The former Managing Director of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr Tony Emumelu, has given the chairman of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public petition, Ayo Akinyelure, seven days to retract a statement credited to him, alleging that he was involved in a N41 billion fraud case.
Lawyers to Elumelu, in a letter to the Akinyelure, threatened to take the lawmaker to court should he fail to retract and publicly apologise to Elumelu over the ‘false allegation and defamation’.
The committee chairman was reported to have claimed that Elumelu, who is also the chairman of Tony Elumelu Foundation, and the Heirs Holding group was indicted in a N41 billion naira fraud case when he was the Managing Director of the bank.
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
According to Akinyelure, ‘the said sum was withdrawn systematically from NITEL for nine years under Tony Elemelu watch and two other former Managing Directors of United Bank for Africa.
‘Acting on a petition a petition by counsel to NITEL, JU Ayogu and Co, the Senate committee has summoned the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the United Bank for Africa, Kennedy Uzoka to appear before the committee on August 5, 2020.’
But in a letter by his lawyers, Lawal Rabana and Oluwakemi Balogun, the senior advocates stressed that their client (Elumelu) was alarmed and appalled by this deliberate peddling of falsehood and
misinformation against an unblemished personal and business reputation, painstakingly built by their Client over several decades with great personal sacrifice and unquestionable integrity.
According to the lawyers, ‘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 is in total disregard of the Rules of Senate and the Rule of Law,’ the letter read.
The lawyers 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 stated.