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

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goods

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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FBNQuest Trustees Marks 40th Anniversary Of Preserving Legacy

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Trustees Limited, an FBN Holdings company has announced the celebration of its 40th anniversary as a leading provider of world-class trust and estate planning services in Nigeria. The event themed “A Legacy that Preserves Legacies” was held on Friday, 13 September 2019 at Landmark Event Centre in Lagos

The event presented an opportunity for FBNQuest Trustees to share key insights on the importance of Corporate Trust Management, Estate Planning, and Wealth Transfer, which are crucial elements to ensuring the preservation of legacies. Dr. Omobola Johnson, Senior Partner at TLcom Capital LLP and former Minister for Communication Technology, delivered the keynote address at the event.

FBNQuest Trustees was incorporated as Standard Trustees Nigeria Limited on August 8, 1979. The company at the time was a wholly owned subsidiary of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, which was known as Standard Bank of Nigeria Limited. The name Standard Trustees Nigeria Limited was changed to First Trustees Nigeria Limited in March 1980; and in April 2014 it was renamed FBN Trustees Limited to align with the FBNHoldings group naming convention. In November, 2017 it was again re-named FBNQuest Trustees Limited to signal its membership of the FBNQuest family, and its commitment to partnering with its clients on their quest to define and achieve financial success.

FBNQuest Trustees is modelled as a representation of the forward thinking culture of the FBN Holdings Plc, to improve and develop specialised capabilities within the trusteeship, asset and fund management services of the Nigerian financial system. Today, the company specialises in providing Investment Advisory Services, Corporate, Public and Private Trust Management; and as a part of FBNQuest draws on the trailblazing spirit, and a consistent focus on excellence to deliver exceptional services to clients.

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Over the past 40 years, FBNQuest Trustees has not only become a leading trust company in Nigeria, but also a key pillar in the business of trusteeship. To highlight some of its key achievements over the years, the company continues to be the preferred local partner for international and multilateral entities looking to have businesses in Nigeria, and in 2013 served as the sole bond trustee on the very first bond issued by a multilateral institution in Nigeria (International Finance Corporation (IFC) $50,000,000 fixed rate senior unsecured bond).

FBNQuest Trustees is the first trust company to publish an educative compendium on estate planning to actively engage, and educate stakeholders, on the importance of Estate Planning in Nigeria, through its Legacy Series; and is a pioneer for Islamic finance in Nigeria, which led to its co-management of the first government issued Sukuk instrument launched by the Federal Government of Nigeria in 2017. The company also partnered and organised a stakeholder engagement on Voluntary Asset and Income Declaration Scheme (VAIDS) and its implications for estate planning.

Speaking about the milestone celebration, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of FBNQuest Trustees, Mr. Adekunle Awojobi, emphasised the firm’s impact on trusteeship business in Nigeria, and by extension, the economy. He said, “From when we began our journey in 1979, FBNQuest Trustees has delivered impeccable solutions for the safekeeping of our clients’ assets, the transfer of generational wealth, and the preservation of their legacies. We are extremely proud to be a part of the 125 year old legacy of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, and the rich heritage of FBNHoldings as we celebrate a 40 year track record of distinction, dependability and professionalism in the trustee business.”

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“We want to thank everyone who has contributed to the growth of the company over the years, as we continue to provide excellent services to our clients. We also take this opportunity to recommit to excellently serving our clients across diverse sectors to ensure that their legacies are preserved.” He added.

In terms of growth and financial performance, the company has continuously delivered shareholder value in alignment with the mandate of the Group. From a share capital of about N30 million in 90s, the company has increased to a share capital of N3billion in 2019; and has grown its profit after tax (PAT) year on year consistently, with liquid trust assets under management in excess of N40 billion as at June 30 2019.

About FBNQuest Trustees

FBNQuest Trustees is a subsidiary of FBN Holdings Plc. Our distinctive heritage as an organisation allows us to leverage specialisation of the subsidiaries of our parent company to enhance delivery and provide world-class client solutions.

We assess your needs and provide tailored solutions for the safekeeping of assets and transfer of wealth across generations. From estate planning services to government bond issuance, we hold a solid market position as a leading trust services provider

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Fidelity Bank Donates Laboratory To Correctional Home

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L-R: Reps of the Governor of Gombe State, Perm Sec Ministry of Health, HRH Hassan Ibrahim reads the text on the plaque during the official commissioning of the renovated Primary Healthcare Centre, Lubo in Gombe State as Head HRBP & Recruitment/CSR & Sustainability, Chris Nnakwe looks on

***LASG Commends Lender For CSR projects

Fidelity Bank Plc, top Nigerian lender has handed over a well-equipped, state-of-the-art Kitchen/Catering Laboratory for the use of students at the Girls Correctional Home, Idi-Araba, Lagos. The project, according to the bank, is a clear demonstration of its unwavering support towards enhancing the lives and wellbeing of less privileged members of the society.

