Anti-corrruption group petitions EFCC against Fedelity Bank boss demands arrests

An anti-corruption advocacy group, Global Integrity Crusade Network (GICN) on Monday criticised the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over an alleged cover-up of a case involving the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc, Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo.

The GICN in a letter dated 14th October, 2019, signed by its Chairman, Board of Trustee/President, Barr. Edward Ejembi Omaga and submitted to office of the Executive Chairman of the commission, a copy of which was made available to journalists in Abuja on Tuesday expressed disappointment over the delay of the case.

Omaga in the letter, alleged that the case which was instituted against Okonkwo after 2015 general elections by the EFCC at Federal High Court sitting in Lagos with Charge Number: FHC/4419c/18, might have been swept under the carpet like other high profile cases which reverberated throughout the pages at newspapers but in the end nothing came out at them.

The letter partly read, “We are at a loss as to the sudden quietness, lethargy and cold feet developed by the Commission regarding the case. That Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo is still walking the streets freely despite the myriad of allegations leveled against him which should have since landed him in jail is rather worrisome.

“It gives the impression to the prying public and those of us in the Civil Society family that the case may have been swept under the carpet like other high profile cases which reverberated throughout the pages at newspapers but in the end nothing came out at them.

“No doubt, the continuous occupation of the position of Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc by Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo brought more harm than good to investors and customers of the Bank. The unintended effect of this development is that the entire economy of Nigeria is sabotaged with distrust and unending anarchy reigning supreme in the all important banking sector.”

The anti- corruption organization being Non-profit and Non-Governmental in nature is registered at the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML), an arm of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with number RN: SC 151407936.

It had earlier been reported that Mr Okonkwo, who is still facing prosecution in the Federal High Court in Lagos was arrested alongside other members of staff of the bank by the Commission for allegedly receiving $115 million in cash from a former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Diezani Alison-Madueke.

According to reports, others arrested included the Head of Operations of the Bank, Martins Izuogbe. Alison-Madueke was said to have deposited the $115 million in the Bank as preparations commenced for the 2015 presidential election.

She was said to have invited Okonkwo to Abuja, where she briefed him on the deal.
Okonkwo allegedly accepted to receive the money into the Bank’s coffers despite the fact that Alison-Madueke did not have an account with Fidelity Bank Plc.

However, the anti-graft advocacy group, has given the EFCC 14 days ultimatum to make public, status of the report of criminal prosecution of Mr. Okonkwo at the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos.

The group, which premised his demand upon Freedom of Information Act of 2011, also threatened to shut down the headquarters of EFCC in Abuja, CBN and Fidelity Bank branches in both Lagos Abuja with massive protest if the commission failed to avail it the report.

Omaga said, “As an organization which has integrity as its watchword and abhors all forms of corruption, we have considered it imperative to demand and we hereby DEMAND based on the Freedom of Information Act. 2011 that you avail us the status report of the criminal prosecution of Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo at the Federal High Court silting in Lagos.

“This will enable us carry out independent assessment of all the cases pending against him with a view to ascertaining whether or not we would advise our private investigators to dig deep and supply more facts and documents capable of aiding the Commission in the performance of its duties.

“Consequent upon the foregoing, we expect that you will hearken to our demand as contained herein within (14) Fourteen working days from the date hereof. In the unlikely event that we do not hear from you, we will not hesitate to lead thousands of our members to massively occupy the EFCC Headquarters, Central Bank of Nigeria as well as Fidelity Bank Plc offices both in Abuia and Lagos.

“The aim of our massive occupation of the aforesaid offices will be to draw the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari, the International Community, media and other critical stakeholders in the banking sector to the corruption going on in Fidelity Bank Plc and how our efforts at reversing some have been thwarted and undermined by the unsupporlive posture of the EFCC.

“This will be without prejudice to the exercise of our right to institute civil proceedings under Section 1 (3) of the Freedom of lnformation Act. 2011 for purposes of seeking, amongst other reliefs, an order of mandamus compelling the EFCC to carry out its duties under the law.”

End…

DEMAND FOR STATUS REPORT OF CRIMINAL PROSECUTION OF MR. NNAMDI OKONKWO MANAGING DIRECTOR/CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER OF FIDELITY BANK PLC FOR CONSPIRACY AND MONEY LAUNDERING MADE PURSUANT TO THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, 2011.

Our Global Integrity Crusade Network (GICN) is on indigenous pro democracy. human empowerment and onti-corruption Civil Society Organization duly registered at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Abuja with number CAC/IT/No. 104969. The organization being non-profit, non governmental and non partisan in nature is also registered at the Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML), an arm of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with number RN: SC 151407936. We are a group of lawyers, paralegals, background check consultants, private investigators, human rights activists, media practitioners and policy analysts dedicated to advocating for integrity, justice, probity and transparency in public offices. Over the years, our members have worked tirelessly with relevant agencies to fight injustice, impunity, corruption, terrorism and economic sabotage with a view to nudging Nigeria on the path of transformation.

