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Boardroom Saga And Huge Billions Of Naira Fraud In Zenith Bank - Business - Nairaland

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Boardroom Saga And Huge Billions Of Naira Fraud In Zenith Bank by thefolami: 5:00pm On Apr 16, 2010
So why did I decide to post this?

1. Because it is true
2. Because I know Zenith Bank well and I'm not happy with the way the management are treating staff
3. Because the management of the bank is trying by all means to suppress this information by blocking news, information and blog sites within the bank. Can you imagine, blocking CNN, BBC News, Google, 234Next from the entire bank's internet access
4. Because the bank is busy paying off news media organisations not to publish this information
5. Because I honestly hope the bank can be more transparent

So here goes, the article is copies from Sahara Reports and below are comments from readers. Even Sahara Reporters are trying to hide the news within their website. Maybe they've been compromised as well.


Board Room Crises Rocks Zenith Bank as Zenith Manager Defrauds Bank of N4.5Billion PDF | Print | E-mail
Tuesday, 13 April 2010 01:18
A seeming board room crisis that may rock zenith bank to its foundation is currently brewing in the bank. It involves the loyalists of the current managing director and chief executive of the bank, Mr. Jim Ovia and the incoming successor and current deputy managing director, Godwin Emefiele.


Competent sources within the bank trace the imbroglio to the emergence of Emefiele, who has served Ovia as Deputy for eight years, as the new helmsman of the bank. Emefiele is said to be a mere puppet of Ovia and lacking in vision and direction which may explain why his appointment his yet to be ratified by the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN). It is said that Ovia and Emefiele are putting pressure on the CBN to approve the appointment of the latter to ensure the status quo remains long after Ovia’s exit in August 2010. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Lamido Sanusi had earlier in January directed that all bank managing director who had served more than ten years in office should vacate their seats by July 31, 2010.

The subtle but fierce infighting among the board members came to a head two weeks ago when, according to sources at the bank, one of the younger executive directors, Apollos Ikpobe and Emefiele were engaged in an open war of words in the very glare of many members of staff, including those in the junior cadre.

A staff, who witnessed the show of shame but who will not want his name in print, said trouble started when Mr. Emefiele while presiding over a Credit Committee meeting, allegedly ordered a Deputy General Manager, Sola Ladipo, to present a Credit report which Ikpobe, his supervising Executive Director, had asked him to step down as the report did not contain all information necessary to scale through the committee screening. Our source added that the executive director, feeling slighted decided to excuse himself from the deliberation as his efforts to make Emefiele understand his position on the need for more information fell on deaf years. Events however took a turn for the worse as Emefiele, apparently feeling threatened by Ikpobe’s position, issued a query to Ikpobe for walking out of the meeting and went further to announce to everyone one’s hearing that the board had to choose between Ikpobe and himself, insisting that he could not work with some the current executive directors, particular Ikpobe. Emefiele was said to have told Ikpobe “you make me nervous, JO (Jim Ovia) will have to choose between the two of us”. It was revealed that this event led to a decision by Ovia, who controls the board of directors, immediately took sides with his surrogate and informed Ikpobe that he would have to leave the bank immediately. Our source further revealed that Ovia quickly changed his decision when confronted by Ikpobe of his willingness to leave the bank but he and Emefiele would also have some explanations to the shareholders and particularly CBN of some shady transactions and transfers involving Ovia and Emefiele running into several billions of naira. Our source who kept sealed lips on the alleged illegal transactions said they were indicting enough to calm all nerves and a return to status quo.

It was gathered that Ikpobe who joined the bank 18 years ago was reinstated to his position in exchange for his silence. “That was what saved his job”, our source added. Another senior staff of the bank who corroborated this story further revealed that one other executive director who opposes the appointment of Emefiele is Udom Emmanuel who though a close confidant of Ovia, insists that he would only support Emefiele if he is named the Deputy Managing Director, a position that is yet to be filled due to the scramble among the contending parties.

