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A Federal high court sitting in Ikoyi,Lagos State, south west Nigeria has adjourned till 31st of March 2022 for hearing, the suit instituted against Heritage Bank of Nigeria by a Lagos Lawyer. Barrister Dada Awosika SAN,over alleged manipulation of his account.

  

Mr. Awosika SAN practices under a business name and style of D.A. Awosika & Partners and who maintain a current account with the bank, alleged thus: that Heritage Bank conscripted him to open the aforementioned account in order that the judgment sum arising from certain terms of settlement executed between his clients (Mr. Olajide Aleshiloye Williams/Otunba Segun Jawando) on one hand and the bank on the other hand in Suit No: LD/7313/2014 between Mr. Olajide Aleshiloye Williams/Otunba Segun Jawando vs. Beach Resorts Nigeria Plc/Heritage Bank Limited be paid into the said account.I

In opening the account the bank detailed one of its senior officials to be his account officer to assist in opening the said account and for proper endorsement and execution of the current account opening package which he properly endorsed leading to normal operation of the said account.

At all material times, he agreed with the bank to run and operate the said current account in line with good banking standard and employ the best ethical and professional manner consistent with global best practice. Further to the aforementioned paragraphs and in line with the consent judgment entered on the 12th of January 2016 between the Plaintiff’s client and the Bank, the bank paid a total sum of N250,000,000.00 into the Plaintiff’s stated account as judgment sum at various times in February, 2016, May 2016 and August 2016 for the benefit of the Plaintiff’s clients who were Claimants in Suit number

LD/7313/2014.

Surprisingly, in the narration contained in the statement of account of the Plaintiff, the bank manipulated the narration and discreetly described the payment as fees to the Plaintiff.

Mr. Awosika, SAN, avers that it was an implied term of the banker-customer relationship between parties herein and of the mandate submitted to the bank by him that the Bank would exercise reasonable skill and care in the running of his account and that at no time will the banking and financial records of the Plaintiff be furnished or made available to a third party except with his consent and/or in a normal execution of a valid and subsisting order of court.

However, in breach of the sacred mandate donated to the bank for the running of the Plaintiff’s account, the bank disclosed, furnished and passed over to the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) the Plaintiff’s financial and banking detail and this ultimately led FIRS to issue notice to the Plaintiff to remit unpaid taxes for 2016/2017 (as Company Income Tax and Value Added Tax (VAT)} directing the Plaintiff to pay the sum of N23,274,166.19 being turn over of N258,601,846.53 in custody of the bank.

The Plaintiff immediately responded to the FIRS letter and debunked the insinuation and misconceptions that the Plaintiff was operating as a limited liability company to pay Income Tax. Thereafter it came as a shock to the Plaintiff that the bank posted POST NO DEBIT on the Plaintiff account without any communication to the Plaintiff in compliance with a directive of FIRS.

Upon protest at the Bank’s premises at Adeola Odeku on the 6th of February, 2019, the bank informed the Plaintiff that the freezing order on the Plaintiff’s account was directed to be placed by FIRS as a result of banking and financial details submitted to FIRS by the Bank The Plaintiff made further protest to FIRS headquarters in Abuja, which later issued directive to the bank to remove the ‘Post No Debit’ and any other freezing orders, placed on the Plaintiff’s account since February 4, 2019. The bank placed this Post No Debit’ on the Plaintiff’s account without any order of court and also the bank furnished the Plaintiff’s banking and financial records to FIRS without order of court or consent of the Plaintiff.

 

The Plaintiff alleged further that he made several transfers and cash deposits into his firm’s account with the bank, When the bank thereafter sent notifications of receipt of this transfers and cash deposits, the Plaintiff discovered that the bank had surreptitiously applied a debit of over N23 Million into the Plaintiff’s firm’s account without notice of such activity to the Plaintiff.

The Plaintiff further avers that the bank appropriated, converted and utilized the entire credit balance in the Plaintiff’s firm’s account as well as all transfers and cash deposits made into the said account in purported satisfaction of repayment obligations in regard to a purported phony debt allegedly outstanding and payable to the bank.

