A director of Energy Bank, a Nigerian owned bank in Ghana, has confessed to the New Statesman that the bank paid a whopping $5 million to some officials of the ruling National Democratic Congress before its application for license to operate in the country was granted by the Bank of Ghana.
According to the Director, the amount was paid notwithstanding the fact that the owner of Energy Bank, Jimoh Ibrahim, had contributed huge sums of money to support the campaign of the late President John Evans Attah Mills in the 2008 elections.
Energy Bank, the director revealed, was subsequently granted a universal banking license, and on Tuesday, February 22, 2011, commenced business after the late President Mills had cut the tape at a ceremony held at the GNAT Heights in Accra.
This revelation comes on the back of investigations being carried out by Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Dr Jimoh over alleged acts of money laundering.
Dr Jimoh's participation in Ghanaian politics was revealed by Chief Dele Momodu, a Nigerian business mogul, who stated in his epitaph to the late President John Atta-Mills that Dr Jimoh “provided significant support and resources to Prof for the election.”
This act of non-citizens donating to political parties, as was done by Dr Jimoh, a clear contravention of section 24 of the Political Parties Act of 2000, Act 574, was said to be at the request of then candidate John Evans Attah Mills after a visit to T.B Joshua in the run-up to the December 2008 election.
Chief Momodu further revealed that several months after the Electoral Commission had declared the late President as winner of the 2008 elections, “the president encouraged Jimoh to invest in Ghana and this culminated in the setting up of Energy Bank. The President personally declared the Bank open last year.”
Ironically, Energy Bank only exists in Ghana and Sao Tome, and many Nigerians contacted by the New Statesman have expressed utter shock that Ghana granted a banking license to Dr Jimoh, a man facing charges of money laundering, and other alleged questionable transactions, the proceeds of which he is alleged to have used to setup businesses outside Nigeria and also purchased a private jet, all worth millions of dollars.
According to Sahara Reporters, “Mr. Ibrahim, who is currently embroiled in a growing public controversy over his reported crooked hijack of 51% shares of Newswatch magazine, was grilled over several questionable business transactions in Nigeria that enabled him to amass millions of dollars with which he established Energy Bank in Ghana and Sao Tome as well as purchased a private jet, Challenger 605 in 2009.”
He also, on the September 5, shut down all Air Nigeria flight operations, sacking all but 50 of the company's staff.
The EFCC investigation, according to sources in Nigeria, will further trouble the businessman, whose interests have suddenly taken a waning turn, triggering concerns regarding his actual source of wealth that bloomed just within years.
In the run-up to the December 2012 elections, President John Dramani Mahama has also just returned from Nigeria.