Ownership of OMSL: Ayeni lost again, Police investigation vindicates Capt. Okunbo
…Ayeni’s allegation is baseless – Police
The embattled former Managing Director/Chairman of the defunct Skye Bank Plc, Mr. Tunde Ayeni, suffered a setback, yet again, in his Ocean Marine Services Limited (OMSL) ownership claim, this is just as the Nigeria Police has described as false and baseless all the allegations of corruption and manipulation Ayeni levelled against his bossom friend, Captain Idahosa Okunbo- business mogul and philanthropist.
Ayeni had earlier dragged Okubo to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on allegations of mismanagement, stealing and diversion of funds from OMS Limited. The corporation after investigation later found the allegation as lacking substance.
Ayeni has continued to write several petition to the anti-graft commission with the aim of indicting his former business partner and friend, accusing him of all corrupt acts.
The Nigeria Police in a letter titled, ‘Police Investigation Report,’ obtained from the office of the Inspector-General of Police, dated Tuesday 16 March, 2021, addressed to Alegeh & Co, the legal representatives of Capt. Hosa.
The letter, duly signed by head, IGP Monitoring Unit, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) A. Elleman, said the allegations could not be established as there were documentary evidence which confirmed Capt Hosa as the lawful owner of the company as Ayeni had sold his shares in the company to the later.
The IGP investigation Report has confirmed and validated the EFCC REPORT of 2019 which stated that Ayeni has sold his shares in OMS
The letter reads in part: “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. Idahosa Wells-Okunbo could not be established as there were documentary evidence provided by the Suspect- Capt. Idahosa Weels-Okunbo which clearly shows that he has lawfully acquired Dr. Ayeni’s interest in Ocean Marine Solution Limited (OMS) for a valuable consideration of N2,000,000,000.00 (Two Billion Naira) only. So also, the allegation of Criminal Diversion of Company Funds is baseless, malicious and false as it hasn’t been proven by the Complainant.”
The latest acquittal is sequel to a similar one by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) in June 2019.
The EFCC had in a letter EFCC/EC/GC/31/2538 dated June 25, 2019 and signed by director of operations, Mohammed Umar Abba said investigations on alleged diversion of N29.5 billion from the defunct Skye Bank Plc did not indict Capt. Okundo as alleged by Dr Ayeni.
The EFCC in that letter explained that its investigations at the Corporate affairs Commission revealed the Dr. Ayeni had on the 8th August, 2018 sold 35 million ordinary shares of OMS and 37,2 million ordinary shares in PPP Fluid Mechanics Limited to Wells Property Development Company Limited, a subsidiary of OMS.
The letter reads: “Investigations carried out so far reveals that Dr. Tunde Ayeni is no longer a Director and shareholder of Ocean Marine Solutions Limited and PPP Fluid Mechanics Limited as he has since sold his entire shares and resigned his appointment as Director and Shareholder of the companies.
“Consequent upon the foregoing, the Commission’s investigations so far did not indict the Chairman of Ocean Marines Solutions and its subsidiary companies, Capt. Idahosa Wells Okunbo on the alleged diversion of 29.5 billion naira from the defunct Skye Bank Plc, by Dr Tunde Ayeni,”
Lawyer to the later, Augustine O. Alegeh, SAN, in a letter dated March 18, 2021 has asked the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN to promptly intervene and forestall further attempts by Dr Ayeni to duplicate the investigation by sending the same petition to the newly appointed chairman of EFCC and other agencies.
“We also seize this opportunity to place on record our appreciation and that of Our Clients for your prompt intervention in forestalling the attempt by Dr. Tunde Ayeni to duplicate the investigation by sending the same Petition to both the Office of the Inspector-General of Police and the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
We respectfully request the Honourable Attorney-General and Minister of Justice to notify the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Commission of the outcome of the investigation by the Office of the Inspector General of Police so that the matter can be put to rest and treated as closed.
