The former Chief Executive Officer of Intercontinental Bank, Erastus Akingbola, has formally been charged with financial impropriety at a federal high court in Lagos.
Akingbola’s lawyer, Felix Fagbohungbe, told reporters outside the court house that Mr. Akingbola was arraigned on a 22-count charge, and pleaded not guilty to all the counts. He said a bail application was filed but that the case has been adjourned until August 23, this year to allow time for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), which brought the charges against Mr Akingbola, to file a reply.
Half a dozen other directors of Intercontinental Bank also stand accused of granting loans to companies in which they have interests, and of failing to ensure the bank met minimum capital adequacy and liquidity requirements.
Mr. Akingbola’s accounts and assets totaling around N346 billion and $10 million have been frozen pending the final determination of the charges against him.
The former Intercontinental Bank boss has challenged the asset freeze in court. His lawyers argued that the Central Bank governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi , did not follow due process in removing him from his job.
The central bank injected $4 billion into nine banks, including the intercontinental last year, saying reckless lending and inadequate risk management had left them so weakly capitalised they posed a systemic risk.
Mr. Akingbola, along with the heads of four other banks, was sacked by the central bank a year ago but he had to be charged with graft and money laundering in absentia after he fled to Britain, where he had remained until his return last week.