I dont believe it myself. . . . but no smoke without fire it seems. . .
IF findings by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) are anything to go by, then the embattled former Managing Director of Oceanic Bank Plc, Mrs Cecilia Ibru must have continually laughed at the authors of the Forbes list of the world’s richest persons to scorn, each year that they left her out in their ranking of the affluent across the globe.
Last year, Forbes listed oil magnate, Mr Femi Otedola as joining another prominent businessman, Alhaji Aliko Dangote as members of the prestigious club. The duo and two other black people worldwide were so listed, with Dangote being ranked 261 with an estimated worth of $2.5 billion and Otedola in 601 position with $1.2 billion.
But, with the EFCC findings, the two Nigerian businessmen may be mere mere “boy scouts” in a contest requiring soldiers, among whom she is a General.
The assets already traced to her are in the region of trillions of Naira. Yet, the investigators are still counting. In fact, a top official of the commission told the Nigerian Compass on Saturday that the investigators had become weary because of the tons of wealth being traced to her daily.
The Nigerian legal system is accusatorial and not inquisitorial, meaning that the onus of proof that the vast property traced to her is illegal rests on the accusers and not that the mere possession is proof of any guilt or that she must explain how she got it.
Mrs Ibru will soon have her day in court as she is currently facing charges of money laundering and fraudulent conversion of depositors funds. She recently got court’s leave to travel abroad on medical grounds.
The EFCC’s investigators are currently working hard to link alleged missed funds to the vast property traced to the former bank boss.
Her assets in shares, allegedly bought through proxies and companies traced to her, are well in excess of one trillion Naira.
Even now, and in spite of the economic meltdown at the capital market, the ownership of millions of Naira worth of shares is no mean achievement.
Through what EFCC sources referred to as a maze of investments, the amazon of the Ibru family floated several companies that bought heavy shares in blue chip businesses, including her former bank. Such companies include Cloudy Heights, Bliss Bloss and Circular Global which she used to acquire over 275 million shares in First Bank Nigeria Plc (275,795,139). The companies also bought over 64 million shares in Union Bank of Nigeria (64, 218,000); over 93 million shares in the United Bank for Africa (93,750,000); while in her bank, Oceanic Bank Plc, the companies went over the billion shares mark (1,076,220,421).
Another company traced to her, Velvox, bought over 13 million shares in Oando (13, 200,000) and other shares put at 388 million. Yet another company, Enifor, bought 600 million shares in BGL Plc.
The list continues. Yet another compnay believed to be owned by her, Prisky Gold bought 48.8 million shares in Access Bank Plc, over eight million (8,140,500) in Dangote Flour, over 12 million (12,480,000) in Dangote Sugar Refinery and 12.5 million in Fidelity Bank.
The others by Prisky Gold are over 27 million shares (27,434,791) in First Bank; more than 25 million (25,316,400) in Japaul Oil; 10, 280,000 in Zenith Bank and , wait for it , 200 million shares in Transcorp Plc. Her Africa Lloyd bought another set of shares well above 400 million (431,201,702) in her Oceanic Bank.
The list is much longer.
And, on offshore property, Mrs Ibru is truly an amazon. A list of 11 of such buildings in Maryland shows that for any property to stand a chance of attracting her attention it must be in the average of $400,000. “Many more are being discovered daily in California,” the EFCC source disclosed. The ones currently discovered in Maryland, U.S.A. include 4155 Chariot Way, Upper Marlboro, bought for $452,508,00 on March 12, 2009 with the name Anita Dasilva Ibru; 4145 on the same Chariot Way for $440,105.00 also by Anita Dasilva Ibru a month after (April 14, 2009).
The list also include the property on 4139 on the same Chariot Way, bought with the name Edesiri Onatejerohene Ibru on April 21, 2009 for $451,629.00. Three more houses have been traced to her on Chariot Way. They are 4149 bought in the names of Obaro and Hirut Ibru for $473,657.00 also on April 21, 2009; 4141, bought for $441, 790 in the names of Cecilia Ibru on April 13, 2009; and 4143, also in her names, again on April 13, 2009, for $439,362.00. It may therefore not be an overstatement to say that she owns almost the entire stretch of Chariot Way.
Four others, bought in the names of Janet Ibru are on Upper Malboro. They are House Number 14605 on Hawley Lane, Upper Malboro, Maryland, which was bought for $399,990.00.00 on July 22, 2008 and the property on Number 14630 also on Hawley Lane, which was acquired for $460,703.00 on May 17, 2008.
The rest are House number 14721 on Argos Place, also in Upper Malboro, bought on October 28, 2008 for $457,950.00; 14719, again on Argos Place, bought for $451,840.00 on November 26, 2008 and the one one 11300 Dappled Grey Way, also on Upper Malboro, acquired by Cecilia Ibru on October 7, 2008 for $987,949.00