Zenith Manager Defrauds Bank of N4.5Billion
Security agents are on the trail of a manager with Zenith bank Leonard Okoh who is believed to have defrauded the bank of over N4.5billion over eighteen month period. Police sources confirmed that the fraud took place at the Area 8, Abuja branch of the bank.
The lid on the fraud was uncovered when Okoh resigned his appointment suddenly and did not wait for approval of his resignation before fleeing the country. According to information from his colleagues, the run-away manager had been siphoning money from accounts of his customers over a period of time. The last deal took place about three weeks ago while he went to relieve a branch manager in another branch in Area 7 branch, just opposite his own branch where he is the assistant branch manager. Okoh is alleged to have forged signatures of officials of Aso Savings Limited, which he is the relationship manager, and transferred the sum of 1.5 billion naira from the said account to several accounts abroad. He resigned his appointment the next day and his whereabouts have not been known since then. He is said to have fled his home leaving his wife and aged parents who are presently being detained by the police.

Investigations revealed that a Deputy General Manager of the bank, Mr. Awe Leh, who is also the Zonal head of Abuja office where the fraud took to place has been redeployed to Lagos while investigations are on. He is being blamed for allowing a fraud of such magnitude to happen in his zone. Enquiries at the Economic and Financial Crime Commission said they are aware of the fraud but no formal report has been made to the agency by the bank.
It was gathered that the bank refused to invite the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC because of its belief that the commission may celebrate the case and make it a public issue just as it did when Ovia was arrested by the EFCC in December 2008 and the subsequent arraignment of three of its staff by the commission in Port Harcourt. Another source said the reason may also be that Okoh, whose flamboyant life-style is well known within the bank, is a nephew of an executive director of the bank who may become the number one topshot in the bank in a matter of months.

Comments (22)
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pius-the-cia said:

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@sahara reporters. I WAS A BIT TOO HARD ON ZENITH STAFF. ITS NOT REALLY THEIR FAULT, THOUGH ALL BANKERS ARE FAIRLY SPOILT WITH MONEY. I KNOW OF SUCH A SCENARIO WHERE A STAFF'S SALARY HAS BEEN HELD SINCE DECEMBER. THEY RE TURNING THE STAFF INTO PAUPERS REALLY, HOW ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO SURVIVE. SR WHY DID YOU REMOVE THIS LINK FROM THE MAIN PAGE. DID ZENITH BIG MEN CONTACT YOU? PLEASE DONT BE COMPLICIT IN THIS EVIL. PUT THIS LINK BACK ON THE FRONT PAGE. LET'S HELP THESE ZENITH STAFF, AND OTHER BANKERS AND WORKERS WHO ARE BEING PUT THRU THE WRINGER UNJUSTLY BY THEIR FAT CAT ROGUE BOSSES. IT IS ABSOLUTELY UNFAIR. SR PLEASE HELP - PUT THIS LINK AS MAIN PAGE LET PEOPLE COMMENT AND SEE WHAT'S GOING ON. WE BEG YOU IN THE NAME OF GOD
April 15, 2010
pius-the-cia said:

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@friend of zenith staff, zenith guy and babe etc. I APOLOGIZE. I WAS A BIT TOO HARD ON ZENITH STAFF. ITS NOT REALLY THEIR FAULT, THOUGH ALL BANKERS ARE FAIRLY SPOILT WITH MONEY. I KNOW OF SUCH A SCENARIO WHERE A STAFF'S SALARY HAS BEEN HELD SINCE DECEMBER. THEY RE TURNING THE STAFF INTO PAUPERS REALLY, HOW ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO SURVIVE. SR WHY DID YOU REMOVE THIS LINK FROM THE MAIN PAGE. DID ZENITH BIG MEN CONTACT YOU? PLEASE DONT BE COMPLICIT IN THIS EVIL. PUT THIS LINK BACK ON THE FRONT PAGE. LET'S HELP THESE ZENITH STAFF, AND OTHER BANKERS AND WORKERS WHO ARE BEING PUT THRU THE WRINGER UNJUSTLY BY THEIR FAT CAT ROGUE BOSSES. IT IS ABSOLUTELY UNFAIR. SR PLEASE HELP - PUT THIS LINK AS MAIN PAGE LET PEOPLE COMMENT AND SEE WHAT'S GOING ON. WE BEG YOU IN THE NAME OF GOD
April 15, 2010
friend of zenith staff said:

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Profit sharing hasnt been paid for 18months, medicals havent being paid, salaries have been stylishly reduced, no promotions in months, and in all these,the bank is still growing and doing very well, /why wont there be a fraud,its the nemesis that will haunt jim and adora,N4.5billion is too small compared to the injustice,inhumanity and degradation that most zenith marketing staff are subjected to, CBN, EFCC and labour should look into this. The bulk of the staff i heard are very hardworking and are proud of the institution they work for, but Jim Ovia and Adora do not see this. This is the beginning of the end, God help us all.
April 15, 2010
friend of zenith staff said:

