A High Court in London yesterday ordered former managing director of Intercontinental Bank Plc Erastus Akingbola to refund N164 billion to Access Bank Plc.
Mr. Justice Burton found Akingbola liable of unwholesome practices and criminal misappropriation of Intercontinental’s funds to the tune of N164 billion.
Access bought up Intercontinental following the banking collapse of 2009.
Mr. Justice Burton said the money represents proceeds of unlawful share purchase scheme and fund misappropriation which Akingbola converted into personal use while at the helm of affairs as chief executive officer of former Intercontinental Bank Plc.
Access Bank had sued Erastus Bankole Oladipo Akingbola and five other companies allegedly owned by him - Kayman Company Limited, Verndale Properties Limited, Jasmine Properties Limited, Caelum Limited and Sanami Limited in a United Kingdom court for alleged criminal misappropriation of Intercontinental Bank’s funds
The judgement delivered in the High Court of Justice Queen’s bench division commercial court held that Akingbola devised and oversaw the implementation of the strategy to buy the bank’s shares.
The Court found under cross examination that Mr. Erastus Akingbola lied that he did not know that the bank was buying its own shares.
It was discovered that shortly before the implementation of the strategy to increase the bank’s share price with the intent of benefiting from the unethical and illegal scheme. Dr. Akingbola had borrowed a whooping sum of N9.3 billion to purchase a large quantity of the bank’s shares for himself.
The Court held that the illegal share purchase scheme substantially contributed to the collapse of the erstwhile Intercontinental bank Plc.
Further investigation by the Court revealed that at a time the bank was undergoing significant liquidity strain, Dr. Erastus Akingbola misappropriated the sum of N16 billion which was paid to Tropics Companies, a business owned by his family to repay debts owed by the companies personally guaranteed by Dr. Akingbola.
Dr. Akingbola was also found to have misappropriated another £8.5million which was paid to his English solicitors to complete the purchase of luxury properties in London in his name.
A Central Bank of Nigeria special audit led to the removal of some banks chief executives including Dr. Erastus Akingbola in 2008.
With this landmark judgement in the United Kingdom, all eyes would be focused on the ongoing criminal trial of Dr. Erastus Akingbola in the Lagos High Court as well as the Federal High Court respectively.