By Christopher Oji
Family of late philanthropist, Sir Mobolaji Bank Anthony, has raised the alarm on the criminal connivance of some banks and registrars of companies with those who embarked on “multi-layered bilking” to be withdrawing money from his accounts.
The family claimed that all the statutory beneficiaries as stipulated in Anthony’s Will, including no fewer than 20 corporate entities, have been denied their benefits for over three decades.
The family said the last withdrawal by the impostors through the banks was done last November, and they, therefore, called on the Inspector- General of Police to wade into the issue and fish out the impostors and sanction the banks.
At a Conference in Ikeja, Lagos, spokesperson for the family and an Executive Probated Trustee of Bank Anthony’s Estate, Queen Irene Cole, said the banks (names withheld) were not open and transparent in their involvement in what obviously has become a big scam involving some of the nominated trustees who were to replace some of the original Trustees at their demise.
Queen Cole, who was accompanied at the conference by Miss Funmiade Bank-Anthony, said a grand child of the late Sir Bank Anthony, lawyers and consultant to the Estate, said at his death on May 26, 1991, Anthony had the bulk of over $50 billion worth of estate in Nigeria, United Kingdom, United States of America and Isle of Jersey. He had left a Will and Testament dated 10th April, 1991, in which some institutional and other beneficiaries were named with some persons mentioned as trustees/executors.
At his death, not many of the family members knew details of the Will which was updated last on April 10, 1991, in which Anthony had nominated four trustees, including Dr. Bolaji Kuti, Dr. (Mrs) Abiola Refill, Mr. Aleshilonye Williams, and Dr. Deinde Aganga-Williams (Nee Adio-Moses) to replace some of the dead original trustees. While Dr. Kuti was Bank Anthony’s family doctor with no blood relationship, Williams and Reffel were said to be related to Bank Anthony family. Regrettably, Dr. Aganga-Williams, for over 29 years, did not know that her name was nominated as a trustee in the Will.
Among them, only Dr. Kuti got probated at the time after the transition of some of the original trustees. It was disclosed that since the Will bars a single trustee from acting solely, the other individuals teamed up to give a facade of being properly in charge.
The Bank Anthony family said with the death of the original executors/trustees of the Will, and death of two members of the latter group of trustees, namely Dr. Bolaji Kuti and Dr. Abiola Reffell, the group was now left with the third and main kingpin, Mr. Aleshilonye Williams, who also goes by the name of Olajide Aleshilonye. He was said to have converted millions of money meant for different beneficiaries, conniving with sundry registrars over shares held by the Testator and declaring to the Bank Anthony larger family that they were left out of the Will, and in turn gave them N200 million to share, claiming that the gift was from his personal pocket.
The family alleged that “using a multi-layered network of strange law enforcement top notch, footmen, rough necks and enforcers, they bilked the estate for over three decades. They left the beneficiaries out, in the cold with nothing, through concealment, deceit and outright violation of the trust for personal gains.”
The family, however, has cried out that banks and or registrars, who allowed the culprits to run accounts without being Probated Trustees of the Estate Accounts, “have continued to create roadblocks to steal and deprive the beneficiaries.”
The family has, therefore, appealed to the Inspector General of Police to look into a number of banks or registrars with any account belonging to Sir Mobolaji Bank Anthony.