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I live with a zenith staff and his family in abuja,and would you believe that his account and most of the marketing staff in abuja zone, from DGMs to ETs , their accounts have been on hold since december 2009 on the orders of the ED (adora), this was done on the 23rd of december, 2009,2 days before xmas,what a wicked thing!!while she enjoyed xmas with her family,other staff couldnt fend for their families, reason being overdrawn balances due to COT charges,master/visa card default and authorised disbursments which they(mgt)signed of on, and that is after harassing staff to meet targets and bring in such transactions.
April 15, 2010
Independent party said:

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I have always told people that zenith is the most fake bank in this country. We would not know dis until the devil (Ovia) leaves and his dumb front wont be able to handle it anymore. Ovia is a devil nd increased it by learnin more from harvard.
Anyway, lies never last, we shall see.
April 15, 2010
pius-the-cia said:

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Its because of the anti-bank policies that yaradua approved that you guys poisoned him eh? Sanusi keeps doing his best, but do you people defend him from Rennaisance unProfessionals? truth is that zenith staff are greedy bastards too. the recruitment process there is warped. they take only yellow girls who can sleep with big men and get deposits. the bank is established on defrauding customers. The ED in abuja, Adora, became ED in 7 years of (graduating?) just for that reason. Soludo looked away as the industry was de-professionalised. Now the staff must defraud just to protest lack of promotion! How many Nigerians are as lucky as they are? their bosses should be in jail. They give ideas to stealing governors on money laundry. The entire banking industry connives with civil servants to sit on yearly budgets for health, roads etc and they work egunje for themselves and top civil servants monthly. No be so? This is the way the cookie crumbles,
April 15, 2010
pius-the-cia said:

,
Its because of the anti-bank policies that yaradua approved that you guys poisoned him eh? Sanusi keeps doing his best, but do you people defend him from Rennaisance unProfessionals? truth is that zenith staff are greedy bastards too. the recruitment process there is warped. they take only yellow girls who can sleep with big men and get deposits. the bank is established on defrauding customers. The ED in abuja, Adora, became ED in 7 years of (graduating?) just for that reason. Soludo looked away as the industry was de-professionalised. Now the staff must defraud just to protest lack of promotion! How many Nigerians are as lucky as they are? their bosses should be in jail. They give ideas to stealing governors on money laundry. The entire banking industry connives with civil servants to sit on yearly budgets for health, roads etc and they work egunje for themselves and top civil servants monthly. No be so? This is the way the cookie crumbles,
April 15, 2010
zenith chic said:

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as a matter of fact,this is not the first major heist that zenith has suffered( if it can be termed such)
over the past few months the number of staff fraud has increased. staff pilfering from old accounts, staff stealing from atms, and now this outright major heist that managment couldnt manage to put a lid on.
for over 4m mths nobody in d lower ranks has been promoted while d managment staff liver larger. an agm s leave allowance is higher than an et s annual salary ( 12mths!) all the llowances deducted from the salaries eg medical and profits have not been paid over an 18 mth period. the murmuring is gettin too loud to be ignored. actually staff are threatning huge frauds if they do not ecieve their profit sharind this month. i wonder if mr ovia and emefele read this. if they dont ,thier pips should pass this on to them.
people believe if d staff were well renumerated compared to the performance of d bank, this theft would not have occuured
i do talk my own finish o
April 15, 2010
Zenith Guy said:

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As an insider in the bank, I can authoritatively confirm that the fraud is over N7 Billion and the figure is still growing. No one knows yet the total amount. But it was previously discovered to be N4.5 Billion, it later increased to N6 Billion, but currently N7 Billion. No one knows what the final figure will be. As for Jim, he is a very smart rogue. Ho stopped promotion of staff for the past 40 months, he stylishly reduced staff salary through non payment of Profit Sharing and cancellation of cash payment of medical allowances. The bank needs to correct all these, otherwise more frauds are still coming in the bank. Well, if you guys care to have more facts about this bank, I can supply. I have them in abundance. SR, kindly publish this.
April 15, 2010
don c said:

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99 days for the thief,1 day for the owner.zenith bank and jim ovia have continously cheated and exploited both staff and its customers. we know jim is going to bribe media houses and all bribables to ensure that this story doesnt go far,but its ok.someday all ur evil will be exposed and u will be like madam oceanic n co if u do not go back and appease the gods(ur staff) who i gather are very bitter with u and ur team for non payment of allowances.as for mr okoh the thief,bros d money too much na,where u dey abeg make i come joli wit u!
April 14, 2010
Adekunle Shittu said:

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What of Fidelity and Bank phb that are breeding ground for fraudstars, they should be probed.
April 14, 2010
Nwogu Obioma said:

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I am aware that most bank customers, including Zenith bank have alrts on their phones and email. how can a fraud of this magnitude happen without the knowlegde of the account signatories in this era of e-banking and m-banking? I am yet to believe this kind of story that this fraud happened over a period of 18 months. SR tell us the truth.
April 14, 2010
Save said:

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i dont knw the motives behind such reports and the credibility of the reporter but one thing remains,zenith has the most hardworking profesional staff base bankwide.pls dont rip them of thier P.S(profit sharing) because that will lead to great depression.fraud or no fraud.
April 14, 2010
matyr said:

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mayb if zenith bank had kept all their service promise to their staff,pay them well,paid up all outtanding allowances due a manager wuldnt have seen the need to defraud d bank. simple truth is all d staff are disgruntled , most of them not been promoted in 40 months! d voices that were a murmur r increasin and at this way is going,this particular fraud will be a first among many. if only d managment wud read d writin on d wall
April 14, 2010
Qudus said:

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Sometimes i read issues on this site and i laff cos they sound as if the readin populace do not av any other access to those in4mation,(I resigned voluntarily from zenith 2 yrs ago cos i can not cope wt the time consumption the work demands) I can categorically tell u that zenith bank is a solid bank irrespective of the ownership structure.What do u really know about the fraud,zenith's internal control is comparable to none in the industry, u may find out further, its a fraud perpetrated by the signatories to the acct in collaboration wt their relationship officer,discovered by the management of the bank, enuff is enuff, stop this oversensational reports
April 13, 2010
ojb said:

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Its high time we SR fans start demanding for editing of comments. situation whereby people just sit down and be casting aspersions on people is not the reason why SR solicit for comments. yes, we need constructive comments but not comments filled with ulterior anger, dislike and hatred.
Good report. No doubt, I believe that Zenith Board will sort themselves out, and that is if it has not been done yet. As per the swindler manager, God save us. Pls where is the Internal audit dept when all these were happening. Well, its rather unfortunate but we shareholders will like to know more about this. Thank God our AGM comes up on 20th of this month. I believe that we will be properly briefed
April 13, 2010
SON OF GOD said:

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What a shame. This man should repent or else he is heading straight to hell soon. may God wipe away this wicked evil men from this planet. Amen!
April 13, 2010
weezy said:

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ITS TIME FOR ZENITH CUSTOMERS TO REALLY KNOW WHAT JIM HAS BEEN DOING WITH THIER FUNDS.OVIA IS WORSE THAN CECILIA IBRU.HE VIRTUALLY OWNS EVERYTHING THAT HAS ZENITHBANK ON IT IN ADDITION TO OTHER BUSINESSES BEING OUT-SOURCED BY THE BANK.
April 13, 2010
DELTA STONE said:

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Why detain the wife and mother of the thief? What is their offence? If these innocent relatives can be detained, why is Jim Ovia not detained as well? He is the real culprit. These thieving madmen running Zenith & UBA should not be allowed to retire and walk away freely. Sanusi & EFCC, over to you.
April 13, 2010
Mentor said:

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While I maintain implicit respect for SR, let us not be gullible on this one. Now, in Nigeria and indeed worldwide, there is limit to how much money anyone can transfer abroad. How come the sum of N1.5 BILLION was transfered in one day without questions?
At every bank, there are internal checks such that a single signatory cannot authorize a certain amount of money. How come a single individual approved and transfered an amount that even DMD cannot transfer?
April 13, 2010
Gam said:

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Is Sanusi aware of all these frauds or has he been settled handsomely?. We have said that Zenith and UBA were worse than Intercontinental and Oceanic in terms of fraudulent activities but because they are Sanusi's friends, they were not touched.
April 13, 2010
NAA said:

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EFCC pls take over this case as the Board and Police are trying to punish the innocent while covering the Abuja ED and the MD

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