Access Bank reacts to alleged fraudulent withdrawals from NIJ Provost’s account

Access Bank building
Access Bank building

Access Bank on Thursday said the case of alleged ‘fraudulent withdrawals’ from the account of the Provost of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Gbemiga Ogunleye, lingered because the complainant failed to accept the bank’s proposal at the Lagos Multi-door Court.

In a statement sent to PREMIUM TIMES, the bank also alleged that it offered to refund the money and pay N100,000 to the complainant as damages, even after its investigations revealed the customer effected the transaction.

PREMIUM TIMES reported how the bank and Mr. Ogunleye had been drawn in a legal battle following a case of alleged N292, 931 ‘fraudulent withdrawal’ made from the NIJ provost’s account from the United States.

Mr. Ogunleye, who banks with Access, said he did not make the withdrawals and asked the bank to make a refund.

He eventually went to court when the bank failed to do that.

The case, which has dragged for years, is being transferred back to court by Mr. Ogunleye after efforts to reach consensus at the Lagos State Multidoor failed.

Documents seen by PREMIUM TIMES showed that Mr. Ogunleye had demanded that the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of the bank, Herbert Wigwe, be made to appear before the court.

But Mr. Wigwe’s solicitor countered the suit saying he was an agent of the bank and his presence in court was unnecessary.

In a ruling of September 1, 2016, Magistrate T. O Shomade dismissed the suit of Mr. Wigwe’s solicitor and ruled that the bank chief can be made to appear in court because he is an employee and not an agent of the bank.

The magistrate subsequently transferred the case to the multi-door court.

For weeks, PREMIUM TIMES sought the bank’s position from its spokesperson, Abdul Imoyo, who failed to supply response to the newspaper’s enquiry.

But on Thursday, after our story was published, the bank claimed that upon investigations, it discovered that Mr. Ogunleye carried out the disputed transactions of November 30 and December, 1, 2014, because the transactions were done using the card and pin known to him alone.

In a statement signed by Fatai Ladipo, its legal adviser and Edem Ekeng, corporate counsel, the bank also alleged that Mr. Ogunleye had carried out transactions on ATM in the United States prior to the disputed transaction without hitches, a claim it said he never denied.

The statement added that even when it never admitted any liability, the bank offered the full sum of N292,931 withdrawn from the account with N100,000 damages to Mr. Ogunleye to cover the expenses.

“Unfortunately, the customer insisted on being paid the sum of N500,000, which the bank found to be unacceptable, given the fact that the alleged unauthorised withdrawals were done with the customer’s card and pin with no form of negligence on the part of the bank,” the statement said.

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