The Senate Committee Chairman on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions has denied media publication reporting it to have indicted the Chairman of the UBA Group, Dr. Tony Elumelu, over a N41 billion allegation fraud.
This followed a clarification by the Senate Committee in which it distanced the person of Dr. Elumelu from the alleged fraud and claimed that its position on the matter was misinterpreted.
The document entitled “Clarification of Allegations of False and Malicious Publications Against Chief Tony Elumelu, Chairman/CEO of UBA Plc” was signed by the Chairman of the Senate Committee, Senator Ayo Akinyelure and was sighted by journalists on Wednesday August 12th, 2020 at the National Assembly, Abuja.
The clarification came after two Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) Mr. Lawal Rabana and Mr. Oluwakemi Balogun, who are lawyers to Elumelu, in a letter to Senator Akinyelure, intensely frowned at the allegation as false and threatened to sue the senator if he failed to retract the publications and apologise to the UBA Chairman within seven days.
The lawyers had described the reported allegation as malicious with the intent to destroy Dr. Elumelu’s personal and business reputation.
They further described the allegation as sub-judice because when UBA previously appeared before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, attention was drawn to facts and circumstances leading to the disputes on the alleged financial indebtedness which was pending before the Supreme Court.
In his clarification, Senator Akinyelure explained that there are two separate petitions before the Senate Committee with parties holding divergent claims.
The lawmaker explained that his decision to address the press was to “distinguish between the two petitions and was not meant to cause malicious damage to the management of UBA Plc…”
According to Senator Akinyelure, ‘my media briefing was therefore never intended to blackmail or cause any malicious damage to the reputation of Chairman/CEO of UBA Plc, Chief Tony Elumelu or any of its officials but our responsibilities to the whole Nigerians as democratically elected representatives of the people in the legislature to fight for their rights where we feel that their rights have been infringed upon.
“It is my belief that Chief Tony Elumelu, the Chairman of UBA Plc, a man of integrity and a celebrated banker of high repute over the years in the banking industry, has not been properly briefed about what transpired between my Committee and UBA Plc representatives and therefore misinterpreted the noble gesture of the institution of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to resolve the issues as a win-win situation for the benefit of all Nigerians”, he stated.
It is however not certain if the UBA Group will accept the clarification as a public retraction and apology, which it demanded for.