On Wednesday the 20th of November, 2019, the Plaintiff visited the Defendant’s Ashabi Cole branch, Agidingbi, Ikeja being the nearest branch to the Plaintiff’s office to vehemently protest the fraudulent manipulation of his firm’s account but was informed by the manager on duty that the branch could not help him as there was no complaint resolution mechanism available to resolve the issue in that branch.

However, the manager of Ashabi Cole branch of the bank confirmed the debit of over N23Million lumped into the Plaintiff’s firm’s account and advised that the Plaintiff write the bank detailing his complaint to the bank’s Managing Director for expeditious resolution.

The Plaintiff avers that the bank sent his firm’s account’s November, 2019 statement to him on the 2nd of December 2019 and it came as a shock to the Plaintiff that the bank hid or covertly suppressed the debit of over N23Million in the said Plaintiff’s account.

Sequel to this, the Plaintiff made further cash transfers to his account on the 2nd and 7th December, 2019, and surprisingly, when notifications were sent to the Plaintiff, those cash deposits were illegally and wrongfully applied by the bank to a non-existent repayment obligation of the N23Million

cooked up by the bank into the Plaintiff’s firm account.

In a bid to get to the bottom of the fraudulent manipulation of the Plaintiff’s account, the Plaintiff wrote the bank in his letter of December 2, 2019 received the same day to demand for the immediate removal of over N23 Million illegally debited and posted into the Plaintiff’s firm account.

The Plaintiff avers that the bank fraudulently manipulated the Plaintiff’s firm account and posted a bogus debit of over N23Million into the said account without the Plaintiff’s consent and no information was made available to the Plaintiff regarding this illegal and phony debit and there was no court order directing that this debit of over N23 million be posted into the Plaintiff’s account.

 

In the statement of particulars of fraud,the Plaintiff stated that: He has no subsisting repayment obligation arising from any overdraft or transaction involving the use of depositors’ funds at the instance of the Plaintiff to warrant any repayment obligation.

The bank appropriated the credit balance in the Plaintiff’s account in excess of N76,000. in satisfaction of a sham and bogus debit of over N23 Million Naira.

All cash deposits and transfers made into the Plaintiff’s firm’s account were utilized, converted and appropriated by the bank without seeking the Plaintiff’s consent and without an order of court to that effect.

The bank discreetly narrated judgment sum payment to the Plaintiff’s clients as fees paid to the Plaintiff when in fact there were no

narration of services rendered by the Plaintiff to the bank to justify such.

The Defendant disguised the payment of N250 Million to the Plaintiff’s clients as fees to the Plaintiff to avoid payment of VAT and Witholding tax to the relevant government agencies.

The bank operated the Plaintiff’s account outside the standard of good banking practice and that the bank conducted its banking business outside the ethical and professional manner consistent with global best practice;

The bank did not bring to the Plaintiff’s attention the origin/source of the bogus and illegal debit of over N23Million posted to the Plaintiff’s account as against the standard practice for a banking outfit to bring to the attention of their customers any form of activity or information concerning their accounts.

The bank breached the duty to exercise reasonable skill and care as well as that of confidentiality in the running of the Plaintiff’s account.

He did not at any time apply for and utilize any overdraft facility, nor did he apply for credit facility from the bank to justify any set off or appropriation of the Plaintiff’s credit balance or cash deposits made into the Plaintiff’s account.

The Plaintiff shall rely on several Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN)’s circulars and regulations as well as code of conduct in the Nigerian Banking Industry signed to by the bank to prove various violations against the bank espoused above.

The Plaintiff has suffered loss and damage as a result of the fraudulent manipulation of his firm’s account, depriving him access to his much needed funds in the said account and for several violations by the bank of crucial banking ethics and standard.

Consequently the Plaintiff’s claims against the Heritage bank are as follows:

A declaration that the bank was not entitled in law to appropriate and convert to its own use the credit balance of N76,000.00 and several other cash deposits made into the Plaintiff’s firm’s account at various times in purported satisfaction of a non existing debt obligation allegedly owed to the bank by the Plaintiff thus breaching the fiduciary duty and duty of care owed the Plaintiff in the running and operation of the said Plaintiff’s account.

