that it was approved by Heritage Bank Plc.

The EFCC in its 10th count bordering on accessory to an act or offence contrary to sections 8(b) and 1(3) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related offences Act, 2006, accused Sekibo’s and co-defendants – (Dike, Adeniyi and Akeem) of “procuring false Heritage Bank Agric fund scheme documents as a means of disguising the evidence against them and subsequently escape the prosecution.

   Again, the EFCC Lawyer Iheanacho has filed that the accused have violated sections 285(8), 363(3)(h) and 364 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.

Although, the court is yet to fix the date of hearing of the suit, still, one aspect which remains shocking and strange in the entire saga to many is the silence and seemingly indifference of the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN to many of the misconducts that have been linked to the Bank, in particular its CEO, all of which have reduced its fortunes; performance; services and more painfully, its survival and security of the customers’ monies.

For now, as Sekibo battles with how to prove otherwise, the allegations of wrongdoings against him on one hand; the Heritage Bank in which he is the CEO, on the other hand, faces the challenge of brand reputation while the fate of monies already deposited and those to be inescapably lodged, hang in the balance. 

 

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