SaharaReporters’ investigation of the outgoing Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, has unearthed that he owns a startling $1 billion stashed away in a domiciliary account at the United Bank of Africa (UBA). Our investigations revealed that the account is being operated for Mr. Bankole by his Principal Officer, Maurice Ekpeyong.
The account was opened in 2009 and had since been operated on behalf of Bankole by Mr. Ekpeyong.
Our investigation confirms that the 41-year old outgoing Speaker had diverted funds into the account from budgetary allocations to the House of Representatives.
Sources at the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) told SaharaReporters that their investigators were stunned by the massive scale of Mr. Bankole’s money laundering activities. Two officials of the anti-corruption agency as well as a source in the Presidency disclosed that President Goodluck Jonathan was standing in the way of the EFCC’s plan to arrest Mr. Bankole in response to his latest scandal financial scam as well as a spate of other money laundering activities in their docket.
The outgoing Speaker, who has made extensive real estate deals since he became Nigeria’s fourth most powerful man, is considered to be one of the most corrupt officials in public service today in Nigeria.
He has grown immensely rich as Speaker, routinely using a variety of proxies in his extensive deals. Through such willing individuals, he has bought several houses in South Africa and the US.
The outgoing Speaker, who was trounced in his reelection bid, also recently bought the 32-storey NITEL building in Lagos for N4 billion, and is the owner of a N7 billion hotel resort undergoing construction in the Akodo area of Lekki in Lagos.
Our investigations revealed that one of Mr. Bankole’s key and most trusted money-laundering pals is Adenekan Gbadebo, the son of the Alake of Egbaland. Our sources disclosed that Mr. Gbadebo has helped Bankole move about $500 million through several bank accounts.
The Speaker and his father also recently completed seven duplexes after he tore down his father's old house in Abeokuta. Our investigations show that Mr. Bankole has built a huge mansion in Abeokuta that is completely hidden from the public through the use of tarps and construction covers.
In an investigative report in September 2010, Saharareporters had identified two ladies being used by Mr. Bankole in a N5 billion scam. The women, Angela Oselukwu and Uduak Akpan Israel, are now fugitives and have been declared wanted by the EFCC. They were involved in stealing N5 billion from the Rural Electrification Agency (REA).
Speaker Bankole and his siblings used the two fugitive women to open accounts at the UBA. Payments were then made into the accounts for the benefit of four companies belonging to the Bankoles: Vulysteke Metallic Construction Ltd, Parthenon Acropolis Nig. Ltd, Complete Trade Nig. Ltd, Zobra Global Services Ltd and F-Plus Concept Ltd.
As Speaker, Mr. Bankole was also notoriously embroiled in a N2.3 billion car scam as well as the misuse of the N9 billion capital budget of the House for 2008/2009.
Last year, the EFCC boss announced that the commission had concluded its investigation of the issue and sent its report to the presidency, but nothing further was heard from the presidency.
Mr. Bankole is also currently entrapped in another scandal in which he used the House of Representatives as collateral to obtain a personal loan of N10 billion from UBA. The loan is yet to be accounted for. The EFCC summoned Mr. Bankole to appear for interrogation last Thursday, but he did not show up. Instead, he sent a letter to the agency pleading that he was tied down by “inauguration” activities.
A baffling turn in the story is that the embattled Speaker has persuaded Mr. Goodluck Jonathan to order that the investigations against him be stopped. SaharaReporters learned today from different sources within the EFCC and the Presidency that Mr. Jonathan, who will be inaugurated tomorrow for a term of four years as President, assured the outgoing Speaker that he would prevail on the EFCC leadership to end the investigation against the speaker.
Mr. Jonathan’s intervention on behalf of the speaker contradicts pledges he made during his presidential election campaigns. Mr. Jonathan had vowed never to interfere with the work of any anti-corruption bodies.
Our Apologies It is his Junior Brother that was Arraigned for Visa Scam :
But Bank Ole na Bank Ole ! Their Cup don full !
Toyin Bankole, the younger brother of out-going Speaker House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole is now in troubled water over an alleged visa scam.
The man was today charged before an Abeokuta Chief Magistrate Court alongside another accomplice, identified as Segun Baruwa, accused of conspiring to defraud one Modinat Odunlami of N2.8million under the pretence that they would help her and her daughter secure overseas visa and admission, respectively
The police prosecutor, Paul Etusi, had on Jan. 15, 2009, told the court that Messrs Bankole and Baruwa conspired to commit fraud, by collecting money from Ms Odunlami with fake intent.
At the hearing yesterday, Mr Etusi called eight witnesses to support his claim, but only six of them were in court. He informed the court that he was ready to open the case for full trial.
The police inspector, who expressed regret that efforts by the complainant and the police to get the matter settled out of court had failed to yield result, said the accused were not ready to refund the money.
The prosecuting officer noted that the offence is contrary to and punishable under Sections 516, 419 and 390 (9) of the Criminal Code Laws of Ogun, 2006.
Defense counsel, Adedotun Akinmade, represented by Carol Omobujo, pleaded for short adjournment., saying they were not ready for trial.
The Chief Magistrate, Kolawole Peters, granted the request and adjourned till July 13, for further hearing on the matter.