Sunlek Investment Limited and Sunsteel Industries Limited, two limited liability companies, have slammed a N7billion suit on First City Monument Bank (FCMB) Plc over alleged breach of contract.
In a 126 -paragraph of statement of claim accompanied by 27 paragraphs of a witness’ sworn oath and filed before a Federal high court sitting in Lagos south west Nigeria by Mr. John Olusegun Odubela SAN, Lagos lawyer, the two companies alleged that they operated loan accounts with First City Monument Bank. It was from there disbursement was made for all letters of credit /loan facility granted to them by the bank for the importation of raw materials.
However since 23rd May, 2013 when the bank entered into an agreement to grant them loan, and open a loan facility account for them till date, they have not been given the particulars of the loan facility account neither has any statement of account of this loan account been made available to them.
The companies alleged further that by a commitment letter dated 23rd May,2013 and the term sheet for facility duly signed /executed by the two parties, FCMB committed and undertook to fund on fully-underwriten basis the debt finance (importation of goods) of $1.5 million and N422.5 million.
Thereafter other loans facilities were granted to the companies by the bank.
The total amount of the letters of credit opened by the bank in favour of the companies is $8 million out of which sum the companies contributed 10% based on the terms of the grant of the various offers for facility utilized to open letters of credit from 22nd, March 2013 to September, 2017. The loans facilities were well secured.
The companies contended that from the available records available to them,it was reflected that they have fully repaid their indebtedness to the Bank
However the companies were bewildered when they received the bank’s letter that their indebtedness to the bank as at 14th of March,2019 was in the sum of N1.1 billion that the debt should be liquidated within 14 days, despite the fact that they had fully repaid the loan they took from the bank.
Consequently, they engaged the services of an accounting firm to audit their account, the plaintiff by their letter and their solicitor’s letter requested for statements of accounts of the loan accounts from the bank, but the bank deliberately failed to make available the said statement of account.
However from the forensic analysis of their accounts, the plaintiffs contended that they are not in any way indebted to the bank.
From the forensic audit report it was discovered that there were two transactions carried out on letter of credit, wherein substantial volume of the product were damaged. The value of items purchased by the letters of credit was in the sum of $2million for the importation of cold rolled steel strips, galvanized steel strips and Zinc wire from Chemetals (HK) limited Unit 1105H/F Lippo Center 89,Queens Way Hong Kong.
FCMB is solely and unilaterally liable to undertake all the risk Insurance policy Clause A for the consignment/raw material to be imported by virtue of the letter of credit.
The bank solely negotiated insurance policy obtained for the products purchased and appointed Mansard Insurance Plc to provide insurance cover Clause C for the importation of the consignment.
Upon taking delivery of the consignment after payment of custom duties and port charges, it was discovered that large volumes of the said consignments were in various forms of damaged conditions.
The companies informed the bank about the damaged consignment and the need to pursue insurance claim for the damage, the bank requested for documents which were presented to them to pursue the claim.
However, the agent of the bank sent a report to the companies to inform them that from the nature of damages to some of the products, the insurance policy, being a Clause C policy as undertaken by the bank is not sufficient to cover the nature of loss from the said damages to the products.
The total value of the consignment damaged is in the sum of $628,386.23 and N336.1 million.
The bank ought to have undertaken an all risk insurance policy cover with the insurance company. As a result of the damages to the consignment, they were not fit for use and could not be refined in the plaintiffs machine and remained in the factory as junk or waste material.
The companies averred that they had suffered financial loss as a result of the breach of contract in the sum of N884.9 million which has negatively affected their business operation since 2014 till date.
They averred that they are entitled to claim damages for breach of contract against the bank that had by its various acts of breaches of the various letters of offer for facility caused great loss to their business.
Consequently the companies’ claim against FCMB jointly and severally are as follows :
General damages in the sum of N5billion.
A declaration that the plaintiffs are not indebted to the bank in any sum premised on the fact that they had settled all their indebtedness on the facilities granted to them by the bank.
A declaration that the bank breached the terms of letter of credit and is liable for the loss of the letters of offer on importation, in the sum of $2million.
A declaration that the bank is liable to refund to the plaintiffs N884.9 million,being the losses uncured on the damaged consignment purchased through letters of credits,and failure and refusal of the bank to obtain an all risk insurance policy for the shipment of the said consignment.
An order for the payment of N826.9 million being the total sum wrongly debited on the companies’ account by the bank.
An order of the court restraining FCMB from appointing and or registering any instrument of appointment of an official receiver or any instrument whatsoever made for the purpose of enforcing the security for the payment of alleged indebtedness in the sum of N1.1 billion being allegedly claimed against the plaintiffs by the bank .
Cost of litigation assessed at N250million.
SEC, EFCC Partner Against Ponzi Schemes
The Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, are committed to strengthening the partnership between the agencies with a view to tackling the menace of Ponzi schemes in the country.
This commitment was restated during a courtesy visit by Mohammed Danladi, the Kano Zonal Head of the Securities and Exchange Commission, to his EFCC counterpart, Sanusi Aliyu Mohammed on Tuesday.
The SEC Zonal Head described his visit to EFCC as an effort to solidify the already existing relationship between EFCC and SEC.
“This visit is nothing more than to solidify the existing relationship between EFCC and SEC which dates back to the inception of EFCC. We are here to renew that relationship, foster it and fight the common enemy together”, he said.
Mr. Danladi expressed concern about his Commission’s challenges dealing with operators of wonder banks which are on the rise especially in the northern part of the country.
According to him, “the operators of the illegal scheme are taking advantage of the financial illiteracy of the public to defraud them in the name of investment”.
