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Fraud tale trails Fidelity Bank’s top brass*** How Managing Director was indicted

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The glaring case of the N11 billion falsification of accounts and capital market fraud leveled against the current governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano who was formally Fidelity Banks’ Director of Business Services, later executive Director and his cohorts in the top management brass of the bank that included Mr. Reginald Ihejiahi (former Managing Director of Fidelity), Mr. Sam Obijiaku ( former Director of Operational Services), Mr. Boye Ogunmolade ( Chief Inspector), Mr. Ikemefuna Mbagwu (former Director of Shared Services) by Mr. Frank Ogboko, a former employee in the banks’ Internal Audit and Cost Control of the bank stands out.

The current governor of Anambra state, Chief Willie Obiano later became the Executive Director at Fidelity Bank when the fraud was carried out.

If the agenda of Mr. President is anything to go by, Chief Willie Obiano should vacate his seat as the governor since he was involved in fraud before he became a governor.

The anti-corruption stance of the present government of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan will be nothing but a merry wild goose chase if nothing is done to hold past, present and aspiring leaders accountable for any form corrupt practices they committed, both in the government and in the corporate field.

Mr. Ogboko’s quest to rectify this huge financial anomaly orchestrated by the then Fidelity Bank top management landed him into untold inhumane treatment meted to him by the powers that be in their bid to stifle him and to make sure their corrupt deeds did see the light of day. He has deposited with us hundreds of pages of the documents which heavily indicts the aforementioned former directors of the bank to the tune of N6.3 billion in falsification of accounts and in the N4.7 billion in the capital market fraud, in which the involved parties tried to eliminate Mr. Frank Ogboko and if possibly shut him up for good. According to Mr. Ogboko, who was alarmed when he noticed the imbalance in the account books, brought it to the attention of his immediate boss, Mr. Boye Ogunmolade, the former Chief Inspector.

This singular act which he did with good intentions turned the ire of the corrupt management against him. His only crime was to report the questionable transactions in the banks’ financial system. “My appointment was terminated because I discovered a huge fraud perpetrated by the top officers of Fidelity Bank”, Mr. Ogboko said. “When I discovered this fraud, I alerted Mr. Ogunmolade. He took offence and reported the matter to the M.D (Mr. Ihejiahi). They removed me from the unit and transferred me to the Bank’s Corporate Services Unit. That was in January 2006. “In November 17 2008, my appointment was terminated. “I didn’t bear grudges; I accepted it in good faith.” According to Mr. Ogboko, he thought that the victimization culminating from that issue would end with his terminated appointment as a staff of Fidelity bank, but he was dead wrong. The concerned parties still pursued the issue in a bid to intimidate him into surrendering the indicting documents involving them in the fraud. “When I left, they started trailing me. Sometime in 2009, the SSS (State Security Service) came to my house. They invited me to see the O.C operations of the SSS at Magodo, Lagos. “When I got there, he told me ‘Ehee, you have information that will implicate Fidelity Bank, please give to me so that everything will be over.’ I told him that I don’t have information that what I have is my termination letter and the one they used in paying me my gratuity. He said, ok, that the matter is over and that I should go. “As I got home, I started having visits from strange people, and people I don’t know hovering around my area. These visits got to a point that in March 2010, I wrote a ‘Threat to Life and Attempted Assassination’ petition to the CIB (Criminal Investigation Bureau). “They invited the bank people and their representative came. The CIB tried to make peace between us and that we should consider the matter over. I said ok, in as much as they did not threaten my life. But because they know I have proof regarding to the evil they did, they did not relent. They continued sending people to me. In March 2011, I wrote to the then Inspector General of Police, Mr. Hafiz Ringim, they received and acknowledged my petition. I took both papers (the N6.3 billion of falsified accounts and the N4.7 billion of the capital market fraud). I have the acknowledged copies of my petition to the IG. “I thought the issue would be over at the IGs’ place, but they referred it to the SFU (Special Fraud Unit).

