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CHRISTMAS: Delta widows reminiscent, eulogise Uduaghan, curse Okowa over embarrassing “5KGS” Rice

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Okowa’s “miserable” Christmas gifts to Delta widows.

…..As Widows Abandon Okowa’s Christmas Gifts

Widows across Delta state on Christmas Day eulogised former governor Emmanuel Uduaghan for what they described as always putting smiles on the faces of widows at yuletide season during the eight years of his administration.

The widows who were reacting to what they called “embarrassing and miserable” 5kgs rice, one litre of oil, two tin of tomatoes and a meagre N1,000 distributed to widows across the state by governor Ifeanyi Okowa through his wife, the first lady, Mrs. Edith Okowa, emphatically stated that, the least Christmas gifts each widow had received from former governor Uduaghan during Christmas celebrations through his wife, the first lady, Mrs. Roli Uduaghan were 25kgs bag of rice, four litre of oil and other ingredients, cash and wrapper.

Our correspondents who monitored the distribution of the Okowa’s Christmas gifts to widows in Ughelli South, Ughelli North, Ndokwa East, Ndokwa West, Isoko North, Isoko South, Patani, and other local government areas report that the widows who were not happy over the quantity of the gifts when compared to what they had always received from the Uduaghan administration, poured encomiums on Uduaghan while they left Okowa led administration with curses.

Speaking with our correspondent, a widow who simply identified herself as Mrs. Dorcas Imire from Iyede lamented her rigorous journey from Iyede to Ozoro to pick up 5kgs rice, two tin of tomatoes, one litre of oil and a thousand.

“I regretted coming from Iyede to Ozoro in this scarcity of fuel just to be given a miserable 5kgs rice, one litre of oil, two tin of tomatoes and N1000. When my transport to and fro alone is over that N1000. In the time of former governor Uduaghan, it was never as bad as this and the almighty God will continue to bless Uduaghan in whatever he set to do. The Okowa Christmas gift was an insult and embarrassment.” She lamented.

Another widow who gave her name as Mrs. Juliana Akpomiemie, told our correspondent that “Okowa is a failure and will forever be a failure in all of his life. Upon all the allocations, Paris club refund and internal generated revenue, all Okowa could do is to insult us with his miserable 5kgs rice, one litre of oil, two tin of tomatoes and N1000. This was what Uduaghan was doing without any complaints and widows were so happy. He never gave us 5kgs of rice in his eight years. Uduaghan God bless you for us. It will never be well with Okowa.”

The Okowa’s “miserable” Christmas gifts to Widows in Delta State.

Also speaking, a headmistress who lost her husband four years ago said what were distributed to widows across the state was a total embarrassment and insult to the widows.

“Despite all the billions of naira accrued to Delta state Governor Okowa can’t buy something reasonable and more befitting for the widows to celebrate the season. Former governor Uduaghan was not like this and in his eight years he played a politics of human face with compassionate heart especially to the widows. Give Okowa twelve years he can never surpassed Uduaghan’s administration.

“Uduaghan is no longer in office but he singlehandedly gave some local government areas each 200 bags of 50kgs and 25kgs of rice and to individuals too across the state. We also saw on social media too his former SSG, Comrade Ovuozorie Macaulay distributing 50kgs and 25kgs of rice to his people, supporters, party leaders, elders in both Isoko North and Isoko South.”

“I read in the papers where Okowa said during his last week press conference that the finances of the state has improved and I want to ask what is Okowa using all the billions of naira to do that he can not afford to buy at least 25kgs of rice and four litre of oil and good money to celebrate the Christmas.? Whereas individuals bought 25kgs and in some cases 50kgs of rice and distributed to people.” she said.

Our correspondent reliably gathered that some of the widows after considering the scarcity of fuel and how much to be spent on transport to pick up a 5kgs rice, two small tin tomatoes, one litre oil and N1,000 decided to abandoned the governor’s “miserable” Christmas gifts.

