BusinessHighlight

Heritage bank denies any role in N13 billion fraud

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[dropcap]H[/dropcap]eritage bank as denied involvement of Managing Director Ifie Sekibo, over the diversion of an alleged N13 billion belonging to the Oyo State Government.

The Management will want to categorically and unequivocally state that neither the MD – Mr. Ifie Sekibo nor any member of the management staff of the bank is being investigated by the EFCC on a N13billion fraud, the bank said Sunday in a statement.

“Our attention has been drawn to Sunday Punch Newspaper and other online news (Sunday 27th August) report of an alleged N13billion fraud involving the Managing Director and other staff members of the bank of funds belonging to the Oyo State government.”

“Management finds it distasteful, unethical and unprofessional of these media houses to tarnish the image of Mr Ifie Sekibo – MD/CEO and the bank.”

“Contrary to the false report released by Sunday Punch Newspaper and other online news platforms, the EFCC had informed the bank of an account (not related to OYO state government as likewise verified by the Punch Newspaper via the State’s Finance Commissioner) being investigated by the agency. Over the last week, the bank has fully cooperated with EFCC by providing various documentation and also presented its staff in this regard.”

An official of the EFCC familiar with the investigation dismissed the newspaper report as a figment of the correspondent’s imagination, insisting that the investigation has nothing to do with the MD of Heritage Bank as an individual, rather routine investigation into possible red flags on an account with the bank.

“Investigation into accounts are routine matter which the EFCC and other anti-graft bodies undertake now and then.

“Once a letter or inquiry is received from any of the anti graft bodies usually to the top management, it is directed to the appropriate quarters in this instance the relationship and compliance managers who deal with it. To concoct stories that the MD is wanted over a matter that even the Oyo State government has denied knowledge of is unfortunate,” said the official who asked not to be named as he was not authorized to speak.

This newspaper also learnt that Mr. Sekibo has been out of the country for medical check-up for quite a while, “a fact which the EFCC is aware of, and with answers provided as to the letter of the agency, one wonders how anybody could say the MD is wanted. Tomorrow it is the same journalists that would accuse the EFCC of media trial when they report inaccuracies.”

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