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Access Bank denies arrest of its GMD

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Access Bank GMD, Wigwe

Access Bank Plc has vehemently denied reports that its group managing director, Mr. Herbert Wigwe has been arrested by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegations of fraud.

Some online news sites had reported that the Access Bank boss was arrested for his connection with the assets of former Abia State governor, Orji Uzor Kalu, alleged money laundering for former petroleum minister, Deziani Allison-Madueke, as well as alleged inflation of contracts linked to former Lagos State movernor, Akinwunmi Ambode.

In a notice to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) on Friday, January 10, 2019 by the company secretary, Sunday Ekwochi, the lender denied the reports, stressing that its officials were only invited for interrogation over credit facilities that were availed Slok Nigeria Limited (owned by Orji Uzor Kalu) by the defunct Diamond Bank plc (which Access Bank had inherited following its merger with Diamond Bank) and which were secured by Slok’s assets charged to Diamond Bank.

In the statement, the bank further explained that the issues had been resolved.

 

Read the full statement below:

Our attention has been drawn to a trending report on social media regarding the alleged arrest of Mr. Herbert Wigwe, the Group Managing Director of Access Bank Plc (Access Bank) by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (“the Commission”).

We wish to state that the issue essentially relates to the credit facilities that were availed Slok Nigeria Limited (“Slok”) by the defunct Diamond Bank plc (“Diamond”) and which were secured by Slok’s assets charged to Diamond. Access Bank had inherited the Slok credit following the recent merger of Diamond with Access Bank.

Given the differing interest of the Commission and the Bank on the assets of Slok deriving from the court’s recent judgment on Slok, the Commission had invited for interrogation officials of Access Bank who were handling the Bank’s recovery efforts on Slok credit including its Group Managing Director.

Following fruitful engagement between the Bank and the Commission, we are of the opinion that the issues relating to Slok investigation have been resolved.

As an institution built on best practice, we wish to assure our esteemed stakeholders that the Bank will continue to conduct its business in line with extant laws and relations

 

Sunday Ekwochi

Company secretary

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BUSINESS

COVID-19: Airtel Nigeria bows to pressure, removes charges on SMS

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COVID-19: Airtel bows to pressure, removes charges on SMS

Airtel Networks Limited (Airtel Nigeria), on Tuesday succumbed to pressure from Nigerians as it announced the removal of charges for its short message service (SMS), for its subscribers, in the light of the current disruption triggered by Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, THE WITNESS reports.

In a tweet on its verified Twitter handle, @AirtelNigeria, the telecom firm said: “Airtel announces free SMS to all customers to connect with loved ones.

“Free SMS can be sent to all your friends and families across any network.

“Please note a Fair Usage policy applies to prevent network congestion at this time when network stability is paramount to keeping all of us connected”

“Distancing does not mean disconnecting,” Airtel said.

COVID-19: Airtel bows to pressure, removes charges on SMS

Recall, Nigerians called on telecommunications companies in Nigeria to reduce tariffs for voice and data services on their networks due to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sina Bilesanmi, national president of the Association of Telephone, Cable TV and Internet Subscribers (ATCIS) had urged the operators to be patriotic and not see the pandemic as an opportunity to make easy money. Bilesanmi, while calling for collaborations between subscribers and telecoms operators, further stressed that if the virus must be defeated, access to telecoms services must not only be available but also affordable.

Also lending his voice, the minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, urged telcos to ensure they further subsidy, relax calls, data for citizens in this critical time.

The Minister tweeted: “As earlier conveyed, as the Minister of @FMoCDENigeria in charge of Policy of the Telecom Sector as in NCA, 2003, Part 1, I “urge” @NgComCommission, @MTNNG, @GloNg, @AirtelNigeria, @9mobilengCare, etc to ensure they further subsidy/relax calls/data for citizens in this critical time,” Pantami said.

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Prudential Zenith Life launches virtual services to help customers cope with COVID-19

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Prudential Zenith Life launches virtual services to help customers cope with COVID-19
Mr. Jim Ovia

Prudential Zenith Life protecting its customers during the Coronavirus (COVID – 19) pandemic.

In the face of the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting lockdown, Prudential Zenith Life Insurance is rolling out a range of services to help customers cope with the lockdown.

The new services include a range of additional COVID-19 insurance cover enhancements, without additional premium charges, and a waiver for ‘pandemic’ exclusions as contained in its policy language.

In line with the recent pronouncement of the federal government, the company will be temporarily locked down and has therefore set up a dedicated claims team with remote working capabilities, to enable customers make and receive claims virtually.

According to the statement from the insurance company, the claims procedure will be simplified to allow customers make claims through the WhatsApp channel.

This development makes it possible for customers to buy insurance products without any physical interface with sales personnel or visit to a physical branch.

Commenting on the changes, Prudential Africa CEO Matt Lilley said, “we realise this is a worrying time for everyone and we want to reassure you that protecting the health and wellness of our customers, employees and partners is our primary concern.

“At Prudential, we have been delivering promises for over 170 years and this time will be no different. I am proud of the measures we are announcing today and I know that they will provide our customers additional peace of mind.”

He added that the waiting periods for new cover have been reduced, and the company is providing additional training and incentives to sales personnel to continue providing advice and access to insurance, even as they work remotely.

He encouraged Nigerians to stay safe and adhere to the directives from the Ministry of health, Nigerian centre for disease control (NCDC) and other relevant authorities.

“We are going to get through these trying times together” he assured.

What you should know
Prudential Zenith Life Insurance was born when Prudential Plc, one of the oldest and most strongly capitalized life insurance companies in the world, acquired a majority stake in Zenith Life Assurance.

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COVID-19: FirstBank donates N1bn to Nigeria

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COVID-19: FirstBank donates N1bn to Nigeria
FirstBank GMD, Adeduntan

FirstBank has announced its donation of the sum of N1 billion towards the joint effort by the Nigerian Private Sector Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) to rapidly expand the health facilities; especially Testing, Isolation, treatment and the provision of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) facilities pivotal to controlling the spread and importantly, treating individuals diagnosed with COVID- 19.

This is in addition to the Bank’s drive to move one million children to e-learning, together with an early partner – Roducate – as recommended by the Ministry of Education, Lagos State

In line with the 14-day stay home directive for Lagos, Ogun and FCT Abuja in the speech by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Bank has also reiterated its preparedness to provide essential Banking services through its alternative channels to its customers and the public at large which is in line with its robust Business Continuity Plan.

Updating on the Bank’s efforts; the Bank’s CEO, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan, said “we promise to continue to look at all areas of intervention where our business infrastructure, reach, digital platforms and other natural strengths lie and can be deployed to further support all efforts for Nigerians; young and old alike.

To that end, we will continue to communicate ways in which we can do more together.

We thank our community of friends, customers and other stakeholders who have continued to send us ideas and initiatives and are gladdened at the solidarity we see as Nigerians come together to tackle this under one umbrella.

Please stay safe and let’s work together to flatten the curve”, he concluded.

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