The law firm also informed, the newly appointed chairman of EFCC, Abdulrasheed Bawa, of the development and the need to authenticate the Police report taking cognisance of Commission’s earlier report on the subject.
The twist in relations between the two dates back to 2017 when Ayeni under the interrogation of EFCC over infractions by the Board and Management of Skye Bank Plc under his management , told the Commission’s investigators that the sum of N29.5 billion he confessed to have been diverted by the bank was invested in acquiring shares in OMS and its subsidiary.
EFCC findings –
But diligent investigations carried out by the EFCC team found his claims to be false. It would seem that Ayeni had expected Capt Hosa to bail him out one way or the other.
Meanwhile, the IGP Monitoring team in the latest report said, “Upon the receipt of the petition and in compliance with the directive of the Inspector General of Police that, the matter under reference should be investigated, on the 7th January 2021, the suspect (Captain Idahosa Wells-Okunbo) volunteered a statement under word of caution and denied all the allegations levelled against him and presented all the documentary evidence to support his claims and transactions that took place between him (Captain Idahosa Wells-Okunbo) and the complainant (Dr Tunde Ayeni).
“All the documents submitted by the suspect (Captain Idahosa Wells-Okunbo) were perused, scrutinised and forensically investigated and were found to be genuine and they were all endorsed by the parties (Dr Tunde Ayeni and Captain Idahosa Wells-Okunbo) to the transactions.”
According to the report, the police, during the investigations revealed that all the requisite documents were copied and distributed by the parties to all stakeholders and relevant agencies, and thereafter invited Ayeni on account of his statements.
The Police during their investigations revealed that both men had been friends since 2003, which led to a lot of business relationships, one of which was Ocean Marine Security Limited, which later rebranded as Ocean Marine Solutions Limited.
Tracing the ownership structure of the company, the report said, “That Ocean Marine Solutions Limited, then, had the following shareholders, Captain Idahosa Wells-Okunbo – 46%; Dr Tunde Ayeni – 35%; Garth Dooley – 14%; Admiral Augustus Aikhomu originally has 5%, which was subsequently re-acquired by Captain Idahosa Wells-Okunbo and Dr Tunde Ayeni, who also became chairman and vice-chairman respectively.
“That the complainant, Dr Tunde Ayeni, voluntarily and legally transferred his shares and that of his wife from Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMS) and its subsidiaries to Capt Idahosa Wells-Okunbo in consideration of the total sum of N2billion, which the complainant (Dr Tunde Ayeni) acknowledged receipt of same and resigned his membership from the board of Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMS) and its subsidiaries.”
The report, therefore, concluded thus: “That the allegations of stealing and criminal diversion of company funds as alleged by the complainant, Dr Tunde Ayeni against the suspect, Captain Idahosa Wells-Okunbo could not be established as there was documentary evidence provided by the suspect – Captain Idahosa Wells-Okunbo, which clearly shows that Captain Idahosa Okunbo, has lawfully acquired Dr Tunde Ayeni’s interest in Ocean Marine Solutions Limited (OMS) for a valuable consideration of N2, 000, 000, 000 (Two Billion Naira only).
“So, also, the allegation of criminal diversion of company funds is baseless, malicious and false as it hasn’t been proven by the complainant.”
The report has since been forwarded to the EFCC and the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, thus, foreclosing Ayeni’s false allegations against Okunbo and his attempt to return to the company through other means possible.
Meanwhile, sources within the police have alleged blackmail and attempt to influence the report by Ayeni, saying sources within his camp have threatened to go on a media onslaught in the bid to change the situation in his favour.
“A close associate, who takes side with true position hinted me of a damaging allegation in the making. The intention is to blackmail the police over the report and further accuse Captain Hosa of influencing the process. Please, note that figures will be alleged,” the police source hinted.
However, in his separate letters to the AGF and the EFCC, Okunbo through his lawyer, Augustine Alegeh of Alegeh and Co. asked the authorities to review the outcome of the investigation by the officers of the Inspector General of police so that the matter can be put to rest an d treated as closed,” the letter stated.