… Demands Refund of N197.2 m to De Chimex from Access Bank
By Tony Obiechina, ABUJA
The Igbo World Assembly (IWA) has tasked the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the other regulatory and enforcement agencies to reduce to the barest minimum the rising cases of insider abuse in the Nigerian financial system.
This is even as IWA urged the apex bank and the anti-graft agency to compel Access Bank Plc to refund the sum of N197.2 million being the amount that was reportedly fraudulently withdrawn by the staff of Access bank from the accounts of De Chimex Aluminium Limited.
IWA is the umbrella federation of entire Igbo organisations in the Diaspora and is the sole representative of Ohanaze Ndigbo in the Diaspora. IWA member organisations include Council of Igbo States in Americas (CISA), European Igbo Community (EIC) and Igbo Union Finland (IUF) among others.
In a statement jointly signed by Dr Nwachukwu Anakwenze, Chief Oliver Nwankwor and Mr Amadiebube Mbama, Chairman, General Secretary and DSG (Igbo Economic Council) respectively, IWA noted that the rising cases of insider abuse in Nigerian banks is ‘capable of bringing international disrepute to the banking sector in Nigeria should not happen again’.
IWA therefore called ‘on the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Chairman of the EFCC, the Managing Director of Access Bank Plc to immediately institute a high powered inquiry into why this type of fraud could happen in a highly regulated banking industry without detection’.
The Igbo Diasporian organisation expressed concern that ‘It is troublesome the blatant manner in which a citizen of Nigeria was defrauded, by no less than an agency that is supervised by the Central Bank of Nigeria, the EFCC and other regulatory agencies.
According to the statement, ‘IWA is concerned that the treatment of De Chimex Aluminum and Steel Company Plc. may not be a unique case. IWA is concerned that individual efforts that will compliment Nigeria’s industrialization policy is being sacrificed in the politics of corruption and greed.
The group further expressed fears ‘that if the perpetrators of this economic sabotage are left unpunished, others will continue to sabotage the Nigerian economy for selfish reasons’.
IWA further expressed concerns at the ‘type of internal control that Access Bank Plc. have that will allow a Relationship Manager of the bank customer to commit such a heinous crime’
The statement took a swipe at Access Bank raising a poser if ‘Access Bank Plc understands that the case has a potential reputational risk capable of affecting the reputation of the company both domestically and internationally’
IWA also expressed concerns that the management of Access Bank Plc is not ‘vigorously prosecuting the erring employees to set example that the bank will not tolerate fraudulent and illegal behaviors especially among its staff’, stressing that ‘Access Bank Plc must refund De Chimex Aluminum and Steel Company Plc the full amount fraudulently withdrawn from its account plus any addition expenses to recover the fund’.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), brought a 21-count charge against Access Bank Plc and two female staff of Access Bank Plc, Olawunmi Audu and Glory Michael Sado, before an FCT High Court sitting in Zuba.
The EFCC charged Access Bank Plc and the two bankers for allegedly stealing about N197.2 million from the account of De Chimex Aluminum and Steel Company Plc., a customer and an Abuja based company. The EFCC alleged that the defendants conspired and transferred the money from the account of De Chimex Aluminum and Steel Company Plc. which was domiciled with Access Bank Plc.
The EFCC further stated that the defendants committed offences that are punishable under sections 85, 287, and 364 of the Penal Code Act Chapter 53 Laws of the Federation Republic of Nigeria. The second defendant, Glory Sado, who was the Relationship Manager of the company fled the bank and is currently at large.