Still On Alleged Multi-Billion Naira Tax Fraud: CBN Ferrets Domiciliary Accounts Of Baba Ijebu, 15 Others

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  • CBN Writes All Banks…For Statements Covering 2013-2020

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reportedly written all commercial banks to provide the details of domiciliary accounts owned by Nigerian Billionaire, Chief Kessington Adebutu popularly known as Baba Ijebu and 15 other persons.

The apex bank, in a circular seen by The New Diplomat and sent to all commercial banks, dated September 15, requested the statement accounts of Adebutu, some  his family members and others listed in the letter.

The request which reportedly came in the form of  a circular reads in part: “You are requested to furnish us the domiciliary accounts statements (Excel and PDF format) of the underlisted individuals, including domicillary accounts linked to them by Bank Verification Number (BVN). The statement should cover the period January 1, 2013 to July 31, 2020.”

The CBN directed the banks to furnish it with all the requested details on Wednesday.

This may not be unconnected with the investigation by the Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) which began earlier in the year, into allegations of tax fraud leveled against, Premier Lotto, a betting company owned by Adebutu popularly known as Baba Ijebu.

According to the EFCC, a petition from Western Lotto, owned by the late Ogun state politician, Senator Buruji Kashamu, had in December 2019, asked the anti-graft agency to investigate billions of naira as accruable government’s revenue, but lost to tax fraud against Chief Adebutu’s Premier Lotto.

Recall the accounts of Adebutu’s Premier Lotto and 37 other companies were reportedly frozen by the apex bank earlier in September. According to a circular of 4 September, Bello Hassan, CBN’s Director of Banking Supervision, asked banks to place the accounts of the 38 companies on Post-No-Debit (PND) order

“You are hereby required to place the under listed accounts on Post-No-Debit with immediate effect and revert with the account names, numbers, currencies and balances of all accounts placed on PND.

“Note that only the listed entities should be placed on PND, all related accounts are excluded. Your response should be forwarded to the underlisted email addresses [email protected] or [email protected],” part of the circular read.

“However, please note that the Post-No-Debit restriction on the accounts is still in place, subject to the identified exceptions.

“Accordingly, no other transaction should be processed for any of the companies during the period of this waiver. You are to open a subsidiary account from where payment of winnings, salaries and other restricted operational expenses such as purchase of diesel (other overhead expenses) will be passed into weekly.

“The debit on the subsidiary account will be vetted by the Central Bank of Nigeria and swept into the main account after approval from the CBN,” the directive by  the CBN had further stated.

Some of the affected companies includes 3D Scanners Bureau De Change Limited, Blue Wall Nigeria Limited, JNFX International Limited and Northline Limited.

This is the second time the authorities would be beaming a searchlight on Premier Lotto and others. The company, along with KC Gaming, a.k.a Bet9Ja was probed early this year by the EFCC for  alleged tax evasion.

After the probe, the two companies  reportedly paid about N1billion into the treasury as acknowledged by the designated regulatory Commission. A breakdown of the payments showed that Premier Lotto (Baba Ijebu) remitted N833,333,494.58, while KC Gaming (Bet9ja) remitted N166,666,827.92, respectively.

The action of the CBN came on the heels of alleged months-long  investigations by the EFCC into allegations of tax fraud and inappropriate   economic activities leveled against Baba-Ijebu’s company, Premier Lotto

The CBN had also correspondingly instructed that a periodic weekly report by the affected companies should be sent to the apex Bank for vetting, verification and  consequent approval.

It would be further recalled that the CBN’s directive was premised on a long-drawn  investigation carried out by the EFCC on Premier Lotto owned by the business mogul, Chief Adebutu over allegations of fraud and alleged unethical economic  activities.

Baba Ijebu’s son, Mr Segun Adebutu, was reported to have been  interrogated by the EFCC  on a wide range of alleged fraudulent deals  including subject matters of alleged  tax evasion, fraudulent economic activities, etc.

This development was said to have followed a whistle blowing petition which emanated  from  Western Lotto owned by late  Kashamu, a notable politician. Indications emerged as at then that the war among the two financial warriors  was  however escalated by political intrigues in Ogun State over the battle for political supremacy among both camps of junior Adebutu(Baba Ijebu’s son, Ladi and late Buruji).

Allegations of massive revenue losses by government occasioned by tax fraud and inimical economic activities were leveled against Premier Lotto by the petitioner. Senator Buruji  Kashamu, an alleged wanted man  for reported drug related crimes in the United States,  did not however deny that he was responsible for the petition  against Baba Ijebu’s Premier Lotto.

He said before his death thus:  “All the taxpayers’ billions they diverted should have been paid into the lottery commission trust fund to build infrastructure and alleviate poverty amongst the Nigerian masses…”

For many watchers, it was clearly a war between Chief Adebutu best known as Baba Ijebu whose son Adebutu jnr(Ladi) had demonstrated strong political interest and showing in Ogun state  politics and Buruji who was more than ready to take control and consolidation of the political structure of the PDP in Ogun state at the time. It was like a battle of the titans for the soul of Ogun state politics.

While Ladi sought desperately to pick the PDP ticket for the Ogun state governorship race in 2019, Buruji countered, insisting that he was the authentic PDP candidate and the man to beat in the race at that time. The crisis however festers on and opens a raging war of intrigues on many other fronts.

CBN baba ijebu

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'Dotun Akintomide's journalism works intersect business, environment, politics and developmental issues. Among a number of local and international publications, his work has appeared in the New York Times. He's a winner of the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Award. Currently, the Online Editor at The New Diplomat, Akintomide has produced reports that uniquely spoke to Nigeria's experience on Climate Change issues. When Akintomide is not writing, volunteering or working on a media project, you can find him seeing beautiful sites like the sandy beaches that bedecked the Lagos coastline.

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