EFCC TO PROSECUTE EX-GOV.ODILI OVER N100BN LOOT …N25bn Investment In Arik Air

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission is believed to be finalizing arrangements to prosecute the immediate past governor of Rivers State, Dr. Peter Odili. To this end, the anti-graft agency has assigned its officials to validate an initial report of the agency put together after an investigative process in 2006.
At the heart of the criminal misconducts thrown up by the EFCC investigative panel in 2006 is how the then governor, Dr. Odili, actively used an associate, Mr. Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide, the man famously known to be the owner of Arik Air, to loot sums estimated to be over N100billion from the treasury of the state.
The EFCC report trails the relationship between ex-Governor Odili and Mr. Arumemi-Ikhide thus:
“Prior to becoming a major contractor to the state government in 2000, Mr. Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide was a shareholder of, and an executive director in, Negris Engineering Nigeria Limited. He worked for the company for over 18 years before leaving the company as a result of misunderstanding with other management staff, to form Rockson Engineering Nigeria Limited in 2000.
“While he was still with Negris, he provided an interface between Negris and Rivers State Government during which two major contracts were secured for the company. The contracts were the supply and installation of generating sets and transformer worth N401,016,101.00. The other contract was for the supply, construction and installation of turbine power station worth N4,256,076,000.00 in 2000.
The report notes that:
“The second contract was about 60 per cent completed when Mr. Johnson Arumemi-Ikhide left Negris and suddenly became the consultant to Rivers State on the same contract using his then newly formed company, Rockson Engineering Company Limited. The remaining payments for the Negris contract were routed through his company where the sum of N734,764,749.00 is yet to be remitted to Negris.”
The report adds that:
“The incorporation of Rockson Engineering Company Limited in 2000 immediately Arumemi-Ikhide left Negris marked the beginning of siphoning huge government fund that ran into several billions of Naira through gas turbine contract scam.”
The report highlights how several billions of Naira were transferred into accounts owned by Mr. Arumemi-Ikhide:
“Rivers State Government diverted the sum of N30,031,446,589.70 at various times to account number CA 6010914407 at Zenith Bank Plc belonging to Rockson Engineering Company Limited between January 07, 2004 and December 06, 2006. Investigations also reveals that Rockson Engineering has several bank accounts with Bank PHB, Sterling Bank Plc, United Bank for Africa, First Bank Plc, Intercontinental Bank Plc and Union Bank Plc. These banks were involved in the inflated contracts between Rockson Engineering and Rivers State Government.”
The EFCC report further notes that its investigations revealed that funds were diverted from Rivers State Government’s account to Rockson Engineering Limited, where it was transferred instalmentally between March 2005 and November 2006 from bank account number 6571020007472 with Union Bank Plc to the following companies.
a. Alpha System and Commodity Company Limited—N3,957,734,700.00
b. Sea Petroleum and Gas Company-N6,623,940,500.00
c. Peg Magreet Shipping and Trading Limited -N638,320,000.00
d. Wopat Nigeria Limited – N276,100,000
e. Dairy and Livestcok Limited – N281,000,000.00
f. Arula Investment Limited – N330,000,000.000
All totaling N12,107,105,000.00.”
The investigative report made more revelations on how Mr. Aruremi-Ikhide, who the report claims has a long lasting relationship with Dr. Odili which dates back to the 1980s, was used as the main front man for Dr. Odili.
“It has also been discovered that a parallel account called Account 2, account number 0130215431600, was opened with UBA Plc in the name of Rockson Engineering. Form 2001, when the account was opened to 2002, the sum of N12,064,988,787.61 was paid into the account from the Rivers State Government. Interestingly, Mr. Arumemi-Ikhide denied knowledge of the existence of this account. So far the sum of N12,059,602,734.20 has been withdrawn from the said account. This is clear evidence of direct looting of the treasury of Rivers State,” the report asserts.

While he was still with Negris, he provided an interface between Negris and Rivers State Government during which two major contracts were secured for the company. The contract were the supply and installation of generating sets and transformer worth N401,016,101.00. The other contract was for the supply, construction and installation of turbine power station worth N4,256,076,000.00 in 2000.

In direct reference to how Arik Air was funded and established, the report explains:
“It has also been established that Arumemi-Ikhide, the business partner of the Rivers State governor, is the owner of ARIK AIR LIMITED. He used money received from the Rivers States Government to acquire all the assets and aircraft of the company estimated to be worth over N25billion.”
Further establishing a direct link between Dr. Odili, Mr. Arumemi-Ikhide and Arik Air, the report submits that:
“The political and business relationship between Dr. Odili and Mr. Arumemi-Ikhide has become more obvious since the former’s declaration to run for the Presidency. Investigations conducted at various hotels, such as Transcorp Hilton, Le Meridien, Sheraton, etc; in Abuja revealed that the Odili Campaign Organization made bookings worth N130million through his campaign management team. The money came directly from the accounts of Arik Air Limited. The origin of the money is linked directly to Mr. Arumemi-Ikhide for Dr. Odili’s campaign.

