By Investigation Media Team of Oluwasegun Abifarin and Olawale Abideen
The United Bank of Africa, UBA, one of Nigeria’s first generation money deposit institutions has come under a hail fake dollar notes scandal, threatening to burst the reputation of the bank which prides itself as “Africa’s best and most resilient banking group with operations in 20 African countries and offices in three global financial centers.”
The bank also boast that its “business strategy is built on being the bank of choice for businesses across the African continent…always working towards maximising customer satisfaction”
But all these mantra has become sour tales to one Dr. Ifeyinwa Ezeike of Glroy Queen of the Rosary Hospital, Okokomaiko, Lagos who banks with the Festac Town branch of the bank. The complainant said he maintained two accounts with the bank: a Naira account: 2055978927 and a Domiciliary Account; 3002623840, which is the subject of this complain.
According to his petition to the bank, the CBN and the Inspector General of Police, his ordeal began on the 5th of November, 2019, when he went to UBA branch at 21, Road ‘F’ Close, Festac Town to collect my money in order to convert it from Dollar to Naira.
Ezeike was told that the account manager, one Shola, was not on seat but he should come the next day when the account manager would be around. On getting there the next day, the bank gave him some documents to sign in respect of his dollar account in order to cash it and make a transfer to his UBA account.
“After signing the document, I was told to go and stay in the manager’s office. Two minutes after, a man appeared in the manager’s office and he was introduced as a bureau de change fellow.” Ezeike said he then asked the man how much is the conversion of dollar to naira on that day, after which he discovered that the BDC rate was much better than the one the Account Manager gave him.
Following this discovery, Ezeike said he went with man to the cashier at the counter, but the cashier instructed the bureau de change man to go upstairs and wait. Later, he said the cashier now gave him, $5,650 US Dollars.
“As I looked properly, visually I notice that the dollar in question was not exactly like the dollar I use to know, the colors and the printing was not the same because all the printing were displaced, then I now showed the dollar to the man because he said he want to see what he is paying for.
“And immediately I showed the man the dollar, I took it back, the money was in my palm, I did not hand the money to the man. After this scenario, immediately the bank manager appeared and asked me whether the man look at the money and that if he did, the money would have been shortened,” Ezeike narrated.
The bank manager later came around and invited Ezeike downstairs to find out whether the bureau de change man was responsible for the confusion. “I told the manger the cashier gave it to me and I have not allowed anybody to calculate it. The second cashier on counting the money declared it fake and I told them, that I did not come in the bank with any money that if the money is fake it is the UBA 21, road Festac town that gave me the fake dollar, $5,560 US dollars.”
Ezeike said a meeting was called on December 19, 2019 attended by the bank branch representatives, Customer Service Manager, two cashiers, his Account Officer to resolve the issue but nothing positive has come out it since then.
When contacted, the bank’s corporate communication manager, Mr. Ramon Olanrewaju said he was aware of the case, but needed time to conclude his own investigation.
UBA has 70 years of providing uninterrupted banking operations, dating back to 1949 and the bank has a large footprint across the globe operating in 20 African countries.
In terms of rising bank fraud and infractions, no fewer than 8,920 fraud attempts worth N597 million were successfully carried out by fraudsters in the banking sector via various transaction platforms as at third quarter of 2019, according to Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS) report.
Nigerian Guild of Investigative Journalis