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United Bank for Africa (UBA) has described as “untrue, misleading, malicious, libelous” reports in a section of the media that Mr. Tony Elumelu, chairman, UBA Plc, was allegedly involved in a N41 billion fraud, with respect to the defunct Nigeria Telecommunication Company (NITEL).

According to the reports, Mr. Elumelu was indicted for the alleged scam alongside some of the principal officers of the financial institution.

But in a statement, the lender said the reports were “untrue, misleading, malicious, libelous and should be disregarded in its entirety.

In the statement signed by Bili Odum, company secretary, UBA said as a “reputable global brand and responsible corporate citizen, operating in multiple jurisdictions,” it will “continue to conduct its business in line with global best corporate governance practices, extant laws, and regulations, as it has done in over 70 years of operations.”

The lender also emphasised that it has already “set in motion all appropriate legal actions to ensure that the misleading reports are retracted and the perpetrators held accountable for their actions.”

In the reports UBA reacted to, it was alleged that the issue happened when Mr. Elumelu was the Managing Director of the bank and that the money was allegedly withdrawn by the bank without appropriate approval.

The reports quoted Mr. Ayo Akinyelure, Senate Committee chairman on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, as saying that “the N41 billion alleged fraud was committed against the defunct telecommunications company and the national carrier, NITEL.”

“The said sum was withdrawn systematically from NITEL for nine years under Tony Elemelu watch and two other former Managing Directors of United Bank for Africa,” the federal lawmaker was further quoted as saying.

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According to the reports, in view of this, the senate committee has summoned Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, group managing director/CEO of UBA, to appear before it on Wednesday, August 5, 2020.

What Happened

UBA via a petition was reportedly alleged to have defrauded the liquidated Nigerian Telecommunications Limited ( NITEL) of about N41billion from N42 billion liquidators fund of the telecommunications company deposited thereafter being sold to MTEL.

The summon of the bank’s GMD was a sequel to the petitions forwarded to the upper legislative chamber by J .U Ayogu and Co, on behalf of NITEL/MTEL and referred to the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions for further legislative action.

The committee Chairman, Senator Ayo Akinyelure, told reporters that the Group Managing Director ( GMD) and Chief Executive Officer ( CEO) of the bank, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, has been summoned to appear before the committee unfailingly on Wednesday, August 5, 2020.

UBA, he stated, was alleged to have made unauthorized withdrawals from the accounts of the liquidated telecommunications companies four different times technically stealing N41 out of N42billion liquidators of the forms deposited there.

This Day reports that UBA withdrew N29 billion, N11 billion, N6.8 million and N22 million at different times between 2006 and 2015 from the accounts without relevant tickets or authorizations for that purpose.

He added that liquidators of the firms explained further in the petition that officials of UBA have been hiding under litigated N685million it withdrew from the accounts.

Musa Suleiman
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