Former Managing Director of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Dr. Tony Elumelu has given the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petition, Senator Ayo Akinyelure seven days, to retract a statement credited to him, indicting the eminent banker in a N41billion fraud allegation.
Lawyers to Dr. Elumelu, in a letter to Senator Akinyelure, threatened to drag the lawmaker to court if he fails to retract and publicly apologize to Dr. Elumelu over his reported indictment on the said fraud allegation.
The committee Chairman was reported to have claimed that Dr. Elumelu, who is also the Chairman of Tony Elumelu Foundation and Heirs Holding Group, was indicted in a N41 billion naira fraud, when he was the Managing Director of UBA.
According to the Senate Committee Chairman on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, “the N41billion alleged fraud was committed against the defunct Telecommunication company and National Carrier, NITEL
“The said sum was withdrawn systematically from NITEL for nine years under Tony Elemelu’s watch and two other former Managing Directors of United Bank for Africa,” Akinyelure was quoted.
Acting on a petition by counsel to NITEL, J.U Ayogu and Co, the Senate Committee has summoned the Group Managing Director (GMD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the United Bank for Africa, Kennedy Uzoka to appear before the committee on August 5, 2020.
However, in a letter by his lawyers, Lawal Rabana, SAN and Oluwakemi Balogun, SAN, the Senior Advocates stressed that their client, Dr Elumelu, was alarmed and appalled by this deliberate peddling of falsehood and misinformation against an unblemished personal and business reputation, painstakingly built over several decades, with great personal sacrifice and unquestionable integrity.
The lawyers stated, “It is important to emphasize that when UBA appeared before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, attention was drawn to the fact that the facts and circumstances leading to the disputes on the alleged financial indebtedness was pending before the Supreme Court in SC/CV/112/2020.
“It was resolved that given the pendency of the matter at the Supreme Court, it was sub-judice and all actions on the matter be suspended.
“It is shocking and sacrilegious that a matter pending at the Apex Court could be subjected to debate, contrary to the Rules of the Senate and by extension, the Principle of Law that when a matter is sub-judice, it should not be subjected to debate before a decision is reached by the Court.
“The publications ascribed to Senator Ayo Akinyelure are in total disregard of the Rules of Senate and the Rule of Law”.
The lawyers therefore demanded an immediate, open, public and unreserved retraction of the said statements credited to Senator Akinyelure as well as an apology from Senator Akinyelure for “this false allegation and defamation” of their Client.
“We have our Client’s further instruction to take all appropriate legal actions against Senator Akinyelure and his media agents if our above stated demand is not met within Seven (7) days of their receipt of our demand letter,” the lawyers added.