We reliably gathered that Governor Okowa, it was also learnt allegedly refused to release money to his aides to buy Christmas rice for distribution to supporters and party faithful as a result in some local government councils, eight aides came together to contribute money to purchase eight bags of 50kgs rice and distributed to over 100 supporters and few party faithful.

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INVESTIGATION

Access Bank staffer arraigned for stealing customers’ N13 million

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A staffer of the Herbert Wigwe’s led Access Bank Plc, Kolawole Agboola, has been arraigned at the Tinubu Chief Magistrates’ Court in Lagos Island on a three-count charge of conspiracy, fraud and theft.

THE WITNESS gathered the accused allegedly stole N13.6 million from the accounts of two customers of the Bank.

He however pleaded not guilty to the charges.

The Idimu, Lagos-based 29-year old banker, according to the prosecutor, Sergeant Hafsat Ajibode, committed the offences between October 2017 and March 2018.

The offences contravened Sections 287 (7), 325 and 411 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2015 with Section 287 (7) stipulating seven years imprisonment for offenders.

Ajibode said that the accused withdrew the money from the unnamed Access Bank customers’ accounts by issuing a forged investment certificate to them to conceal his fraudulent activities.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr Tajudeen Elias, granted bail to the accused in the sum of N500,000 with two sureties in like sum. He said one of the sureties must be a relative of the accused and the other, a civil servant, while he adjourned the case until August 16, 2018 for hearing.

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INVESTIGATION

Access Bank prosecutes defunct Intercontinental Bank staff for stealing N1.2bn from customers

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Following the startling discovery of a whopping N1.2bn fraud, allegedly committed by one Olayinka Sanni, a former staff of Access Bank, through illegal siphoning of customers’ money, the bank has now taken the bold step to prosecute the said former staff, through the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC,) after intensive investigations confirmed Sanni’s culpability in the alleged fraud.

An employee of Access Bank, one Arthur Ezindu, narrated how Olayinka Sanni, then an Account General Manager, AGM, of several plum accounts, severally stole a sizeable amount of money to the tune of N1.2billion from several accounts belonging to customers of the bank.

Some of these customers’ accounts include: the Falana & Falana Chambers; Babington Junior Seminary; Viju Industries; Mechano Nigeria, PWU Nigeria; Elizade Nigeria; Murhi International Group, to mention a few. Sanni was reportedly arraigned alongside one Oyebode Oteyebi by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on an eight-count charge bordering on stealing, forgery and altering of forged documents. Ezindu, who gave his office address as Block 99C Damole, off Adeola Odeku, testified as a prosecution witness before an Ikeja High Court, Lagos.

While being led in evidence by the EFCC Lawyer, Rotimi Oyedepo, Ezindu said that Sanni withdrew the said huge sum of money from different customers’ accounts without their consent and thereafter issued them forged documents of confirmation which he purportedly claimed, emanated from the bank.

In the course of interrogation, Arthur Ezindu told the Special Offences Court that, Olayinka, who was his boss at the time of the incident, was a regional Executive, Lagos Mainland North at Intercontinental bank, now Access Bank. According to him, “The bank received several complaints from several customers whose accounts were debited without their consent.

However, during the preliminary investigation, we noticed that all the complaints were centered on our staff, Olayinka Sanni. We then invited him to the head office for questioning, but he claimed that everything was under control. He told us not to bother investigating the matter on the ground, that there was more behind what was happening.

So since he was our senior officer, being the AGM at that time, we decided to petition his case to the EFCC for proper investigation. When asked how much was involved as at the time the bank petitioned for EFCC, Ezindu replied, the total sum was about N1.2billion.

The prosecution thereafter tendered the petition dated September 2011 in evidence. Meanwhile, the two defendants were also arraigned alongside a company, Sidaw Ventures Limited, which was allegedly used to transfer and cash out the stolen funds.

The employee further said that during the preliminary investigation, the bank discovered that the company, Sidaw had Adamu as its signatory, while Sanni indirectly managed the account. Some of the handwriting on the cheques belonged to Sanni. He was the one indirectly signing and filling the cheques for Adamu. But in the wake of this unfolding scenario that is creeping into the good image of Access Bank, it was found out that the sleaze by Sanni was actually committed when he was still a staff of now defunct Intercontinental Bank, before it was acquire by Access Bank, thus with its assets and liabilities, as normally done in cases of acquisition.

