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Non-Payment of $250,000.00: Firm Institutes N20m, N5m Legal War Against United Bank For Africa

KENNEDY UZOKA, GROUP MANAGING DIRECTOR OF UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA 

BY FRANCIS IWUCHUKWU

IKOYI, LAGOS STATE, NIGERIA - A damage suit in the sum of N20 million has been initiated against a new generation bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA). 

The action was instituted by a firm, Pubele ventures, as damages suffered over the payment of $250,000.00 in its account No. 3002563780 and in which the UBA has allegedly frozen and refused to pay. 

The firm is equally asking for a cost in the sum of N5 million being the cost of instituting the action, as a result of the bank freezing its account for no just cause and the bank’s refusal to divulge on whose orders the account was frozen.

Joined by the order of Justice Rilwan Aikawa of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State, Nigeria, in the suit commenced by Pubele Ventures as other respondents are: Citibank NA and First Commonwealth Bank of United State of America.

Specifically, lawyer to the firm, Chief Abdullahi Tony Dania, had prayed Justice Rilwan Aikawa to order UBA to unfreeze its account No. 3002563780 and release the sum of $250,000.00, paid into the account by one Robjord Construction Company of Springfield, Ohio, United States of America (USA).

In its opposition to the order being sought by Pubele ventures, UBA argued in the line of ethical consideration in banking profession, as reason for not releasing the fund on allegation of it being a proceed of fraud.

Particularly, the UBA in a 27-paragraph affidavit deposed to by one Ukong Ikemesit, stated that the said $250,000.00 was transferred from the Account of a USA based company named Robjord Construction Company at First Commonwealth Bank, a bank with address located at 601, Philadelphia Street, Indiana, Pennyuslvanis, United States, with Citibank NA of New York as the correspondent bank through which the funds dropped into the Claimant/Applicant’s Account with the Defendant/Respondent.

The deponent further posited that the inflow of $250,000.00 into the claimant’s account was subsequently followed by a Swift Chaser Telex sent by Citibank NA of New York, recalling the funds, on the grounds that the funds transferred was fraudulently initiated.

The deponent further maintained that the above recall instruction was followed by several other Swift Chaser Telexes,  reminding the Defendant of the recall request and repeating that the funds were fraudulently transferred from the originating account of Robjord Construction Company at First Commonwealth Bank.

UBA subsequently attached Exhibit R3 which is a statement of account of Robjord Construction Company, the customer of First Commonwealth Bank whose account was alleged to have been fraudulently debited and used to transfer the funds to Nigeria.

It was therefore the contention of the deponent that it would be in the interest of justice to allow the Third Parties (the two foreign banks) to be heard, henceforth UBA has ordered that they be served with notices of the order of the court at the bank’s cost.  

The deponent equally revealed that the bank had done the needful to mobilize the sheriff of the Court and all fees have been paid to enable the services out of jurisdiction in the United States of America, to be effectuated.

The matter has been adjourned until January 13, 2020 for further hearing.

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