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Heritage Bank Battles Tunde Ayeni Over N40 Billion Unpaid Loan, EFCC Steps in

Billionaire Tunde Ayeni is locked in a battle with ailing financial institution, Heritage Bank over an unpaid N40 billion loan, this is as the former continues to wallow in a series of controversies lately…

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Billionaire Tunde Ayeni is locked in a battle with ailing financial institution, Heritage Bank over an unpaid N40 billion loan, this is as the former continues to wallow in a series of controversies lately.

Tunde Ayeni had days back issued a press statement against his alleged estranged lover, Adaobi Alagwu where he distanced himself from the latter’s baby which was widely believed to be his. The controversial billionaire firmly opposed the widely publicized report naming him as the father of the child.

This was preceded by a whirlwind romance between Ayeni and Miss Alagwu who is strongly perceived to be his second wife. There were indications that the billionaire showered her with mouthwatering gifts which includes, a Range Rover Vogue, a palatial mansion, and an office building which he has now reportedly recovered from her.

ENigeria Newspaper reports that a cursory look into the life of billionaire Tunde Ayeni reveals the identity of a man bedeviled with too many controversies. The report below showcases how an unpaid loan in the tune of N40 billion owed to troubled lender, Heritage Bank has now locked him in another legal tussle likely to breed another round of controversy.

In what appears to be a case of the rich getting richer and cornering depositors’ funds for personal use, controversial businessman, Tunde Ayeni is in the news again for the wrong reasons, The Witness reports.

Fresh from seemingly getting a reprieve from his Skye Bank legal battle – a bank he allegedly ran down – Ayeni, a former chairman of the defunct Skye Bank Plc, is enmeshed in another financial scandal over an alleged unpaid N40 billion loan he secured from Heritage Bank.
It was reliably gathered that the bank has petitioned the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over his alleged indebtedness to the lender.

Recall that Ayeni and the then managing director of the defunct Skye Bank, Timothy Oguntayo, faced 10 charges bordering on money laundering to the tune of N25.4 billion brought before them by the EFCC in 2019.
The alleged heist by the duo during their time at the bank eventually brought the financial institution down, prompting an intervention from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in September 2018. The apex bank took over the struggling lender, christened it Polaris Bank Limited, and eventually sold it to new investors in October 2022.

In July last year, the EFCC withdrew its case against Ayeni and Oguntayo, after allegedly entering into a secret settlement with the businessmen that may have involved the forfeiture of N15 billion in cash and assets.
However, while Ayeni may have gotten a letup from his EFCC headache over his alleged financial impropriety during his time at Skye Bank, another legal tussle and battle is starring him in the face.

On his indebtedness to Heritage Bank, we gathered that there was an initial arrangement for the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) to take over the debt, but up till today, nothing has been done.

Meanwhile, Heritage Bank has been unable to take over the properties Ayeni used as collateral for the said loan for other legal reasons.
A top official of the bank told us that the lender has formally dragged Ayeni to the EFCC, and will be looking forward to the commission doing the needful as it was determined to recover the funds.

“Yes, the case is now with the EFCC,” said the official who craved anonymity because he hasn’t been authorized to speak.
“We are pursuing the process legally.
“So, we’re going to do all that is necessary to recover it.
“As you can see, all is not well with the bank and people like Ayeni are one of the reasons for the challenges the bank is going through today. These loans are depositors’ funds.
“If the bank finally ceases to exist, do you know how many staff will lose their jobs with their families stranded? Ayeni doesn’t seem to be bothered if the bank collapses.
“If he doesn’t pay up, we will give him the Senator Andy Uba treatment. We will mobilize and protest at his residences,” the official concluded.

Recovery of the sum will come in handy for Heritage, which has also had struggles of late.
Heritage is gradually moving from a state of comatose to a complete death situation with customers’ deposits on the line.
The bank’s bankruptcy issues and inability to meet obligations to depositors have worsened and grown from bad to worse.

Recall that some workers of Heritage Bank had in June 2021 besieged the residence of Andy Uba, former senator from Anambra State, over a loan they said he owes the financial institution. The staff of the bank, who were seen with placards, gathered in front of his residence in Abuja, asking the politician to pay the purported loan to save their jobs.
In 2020, the CBN took a step ahead of the defaulters by allowing banks to seize funds in the accounts of loan defaulters to protect depositors.

Also, the senate in 2021 passed a bill that strengthened the power of AMCON to recover bad loans by allowing it to seize and sell properties traced to debtors, whether or not such assets are used as security/collateral for obtaining the loan in question.

Meanwhile, when ENigeria Newspaper contacted Ozenna Utulu on Thursday afternoon, she denied the existence of any legal battle with Ayeni in a message that read: “Our legal team says Mr. Ayeni is not indebted to the bank and there is no legal battle between the bank and Mr. Ayeni. Thank you once again for reaching out”.

 

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