He added that most of the Ponzi scheme operators avoid SEC registration because they know they would be monitored.
In his response, Sanusi Mohammed, the EFCC Zonal Head, suggested a joint operation between the two agencies to curtail the spread of Ponzi schemes and prevent the public from falling victims of the scam.
Mohammed further assured the SEC of the Commission’s continued support as the two agencies share common objectives to fight financial crimes. “As long as the mandate of EFCC and that of SEC remain, you cannot separate the SEC and EFCC. We will continue to work together institutionally, “he said.
“Where the SEC’s main concern is to make sure investors are protected from losing their investments, the EFCC’s concern is the protection of the general public from the activities of fraudsters, which are one and the same,” the Zonal Head added.
Oreoluwa Adesakin, First Bank Staff Jailed for Stealing N49m
Oreoluwa Adesakin, a staff of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has been convicted for fraud and handed a total term of 98 years in prison by Justice Muniru Olagunju of the Oyo State High Court.
But she will spend just seven years in jail.
Adesakin was found to have committed financial fraud against First Bank to the tune of N49,320,652.32.
She also stole $368,203.00 belonging to the bank, which she converted to her personal use.
Adesakin, before she was busted by the bank and sacked, was its Money Transfer Operator, saddled with the responsibility of effecting payments through Western Union Money Transfer and MoneyGram platforms.
The convict was prosecuted by the Ibadan Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), on a 14-count charge, bordering on stealing, forgery and fraudulent accounting.
One of the counts read: “That you Oreoluwa Adesakin sometime between the months of May, 2013 and November, 2013, at Ibadan within the Ibadan Judicial Division, whilst being a staff of First Bank PLC stole the sum of N25,974,116.13 (Twenty Five Million, Nine Hundred and Seventy Four Thousand, One Hundred and Sixteen Naira, Thirteen Kobo) from First Bank PLC MoneyGram Payment Naira Account, property of First bank PLC.”
She pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Usman Murtala, prosecution counsel, presented every vital document and witnesses which nailed the convict.
Justice Olagunju noted that the EFCC presented incontrovertible evidence against the convict and did a diligent investigation and prosecution.
He thus pronounced Adesakin guilty of all the counts.
He sentenced her to seven years in prison without an option of fine on each of the 14 counts. The sentencing will run concurrently.
Apart from the jail term, the convict is also to restitute the First Bank, through the EFCC, all the money she stole.
The convict was arraigned April 4, 2014 by the EFCC following a conclusion of investigations against her which arose from a petition from her former employer, dated December 18, 2013.
The bank alleged in the petition that Adesakin fraudulently manipulated its Moneygram accounting and withdrew N49,320,652.32 and another $368,203.00 for herself, which the bank only uncovered while reviewing its internal account.
The EFCC was also able to establish that the convict used part of the proceeds of her crime to acquire landed properties in different parts of Oyo State.
CIBN Recertifies NDIC Academy as Bankers Training Provider
Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) has recertified the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) Academy as a training service provider for various professionals in the banking industry.
The council also renewed the academy’s accreditation for the next three years, effective from June 2020.
Mr. Saubana Ogunpola, head of the five-man CIBN Accreditation Team, said the recertification followed the exemplary performance of the NDIC Academy since it initial accreditation in 2016 and the satisfaction of the stringent conditions for the recertification.
The recertification, according to Mr. Saubana Ogunpola, Head of the five-man CIBN Accreditation Team, followed the exemplary performance of the NDIC Academy since its initial accreditation in 2016 and the satisfaction of the stringent conditions for the recertification.
He noted that there would be periodic monitoring to ensure that quality standards are being adhered to.
Mr Ogunpola commended the NDIC for its consistent efforts toward meeting the high standards for the benefit of the banking industry and the larger economy.
He described the NDIC’s readiness to subject itself to the rigors of the Institute’s accreditation process as a testimony of its Management’s commitment to capacity development for all stakeholders.
In his reaction, Mr. Umaru Ibrahim, managing director/chief executive, NDIC, described the recertification as another milestone in the NDIC efforts to consolidate the position of the Academy as a center of academic excellence in the nation’s banking industry and on deposit insurance in Africa.
Mr Ibrahim disclosed that the Academy had so far trained a total of 13,368 participants cutting across the NDIC’s workforce.
“It had also trained 135 participants from relevant stakeholders, including the EFCC, Security and Exchange Commission (SEC), Assets Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), National Pension Commission (PENCOM) and the Nigeria Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
“On the international front, 19 employees from sister deposit insurance agencies in other African countries had benefitted from the expertise of the Academy,” the managing director noted.
He stated that the NDIC Academy has been designated to host the African Centre for Studies on Deposit Insurance System (ACSDIS) recently established by the Africa Regional Committee (ARC) of the International Association of Deposit Insurance (IADI).
Mr. Ibrahim reiterated that with the recertification, the NDIC Academy is positioned to fulfill the NDIC’s goal of serving as a center of excellence for capacity building on Deposit Insurance Scheme (DIS) for countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.
He added that the NDIC prides itself on establishing the highest standards of professionalism and competency among its staff through the NDIC Academy and other human capital development initiatives, including the Chartered Banker/MBA program at Bangor University, Wales in partnership with the CIBN.
The NDIC boss emphasized that the Corporation places high premium on capacity building and continuous high level training of its staff to achieve the NDIC mandate of deposit guarantee, bank supervision, bank distress resolution and liquidation.
“The ultimate goal would be to enhance depositor protection and public confidence in the nation’s banking system,” he said.
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