N1.7bn Wema Bank Fraud: Pastor Faults Police Report, Accuses Assistant Police Commissioner, Businessman Of ‘Harassment, Malicious Prosecution’

Isaac Adewole, a pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God has faulted the police report alleging top management staff members of Wema Bank Plc fraudulently moved N1.7 billion to his account number 0122367964, domiciled in the financial institution.


The report signed by the Commander of Area G, Lagos, ACP Ibrahim Zungura had said multiple fraudulent transactions were carried out through the account. 


“The culpability of WEMA Bank officers was further confirmed when the officers tried to bribe investigating officers with large envelopes that contained money.


“The officers declined the bribes but the Bank persisted. The officials spent time begging and persuading the investigating officers to drop the case. The Executive Director of the Bank, Mr Wole Akinleye, was also invited and he tried hard to derail and stop the investigation. He also wrote a letter to ask that he be exonerated from the case when it was clearly established that the bank could not explain the transactions, that the movement of funds was a form of stealing from the bank which is sometimes referred to as 'pay off source'.


“This is shown by the facts that the funds deposited were not removed in that order or in the sums deposited but carefully removed in different tranches as it is shown on the account statements. For his own part, Mr Adewole refused to cooperate with the investigations but instead did everything he could to assist the bank in covering up,” the report exclusively obtained by SaharaReporters had read.


In a petition to the Lagos State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Adewole, who is also the Managing Director of Shibawells Energy said the N1.7 billion transfer to his loan account was made in error and was reversed immediately.


He accused one businessman, Timi Popoola, who used his property as part of the collateral to secure the loan at the bank of planning to use the error to “embarrass one of its Executive Directors over some unresolved personal feud.”


The pastor added that the Commander of Area G who signed the report is a resident in one of Popoola’s property in Magodo GRA Phase II, Lagos and his good friend.


“In order to meet its obligations under the joint venture business, Shibahwells being an existing customer approached its bankers (Wema Bank Plc) for an additional facility in the sum of N500million. Wema Bank agreed to grant the facility on the condition that Shibahwells provide additional security in addition to the security that was provided for the existing facility.


“In one of such informal discussions as friend5s and neighbours, our client mentioned the above development to Timi Popoola who without hesitation, offered to release his property in Magodo G.R.A. Phase II as part of the additional security requested by Wema Bank. Our client made full disclosure to Timi Popoola on the joint venture business between Shibahwells and Star Orient, Shibahwells’ banking relationship with Wema Bank and in particular, the purpose for which the additional security was required by the bank.


“Based on the immediate foregoing and upon our client providing him some other consideration other than cash, Timi Popoola voluntarily released the title document for his Magodo property as part of the additional security required by Wema Bank for the facility obtained by Shibahwells. He also voluntarily executed all requisite documents in favour of Wema Bank in this regard.


“Having obtained the facility from Wema Bank, Shibahwells proceeded to finance the joint venture business but soon discovered that Star Orient had substantially misrepresented the facts about its financial capacity, its facilities and operational management. With this discovery, Shibahwells was left with no option but to invest heavily in the purchase of relevant equipment which Star Orient had represented was available prior to the commencement of the joint venture business.


“Shibahwells continued to finance the operations of the joint venture business with the facility obtained from Wema Bank. However, sometime in 2020, Shibahwells observed that Dare Osamo, the then Managing Director of Star Orient was fraudulently diverting funds meant for the joint venture business to other personal accounts, which consequently affected Shibahwells’ ability to finance the facility with Wema Bank. Upon further investigation, the result of the shady and fraudulent activities of Dare Osamo in the management of the funds of the joint venture business was shown to have impacted negatively on the business such that petroleum products and funds injected into the business by Shibahwells could not be easily accounted for as a result of mismanagement by Dare Osamo.


“After careful consideration of the nature of the fraud and criminal collusion that characterized the management of the joint venture business under Dare Osamo, Shibahwells as a responsible and law-abiding corporate entity notified Wema Bank and Timi Popoola. In addition, Shibahwells reported the matter at the Zone 2 Headquarters of the Nigeria Police Force, Onikan, Lagos for thorough forensic investigation and possible prosecution.