As President Muhammadu Buhari strives continuously to stamp out corruption from Nigeria and recover the huge funds looted by public office holders during the 2015 General Elections, GICN is delighted to note with great enchantment the laudable achievements of the EFCC under your visionary leadership. Needless to state that the number of convictions recorded so far instilled fears in the hearts of public officers and private actors alike, to engage in fraudulent and corrupt practices, as they are wary of the attendant consequences that would befall them if found culpable. This has even led to the coinage of the popular horism that “the fear of EFCC is the beginning of wisdom”.

It is in public domain that Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo who now holds sway as the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc some time in 2015 conspired with Mrs Diezani Allison-Madueke, former Minister of Petroleum Resources to conceal in Fidelity Bank Plc, the Sum total of $153,310,000 being part of proceeds of unlawful activity to wit: corruption contrary to Sections 18 (a) and 15 (2) (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act. 2011. The sum was said to have been deployed to bribe INEC Officials in different States of the Federation for purposes of compromising the electoral process in favour of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, who was then contesting for a second term in office. Indeed, patriotic Nigerians heaved a sigh of relief upon hearing that criminal charges were instituted against Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo and other suspects at large before the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos vide Charge No: FHC/4419c/18. The expectation was that by now the outcome of prosecution would have been made known to the public with a view to reinforcing the confidence reposed on the EFCC. Unfortunately, this expectation was dashed as it does appear that the much gusto and determination with which the Commission started the case have fizzled out.

We are at a loss as to the sudden quietness, lethargy and cold feet developed by the Commission regarding the case. That Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo is still walking the streets freely despite the myriad of allegations leveled against him which should have since landed him in jail is rather worrisome. It gives the impression to the prying public and those of us in the Civil Society family that the case may have been swept under the carpet like other high profile cases which reverberated throughout the pages at newspapers but in the end nothing came out at them. No doubt, the continuous occupation of the position of Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Fidelity Bank Plc by Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo brought more harm than good to investors and customers of the Bank. The unintended effect of this development is that the entire economy of Nigeria is sabotaged with distrust and unending anarchy reigning supreme in the all important banking sector.

We submit that the recent crisis that engulfed the Bank under the leadership of Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo as it has to do with non payment of accrued entitlements of staffers under the umbrella of Concerned Note Counters Association of Fidelity Bank (CNCAFB) which has now metamorphosed into Association of Aggrieved Fidelity Bank Statts (AAFBS), if not resolved as a matter of urgency, has the propensity to pull the Bank down just like what happened to other commercial banks in the past. The agitations by these interest groups which are still ongoing have been attributed to the massive fraud, injustice, maladministration going on in Fidelity Bank. There are facts pointing to the direction that the managerial credentials of Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo are questionable. Mr. Okonkwo has been accused severally of running the affairs of the Bank like his personal enterprise and engaging in all sorts of corrupt and arbitrary practices. He has caused unnecessary tension, disaffection and unrest in the Bank to the extent that the hitherto harmonious industrial relations that had existed between management and staffers have been terribly strained.

Sir, you will agree with us that the benefits of a corruption-free society cannot be over-emphasized. Therefore, we owe it as a public duty to ensure that the battered image of the country in the eyes of international community is redeemed at all cost. As an organization which has integrity as its watchword and abhors all forms of corruption, we have considered it imperative to demand and we hereby DEMAND based on the Freedom of Information Act. 2011 that you avail us the status report of the criminal prosecution of Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo at the Federal High Court silting in Lagos. This will enable us carry out independent assessment of all the cases pending against him with a view to ascertaining whether or not we would advise our private investigators to dig deep and supply more facts and documents capable of aiding the Commission in the performance of its duties.

Consequent upon the foregoing, we expect that you will hearken to our demand as contained herein within (14) Fourteen working days from the date hereof. In the unlikely event that we do not hear from you, we will not hesitate to lead thousands of our members to massively occupy the EFCC Headquarters, Central Bank of Nigeria as well as Fidelity Bank Plc offices both in Abuia and Lagos. The aim of our massive occupation of the aforesaid offices will be to draw the attention of President Muhammadu Buhari, the International Community, media and other critical stakeholders in the banking sector to the corruption going on in Fidelity Bank Plc and how our efforts at reversing some have been thwarted and undermined by the unsupporlive posture of the EFCC. This will be without prejudice to the exercise of our right to institute civil proceedings under Section 1 (3) of the Freedom of lnformation Act. 2011 for purposes of seeking, amongst other reliefs, an order of mandamus compelling the EFCC to carry out its duties under the law.

As we look forward to hearing from you soonest, kindly accept the assurances of our highest regards.

Yours faithfully.

For: GLOBAL INTEGRITY CRUSADE NETWQRK (GICN)

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