Business mogul Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim forged documents and a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which he used to acquire 70 percent majority shares in National Insurance Company of Nigeria (NICON), the Senate ad-hoc committee investigating the government’s privatisation and commercialization for public enterprises was told yesterday.
Oral presentations and documents made available to the committee by Dr. Dickson I. Osuala, representing Assurance Acquisition Limited (AAL), the preferred bidder in the privatisation of NICON, alleged that Mr. Ibrahim presented a fake MOU between his company, Global Fleets Oil and Gas Ltd to BPE before acquiring the insurance giant when he claimed to be a director of Oceanic Bank and offered to assist AAL to get the funding through the bank.
“One Jimoh Ibrahim of Global Fleets Oil and Gas Ltd has by use of false representation, name dropping, multitudinous false claims of representing a highly placed individual taken over NICON with diverse illegal acts and has been running it aground,” said a letter written to BPE’s director general on March 9, 2006, which was presented to the panel.
It charged that Jimoh Ibrahim presented a fake MOU to BPE dated 27th October, 2005 with a forged signature of N-Glory Development Nigeria Limited’s Managing Director Dr. Obiora Okonkwo. It said the Deputy Inspector General of Police D department conducted a forensic analysis on it and confirmed that it was forged.
A letter confirming the forging of signatures and falsification of the said MOU following a forensic examination by the Commissioner of Police Forensic Science Laboratory (FORCE CID), Ikoyi, Lagos signed by DSP E. Kolawole was also presented to the MPs.
The letter stated, “I refer to your letter dated 15th June, 2006 and have to report that the questioned signature in the column of Director/Chief Executive officer of N-Glory Development Nigeria Ltd on the document viz: “Memorandum of Understanding”, dated 27th day of October, 2005 has been carefully examined and compared with the accompanied specimen signature on N-Glory Dev. Ltd letter head paper dated 8th June, 2006.
“Examination of the questioned signature in the relevant portion of the document mentioned above carried out with the aid of video spectral comparator (VSC) and other apparatus revealed evidence of free-hand execution but on comparison with the submitted specimen signature aforementioned, I found features of non-identity between them.”
Similarly, the BPE itself in a letter signed by its General Counsel Paul Obo Idornigio addressed to AAL dated March 23, 2006 acknowledged that AAL was the preferred bidder. “The Bureau discovered that the members in the MOU were different from those evaluated leading to the pre-qualification for the financial bid of Tuesday, 11th October, 2005.”
On the alleged “diverse illegal acts of Jimoh Ibrahim,” the BPE wrote thus: “There is a process of monitoring core investors by the Bureau. This is being used to investigate the illegal acts noted in your letter.”
A financial review of NICON undertaken by KPMG accusing Mr. Ibrahim of asset stripping of NICON, which was also tendered, stated, “the total assets taken out of the company either directly or through companies wholly owned and controlled by Jimoh Ibrahim and not properly accounted for amounts to N6.37 billion. He failed to discharge his duties as director as required by sections 279,288 and 282 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act of 1990 as amended.”
The report also detailed how Ibrahim allegedly withdrew 20 million pounds from NICON’s foreign account in London. It said, ‘“The implication of this is that Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim has stripped the company of funds that should have been used to run the company and pay claims to policy holders and pensioners who continue to suffer.”
The Senators were also told of another allegedly shady deal in the purchase of Nigerian Re-Insurance Corporation by Global Fleet, also owned by Mr. Ibrahim. Though the company was worth N50 billion, it was sold for N1.05 billion and shortly thereafter, Ibrahim used some of the company’s assets to secure a N41 billion loan from Union Bank Plc. The company which had staff strength of over 1,000 as at 1996 was reduced to 23 workers under Ibrahim’s management.
BPE’s current boss Ms Bolanle Onagoruwa however told the panel that she was not aware of the shady deals and series of illegalities labelled against the Chairman of Global Fleet.
In his presentation, NICON’s Managing Director Emmanuel Jegede said there was the need for indemnity to the core investor on liabilities of taxes and insurance levy of about N850 million and inherited debts of N13 billion, which were treated as assets during privatization.
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