Businessmen Tunde Ayeni, Hosa Okubo fight over takeover of business

Tunde Ayeni

Former chairman, board of directors of the defunct Skye Bank Plc Tunde Ayeni has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), alleging forceful takeover of a company by his partner, Hosa Okunbo.

In a petition dated December 7, 2020, Mr Ayeni urged the EFCC through his lawyer Femi Falana to probe alleged gross mismanagement and criminal diversion of company funds by Mr Okunbo.

Ayeni claimed Okunbo, his partner at Ocean Marine Solutions (OMS) Limited since 2003, schemed him out of the control of the company.

According to him, he and Okunbo invested in the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company (IBEDC), but his partner moved the company’s account to another bank and abandoned repayment of a $100 million loan used for the acquisition of the firm.

The petition reads: “Subsequently, Capt. Hosa Okunbo told our client that all accounts of the businesses that he was involved in for which he was a signatory, was being rumoured to be closed because of the trial our client was facing, and it was important for him to step aside from the Ocean Marine and its subsidiaries structure and hand over to him, so that he could protect the income sources as that was the only source of income with which to fund the faithful repayment of the gross liabilities, which were well over $150 million owed to a consortium of banks led by Polaris Bank over the acquisition of the IBEDC and the YEDC DisCos as at the time.”

Ayeni said he heeded to Okunbo’s advice, adding that at no time did he discuss the sale of his interest in OMS or any of its subsidiaries or affiliates with Okunbo.

The company, he said, rakes in $9 million monthly as income.

Ayeni further said he became distracted from the daily operations of the company following the law suit against him in 2016 when the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) took over Skye Bank Plc, now Polaris Bank Limited.

He also accused his partner of refusing to pay back $2 million he took from the company to fund the current Liberian president’s election, adding that he and his partner gave about $6 million to another businessman Ned Nwoko.

But in reaction, OMS said Ayeni holds no shares in the company and its associated companies having sold them to Wells Property Development Company Limited since 2018.

The company also stated “unequivocally that its accounts are in good and correct order and its funds are intact and not missing, misappropriated or otherwise mismanaged.”

Mr Nwoko also reacted, saying he had no dealings with Ayeni or OMS in relation to the transaction mentioned.

“I have never received any sum from Ayeni which he purported in his petition and he has never played any role whatsoever as it relates to this transaction.

“All transactions on the subject matter were done directly with Capt. (Dr.) Idahosa Wells Okunbo in his personal capacity to the exclusion of any other party including Ocean Marine Solutions Limited. To suggest otherwise as contained in the said petition is merely a malicious statement devoid of truth,” he said.