Analysis: The case against Albert Okumagba, others

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BGL’s Group Managing Director, Albert Okumagba who has been embroiled in controversies surrounding clients’ funds manipulation and fraud has gone into hiding leaving the court to find him guilty, and sentence him in absentia.

The 51-year-old, who hails from Delta State, was picked up September 9, 2015, by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). His arrest was triggered by investigation into a petition submitted to the anti-graft agency by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) in May, 2015.

The suspect is alleged to have diverted the sum of N28.9billion being proceeds of private placements of 4.3 billion ordinary shares of 50k each at N7.00k per share in 2007.

The company, whose subsidiaries include BGL Capital, BGL Private Equity, BGL Security and BGL Asset Management, allegedly lured 50 investors from across the country into subscribing to the company’s shares, promising them options of liquidity and exit within two years.

The case draws attention to fraudulent activities that are occurring around activates relating to investment into listed companies in the country.

In early February 2017, about 300 investors leveled a N4.8billion capital market related fraud case against the Managing Director of Partnership Investment Company Plc and Partnership Securities Limited, Mr. Victor Ogiemwonyi. They vowed to get back their monies after petitioning SEC and the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

One of the affected investors, Mr. Arnold Ekpe, had reported the development to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and accused the Partnership Investment boss of fraudulently converting over N1.2billion and $80,000 due from the sale of 96,077,872 shares of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated Plc to his personal use.

In another case, the EFCC returned N430 million to victims of a capital market fraud in December 2008. The case, which started in 2002, was uncovered when a stock broking firm cloned 3,130,469 units of Nestle Plc shares and 1,082,811 units of Unilever Plc shares belonging to late Sunday Dankaro and Alhaji Bala Koki respectively.

During the 2016 financial year, the Authorized Clerkship licenses of six Authorized Clerks were revoked in line with Rule 8.12: Power to Suspend or Revoke the Registration of Authorized Clerks, Rulebook of The Exchange, 2015 (Dealing Member s’ Rules), on the grounds of their unethical and fraudulent activity which has eroded the confidence of investors in the Market. Just a year earlier in 2015, four companies licensed to carry out activities on the Exchange suffered the same fate.

In the 2017, there are already indications that there may be more infraction on the rules that make the market bankable. These will definitely have corresponding impact on the confidence of the investing publics.

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