Alleged $60,000 Fraud: EFCC Arraigns Ecobank Plc, Staff

Alleged $60,000 Fraud: EFCC Arraigns Ecobank Plc, Staff

 

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday arraigned Ecobank Plc and one of its staff, Anieka Udoh, before a Federal High Court in Lagos on a five-count charge of conversion and fraud.

The charge was prepared and signed by the EFCC’s Head of Legal and Prosecution Department in Lagos, Mr Anselm Ozioko.

According to counts 1 & 2, the bank and its staff on or about the 26th of Jan, 2016 in Lagos, negligently failed to exercise due diligence in relation to the conduct of financial transactions with Major Gen. Umaru Mohammed by fraudulently opening and operating an Ecobank account in the name of the Maj. Gen. Mohammed without his knowledge and authority.

Counts 3 & 4 say the bank and its staff, Anieka Udoh fraudulently withdrew and converted the sum of $10,000 and another $50,000 from Major Mohammed’s domiciliary account without his knowledge and authority.

And count 5 says, the bank and its staff fraudulently converted Maj. Gen. Mohammed’s domiciliary account to a Naira account without his knowledge and authority and subsequently left a debit of N9.2m in the said Naira account.

The offences are all said to be contrary to and punishable under Section 7 sub-section 3a and b of the Advance Fee Fraud Act of 2006. The defendants pleaded not guilty to all the counts.

The trial judge, Justice Saliu Saidu has ordered that the bank staff, Mr Udoh, be remanded in Ikoyi Prison, pending the hearing of his bail application. The court then adjourned till March the 12th, 2019.

Ecobank CEO Defends CBN’s Foreign Exchange Policies

The Group Chief Executive Officer of Pan-African lender, Ecobank Group, Mr. Ade Ayeyemi, on Thursday defended the foreign exchange policies and actions of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

According to him, the regulator is on course in addressing the challenges of the market.

In an interview on Bloomberg Television from the World Economic Forum for Africa holding in Durban, South Africa Mr Ayeyemi said the CBN was in the best position to decide foreign exchange management issues based on facts available to the financial regulator.

On the ongoing restructuring in Ecobank, the CEO said the lender had stopped its Pan-African expansion programme and was now consolidating.

Mr. Ayeyemi said part of the consolidation exercise may include trimming physical branch network in Nigeria and, reposition the bank’s processes more in line with the digital technology now in vogue around the world.

Financial Markets Close For Holiday

Nigerian Stock Exchange, NS, Financial Market, Stock Market, Independence HolidayFinancial markets across Nigeria are closed for the country’s 56th independence holiday.

Markets had closed on Friday to reopen tomorrow, Tuesday October 4.

Before the holiday, the financial markets had closed largely bearish but marginal gains were recorded in the equity market.

The last trading in September ended marginally positive as the all share index and market capitalisation rose further by more than a quarter of a percent, on the back of price advance by some mid-cap stocks.

However, market breadth was negative with 16 gainers against 22 losers on the price table.

The top three gainers for the day were Pharmadeko, NAHCO and Honeywell Flour Mills while Caverton, Nothern Nigeria Flour Mills and Conoil were the three most significant decliners.

Nigerian Stock Exchange, NS, Financial Market, Stock Market, Independence Holiday

Friday’s transaction was lower than the previous session, as it recorded a total turnover of 217.8 million shares worth 2.38 billion naira in 2,804 deals.

The most traded stocks were banking giants, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, FCMB and Zenith Bank.

Research analysts believe that markets direction will be shaped by the third quarter numbers this week as yields in the local bonds market tend to inch higher.

Meanwhile, the Central Bank plans to auction 135.7-billion-naira worth of treasury bills on Wednesday with a view to curb speculations against the naira at the foreign exchange market as well as inflation.

Nigeria Will Keep Faith With ECOWAS Bank – President Buhari

Buhari-Mamma-Ecowas BankPresident Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria will fulfill its obligations to the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID).

The President made the pledged despite the nation’s economic downturn caused largely by fallen prices of oil in the international market.

He said on Monday when he received the President of EBID, Mr Bashir Mamma, at the State House in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital: “We may be limping because of fallen oil prices, but we will fulfill our commitments to the bank.

“We may have fallen behind, but we will live up very soon.

Buhari-Ecowas-Mamma
President Buhari shakes hand with Mr Mamma

“We will maintain the objectives of setting up the bank, which is to help our less financially endowed neighbours,” President Buhari said.

On his part, Mr Mamma disclosed that EBID is the financing arm of ECOWAS.

He said the ECOWAS bank has been existing for about 30 years and was initially set up as a fund, “to help less developed West African states, but we now cover all parts of the sub-region”.

The EBID President added that the bank set up Ecobank and has also established an airline, after the national airlines of most member countries collapsed.

NIRSAL Partners BOI On Agric. Value Chain

NIRSAL, BOI, Financial Inclusion, EcobankThe Nigeria Incentive Based Risk Sharing System for Agricultural Lending (NIRSAL), has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Bank of Industry (BOI).