A declaration that the bank fraudulently manipulated the Plaintiff’s firm’s account by surreptitiously hiding, disguising and posting a bogus debt of over N23Million into the Plaintiff ‘s said account and the bank illegally coverted,appropriated and utilized all the credit balance and several other cash deposited into into the Plaintiff’s debit and of said account utilized in purported satisfaction of a non existing debt.

A declaration that the bank failed to exercise reasonable skill and care in carrying out its banking business in relation to the Plaintiff’s firm’s account, when the bank illegally debited the Plaintiff’s account with the sum of over N23Million without any order of court and most importantly when the Plaintiff did not utilize any overdraft nor have any collateral transactional agreement for over draft or trade finance facility on the said account

 

An order of the Court directing the bank to forthwith expunge and reverse the bogus illegal debit of the sum of N23Million applied to the Plaintiff’s firm’s account and also immediately credit the Plaintiff’s account with all sums already appropriated, converted and utilized by the bank with interest at Central Bank Premises (CBN) prime lending rate of 25%

An order of the Court directing the bank to pay the sum of N650Million as general, aggravated, fraudulently manipulating, appropriating and converting the credit balance and other cash deposits made into the Plaintiff’s account and for the bank’s failure to exercise reasonable skill and care in the running of the Plaintiff’s account and for the breach of fiduciary duty and confidentiality.

Cost of this action as the Court may deem fit to order.

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Business

Baba Adinni and Iya Adinni: Harmony Gardens Chairman and Wife Inducted into Spiritual Roles

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In a momentous occasion of spiritual significance and community recognition, the Chairman of Harmony Gardens and Estates Development LTD, Hon. Dr. Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa, popularly known as Mr. Ibile, and his wife, Hadjia Aishat Adebimpe, were recently installed with revered titles at an event hosted by the Al-Irshad Islamic Foundation.

 

Hon Saheed Mosadoluwa Ibile inaugurated a multi-billion naira ultra-modern Central Mosque at Ibeju-Lekki immidiately after he got recognized by the West Africa Islamic Council as the AL Mujaddid in Rabbat, Morocco.

 

According to popular Muslim tradition, the term refers to an individual who emerges at the turn of each century in the Islamic calendar to rejuvenate Islam, purging it of extraneous elements and restoring it to its original purity. In contemporary times, a mujaddid is regarded as the preeminent Muslim figure of a century.

 

The concept of Mujaddid is based on a hadith (a saying of Islamic prophet Muhammad), recorded by Abu Dawood, narrated by Abu Hurairah who mentioned that Muhammad said:

 

Allah will raise Mujaddid for this community at the end of every 100 years the one who will renovate its religion for it.

 

Recall that in a grand ceremony attended by distinguished personalities and spiritual leaders, Hon Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa, Chairman and CEO of Harmony Gardens and Estates Development LTD, officially commissioned and handed over a state-of-the-art central mosque in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos State, on Friday, January 19th, 2024.

 

The auspicious event witnessed the presence of esteemed religious leaders, including Sheik Semiu .A. Opeloyeru, The Grand Chief Imam and General President of the League of Imam and Alfa in Ibeju-Lekki L.G.A. The ceremony commenced with the arrival of Sheik Semiu .A. Opeloyeru, setting the tone for a day of spiritual significance and community celebration.

 

Representing the executive governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Babajide Sanwoolu, was Hon. Ahmed Abdulai Jembe, the Special Adviser on Islamic Affairs to the governor, graced the ceremony. The Onibeju in attendance emphasizing the significance of the event in the cultural and traditional context.

 

The event saw the attendance of various traditional rulers, highlighting the communal and inclusive nature of the mosque inauguration. Notably, the newly appointed Lagos NURTW Chairman, Mustapha Sego, drew attention as his presence added an extra layer of recognition to the occasion.

