The FirstBank Nigeria Plc. has pushed back against an August 31st report on SaharaReporters alleging forgery by key members of the bank.
In their response, the bank accused the management of Zone 4 Energy limited of playing to the public and reiterated that the bank and its officers never forged any document.
“The allegation of a purported forgery against the Bank and its officers is a desperate attempt by the Management of Zone 4 Energy to scuttle the recovery process with spurious allegations by playing to the public gallery” the bank wrote.
However, the bank did not deny that two of its staff, RazakYussuf and Ayodele Ogunlana, were arrested by the police on the August 26th, 2016 and taken to zone A police station in Lagos for interrogation in connection to a forgery allegation. It was also reliably gathered that about five staff of FirstBank were at zone 10 in Abuja on Tuesday, August 30th, 2016 also in connection with the same allegations.
Four days earlier, some zone 10 policemen in Mufti were at the FirstBank headquarters in Marina to arrest other bank officials, but later left the premises without making any arrests.
The bank stated it had been in business with zone 4 Energy until the oil firm failed to live up to its part of the partnership.
“It is pertinent to emphasize that Zone 4 Energy Limited has maintained a business relationship with FirstBank and has been availed of Import Finance Petroleum Lifting facility following their request to support the local purchase and importation of refined petroleum products, as well as the acquisition and renovation of a Tank Farm. The facilities are secured with a perfected All Asset Debenture over the financed Tank Farm located in the Calabar Free Trade Zone. The facilities are secured with a perfected All Asset Debenture over the financed Tank Farm located in Calabar Free Trade Zone,” FirstBank explained.
It added that “after the disbursement of funds and passage of time and the failure of Zone 4 Energy to meet its obligations to the Customers and FirstBank, the Bank had at various times engaged with the Management of Zone 4 Energy Ltd and got an undertaking to repay the debts owed the Bank. However, after protracted engagements and the Company’s failure to honour the term of its undertaking, the Bank activated a recovery process with the appointment of a Receiver Manager and instituted a receivership process to take over the financed Tank Farm.”
Justice Saliu Sahidu of the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos had granted the bank an ex parte order to take over the assets of Zone 4 Energy Limited on the 1st of July, 2016. However, another judge in the same court, Justice Abdul Aziz Anka, ruled that some of the claimed assets that belonged to a third party, Chukulad Nigeria Limited, be relinquished to the rightful owner.
FirstBank insisted that the allegations are “untrue and purely staged for mischief.”