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First Bank Embroiled In N550m Funds Diversion Scandal

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The First Bank of Nigeria has been embroiled in N550m funds diversion scandal as a civil society organization, Centre For Socio and Economic Justice lodged a complaint with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) against the bank.

The centre has called on the CBN to revoke First Bank’s license due to unsafe practice.

In a letter dated, Wednesday, 29 May, 2024, the Director of the Centre, Barrister U. I. Mohammed, claimed that a customer of the bank, Dr. Agbai Eke Agbai, had his funds illegally diverted, misappropriated, and fraudulently taken by the bank. Dr. Agbai, a dedicated customer, held Fixed Deposit Account numbers 6924010002639 and 5021000788976, with funds totaling N550,000,000.

The letter, received by the Security Services Department of the CBN and also sent to First Bank, stated that a bank staff member, Mrs. Shamlar Abosi, who was supposed to be Dr. Agbai’s account officer, illegally tampered with the account.

Parts of the petition titled, “PETITION AGAINST FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA FOR FRAUD, DIVERSION, AND MISAPPROPRIATION OF FUNDS BELONGING TO DR. AGBAI EKE AGBAI,” read:

“In 2014, Mrs. Shamlar Abosi, a staff member of First Bank, approached Dr. Agbai Eke Agbai to deposit funds in First Bank for a return on investment. After listening to Mrs. Abosi’s advice, Dr. Agbai agreed to deposit funds in the bank at an agreed interest rate.

“Fixed Deposit Accounts were subsequently opened for Dr. Agbai with the above-mentioned account numbers. The sum of N300,000,000 (Three Hundred Million Naira) was deposited in Account number 6924010002639, effective February 21, 2018, with an interest rate of 14.5% and a 364-day tenor. Additionally, N250,000,000 (Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) was deposited in Account Number 5021000788976, effective October 19, 2018, with an interest rate of 14.5% and a 364-day tenor.

“After the maturity dates of the investments on February 20, 2019, and October 18, 2019, respectively, in September 2023, Dr. Agbai informed First Bank of his intention not to renew the investment and requested that his money be transferred to his savings account with the bank, account number 3079342444, immediately.

“Unfortunately, the money requested by Dr. Agbai to be transferred to his savings account has not been credited to date, despite numerous efforts to remind the bank of its failure to carry out the request.”

“It is also noteworthy and remarkable that Mrs. Shamlar Abosi, who persuaded Dr. Agbai Eke Agbai into investing in the bank and is also the account officer and business manager for the investment, has failed to provide any explanation regarding the funds of Dr. Agbai Eke Agbai.”

Barrister Mohammed stated that it is without doubt that the funds deposited in the Fixed Deposit Account numbers 6924010002639 and 5021000788976 by Dr. Agbai Eke Agbai have been criminally and fraudulently diverted by First Bank without his consent or notice.

He added that after sending their agent and officer, Mrs. Shamlar Abosi, to persuade him into investing in the bank, the bank has failed to refund the money illegally taken from him despite numerous pleas, warnings, and notices.

“We urge the Central Bank of Nigeria to investigate the fraudulent activities enumerated above, refund the money stolen and illegally diverted by First Bank, and to invoke its powers under Section 12 of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, 2020 by revoking the license of First Bank of Nigeria for unsafe practices and other fraudulent dealings,” the centre said.


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