 

However, the prestigious ceremony, held at Monarch Hall in Osapa London Lekki, Lagos State, saw Hon. Dr. Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa bestowed with the title of Baba Adinni, signifying a revered position within the religious community. His wife, Hadjia Aishat Adebimpe, was similarly honored as Iya Adinni, a title of great respect and responsibility.

 

The Al-Irshad Islamic Foundation, under the guidance of its founder Sheik Rasheed Adeleke, who is also the owner of Al-Irshad Travel and Tours, organized the event as a Pre-Ramadan lecture, award ceremony, and Turbaning ceremony. The atmosphere was filled with spiritual fervor and communal joy as community members gathered to witness the momentous occasion.

 

Notably, Abu Abel and other prominent figures, was also present at the event, adding to the significance of the gathering. The ceremony, held on Sunday, February 25th, 2024, brought together individuals from diverse backgrounds to celebrate the exemplary contributions of Hon. Dr. Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa and his wife to both the community and the Islamic faith.

 

The Turbaning ceremony, a traditional rite of passage within the Islamic community, symbolizes a deep connection with cultural heritage and spiritual leadership. The titles of Baba Adinni and Iya Adinni carry great responsibilities, signifying the honorees’ commitment to serving the community and upholding the values of the Islamic faith.

 

As the community celebrates this significant event, the installation of Hon. Dr. Saheed Audullahi Mosadoluwa and Hadjia Aishat Adebimpe as Baba Adinni and Iya Adinni reflects their exemplary leadership and commitment to the principles of Harmony Gardens and Estate Development LTD. The event serves as a beacon of unity, spirituality, and communal recognition within the Osapa London in Lekki community.

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Business

Squad Powers OmniPay’s Trade Business to Simplify Payments for FMCG Industry

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In a strategic move aimed at furthering its mission to empower African traders with the necessary payment solutions for thriving in the digital era, Squad, a fintech subsidiary of Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc (GTCO), offering comprehensive payment and e-commerce solutions for businesses, has entered a partnership with OmniPay, a subsidiary of OmniRetail Inc.

 

This collaboration has currently benefited more than 65,000 stakeholders, which include retailers, distributors, and manufacturers through improved payment and collection methods using Squad’s Virtual Bank Account without incurring any charges. Additionally, they have gained more accessible and affordable working capital to procure goods on credit for their businesses, contributing to the daily transaction volume exceeding N3 billion, and this figure continues to grow.

 

Adeyemi Atanda, the Chief Marketing Officer, Squad, shared insights on the partnership’s significance, emphasizing, “At Squad, our mission revolves around providing African businesses with the right solutions for effortless payment processes, available at their convenience. We understand the pivotal role small businesses play in our economy. Through strategic alliances like this, we aim to empower even more merchants by granting them access to rapid, user-friendly, and dependable payment solutions that optimize their business operations and, in turn, boost their revenue.”

 

Deepankar Rustagi, CEO of OmniRetail stated, “As we join forces with Squad, we are driven by our shared vision of transforming the digital payment landscape for African businesses. With OmniPay, businesses will gain improved payment methods with zero transfer fees, while retailers and distributors will have easier access to OmniPay’s BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later) solution. This partnership aims to empower businesses, streamline payment processes, and enhance record-keeping accuracy through automated reconciliation for orders. This partnership reinforces OmniRetail’s commitment to innovation and financial inclusion.”

 

About Squad

 

Squad is a complete payment solution that is reliable, secure, and affordable, making receiving in-person and online payments simple and convenient.

 

Our goal is to support SMEs, micro-merchants, large corporations, and other fintechs (Tech Stars) with the tools they need to thrive in an evolving digital economy and expand beyond their current market reach.

 

Squad’s current products and service offerings include SquadPOS, Squad Payment Links, Squad Virtual Accounts, USSD, and E-Commerce Storefront.

 

Find out more at www.squadco.com.

 

About OmniPay

 

OmniPay, a subsidiary of OmniRetail Inc., is a company with a mission to simplify payments in Nigeria and provide working capital to trade businesses. OmniPay provides an API-based wallet built to simplify trade payments.

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