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CBN special investigator rejects Lemo’s request to reschedule meeting

The Office of the Special Central Bank of Nigeria Investigator has declined a request from Babatunde Lemo, Chairman of Titan Trust Bank Limited (TTB), to postpone a scheduled meeting from December 28, 2023, to January 7. This decision was communicated in a letter dated December 27, 2023, signed by Deputy Commissioner of Police Eloho Okpoziakpo, the Head of Operations at the Office of the Special Investigator.

The letter emphasized the importance of Lemo and other major shareholders of TTB attending the meeting as planned. It was explicitly stated that failure to attend could lead to the forfeiture of their shareholdings and interests in both Titan Trust Bank and Union Bank Nigeria Plc.JAMB Portal

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This stern warning comes in the context of an ongoing investigation into the acquisition of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc by Titan Trust Bank. The Special Investigator, Jim Obazee, had previously summoned Lemo, a former deputy governor of the CBN, to address inquiries related to this acquisition.

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The investigation is particularly focused on the role of a former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, who is alleged to have used proxies to establish Titan Trust Bank and acquire Union Bank, supposedly with illicitly acquired funds.

In his response, Lemo, through his lawyer G. Elias, had requested a delay in the meeting, citing his absence from Nigeria as the reason. However, the investigator’s office has also rejected a proposal by Lemo that major shareholders of TTB, namely Cornelius Vink and Rahul Savara, be given a seven-day window to prove their purported ownership of TTB and Union Bank or face the forfeiture of their shares to the Federal Government.

Lemo, along with Vink and Savara, has been directed to appear at the Department of Force Intelligence in Abuja for the meeting, where they are expected to be questioned by a team of special investigato

The letter, which was signed by Prof. Gbolahan Elias, SAN, read in part, “Unfortunately, both Mr Tunde Lemo and the two largest ultimate investors in the banks (Mr. Cornelius Vink; Mr. Rahul Savara) are away from Nigeria at the moment for family and other reasons.JAMB Result

“That is typically so at this time of the year. They are not due to be in Nigeria before the second week in January 2024. They will honour the invitations fully soon after they come in.

“With regard to the information requested, which we submitted earlier on 1st September 2023 at the DSS HQ as evidenced in Annex 1 therewith, we will resubmit the information tomorrow morning for your kind review. The individual invitees and the Banks re-iterate their willingness and readiness to co-operate with your good selves in your important work.”

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The investigator dismissed the request for a postponement of the meeting with the TTB major shareholders, noting that Lemo had earlier agreed to attend today’s meeting.InformationGuideNigeria

The letter noted, “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.

“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 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.NYSC Portal

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 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 interview.’’

The Special Investigator informed the TTB chairman that documents submitted through proxies will 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.”

The letter added, ‘’Consequently, I am to further inform you that your invitation to appear before the Special Investigator on 28th December 2023 by 2pm 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 remain effective and shall be triggered if you or Messrs Vink and Savara fail to attend the meeting as scheduled.”

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Emediong Silver

Emediong Ekpe is a graduate of English. A professional Sports journalist/analyst, and a spoken word artist. He is passionate about decimating information and putting smiles on people's faces via news writing. Whatapp: 08088735884

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