The Federal High Court in Lagos on Friday remanded a Nigerian blogger and publisher of online news medium Secrets Reporters, Tega Oghenedoro aka “Fejiro Oliver”, and a former staff in the Customer Care Department of Sterling Bank-turned whistle-blower, Mr. Dennis Ukpabi, in Ikoyi Prison for publishing articles online which exposed a massive fraud at the Corporate Headquarters of the bank between 2014 and 2015.
Universalreporters247.com findings revealed that the alleged refusal to pay a bribe of N100, 000 to the IPO handling the case. Information available to this medium indicates that upon the arrest of Fejiro Oliver and Dennis Ukpabi in March, and following their subsequent release on March 10th, DSP Kenneth Ogbeifun who is the IPO in charge of the case had earlier demanded for a few of N1.5 million from Fejiro Oliver, a demand he refused as he told the DPO that according to the Inspector General of Police’s order Bail is free, however he was quick to ask, whether the IGP does his work for him there in Alagbon, so after much talk, he said he will collect N100,000 each from the duo of Fejiro and Dennis, at this juncture there one of Fejiro’s friend who was at the scene of the whole matter at the station now brought out N30,000 which he collected, and said the balance is remaining N70,000 because the DCP in charge of the station one Mr. Francis is aware of the money for the bail.
Also in the manner, when Dennis Ukpabi’s family came to him over the release of Dennis, and gave him 10,000 he rejected it and asked if such money is for him or for his dog’s feed, however after much deliberation, he collected N25,000 from them.
However, as learnt soon after their release, universalreporters247.com learnt that he has been calling Fejiro Oliver to request for the remaining balance of the N70, 000.
Meanwhile, as learnt by this medium, the said officer, Mr Kenneth has been working in consonant with the bank officials, especially the Executive Director, Mr Odubiyi.
Curiously for an issue that is not a criminal matter was taken to the homicide department of the Alagbon Police Station.
Information available to this medium indicates that when Fejiro Oliver and Dennis Ukpabi were arrested by the Police in Lagos over flimsy charges of alleged threat to life as well defamation of character. However, soon after their arrest, when it was discovered that it that the charges of alleged threat to life as well as defamation will not fly, the police in connivance with the bank officials allegedly begin to look for other charges which they will use to arrest and charged them to court.
As gathered by this medium Fejiro Oliver was billed to travel to the US on Tuesday until the ambush by Police in Alagbon, Lagos state.
In November 2014, Sterling Bank Plc. introduced a “Deposit Mobilization Scheme” for its entire staff as an incentive to encourage them to source and mobilize deposits from members of the public, promising to reward the most outstanding staff who sourced the highest amount of deposit above the given target with a brand new Ford SUV and 1% of the total sum realized.
According to Mr. Dennis Ukpabi who chronicled what he termed “The Deposits Mobilization Fraud” in his recently published book “The WhistleBlower,” four staff at the corporate headquarters of Sterling Bank Plc. namely: Adekanla Desalu, Eguru Nyenke, Janet Akpan and Kojusola Ajao colluded and conspired to defraud the bank by pulling together deposits into an account belonging to one of them, Kojusola Ajao. He also stated in his book that the four named staff had “tracked” funds from dormant accounts belonging to existing customers of the bank in Ajao’s name in other to win the prize.
Ukpabi had joined Sterling Bank in November 2011 and resigned in protest on April 29, 2016, after which he exposed the fraud by sending several anonymous emails to the bank on the illegal act while demanding disciplinary action.
Ms. Ajao was announced by the bank as the winner of the Deposits Mobilization Scheme and on March 10, 2015, and awarded with the sum of N997,000.00 which was about 1% of the total amount mobilized and also given a brand new Ford SUV. Immediately she received the money, she transferred and shared it among her three other colleagues. Desalu received N269, 250.00; Nyenke got N240,000.00 while Akpan received N238,500.00 as her share.
Following several emails sent to different management staffs of the bank by the whistleblower, the bank’s Audit Department was asked to investigate the alleged fraud, upon which the four staff were found culpable, leading to Ajao’s sack and the retrieval of the Ford Jeep from her.
Although the three others were placed on three-month suspension, Nyenke was promoted immediately after serving her suspension, a development linked to her alleged amorous affair with the bank’s Executive Director in charge of Operations and Services, Yemi Odubiyi.
Upon the discovery that Ukpabi was behind the anonymous emails that exposed the bank fraud, the authorities denied him his due promotion and prevented him from embarking on a Sick Leave for which he duly applied. The situation eventually led to his resignation and publishing of the “The Whistle Blower.”
When the fraud was reported by Secrets Reporters owned by Oghenedoro, who is popularly known as Fejiro Oliver, the affected staff of the bank wrote a petition to the Deputy Inspector General of Police in charge of the Force Criminal Investigation Department in Abuja, alleging “threat to life, malicious publication and defamation of character”.
Curiously, however, the Police did not investigate the alleged fraud in the bank but instead arrested Ukpabi and Oghenedoro and charged them to court for Cyber Stalking.
Frantic efforts were made by lawyers representing the two defendants to persuade the court to admit them to bail.
Human rights attorney, Inibehe Effiong, informed the court that the police ambushed the defendants and arraigned surreptitiously without proper and adequate notice.
“This Information was filed on April 6th, 2017 and contrary to the provisions of Section 390 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, which makes it mandatory for the defendants to be served with the notice of trial not less than seven days before their arraignment,” Effiong said.
In his response, the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Idris asked the defendants’ counsel to bring a formal application for bail and promised to hear it expeditiously.
Source: Israel Goodway