…How Maurice Iwu, ex-INEC boss allegedly got N5bn
…EFCC probes ex-Governor’s alleged link with bank
…CBN sanctioned bank in 2015, may hammer bank again
As reported in The New Diplomat fresh revelations have emerged that the crisis wracking Fidelity Bank Plc is getting messier as detained Managing Director of the Bank, Mr Nnamdi Okonkwo, who is currently cooling off his feet in one of the cells of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission(EFCC) has allegedly spilled the beans.
The new Diplomat learnt that he has revealed, among others, the role of a former Anambra State Governor in the whole mess that has now engulfed the bank over the receipt of N23.3billion from Diezani by Okonkwo allegedly for disbursement to officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Akwa Ibom, Rivers and Delta states.
Sources within the EFCC told The New Diplomat that Mr Okonkwo who has been cooperating with investigators allegedly told investigators that he was merely carrying out instructions from above, especially from the former governor who was equally quite close to former petroleum Resources Minister, Mrs Alison Maduekwe.
Said a top EFCC source: “The MD has been cooperating with investigators. We have been able to obtain substantial information and investigations continue. All those named would be nabbed. We have been able to establish how Prof Maurice Iwu’s NGO got N5billion from the slush fund of N23 billion which Diezani got the oil companies to give to the MD for disbursement to INEC officials in Akwa-Ibom, Delta and Rivers. Investigations are also ongoing on how the ex-governor allegedly facilitated part of the deal. Some of these people would be charged to court and put on trial …’’
Sources revealed that only last December, the former governor’s firm made a whopping deposit of N4.9billion in Fidelity Bank PLc in a dramatic move to help boost the standing of the bank. An insider who pleaded anonymity told The New Diplomat’s Economic Intelligence Desk to shield the whole deal. It was clouted in ethnic dimension as’’ the MD hails from the same South-East as the Chairman of the Bank, Mr Christopher Eze as well as Prof. Iwu and the ex-governor.’’
EFCC operatives are said to be closing in on Iwu as he has gone underground since his name was mentioned. According to information pieced together by The New Diplomat, “Iwu, who is currently holed up in a nearby country may have gotten wind of the fact that the EFCC was looking for him and vanished from public glare. Several calls to his mobile phone indicated that it was switched off.
But many experts are calling for tough sanctions against the Bank, stressing that the bank should be made to face the music. Dr Remi Akindayo, of Centre for Development and Good Governance(CDGG) a Canada-based NGO, said Fidelity should be made to face the same music which Chief Ebitimi Banigo’s bank was made to face following revelations of how it got itself enmeshed in money-laundering deals and alleged diversion of N1.12 billion Ecological fund by former Plateau State Governor, Joshua Dariye.
The infractions which angered the CBN during the Obasanjo administration led to the fall of the bank as its operational licence was revoked by the regulatory institution.
Information reaching The New Diplomat Economic Intelligence Desk indicate that the CBN is currently weighing various options, including wielding the big stick against the bank.