A civil society coalition, Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), has petitioned the British government to drop Businessman Jimoh Ibrahim as a speaker at an anti-corruption conference organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in conjunction with the Nigerian Police and the London Metropolitan Police, saying he lacks the credibility to speak on anti-corruption issues.
Mr. Ibrahim is one of the resource persons billed to speak at the weeklong conference on corporate fraud.
In the petition addressed to the British High Commissioner, Andrew Pocock and his deputy, Chairman of CSNAC, Lanre Suraju, says based on several allegations of mismanagement and corruption against Mr Ibrahim, he is not a fit and proper person to speak on such occasion.
“A critical review of the performances of those businesses lives no one in doubt, the not-too-impressive performance of those companies, with allegations of malpractices in the trail of Mr Ibrahim’s management supervision and involvement. It is worthy of note that Mr Ibrahim has over the past years been under investigation for several frauds related acts.”
Mr. Suraju says the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRs) investigated Mr. Ibrahim for a N3.5 billion tax evasion. He also pointed out that last month Mr. Ibrahim was arraigned in a New York court by a US firm, Aersale Inc for an $8 million debt.
According to Mr. Suraju, curiously one of the organisers of the conference, the CBN had accused Mr Ibrahim of embezzling a whooping sum of N36 billion federal aviation bailout fund meant to kick life into the dying sector. He says Mr Ibrahim had also been investigated for money laundering in the past.
Further, Mr. Suraju says the businessman has a long history of buying over companies and grounding them.
“Mr. Ibrahim has, aside his personal enterprises, bought over a number of Nigerian companies and grounded all with the exception of none. These include Air Nigeria, Energy oil, Nicon Insurance, Nigerian airways and most recently, Newswatch Magazine.”
Mr. Suraju also alleges that Mr. Ibrahim was accused by former employees for deducting tax and pension contributions from their salaries without remitting such to the appropriate authorities as required by law.
Mr. Suraju thus advised the British government to dissociate itself from such a dubious person saying Mr Ibrahim was picked as a speaker by the Nigerian Police “to repackage him for public acceptance.”
“We believe that the United Kingdom Citizens will be concerned to note that the Metropolitan Police, funded through their taxes is associated with co-organising a programme with such personality as a resource person. It is our assumption that the British Government and people are not in league with these institutions in legitimizing fraud and corporate mismanagement through this event.”