Emefiele: TTB’s Lemo, others risk shares forfeiture, CBN investigator warns

Bisola David
Bisola David
The Special Investigator appointed by President Bola Tinubu to investigate the Central Bank of Nigeria, Jim Obazee, has insisted that the Titan Trust

The Special Investigator appointed by President Bola Tinubu to investigate the Central Bank of Nigeria, Jim Obazee, has insisted that the Titan Trust Bank Chairman, Tunde Lemo and the bank’s two major investors appear before it today to prove that their acquisition of Union Bank of Nigeria, followed due process or risk losing the financial institution to the Federal Government.

This was after the investigator rejected a request by Titan Trust Bank Chairman, Tunde Lemo and the bank’s two major investors to postpone their appearance before the investigator until the second week of January 2024.

Mr Obazee invited Mr Lemo, Cornelius Vink, and Rahul Savara on December 24 to appear before his team of investigators on Thursday over TTB’s acquisition of Union Bank in 2022.

In his report to President Tinubu on December 20, the special investigator stated that former CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele used ill-gotten funds to acquire Union Bank and Keystone Bank through proxies.

However, in a letter dated December 27, a law firm representing both TTB and Union Bank stated that the three men are now out of the country and requested that the appointment be rescheduled.

“Unfortunately, both Mr. Tunde Lemo and the two largest ultimate investors in the Banks (Mr. Cornelius Vink and Mr. Rahul Savara) are currently away from Nigeria for family and other reasons. This is common for this time of year. They are not expected to arrive in Nigeria until 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 cooperate with your good selves in your important work,” the lawyers said in the letter.

The office of the investigator however responded saying, “I am directed to inform you that the Special Investigator is well aware that you are in the UK to celebrate your celebration.

“This you informed the Special Investigator when you agreed to attend a meeting on December 28, 2023, and proposed that Mr. Cornelius Vink and Rahul Savara be given 7 (seven) days to prove their purported ownership of Titan Trust Bank and Union Bank of Nigeria, or forfeit the shares to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

“As a result, the reason provided by your good selves through your lawyers is unacceptable and is viewed as an obstruction of the Special Investigator’s duty.”

The Special Investigator also stated that documents submitted through proxies will not be accepted because Mr Cornelius Vink, Mr Rahul Savara, and Mr. Tunde Lemo will be required to speak to whatever document(s)/information presented during the meeting.

“As a result, I am to inform you that your invitation to appear before the Special Investigator on the 28th of December, 2023 at 2pm prompt in relation to the matter under investigation and for which you previously made statement; remains.”

“Kindly note that if Messrs Cornelius Vink and Rahul Savara refuse to attend this meeting and provide/defend the requested documents/information, it will be construed that they have decided to forfeit their purported shareholdings in TTB and Union Bank of Nigeria; regardless of which vehicle that they are using to own the purported shares,” the office had previously warned.

“Should you also refuse to attend the meeting to provide additional statement to your earlier statement made in August 2023, it will be construed that you misled the Nigerian public with your reaction in the Punch Newspapers today which has gained wide publicity in both electronic and print media.”

Share this Article
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *