The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has commenced investigations into the alleged fraudulent and unethical activities of Diamond Bank Nigeria Plc.
This is sequel to the accusation levelled against Diamond Bank by one of its customers turned petitioner, he accused the bank of engaging in criminal, fraudulent and unprofessional practices.
Imo State based businessman and Managing Director of Al-Clement Enterprises, Prince Amobi Alfred Ugochukwu petitioned the antigraft agency, giving details of how Diamond Bank reportedly connived with officials of Imo State Government in 1997 to defraud, frustrate and kill his once flourishing business.
In his petition dated 10th March 2016, Prince Amobi Alfred Ugochukwu, a native of Nkwerre Local Government Area of Imo State who is also the Managing Director and CEO of Al Clement Enterprises, an indigenous company based in Imo State that is involved in contracting services and general merchandise.made damning exposures and revelation against Diamond Bank Plc.
The said Prince Ugochukwu stated that he entered into contractual agreement with the Imo State Secondary Education Management Board (SEMB) and the Imo State Primary Education Board for the production of students identity cards on the 10th of March 1997 at the cost of N16million.
In the process, Prince Ugochukwu said he deployed two banks account with Diamond Bank (one in his name and the other in his company’s name) for the purpose of receiving various sums of money for the project.
He submitted that in the course of executing the contract and operating his company’s account, the then Special Assistant to the Imo state governor, Reverend Ugochukwu Unachukwu was introduced to him by Reverend Festus Azara, the then Branch Manager of Diamond Bank at their 6 Item Street, Ikenegbu Layout, Owerri office. He said he was forced and cajoled into making the said Reverend Ugochuckwu Unachukwu a co-signatory to his company’s account, where the money for the execution of contract was lodged into with fictitious name ‘Uzoma Onuoha’ and passport photograph.
He vehemently protested why Reverend Unachukwu should bear a fictitious name to be a co-signatory in his company’s account and was told that it was for security reasons and that Diamond Bank had been doing so many officials of State Governments in Nigeria.
He said he called the attention of the management of the bank and wrote the manager of his decision to withdraw the said fictitious name and passport photograph from his account. He thereafter operated his account without hitches on the 8th of May 1997.
To his uttermost consternation, subsequent transactions with the said account were stalled by the bank. When he inquired, he was told that it was because of the exclusion of the second signatory.
He was also told that the bank acted on a court order which placed embargo on his account with the bank.
According to Prince Unachukwu, till date the bank has failed to produce the so called court order restraining him from having access to his accounts, which funds were later transferred to a Task Force on recovery of Public Property and funds. He said there was no court order.
Information from a high profile source confirmed that on receiving the Petition, the EFCC commenced discreet investigation but the management and owners of the bank allegedly used their influence and connection in high places to stall the process.
However, the relentless disposition of the petitioner, Prince Amobi Ugochukwu to the matter eventually forced the EFCC to open up the file of the Diamond Bank Nigeria Plc. Consequently, the Head of the Legal Department of the Bank who before now had been giving spurious defense on the allegation against Diamond Bank (by Prince Amobi Ugochukwu) has been summoned by the EFCC. Also the petitioner, Prince Amobi Ugochukwu who had already presented various documents to the EFCC to buttress his points was invited to appear before the anti –graft agency on Friday the 27th of October 2017 at 10.00am
In its letter of invitation to Prince Amobi Ugochukwu dated 20th
September 2017 and signed by Johnson A. Babalola, Zonal Head (South East Zone, Enugu), the EFCC wrote
‘’This Commission is investigating a case in which the need to obtain certain clarification from you has become imperative. In view of the above, you are kindly requested to report for an Interview with the undersigned through the Head Intelligence and Special Operations section on Friday 27th of October 2017 at 10.00am. Your cooperation in this regard is solicited please” The letter stated.
Efforts to get Diamond Bank state its side of the story before going to press failed after two weeks of awaiting the response of Mr Eze Anyanwu, Media Relations Officer of the bank, who stated that ‘”the matter is already in court and also awaiting proper briefing from the legal department of the bank”.