Yes, death has bared its vicious fangs again. This time, it crept into the home of the Okumagbas and snatched one of his beloved sons, Albert Okumagba. Checks confirmed that Albert Okumagba, the CEO of BGL died a few days back in Abuja after a reported bout of a heart attack. He was 56.
The reality of Okumagba’s sudden death has not sunk in for many. Indeed, if money were a language understood by death, the deceased would be alive. But his time was up, as it were.
Sources close to the family say he died a sad and lonely man because of how his career torpedoed and the betrayal he suffered in the hands of some of his closest friends. In his heydays, the gangling and good-looking businessman was the go-to guy for his friends who needed advice and guidance on how to invest their money. He was described as loyal, dependable, and easy-going.
He was already wealthy before many of his friends found their feet in life. And he made giving generously an art, which was why he expected so much more from his friends and humanity, said a family source.
Sometime in 2015, his problems began. Operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrested him for alleged N28.9bn fraud and for allegedly obtaining money by false pretense.
His arrest was triggered by the investigation into a petition submitted to the anti-graft agency by the Security and Exchange Commission in May 2015.
He spent some weeks behind bars before he was released on administrative bail. A few friends rallied around him while others stayed away completely. He did not know at the time that his troubles were just starting.
In 2016, following complaints by investors against BGL and its subsidiaries (Assets Management Limited and BGL Securities Ltd) over failure, refusal, and or/neglect to liquidate their investments in both the Guaranteed Consolidated dated notes and Guaranteed Premium Notes among others, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) banned Okumagba and Chibundu Edozie, his deputy, from participating in capital market activities for 20 years.
According to the commission, it received 32 complaints between 2012 and 2015 against the BGL companies over certain conducts concerning operations of their Guaranteed Consolidated Notes (GCN) and Guaranteed Premium Notes (GPN). The SEC declared that the companies and their officials breached extant capital market laws and rules that led to a loss of N5.77 billion and, therefore, ordered Okumugba’s companies to refund to 32 investors over N2 billion. Okumagba was also removed as the President of Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (CIS) for acts capable of adversely affecting investors’ confidence in the capital market.
The commission later charged him, the company, and Edozien to court. He battled hard to establish his innocence until death took him away. But that was not all that broke Okumagba’s heart in his last years on earth.
Once again, the death of Okumagba reminds us of our dour humanity, and of the fragility of our hold on human subsistence.
The world is indeed a stage and life itself is but a walking shadow. It is a permanent shuttle in the sepulcher, and what we have are fleeting memories, stilled mementos, fraught memories, and the fractured memorabilia of those who are gone forever, never to be seen again.