By Investigation Media Team | Oluwasegun Abifarin | Olawale Abideen
The United Bank of Africa, UBA, one of Nigeria’s first generation money deposit institutions that was recently drenched in a fake dollar notes scandal may have finally resolved the issue with the victim, Dr. Ifenyiwa Ezeike.
Ezeike called the Investigation Media (Publishers of Newsroom Nigeria and Security Monitor) on Friday to inform that the “bank said they don’t want trouble again with their customers; and that they want peaceful resolution of the crisis, promising to remit my money back into my account. They have done that….and I am calling to inform you. Thank you for your support and God bless you.”
When the story broke out few weeks ago, the bank mounted enormous and unconventional pressure on journalists to pull down the story without success. Some pliable bloggers were also ‘recruited’ to do a disclaimer to the story. A source close to the victim also informed that the story was rejected by many newspapers and online platforms before it finally broke. “An editor of a leading newspaper in Lagos pointedly told me that there is no objectivity or neutrality in media business again. This story can never fly here. Even if I put it in our online edition, it won’t last more than two minutes before it will be removed. It is that bad,” the source said.
Ezeike of Glory Queen of the Rosary Hospital, Okokomaiko, Lagos who banks with the Festac Town branch of the bank, maintained two accounts with the bank: a Naira account: 2055978927 and a Domiciliary Account; 3002623840, which is the subject of the scandal
According to her petition to the bank, the CBN and the Inspector General of Police, his ordeal began on the 5th of November, 2019, when he went to UBA branch at 21, Road ‘F’ Close, Festac Town to collect my money in order to convert it from Dollar to Naira.
On getting there, the bank gave her some documents to sign in respect of his dollar account in order to cash it and make a transfer to her UBA account.
“After signing the document, I was told to go and stay in the manager’s office.” Later she said the cashier now gave her, $5,650 US Dollars.
“As I looked properly, visually I notice that the dollar in question was not exactly like the dollar I use to know, the colors and the printing was not the same because all the printing were displaced, then I now showed the dollar to the Bureau De Change man because he said he want to see what he is paying for.
“And immediately I showed the man the dollar, I took it back. I did not hand the money to the man. After this scenario, immediately the bank manager appeared and asked me whether the man look at the money and that if he did, the money would have been shortened,” Ezeike narrated.
The bank manager later came around and invited Ezeike downstairs to find out whether the bureau de change man was responsible for the confusion. “I told the manager the cashier gave it to me and I have not allowed anybody to calculate it. The second cashier on counting the money declared it fake and I told them, that I did not come in the bank with any money that if the money is fake it is the UBA 21, road Festac town that gave me the fake dollar, $5,560 US dollars.”
In terms of rising bank fraud and infractions, no fewer than 8,920 fraud attempts worth N597 million were successfully carried out by fraudsters in the banking sector via various transaction platforms as at third quarter of 2019, according to Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS) report.