Senator Ayo Akinyelure has been given seven days to tender a public apology to Tony Elumelu over a N41 billion fraud allegation or be dragged to court.
Akinyelure, who is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Privileges and Public Petitions, had in a statement credited to him, claimed that the billionaire businessman was indicted in a N41 billion fraud when he was the Managing Director of UBA.
He was quoted to have said that “the N41 billion alleged fraud was committed against the defunct Telecommunication company and National Carrier, NITEL. The said sum was withdrawn systematically from NITEL for nine years under Tony Elemelu’s watch and two other former Managing Directors of United Bank for Africa.”
The committee of the Senate led by Akinyelure, acting on a petition by counsel to NITEL, J.U. Ayogu, and Co, had, therefore, summoned the Group Managing Director (GMD) and Chief Executive Officer, CEO of the United Bank for Africa, Kennedy Uzoka to appear before the committee on August 5, 2020.
But responding, counsels to Elumelu, Lawal Rabana and Oluwakemi Balogun (SANs), gave a seven-day ultimatum to the senator to retract his alleged claim against Elumelu, who is also the chairman of Tony Elumelu Foundation and Heirs Holding group.
In a letter to the federal lawmaker, Elumelu counsels said the senator would be dragged to court if he failed to apologise at the end of the seven days.
The senior lawyers said that their client was appalled by what according to them was “deliberate peddling of falsehood and misinformation against an unblemished personal and business reputation, painstakingly” built by their client over several decades with great personal sacrifice and matchless integrity.
“It is important to emphasize that when UBA appeared before the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, attention was drawn to the fact that the facts and circumstances leading to the disputes on the alleged financial indebtedness were pending before the Supreme Court in SC/CV/112/2020,” the said.
They went further to say that it was resolved that given the pendency of the matter at the Supreme Court, it was sub-judice and all actions on the matter are suspended.
“It is shocking and sacrilegious that a matter pending at the apex court could be subjected to debate contrary to the rules of the Senate and by extension, the principle of law that when a matter is sub-judice, it should not be subjected to debate before a decision is reached by the Court.
“The publications ascribed to Senator Ayo Akinyelure is in total disregard of the Rules of Senate and the Rule of Law,” they said.
The said the senator must tender an “immediate, open, public, and unreserved retraction of the said statements credited to Senator Akinyelure as well as an apology from Senator Akinyelure for this false allegation and defamation.
“We have our client’s further instruction to take all appropriate legal actions against Senator Akinyelure and his media agents if our above-stated demand is not met within seven days of their receipt of our demand letter.”
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