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N13bn fraud: Heritage Bank denies EFCC investigation

*It’s a routine investigation into possible red flags

Heritage Bank Plc has said neither its managing director nor any member of its management team is being investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission over an alleged N13billion fraud.

A report in some media publications had said the EFCC was after the bank’s Managing Director, Ifie Sekibo, quoted sources at the commission as saying that he was invited for his role in the alleged diversion of N13billion belonging to the Oyo State Government.

But the bank, in a statement, said, “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 Group Head, Corporate Communications, Heritage Bank, Fela Ibidapo, said the account being investigated by the EFCC was not related to the Oyo State Government.

He said, “over the last week, the bank has fully cooperated with the EFCC by providing various documents and presented its staff members 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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