Efcc Indicted In Cover-up Of Diamond Bank Scams
Diamond Bank Plc has been found by our investigation to be habitually flouting the laws of the land by engaging in bribe giving and lying on oath about its operations. The EFCC in the course of some other developments found out this fact, aided and abetted the bank in breaking the laws of the land by keeping mute on the contraventions rather than prosecuting the guilty officials.
This Reporter's investigations showed clearly how the EFCC may have also been compromised in adding and abetting the commission of a crime by the bank. Investigations revealed a long string of gory details of unethical conducts by the bank. This Reporter shall unveil all these details gradually. However here's a sample.
One of the bank's biggest clients, a lady (names withheld) whose business activities gives the bank N60m profit monthly and whose total turnover as at October 2008 is N51billion, is in court over a N1.3billion cheque discount facility. The facility, ordinarily, was a clear contradiction of the N250m immediate credit on cheques from other banks allowed to this client by the bank. On a particular occasion, one of her deals did not yield the usual profit. It backfired. It involved Guaranty Bank Plc. Guaranty Bank Plc warned Diamond Bank Plc but the latter went on with the deal. Diamond Bank in order to recover her money took the client to court! We gathered that eight low and middle management staffers of the bank were sacrificed as a result.
Diamond Bank Plc reported the staffers in question through a petition to the EFCC accusing them of having conspired with the client to steal N70m and were in the process of fleeing the country. This led to the arrest in October 2008 of six of the eight staffers. The other two were on leave. Those arrested were detained for seven days in a stretch.
Our investigations also showed that the bank a month earlier, in September 2008, gave out a brand new Honda Accord worth N5m to the client on her birthday. It was realised that in the process of investigations, the EFCC found Diamond Bank Plc to have flouted the laws of the land in the required weekly reportage of such transactions to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) of the EFCC. Now, the questions are: why did the EFCC not prosecute Diamond Bank Plc for not reporting that particular transaction to the NFIU? Would the bank in what is becoming its tradition not have 'bought their way' again in this issue?
Diamond Bank Plc is accused in an affidavit in a court of law (see: Diamond Bank Plc Vs GTB PLC, Mofadeb Nigeria Limited, Nukep Nigeria Limited and Dupsob Nigeria Limited) to “in the course of normal businesses habitually engage in unethical practice contrary to acceptable norms of banking practices” by offering inducement to state government and senior key officials of parastatals to place substantial funds belonging to their employers in return for a percentage of interest earned. To cover their tracks, they put such expenses in the bank books as purchases of gifts, consultancy services and public relations.
It is a fact that so many senior officers of the bank has over the years when the going was good been benefitting from the client. They give approvals, including a car gift on the occasion of the client's birthday in September and in October they are in court with the same client. Why did the management staffers cover themselves and picked eight 'younger' staffers lower on the rung of authority to be sacrificed on the anvil of dismissal? They become pawns in their chessboard. They took the same client to court to recover the same 'stolen' fund for which those eight were dismissed! They were dismissed for negligence! Ask, negligence on whose part? Where lies morality and legality?
If the client has an approval limit of N250m immediate credit on other bank cheques, how did Diamond Bank Plc gave out N1.278billion immediate cash as against the approval limit of N250m? Who approved the money? Did no senior officer of the bank controlled proceedings on that account? Was the regular analysis conducted on that account not done?
Caught in the web, Diamond Bank Plc in another court averred that the fraud she committed in approving N1.278b as against N250m official ceiling, admitted on oath: “is in accordance with normal and prudent banking practice.” Uhm! Yet, this transaction is supposed to have been reported by the bank to the EFCC's NFIU. This the bank did not do. EFCC operatives found out this but like janus, turned the other eye
In order to get the official bank responses, calls were pulled to the bank's Corporate Communications via the switch board telephone numbers 01-2701500 and 01-7741215. E-mails were sent to them to have their own side of the stories, they won't respond to either. Rather, we had whiff from within our contacts in the bank that they have started making offers to ensure that “the stupid journalists pursuing the stories are settled out of reporting the case”.
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