Goodie Ibru: Group commends EFCC, seeks action from NSE, SEC

Goodie-Minabo-Ibru-A coalition of 150 anti-corruption organisations — the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) — yesterday commended the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for filing charges against Messrs Goodie Minabo Ibru, Associated Ventures International Limited, IHL Services Limited and Clearview Investment Limited at the Lagos High Court.

The defendants were accused of conspiracy to steal and stealing by fraudulent conversion of about N2 billion belonging to Ikeja Hotels Plc.

The accused persons are yet to be arraigned. Chairman of CSNAC, Olanrewaju Suraju, in a statement said the group took deep interest in Ikeja Hotels Plc based on complaints received from many ordinary shareholders about the mismanagement of the Lagos Sheraton Hotel.

The statement reads: “The reason for CSNAC’ s interest is that Ikeja Hotels Plc has been a public company since 1983 and is quoted on the Nigeria Stock Exchange. Thus, members of the public are subscribers to its shares.

Also, the Nigerian State and the tax-paying people of Nigeria have significant shareholding interest in Ikeja Hotels Plc, though the Bank of Industry (BoI).

This interest is demonstrated by the fact that following the removal of Mr. Goodie Ibru on the 6th of January, 2015, as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ikeja Hotels Plc at a court-ordered Extraordinary General Meeting, the outcomes of which were similarly validated by the Federal High Court, Mr. Rasheed Olaoluwa, the managing director of the Bank of Industry, became the new Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ikeja Hotels Plc.

The public expects that he will ensure that corporate governance codes are fully complied with, such as to prevent the kind of fraud that had been so cruelly perpetrated against the ordinary shareholder of Ikeja Hotels Plc,” the group added. CSNAC stressed further that the era must pass where persons can inflict such fraud on the public through the instrumentality of operating private businesses.

We shall pursue and ensure that perpetrators of acts of corruption against the public are fully made to account, whether they are carried out in state institutions and parastatals or private/public enterprise.

In this regard we earnestly call on the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Nigeria Stock Exchange as well as the Corporate Affairs Commission to undertake routine inspections of companies to ensure that such infractions as was witnessed in Ikeja Hotels Plc are checked and punished.

The fact that Mr. Goodie Ibru is a former President of the Nigeria Stock Exchange especially gives cause for worry, and should ordinarily provide an added impetus for the regulators to investigate the claims against Mr. Goodie Ibru, so as not to appear complicit by any stretch of imagination. “EFCC deserves public commendation for its work in this regard.

However, while they are deserving of our commendation, we must state that our petition to the EFCC dated November 10, 2014, alleges more cases of criminal diversion of funds in excess of N10 billion belonging to Ikeja Hotels Plc and its subsidiaries by Mr. Goodie Ibru and his accomplices — in respect of which we had similarly sought orders of court to require the commission to promptly investigate and prosecute. “Accordingly, CSNAC wishes to urge the EFCC to continue its investigation into the financial activities of Ikeja Hotels Plc and her said subsidiaries.

The moneys which have been diverted from the company and its subsidiaries are not limited to N2 billion for which Goodie Ibru is currently charged, but, as CSNAC has alleged in its petition, runs into several billions of naira — moneys, which CSNAC urges the EFCC to dutifully recover and deliver to Ikeja Hotels Plc in public interest.

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