Says: ‘The sale was in line with the agreement’
Contrary to the story milling around about the contrived sale of a customer’s goods worth N2.5billion by foremost financial services provider, Access Bank Plc, the bank has come out indefense of the purported sale by vehemently denying any wrongdoing whatsoever in the alleged sale of the said customer’s goods.
The denial was bluntly made when the Police Special Fraud Unit in Lagos charged Access Bank Plc, its managing director and chief executive officer, Herbert Wigwe, and others with 21 counts of conspiracy, fraudulent disposal of trust property, fraudulent conversion, stealing and false representation before an Ogun State High Court.
In the suit, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Wigwe, Alawode Oluseye and Bayo Adesina were accused of conspiring and stealing 23,754.413 metric tonnes of steel billets valued at ₦2.5 billion belonging to BMCE Bank International Plc. But in a notice to the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), on Monday, Access Bank denied the allegations stressing that at no time did the bank or any of its executives or officers commit any of the alleged offences.
The statement reads: “In 2015, Access Bank availed credit facilities to Metal Africa Steel Products Limited, to finance the importation of billets and machinery for the expansion of its factory. Consequent upon the grant of the facilities, the bank opened Form M and Letters of Credit, LC, to facilitate the importation of the billets for which the shipping documents were consigned to the bank. The facilities were secured by a Debenture Trust Deed over the customer’s assets shared with other lenders. Upon arrival of the billets, the bank released the shipping documents to the customer to enable it clear the goods. The bank subsequently discovered that the customer had cleared the goods from the port without payment of appropriate customs duty. The bank, in line with its duty to protect its depositors’ funds, reported the alleged crime to SFU which obtained a court order to take over the customer’s business operations. Furthermore, the bank petitioned Interpol, which is presently taking steps to repatriate the suspects involved in the alleged fraud from India. Subsequently, the beneficiary banks (including the bank) under the Debenture Trust Deed, appointed a Receiver/Manager who took over the operations of the customer’s business and paid the appropriate customs duty on the billets. The Receiver/Manager subsequently obtained a court order from the Federal High Court and sold the billets and distributed the proceeds amongst the beneficiary banks (including the bank. The lender further said in the statement that it was “aware that the petitioner also laid claims to the same billets following which there were attempts at the settlement between the petitioner and the Receiver/Manager. The petitioner subsequently filed a complaint at SFU following the failure of settlement. Based on the foregoing, we were surprised to be served with the charges by the SFU alleging, amongst others, that the bank stole the billets and forged the shipping documents covering the billets. We hereby state that at no time did the bank or any of its executives or officers commit any of the alleged offences. The bank has continued to maintain the position that it financed the importation of the billets and that the Receiver/Manager appointed by the bank and a syndicate of other lenders had the right to sell the goods. We are aware that there are civil matters in court on the same subject. We are also aware that there are on-going settlement negotiations between the Receiver/Manager and the petitioner. Without prejudice to the settlement discussions and the civil matter, we reiterate that the Receiver/Manager appointed by the bank and a syndicate of other lenders acted within its powers to sell the billets. We wish to assure our stakeholders that the bank will continue to take all necessary steps to protect its depositor’s funds, in line with its fiduciary duties as well as extant rules and regulations.”
The implication or inference from Access Bank’s submission is that the bank did not in any way contravene or breach any agreement involved in the deal, and as such not liable to any offence as the court or public is being made to believe, except the complainant has other issues to raise in an expected originating summon. Until then, the bank remains adamant and stands by its position on the matter.
Heritage Bank tasks HB LAB start-ups on Nigeria becoming Africa ICT destination hub
Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s most innovative banking service provider charged applicants of HB Lab start-ups to support Nigeria’s aspiration and roadmap to become a leading Information Communication Technology (ICT) Hub in Africa.
Executive Director of the bank, Jude Monye disclosed this at the launch of the maiden edition of the new innovation-driven concept, HB LAB yesterday, in Lagos.
Monye commended the 10 teams of contestants who made it to the LAB, whilst charging them to replicate the Rwanda’s ICT digital tech system feats.
He, however, canvassed for indigenous production of advanced technological systems, as against leaving the core job in the hands of foreigners.
Addressing the applicants, Monye said, as usual, the financial powerhouse is known for supporting and sponsoring investment ideas that have the potency of challenging the status quo with the motive of impacting positively on the critical sectors of the nation’s economy.
According to him, the management of Heritage Bank is always seeking viable business ideas that could compliment the fiscal policies of the government with the ultimate aim of growing and developing the aggregate economy.
“At Heritage Bank, we help aspiring entrepreneurs to create, preserve and transfer wealth. What we are gathered here for today, is another moment of innovation-driven concept that is expected to provide startup enterprises with enabling environment, resources and support required to innovate and accelerate impactful solutions for the economic development drives,” he said.
For this maiden edition, Monye explained that Heritage Bank has ceded the professional handling of the 12-week competition to a consultancy firm…..According to him, this was done to allow for professionalism, fair-play and objectivity.
He further stated that his management was not really particular about any sector of the economy, as the winner could emerge from any industry as long as his proposal is strong enough to impact positively on the various sectors. His words: “We are not zeroing in on any particular idea or industry; we are more interested in the result achievable in different sectors.”
The application portalhttps://www.hblabs.com.ng/ which was launched on the 31st January 2019 closed on the 14th February 2019.
About 154 applicants who applied were reviewed 30 who made above average score and grouped into 10 Teams, whilst at the end of the 12 weeks programme will produce the best Tech start-up as a Team.
