With the noose of banks that he is indebted to closing in on him, beleaguered businessman and former chairman of the defunct Skye Bank, Dr Tunde Ayeni, is now mounting pressure on the Ibadan Electricity Distribution Company, IBEDC, to raise $1m to bribe the banks. Ayeni is the chairman of the IBEDC, which formally came into existence in November 2013 as part of the unbundling of the electricity sector.
Ayeni’s premise for requiring the money is to bribe banks that the IBEDC owes. However, those who know his modus operandi say Ayeni just wants to collect the money as he had always done for his personal use. There are reports that he has collected large sums of money in different tranches and at different times on the pretext of bribing banks to ward them off.
A serial debtor with a catalogue of failed businesses and funds mismanagement in his trail, Ayeni was accused by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, of funnelling billions of naira of depositors’ funds from Skye Bank where he served as chairman between 2011 and 2016 into buying over the moribund national telecoms carrier, NITEL, and its mobile subsidiary, MTEL, from the federal government in 2014 to birth Ntel. The federal government would discover that he was using NTEL’s assets to offset his indebtedness to the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, AMCON, in a classic case of robbing Peter to pay Paul.
Ayeni was also accused of mismanaging the funds of the bank leading to his ouster as chairman. In March 2019, the EFCC arraigned Ayeni before Justice Valentine Ashi of a Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court, Apo, on a four-count charge bordering on criminal breach of trust and for conspiring at different times to fraudulently divert depositors’ funds domiciled at Skye Bank Plc to personal use. He and some top directors of the bank were later arraigned on a 10-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N25,415,080,000 (Twenty-five Billion, Four Hundred and Fifteen Million, Eighty Thousand Naira) alongside two companies, Control Dredging Company Ltd and Royaltex Paramount Ventures Ltd.
Ayeni then sought a plea bargain in the money laundering case brought against him by the EFCC so that he can escape jail.