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Zenith Bank in Alleged Messy N6.5billion Fraud

Zenith Bank in Alleged Messy N6.5billion Fraud trial closed for Judgement to determine if the bank will be sanction for misconduct.

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Justice Ayokunle Faji of the Federal High Court, Lagos, has fixed October 6, for adoption of final written addresses in a suit which indicted Zenith Bank of Nigeria over excessive and illegal charges to the tune of about six point five billion naira.

The suit was filed by an Independent Oil Marketer, Mr. Olushola Anthony Adejuyigbe against Zenith Bank Plc.

Adejuyigbe alongside his company, Tonique Oil Services Limited, sometimes in 2018, instituted charges against Zenith Bank Plc.

Adejuyigbe and his company in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/1584/2012, through his lawyer, Mr. Lanre Ogunlesi (SAN) in his amended statement of claim narrated that in the course of its business activities, his company obtained several credit facilities from Zenith Bank PLC while he pledged three of his properties as securities for the facilities.

Adejugbe also stated that three different transactions leadings to this litigation occurred in his company’s current account whereby excess, illegal interest and charges were discovered.

And that upon discovery of the said charges, the company demanded for a reversal but the bank bluntly refused.

He also stated that a forensic accounting firm was engaged to scrutinize and analyse his company’s account and it was then discovered that between August 2006 and December 2013, excess interest and charges on the company by Zenith Bank Plc as accumulated to the tune of N1,842,471,801.99.

Adejugbe further stated that by a letter dated February 19, 2008, Zenith Bank granted his Company commercial paper facility of N2,568,644,276.09, to finance the purchase of 30,000MT of Petroleum products, but N2,501,270 was credited into the company’s account.

He however stated that instead of Zenith Bank financing the purchase of the 30,000 MT of Petroleum products for the company as per letter of offer, Zenith Bank diverted the entire sum of N2,501,270 for the purchase of its own shares during the bank’s Initial Public Offer (IPO), a conduct the plaintiffs described as unethical, unprofessional and reprehensive.

Also Read: N24bn Debt: Zenith Bank Drag Stallion Group To Court

He also added that out of the sum of N104,363,212.03 assessed as dividends payable on the bank’s shares only N42,173,498.43 million was credited into the company’s account leaving outstanding balance of N62,169,713.60.

He added that the bank’s shares purportedly bought by his Company with the facilities granted by Zenith bank were managed by the bank so much that the bank eventually liquidated the shares after the value has nose dived and depreciated.

He also stated that another activity on his Company’s current account with Zenith Bank, was the sale and purchase of a property in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, that belong to one of the shareholders/customers of the bank who needed to clean up some of his obligations to the bank.

And that it was the bank who introduce his company to the shareholders 50,000 square meters of land out of which the company bought 20,000 square meters for the purpose of expanding its business earnings.

He averred that to facilitate the purchase of the land, Zenith Bank offered the company a term loan of N500,000 and it was part of understanding of the company and the bank that after the purchase of the land, the bank will finance the company’s Tank farms to be built thereon.

He further stated that after the purchase of the land, Zenith Bank took possession of the title documents of the land as collateral while reneged on the promise and understanding to finance his Company’s tank farm on the land and since 2008 the land had been under the management of the bank and the same had been lying fallow.

In this circumstance, the plaintiffs contended that Tonique Oil Company is not indebted to Zenith Bank and any alleged indebtedness could only have been arisen as a result of the unconciousable and illegal acts of the bank’s officials in debiting the company’s account with astronomical and spurious interest charged.

Consequently, the plaintiffs contended that such interest charges are illegal and they contravened the Central Bank of Nigeria Monetary Credit and Foreign Exchange/Trade guidelines.

Read Also: How Alleged Fraudster Operates Zenith Bank Account Without BVN

The plaintiffs financial consultant computed other charges that were passed into the account of the company, base on relevant policy circulars, guide to bank charges of Central bank of Nigeria and discovered that the bank excessively overcharged the company on interest on overdraft, COT, and VAT on COT, Management Fees, upcountry transfer fees, interest on commercial paper, foreign exchange purchases and letter of credits.

Consequently, the plaintiffs are contending that they are not indebted to the bank rather the bank has overcharged them to several billions of Naira.

Rather the plaintiffs urged the court to declare that Zenith Bank being a bank within the supervisions and control of CBN cannot charge interest on any facilities granted to them beyond the official approved policy rate of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

They are also urged the court not only to restrain Zenith Bank from selling their property pledged as securities for the loan but to also compel it to pay his company the sum of ₦6,441,369,617.73 billion, being the total excess charges debited into the company’s account by the bank and interest on the same amount at the rate of 21% per annum from the date of judgement of the court until final liquidation.