 

Speaking at the commissioning ceremony in Lagos recently, the bank’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nnamdi Okonkwo said that the decision to embark on the project is borne out of a deep-seated realisation that vocational education remains vital to the development of any society.

Laboratory

L-R: Head HRBP & Recruitment/CSR & Sustainability, Chris Nnakwe; Reps of the Governor of Gombe State, Perm Sec Ministry of Health, HRH Hassan Ibrahim; Branch Leader Gombe, Umar Bappi; Reps of the Speaker, Haruna Wambai; District Head of Lubo, Usman Mohammad during the official commissioning of the renovated Primary Healthcare Centre, Lubo in Gombe State

Okonkwo who was represented the bank’s Head of Legal Division, Kingsley Ohiri thanked the Ministry of Youth & Social Development for giving them the opportunity to partner with the State and hoped to do more in the future. He also mentioned the bank had, in the past, carried out some CSR projects in the State such as the Correctional Centre for Boys, Birrel Avenue, Yaba where vocational training tools were provided for the use of wards at the centre.

 

While commissioning the project, the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Olusegun Dawodu said that the kitchen would provide the children the means to learn a new vocation which they would use to benefit themselves and the society at large.

 

Dawodu also reiterated the resolve of the State Government to prioritise the needs of the teeming youth saying, “The Lagos State Government would continue to support and empower the children and youth in the State with relevant skills in order to play active roles in the Nigerian economy, thereby creating wealth and reducing the rate of unemployment and criminal activities among the youths and children”.

 

He specifically thanked Fidelity Bank for supporting the Government and especially the youths in the State by initiating and extending their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to ensure that the society is impacted positively.

 

On her own part, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Yewande Falugba, emphasised the need for well-meaning Nigerians and organisations to emulate Fidelity Bank by partnering with the State Government in ensuring the social well-being of the youths and children.

 

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We Partnered with Tony Elumelu Foundation to Create Economic Opportunities in Conflict Prone Regions – ICRC President Says

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At the just concluded Forum organised by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), key speakers Tony O. Elumelu, Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation and Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) proffered entrepreneurship as the most sustainable solution to accelerating Africa’s transformation. During a one-on-one conversation at the event, both speakers called for a new private-sector-led approach to humanitarian development in Africa.

While speaking at the Forum, Peter Maurer commended the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s private-sector-led approach as the gold standard of humanitarian development in Africa focused on impacting lives at scale and transforming the continent.

Mr. Maurer said: “On one side, it is important that we assist and protect people when they are disrupted by violence and war. But what brought me together with Tony is not the white shirt and the blue suit, it is his deep conviction that with longer and protracted conflict we need to bring people much earlier into independence.”

He added: “We need, more than ever, in the most fragile, violent parts of society to show the pathway to independence and to a dignified life and this goes with income-generating activities, productive activities, with small businesses. This is why we partnered with the Tony Elumelu Foundation”.

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On his part during the discussion themed “Private Sector Partnerships with Humanitarian Organisations: Putting People First”, Mr. Elumelu commended Mr. Maurer’s leadership and the decision to partner with the Tony Elumelu Foundation to eradicate extremism and violence.

He said: “Through the partnership between TEF and ICRC, a lot is happening that shows the catalytic impact of your vision. Ours was the first ever partnership that ICRC had explored using a different approach to humanitarian development, from the angle of empowering the private sector. Today, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has partnered with AfDB on empowering 1000 beneficiaries, UNDP which started with 1000 entrepreneurs and has now been scaled up to empower 100,000 African entrepreneurs starting with the Sahel region. The most important thing is that we give economic hope and opportunity to our people and reduce the cases of fragility that we see across the continent.”

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In 2018, ICRC and the Tony Elumelu Foundation partnered to sponsor 200 entrepreneurs from the North East and Niger Delta regions of Nigeria to catalyse and accelerate transformation while scaling impact in conflict-prone areas. The intervention is built on the existing Tony Elumelu Foundation’s USD100million commitment to empower 10,000 young African entrepreneurs in 10 years across the continent. Driven by the economic philosophy of Africapitalism,  it represents a bottom-up approach with the goal of creating millions of jobs and increased revenue on the continent.

The ICRC Forum took place in Lagos yesterday and gathered key stakeholders in government and humanitarian development to explore alternative approaches to impacting lives on the continent.  Present at the event were Princess Aderemi Adebowale, representing the Executive Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu; Mr. Babtunde Paul Runwase, President, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Juan Luis Coderque Galligo, Head, New Financing Models, ICRC; and Mrs. Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, CEO, Tony Elumelu Foundation; amongst others.

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