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    Wednesday, August 5, 2015

    Group Says Ibru, Others Stole N10bn From Ikeja Hotels

    The Civil Society Network against Corruption has said that the embattled former chairman of Ikeja Hotels Plc, Goodie Ibru, and his “accomplices” mismanaged N10 billion belonging to the company.
    In a statement commending the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission for charging Mr. Ibru and others for alleged fraud, Wednesday, CSNAC said that Mr. Ibru and others embezzled in excess of the N2 billion they were being accused of by the anti-graft commission.
    ‎”EFCC deserves public commendation for its work in this regard,” the group said in a statement by its Chairman, Olanrewaju Suraju.

     “However while they are deserving of our commendation, we must state that our petition to the EFCC dated the 10th of November 2014 alleges more cases of criminal diversion of funds in excess of N10 billion belonging to Ikeja Hotel 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.”

    The EFCC had preferred an 11-count charge bordering on conspiracy and stealing against Mr. Ibru, Associated Ventures International Limited, IHL Services Limited, and Clearview Investment Limited.

    According to the Commission, the defendants in 2010 mismanaged funds amounting to almost N2 billion profits due to Ikeja Hotels Plc.

    ‎The accused persons are yet to be arraigned.
    CSNAC said it took “deep” interest in the matter based on complaints it received from several ordinary shareholders ‎of Ikeja Hotels Plc about the fraudulent mismanagement of Lagos Sheraton Hotel by the Management of Ikeja Hotels Plc.
    “The reason for CSNAC’s interest is that Ikeja Hotel, Plc has been a public company since 1983 and is quoted on the Nigeria Stock Exchange,” Mr. Suraju said.
    “Thus, members of the public are subscribers to its shares. Also, the Nigerian State and the tax-paying people of Nigeria have a significant shareholding interest in Ikeja Hotel, Plc, through 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 Bank of Industry, became the new Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ikeja Hotel, 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 Hotel Plc.”
    The group stated that the era had passed where persons could inflict 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,” Mr. Suraju said.

    “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 Hotel 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.”
    CSNAC further urged the EFCC to continue its investigation into the financial activities of Ikeja Hotels Plc and her subsidiaries.
    “The moneys which have been fraudulently diverted and stolen 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 Hotel, Plc, in the public interest.”
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