They even invited the bank people at the SFU, but surprisingly, nothing came out of it. “When i came back to Lagos on June 3rd 2011, I received a phone call and the caller said they were calling from SFU in Lagos that the matter reported to the headquarters is now with them. I went to answer them. “When I got there, they told me, ‘Francis, you are under arrest.’ I asked them what for? They said it was for blackmailing Fidelity Bank. I tendered the documents I had to them. I told that if a fraud is committed in an organisation, even if you work for them or not, you can prosecute them whether you are a shareholder or not. I am a shareholder of Fidelity bank. I told them I have the locus standi to prosecute them. “I showed them some documents and they said I should go. One of the officers there suggested that I should take the matter to the EFCC. “On June 22, I wrote a petition to the EFCC and they acknowledged it. They started working on the matter. I was even assisting them in their investigations. Sometimes they would call me to comeand give them information and I went. “Surprisingly in August 11 2011, one Mr. Muazu at the EFCC called me that I should come and explain thing to him. I went, not knowing that he already kept some policemen in his office. I got there and he said to me, ‘Francis, SFU people have been looking for you.’ I was surprised, I asked him if it wasn’t him that called me that I should come and explain some things to him. He said, ‘No no no, go and answer them.’ “Before I knew it the policemen came out from inside a room and arrested me. They took me to the Magistrate Court at Tinubu. It became very obvious that a lot of money had exchanged hands in the bank’s management bid to silence me. “There at the court, they didn’t even allow me to say anything because there was no lawyer. My lawyer was not there. “They court later gave me bail conditions that we could not fulfill in even in two months. “I stayed in Ikoyi prisons for almost a year. They wanted to start the case and hear it on October 17, 18, 19 and 20 and finish it. The day the case was mentioned at the court, there was no other case listed for that day. When I got to the court, I debriefed the lawyer we were using there because I saw that he was compromised. “I got another lawyer in the court there. I asked them to give the lawyer time to study the case, but he Magistrate said no, he gave us 30 minutes insisting that we must continue the trial that day. I declared my lack of confidence in the magistrate’s ability to try the matter. I opted for the case to be tried at the High Court. That was how the case stopped there. “I stayed at the Ikoyi Prisons until my lawyer went to the High Court and got my bail and I came out.” Mr. Ogboko like every other average Nigerian cannot help but wonder at the level of impunity in the system. One move to do the right thing is met with unwarranted hostilities and wickedness from people who refuse to adhere to stipulated corporate laws and guidance. Citizens who report crimes in Nigeria often do so at the expense of their lives and that of their families. They are threatened and sometimes maimed or silenced forever. According to Mr. Frank Ogboko, getting bail was just the beginning as the aggrieved parties continued threatening him and sending people to do him harm. “Even though I was released on bail, they sent assassins to my house, to come and look for me, but thank God I was not in the house that day. After that I had to relocate with my family.” It is disheartening to note that a huge fraud (ELEVEN BILLION NAIRA) perpetrated to achieve material gains was discovered and reported to appropriate regulatory bodies but no action was taken. Rather, the good citizen was detained unjustly at Ikoyi Prison for nearly one year.

It is on record that the present administration led by Dr. Ebere Azikiwe Jonathan is working tirelessly to ensure that Nigeria is free from corruption but some of the people in his Economic Management Team are involved in one fraudulent activity or the other.

Mr. Peter Obi, the former governor of Anambra state and a member of the Economic Management Team was the Chairman of Fidelity Bank when the fraud was carried out by the Senior Management of the Bank. Ogboko said he has evidences that some cash were paid into the account of Next International Ltd which has Peter Obi as the Chairman of the company then. This cash deposit was used by the company to buy Fidelity Bank Shares. The Nigerian Police Force and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission should live up to expectations. There are no sacred cows in the system. All individuals are equal before the Almighty God. Justice should prevail in all matters. The idea of not carrying out any investigation considering the huge amount involved in the fraud by both the Nigerian Police Force and EFCC is worrisome. We know that Mr. President will not condone someone involved in fraud in his Economic Management Team. Also, Chief Willie Obiano should vacate his seat honourably.  

Source: Elombah  

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