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Abuse of Office: Fidelity Bank’s Official Unlawful Freeze Customer’s Account

An official of Fidelity Bank Plc, Idimu Branch, Lagos, Mrs. Mariam Chima-Ndu, has landed in trouble over alleged abuse of power and office, by freezing a customer’s account without any authorisation or any court order to do so.

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An auto parts dealer, Young Suleiman Omokhuale has instituted N100m fundamental human right suit against Fidelity Bank Plc, and it’s official Mrs. Mariam Chima-Ndu over Unlawful freezing of his account.

It was gathered that Mrs. Mariam Chima-Ndu alleged abuse her power as an official of the bank to freeze the customer’s account without any authorisation or any court order to do so.

The alleged illegal action of the banker was a desperate move to recover money she reportedly used to purchase a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) from the dealer.

Due to the illegal act, the dealer wrote a petition to the Managing Director, Fidelity Bank PLC, dated 12th March, 2021, through his lawyer, Mr. E.A. Iyobhebhe to demand justice.

In the petition, Mr. Iyobhebhe stated that Young Suleiman Omokhuale purchased SUV worth N1.7m and delivered to Mariam Chima-Ndu in her office as they agreed after Mariam confirmed and ordered for the vehicle.

Also Read: Court Dismiss Suit Challenging CBN Policy On Bank Charges

However, she rejected it on ground that she no longer wanted the SUV and ordered Omokhuale to transfer the money in his account to her account but he refused and asked her to give him time to sell the vehicle and refund her money.

Mariam was said to have secretly frozen the auto dealer’s account insisting that she will not open it until he gives her order to transfer the money into her account.

The petitioner stated: “The transaction with your staff was a personal contract, howbeit, she unilaterally froze the account. This complaint is with the view for your immediate reversal of the said unlawful freezing of the account and failing which, we will be constrained to sue your Bank and Miriam Chima-Ndu for N100m for depriving the complainant the use of his legitimate fund”.

In response, the Bank Management confirmed the receipt of the complaint through one Ayobamidele Peter and stated as follows: “With reference to the unauthorized lien on your account, please be informed that your complainant is receiving attention and feedback will be communicated upon completion of the investigation. All inconveniences are regretted”.

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But the response appeared to be an illusion because the Bank Management never got back to the complainant or unfrozen the account.

The complainant, Young Suleiman Omokhuale, has expressed shock over the incident and lamented that the actions of Miriam Chima-Ndu and Fidelity Bank have caused huge damage to his business and put his family in danger.

He said that he has no access to his money and apart from that, Miriam got him detained at Idimu Police Station before the Police intervened and asked her to give him time to sell the vehicle and refund her money.

Even, with the purported Intervention, the account remained unfrozen and he cannot transact any business or feed his family for the past one month and he had to resort to begging in order to feed his family.

On the next action since the bank has refused to unfrozen the account, he said he was heading to Court and has directed his lawyer to file a suit to that effect.

 

Top Court News is a product of a dedicated Journalist, owner of I-Wahab Media The Publisher started his Journalism career with Murhi International TV, MiTV in 2003 before working with Radio Nigeria, Lagos Operation, as a Judicial Correspondent. He is presently the Vice Chairman of the National Association of Judicial Correspondent, NAJUC, Ikeja Branch and occupied same office with Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ, Radio Nigeria Chapel. topcourtnewsng.com is out to serve you with informative and educative News in the Judiciary sector. To put an end to the under reported activities of the sector among the three arms of government

BUSINESS

Bank Boss, Atuche, Knows Faith Today Over N25.7 Billion Fraud

Bank Boss of the defunct PHB, Francis Atuche, knows faith today over alleged N25.7 Billion Fraud level against him by the EFCC before Ikeja High Court after three years of trial.

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Justice Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja is currently reading judgement in the N25.7 billion fraud suit against former Managing Director of the defunct Bank PHB Plc Francis Atuche, and his wife Elizabeth.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had in 2011 arraigned Atuche, his wife and the then financial officer of the moribund bank PHB Plc (now Keystone Bank), Mr. Ugo Anyanwu, over the alleged fraud.

After about three years into the trial, Atuche and co-defendants approached Court of Appeal to challenge their trial by the lower court for lack of jurisdiction.

In a judgement delivered in September 2016, the Appellate Court stopped the lower court from going ahead with the trial.

The appellate court also failed to quash the charges against Atuche, his wife and others but ordered Justice Okunnu to hands off the trial.

Read Also: Conman, Emmanuel Nwude Open Defense in Fraud Trial

The appellate court further directed the Chief Judge of Lagos State to re-assign the case to another judge.

Following the decision of the court of appeal, the EFCC approached the Supreme Court to set aside the decision of the lower court and order trial in the matter.

In an unanimous decision, the apex court overturned the decision of the appellate court.

The panel agreed that the lower court’s decisions on the matter was “perverse” and, therefore ought to be set aside.

