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SEC probes alleged Afribank’s N280m unclaimed dividends scam

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The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday said it had commenced investigations into alleged N280 million unclaimed dividends fraud belonging to shareholders of former Afribank. According to the News Agency of Nigerian (NAN), Mr. Naif Abdussalam, SEC Head of Corporate Communications, said that the commission had received complaints of the N280 million fraud allegedly perpetuated by some registrars.

“We have received the Complaint and our investigation and complaint units are working on it,” he said. Abdussalam said that investigation into the alleged fraud would be concluded in a week’s time and the commission would make its findings public once the investigations were concluded. Some shareholders last weekend alleged fraudulent withdrawal of N280 million unclaimed dividend belonging to Afribank shareholders.

The shareholders, under the aegis of Progressive Shareholders Association of Nigeria (PSAN), made the allegations in a statement signed by the National Chairman, Mr Boniface Okezie.

The statement alleged that a company fraudulently withdrew the monies from unclaimed dividends belonging to shareholders of Afribank for the purpose of paying to the shareholders. It said that the funds were diverted into various accounts of fake shareholders.

“This is a fraud too many in the recent times rocking the capital market simultaneously. We therefore call on the authorities concerned to urgently arrest the trend before it consumes the entire market outfit.

“We demand that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as a matter of urgency to liaise with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to give directives to Nigeria Inter- Bank Settlement System to cooporate with the police to investigate the matter to give them the details of the transactions”.

The statement called on the commission to ensure that those involved in the fund were sanctioned by banning them from participating in any capital market activities henceforth and that all monies looted be must be recovered from culprits.

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CBN to banks: Settle customers’ complaints within 2 weeks

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Deposit Money Banks ( DMBs) and other financial Institutions have been directed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to settle customers’ complaints on issues of overcharge, unauthorised deductions and other matters within two weeks.

CBN Head of Complaints management Division, Mr Tajudeen Ahmed, conveyed the Apex Bank’s directive in Abuja. He said the regulator would ensure that bank customers receive redress on issues of excess charges or unauthorised withdrawal.

Ahmed reiterated the CBN’s commitment to eradicating the culture of excess and arbitrary charges. According to him, the CBN has since issued a circular,which could be found on the its website showing all legitimate bank charges. He explained that any charge outside what is contained in the circular was not allowed and should not be charged.

“The Consumer Protection Department issued guidelines to banks dated August 16, 2011, directing all banks and other financial institutions to resolve all customer complaints within two weeks of receipt of that complaint,” he said. “Before the expiration of that complaint, the financial institution is expected to be engaging the customer on a continuous basis to update him or her on the status of the complaint. “If it is not resolved within the deadline given, then such a person is encouraged to draw the attention of Central Bank of Nigeria to find solution to that complaint.”

Ahmed enjoined customers with unresolved complaints to contact the CBN by writing to the Director Consumer Protection Department. He also advised disgruntled bank customers to visit any branch of the CBN closest to them to lay their complaints.

“The CBN continually engages the banks to find out if their conducts and practices are fair to their customers in order to stimulate people’s confidence in the banking system. “Non-adherence to that normally results to regulatory sanctions as the case may be,” he said.

Ahmed faulted banks for setting a limit on ATM withdrawals to get customers to make several withdrawals to cash large sums. “I have also observed and noted this. Don’t forget that at the beginning, it wasn’t like this. Over time, we started having this problem.

“One of the reasons is that the quantum of N500 denomination is much more than that of N1,000 denomination,” he said. “When we approached the banks about these problems, they said that the machines become easily faulty when it is set to dispense up to N30, 000 to N40, 000 units.

“However, CBN has directed that the machines that allow payment of up to N30,000 to N50,000 should be installed. “This is still ongoing. The Banking and Payment Department of the CBN is championing it.” In her remarks, Head, Consumer Protection Department, Mrs Hadija Kasim, admonished bank customers to imbibe cashless policy.

“Let’s not forget that ATM cards can also be used on Point of Sale (POS) terminals. We are encouraging people that unless it is absolutely necessary, they should reduce the carriage of cash. Cashless transactions are more convenient, safer and you will avoid the problem of overcharges,” she said. She advised bank consumers to use bank transfer channels for transactions in cases where sellers do not have POS.

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DAAR Communications commends retired workers

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The Management of DAAR Communications Plc has announced the retirement of some members of staff of the organization with effect from Feb 2018.
A statement made available to New Telegraph said those affected had served the organisation between 20 and 25 years.

According to the statement, the Chairman and the Board of the media outfit commended and appreciated the retirees’ pioneering efforts, the outstanding, remarkable contributions and all the personal efforts to the organisation right from inception in 1993/1996.

“They made their respective indelible marks in their respective departments, which cumulatively made the broadcast stations of the organisation not only household names but also a reference point in broadcasting in the Federal Republic of Nigeria and indeed the continent of Africa.
“As they gracefully move into another stage in their respective lives, we wish them the very best and a most successful future endeavor,” the statement added.

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CSR: Fidelity Bank donates sanitary facilities to Ondo

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Fidelity Bank Plc has donated three fully equipped sanitary facilities to the Ondo State Government. The facilities constructed by Fidelity Bank Plc at Aquinas College, Democracy Park and Arakale Motor Park, all in the Akure metropolis, according to a statement from the lender, will enable the host communities maintain better sanitary conditions, improve their standard of living, which will ultimately lead to better productivity and economic development.

Working in conjunction with the Ondo State Ministry of Environment, the Bank, in addition drilled boreholes and provided generating sets to power the facilities thus, ensuring that the project have a lasting impact on the communities. Speaking at the commissioning ceremony, the Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, commended the Bank for maintaining strong and healthy community relations, adding that through the project, Fidelity Bank has addressed one of the most pressing challenges in Akure, the Ondo State capital. He pointed out that Ondo State was ranked poorly by international organisations such as the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in the area of open defecation.

“It is a malaise that we are facing in Akure. Access to toilet is a major indicator of economic development in any country. Open defecation and lack of sanitation and hygiene are important factors that cause various diseases. This is why we have every reason to thank Fidelity Bank for these facilities”, he explained.

The governor, however pledged that his administration will work closely with the Bank in the attainment of its developmental objectives. In his opening remarks, the Bank’s Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Nnamdi Okonkwo expressed his appreciation to the Governor and people of Ondo State for affording the Bank an opportunity to give back to the society.

Okonkwo, who was represented by the Bank’s Executive Director, Lagos & Southwest, Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, said the initiative was in fulfilment of the objectives of the Fidelity Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) philosophy, which rests on a tripod: The Environment, Education and Health.

“We donated these projects in support of the good works of His Excellency, Arakunrin Rotimi Akeredolu and we pledge that this will be on an ongoing basis as we believe very strongly that the relationship between ourselves and Ondo State is a perpetual one”, he explained.

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