Peter Ezeike, a customer of Ecobank, has accused the bank of orchestrating the theft of N3,755,000(Three million, Seven Hundred and Fifty-Five Thousand naira) from his savings account during the period of 2018 to 2019.
Ezeike, who had been residing in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since 2017, returned to Nigeria in 2021 only to discover the significant financial loss.
According to him, the unauthorized transactions took place while he was away in the UAE, with all the activities on his account between 2018 and 2019 transpiring without his knowledge. Despite being the sole operator of a savings account, he found that deposits and cash withdrawals occurred without his consent, including a suspicious payment of N100,000 to an unfamiliar name, Aderinoye A. Quazeem.
The customer suspects insider involvement and points to his prior relationship with Ibrahim Akeyan, a former Ecobank staff at the Sango Ota branch in Ogun State. Ezeike alleges that he frequently left money with Akeyan when unable to join a queue for deposits before relocating to Dubai.
Speaking to the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, Ezeike said; “Mr. Ibrahim Akeyan was an employee of Ecobank at its Sango Ota branch in Ogun State. He was a regular face. Several times I would leave deposit money with him if I was unable to join a queue for some reason. We related freely and he knew my account details. There was never a problem then,” the Dubai returnee said.
“He is the person I suspect had tampered with my account due to that relationship I had with him. Some events that played out after I reported the missing money to the bank further reinforced my suspicion against him and even the bank itself.”
When contacted, Akeyan denied knowing Ezeike; “I don’t know the person. I dealt with many customers and I cannot remember the name you are mentioning. The customer should approach the bank for whatever issues they have. I handed over properly before exiting the bank, and if there are questions for me to answer, it is the bank that will invite or call me.”, he said.
Upon his return to Nigeria in 2021, Ezeike was astonished to find an insufficient balance in his account. A detailed examination of his statement of account covering November 1, 2018, to March 30, 2021, revealed a series of unauthorized withdrawals and deposits, all transacted in his name at the Idi-Iroko branch.
Attempts to clarify the situation were met with further complications. Ezeike applied for another statement of account at the bank’s branch at Redemption Camp of the Redeemed Christian Church of God on November 22 the bank official who attended to him said his account had been blocked and the request could not be processed.
The accused branch of Ecobank initiated an investigation but has yet to provide any resolution or restitution to the customer.
Ezeike reported the suspicious transactions to Aderemi Adeleke, the branch’s customer service manager, and Olajide Folake, the branch manager, seeking a thorough investigation. However, the situation took an unexpected turn when Ibrahim Akeyan contacted Ezeike on his newly acquired Nigerian phone number.
Perplexed by this development, Ezeike questioned the bank officials, only to discover that they had released his contact information to Ibrahim without his consent. The justification provided was to inform Ibrahim of the investigation before potential arrest. This revelation left Ezeike disheartened and further fueled his mistrust in the bank’s handling of the matter.
Despite four scheduled meetings, Ibrahim Akeyan failed to attend any, raising more questions about the bank’s commitment to resolving the issue. The case has now reached the attention of the head office, prompting a virtual meeting. However, Ibrahim’s non-compliance continues to hinder progress, leaving Ezeike in the dark regarding the status of the investigation and the recovery of his funds.
This incident highlights the urgent need for a comprehensive investigation into the alleged misconduct, and Ecobank is under scrutiny for potential internal lapses that may have facilitated the unauthorized transactions.
As the investigation unfolds, the bank faces growing pressure to address these serious allegations and provide a transparent account of the events surrounding the disappearance of Peter Ezeike’s funds.