The response of Heritage Bank (formerly Spring Bank) to the allegation of stealing from one of its customers is rather shocking as the bank affirms that some of it officials may have involved in financial irregularities.
SECURITY MONITOR is at the disposal of a response letter signed by Funke Olakunri and Chucks Ekpunobi, company Secretary and Chief Inspector respectively on behalf of Spring Bank, now Heritage Bank to allegation of stealing and obtaining money by false pretenses made against the bank by Theresa Faponle, who was the bank’s customer between 1994 to 2002. The letter was sent to the police detectives who carried out investigation on the matter and charged the bank for STEALING after it findings. The police team that investigated the matter was led by an Assistance Commissioner of Police.
According to Heritage bank who responded to a police inquiry letters dated June 2, 2011 and June 23, 2011 reference SB:3000/x/ADM/VOL./40/9/and SR:3000/x/ ADM/SED. TM. 1/VOL. 40/9 refers, where Faponle has alleged that her properties pledged as securities for a facility she obtained from the bank were fraudulently sold and her account not credited with the proceeds and also that some lodgment into her account between 1997 and 1998 were not credited to her account.
The bank in its response stated that:
“In a bid to validate the above claims of the customer, we set out to review the following records and information of the bank named under reference…
CUSTOMER’S STATEMENT OF ACCOUNT FROM INCEPTION TO DATE= this will show us the history of the customer’s transaction in the bank from inception and consequently validate or otherwise the customer’s claim that some valid transaction were not credited to the accounts.
CUSTOMER’S CREDIT FILE= the review of customer ‘statement mentioned above confirmed that Theresa was a borrowing customer of the bank for the period evidenced by the account statement. Consequently, we set out to review the hard copies of the facility documents in the credit file especially the offer letter which would have set out details of terms and condition under which the facility was granted.
BACK –UP SYSTEM AND TAPES- we wanted to review past back- up tapes and system to obtain relevant independent information. You will observe that the earlier period of 1994 referred to in the customer’s petition related to the defunct Owena bank days. Since the defunct of owena bank, we have a migration to omega bank and subsequently spring bank. These institutuition were presumed to have maintained uninterrupted data processing. In the contrary however, between the migration from Owena bank to Omega and of late, spring bank , the bank witnessed several changes of her banking application /software. Unfortunately, effective back-ups were not taken when the migration from Owena bank was consequently, important information above the the customer for the period up to October, 1999 could not be obtained
We were able to print customer’s statement from November 1999 to date but could not confirm that the proceeds of sales of the customer’s properties were credited to the customer’s account. However, a certain sum of #4,750,000.00 was credited to the account on September 24, 2001 and narrated as recovery in your favor, which we found rather ambiguous.
The customer’s account was nailed off on December 14, 2001 by passing credit entries of #13,568.280.05 and #52,820,879.92 into accounts 0181012084212 and 0181012101516 respectively suggesting that the customer seized to be bank from that date.
Because we were unable to trace the customers file, we could not vouch the credited sums to any source/supporting document to validate these transactions
Our attempt to obtain further audit evidence was frustrated by the non-availability of any system back-up in the period under reference, hence our opinion of the validity or otherwise of what transpired in the customer’s account depends largely on speculation.
SUGGESTED WAY FORWARD
As earlier deposed in the official statement of the bank’s staff interviewed by your men on June 27, 2011, the current management of the bank took over the administration of the bank in October 2009 when all the contentious issues .our effort so far to unravel the true position from documentary evidence kept in the bank [as a going concern] has also been frustrated by the death of information of that period in the bank.
Consequently, we share in the opinion and suspicion that certain irregularities could or may have transpired in the customer’s dealing with the bank at that time. We are therefore of the opinion that the staff of the bank responsible for these transaction, some of which were named in the invitation letter of the Nigeria police to the bank be invited for interrogation.
Recall that we had mentioned that the event it is proven that customer has been unduly treated; bank will ensure that the customer would be duly compensated, while the staff responsible shall be appropriated;
Our recommendation therefore are that..
We require the assistance of the Nigeria police to invite the staff whose names are listed in the attached documents for questioning
Consequent upon  above, the bank should be given ample time, working closely with your good selves to conclude this investigation.
The Nigeria policed should also encourage Theresa Faponle to interface with the bank to provide us any useful information at her disposal, since our common interest is quick and effective resolution of his matter.
CONCLUSION= in order to dispense with this case in a timely and judicious manner, it will be necessary to widen the scope of the investigation to the former staff of the bank mentioned earlier in the invitation letter. We therefore expect that the recommendation given above will be consideration and attention while we pledge our support in his exercise”.
SECURITY MONITOR’s investigative Journalist, Wale Abideen who has been uncovering the mystery behind the “illegal sales of Faponle’s properties and shares” promised to reveal more of the alleged “shady deals” perpetuated by Heritage bank and some of its officials plus attempt by the bank’s media agency to “kill” this report from public knowledge….. STAY TUNED