The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) ON Wednesday declared a business mogul, Mr. Goodie Ibru wanted over alleged capital market fraud.
It was however gathered that the anti-graft agency is after Ibru over alleged lingering crisis on shares in Ikeja Hotels Plc.
According to a statement by the Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, Ibru is also wanted for alleged money laundering.
The statement said: “The public is hereby notified that Goodie Minabo Ibru is wanted by the EFCC in connection with a case of conspiracy, capital market fraud, stealing, diversion of funds and money laundering.
“He diverted billions of Naira and assets of Ikeja Hotels Plc, owners of Sheraton Hotel, Lagos; Federal Palace Hotel and Capital Hotel; owners of Sheraton Hotel Abuja to his personal benefit.
“Anybody having useful information as to his whereabouts should contact the commission through any of its offices located at Abuja, Kano, Gombe, Lagos, Ibadan, Maiduguri and Port Harcourt.”
A highly-placed source in EFCC said: “We have served summons on Ibru but he is yet to respond to our invitation. This is why we have declared him wanted.
“I think it is a board crisis which has made many shareholders to write a formal petition to the EFCC.
“Also, the Federal Government through the Bank of Industry has about 13.1 per cent stake in the conglomerate. So, the government’s funds are trapped too.”
There had been a crisis of confidence among shareholders of Ikeja Hotels Plc in the last one year.
Armed with a Federal High Court order, some shareholders, led by Mrs Maiden Ibru, the widow of Guardian Publisher, Mr Alex Ibru, held a controversial Extra-Ordinary General Meeting outside the Sheraton hotel premises on January 6, 2015.
But Mr. Goodie Ibru, leading other members of Ibru family, obtained an ex parte injunction from the Federal High Court, Abuja to restrain Mrs. Ibru from “calling an EGM or representing her late husband’s investment vehicle holding shares in Ikeja Hotels Plc.”
Some shareholders later purportedly sacked Goddie Ibru as the chairman and director of the company over corporate governance infractions.
They also picked Mr Olumide Braithwaite and Mr Tunde Sarumi as directors of the company.
KPMG Nigeria Ltd was mandated conduct a forensic audit of the management of the company from 1999 to 2014 when Mr. Goodie Ibru was the chairman of Ikeja Hotels Plc but Ibru, who said he would challenge his purported removal in court, said: “In the first place, the so-called EGM was not properly convened.
We have over 14,000 shareholders, none of whom was issued with the notice required by Sections 220-222 of CAMA (Companies and Allied Matters Act), nor were they afforded the opportunity to appoint proxies to vote in their stead.”