MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
Family of the late renowned philanthropist; Sir Mobolaji Bank Anthony has publicly disowned Queen Irene Cole, a self styled “Executive Trustee” of the multi billion dollar estate of Bank Anthony.
Recently, Cole who reportedIy lived for many years in the United States of America organised a press conference where she told the media that as an ‘executive trustee’ of the late Bank Anthony’s Estate, she was collaborating with the late philanthropist’s family to recover the estate worth over $50billion from some Banks and Registrars whom she alleged had connived to deprive the statutory beneficiaries of the Will of their entitlement.
At a press conference on Thursday at Mike Okiro Press Centre, Ikeja Lagos, the Mobolaji Bank Anthony family told journalists that “Queen Irene Cole and her cohorts are not known to the family.”
According to Mr. Babatunde Bank Anthony, a grandson of Bank Anthony who spoke with journalists on zoom from London, “Sir Mobolaji Bank Anthony at the time of his death in 1991 left a clear and comprehensive last Will & Testament which depicted his last wishes. His last Will & Testament stated that his Estate be governed and run by a list of his chosen trustees. This list did not include anyone named Queen Irene Cole neither did it include some of her partners.
“Queen Irene Cole and her cohorts who, we as a family do not know, have spent the last couple of years attempting to insert themselves in the Estate and properties of the late Sir Mobolaji Bank Anthony. Queen Irene Cole has continually claimed her relationship to the Bank Anthony family and has through various methods obtained a court judgement which is currently being legally challenged by the family and the Estate.
“It has been brought to our notice that Queen Irene Cole and some of her partners have been using this court judgement in an attempt to access Estate funds and engage with property developers.”
“We, the family are using this medium to inform everyone that Queen Irene Cole does not have the permission or the authority to represent the Bank Anthony family and anyone who enters into any business transaction with her in regards to the Bank Anthony Estate does so at their own peril.”
Explaining further, Babatunde Bank Anthony who was joined via zoom at the conference by the last daughter of the philanthropist Bolaji Bank Anthony said all the press conferences organised by Queen Irene Cole in respect of Bank Anthony Estate were full of fallacies and misleading to the members of the public. He cited a newspaper publication in which Queen Irene Cole claimed to be a Godmother of a beneficiary, adding that Funmiade Bank-Anthony who has been associating with Cole is though a grandchild of Mobolaji Bank Anthony but not a statutory beneficiary from the Will.
Speaking in the same vein, another grandson; Mr. Mohammed Abubakar Akintunde told journalists that Cole is a Godmother to Funmiade. He explained that some time in 2020, Cole had invited him and Funmiade to Sheraton Hotels during which both of them were persuaded to accept becoming Trustees to their late grand father’s Estate. While Funmiade consented to the request, Akintunde rejected it with the contention that such proposal could not fly without the consent of Mobolaji Bank Anthony’s children and larger family.
According to him, Cole later procured a Lagos High Court document purporting him as one of the Trustees of the late Bank Anthony’s Estate all in an attempt to have access to the Estate’s accounts. Akintunde was later to disclaim his inclusion when Bank Anthony’s family took the matter to court.
In the disclaimer dated 30th September, 2020 (copies of which were made available to the press) Akintunde expressly stated that he was not aware of the fraudulent act perpetuated that “I should become the new said trustee of the estate of the late Sir Mobolaji Bank Anthony.
“I am a law abiding citizen of Nigeria and also one of the grandsons of the late philanthropist Sir Mobolaji Bank Anthony. I would like the court to verify all necessary documents from Irene Cole where and time I sat down to sign the document that warrants me Mr. Mohammed Abubakar Akintunde to be a legal trustee of the said Estate.”
The eldest grand child of the late philanthropist, Fumilayo Bank Anthony who spoke via zoom like Babatunde and Bolaji said she is a beneficiary in the Will while her cousin Funmiade who was associating with Queen Irene Cole is not a beneficiary like some other grand children.
The family disclosed that the case relating to the Estate was still in court pointing out that Cole and her cohorts “initially got a judgement due to improper disclosure of facts to the court during the filing process; the name of a Beneficiary has been altered to match the name of one of the Beneficiaries stated in the Will. They have tried everything and anything possible to try to get their hands on the funds of the Estate. The judgement they are parading around is dated 5th August, 2020 but subsequently the case was referred to the Court of Appeals on 5th November, 2021. A Notice of Appeal has been put forward and we are presently waiting for an Appeal date,” Babatunde Bank Anthony explained.
He added that “Queen Irene Cole and her partners are simply in a bid to race against time. They hope they can get to the Funds of the Estate before an Appeal hearing but we as a family will ensure they will not succeed.”
It was gathered that Queen Irene Cole and her group after addressing the press in May this year whereby she accused Banks and Registrars for holding to the Estate’s Funds have held meetings with some of the Registrars with a view to strengthening issues relating to the Funds.