Gone are those days when you can keep your money at Nigerian banks because you believe and trust the institution as a protector of your hard earned money, but the trust is been battered and ridiculed these days to the point that people now prefer to keep their funds in physical assets or at home because banks are now a safe home for fraudsters masquerading as bankers.
Such a case is that of Zenith bank that prides itself as a leading light in the financial sector. Over the years, from the era of Jim Ovia to Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, the bank has played home to some hi tech frauds, defrauding Nigerians their hard earned monies.
Over the past few years, the number of staff fraud has increased in the financial institution. Also is staff pilfering from old accounts, staff stealing from ATMS, and now there is a high class fraud offence milling around its outgoing GMD, Peter Amangbo.
Entrepreneur Reporters investigation revealed that in February 2012, according to a civil society group (whistleblower monitors), Amangbo helped Senator Stella Oduah to corner billions of naira of Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) fund.
Under the law, the procedure for accessing and spending from the Bilateral Air Service Agreement (BASA) fund required that any expenses from this fund must be budgeted in the annual budget, appropriated by the National Assembly and approved by Mr. President. But unfortunately, in the era of Mrs. Stella Oduah and Mr. George Uriesi as Minister of Aviation and Managing Director of FAAN respectively, this has not been done. Today, over $76million and another $13million have been diverted to various projects without following due process and the laid down procedures in the Bureau for Public Procurement Act. These contracts were neither publicly advertised nor contained in any of the Federal Government’s Tenders & Procurement bulletins.
Meanwhile in 2010, the BASA fund held in the CBN was $76 million, but the unfortunate thing is that between 2010 and April 2012, the $76 million fund had vanished through the help of Amangbo. Rather than apply the money to verifiable physical projects, the money is being shared and used to pay for unbudgeted pseudo claims, expenses and unapproved projects. It is said that instead of using the BASA fund to develop the industry, money in the BASA account simply found its way into private bank accounts of contractors and the accounts of some parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Aviation, particularly that of FAAN.
An example is the N3 Billion out of the BASA amount that was paid into FAAN HQ Main Account No. 1012771229 at Zenith Bank on February 8, 2012. This yielded an interest of about N420 Million which was not appropriately credited to any FAAN Account but was fraudulently shared by the MD of FAAN, Hajia Nana Aliyu and Peter Amangbo, Zenith Bank.
The N3 Billion was placed in an interest yielding deposit account, but cunningly put in the Current Account to deceive innocent looker. This fact can be easily confirmed since the N3 Billion that was put in the Zenith Account no. 1012771229 in February 2012 still remain so till today without interest accruals. This is not surprising, as it has been an established practice in FAAN to keep money in interest yielding accounts only for such interests to be diverted into the private accounts of top executives of the parastatal. FAAN is used to under declaring interest income for example in 2010 FAAN placed N1.7billion in Zenith Bank Plc Account no. 6011520927 where accrued interest was understated and the proceeds shared by senior officials including the erstwhile Managing Director, the former Director of Finance & Account and immediate past Director of Airport Operations now Managing Director, Mr. George Uriesi.
A further check confirmed that this N3 Billion was used by the Honorable Minister of Aviation, Mrs. Stella Oduah, to secure a loan from Zenith Bank to buy a Ship for the operations of Sea Petroleum & Gas, her company.
All these were carried in Zenith Bank with the connivance of Amangbo. Though the GMD has been able to cover up his ass over the years, sources said the case will be investigated after his tenure expires.