BEZ Fredricks LLP, a governance and compliance legal practice firm representing some investors of Union Bank Nigeria Plc, has urged the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), to intervene over what it said is a fraudulent sale of Union Bank Plc’s $2 billion shares to an Indian company.
In the petition, titled: “Urgent Need to Stop the Announced Sale of UK Subsidiary of Union Bank of Nigeria to MBU Capital Due to Ongoing Criminal Investigations”, and signed by Chief Agabaidu Jideani, BEZ Fredrick LLP accused some highly placed individuals, serving and former top government officials; and former top management staff of Union Bank of being responsible for the acquisition of the $2bn worth of shares of the bank.
The petition read in part, “Our petition requested the AGF to activate both local and global alert warning to stop the announced re-sell of the shares by the phony owners pending the conclusion of the criminal investigations by the Department of State Security (DSS) and the Department of Public Prosecution of the Federation (DPPF).
“We had also notified the UK regulator, the Financial Conducts Authority, to suspend the planned sale of Union Bank UK to MBU Capital. This notice was circulated to regulators in Canada, the USA and Mauritius.”
Chief Jideani further said the petition raised the alarm that the purported owners of the bank were aware of the ongoing criminal investigations, but were in a hurry to unjustly enrich themselves by offloading the shares before the whole transaction was cancelled.
According to him, this same UK subsidiary is directly implicated in the fraudulent change of ownership transactions being investigated.
The petition further read that, “This is to ensure that more than 65,000 Nigeria’s former shareholders whose shares were diluted from 85 per cent to less than 15 per cent of public float to still be listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).