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Union Bank share scam: Investments And Securities Tribunal Exonerates Akande, Okoloko

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The Investments and Securities Tribunal, sitting in Abuja over the illegal procurement of the Bank’s own shares with its funds has exonerated Onikepo Akande and Onajite Okoloko from the shares scam perpetrated on behalf of Union Bank against its investors.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) had dragged Union Bank and 21 other Individuals comprising of Directors and Company Secretary who had served on the Board of the Bank between 2007 and 2008 before the Investments and Securities Tribunal.

The aggrieved Applicant, SEC had informed the Tribunal, that the 21 respondents engaged and/or participated in a scheme and or artifice that enabled Union Bank of Nigeria Plc to either directly or indirectly fund the purchase of its Shares and thereby retaining the beneficial ownership of the shares, and as a consequence, (i) violated or contributed to the violation of the provisions of the Investments and Securities Act and the rules and regulations made thereunder, (ii) undermined the fair and orderly conduct of the securities market, and (iii) abused, breached and undermined the integrity of the securities market;

SEC further informed that the Respondents unlawfully employed, (in connection with the purchase or sale of the securities of Union Bank of Nigeria, Plc) a device, scheme or artifice for the purpose of creating a false and misleading appearance of active trading of Union Bank securities and/or shares, which devise, scheme or artifice so employed by the Respondents herein, violated the provisions of the Investments and Securities Act and the rules and regulations made there under.

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SEC further claimed that the Respondents undermined the regulatory and supervisory authority/activities of the Applicant, by ordering the appointment of KPMG Professional Services or any other reputable firm of accountants acceptable to the Tribunal for the purpose of undertaking an inquiry/investigation to determine (i) the extent and quantum of the losses suffered by investors in the securities market as a result of the unlawful activities of the Respondents outlined in this suit and (ii) the nature, extent and quantum of any direct benefit or advantage received or receivable by the Respondents as a result of the Respondents’ aforesaid unlawful activities.

But, in its decision, the Tribunal of Six (6) headed by Nnenna A. Orji ruled that the names of Onikepo Akande and Onajite Okoloko who had been originally sued as 19th and 20thRespondents respectively, be struck out on the grounds that they were not yet Directors when the alleged infractions took place.

In the Suit listed as CASE NO. IST/LA/OA/20/2010, the Tribunal noted that the processes were amended to include both Onikepo Akande and Onajite Okoloko, who were appointed only after the infractions had taken place.

It would be recalled that some Directors of Union bank were involved in a share scam involving the purchase of Union Bank shares for itself to mislead the Public, using funds borrowed from two foreign financial houses totaling over N30bn between 2007 and 2008

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