Former Central Bank Governor and Emir of Kano, Alhaji Sanusi Lamido Sanusi II, has been indicted in the alleged misappropriation of two billion dollars worth of Atlas Mara’s Union Bank Plc shares owned by 65,000 shareholders.
NAN source in the Federal Ministry of Justice on Thursday disclosed that the Federal Government has begun a criminal investigation into the misappropriation.
The petition titled “Official corruption, misuse of FGN USD two billion, fraud and unjust enrichment of persons who dispossessed more than 65,000 Nigerians and conferred ownership of the Bank on few Nigerians and their foreign accomplices,” was submitted to the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
The petition also fingered the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Sen. Udo Udoma and the Minister of Trade and Investment, Okey Enelamah.
The petition alleged that the Minister of Trade and Investment led Africa Capital Alliance to form the Mauritius shell company to house Nigerians pretending to be foreign investors.
The transactions allegedly dispossessed Nigerian shareholders and investors in order to transfer ownership of the bank to a few persons including insiders, chieftains of competitor banks and others who would not pass CBN’s “fit and proper’’ test for bank ownership.
The petition also alleged that the transactions began under Udoma’s supervision as Chairman of Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) and sealed up when he became the Chairman of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc.
“It is to be recalled that 49% shares of Union Bank of Nigeria plc is now majority owned and controlled by London listed Atlas Mara, the investment company led by Robert Diamond Jr.
“Mr Diamond is a former Chief Executive Officer of Barclays Bank who was sacked for his involvement in manipulating Libor.
“Not only is Mr Diamond not a fit and proper person to own a bank according to the rules of Nigeria, he had also been blacklisted by the Bank of England as a result of the Libor manipulation.
“One wonders how the former CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi authorised the Union Bank change of ownership transaction and bridged it with USD two billion national patrimony, in spite of glaring evidence of fraud and the nature of the ultimate foreign owner who was already known and waiting in the wings.
“There are evidence that Atlas Mara has visions of owning 100% of Union Bank of Nigeria plc which they can only achieve by buying shares warehoused by the few privileged Nigerians that acquired the bank in apparently unwholesome circumstances.
“Those few privileged Nigerians are now cashing in on their loot in transactions with Atlas Mara, at the expense of dispossessed Nigerians.
“It is public knowledge that previous transactions on Union Bank Nigeria plc for Bob Diamond’s Atlas Mara were advised by Rothschild & Cie; and funded by investors mostly in London.
“Meanwhile it was also revealed that Union Bank of Nigeria plc has concealed from regulators, investors and the public outstanding Swiss Court judgment debts of more than one billion Naira and imminent judgment debts of five billion Naira respectively.
“Available evidence shows that many unhappy shareholders are lamenting that the bank has not paid cash dividends in nearly 10 years while the financial statements show princely remunerations to executive management, directors and lawyers paid to defer more than USD 50 million of claims against the bank’’, the petition alleged.