Upon acquisition, Access Bank began a fresh look into the books and records of Intercontinental Bank; that was when the Olayimka Sanni’s lead was broken, as many atrocities and malfeasances were discovered, all pointing in the direction of Sanni, who by this time had resigned from Access Bank, apparently due to the fact, that it would not take long before his misdeed will be found, and he would go in for it. Subsequently, he was invited by the bank and handed over to EFCC for further investigation, which now led to his present prosecution at the Ikeja High Court (Special Offences Unit.)

The case was adjourned to a later date for further hearing, while the accused was refused bail, and still in the detention of EFCC.

The deduction from the case is that the implication being created is that the fraud was committed by Sanni as a staff of Access Bank, but the truth of the matter is that the fraud was committed by Sanni while he was a top official of defunct Intercontinental Bank, until it was eventually acquired by Access Bank with all its assets and liabilities, which now, in a fresh bid to regularize the acquisition, found out the sleaze committed by Sanni.

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INVESTIGATION

Ex-staffers battle Diamond Bank over unpaid severance fee

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We are not owing them  – Diamond Bank

 

Diamond Bank Plc. led by Uzoma Dozie is now at war with the 370 workers that were sacked by the bank with no severance entitlements.

This newspaper learnt that the management of Diamond Bank on 27th of May 2016 at about 5:30am sent an electronic mail to 370 of their member staff to notify them of termination of their appointment, without stating any objective reason. Most of the workers who didn’t receive the termination mail before leaving home to work were caught off guard as they couldn’t access their various work stations and were only able to find out about the termination of their appointment after renting their friend’s phone.

We gathered that the workers took their case to the National Assembly Committee on Public Petitions and the bank’s MD/CEO, Uzoma Dozie was summoned to appear before the committee on January 18th, 2018. Instead of showing up, he sent the Head Human Capital Management of the bank, Mr. Gabriel Nwokeafor to represent him.

Sources said that Mr. Gabriel Nwokeafor told the House Committee that the bank was ready to settle the matter and a meeting was held to that effect at Reiz Hotel, Abuja on January 19th, 2018 between Diamond Bank, its lawyer and seven representatives of the sacked workers alongside their lawyer and the bank agreed to pay the severance/redundancy benefits as computed but on the condition that the loans collected by the ex-workers will be deducted and the balance paid to them.

Be that as it may, we were told that the bank had reneged on that agreement. Besides, Mr. Gabriel on 28th March, 2018 refused to appear before the House Committee instead he sent two lawyers who refuted the agreements he made with the ex-workers and their lawyer on January 19th, 2018 on the ground that the case was still in Court and the sacked workers were asked to withdraw their case from the court.

The ex-workers not fully aware of the implication of their next action, subsequently withdrew the case from Court.

Sources added that Mr. Gabriel on April 24th, 2018 said that he cannot deny knowledge of the agreement he signed with the ex-workers and their lawyer, and the withdrawal of the case in court that there is no way the decision he reached with the sacked workers could be wholly binding as the CEO/MD of the bank was not present at the time. He added that he did not know that the entire decisions at the meeting was been recorded.

But in a statement made available to THE WITNESS on Thursday July 19, 2018, Diamond Bank however denied the allegations.

The statement reads in part “At Diamond Bank, we understand the value of strong governance principles that protect and places a premium on the welfare of our people.”

“The exit of the staff was in line with best practice and complied to all regulations.”

“Out of the 370 persons who left the employment of our bank, 274 of them voluntarily resigned their appointments and several of them have requested and have been issued with favourable references.”

“They were paid all their terminal benefits as stipulated under their contracts of employment.”

“Presently, we are not indebted to any of them. However, a number of them are indebted to the Bank over loan facilities they obtained and failed to repay.”

“We wish to state that this issue has been reported and deliberated upon by the Central Bank of Nigeria as well as Federal Legislative bodies.” The lender stressed.

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