CBN special investigator orders Lemo, others to appear or forfeit shares in Titan Trust, Union banks

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The Special CBN Investigator, Jim Obazee has said that the chairman of Titan Trust Bank (TTB), Babatunde Lemo must appear before his panel on Thursday, December 28, in connection with the acquisition of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc by TTB.

A letter signed by the head of operations, office of the special investigator, DCP El Ho Okpozia, on Wednesday, December 27, warned Lemo against violating the summoning order to avoid dire consequences.

Okpozia stated that the special investigator was fully aware that Lemo was in the United Kingdom to celebrate his birthday, despite his acknowledgement of the meeting scheduled for Thursday, December 28.

However, Okpozia noted that excuses by Lemo’s lawyers won’t be accepted, saying that they would be regarded as obstruction by the Special Investigator in the course of his duties.

The investigation team also highlighted that neither Lemo nor the implicated individuals, Cornelius Vink and Rahul Savara, had submitted requested documents related to the purported ownership of Titan Trust Bank and Union Bank of Nigeria.

The investigator emphasized the necessity for the trio to present themselves and provide the required documentation during the meeting.

He stated that documents submitted through proxies would not be accepted.

The letter read: “Reference is made to the Law Firm of G.ELIAS letter dated 27th December 2023 in response to the Special Investigator’s invitation to you via a letter with reference number CR:3000/TSI/ ABJ/VOL.1 / 69 dated 24th December 2023 in respect of the above subject.

“I am directed to inform you that the Special Investigator is fully aware that you are in the United Kingdom to celebrate your birthday. This you made aware to the Special Investigator when you agreed to attend a meeting to be scheduled for 28th December 2023 and also proposed that Mr. Cornelius Vink and Rahul Savara be given 7 (seven) days to prove their purported ownership of Titan Trust Bank and Union Bank of Nigeria or forfeit the shares to the Federal Government of Nigeria. Accordingly, this excuse given by your good selves through your lawyers is unacceptable and regarded as obstruction of the Special Investigator in the course of his duties.

“We want to put it on record that neither you (Babatunde Lemo) nor Cornelius Vink nor Rahul Savara ever submitted any of these requested documents to the investigating team at the Department of State Service (DSS) or anywhere else before now. In fact, Cornelius Vink and Rahul Savara have never presented themselves to the Special Investigator since 28th August 2023 when they were first invited for an interview.

“The Special Investigator also directs that you should be informed that documents submitted through proxies shall not be accepted as Mr. Cornelius Vink, Mr. Rahul Savara, and your good self will be required to speak to whatever document(s)/information you present during the meeting.

“Consequently, I am to further inform you that your invitation to appear before the Special Investigator on 28th December, 2023 by 2 pm prompt in respect of the matter under investigation and for which you had earlier made statement; stands.

“Kindly note that the conditions on paragraphs 6 to 8 in our earlier letter to you with reference number CR:3000/TSI/ ABJ/VOL. 1/69 dated 24th December 2023 remains effective and shall be triggered if you or Messrs Vink and Savara fail to attend the meeting as scheduled. Accept please, the warm assurances of the Special Investigator’s high esteem.”

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