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Access Bank denies any wrongdoing in sale of customer’s goods

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Access Bank Plc has vehemently denied any wrongdoing in the alleged sale of a customer’s goods worth N2.5billion.

The Police Special Fraud Unit in Lagos had charged Access Bank Plc, its managing director and chief executive officer, Herbert Wigwe, and others with 21 counts of conspiracy, fraudulent disposal of trust property, fraudulent conversion, stealing and false representation before an Ogun State High Court.

Access Bank Plc , Mr Wigwe, Alawode Oluseye and Bayo Adesina are accused of conspiring and stealing 23,754.413 metric tonnes of steel billets valued at ₦2.5 billion belonging to BMCE Bank International Plc.

But in a notice to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), on Monday, Access Bank however denied the allegations stressing that at no time did the bank or any of its executives or officers commit any of the alleged offences.

The statement reads:

“In 2015, Access Bank availed credit facilities to Metal Africa Steel Products Limited, to finance the importation of billets and machinery for the expansion of its factory. Consequent upon the grant of the facilities, the bank opened Form M and Letters of Credit (“LC”) to facilitate the importation of the billets for which the shipping documents were consigned to the bank. The facilities were secured by a Debenture Trust Deed over the customer’s assets shared with other lenders.

“Upon arrival of the billets, the bank released the shipping documents to the customer to enable it clear the goods. The bank subsequently discovered that the customer had cleared the goods from the port without payment of appropriate customs duty.

“The bank, in line with its duty to protect its depositors’ funds, reported the alleged crime to SFU which obtained a court order to take over the customer’s business operations. Furthermore, the bank petitioned Interpol, which is presently taking steps to repatriate the suspects involved in the alleged fraud from India. Subsequently, the beneficiary banks (including the bank) under the Debenture Trust Deed, appointed a Receiver/Manager who took over the operations of the customer’s business and paid the appropriate customs duty on the billets.

“The Receiver/Manager subsequently obtained court order from the Federal High Court and sold the billets and distributed the proceeds amongst the beneficiary banks (including the bank).”

The lender further said in the statement that it was “aware that the petitioner also laid claims to the same billets following which there were attempts at settlement between the petitioner and the Receiver/Manager. The petitioner subsequently filed a complaint at SFU following the failure of settlement.

“Based on the foregoing, we were surprised to be served with the charges by the SFU alleging, amongst others, that the bank stole the billets and forged the shipping documents covering the billets.

“We hereby state that at no time did the bank or any of its executives or officers commit any of the alleged offences. The bank has continued to maintain the position that it financed the importation of the billets and that the Receiver/Manager appointed by the bank and a syndicate of other lenders had the right to sell the goods. We are aware that there are civil matters in court on the same subject.

“We are also aware that there are on-going settlement negotiations between the Receiver/Manager and the petitioner. Without prejudice to the settlement discussions and the civil matter, we reiterate that the Receiver/Manager appointed by the bank and a syndicate of other lenders acted within its powers to sell the billets.

“We wish to assure our stakeholders that the bank will continue to take all necessary steps to protect its depositor’s funds in line with its fiduciary duties as well as extant rules and regulations.” The statement concluded.

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Stanbic IBTC Zero Balance Account Gives Savers an Edge

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If you are like the average Nigerian youth who is just starting out and needs an account that allows you to start from scratch and grow your savings while giving you access to your money 24/7, then the Stanbic IBTC Blue Edge Savings Account is perfect for you.

 

The BluEdge Savings Account is a product that allows you to open an account with zero balance, so you don’t need any money to open the account. You can always fund the account at any time to grow your savings. With the Blue Edge Account the minimum account balance is also zero naira, this means that you will not be charged for having zero balance on the account.

 

The BluEdge Savings Account gives students and young Nigerians currently enrolled in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) the edge that they need to experience financial confidence and freedom. It takes away the pressure of starting an account with huge funds as it enables them to start with zero naira while earning an interest on the savings every month.

 

The BluEdge Savings Account can be operated with ease and accessed with a Verve card on Internet Banking, Mobile Banking, ATM, and via USSD. Account owners can also withdraw cash from the nearest Stanbic IBTC Bank branch. The requirements for opening a BluEdge Savings Account are: a BluEdge Savings Account form, passport photograph, BVN and student ID card.

