+ Documents Show How He Sold Off His OMS Shares
+ OMS Management Labels Him “A Meddlesome Interloper”
Fate might have provided enough to satisfy Tunde Ayeni, the disgraced chairman of Skye Bank’s needs, but not enough, in retrospect, for his greed. It is that inherent greed and penchant for treachery that has turned Ayeni into a pariah in the Nigerian business circle as many would rather deal with the devil himself than him.
Many years back, Ayeni grovelled at the feet of the billionaire philanthropist, Capt Hosa Okunbo, chairman of the Ocean Marine Solutions Limited, Nigeria’s leading asset protection company dedicated to protecting her natural resources from graft and illegal activities. And the avuncular man of means literally took him under his wings, showing him the tricks to better his lot and buoy his relevance.
Later, he offered Ayeni shares in his company valued then at about $600, 000. The relationship between the two was further solidified or so people thought. But since Capt Okunbo fell sick and has been receiving treatment in a London hospital, Ayeni, who many thought would be his bed-side cheerleader and comforter at this crucial time, is reportedly the one spreading rumours of his death and firing petitions after petitions claiming that he owns OMS.
Ayeni’s desperation is understandable and not totally surprising to those who know his antecedents in the Nigerian business circle. After falling from grace to grass in 2016 with his mismanagement of Skye Bank Plc’s depositors’ funds which led to his unceremonious ouster, documents show that Ayeni, using his company, Prime Union Investment Limited, specifically on August 15, 2018, agreed to sell his shares, including the 175, 000, 000 ordinary shares in GYRO (and the 50, 000, 000 shares held by Mrs Ayeni) to Wells Property Development Company Limited for the total sum of N2bn (Two billion naira).
A special resolution of the board of Prime Union Investment Limited, signed by Ayeni and his wife, Biola, confirmed the sale of shares. Following this agreement, Capt. Okunbo, on November 26, 2018, duly authorised the transfer of N1billion to Ayeni’s Olutoyl Estate Development and Services Ltd’s Sterling Bank account. The balance was mutually agreed to be paid on a monthly instalment.
The board of OMS went ahead to notify the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the Office of the Vice President per Ayeni’s resignation of his membership of the board of the OMS and its affiliate companies. While acknowledging the agreement in January 2019, the CBN stated, “Please, be informed that the resignation of Dr Ayeni from the board of your company does not in any way affect his liability, or that of Ocean Marine Solutions Limited or any of its subsidiaries/group members, to Skye Bank Plc (now Polaris Bank Limited) and, indeed, any other bank in Nigeria.”
Similarly, the Vice President in an acknowledgement letter signed by the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Ade Ipaye, applauded Capt. Okunbo’s renewed commitment to service in the agricultural, aviation and hospitality sectors of the economy while adding, “Your Company’s disclaimer as regards the said Dr. Ayeni’s activities as chairman of Skye Bank has been duly noted and brought to the attention of His Excellency, the Vice President.”
Two years after, with Okunbo battling to stay alive, Ayeni, in a shocking volte-face, petitioned the EFCC through his lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, alleging that he sold his shares under duress and, therefore, wants more money. His jejune premise was that Okunbo is wealthy enough to pay him more from the company after he had collected completely the agreed N2billion.
However, the question that begs for answer is, if Ayeni claimed he was forced to sell his shares under duress, was his wife, Abiola who co-signed, also made to do so too? A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on but what is obvious from available documents is that Ayeni is just up to his old tricks.
In a joint statement issued by the board, management and shareholders of OMS, Ayeni’s claims of still being a shareholder of the company have been disclaimed. “Dr Olatunde John Ayeni is no longer a Director of OMS and any of its associated companies having resigned from OMS since August 2018,” the signees posited, adding, “that Ayeni sold and transferred all his shares and interests to Wells Property Development Company Limited for valuable consideration since 2018.”
As such, Ayeni, the statement averred further, had not been involved or connected in any way with the management of the OMS since the time he sold his shares and resigned from the board. However, according to the management, when Ayeni became aware in September 2020 that the chairman of OMS, Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo had health issues and was undergoing treatment in London; “He has since then started making false claims that he is still a part of OMS.”
The board of the company, the statement noted, has also passed a vote of confidence on Capt Okunbo but described Ayeni as “a meddlesome interloper who is seeking to blackmail Capt. Idahosa Wells Okunbo at this time of his ill-health for financial benefit.”
The statement declared that the company’s stakeholders were compelled to issue the disclaimer to set the records straight and to prevent government agencies, clients of OMS and the general public from being misled by Ayeni’s deliberate misrepresentation of facts while advising him “to steer clear of OMS and its associated companies.”