By Iyobosa Uwugiaren in Abuja
Former Presidential Liaison Officer (PLO) and Board Chairman of the First Guarantee Pension Limited (FGPL), Alhaji Ibrahim Kashim Imam, has said the apex regulatory agency of pension administrators, the National Pension Commission (PenCom), saved FGPL from total collapse.
He also described as untrue, the claim by the former Vice Chairman, of the company, Nze Chidi Duru, that he (Duru), was the chief promoter of the company.
Duru, a former member of House of Representatives, had raised the alarm recently that PenCom and some shareholders of FGPL were planning to take over the company he personally promoted from him.
But speaking to journalists in Abuja during the week, Imam described the ex-lawmaker as fraudulent person, who he said had been declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He also accused him of betraying the trust and confidence reposed on him, noting that it was surprising that Duru had not been sent to prison, four years after all his alleged fraudulent activities were investigated and established by the PenCom and EFCC.
According to him, by 2011 when Duru exited the company , after eight years, following his indictment by PenCom, the company’s account was in red to the tune of N385 million. Imam was however quick to add that following the intervention of PenCom, an interim management was formed, and the assets of the company have been grown to about N140 billion, with profit of over N3billion, just within four years.
On how FGPL was formed, Imam said:
‘’Technically speaking, Duru, cannot even be said to have invested a dime in the business. But we did not know this, until much later. The deposit we were supposed to make as the initial capital, was never contributed by him.
‘’I agree with you; we ought to have verified this ab initio, and this we did not do based on trust. But like I said, findings later showed that all the cheque he issued for the payment of his own share of the initial deposit were never presented for clearance.
‘’As a matter of fact, another of his friend, Nnamdi Anammah, a supposed investor, is also guilty of the same thing. In all, they both issued seven different cheque, totaling N62 million, but sadly, the money could not be traced in the company’s account.’’
He alleged that Duru issued three different cheque of N10million each, of Guardian Express Bank, with numbers: 221 and 227 and another Diamond bank cheque, while his friend, Anammah, issued two UBA cheque numbers: 3 and 18833, of N10million and N2million respectively, Zenith Bank cheque number for N10million and Reliance Bank cheque number 194 also for N10 million.
‘’And when a few of the shareholders pulled out, he refunded their money to them, issuing cheque in the name of the company to such persons, yet fraudulently appropriating their shares, as his own,” the new chairman of FGPL added.
He added: ‘’As a matter of fact, it was my papers that were filed and verified at incorporation. The fit and proper person’s test was duly conducted on my person and integrity.’’
Explaining how a South African Investor, Novare Holding, represented by one Derrick Roper, was also indicted by the EFCC, Imam said he wouldn’t know the relationship between him and the South African investor, claiming that Duru first forged some shareholders signatures to fraudulently applied for an expatriate quota.
He added: ‘’All those he brought, but one, were deployed to the service of his own private companies. Again, the agreement purportedly entered into between our company and Novare Holdings, was fraudulently done single-handedly by Duru. But even at that, Novare’s purported payment for shares, violated the agreement.”
He added that the investigation carried out by the PenCom, established that part of the funds transferred into FGPL, was again diverted to BP Outsourcing Limited and GT Retail Limited, property companies, linked to Duru, saying all these are contained in the Target Examination Report, carried out by PenCom, in 2011.
Imam said the petition Duru recently wrote to the presidency was for the purpose of getting the woman at PenCom sacked, because he has been going around saying the woman of Igbo origin, was trying to handover the only ‘Igbo’ PFA, to an Hausa man.