However, Zenith Bank in its statement of defence with statement on oath sworn to by Senior Assistant Manager internal control and Audit Department of Zenith Bank, Mr Vincent Ohanugo and filed by its lawyers, Mr. Ajibola Lawal-Akapo and others, denied almost all the plaintiffs’ claims and stated that the company was granted several loans which include: ₦2.5 billion regular commercial paper; $36 million import finance facility; $6, 648 million commercial paper/usance facility; $9million import finance facility via usance facility and $11million short term import facility of ₦500 million.

The bank also stated that the plaintiffs authorised Zenith Registrar Plc to take steps to purchase the shares of the bank on is their behalf, while also pledged 3.5million and 17,154,300 units of the shares respectively in favour of the bank and authorised the bank to sell them to recoup part of the credit facilities the bank granted them, therefore the allegation of unethical conduct, lack of competence and professionalism against it by the plaintiffs was made out of malice, confusions and frustration on the part of the plaintiffs.

The Bank also stated further that it did not enter any understanding with the plaintiffs to finance the construction of tank farm for the company.

The plaintiffs assertion that they are no longer indebted to the bank is a bare denial and therefore challenges the plaintiffs to provide evidence of payment of all the credit facilities availed to them by the bank.

Zenith Bank also stated that the plaintiffs suit did not disclose any cause of actions against it, as the plaintiffs are still indebted to it in the sum of N8, 464, 176, 356.52 billion, as at January 31, 2013.

The Bank therefore urged the court to dismiss the suit for been frivolous and it amounts to abuse of court process.

Meanwhile, Justice Faji upon conclusion of arguments from both parties counsel, on June 28, 2021, adjourned the matter till October 6, for adoption of final written addresses.

 

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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

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EFCC Narrates How Customer Lose N1.8bn in Sterling Bank Plc Care

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, commence trial against a Sterling Bank Plc official over N1.8bn alleged fraud

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The eagle eye of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has caught up with a banker working for Sterling Bank Plc over N1.8bn alleged fraud.

An official of the bank, Ifeanyichukwu Shallom Isituah and a businessman, Ighodaro Austin Osaretin was alleged to steal the sum of N1,790,558,000 belonging to a customer of the bank, Wells Procurement Limited with account number – 0016798848.

The matter has since been dragged to court after thorough investigation by the anti graft agency.

An EFCC Investigator, Adamu Mohammed, told Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, that the agency received a petition with reference No: SB/IAG/12/EFCC/011 duly signed by the Head IT and Head Intelligence and Investigation on behalf of Sterling Bank.

Mohammed, who works with the Team C Cybercrime department of the EFCC, while testifying on oath, said that the petitioner alleged that a customer’s bank account was profiled via internet banking and the said sum was diverted to various individuals and companies.

While led in evidence by the prosecutor, N. M. Anana, the witness testified that preliminary investigation by the bank revealed that the second defendant’s profile, Isituah, a female, was used to initiate the account on internet banking and more than 24 accounts got the same amount of money.

Also Read: Alleged N111.5billion Revenue Fraud Reports Indicts Zenith Bank

“Investigation letters were sent to FCMB, Zenith, First Bank, Fidelity Bank and Access Bank. Responses were received from the banks and the statement of accounts were analysed and the analysis revealed that most of the company’s accounts the money was transferred to were BDC (Bureau de Change) operators.

“Some of them reside in Abuja, Kaduna and there was one address that we suspected to live in Lagos, Ndifreke Roberts. But all efforts to trace the address of Kaduna, Lagos and Abuja suspects did not yield any information to help the commission get them.

“On March 10, 2020, the DSS handed over the two defendants to the commission under the instruction of the AGF (attorney-general of the Federation) for further investigation. The two defendants’ statements were voluntarily taken under caution.

“The first defendant revealed that he has a company called Universal Agriculture Empowerment Initiative as an NGO which received the sum of sixty million naira as part of the transfer from that Sterling Bank customer’s account. He further stated that the money was received from one Osaretin (second defendant) and transferred to his account as a donation.

“That he introduced one of his friends who is the owner of Villavon International School who also received one hundred million naira from the said fraud.

“He further stated that he called a BDC in the name of Damo who owns Damoo Ten Ventures. Damo was invited to the commission and he volunteered a statement that the first defendant contacted him and he transferred sixty million naira to various accounts and further instructed the owner of the International School to transfer ninety-five million naira.

You May Also Like: SFU Opens Trial Of Syndicate who Theft N.9Billion From FCMB

“The dollar equivalent was received in cash by the first defendant. The first defendant further stated that the money was used at IDP camps around the country. I cannot remember the specific location but he mentioned a place in Borno and Adamawa, the witness said.

However, during cross examination by the defence lawyer, A. Okenile, the EFCC operative said that Sterling Bank gave the commission the information that the second defendant profiled the account for the alleged fraud.

