Director Battles Troubled Tomi Somefun-led Unity Bank

The Judge Also Ordered Unity Bank To Pay Alonge Her N1.3 Million Basic Monthly Salary From January 30, 2015 To The Date Of The Decision...
By The Nigerian Voice

ENigeria Newspaper has learned that the unhappy Unity Bank Director, Mrs. Arese Alonge whose appointment was wrongfully terminated, is hell-bent on getting her pound of flesh no matter what it takes.

Mrs. Alonge’s position at Unity Bank , a financially distressed lender in Nigeria, was apparently terminated without proper process, prompting her to launch a lawsuit on February 11, 2015, according to information made accessible to ENigeria Newspaper.

Mrs. Arese Alonge claimed in her suit number: NICN/LA/301/2015 filed at the National Industrial Court in Ikoyi, Lagos State, that her employment with Unity Bank was “wrongfully terminated,” in violation of Sections 262 and 266 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).

Section 262 of the CAMA Act stipulates that a Director must be served with the required notice of a meeting before being dismissed, while Section 266 outlines the procedures for removing directors, which were blatantly disregarded in the instance of Mrs. Arese.

Justice John Peters ruled in her favor, finding that Unity Bank had failed to fulfill the mandatory provisions of Sections 262 and 266 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) in terminating Alonge’s employment.

“I note that the defendants (Unity Bank) elected not to address the question of service of the statutory notice of meeting on the claimant (Mrs. Arese Alonge) for reasons best known to them; the defendants’ pleadings are quiet on this,” he added.

As a result, I declare that her removal was in breach of CAMA, specifically Sections 266(1) and (2), and that the meeting is invalid as a result of the violation (3).

I now declare the claimant’s removal to be invalid; the claimant must be deemed to be, and remains, the Executive Director of the first defendant.”

The judge also ordered Unity Bank to pay Alonge her N1.3 million basic monthly salary from January 30, 2015 to the date of the decision.

In addition, the judgment directed the defendant to pay the claimant a quarterly net monthly wage of N2.1 million in the months of January, April, July, and October, beginning on January 30, 2015, and ending on the date of the suit’s conclusion.

Other allowances, benefits, and rights owed to her as an Executive Director are likewise to be enjoyed by the claimant.

Unity Bank, according to the ENigeria Newspaper, has filed an appeal against the National Industrial Court’s ruling against it in a desperate attempt to thwart Arese’s plans.

According to an inquiry undertaken independently by this newspaper, the matter has remained unheard before the appeal court since then. Despite the fact that our source couldn’t supply many specifics, he suspected foul activity.

“You know how it is in Nigeria; some strong people may try to overturn a lower court verdict by appealing to a higher court, such as the Appeal or Supreme Courts, where they can occasionally sway the process in their favor; this is especially true when wealthy/powerful people are plainly involved.

These are frequently calculated moves to postpone judgment, and you know what they say: “judgment delayed is almost judgment denied,” our source stated.

This Newspaper also understands that Arese Alonge who is undeterred, is reorganizing her legal team and adopting all measures to guarantee that justice is delivered, regardless of the powerful persons on the opposite side of the divide.

Unity Bank, which has former President Olusegun Obasanjo , former Head of State Ibrahim Babangida , and other well – Nigerians represented on its board of directors, is no strange to controversies and scandals of similar size.

“Although the incident involving Arese occurred during the tenure of Henry James Semenitari, the same act of victimization of top staffers and directors of the bank is a custom in the institution and has become even worse under the watch of the incumbent, Tomi Somefun,” an insider told ENigeria Newspaper.