NIGERIA- Cecilia Ibru, former chief executive officer of the defunct Oceanic Bank, says she was persecuted by Lamido Sanusi, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), because he thought she wanted his job.
In an interview with Saturday Punch, Ibru said Sanusi, the Emir of Kano, also ordered for the withdrawal of her personal driver and security personnel.
In 2010, a federal high court in Lagos had convicted and sentenced Ibru to six months in prison on a three-count charge bordering on financial fraud.
The former bank CEO said she accepted the offer for plea bargain because she was fed up with the trial and wanted peace of mind.
“For me, they just wanted the banks. An envious fight does not end, but that is a big story that I would prefer to write about later. You find that when people knock you down, they don’t expect you to get up again. So, when you get up, they have mixed feelings,” Ibru said.
“I won’t say betrayal, including (Lamido) Sanusi (the then Governor of the Central Bank) himself, but people that I thought would come and help me did not do so. However, God raised other people to help me.
“He (Sanusi) thought I wanted his job but I didn’t. I was offered the position, but I said no.
“Remember I said I was planning to retire in March of the following year to go and stay with my husband. When he (Sanusi) was appointed, I congratulated him. He even told me at that time they had not given him a letter and I told him not to worry that it would come.
“Back then when I was in office, if I was at home, you wouldn’t find a parking space in my compound; it was always filled with cars and people who wanted one favour or the other from the bank. But after that episode, everywhere became empty.”
Ibru, however, reiterated that she has forgiven the people she helped while she was in office but deserted her when the corruption trial began.
The court had ordered the assets and shares worth N191 billion traced to Ibru be forfeited and managed by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).
The former Oceanic bank CEO was reported to have bought shares in 298 unlisted and listed blue-chip companies with depositors money including assets in Dubai, United Arab Emirate, the United States of America and some countries around the world.
Investigators had told the court of how Nanashettu Bedell, 51-year-old nanny of Cecilia also known as Nanashetu P. Abdulai, was used as a conduit through which the ex-CEO allegedly laundered N30 billion of depositors’ savings.