“The result of the Police investigation is now subject to criminal prosecution in Charge No. ID/15422C/2021 – The State of Lagos vs. Dare Osamo & 2 Others pending before Honourable Justice O. Ogala of the Criminal Division of the High Court of Lagos State, Ikeja. Furthermore, the investigations established a case of abuse of fiduciary/statutory duties (among other cases) against Dare Osamo during his period as Managing Director of Star Orient and this is now subject of multiple civil court actions at the Federal High Court, Lagos to wit:

(a) Suit No. FHC/L/CS/874/2020–Star Orient Nigeria Limited v. Dare Osamo & 2 Ors.

(b) Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1017/2020–Dare Osamo & Another v. Isaaki Adewole & 5 Ors.

(c) Suit No. FHC/L/CS/1054/2021 – Star Orient Nigeria Limited v. Dare Osamo & Fina Trust MFB Ltd.


“Sometime in July 2021, Timi Popoola requested for the immediate release of his title documents and discharge of his Magodo property from the Shibahwells loan obligation to Wema Bank. In response, our client stated that the process of discharge/release of the title documents would not be immediate as it would take some time, especially having regard to Shibahwells’ indebtedness to Wema Bank and which indebtedness is as a result of the mismanagement of funds invested in the Star Orient/Shibahwells joint venture.


“To meet Timi Popoola’s demand, Shibahwells approached Wema Bank with a request to withdraw Timi Popoola’s title documents from the loan obligation and to replace same with other security to be provided by the Star Orient/Shibahwells joint venture. Some of the letters by Shibahwells to Wema Bank in this regard are attached as ANNEXURE 4. In response, Wema Bank called for a reconciliation of the loan account with a view to determining the extent of Shibahwells’ indebtedness to the bank. A consultant nominated by the bank was engaged to carry out the reconciliation of Shibahwells’ loan account and in the course of that reconciliation, the consultant discovered that the loan account had been erroneously credited and debited with some funds at different times/dates.


“The consultant brought this discovery to our client’s attention and also notified Wema Bank. In reaction, Wema Bank stated that the said bank transfers into the loan account were made in error and that the same was reversed immediately on each occasion the erroneous transfers occurred. On one occasion while our client was spending time with Timi Popoola and Lanre Bamgbose, a shareholder and director in Star Orient; the issue of erroneous funds transfer to Shibahwells loan account came up for discussion whereupon each person expressed different views as to the likely origin of the funds. Our client used this opportunity to clear the doubts by informing both Timi Popoola and Lanre Bamgbose that Wema Bank had already confirmed that the transfers were made into the loan account in error and that same were reversed immediately.


“To our client’s shock, Timi Popoola furiously stated that he was going to leverage the bank’s error to embarrass one of its Executive Directors over some unresolved personal feud. Our client immediately pleaded with Timi Popoola not to toe this path of blackmail, especially since posting funds across customers’ bank accounts was typically not part of the responsibility of a bank’s Executive Director. The conversation ended on this note. 


“With a settled expectation that the doubts around the erroneous bank transfers had been resolved, our client was surprised to receive an invite from Area G Command of the Nigeria Police Force, Ogba, Lagos on 5th November 2021. Upon honouring the police invitation on 8th November 2021, our client was informed that Timi Popoola had reported a case of suspected money laundry activities perpetrated by our client and Wema Bank.”


He added, “Our client initially wondered why the matter was reported at the Area G Command of the Nigeria Police Force, Ogba. The riddle was however resolved upon a discreet investigation which revealed that apart from being a close friend and associate of Timi Popoola, ACP Ibrahim Zungura (Area Commander, ‘Area G’ Police Command, Ogba, Lagos) is also resident in one of Timi Popoola’s property in Magodo GRA Phase II, Lagos.