 

According to Wole Adeniyi, Deputy Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc: “The BluEdge Savings Account is a great opportunity for young people to maintain a savings account conveniently. It proffers solutions to the hassle of savings among youths, and the various benefits are deliberately aimed at encouraging and promoting a savings culture. It can also serve as an avenue for them to pursue their dreams.”

 

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NOVA Merchant Bank Appointed by the Nigeria Customs Service as a Duty Collecting Bank

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In fulfilment of its commitment to constantly find new ways to serve its customers better, NOVA Merchant Bank has been appointed as a designated collecting bank for Import, Excise and other duties by the Nigeria Customs Service. This will enable the Bank handle duty payments for its clients in addition to process and issue custom bonds along with guarantees on their behalf.

According to the MD/CEO, Mr. Anya Duroha, “We are excited about this appointment because it would enhance efficiency and improve turnaround time for duty payments and other services offered by the Nigerian Customs Service for our clients”.

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“This development is in line with the commitment of the Bank to be a one-stop solution shop for all trade and financial needs of its clients. The Bank is positioned to provide end to end quality banking services to our clients. I commend the management for obtaining and delivering on this mandate within a short period of time” stated the Chairman, Mr Phillips Oduoza.

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NOVA Merchant Bank offers an integrated suite of financial solutions covering Wholesale Banking, Investment Banking, Asset Management, Wealth Management, Trade Services, Transaction Banking, Cash Management and Digital Banking.

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Tony Elumelu Donates Technology Centre to AAU  

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Chairman of UBA Group, Tony O. Elumelu, has  made the donation of a multipurpose information technology centre to his alma mater, Ambrose Ali University.

 

Through the UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA), Elumelu has championed the construction of a state-of-the-art multipurpose information technology building, which will benefit the  students of Ambrose Alli University in Ekpoma, Edo State. The hall, to be named The Tony O. Elumelu multipurpose hall, is furnished with computers, desks and chairs, measures 839 square meters and has adjoining offices and conveniences.

 

Elumelu highlighted his motivation: “Education is crucial to Nigeria’s human capital – whether our young people join our national institutions, the private sector or, as I did, take the entrepreneurial path, no one can afford to be cut off from the digital world. It has been a personal mission to ensure that the hall was delivered to specification, for the benefit of the students at the AAU. Success brings with it the duty to give back, and I am just grateful that I am now in a position to meaningfully help the next generation”.

 

The multipurpose hall was formally handed over to the University, at a ceremony attended by members of the University’s governing council and staff, led by Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ignatius Onimawo.

 

Speaking at the commissioning, UBA’s Directorate Head, South Bank, Mr. Chris Ofikulu, who represented the UBA Group Chairman, highlighted the contribution of UBA, through its Foundation, to education and development across Africa.

 

‘As a pan-African bank, operating in 20 countries across our continent, UBA is committed to being a socially responsible institution, and a role model for businesses in Africa. The UBA Foundation actively promotes the socio-economic improvement of the communities in which UBA operates, with a particular emphasis on development in the areas of “Education, Environment, and Economic Empowerment”. We believe in intervening and building capacity within communities, facilitating projects that will act as catalysts for social and economic development’ he stated.

 

“Tony Elumelu is a product of this great university and is conscious of the need to give back and there is no substitute for world class educational infrastructure, and this is what has informed the construction of these facilities, that will help equip the future leaders of our great nation Nigeria.” he said.

 

The AAU Vice Chancellor, Prof Ignatius Onimawo, who expressed his heartfelt gratitude towards the gesture by the UBA Group Chairman, noted that one of the most pressing needs of the University for 2020 had been met, and thanked UBA and Mr Elumelu.

 

He challenged students to make proper use of the facilities provided by UBA, and to ensure that they emerge great leaders and mentors like Elumelu, whose commitment to catalysing entrepreneurial growth across Africa, through the Tony Elumelu Foundation, and institutionalising African philanthropy, had created a strongly positive role model. ‘We at Ambrose Ali university are so proud of our son Tony Elumelu and every time we see him doing good across Africa, we feel joy and accomplishment’ said Onimawo.

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