Similarly, Ike Williams, Directorate Head, Service Bank/Chief Information Officer, Heritage Bank congratulated the participants in attendance. He said for them to scale the first hurdle, it shows that the quality of their proposals was higher than that of their counterparts who were screened out.
He stated that the management of Heritage Bank and the consultants would be looking out for innovation, commitment, sincerity of purpose among other variables before any contestant could be picked as winner.
Meanwhile, Williams assured them that even if they do not win, the experience they would have gained while they are on the programme will be useful for them in growing their enterprises.
Among the participants at the launch are: Mile12Food; 365weddingedit; and TREP Labs. Others are: Simbibot, BBOX, Nesterpod, LadipoMarket.com, Fashion Map and Iden2five.
Cars45 expands retail footprints with Enyo partnership
In continuation of its drive to facilitate ease of access and deliver more convenient services, Nigeria’s largest online vehicle trading platform, Cars45, has partnered with ENYO Retail and Supply, an innovative fuel retail brand, to increase its retail footprints and provide consumers with opportunities to buy, sell or swap their cars at all Enyo service stations nationwide.
It is expected that the launch of this exciting partnership, will enable consumers experience peerless automotive services at Enyo retail outlets whilst increasing visibility for Cars45 value offerings across foot and vehicular traffic channels.
Commenting on the partnership, Chief Executive Officer, Cars45, Etop Ikpe, noted that the relationship is a strategic one aimed at helping to the company to achieve its mission to build an ecosystem that enhances, enables and drives trade within the nation’s automotive sector.
“This partnership with ENYO affords us the opportunity to deepen the pervasiveness of our products and services across the country. We are always seeking innovative approaches to expand and transform the currently fragmented automotive ecosystem and offer support across all the automobile trade, repair and verification services,” Ikpe added.
Highlighting the similarities between both organizations, Ikpe noted that, “Cars45 and ENYO are both technology-driven and innovative firms that have become synonymous with engaging customers through excellent retail experiences. Whilst Cars45 fueling and giving life to the car ownership dreams of consumers, ENYO is powering a fuel retailing revolution in Nigeria.”
Also speaking on the partnership, Chief Executive Officer, ENYO Retail and Supply, Abayomi Awobokun described the partnership with Cars45 as an extension of Enyo’s unrelenting desire to become the most desired fuel retailing company renowned for its best-in-class retail experience, strong customer-focus, and technology driven operations.
According to Awobokun, “this partnership is a step in the right direction and is positioned to achieve great feats as well as validate our market position and ability to create new value streams for our customers. It is also in alignment with our brand persona as the most exciting and trusted fuel retail brand in Nigeria. I have no doubts that this partnership will become the role model in delivering world class automotive services in Nigeria.”
Head, Commercial Operations and Marketing, Cars45, Mayokun Fadeyibi, said, “We are always striving to ensure that we make the automotive transaction experience a whole lot easier and exciting. Our partnership with ENYO signposts this commitment even as we continue to seek for new ways of creating value. On the back of the partnership, our services will be accessible in the over 55 ENYO service stations across 13 states and serving over 50,000 customers daily.”
Furthermore, she added that, “this is just the beginning of the partnership and I am excited at the possibilities ahead for both brands to co-create amazing value offerings. We would be looking to build on it and expand the scope of our partnership through the year.”
The 2019 GTBank Food and Drink Festival! Get Ready For the Biggest Food Festival in Africa
After three stellar exposés of the biggest culinary experience in Africa, the GTBank Food and Drink Festival is getting bigger for the 4th edition, which will hold for 4 days from Sunday, 28th April, to Wednesday 1st May 2019 at the GTCentre, Plot 1, Water Corporation Drive, Oniru, Lagos.
Created in 2016 by leading African financial institution, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, the GTBank Food and Drink Festival has become the premier culinary event in Africa, bringing together tens of thousands of people from across the continent and beyond to support and celebrate Nigeria’s vibrant and burgeoning small businesses in the food retail sector. Over the last three years, the event has hosted more than 450,000 people, featured dozens of entrepreneurial masterclasses byinternational chefs and food business experts and launched or propelled the businesses of hundreds of entrepreneurs in the food retail industry. To watch some of the testimonials of these small business owners, please visit
This year, alongside adding an extra day to the event,the GTBank Food and Drink Festival willoffer free Retail Stalls to over 300 small businesses, more than double the number from the previous year. The event will also feature a series of masterclasses and cookery classes facilitated by renowned food and drink experts from around the world. In addition, there will bea farmers’ market for the sale of fresh and organic produce as well as a showcase ofsome of the finest street foodsinAfrica’s largest city. In line with its family theme, the 4-day event will also feature exciting games and fun exercises designed to thrill and entertain children all day long.
Commenting on the 2019 GTBank Food and Drink Festival, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Office or Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Segun Agbaje, said; “We are delighted to bring to our customers, small business owners and food lovers across the continent and beyond, another edition of an event that is second to none in delivering the finest culinary experience in Africa. This year, we are taking our commitment to promoting enterprise in the SME sector further by giving small businessesmore opportunities to connect with consumers and business experts from around the world.”
He further stated that, “At GTBank, we will continue to focus on promoting enterprise in food and fashion, because we know that by investing in both sectors, we are propelling local entrepreneurs to dominate two critical sectors of our economy.”
Guaranty Trust Bank Plc is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run financial institutions across its subsidiary countries and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world-class corporate governance standards, excellent service quality, and innovation. The Bank is also intervening in key economic sectors to strengthen small businesses and recently launchedtheGTBank Food Industry Credit and Fashion Industry Credit, unique loan products designed specifically for small businesses in the food and fashion industry, and offered at a repayment rate of 9 percent per annum.
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