Justice Ejembi Eko, who prepared and read the lead judgment of the apex court, said the order which the Court of Appeal made on September 23, 2016, for the remittance of case to the Lagos State Chief Judge for the purpose of re-assigning the case to another judge, was not aimed at serving the interest of justice.

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EFCC Charges Banks Compliance Officers on Diligence

EFCC charges Banks Compliance Officers to be diligent in the discharge of their duties and ensure that they play active role in tackling money laundering

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has charged Banks Compliance Officers to be diligent in the discharge of their duties and ensure that they play active role in tackling money laundering and other fraudulent financial practices in the banking sector.

The Zonal Head of the Ilorin Office of the Commission, Usman Muktar, gave this charge on Monday, May 24, 2021 while hosting the Compliance Officers of various Banks in Kwara State.

Mr. Muktar noted that the meeting was aimed at building a better relationship between the Commission and the bank officials in the fight against corruption.

The Zonal Head who appreciated their support to the Commission in the delivery of its mandate, urged Compliance Officers to do more.

Read Also: Unemployed Youth Arraigns Over Defrauding Politician N4.5m

He hinted the Officers about the creation of a Tax Fraud Desk in the Zone.

According to him, the Tax Fraud Desk in conjunction with the Special Control Unit against Money Laundering, SCUML, would greatly ease the problem of company registration currently being faced by people in the zone.

He added that the Section would help in dealing with issues of corruption, tax evasion, illicit financial flows and money laundering within the State.

Also Read: N127m Fraud: How Former Lagos Secretary Theft Fund Using UBA

Usman Muktar explained that the interface became necessary in order to check the rising trend of cases of money laundering involving bank officials.

“There is no major fraud especially money laundering that is ever committed without the connivance of bank officials, and this must stop”, he said.

On the issue of “Know Your Customer” (KYC) and “Know Your Customer’s Business” (KYCB) the Zonal Head tasked the bankers to take the two requirements seriously as it would help to keep fraudulent customers on the radar.

Participants at the meeting assured the EFCC of their support by offering necessary information that could assist it in fighting corruption and other illicit financial transactions.

Source: EFCC

 

 

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IKEDC Loses Suit Challenging Protest Against Outrageous Billings

IKEDC Loses Suit Challenging Protest Against Outrageous Billings

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The National Industrial Court, has dismissed a suit filed by the Ikeja Electricity Distribution Company Limited and New Electricity Distribution Company Limited against Incorporated trustees of Citizen Access to Electricity Initiative, for lack of proof.

Other defendants in the suit are Abdulsalam Fashola for himself and as national coordinator of the first defendant, Segun Esan, for himself and as General Secretary of Nigerian Union of Railway Workers and the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC.

Justice Osat Obaseki-Osaghae delivering judgment via virtual proceedings held that the first defendant was not a trade union, but rather a non-governmental organisation and that the first, second and third defendants not being members of a trade union were not subject to the provisions of the Trade Union Act.

On whether or not there was a trade dispute at any particular time between the parties, she held that the claimants had averred that the second defendant posted a letter signed by him on April 16, 2016, of a planned action of picketing the premises of the claimants on April 18, 2016, over outrageous billing and unlawful labour practice.

Obaseki-Osaghae further ruled that from the evidence before the court, the first to third defendants did not involve the fourth defendant, NLC.

“It is my view, in the circumstance cannot be said that the first, second and third defendants were not part of the protest.

“I find from the totality of the evidence adduced that the NLC did not organize the protest and was not part of it”, she added.

In addition, the judge said that the presence of NLC’s flag from photographs during the protest and picketing did not amount to its involvement.

The judge in addition said that from evidence, the gate to the claimants’ premises was locked, the protesters were outside the gate with the presence of the Nigerian Police personnel seen.

The judge hold that the first, second and third defendants in their constituted rights carried out a peaceful protest with the presence of Nigerian Police personnel.

The judge concluded by saying that the three declaratory reliefs sought by the defendants failed.

She also said the fourth relief which was a perpetual restraining order against the defendants or their agents was refused.

The fifth relief which was for specific damages was equally refused as she ruled that the claimants failed to prove that the protesters entered into their premises during the protest.

As for the relief of the cost of the suit, she said it was illegal for a litigant to push the cost of his legal burden on another litigant.

The claimants filed the suit against the defendants on April 20, 2016, seeking for a declaration that the defendants did not follow due procedures before embarking on protest, picket, lock up and prevented access at its premises at Obafemi Awolowo, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos on April 18, 2016.

The claimants also sought for a declaration that the defendants did not have any right to enter its premises and that the picketing and disruption was a wrongful interference.

They, therefore, sought for an order of the court for a perpetual restraining injunction against the defendants, their agents or associates.

In addition, the claimants had prayed for an order of the court directing the defendants to pay the sum of twenty million naira daily from April 18, 2016 till date of judgment.

The electricity distribution companies also prayed for the sum of N150 million for specific damages for the defendant’s interference in the performance of their employees duties and further sought for payment of their legal fees.

Source: News Agency (NAN)

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