By Jonathan Ugbal
Professor Emmanuel Ofeimun whom the Executive Chairman of the Cross River State Universal Basic Education Board (CRSUBEB), Dr. Stephen Odey had claimed attempted to defraud the board of NGN1.3 Billion may have been a victim of fraudsters, findings by CrossRiverWatch have revealed.
Dr. Odey had, in May 2019 while disclosing the alleged failed fraud claimed that the perpetrators had forged a letter with his signature using an old letterhead asking for the bank to transfer a certain sum to an account belonging to WRTS Nigeria Limited. He had also claimed that Professor Ofeimun claimed he owned thecompany, an allegation he denied.
“We are financial consultants,” Ofeimun told CrossRiverWatch on phone, adding that: “WRTS came to us through someone we know.”
He explained that the firm had brought documents asking them to intervene as they were yet to receive payment from CRSUBEB despite the board’s claim that such monies had been paid to them.
Ofeimun said he unsuspectingly contacted the bank with a request for fund tracing.
In a mail to the bank, Ofeimun requested for the location of the NGN1.3 billion allegedly paid by CRSUBEB to WRTS attaching documents provided by that company.
CrossRiverWatch gathered from sources close to Professor Ofeimun who had described Odey’s statement as a, “gross maladjustment of facts,” pointed out that the person he had contacted in the bank, notified authorities and they called Dr. Odey who immediately reported the matter to the Chief Security Officer to Governor Ben Ayade, Mark Anyogo, a Chief Superintendent of Police. Mr. Anyogo is said to have swung into action and contacted the SSS to investigate.
Ofeimun who confirmed that he had contacted Eco Bank, stressed that as a consultant, “we are the people that communicate with the bank.”
“We contacted the bank and made it official . The bank in turn reached out to CRSUBEB. Again, we dont think that CRSUBEB had any relationship with WRTS as they are the fraudsters. It was not wrong for offshorecapital to receive a brief and act on it as part of her due dilligence,” Ofeimun added.
According to him, he honored the invitation at the Abuja office of the SSS and was transferred to the Calabar office for questioning.
He was later released when according to him, he was not found wanting. However, CrossRiverWatch gathered that the SSS is continuing with investigations.
Now, a document obtained by CrossRiverWatch purportedly originating from CRSUBEB, signed by Mr. Odey, dated April 29, 2019 and addressed to the Head of Operations of Eco Bank at its Head Office in Lagos requested the reconciliation of an error in posting of the sum of NGN2.6 billion posted to Westminster Railway Transport Systems limited to WRTS Nigeria limited.
The letter titled: “RE – ACCOUNT RECONCILIATION B/W O. S. ADI A/c Nr. 0392007550 AND WRTS NIG. LTD A/c Nr. 1013988194 TOTAL AMOUNT POSTED N2.6B (N1.3B TWICE) TO WESTMINSTER RAILWAY TRANSPORT SYSTEMS LTD ZENITH INSTEAD OF TO WRTS NIGERIA LTD ZENITH A/C Nr 1013988194,” directed the bank’s Head of Operations office to, “reconcile the posting transactions carried out on 4th March 2019, from account name Odey Stephen Adi, ECO Bank Account A/c Nr. 0392007550 for a Marching Grant Fund credit to Westminster Railway Transport Systems Ltd, Zenith Bank Plc A/c Number 1013988194 instead should be WRTS Nigeria Ltd A/c Number 1013988194.”
The letter with the rejoined reference, “EBN TXNS IFO + 1,” also demanded that the bank assists to “reconcile the error and post to the correct account name WRTS NIGERIA LTD Zenith Bank A/c Nr. 1013988194 the sum of N1,300,000,000.00 posted twice same day (4th March 2019), total sum of N2.6B to the beneficiary account Zenith Bank A/c Nr. 1013988194 WRTS Nigeria Ltd Oyo Imperial Hostel Project.”
A quick search by this reporter showed that the account number 1013988194 domiciled with Zenith Bank had the account name “WRTS NIG LTD – OIH PROJECT ACCOUNT,” instead of the one raised in that document.
This means the content of the document was not entirely correct concerning the name of the company.
Odey had said that Ofeimun was the owner of WRST, an allegation he denied. And, a public search on the website of the Corporate Affairs Commission showed that it was incorporated on February 15, 2010 with RC 869666 with office address at 4th Floor, Western House, 8-10 Broad street, Lagos.
Ofeimun’s Offshore Capital and Asset Investment LLC was registered with the CAC on May 17, 2002 with office at Area 11, Garki, Abuja.
Another search showed that the account number 0392007550 domiciled with Eco Bank had the account name “UBE MATCHING GRANT FUND ACCOUNT,” in place of “Odey Stephen Adi” as stated in the document.
Also, the screenshot of an alert or debit note sighted by CrossRiverWatch which Offshore Asset had relied on to send a request for fund tracing to Eco Bank showed that the transaction had failed.
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