This is to enable the extension of BOI’s credit facility to small scale farmers, agro-processors, and agro-input suppliers.

According to the spokesperson, Mr Bello Abdullahi Abba, the partnership is expected to boost import substitution, stimulate the economy, and realize the key objective of government’s agricultural promotion policy.

The MoU is also expected to identify, and finance impactful agricultural projects within all the segments, of the value chain.

In the meantime, NIRSAL says it will be announcing a collaboration with the Nexim Bank, to unlock sufficient flow of finance to agricultural value chain players, for export markets.

BOI Signs MOU With Ecobank On Financial Inclusion

BOI, Financial Inclusion, EcobankThe Bank of Industry (BOI) and Ecobank Transnational Incorporated, have signed a memorandum of understanding on promoting financial inclusion.

The partnership between the two banks is a roll out of an Africa-wide financial inclusion programme, initiated by Ecobank, to address lack of inclusive growth on the continent, which has resulted in lingering poverty and unemployment

Relying on BOI’s reputation as the best development finance institution in Nigeria, and seeing the country as an important market to execute the programme, Ecobank decided to partner with the Bank of Industry on the project in Nigeria.

During the signing ceremony at BOI’s headquarters in Lagos on Monday, the management of both banks said that they believe the initiative would give MSMEs in Nigeria and Africa some appreciable mileage.

Appeal Court Reserves Judgment On Honeywell, Ecobank Dispute

HoneywellA Court of Appeal in Lagos has reserved judgment in the appeal filed by Honeywell Group, asking the court to vacate an order limiting its financial transaction.

The appellate court also reserved for judgment, Ecobank’s cross appeal bordering on the same subject matter.

Justice Mohammed Yunusa of a Federal High Court in Lagos had on December 14, 2015, issued the interim order in a suit between Ecobank Plc and Honeywell Group.

The suit was sequel to an alleged 3.5billion Naira unpaid loan facility granted by Ecobank to Honeywell.

Justice Yunusa had issued an interim order, limiting Honeywell to 15 million Naira weekly withdrawals from the company’s account.

Dissatisfied with the decision, Honeywell appealed and asked the court to set aside the interim order.

At the hearing of the appeal on Monday, the three-man panel of justices presided over by Justice Sidi Bage reserved judgment after lawyers in the matter adopted their briefs of arguments.

N8b Currency Scam: EFCC To Arraign 6 CBN Bosses, 16 Others

EFCCThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to charge six top officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and 16 others to a Federal High Court on June 2, for a sum of 8b Naira currency fraud.

The commission said in a statement signed by its Head of Media & Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, on Sunday that it would bring the executives before the court for their involvement in the theft and re-circulation of defaced and mutilated currencies.

According to the EFCC, “The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has concluded arrangement to arraign in court, five top executives of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), implicated in a mega scam involving the theft and re-circulation of defaced and mutilated currencies.

“The suspects drawn from various business units of the apex bank are to be docked by the anti-graft agency before a Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State, from Tuesday June 2, 2015 to Thursday June 4, 2015.

“They include Patience Okoro Eye (Abuja), Afolabi Olufemi (Lagos), Kolawole Babalola (Ibadan), Olaniran Muniru Adeola (Ibadan), Fatai Yusuf Adekunle (Head, Security, CBN, (Ibadan) and Ilori Adekunle Sunday, (Akure).”

The commission explained further that “the remaining 16 suspects were drawn from various commercial banks, who were found to have conspired with the CBN executives to swing the heist. All the suspects, who are currently in the custody of the EFCC, are now ruing the day they literally allowed greed and craze for materialism to becloud their sense of judgment and responsibility, when they elected to help themselves to tones of defaced Naira notes.

“Instead of carrying out the statutory instruction to destroy the currency, they substituted it with newspapers neatly cut to Naira sizes and proceeded to recycle the defaced and mutilated currency. The fraud is partly to blame for the failure of government monetary policy over the years as currency mop up exercises by the apex bank failed to check the inflationary pressure on the economy.”

“The lid on the scam which was widely suspected to have gone on unchecked for years, was blown on November 3, 2014 via a petition to the EFCC alleging that over N6, 575, 549, 370.00 (Six Billion, Five Hundred and Seventy-Five Million, Five-Hundred and Forty-Nine Thousand, Three Hundred and Seventy Naira) was cornered and discreetly recycled by light fingered top executives of the CBN at the Ibadan branch.

“The suspects, who were members of the Briquetting Panel, plotted their way to infamy on September 8, 2014, while carrying out a Briquetting exercise at the CBN Branch, Ibadan. In banking parlance, Briquetting is disintegration and destruction of counted and audited dirty notes. By this practice, depositor banks usually take mutilated notes to the CBN in exchange for fresh notes equivalent of the amount deposited.

“The depositor banks in this instance, are Zenith Bank, FCMB, Wema Bank, Access Bank, First Bank, Skye Bank, Ecobank and Sterling Bank. But while carrying out the assignment, the team were alleged to have found one of the currency boxes filled only with old newspapers rather than 20 bundles of N1000 notes. A similar case, according to investigation, had been discovered on September 22, 2014 when a box that was supposed to contain N500 notes to the tune of N5billion was filled with old newspapers,” the commission said.

