Court orders Akingbola to return N164 billion to Access Bank

A High Court in London has found the former chief executive officer of Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola guilty of misappropriating the bank’s funds and diverting the money for his personal use.

Delivering the judgement in a fraud lawsuit filed by Access Bank  against Mr Akingbola, presiding judge Michael Burton ruled comprehensively in favour of the bank in respect of all aspects of its claims against the defendant.

In his ruling, Judge Burton said Mr Akingbola is responsible for directing the bank to buy its own shares at a loss of about N145 billion, siphoning money to companies controlled by him or his family and using Intercontinental bank’s funds to buy real estate in the U.K.

According to the judgment, Mr Akingbola wrongfully caused the bank to acquire 3.7 billion of its own shares between 2007 and 2009, and that he directed about 68 million pounds to a group of companies in which he had an interest in order to help them pay off “substantial debts”.

Intercontinental Bank one of eight lenders bailed out by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in 2009 after a debt crisis caused in part by loans to speculators in equities was later acquired by Access Bank.

The CBN had asked the U.K. to extradite Mr Akingbola after the bailout, though he later returned voluntarily to Nigeria in July 2010 to face the criminal case.

A trial in that matter is still ongoing.

Judgement delivered by Justice Michael Burton on the case: Access Bank Plc vs Erastus Bankole Oladipo Akingbola.