By Chioma Okezie-Okeh
It is more than three decades since the renowned industrialist and philanthropist, Sir Mobolaji Bank Anthony died. But the massive wealth, which some said was worth over 50 billion dollars, that he left to be shared among his family and selected institutions has remained in contention. Frustrated after several years of legal battle, family members accused banks and some individuals they referred to as imposters as deliberately frustrating the execution of the will as recognised by the court.
Recounting how it all started, 68-year-old Queen Irene Cole, who claim to be the spokesperson and Executive Probated Trustee of the Estate of Sir Mobolaji Bank Anthony told Saturday Sun that her wish is to be alive and ensure that the will of his godfather is fulfilled.
“Sir Bank-Anthony transited on May 26, 1991 and in tune with his archetypal humanitarian ideals, left the bulk of his over $50 billion (USD) worth of estate (in Nigeria, UK, USA and Isle of Jersey) benefits that he established for eternity, for some institutional and other named beneficiaries: as the inevitable successors of his shining legacies, vide his last Will and Testament dated April 10, 1991. The will was proved and registered in court, in the Lagos on April 7, 1993 and verified at the Probate Registry. Ikeja.
“In his last will of April 10, 1991, Sir Bank-Anthony nominated trustees, only Dr Kuti got probated (at the time) after the transition of some original trustees.
“However, the will bars a single trustee from acting solely. At this juncture, the other individuals teamed up to give a facade of being properly in charge. They then proceeded to coldly bilk the estate’s large concerns in Nigeria, the UK and the Isles of Jersey for over 29 years, at the expense of all named institutional beneficiaries and worthy causes that were dear to the heart of Sir Bank Anthony.
“It became a free for all as each one appropriated what he or she could reach before the other. Beyond criminal negligence, the strong threads of collusion in this respect, are linked to Bankers, Registrars and certain persons in the shadows.
“In all of these, not even one property was renovated. Instead, the cherished “Fountain Pen” house where Sir Mobolaji Bank-Anthony lived and died was handed over to a developer for N5 million at Ikoyi and nothing for the beneficiaries to date.
“Along the line, efforts by these probated trustees spearheaded by me almost led to my murder by the agents of the gang. My Personal Assistant and I were taken at gunpoint and threatened with death, to release some original documents.
“The intimidation and impunity continued with my domestic staff being ferried to Abuja and held incommunicado under severe dehumanising conditions for one month. Not done with the intimidation, policemen invaded Mr Amariwu’s residence, abducting him and forced him into Ikoyi prison on false charges. Meanwhile his wife and four children aged two to nine were arrested and taken to Alagbon, FCID (Force Criminal Investigative Department) detained after midnight in their pyjamas and left in the streets to warn their mother never to go back home otherwise any of her children may end up missing.
“The reason for all the attacks was because I have knowledge and proof of Sir Banks will.
“Using a multi-layered network of strange law enforcement top-notch, footmen, roughnecks and enforcers; these imposters swindled the estate for over three decades! Within this period, they left the beneficiaries out, in the cold with nothing.
“Twenty institution including the Nigerian Society for the Blind who are annual beneficiaries were left without a dime from Sir Bank Anthony’s estates,” she lamented.
Presenting documents, Miss Cole said that the family had got court judgment in its favour but alleged that banks were deliberately making it impossible for the real beneficiaries to access the funds.
“Today, through the concerted efforts of the probated Trustees/ Executors / Executrixes, under the Lead Trustee; Dr Deinde Aganga-Williams Nee Adio-Moses who was nominated in the will for over 29 years without informing her that she had been nominated. Justice S.A. Onigbanjo requested that she must be found and today she is the Lead Trustee of this Estate.
“Unfortunately we have reached a problem of the recovery where the Banks and Registrars who allowed the culprits to run accounts without being probated Trustees of the Estate accounts. The Registrars are powerful and continue to create roadblocks to steal and deprive the beneficiaries. For instance we have served and provided all documentation but when we served First Registrars again on the November 6,2021 only to find out that money had been removed on the November 11,2021. We quickly complained to the police.
“Some lawyers claimed that it was money from Sir Bank-Anthony that had been abandoned. So on that day, November 11, 2021, one of them claimed it was sent back to the companies. Whilst we were in the police station both the head of compliance said that they don’t know how much money was sent back because they said they mixed it with other client’s money. So they claimed that the money has gone. As for the rest of the money they said they were compiling and after another week they will upload to the Estate account. We are still waiting.
“With the welcome collaboration of the crack Federal Criminal Investigations Department of the Nigerian Police Force, our major problem is that the Banks or Registrars are either delaying on payment that is due now or trying to work on someone to bring in a lawsuit to delay the process,” she alleged.
She pleaded with the Inspector General of Police to look into a number of banks or Registrars with any account that belongs to Sir Mobolaji Bank-Anthony that had intentionally refused to comply using delayed tactics.
One of Sir Mobolaji Bank-Anthony’s granddaughters, Ms Funmiade Bank- Anthony had in previous publications alleged that her grandfather left more than 45 houses and that none of his children was living in any.