Customer Accuses Sterling Bank of N219m Fraud, Threatens Lawsuit

March 9, 2018
Customer Accuses Sterling Bank of N219m Fraud, Threatens Lawsuit

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

A customer of Sterling Bank Plc, OHHA Microfinance Bank Limited, has accused the tier-two lender of defrauding it to the tune of N219 million.

The money was said to have been deposited with the bank by the microfinance institution located in Enugu State.

In a letter to Sterling Bank by counsel to OHHA Microfinance Bank, Festus Keyamo Chambers, dated February 20, 2018 and jointly signed by Messrs B.I Dakum and John Ainetor, the microfinance bank explained that it operates two fixed deposit accounts (No. 514/1152051/74/0 Deal Ref. Slip No. DD No. 0138058 and No. 514/11520505/1/74/1 Deal Ref. Slip No. DD No.0133059) with Sterling Bank.

Both accounts, it said, have been operated for years and contained a deposit of N219 million with one Mr Oliver Anidiobi, a manager of Sterling Bank Market Road branch, Enugu State, acting as the account manager.

While the accounts were in operation, OHHA Microfinance Bank said it exchanged many letters with Sterling Bank. In each of its replies, OHHA Microfinance Bank added, Sterling Bank confirmed the existence of the accounts and informed that the microfinance bank’s investment would be rolled over at Sterling Bank’s prevailing money market rate.

However, OHHA Microfinance Bank said that when it instructed Sterling Bank to terminate the fixed deposit and credit its current account on maturity with the principal and accrued interest, the latter refused.  This made OHHA Microfinance Bank to briefed O. A. Omotayo and Associates, a law firm, which made the same demands.

Sterling Bank, added OHHA Microfinance Bank, admitted the existence of the accounts but denied the existence of any fixed deposit investment.

It went ahead to claim that the deposit certificates presented by OHHA Microfinance Bank were forged. The bank also put up a defence for Mr Anidiobi, whom it admitted to having handed over to the law enforcement agents over 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 N219million,” said the letter.

According to Sahara Reporters, OHHA Microfinance Bank is demanding that its current account (0023325543) with the sum of N219 million is released to it within seven days of the service of the letter.

It warned that in the event of a default, it will take every legal step to ensure the recovery of its investments with accrued interest.

Meanwhile, Business Post made an effort to reach a representative of Sterling Bank to react to the story, but as at the time of filing this report, we were yet to get a response from them.

Modupe Gbadeyanka

Modupe Gbadeyanka is a fast-rising journalist with Business Post Nigeria. Her passion for journalism is amazing. She is willing to learn more with a view to becoming one of the best pen-pushers in Nigeria. Her role models are the duo of CNN's Richard Quest and Christiane Amanpour.

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