A Nigerian police report has revealed how Wema Bank Plc offered a bribe to the police officer investigating the N1.7 billion illegally transferred to account number 0122367964 domiciled in the financial institution and operated by a certain Isaac Adewole, pastor of the Redeemed Christian Church of God by the high officials of the bank.
Wema Bank staff members singled out for fraudulent activity include the bank’s chief executive, Wole Akinleye; Head of Cooperate Banking, Emmanuel Edah, and Head of Oil and Gas, Kingsley Ananwude.
The report signed by the Commander of Area G, Lagos, ACP Ibrahim Zungura, states that several fraudulent transactions were made through the account.
“The guilt of the WEMA Bank agents was confirmed when the agents attempted to bribe the investigators with large envelopes containing cash.
“The officers refused the bribes but the Bank persisted. Officials spent time begging and persuading investigating officers to drop the case. The Bank’s Executive Director, Mr. Wole Akinleye, was also invited and he worked hard to derail and stop the investigation. He also wrote a letter asking 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 bank robbery which is sometimes called ‘pay off the source’.
“This is evidenced by the facts that the funds deposited were not withdrawn in that order or in the sums deposited, but carefully withdrawn in different installments as shown on the account statements. For his part, Mr. Adewole refused to cooperate with the investigations but instead did everything he could to help the bank cover up,” reads the report obtained exclusively by SaharaReporters.
Meanwhile, the police have charged a certain Ojo Oladipupo, head of security of Wema Bank Plc, in court with attempted bribery.
He was accused of offering a police officer, ASP Jonathan Egwemi (A/P No: 143699), a monetary reward in order to prevent him from carrying out a detailed investigation into the bank’s fraudulent and money laundering activities. .
“That you Ojo Oladipupo “M” and others now at large at the same date, time and location in the aforementioned Magisterial District intentionally attempted to offer to A/P Station Officer No: 143699 ASP Jonathan Egwemi a monetary reward in order to reframe him to carry out a detailed investigation into the fraudulent and money laundering activities of your organization i.e. WEMA Bank Nigeria Plc and thereby committed an offense contrary to and punishable under Section 64 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State in Nigeria,” one of the counts read.
SaharaReporters had reported how N1.7 billion was fraudulently transferred to account number 0122367964, domiciled at the financial institution and operated by Adewole.
Several sources close to the fraud said Adewole, who is also chief executive of Shibawells Energy Limited, approached the bank in 2018 for a loan to boost its oil trading business using its neighbor’s assets as collateral. .
By granting the loan to the pastor, the financial institution opened an account for him where the money was deposited.
The account was, however, used to illegally transfer N1.7 billion from the bank in 2021 to several accounts run by top staff and their proxies.
“He used his neighbour’s house as collateral for the loan he was given and promised to return it within six months. But three years later, the man approached him for his house document, it was then that he informed him of the fraudulent act. He said the bank paid 1.7 billion naira into the account using different multinational companies like Dana Airlines, Caverton Helicopter and two others, a 300 million naira, a 270 million naira, a 600 million naira and like that, it’s just one of the transactions they didn’t put a name there,” a police officer involved in the case told SaharaReporters.
“Guess what they do afterwards, they have now transferred this 1.7 billion naira from Adewole’s account to different bank accounts in installments. Like the one I told you – 600 million naira, they have it immediately placed in another account in the form of 150 million naira, 100 million naira, 100 million naira, 90 million naira The pastor’s account is known as Shibawells Energy Limited The one for Dana to which they have moved 160 million naira, that’s how they did it too, they immediately sent it to another account in smaller units as well.
“So the pastor approached the bank instead of the police. The management staff involved called him and asked him what he wanted, they have now come to an agreement that the bank will give him an additional loan of N1.5 billion and he agreed. Remember I told you that this man is the managing director of Shibawells Energy Limited, a company that supplies aviation fuel. So we realized it was well planned and the names of Dana, Caverton and others were intentionally used to cover up the fraud so people wouldn’t notice. We also realized in our investigation that this money had been given to the banks by the CBN and that these senior officials had to use an account to take it out and use it for something else.
“He has a partner, we called him and realized he was unaware of the transaction. He was shocked, he realized that the statement presented to him was falsified to hide the fraudulent transaction.
According to Adewole’s account statement 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 #: M104031, Pastor received the sum of 300,000,000 PINs via a PIN transfer from an undisclosed account source.
Still on the same June 18, 2021, via transaction ID n°: M104031, Adewole received the sum of N270,000,000 from MM. Morrifoil Oil and Gas Ltd., all for a total of N1,784,811,000.
When contacted, a Dana Air source said the airline had not made any transactions with Adewole or his company, Shibawells Energy Limited.
“If I tell you that we are not aware of this case then I am lying, the police invited us some time ago and we were surprised that the name of the company was used for such a fraudulent transaction. It would be a mistake for me to share our bank statement with you but such a transaction was not authorized by us,” a Dana Air source told SaharaReporters.
“We were not involved in such a transaction, only the management of the bank can tell you why they use the name Dana 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 this. Kidding aside, if we have that kind of amount, bro, we have no problem,” the source added.
In January 2022, a group, Transparency Nigeria Group, petitioned the Central Bank of Nigeria to remove Wema Bank’s chief executive, Ademola Ademise, for alleged fraud.
The group, in a statement from Dahiru Mohammed, its director of communications, alleged that Ademise grossly abused his position as CEO of the bank and violated several CBN regulations.
According to the group, Wema Bank, under the supervision of Ademise, concealed a massive fraudulent scheme perpetrated by companies and proxies of the national leader of the Congress of All Progressives, Bola Tinubu.
Calling for his immediate removal, TNG said: “By doing this, Mr. Ademise breached his fiduciary duties and allowed a powerful politician to use Wema Bank as a clearinghouse for laundered funds.
The group referred to an article dated November 23, 2020 by Peoples Gazette where bank statements showed that Ocean Trust Limited, a company linked to Tinubu, mixed billions of naira between its accounts with Wema Bank.
The newspaper documented the transaction between January and June 2019 on how Ocean Trust summarily transferred 16.4 billion naira from its trading accounts to a fixed deposit account, all domiciled at Wema Bank.
This was after the court case involving Dayo Apara, a former chief executive of Alpha Beta, a company partly owned by Tinubu.
Ocean Trust was specifically mentioned in Apara’s court documents as one of the companies allegedly used to siphon off funds from Alpha-Beta, the controversial Lagos tax contractor.
According to the report, Alpha Beta has received billions of naira from the Lagos Treasury since Tinubu was governor.
Apara claimed that the company had received 150 billion naira over the past 15 years from Lagos.