To be concluded next edition.

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Three Nigerian Banks break into Forbes List of World Biggest Companies

The year 2009 is rather an unlikely year for any Nigerian company… continues here.

Celine Loader Quits UBA

Loader - where do you offload next?

Loader - where do you offload next?

Group Director of Marketing and Corporate Relations of United Bank for Africa recently resigned her appointment from the bank.

Reasons for her resignation could not be ascertained as at press time.

Martin Anyanwu has been elevated to head the department with effect from February 1, 2009. To further power up this department, more experienced hands have been absorbed including Lillian Mbayiwa, a Ugandan, who steps in as the divisional head, corporate communication.

Others include Felix Ideh, a former marketing manager with Guinness Plc and Rachael Mushaike (a Zimbabwean).

New officials were employed for the marketing and communications directorate with the immediate brief to perfect the bank’s brand and communication transformation, a project spanning three months with a view to designing a structure that will support the group’s expansion and growth agenda.

Shareholders applaud UBA’s leadership vision

Chairman of the Association for the Advancement of the Rights of Nigerian Shareholders, Farouk Umar has praised the management of United Bank for Africa for its superlative financial performance. Umar attributed the impressive results released by the bank to excellent leadership, vision and management style of UBA Plc, describing it as the best in the industry.

Umar said this at the 47th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Bank which held Monday January 5, 2009 in Maiduguri, Borno State after the Bank’s shareholders had unanimously approved the final dividend of 75kobo per share and a bonus issue of 1 new share for every 4 existing shares, proposed by the bank’s Board when the 2008 financial results were released in November last year. Following the approval, dividend payment which expectedly will help to cushion the seasonal spending associated with this period, will commence soon for the bank commonly referred to as Africa ‘s global bank.

The approval of the final dividend as proposed by the Board of Directors brings to N1.38 kobo, the total amount of dividend paid out by the bank in the 2007/8 financial year ended September 30, 2008. The board had in July last year paid 25 kobo interim dividend and gave a bonus issue of 1 new share for 2 existing ones to the delight of shareholders.

Addressing the shareholders at the AGM, the Chairman of UBA Chief Ferdinand Alabraba thanked the shareholders on their unwavering support over the years saying that UBA is poised for continental leadership with the result posted by the bank during the year under review.

Highlighting the 2008 financial results, the Chairman said all performance indicators showed significant improvements with gross earning increasing by 55% to N169.5bn even as the bank continues to grow key business segments. He said that underlying profit grew by 82% to N56.8bn despite the global economic meltdown, while dividend distribution for the year increased by 15%.

He assured the shareholders that UBA has attracted and retained a pool of quality human capital with unique talents to execute the next growth plans. “Given the quality of human capital in our bank and coupled with strong fundamentals and the several initiatives we have put in place, we are poised to continue to deliver on shareholder value in the year ahead” he said.

Commenting further, Chief Alabraba said that though the year 2009 would be a challenging one, the UBA fundamentals and quality of human capital remain very strong to weather the storm.

ELUMELU NAMED AN “EMERGING TITAN”

Coming on the heels of the recent conferment of the African Banker of the Year Award on the Group Managing Director/ CEO, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu, he has added another laurel to his kitty again. This time, he has been conferred with the award of “Emerging Titans” in Nigeria by Vivante Media Enterprises Limited; promoted by the Dr. Pat Utomi.

Elumelu was honored alongside other notable Nigerian including the Chairman of The National Communications Commission, Mr. Ernest Ndukwe and former Nigerian High Commissioner to The United Kingdom, Dr. Christopher Kolade, at the Expo Center, Eko Hotel, Lagos .

Professor Pat Utomi, Chairman of Vivante, said Elumelu was chosen in recognition of his immense contribution to economic development as he epitomizes the face of a the new Nigerian.   According to him, “the likes of Tony Elumelu are champions of nation building. It is our duty to recognize and celebrate them.”

Deputy Director of Marketing and Corporate Relations, UBA Plc, Mr. Martins Anyanwu received the award on behalf of Mr. Elumelu describing the UBA helmsman as not only nationalist but afro-centric in outlook. Under the leadership of Mr. Elumelu he said UBA has consolidated its leadership status in the Nigerian Banking Industry and is sure footed in its regional expansion drive.  With presence in 11 African countries, UBA plans to extend to another eight before the end of the next financial year he said.

Tony Elumelu has been gaining increasing recognition as one of the leading and widely influential corporate leaders in Africa since he conceived and managed the merger of legacy Standard Trust Bank Plc and UBA Plc in 2005, a union that has grown to the largest financial services group in West, Central and East Africa .