Peter Ezeike, a customer of Ecobank, has levied accusations against the bank, alleging that N3,755,000 was illicitly withdrawn from his account during the period spanning 2018 to 2019.
Ezeike clarified that this financial discrepancy transpired while he was abroad in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Departing for the UAE in 2017, he only returned to Nigeria in 2021 upon securing leave from his employers.
According to his account to FIJ, all transactions executed on his savings account between 2018 and 2019 were conducted without his awareness and in his name.
Only an account holder can authorise cash withdrawals from their account, but in Ezeike’s case, monies were deposited and cash withdrawals took place without his consent. Suspicious deposit transactions and cash withdrawals took place on his savings account at various times at a single branch without his approval. The transactions include payment of N100,000 to one Aderinoye A. Quazeem, whom he does not know.
Ezeike told FIJ he had been operating his Ecobank account number before relocating to Dubai.
He further explained that before he left Nigeria, he regularly met one Ibrahim Akeyan, a staffer of the bank at the time, with whom he usually left money anytime he was unable to wait in a queue to deposit into his account.
“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.”
FIJ contacted Ibrahim via a phone call on November 20 for his reaction. He said he could not recall knowing Ezeike because he dealt with several customers. “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.”
Ezeike was aware that he would return to Nigeria someday and would need some money to fall back on. Therefore, he was saving money in the account from his earnings in Dubai.
The Ogun State resident came back to the country in 2021 and went to the bank to carry out a transaction on his account. He was, however, shocked to know that his balance was insufficient. This made him to apply for his statement of account, which showed that he had less than N400,000.
His statement of account, which covers the period between November 1, 2018, and March 30, 2021, details how the missing N3,755,000 was removed in batches all in his name. The transaction descriptions show that the monies were withdrawn in cash only from the Idi-Iroko branch of the bank.
FIJ also learned that some N500,000 was deposited into the same account and was subsequently taken out in his name and without his knowledge.