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Sterling Bank Fingered In Alleged Unlawful ‘Conversion’ Of N219m Belonging To A Customer

The Management of Sterling Bank Plc, has been allegedly accused of unlawful ‘conversion’ of the sum of N219,000,000.00 (Two hundred and Nineteen Million Naira) belonging to Ohha Microfinance Bank Ltd.

This followed a transaction between the said Microfinance Bank Ltd and the Branch Manager, Market Road Branch, Enugu State,  Mr. Oliver Anidiobi who reportedly received the said sum of money from the Microfinance Bank and also acted as its Account Manager.

BigPen Online was told that Ohha Microfinance Bank Ltd maintained two fixed deposit accounts with Sterling Bank Plc with Account No. 514/1152051/74/0 Deal Ref. Slip No. DD No. 0138058 and Account No. 514/11520505/1/74/1 Deal Ref. Slip No. DD No. 0133059.

It was gathered that Sterling Bank Plc at point of lodging the sum informed the Microfinance Bank that their investment would be rolled over at the Bank’s prevailing money market rate but to their chagrin when it instructed the bank to terminate the Fixed Deposit and Credit its Current Account on maturity with the principal and accrued interest, they failed to do so.

Sterling Bank Plc was said to have claimed that the Deposit Certificate presented to Ohha Microfinance Bank were forged and allegedly tried to defend Mr. Oliver Anidiobi whom they however admitted to have handed over to the law enforcement agents in connection with allegations of forgery.

Lagos based fire brand human rights lawyer, Festus Keyamo (SAN) on behest of Ohha Microfinance Bank, in an open letter to the Managing Director of Sterling Bank Plc in Lagos dated 20th, February, 2018 declared that Sterling Bank Plc was vicariously liable and therefore gave them seven (7) days from the date of service of the notice to credit the customers account with the sum, failure to which they will proceed to court to ensure the investments with accrued interest are duly recovered.

The letter is produce below.

OPEN LETTER TO STERLING BANK PLC

20th February, 2018

The Managing Director,

Sterling Bank Plc,

20 Marina,

Lagos.

Dear Sir,

UNLAWFUL CONVERSION OF THE SUM OF N219,000,000.00 (TWO HUNDRED AND NINETEEN MILLION NAIRA) BELONGING TO OHHA MICROFINANCE BANK LTD

DEMAND TO CREDIT OHHA MICROFINANCE BANK LTD  CURRENT ACCOUNT NUMBER 0023325543 WITH THE SUM OF N219,000,000.00 (TWO HUNDRED AND NINETEEN MILLION NAIRA)

We are solicitors to  Ohha Microfinance Bank Ltd on whose firm instructions we write you.

Our client briefed us that it has a two fixed deposit accounts with you with Account No. 514/1152051/74/0 Deal Ref. Slip No. DD No. 0138058 and Account No. 514/11520505/1/74/1 Deal Ref. Slip No. DD No. 0133059.

That they have operated the said accounts with you for some years and deposited the sum of N219,000,000.00 (Two Hundred and Nineteen Million Naira) in the said deposit accounts through your Branch Manager, Market Road Branch, Enugu State,  Mr. Oliver Anidiobi who also doubles as its Account Manager.

While operating the said Accounts, our client exchanged several correspondences with you wherein you confirmed the existence of the said Accounts and also informed them that their investment would be rolled over at the Bank’s prevailing money market rate.

Our client was surprised when it instructed you to terminate the Fixed Deposit and Credit its Current Account on maturity with the principal and accrued interest but you remained adamant. Consequent upon your failure to carry out its instruction, it briefed the law firm of O. A. Omotayo & Associates who made the same demands to you but you responded reluctantly wherein you admitted the existence of the said accounts but denied the existence of any fixed deposit investment by our client. You further claimed that the Deposit Certificate presented to our client were forged and tried to defend Mr. Oliver Anidiobi whom you also admitted to have handed over to the law enforcement agents in connection with allegations of forgery.

Having admitted that your staff Mr. Oliver Anidiobi is liable for forgery which same offence has been committed while he was in your employment, we make bold to say you are vicariously liable for whatever Mr. Oliver Anidiobi would have done in the normal cause of his business as your Branch Manager. It is no doubt, you employed the said Manager and presented him as a worthy staff for unsuspecting customers to deal with him which our client did in good faith. It is safe to infer that you have defrauded our clients of the sum of N219,000,000.00 (Two Hundred and Nineteen Million Naira).

Consequently, we have our client’s instructions to demand that you credit its Current Account with you: 0023325543 with the sum of  N219,000,000.00 (Two Hundred and Nineteen Million Naira) within  SEVEN (7) DAYS from the date of service of this notice on you, failure to yield to our demands shall leave us with no option than to set all the machineries of law in motion to ensure our client’s investments with accrued interest in the above mentioned accounts are duly recovered.

Thank you.

Yours sincerely,

For: Festus Keyamo Chambers

B.I. DAKUM, ESQ

Counsel

JOHN AINETOR, ESQ

Assistant Head of Chambers

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