When asked what links the second defendant to the alleged fraud, Mohammed said, “the offence was committed at Sterling Bank and it was reported. The offence took place during a public holiday and the bank realized it on December 28. The accounts of the customer we are talking about has never been profiled for internet banking. So we had to understand how it was transferred, which was through internet banking.

“The bank said the account doesn’t have internet banking access and it was a staff that did it and the second defendant’s profile was used to connect the account to internet banking. Without that profiling money cannot be transferred from that account.

“Even when the bank tried to contact her, she ran away. She was nowhere to be found. Not until the Department of State Services (DSS) traced, arrested her and handed her over to the commission”.

The matter was further adjourned till October 19 for continuation of trial.

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Suru Homes Boss, Edward Akinlade in Alleged Messy N1.7Billion Deal

Suru Homes Boss, Edward Akinlade in alleged nessy N1.7Billion fraud over selling property he had used as collateral for a Fidelity bank loan.

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The Chief Executive Officer, CEO of Suru Homes Ltd, Edward Akinlade has been arraigned at an Ikeja Special Offences Court for allegedly selling property he had used as collateral for a Fidelity bank loan.

Akinlade and his company were arraigned on a 10-count charge of stealing and issuance of dud cheques proffered against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The defendants plead not guilty to the charges.

According to the EFCC prosecutor, Mr Temitope Banjo, Akinlade committed the offences sometime in 2017 in Lagos.

“The defendant with an intent to defraud, converted the property situated at No. 11A Lawson Adeyemi St., Ikoyi, Lagos by selling it without the knowledge of the bank and diverting the proceeds of the sale.

“The property was part of a legal mortgage he had used as an part of a collateral to secure a loan of N1.7 Billion loan he had obtained from Fidelity Bank Plc,”the EFCC prosecutor said.

Banjo noted that on Sept. 8, 2017, the CEO issued nine separate dud Guarantee Trust Bank, GTB checks of N10million each to Fidelity Bank Plc.

You May Also Like: Alleged Bank Fraud: Court Adjourns For Final Written Addresses

“When the cheques were presented for payment, they were dishonoured on the grounds that no sufficient funds were standing in the credit of the account,” he said.

The offences violate Sections 1(1)(a)(b) and 2 of the Dishonoured Cheques Offences Act 2004 and Section 284 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011.

After the arraignment, the defence counsel, Mr Lawal Pedro (SAN) told the court that he only became aware of the charges the EFCC had filed against Akinlade the previous day.

The SAN noted that in response, he had filed a bail application and had just served a copy of the application to the EFCC.

Responding, the EFCC prosecutor acknowledged receipt of the bail application and told the court that needed some time to respond to it.

“My lord, the charges have been filed since 2020 and it was impossible and very difficult to arrest the defendant until yesterday.

“The Bank Fraud Section of the EFCC on several occasions put calls across to the defendant to no avail.

Read Also: SFU Opens Trial Of Syndicate who Theft N.9Billion From FCMB

“He jumped administrative bail and he is being investigated by four sections of the EFCC,” Banjo said.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo in a ruling granted Akinlade bail in the sum of N30million with two sureties in like sum.

“One surety shall be a legal practitioner and the second surety shall be a close relative of the defendant.

“The sureties shall swear to an affidavit of means and their home and office addresses shall be verified by the court,” she said.

The case was adjourned until Oct. 11 for trial.

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BDC Operator Yakub in Court Over Alleged N197m Fraud

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A Bureau De Change, BDC Operator, Yusuf Yakub has been dragged to court over allegations of misappropriation of funds and N197m Fraud

Yakub was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, before a Kano State High Court on a count charge.

The defendant was said to have allegedly obtained the sum of $870,000 only from the complainant under the pretext of changing same to Naira but returned only the sum of N220, 300,000 and diverted the balance of N197, 600,000.

Yakub however pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him.

Upon his not guilty plea, the EFCC counsel, Musa Isah however asked the court for a trial date.

Also Read: N7m Fraud: Ponzi Scheme Operator, Umoren Edet Gets Conviction

In a counter reaction, Counsel to the defendant, Abdul Adamu informed the court that he had filed a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the court.

Subsequently, the presiding judge, Justice Sanusi Ma’aji, granted the defendant bail in the sum of Fifty Million Naira with two sureties in like sum.

According to the judge, one of the sureties must be a relative of the defendant and both must also be residents of Kano. Their business addresses must also be verified.

The matter was thereafter adjourned till August 18 for argument on the motion.

The Charge reads; “that Yakubu Yusuf on or about 14 of January 2021 within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, with intent to defraud, dishonestly and misappropriated the said sum belonging to Oliver Ogokumaka and Obumnemi Okoli and thereby committed an offense contrary to section 308 and punishable under section 309 of the Penal Code.”

 

 

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