Thursday, 10 September 2015

EFCC arrests BGL boss for over N28.9bn fraud, Okumagba

EFCC arrests BGL boss for over N28.9bn fraud, Okumagba

Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission have arrested the Group Managing Director of BGL Plc, a Lagos-based financial services company, Mr. Albert Okumagba, for alleged N28.9bn fraud.

An operative of the commission, who confided in our correspondent, said that those investigating the matter had been grilling the BGL boss for allegedly obtaining money by false pretences.

Though Okumagba on Thursday made a bid for his freedom but he failed to obtain an interim injunction barring the EFCC from arresting him.

Justice Mohammed Yunusa refused to grant the ex parte application argued by Okumagba’s counsel, Kolawole Reheem.

He also refused to order the EFCC to appear in court to justify why Okumagba’s prayers should not be granted.

Rather than grant Okumagba’s prayers, Justice Yunusa asked that the processes should be served on the respondents in Lagos as prayed in reliefs 5 and 6.

Our correspondents found that Okumagba was picked up by anti-graft operatives on Wednesday in response to a petition by the by the Security and Exchange Commission in May, 2015.

An EFCC source said, “The EFCC has arrested Mr. Albert Okumagba, Group Managing Director of BGL Plc, a financial services company, for offences allegedly bordering on obtaining money by false pretences.

“The 51-year-old, who hails from Delta State, was picked up late Wednesday, September 9, 2015, by operatives of the EFCC.

“His arrest was triggered by investigation into a petition submitted to the anti-graft agency by the Security and Exchange Commission in May 2015.

“The suspect is alleged to have diverted the sum of N28.9bn being proceeds of private placements of 4.3bn ordinary shares of 50k each at N7.00k per share in 2007.

“The company, whose subsidiaries include BGL Capital, BGL Private Equity, BGL Security and BGL Asset Management, allegedly lured 50 investors from across the country into subscribing to the company’s shares, promising them options of liquidity and exit within two years.”

It was stated that the investors were not able to liquidate their assets contrary to the promise made to them and that an alleged promise that BGL would be listed on the Securities and Exchange Commission two years after the offer in 2008 was not fulfilled

The Head of Media and Publicity of the EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, confirmed the arrest and interrogation of the BGL boss.

No fewer than 40 petitions were said to have been sent to the SEC against BGL by aggrieved capital market investors in the country as well as the Rivers State Ministry of Finance.

The SEC had earlier announced the suspension of the BGL Group from capital market activities on the strength of the allegations contained in the petitions.

But on May 27, 2015, BGL had obtained an interim injunction by Justice Saliu Saidu restraining SEC from suspending it from participating in capital market activities.

Also on July 21, 2015, the firm obtained another interim injunction by Justice Mohammed Idris stopping the plan by SEC to hear the various petitions against it.