The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has withdrawn the N25.4bn corruption case it filed against the Chairman of the defunct Skye Bank (now Polaris), Tunde Ayeni; and the Managing Director, Timothy Oguntayo, after entering into a secret settlement with the businessmen that may have involved the forfeiture of N15bn in cash and assets.
The EFCC under the leadership of Ibrahim Magu, had on March 7, 2019 arraigned Ayeni, Oguntayo and two other companies before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of a Federal High Court, Abuja on 10 charges bordering on money laundering to the tune of N25.4bn.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Tunde Ayeni, whilst being the Chairman, Board of Directors of the defunct Skye Bank Plc, between the 1st of January, 2014 and 31st December, 2014 at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court did commit an offence, to wit: converting the aggregate sum of N17,415,080,000 taken in cash from defunct Skye Bank Plc Suspense Account and delivered to you by the staff of the defunct Skye Bank Plc, which money you reasonably ought to have known forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act, to wit: fraud and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 15(2)(b) and (3) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (as amended).”
At the hearing on December 8, 2020, the EFCC lawyer, Samuel Chime, stated, “Parties have made considerable progress. The prosecution has received a property in furtherance of settlement in this matter; a property in Lagos which the defendants relinquished. But we had to rely on AMCON and Skye Bank who are the nominal complainant in this matter.
AMCON did not accept the value as N15bn. They valued the property at N10bn. As a result of this, the defendants have agreed to provide an additional N5bn.”
The certified true copies of the records of proceedings obtained by our reporter showed that the EFCC decided to withdraw the charges it filed against Ayeni and the ex-MD of the bank, informing the court that a settlement had been reached.
However, the final amount of money Ayeni and his co-defendant reportedly returned was never made public, unlike other cases involving bank executives.