Femi Otedola exposes Jim Ovia fraudulent transactions in Zenith Bank

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A high-profile financial conflict has intensified, involving renowned billionaire Femi Otedola and Zenith Bank’s chairman, Jim Ovia.

The contention revolves around claims of unauthorized transactions amounting to billions of naira.

Otedola has formally lodged a complaint with the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), alleging that Ovia illicitly utilized his company, Seaforce Shipping Limited’s Zenith Bank account for trading activities in 2011, without his approval or awareness.

Interestingly, the account in question had been dormant since 2010, yet it was allegedly used to carry out significant financial transactions. Zenith Bank has failed to provide the necessary documentation to substantiate these transactions upon request.

Otedola discovered this irregularity recently when an insider from Zenith Bank blew the whistle on these unauthorized activities. In one instance, Zenith Bank admitted to a debt of a mere ₦2,278,420 in a 2018 correspondence to Seaforce’s auditors. However, the bank statement from the same day showed a significantly larger debt of ₦2.9 billion.

Further scrutiny revealed transactions totaling over ₦16 billion debited against Seaforce’s account from 2011 to 2024. Otedola alleges that substantial credits applied to the account on various dates in 2011 were unauthorized.

Consequently, Seaforce is now burdened with a debt of approximately ₦5.9 billion, a significant portion of which is attributed to interest charges.

In retaliation, Otedola and associated entities including Zenon, Luzon Oil and Gas, and Garment Care Limited have obtained a federal high court injunction against Zenith Bank and several other financial institutions. This injunction prohibits these entities from trading with shares or paying dividends linked to the implicated accounts until a motion for interlocutory injunction is heard.

The FCID has initiated the interrogation of senior officials of Zenith Bank as part of the investigation into this high-profile allegation of financial misconduct.

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