EFCC Investigates Jim Ovia: Fraud Allegations Against Zenith Bank Chairman

Mobel
By Mobel 4 Min Read

EFCC Investigates Jim Ovia: Fraud Allegations Against Zenith Bank Chairman Jim Ovia’s alleged fraudulent activities was said to have increased after he became Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc’s Board of Directors in July 2014.

In a petition signed by Leticia Omeiza, GICN’s Publicity Officer, the organisation claimed that Ovia committed various wrongdoings as Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, including the serious allegation of laundering N3.5 billion for the Rivers State Government in 2008.

GICN also accused Ovia of continuing fraudulent activities as Chairman, specifically the illegal use of Seaforce Shipping Limited’s accounts to trade and misappropriate funds for personal use.

The petition included supporting documents, such as bank statements and a letter from Seaforce Shipping Limited’s auditors.

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GICN has called on the EFCC to arrest and prosecute Ovia and his associates and urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to dissolve Zenith Bank Plc’s Board and Management.

The group has given the EFCC a 7-day deadline to respond to their demands, threatening legal action and mobilising the media and allied groups to protest at the EFCC office in Abuja if no action is taken.

“We recall how the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) then under the leadership of Mrs. Farida Waziri on 18th December, 2008 arrested Mr. Ovia in connection with laundering the sum of N3.5 Billion on behalf of Rivers State Government.

“Unfortunately, this money laundering case was never pursued till conclusion because of interference from top government officials at that time. We maintain that the aforementioned case can still be reopened, as there is no statutory limitation for arresting and or prosecuting money launderers in Nigeria,” the group said.

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Zenith Bank Chairman, Jim Ovia. [Facebook/Getty Images]

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Zenith Bank Chairman, Jim Ovia. [Facebook/Getty Images] Pulse Nigeria

The group highlighted that Ovia’s fraudulent activities increased after he became Chairman of Zenith Bank Plc’s Board of Directors in July 2014.

They said Zenith Bank Plc was recognised as one of Africa’s largest banks, with assets exceeding $21.4 billion and shareholders’ equity over $2.4 billion as of December 2023.

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It was gathered that it is a global entity listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

In addition to its primary operations in Nigeria and other West African nations, the Bank also has significant operations in London and Dubai.

Femi Otedola and Jim Ovia. [Getty Images]

Femi Otedola and Jim Ovia. [Getty Images] Pulse Nigeria

The group however said that “some of these figures and achievements touted by the Bank are concocted to deceive the general public. The truth is that Jim Ovia specialises in illegally feeding fat on funds deposited with his Bank to the detriment of customers.”

“Just recently, the media was agog with news of how Zenith Bank Plc in 2011 unlawfully used the accounts of Seaforce Shipping Limited owned by Nigerian oil magnate, Mr. Femi Otedola to carry out transactions running into Billions of Niara trade without authorization.

“Jim Ovia and his cronies must refund any funds fraudulently diverted from the accounts of Seaforce Shipping Limited, Femi Otedola and other unsuspecting customers of Zenith Bank Plc since its inception,” the added.

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