“During the meeting with ACP Ibrahim Zungura, our client was asked questions relating to the inflows and outflows on the Shibahwells loan account with Wema Bank. In particular, ACP Ibrahim Zungura cajoled our client to cooperate with the police so that the matter would be dispensed with at the Area G Command. Our client volunteered a written statement disclosing all he knows about the erroneous inflows and outflows on the Shibahwells loan account.


“On Wednesday 9th February 2022, our client was again invited by the Area G Police Command. And upon his arrival, ACP Ibrahim Zungura in his office, informed our client (with Timi Popoola in attendance), that the matter would be referred to court for prosecution since the parties were unable to resolve the matter amicably. From ACP Ibrahim Zungura’s office, our client and Kingsley Ananwude (Head of Oil & Gas, Wema Bank) were on the same day led to Court and arraigned before Magistrate A.O. Olayinka (Mrs.) of Court No. 2, Magistrates Court, Ogba, Lagos on 4-Count Charge of stealing and money laundering in Charge No. MIK/B/6/2022 – Commissioner of Police vs. Adewole Isaac & Kingsley Ananwude.


“At the instance of Timi Popoola, members of the Press were in attendance in numbers at the Magistrates Court, Ogba to witness and report the arraignment of our client and the 2nd Defendant in the criminal charge. This was ostensibly to damage our client’s hard-earned reputation as a businessman of almost two decades and to also bring the bank to disrepute. Although Counsel for the two Defendants applied that bail be granted in the most liberal terms, the presiding Magistrate granted bail with suffocating conditions and this resulted in the two Defendants not meeting the bail conditions until after staying at the Kirikiri Correctional facility for two consecutive nights.


“The relationship between Timi Popoola and ACP Ibrahim Zungura is too proximate to be ignored and our client reasonably believes that this is why the duo have continued to wrongfully use the instrumentality of the Nigeria Police Force to harass, embarrass, intimidate, and maliciously prosecute our client and Wema Bank’s official all in a bid to subject our client and the bank to ridicule and disrepute.


“Clearly, Timi Popoola has leveraged and continues to leverage his relationship with ACP Ibrahim Zungura to intimidate and maliciously prosecute our client and the bank’s official for no justifiable reason. Curiously, no fund of the bank is missing, and no customer of the bank has claimed its fund is missing. Yet, the police and Timi Popoola are pressing a criminal charge.”


Meanwhile, the police have charged one Ojo Oladipupo, Chief Security Officer of Wema Bank Plc, to court for attempted bribery.


He was accused of offering a policeman, ASP Jonathan Egwemi (A/P No: 143699), a monetary reward in order to stop him from carrying out a detailed investigation into the fraudulent and money laundering activities of the bank.


SaharaReporters had reported how N1.7 billion was moved to account number 0122367964, domiciled in the financial institution and operated by Adewole.


According to Adewole’s statement of account obtained by SaharaReporters, on January 28 2021 via transaction ID No: M35660, he received the sum of N424,811,000 from Caverton, N160,000,000 from Dana and N630,000,000 from Beam Energy, all with the same transaction number.


On June 18, 2021, via transaction ID No: M104031, the pastor received the sum of N300,000,000 via NIP transfer from an undisclosed account source.


Also on same June 18, 2021, via transaction ID No: M104031, Adewole received the sum of N270,000,000 from Messrs Morrifoil Oil and Gas Ltd., all totalling N1,784,811,000.


When contacted, a source at Dana Air said the airline didn’t do any transaction with Adewole nor his company, Shibawells Energy Limited.


“If I tell you we aren’t aware of this case, then I’m lying, the police some time ago invited us and we were surprised that the company’s name was used for such a fraudulent transaction. It will be wrong for me to share our bank statement with you but such a transaction wasn’t authorised by us,” a source at Dana Air had told SaharaReporters.


“We weren’t involved in such a deal, only the bank management can tell you why they use Dana’s name for the transaction. Go to the bank tomorrow and send money to anyone and use Dana as the sender they won’t stop you from doing that. Jokes apart, if we have that kind of amount, my brother, we don’t have any problem,” the source had added. 




Original Author

Saharareporters, New York

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