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Customer battles Sterling Bank over N219m fraud

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A microfinance institution, OHHA Microfinance Bank Limited, has accused Sterling Bank Plc of defrauding it of N219 million it deposited with the bank.

The accusation was made in a letter to Sterling Bank by OHHA Microfinance Bank’s lawyers, Festus Keyamo Chambers. Dated 20 February and jointly signed by Messrs B.I Dakum and John Ainetor, the letter stated that OHHA Microfinance Bank operates two fixed deposit accounts (No. 514/1152051/74/0 Deal Ref. Slip No. DD No. 0138058 and No. 514/11520505/1/74/1 Deal Ref. Slip No. DD No.0133059) with Sterling Bank.

Both accounts, it said, have been operated for years and contain a deposit of N219million. The accounts said the microfinance bank was operated by Mr. Oliver Anidiobi, manager of Sterling Bank Market Road branch, Enugu State, who also doubles as its account manager.

While the accounts were in operation, OHHA Microfinance Bank said it exchanged many letters with Sterling Bank. In each of its replies, OHHA Microfinance Bank added, Sterling Bank confirmed the existence of the accounts and informed that the microfinance bank’s investment would be rolled over at Sterling Bank’s prevailing money market rate.

However, OHHA Microfinance Bank said that when it instructed Sterling Bank to terminate the fixed deposit and credit its current account on maturity with the principal and accrued interest, the latter refused.  This made OHHA Microfinance Bank to briefed O. A. Omotayo and Associates, a law firm, which made the same demands.

Sterling Bank, added OHHA Microfinance Bank, admitted the existence of the accounts but denied the existence of any fixed deposit investment.

It went ahead to claim that the deposit certificates presented by OHHA Microfinance Bank were forged. The bank also put up a defence for Mr. Anidiobi, whom it admitted to having handed over to the law enforcement agents over allegations of forgery.

“Having admitted that your staff Mr. Oliver Anidiobi is liable for forgery, which same offence has been committed while he was in your employment, we make bold to say you are vicariously liable for whatever Mr. Oliver Anidiobi would have done in the normal cause of his business as your branch manager. It is no doubt, you employed the said manager and presented him as a worthy staff for unsuspecting customers to deal with him, which our client did in good faith. It is safe to infer that you have defrauded our clients of the sum of N219million,” said the letter.

On that basis, OHHA Microfinance Bank is demanding that its current account (0023325543) with the sum of N219 million within seven days of the service of the letter. It warned that in the event of a default, it will take every legal step to ensure the recovery of its investments with accrued interest.

Efforts to reach Mr. Henry bassey, Chief Marketing Officer, Brand Management & Communication Group of Sterling Bank for the lender’s angle to the allegations proved futile as his mobile line was not available as at press time.

 

The letter is produced below.

OPEN LETTER TO STERLING BANK PLC

20th February, 2018

The Managing Director,

Sterling Bank Plc,

20 Marina,

Lagos.

Dear Sir,

UNLAWFUL CONVERSION OF THE SUM OF N219,000,000.00 (TWO HUNDRED AND NINETEEN MILLION NAIRA) BELONGING TO OHHA MICROFINANCE BANK LTD

DEMAND TO CREDIT OHHA MICROFINANCE BANK LTD  CURRENT ACCOUNT NUMBER 0023325543 WITH THE SUM OF N219,000,000.00 (TWO HUNDRED AND NINETEEN MILLION NAIRA)

We are solicitors to Ohha Microfinance Bank Ltd on whose firm instructions we write you.

Our client briefed us that it has a two fixed deposit accounts with you with Account No. 514/1152051/74/0 Deal Ref. Slip No. DD No. 0138058 and Account No. 514/11520505/1/74/1 Deal Ref. Slip No. DD No. 0133059.

That they have operated the said accounts with you for some years and deposited the sum of N219,000,000.00 (Two Hundred and Nineteen Million Naira) in the said deposit accounts through your Branch Manager, Market Road Branch, Enugu State, Mr. Oliver Anidiobi who also doubles as its Account Manager.

While operating the said Accounts, our client exchanged several correspondences with you wherein you confirmed the existence of the said Accounts and also informed them that their investment would be rolled over at the Bank’s prevailing money market rate.

Our client was surprised when it instructed you to terminate the Fixed Deposit and Credit its Current Account on maturity with the principal and accrued interest but you remained adamant. Consequent upon your failure to carry out its instruction, it briefed the law firm of O. A. Omotayo & Associates who made the same demands to you but you responded reluctantly wherein you admitted the existence of the said accounts but denied the existence of any fixed deposit investment by our client.

You further claimed that the Deposit Certificate presented to our client were forged and tried to defend Mr. Oliver Anidiobi whom you also admitted to have handed over to the law enforcement agents in connection with allegations of forgery.

Having admitted that your staff Mr. Oliver Anidiobi is liable for forgery which same offence has been committed while he was in your employment, we make bold to say you are vicariously liable for whatever Mr. Oliver Anidiobi would have done in the normal cause of his business as your Branch Manager. It is no doubt, you employed the said Manager and presented him as a worthy staff for unsuspecting customers to deal with him which our client did in good faith. It is safe to infer that you have defrauded our clients of the sum of N219,000,000.00 (Two Hundred and Nineteen Million Naira).

