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Union Bank staffer steals N8.7m from customer’s account

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Emeka Emuwa, MD/CEO, Union Bank Plc

These are very bad times for customers of the Emeka Emuwa led Union Bank of Nigeria (UBN) as the bank appears to have lost its security edge over their competitors. Though, Union Bank prides itself as one of the big, strong and reliable financial institutions in Nigeria, depositors have continued to wonder how safe their monies are with the lender as the bank has become a safe haven for fraudulent officials.

This is worrisome as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) again, on Monday arraigned another banker, Ali Kareem with the lender at the Federal High Court Lagos for allegedly stealing N8.7 million from a customer.

Alli who was arrainged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, alleged is facing a three-count charge of conspiracy, impersonation and N8.7 million, internet fraud.

The defendant, whose residential address was not given, was arrainged before Justice (Professor) Chuka Obiozor.

EFCC said that the defendant conspired with others who are still at large, and fraudulently impersonated a Union Bank customer, Alexander Cherembem, in order to fraudulently facilitate the withdrawal of funds from his account. He was also alleged to have processed the request for Union mobile in respect of the said account, without obtaining proper Identity of the customer.

EFCC alleged that the ex- banker had on May 8, 2018, while he was still a staff of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, failed to obtain proper data of a customer of the bank in processing Union mobile in respect of Account No.0010807900. He was alleged to have impersonated one Alexander Cherembem Okan and fraudulently withdrew the sum of N8. 677, 907.00 million from the said account No. 0010807900.

According to the EFCC’s prosecutor, George Chia-Yakua, said that the offences committed are contrary to and punishable under Sections 22, 22(2) and 37 of the Cyber Crimes Prohibition Act, 2015.

However, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the charges against him. In view of his plea, lawyer to the defendant Olatimihan Ogunbiyi, told the court of his intention to file a bail application on behalf of the defendant and sought for a short adjournment. The prosecutor, Chia-yakua did not oppose his request.

Consequently, Justice Obiozor adjourned the case until November 5, for hearing and determination of the defendant’s bail. Justice Obiozor also ordered that the defendant should be remanded in prison custody pending the determination of his bail.

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INVESTIGATION

REVEALED: Why NSA Monguno did not attend Service Chiefs’ meeting

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REVEALED: Why NSA Babagana Monguno did not attend Service Chiefs meeting

Presidential Adviser on National Security, Major General Babagana Monguno (redt) has gotten what seems a fresh Presidential endorsement just a week after his stinking memo to the Chief of Staff Abba Kyari was leaked.

In a Presidential statement, the NSA was named Co-Chair along with Humanitarian Affairs Minister for the newly formed National Humanitarian Coordination Committee.

A source in the presidency informed The Witness “that is an indication that the President has no issues with the contents of the memo,” even though there are concerns in the Villa on how the memo was leaked.

Also the source explained that National Security Adviser (NSA) Babagana Monguno did not attend the meeting between Service Chiefs and President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday because he was out of the country.

It was revealed that the movement of the NSA has never been put in the public domain.

“This is an intelligence matter, no one issues a statement stating that the NSA and other Service Chiefs are travelling, and that is so for security reasons.”

The source explained that the movement of the NSA is not subject to public exposure. “The truth is that on Monday the President approved the constitution of a National Humanitarian Coordination Committee (NHCC) and he appointed the NSA as co-Chairman.

“The NSA and the President have a smooth working relationship and the same can be said of his relationship with the Chief of Staff. I think Nigerians need to learn more about the sensitivity of the role of the NSA,” the source said.

Some Nigerians on social media had raised eyebrow over the absence of the NSA at a meeting with Security Chiefs claiming that it could have been as a result of the memo leak from the Presidency.

A letter by NSA Monguno to the Chief of Staff was leaked to the media by unknown persons.

In the letter, Mr Monguno said Mr Kyari’s directives to service chiefs were sometimes issued without the knowledge, much less approval of the president, a practice he said has added to government’s failure to contain insecurity.

“Chief of staff to the president is not a presiding head of security, neither is he sworn to an oath of defending the country,” Mr Monguno, a retired major-general, said in the December 9, 2019, letter.

“As such, unprofessional practices such as presiding over meetings with service chiefs and heads of security organisations as well as ambassadors and high commissioners to the exclusion of the NSA and/or supervising ministers are a violation of the Constitution and directly undermine the authority of Mr President.

“Such acts and continued meddlesomeness by chief of staff have not only ruptured our security an defence efforts, but have slowed down any meaningful gain that Mr President has sought to achieve.”

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INVESTIGATION

Ex-staff fights embattled billionaire Onajite Okoloko‘s Notore Chemical Industries, wins in court

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Ex-staff fights embattled billionaire Onajite Okoloko‘s Notore Chemical Industries, wins in court
Embattled billionaire, Onajite Okoloko, CEO - Notore Chemicals Industries

The National Industrial Court, Lagos Division, has ordered Notore Chemicals Industries Plc, owned by embattled Nigerian billionaire Onajite Okoloko’s, to pay Mr. Ayodele Balogun, a former employee of the company the sum of N20, 525, 999 (Twenty Million, Five Hundred and Twenty-Five Thousand, Nine Hundred and Ninety Nine Naira, Sixty Kobo only) as outstanding balance of his gratuity payment due to him since 2013.

