Oba Otudeko, chairman
Ecobank Nigeria Plc and Radisson Blu Hotels and Resorts have recently acquired two prime real estate assets located on Ozumba Mbadiwe Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, which belonged to the defunct Oceanic Bank International Plc and its former owners.
One of the properties is the uncompleted Oceanic Bank headquarters, which was being constructed by a construction company owned by the former CEO of Oceanic Bank, Mrs. Cecilia Ibru, before she and her executive directors were sacked by the Central Bank of Nigeria in 2009.
The other is an undeveloped plot of land situated at No. 1B, Ozumba Mbadiwe Street right beside the Radisson Hotel, which until its recent sale also belonged to Oceanic Bank.
Both properties were said to have been sold by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria for the sum of N11.5 billion for the uncompleted headquarters of Oceanic Bank and N900 million for the undeveloped plot of land at No. 1B, Ozumba Mbadiwe Street to Ecobank and Radisson Hotel respectively.
Property developers conversant with the deal confirmed to THISDAY that both assets were taken over from Mrs. Ibru as part of the settlement during her plea bargain with the law enforcement agencies and subsequently transferred to AMCON, which sold them at the open market value to Ecobank and Radisson Hotel.
The assets were said to have been recovered from Mrs. Ibru as parts of her plea bargain during her prosecution and conviction by a Federal High Court in Lagos on October 8, 2010.
One property developer said Ecobank intends to complete the construction of the former Oceanic Bank headquarters building and make it its head office in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, Mr. Oba Otudeko, chairman of the Honeywell Group, Airtel Limited and Radisson Hotel, confirmed at the weekend that indeed Radisson Hotel had acquired the undeveloped property beside it.
He said before the CBN’s intervention in Oceanic Bank in 2009, Radisson Hotel had been in discussions with the bank to acquire the property and that the hotel had offered N700 million for the undeveloped plot of land.
He explained, however, that the CBN’s intervention had stalled the negotiation. “So Radisson Hotel approached AMCON after it had taken over the assets,” he disclosed.
During the resumed negotiations, AMCON, Oba Otudeko said, insisted the property had to be sold at a higher price, compelling Radisson to pay N900 million for the undeveloped plot.
When asked what Radisson intends to do with the No. 1B, Ozumba Mbadiwe, the former chairman of First Bank of Nigeria Plc said that the property was acquired to enhance the efficiency and operations of the hotel.
He declined to confirm if Radisson Hotel intends to expand its franchise and develop a multi-storey car park on the plot of land, stating that a decision had not been taken by the board on what shall be done with the property.