Consequently, we have our client’s instructions to demand that you credit its Current Account with you: 0023325543 with the sum of  N219,000,000.00 (Two Hundred and Nineteen Million Naira) within  SEVEN (7) DAYS from the date of service of this notice on you, failure to yield to our demands shall leave us with no option than to set all the machineries of law in motion to ensure our client’s investments with accrued interest in the above mentioned accounts are duly recovered.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

For: Festus Keyamo Chambers

B.I. DAKUM, ESQ

Counsel

JOHN AINETOR, ESQ

Assistant Head of Chambers

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BUSINESS

CBN injects another $210m into Forex Market

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In its latest round of intervention, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday, November 13, 2018, injected the sum of $210 million in the inter-bank foreign exchange market.

Figures obtained from the CBN indicate that the authorized dealers in the wholesale segment of the market received the sum of $100 million while the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and invisibles segments were allotted the sum of $55 million each.

The Bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okorafor assured that the CBN would continue to sustain liquidity in the forex market. He also expressed optimism that the Naira will continue its strong run against the dollar and other major currencies around the world, considering the stability in the market and robust reserves.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had on Friday, November 2, 2018, made interventions to the tune of $337.16million in the retail Secondary Market Intervention Sales (SMIS) and CNY 56.17million in the spot and short-tenored forwards segment of the foreign exchange market.

Meanwhile, the Naira on Tuesday, November 13, 2018 exchange at an average of N360/$1 in the BDC segment of the market.

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BUSINESS

Diamond Bank denies merger, acquisition talks with Access Bank

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Diamond Bank Plc and Access Bank Plc have notified the Nigerian Stock Exchange and the general public that both banks are not in any merger or acquisition talks as being circulated in some media.

The banks, in separate statements to the exchange on Monday, denied the rumours that they were engaged in merger and acquisition talks.

Uzoma Uja, Diamond Bank’s Company Secretary, said it was not in discussion with any financial institution at the moment on any form of merger or acquisition.

Uja said that the attention of Diamond Bank had been drawn to the rumour in the media stating that the bank was purportedly in discussion with Access Bank to acquire the bank.

He said: “We wish to state categorically that the bank is not in discussion with any financial institution at the moment on any form of merger or acquisition.

“We trust that the above clarifies the position of the bank with regards to the rumour on the various media platforms.”

Also, Sunday Ekwuochi, Company Secretary, Access Bank, said the bank had not entered into any such discussion with Diamond Bank or any other institution.

Ekwuochi said: “As a publicly quoted company built on best practice, the bank is fully cognisant of its disclosure obligations in respect of any such corporate action and will always discharge its obligations in the most professional manner.

“Consequently, any statement regarding any such corporate action that is not issued by the bank should be disregarded.”

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BUSINESS

Teleology finally takes over 9mobile, names new board

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Teleology Holdings Limited has finally taken over 9mobile.

This is coming 11 months after the company made it to the top five companies making a bid to take over the telecommunications company.

In a statement seen by TheCable, and signed by Mohammed Edewor, Teleology said it “is pleased to announce the constitution of a new Board of Directors for Nigeria’s multi-award-winning telecommunication company, 9mobile”.

This follows “the successful completion of the tenure of the former Board appointed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and in fulfillment of the consequential transfer of final ownership to the new investors, Teleology Nigeria Limited”.

“We thank all out-going members of the Board for helping to shepherd 9mobile through the critical transition phase it has passed through since July 2017 and wish them the very best in their future assignments.

“For us, the composition of the new Board of Directors is another significant milestone, and this follows the issuance of final approval of no objection by the Board of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to the effect that the technical and financial bids Teleology submitted for 9mobile met and satisfied all the regulatory requirements.

“This is indeed the dawn of a new era in the evolution of the 9mobile brand in the Nigerian market”.

The new board of directors is constituted by:

  1. Nasiru Ado Bayero (Chairman)
  2. Asega Aliga (Non Executive Director)
  3. Adrian Wood (Non Executive Director)
  4. Mohammed Edewor (Non Executive Director)
  5. Winston Ndubueze Udeh (Non Executive Director)
  6. Abdulrahman Ado (Executive Director)
  7. Stephane Beuvelet (Acting Managing Director)

Nasiru Ado Bayero, the new chairman, appreciated the telco’s employees and subscribers, who is said should be prepared for best-in-class services forthwith.

“As we begin this new epochal phase, we wish to thank all the employees who built this viable business,” Ade Bayero said.

“Our debt of gratitude also goes to our subscribers even as we assure them to get ready for real best-in-class additional value for their relationship with the 9mobile brand.

“Without you, there could not have been a 9mobile business for us to invest in today. We will justify your confidence in our brand by making significant investments that will improve the value you get for using 9mobile.”

The sale process of 9mobile was initially billed to be concluded on January 16, 2018, following an approval of the extension of the deadline by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) after an initial December 2017 deadline.

Teleology eventually won the final bid, ahead of Airtel, Globacom, Smile, Helios.

The company, 9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria was taken over in July 2017 following a N541 billion debt overhang.

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