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Otedola exposes Jim Ovia’s 13-yr-old fraud in Zenith Bank account

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Billionaire businessman Femi Otedola has accused Jim Ovia, Chairman of Zenith Bank, of conducting fraudulent transactions through Otedola’s Seaforce Shipping Company account without his knowledge or approval.

The alleged unauthorized trading activities have been ongoing for over 13 years, sparking widespread attention and concern across various news platforms and social media channels.

Otedola, who is said to be very miffed by the development, has already submitted his findings to the Force Criminal Investigation department(FCID) of the Nigerian Police and sources familiar with the matter believe that the bank chairman may be invited for interrogation.

BACKGROUND

Findings indicate that Seaforce’s account domiciled in Zenith Bank has not been operated since 2010 but strangely continued to be used for Trading.

According to the Petition to the Police, the company has never applied for any loan from Zenith bank but unauthorised trading was going on with account running to the tune of billions of Naira.

Mr. Otedola was only able to discover the fraud recently after a whistleblower in the bank reached out to him.

Transactions over N16 billion have been recorded on Seaforce’s account since 2011 till date (13 years).

When he confronted the bank officials, they reportedly apologized. Otedola presented a letter from March 19, 2018, from Zenith Bank to Seaforce’s auditors, stating a debt of only N2,278,420, which contradicted the N5 billion recorded in the bank statement reviewed by TheCable.

The bank statement on the day the letter was written showed a debt of N2.9 billion, a significant discrepancy from the N2 million stated in the letter.

The letter was signed by Taofik Bashir (internal audit control) and Edwin Kind Olie (group head, telecom). Transactions totaling over N16 billion were recorded against Seaforce’s account from 2011 to 2024.

Otedola questioned who made payments to reduce the purported debt from N16,927,628,581.84 to N11,010,924,522.71, as he was unaware of these transactions.

Moreover, significant credits were recorded on various dates in 2011, further complicating the account’s financial history. As a result, Seaforce now has a debt of N5,916,704,059.13, much of which comprises interest charges.

Meanwhile, in response to these events, Otedola and his associated companies, including Zenon, Seaforce, Luzon Oil and Gas, and Garment Care Limited, have secured a federal high court injunction against Zenith Bank, Quantum Zenith Securities and Investment, Veritas Registrar, and Central Securities Clearing System.

This injunction restrains these entities from trading with shares or paying dividends until the hearing of the motion on notice for interlocutory injunction.

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