The EFCC stressed further that “unlike in the past, this fraud could not be swept under the carpet, as a member of the Briquetting Panel from the Osogbo branch blew the lid on the illicit deal.

“In a statement, the informant stated that the exercise was designed to last between August 4 and 8, 2014. The 35-year-old, however, stated that she discovered a strange ‘sight’ while opening the third box on the second day of the exercise. It was a discovery that beat her ken.

“A five count charge awaits the suspects as they prepare to face the wrath of the law.”

N54.5m Fraud: Court Stops Investigation of Prisons’ Boss

EFCCJustice Valentine B. Ashi of the FCT High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday, September 3, refused the application of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, in which it sought to set aside an earlier order by the court restraining the Commission from arresting Ali Bala Salihi, an Assistant Comptroller General, Nigeria Prison Service, over his alleged involvement in a case of criminal diversion of funds.

The Head, Media & Publicity of the EFCC, Wilson Uwujaren, disclosed that the agency had in July 2014 invited Salihi to respond to the petition filed against him by Coscharis Motors Limited.

However, “Salihi turned down the Commission’s invitation on two occasions, before obtaining an ex-parte order from Justice Ashi restraining the EFCC from further action in respect of the case, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive motion”.

The Counsel to EFCC, Dian Nkwap had asked the court to vacate the order “as the respondent will not carry out any act that will infringe on the rights of the suspect,” adding that he was only invited to state his side of the case which he failed to do.

Salihi was alleged to have diverted the sum of 54.4 million Naira being the value of 491 units of motorcycle supplied by Coscharis Motors Limited to the Nigeria Prisons, Bauchi Zonal Command sometime in 2010 when he held sway as the Zonal Commander.

The petitioner, Coscharis Motors Limited, stated that, the motorcycles were supplied to the Zonal Prisons Multipurpose Cooperative Society under motorcycle loan scheme.

The Cooperative Society allegedly defaulted in the payment of the loan and paid part of the proceeds of the sales directly into Salihi’s personal bank account at Unity, Zenith, UBA and Ecobank respectively.

Efforts to recover the money, according to the petitioner, were unsuccessful leading to the petition.

Court orders CBN to make public management of assets seized from Ibru

A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has given a 72-hour ultimatum to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to make available, the total cash and value of properties recovered from the former Managing Director of the defunct Oceanic Bank Plc, now (Eco Bank Plc) Mrs. Cecilia Ibru.

Presiding Justice Mohammed Idris also mandated the CBN governor to make public, the whereabouts of the money and properties recovered as well as what part of them has been returned to Oceanic Bank and/or its shareholders.

The judge gave the directive while giving his judgement in a suit filed by the President of Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), Mr Boniface Okezie, against the CBN where he sought to compel the apex bank to publicise how it managed about N191 billion worth of assets realised from Mrs. Ibru after her conviction on charges of fraud and mismanagement of Oceanic Bank’s assets.

Justice Idris in his judgement said, “The Central Bank of Nigeria is hereby ordered to declare the whereabouts of the money recovered from Cecilia Ibru; and what part of this cash and properties has been returned to Oceanic Bank and/or its shareholders.

“What is done officially must be done according to the law,” he added.

Justice Idris however turned down a request by Mr Okezie to compel the CBN to disclose the total sum paid to the firms of Olaniwun Ajayi and Kola Awodein in respect of the prosecution of Cecilia Ibru and how much of this sum was in the form of commission on the properties recovered from her.

It will be recalled that the assets forfeited by former Oceanic Bank supremo, Mrs Cecilia Ibru included 94 landed properties scattered in Nigeria, Dubai and the United States of America, as well as shares in about 100 firms both listed and unlisted in the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE).

In the written affidavit, which was in response to the counter-affidavit filed by the CBN to the suit, Mr Okezie alleged that he had heard the rumour that Sanusi and his associates within and outside of government had embezzled the recovered funds, a development he said necessitated the reason why the CBN must be made to account for the funds at its disposal under Sanusi.

In the counter-affidavit deposed to by one, Chiaka Mogaha, the CBN urged the court to reject the applicant’s request because the information sought relates to the contractual relationship and negotiation between it, the legal practitioners and other professionals engaged by the apex bank.

CBN noted that the disclosure of the information would interfere with the contracts and negotiations between it and the professionals engaged, adding that there is already a momentous condition of service that the details of remuneration “shall never be disclosed to any third party.”

Responding, Okezie stressed that the apex bank had only laboured in vain to avoid the clear duty imposed on it under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act to disclose payments it has made to consultants and professionals.

While citing Sections 2 (3) (d) (v) and 2 (4) of the FOI Act, the applicant stated that those sections even require the CBN, as a public institution, to publish and disseminate widely “information relating to the receipt or expenditure of public or other funds of the institution,” without prompting.