Transparency Nigeria Group (TNG)
– Charges independent media to investigate lack of diligent prosecution and alleged cover-up by EFCC’s lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo
– Charges EFCC to open a criminal case and charge Spiralfoss Ltd and its owners for fraud
– Charges EFCC to investigate possible involvement of Lagos state government officials in attempt to steal state funds
TNG Calls For Investigation into alleged fraud by Zenith Bank’s Eugene Ewubor, Spiralfoss Limited, Fidelity Bank PLC and Lagos State Government.
The Transparency Nigeria Group (TNG) is calling for a special investigation into an alleged N2.7 billion naira fraud by a Nigeria-based company Spiralfoss Limited, owned by a Eugene Ewubor, a senior official of Zenith Bank International PLC
The TNG also charges the INDEPENDENT MEDIA to investigate the roles of the EFCC, its external lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo, Fidelity Bank PLC and Zenith Bank PLC in the alleged attempt by several powerful interests to pervert the course of justice with respect to criminal allegations against Spiralfoss Limited.
The case against Spiralfoss Limited made the headlines in October 2021, when the EFCC applied for an ex-parte order on September 10 2021, through its lawyer Chinenye Okezie, seeking the interim forfeiture of N2.7 billion discovered in Spiralfoss Limited’s Fidelity Bank account number 5080102755 and a black bulletproof Audi Model ABL W12 Quatro with registration number BDG529GJ traced to Spiralfoss Limited.
Justice Tijani Ringim granted Mr Okezie’s application and ordered the interim forfeiture of the money and vehicle. The judge also instructed the EFCC to publish his order in any national newspaper for interested parties to appear at the court within 14 days, to show cause why the final order of forfeiture should not be made in favour of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Subsequently, the Lagos state government staked a claim to the funds and briefed its lawyer, Abiodun Jelili Owonikoko (SAN), to approach the court on its behalf.
Upon the continuation of proceedings in October 2021 before Justice Ambrose Lewis Allagoa of the Federal High Court in Lagos, the EFCC’s external lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo, in a curious twist, declined to argue the EFCC’s initial case that the 2.7 billion naira should be forfeited to the Federal Government.
Rather, he sided with his colleague Abiodun Jelili Owonikoko (SAN) that the funds discovered in Spiralfoss Ltd’s account with Fidelity Bank PLC, should be forfeited to Lagos State, which had contended that it it was the rightful owner of the seized funds. Mr Oyedepo subsequently limited his prayers to the seized black bulletproof Audi Model ABL W12 Quatro with registration number BDG529GJ and its contents.
Ultimately, Justice Ambrose Lewis Allagoa, in a bench ruling granted Mr Oyedepo’s watered-down forfeiture application and ordered the forfeiture of the N2.7 billion to the LAGOS STATE GOVERNMENT.
The judge also ordered the forfeiture of a black bulletproof Audi car Model ABL W12 Quatro with registration number BDG529GJ, traced to Spiralfoss Ltd, to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The judge ruled: “I have carefully perused the processes before me vis-a-vis the submissions of counsel. I agree that the appropriate order to make in these circumstances is that the funds should be forfeited to the Lagos State Government and the bulletproof car to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria as rightly agreed by both counsel.”
The Transparency Nigeria Group rejects this brazen attempt to cover up an obvious attempt by highly-placed individuals to defraud Lagos state and pervert the course of justice.
An investigation by the TNG has revealed the following details:
Eugene Ewubor, one of the owners of Spiralfoss Limited, is a senior official of Zenith Bank PLC, a bank whcih counts the Lagos state government as a one of its biggest institutional clients.
Mr Ewubor is a chartered accountant (FCA) who has worked for Zenith Bank for 11 years and is a senior official of the bank where he oversees Budget, Performance Management, Corporate Planning & Strategy, Zenith Bank Plc. Prior to these role, he was the head of Financial Control and Strategic Planning at Zenith Bank, Sierra Leone Limited.
He is close to the bank’s top hierarchy and is widely tipped for a higher position within the bank.
Mr Ewubor does not live within his means as a salaried employee of a commercial bank and flaunts a luxury lifestyle.
The TNG makes the following demands from the EFCC and other parties involved in this apparent cover-up.
How exactly did the Lagos State Government prove its ownership of the N2.7 billion traced to Spiralfoss Limited’s account with Fidelity Bank PLC?
If the N2.7 billion really belonged to the Lagos State Government, who authorized the transfer of the funds to Spiralfoss Limited’s account with Fidelity Bank PLC?
Who are the signatories of Spiralfoss Limited’s account with Fidelity Bank PLC?
Why did the EFCC’s lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo support Mr Abiodun Jelili Owonikoko’s argument that the N2.7 billion naira belonged to Lagos state when it is possible that officials of the Lagos State Government had acted in concert with Fidelity Bank PLC, Eugene Ewubor and Spiralfoss Limited to fraudulently move these funds from the state’s coffers?
Why did Fidelity bank PLC not notify the relevant authorities about the suspicious transfer into Spiralfoss Limited’s account?
Why did Zenith Bank PLC not investigate and sanction its senior official Eugene Ewubor after it discovered that his company Spiralfoss Limited was part of this alleged fraudulent scheme?
Why did the EFCC and its highly-paid lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo, who has banked millions in fees and retainers from the anti-graft agency, pass up on the opportunity to investigate Eugene Ewubor and Spiralfoss Limited and secure their convictions, since it had been established that that the funds were the proceeds of illicit activity?
The TNG demands that the board of Fidelity Bank PLC should conduct an internal investigation into this matter, make its findings public and sanction all its officers that failed to flag Spiralfoss Limited’s bank account.
The TNG demands that the board of Zenith Bank PLC should conduct an internal investigation into Mr Eugene Ewubor’s involvement in this alleged fraud and make its findings public.
The TNG demands that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should immediately investigate the role of its external lawyer Rotimi Oyedepo in this unsavoury attempt to pervert the cause of justice.
The TNG demands that the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) should investigate Mr Ewubor’s role in this matter and make its findings public, especially since Mr Ewubor is a Fellow of the association.
The TNG demands that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should immediately take measures to ensure that the entire N2.7 billion naira is recovered from the Lagos State Government pending the conclusion of an investigation into the alleged complicity of Lagos state government officials in the perpetration of this fraud.
The TNG demands that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) should initiate criminal proceedings against Spiralfoss Limited and its promoter Eugene Ewubor.
The TNG demands that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) as a matter of public interest, should immediately disclose the contents of the black bulletproof Audi Model ABL W12 Quatro with registration number BDG529GJ, that were seized in addition to the luxury vehicle.
The TNG charges the INDEPENDENT MEDIA to investigate this sordid affair and ascertain if there was a grand conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and perpetrate a cover-up with respect to the alleged criminal activity of Spiralfoss Limited.