Cecilia Ibru needs no introduction in Nigeria. With a net worth of over $1.2billion she is ranked among the richest in Nigeria and Africa but lately she has been embroiled in financial scandal. Fondly called “First Lady” of Nigerian banking sector, Ibru’s piled up awards after awards including Order of the Federal Republic (OFR).
As the awards came, her ego grew bigger and greed set in very quickly as she embarked on a property acquisition binge that spanned the globe.
The Times of Nigeria investigation in the United States shows that Cecilia Ibru in the past three years alone bought over twenty five choice properties in the United States of America. Some of these properties were acquired using fronts including her daughter, Janet Ibru and son Obaro.
She also has properties worth millions of dollars in the United Kingdom, Dubai and South Africa.
She didn’t even trust her daughter enough to have her keep the properties long as she promptly had the properties transferred back to her name most times just three months after purchase for free meaning that she never paid her daughter for the transfer of ownership.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission has charged Ibru with money laundering amounting to a staggering 25.4 billion Naira ($203m).
Some of the money our investigation revealed was used to finance her expensive lifestyle and purchase of exquisite properties around the world.
The Times of Nigeria is in possession of 25 property deeds in the United States of America belonging Cecelia Ibru with a total of 11 in the state of Maryland.
In less than 24 months, she splurged close to $6million into 11 properties in gated communities in Prince Georges Country, in the U.S state of Maryland. The properties are all ensconced gated communities reserved for wealthy Washington, DC metro area affluent.
In this report, we will focus solely on the Maryland properties. We will do a report on properties in Other American States such as Georgia, California, North Carolina and many more.
Ibru’s first foray into Maryland’s property market was a $452,508.00 property nestled in a newly developed gated community. The property was developed by Toll MD V Limited of Maryland. The deed shows that a front was used to buy the property which was later transferred to Cecilia Ibru. The deed shows the property, located on 4155 Chariot Way; Upper Marlboro was closed on March 12th 2009 by one Anita DaSilva Ibru.
On April 14th, 2009, Anita DaSilva Ibru closed on another property on the same street. This time the cost was $440, 105.00 on 4145 Chariot Way, Upper Marlboro. A week after this buy, another property next door was guzzled up at a cost of $451, 629.00 on 4139 Chariot Way, Upper Marlboro. A another front was used this time around to avoid suspicion of Maryland authorities the name of Edesiri Onatejiroghene Ibru was used to pay for the property. On that same day, Obaro and Hirut Ibru bought another property on number 4149 of the same street at the cost of $473, 657.00.
Probably tired of using front in her dealings, Cecelia directly bought house numbers 4141 and 4143 on Chariot Way on April 13 2009 at the cost of $441, 790.00 and $439, 362.00.
On July 22nd 2008, she bought 14605 Hawley Lane, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774 for $399,990.00 through her daughter, Janet Ibru. The same Janet had early acquired 14630 Hawley Lane, Upper Marlboro on the May 17th 2008 at the cost of $460,703.00. On October 28th of 2008 Janet, again, bough the house on 14721 Argos Place, Upper Marlboro for $457,950.00. This was followed by the acquisition of 14719 Argos Place, Upper Marlboro at a cost of $451,840.00 on November 26th 2008.
One common theme with these houses purchased by Janet Ibru is that they were all transferred back to her mother at no fee about three months after she bought them.
Perhaps the most expensive of her binge-buy in Maryland is the property on 11300 Dappled Grey Way, Upper Marlboro which she paid $987,949.00 for on October 7th 2008. This time she used her name so no transfer was done.
The Times of Nigeria has records of these acquisitions along with the deeds showing names of their owners.
We managed to take a few of the pictures of some of the houses before we were ushered out buy security officials of the gated communities.
Also, in the course of our investigation into Oceanic Bank’s financial transactions in the United Kingdom and Nigeria, we discovered that a phony company was created as a conduit for illegal transfer of funds from Nigeria to foreign accounts. This phony company is has Cecilia Ibru and one of her son’s, Obaro as sole signatories. We also will catalogue the role played by one Dele Oye who served as a major conduit for Ibru’s nefarious activities and how they use a nondescript company to perpetrate their scam.
By Ifedayo Adebayo
The former Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Oceanic Bank, Cecilia Ibru turned herself in to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) at 2:41pm on Wednesday, four days after she was declared wanted by the commission alongside Erastus Akingbola, former chief executive of Intercontinental Bank.
The two former bank chief executives were dismissed from their jobs on August 14 and declared wanted on charges of fraud, stock manipulation and money laundering.
Dressed in her usual black skirt suit, Mrs Ibru looked tired and upset about the entire situation. She came with her lawyer, Niyi Akintola, supported by almost five associates, who huddled around to console her.
Mrs Ibru had been declared wanted for “failure to honour the commission’s invitation,” said Femi Babafemi, the Commission’s spokeperson.
Apart from failing to honour the Commission’s invitation, intensive search by the EFCC was unsuccessful, according to Mr. Babafemi. The Commission then concluded that Mrs Ibru went into hiding.
Dramatically, she came out of hiding yesterday.
Where was Cecilia Ibru?
One of the issues that came up was where she had been. However, her lawyer, Mr. Akintola, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, who came with her client, said Mrs Ibru went to the EFCC office from her hospital bed. She was seen being supported by her physicians.
“She came right from her hospital bed, even with her doctors and she is here,” Mr. Akintola said. “Nobody, apart from the court of law, can declare someone wanted. The court had made that clear; no organisation has the right to declare anybody wanted or order for the detention of any citizen. It is only the court that can do that. The bailiff is there. Well, she is still being interrogated. We don’t know, but that is the order of the court.
“Forget declaration, they don’t have such power to detain her,” her lawyer said. Immediately after a brief meeting with the chairman of the EFCC, Farida Waziri, Mrs Ibru, in company with her physicians and EFCC officials were driven out of the Awolowo Road office in a Toyota Land Cruiser, Lagos plate number, BY400FKJ to the EFCC detention facility on Victoria Island.
In his reaction to whether Mrs Ibru will be released on Wednesday, Mr. Babafemi told NEXT that she was being held for interrogation and that the outcome of the interrogation would determine what the next action would be.
The bank debtors’ arrest
The EFCC had yesterday ordered the arrest of all bank debtors who failed to meet a seven-day ultimatum it gave them to refund the loans they obtained from the affected banks.
According to Mr. Babafemi, about fifty people were to be apprehended by the officials deployed across the country. He said the commission was still waiting for the full report to determine the number of those who had been arrested.
Meanwhile, counsel to the other 15 bank executives already in custody had already started approaching the Commission’s Lagos office with petitions and request for the release of their clients.
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