Management of HERITAGE BANK is stuck in a prolonged fraud and financial scandal litigation that forced the bank to desperately seek alternative dispute resolution aimed at covering up its shame. SECURITY MONITOR’s WALE ABIDEEN investigates the inherited stealing allegation in the bank and presents the report in batches.
Some children may have a reason to smile over the decision of Heritage Bank which declared the month of May, 2016 as Children Banking Month but the same could not be said of adult who languish in pain and surfer untold hardship due to the fraudulent practices allegedly orchestrated by some officials of the bank.
Heritage Bank is battling with an embarrassing criminal suit of stealing, forgery and illegal liquidation of shares belonging to one of its customers, Therasa Faponle. Documented evidences at the disposal of SECURITY MONITOR depicts that the duo of Police anti-Fraud Unit and a famous Lagos based Forensic expert had concluded investigations into the matter and found certain irregularities in various transactions between the bank and Faponle. It was however cleared that some officials of the bank may have involved in sharp practices that led to the disappearance of money worth millions of naira been the money deposited to Spring Bank, now Heritage Bank for the servicing of loan taken by Faponle in 1997.
Faponle, a 65 years old business woman obtained a loan of N25. 5 million (Twenty Five million Five Hundred Thousand Naira) from one of the Heritage Bank’s acquired banks, Enterprise Bank while they were still trading under the name of Spring bank in 1997.She had serviced the loan for about four years when the bank wrote to her in 2001 that she was owing a tune of N54 million (Fifty Four Naira). This generated accusation and counter accusation but Faponle reluctantly instructed the bank to sell the two houses she used as collateral. One of the houses located on 27, Pedro Street was agreed to be sold at N22 million (Twenty Two Million Naira) while the second collateral, a building property located at 6 Shofolahan Street, Surulere was agreed to be sold at a reasonable price.
The bank informed Faponle on January, 8, 2001 that the house located at Pedro Street has been sold; the amount which it was sold was not to be communicated to Faponle. Also, the bank claimed to have sold the Surulere house to one Mr. Jude which identity till date is shrouded in secrecy. Police investigations reveal that the Surulere house was resold to one Mr. Israel at the sum of N8 million (Eight Million Naira)
Aside that, Faponle bought a share worth N2 million (Two Million Naira} from the same bank in 1998 and the bank failed to issue her a shareholder certificate. Further investigation reveal that the share have been sold to Prime Wealth Company. However, the proceeds from sale of the share are nowhere to be found till date.
To Faponle’s utter shock, the bank approached her in 2005, claiming the aged business tycoon is still indebted to the tune of N66 million (Sixty Six Million Naira) Faponle was apparently disturbed and rejected the claim but the bank insisted and dragged her to court. At the hearing, Faponle’s lawyer demanded for her client’s statement of account but the bank could not produce that until the honorable judge struck out the case.
In 2007, the bank management obviously bewildered by lack of transparent in Faponle’s financial records dusted up the case but they could not proceed due to lack of statement of account which Faponle’s lawyer maintained must be tendered as exhibit in the court. When the bank failed to appear in the court it instituted it then dawned on Faponle that something strange was fishing, the situation that led her decision to hire the support of a professional forensic and financial investigator.
A further check on the findings of the forensic expert equipped SECURITY MONITOR with necessary records of “dubious transaction, stealing and forgery of documents by some officials of the bank” The forensic audit shows that the two houses used as collateral actually worth N82 million (Eighty Two Million). It was also discovered that the buyer of the Pedro house paid N13 million (Thirteen Million) but the bank in its inconsistent claimed it sold the house at the rate of N1.5 million (One Million Five Hundred Naira). The forensic analysis also shows that the bank had stolen a whooping sum of N851 million (Eight Hundred and Fifty One Million) from Faponle’s account within the period under review.
The case was reported to the Police Anti-Fraud Unit, Alagbon-Lagos which promptly invited the bank officials, Faponle and her forensic auditor. During interrogation, Faponle’s forensic auditor maintained that the bank had defrauded his client with the tune of N851 million (Eight Hudred and Fifty One Million} and that his investigation shows that Faponle has seized to be indebted to the bank since 14th March, 2001.
Further investigations at the Lands Registry in Lagos State Government, Alausa showed that the bank had failed to submit the red copy of Faponle’s house which was claimed to have been sold. SECURITY MONITOR’s investigations also reveal that the deeds of assignment presented by the bank may have been forged as it lacks the governor’s assent as required by law. In other words, the ownership of the house is yet to be transferred.
Having realized evidences of criminal charges against it, Heritage Bank in December 2015, desperately attempted to cover up the mess and pervert the judgment of the truth, through its counsel; F. O Akinrele by forwarding the decision of the bank to settle out of court to Faponle. The bank in a letter dated 6th, December,2015 make a vouch to pay Faponle the sum of N5 million (Five Million Naira} so as to bury the criminal and civil suites angling against it. The request SECURITY MONITOR scoops that Faponle turned down
On 29th March 2016, the bank also agreed to “bribe” Faponle with the sum of N10 million (Ten Million Naira) so that the victim of its fraudulent practice can discontinue criminal case against it. This again, as our investigation reveals was rejected.
NOTE THAT VOLUME TWO OF THIS INVESTIGATIVE REPORT WHICH WILL COME OUT NEXT WEEKEND WILL FEATURE AMONG OTHER THINGS SCANNED DOCUMENTS SUCH AS POLICE REPORT THAT INDICTED HERITAGE BANK, FINDINGS FROM LAND REGISTRY, FORENSIC AUDITING REPORT, LETTER FROM HERITAGE BANK WHERE IT ADMITTED THAT FAPONLE’S STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT WAS MISSING, LETTERS FROM THE BANK TO PAY FIVE & 10 MILLION TO FAPONLE INLIEU OF IT FRAUDULENT INCLUDING THE BANK’S REACTION WHEN SECURITY MONITOR SOUGHT FOR ITS CLARIFICATION, ACT, ETC……it’s a must to read. Stay Tuned