By Babajide Okeowo
Following a report by the Nigerian Police that an allegation brought by Tunde Ayeni, a former chairman of the board of directors, Skye Bank Plc against Hosa Okunbo, his former business partner is baseless, the petitioner has called for the reassignment of the case alleging that due diligence was not accorded the petition.
Femi Falana, Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN, counsel to Ayeni, said the Inspector General Of Police IGP monitoring team has not done much on the matter.
The lawyer explained that the parties had earlier reached a resolution until the police said it had a report.
“Contrary to media report, the Monitoring Unit of the Inspector-General of Police has not commenced an investigation into the allegations contained in the petition of Tunde Ayeni against his business partner, Capt Hosa Okunbo. Apart from inviting Tunde Ayeni to adopt his petition, the Monitoring Unit of the Inspector-General of Police has not taken any other step in the matter,” Falana wrote in a statement on Monday.
“Specifically, Capt. Okunbo has not been invited to react to the said petition. To that extent, the petition has not been challenged in any material particular.
“Meanwhile, both parties have since agreed to explore an amicable resolution of their business dispute. Consequently, the lawyers of the parties have held fruitful discussions in respect of the claims and counterclaims of their clients. The IGP Monitoring Unit has been fully briefed on the progress made so far in the matter.
“However, in a desperate move to frustrate the amicable resolution of the dispute, the IGP Monitoring Unit is alleged to have produced a “report” of an investigation that has not been conducted. As if that was not enough, the ‘report’ was addressed to Capt Hosa Okunbo’s lawyer and circulated to media houses. But up till now, the IGP Monitoring Unit has not deemed it fit to furnish us with a copy of the ‘report’.”
Falana added that Mohammed Adamu, Inspector-General Of Police, has been asked to assign the petition to another team of officers to conduct a thorough investigation into the allegations.
Recall that Ayeni, in a petition to both the police and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ayeni had accused Okunbo of gross mismanagement and criminal diversion of company funds.
Ayeni had claimed that Okunbo, who had been his business partner since 2003, deceived him and took over control of the company — Ocean Marine Solutions Limited — while he was undergoing a court trial, which he claimed had distracted him.
In a letter by the inspector-general of police (IGP) monitoring unit, addressed to Augustine Alegeh, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and Okunbo’s lawyer, the police said Ayeni’s accusations are baseless.
“From the foregoing, it is pertinent to state that the allegations of stealing and criminal diversion of company funds as alleged by the complainant — Dr. Tunde Ayeni — against the suspect, Capt. Hosa Wells-Okunbo, could not be established as there was documentary evidence that was provided by the suspect — Capt. Hosa Wells-Okunbo — which clearly shows that Capt. Hosa Okunbo has lawfully acquired Dr. Tunde Ayeni’s interest in Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMS) for the valuable consideration of
N2,000,000,000.00 (Two Billion Naira) only,” part of the letter read.
The police added that “the allegation of criminal diversion of company funds is baseless, malicious and false as it hasn’t been proven by the complainant”.