The court also awarded in favour of the ex-staff the sum of N1, 000,000.00 (one million naira) cost of action within one month, failing which it attracts 10% interest rate per annum until fully liquidated.

In a judgement monitored by The Witness, and delivered by the presiding judge, Hon. Justice Nelson Ogbuanya, the court held that the company action credited to external advice which prompted the defence of ‘mistaken payment’ was not justified, and cannot override the obligation to pay outstanding balance due to the claimant.

The claimant- Ayodele was employed on 1st October 2008 as Chief Marketing Officer, that by a letter dated June 14, 2013, sent via e-mail on Wednesday June 19, 2013 he tendered resignation, and indicated that it would take effect on 1st October 2013, that as a result of his service to the firm spanning 5 years, that he has become entitled to payment of gratuity upon successful exit from the Company that a total settlement package was communicated to him via e-mail out of which only 50% was paid and all effort to get balance proved abortive.

In argument, the firm submitted that Ayodele did not attain the threshold of ‘continuous service greater than 5 years and up to 10 years’ to be qualified for monetary payment in addition to ‘Testimonial of Service’, which is the only package available for those who were in ‘continuous service up to 5 years’, under the company gratuity that the payment already paid to the Claimant was a mistake and it was because of the discovery of the error that the Defendant refused to pay the balance and also seeks refund of it.

Counsel to the firm further argued that the Claimant’s resignation becomes effective on date of receipt of the letter of resignation by the employer, and as such, the correct effective date of the Claimant’s resignation is June 14 2013 (submission date), and not the 1st October 2008 contained in the resignation letter that the Claimant’s case lacks merit and should be dismissed while upholding the counter-claim for refund of the sum already paid to the Claimant in error.

Counsel to the claimant U. U Njoku, Esq contended that the Defendant failed to tender its payroll to disprove that the Claimant was no longer in its pay roll as at 1 October 2013 urged the court to so hold and grant the reliefs sought.

Delivering judgment after careful evaluation of the submissions of both counsel and the processes filed, Justice Ogbuanya held that where date is not provided in the resignation, it takes immediate effect upon receipt of resignation, but when effective date is provided, it becomes effective on the last day of the notice period.

“I also note that it is part of the court’s equitable jurisdiction to preserve earned benefits, particularly those of pecuniary nature, and court usually tilts towards resolving such emerging controversy in favour of the beneficiary rather than in favour of one trying to take away or expropriate the benefit.

“From the tenor of the above provisions of the company Gratuity Policy, I find that once an employee attains 5 years of continuous service with the defendant, such an employee shall/must be entitled to not only cash payment as gratuity but also other testimonials and certificate of appreciation and or asset gift.

“In the circumstance of the claimant, I find that he has attained 5 years of continuous service with the defendant and there was no evidence disputing that he resigned willfully and there was no evidence of any skirmish of probe or low performance tainting his voluntary resignation. I so hold.” Justice Ogbuanya ruled.

In all, the court dismissed the counterclaim for lacking merit.

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INVESTIGATION

Lagos commissioner, Ajibola Ponnle’s rising profile

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Lagos commissioner, Ajibola Ponnle’s marriage crumbles
Ajibola Ponnle

Ajibola Yewande Olufunke Ponnle is the Lagos State Commissioner for Establishments, Training and Pensions.

Until her appointment,  she was the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management, the industry regulator of the profession of Human Resource Management in Nigeria.

Born on the 9th of September, 1973, she has 25 years uniquely diverse professional experience. Building on her B.Sc. in Economics from the University of Ibadan and a M.Sc. in Organisational Psychology from the University of London, she gained key skills in the fields of finance, strategy, organizational development and human resource management, with a specialisation in executive/leadership and team coaching.

She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria, Associate of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria and an International Coach Federation Accredited Professional Coach.

Mrs Ponnle started her career in 1994 with Arthur Andersen (now KPMG), thereafter, joined British American Tobacco as one of the founding pre-merger staff and left as a member of both the Finance and Marketing Senior Management teams. In 2004, she became an entrepreneur, setting up a series of companies including TeamBuilding Africa Consultancy, the regional representative of Team Building USA where she was at the forefront of shaping the experiential team development industry in Nigeria, serving also as visiting faculty on the Executive Management Programme at Lagos Business School. In 2015, she pioneered the establishment of the Nigeria Chapter of International Coach Federation (ICF) and served as the Founding Chapter President, a Trustee and a member of ICF EMEA regional leadership team.

She became the first Nigerian to earn the ICF Professional Certified Coach accreditation and also the first Core Energy Coach and Energy Leadership Master Practitioner in the country. In recognition of her contribution to the development of professional coaching in the region, she was selected as one of five founding members of the Africa Executive Coaching Council.

In January 2017, Ajibola launched the Centre for Core Coaching, dedicated to certifying professional life and corporate coaches, becoming the first programme in West Africa developed to meet the International Coach Federation accredited coach training standards. Ajibola is a seasoned learning facilitator and international speaker. A visionary, change champion and consummate professional who is fully committed to pursuing the ‘Human Agenda’ in the nation.

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