Zumax Vs FCMB: Witness Denies Knowledge Of False Statement | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Zumax Vs FCMB: Witness Denies Knowledge Of False Statement

Posted: May 22, 2015 at 1:15 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Tunde Opeseitan  –  Lagos


A defence witness in the ongoing case involving First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Sule Elakamah, has told a Lagos State High Court sitting in Igbosere that he was not aware the bank made false statement on the account of one of its customers, Zumax Nigeria Limited.

Zumax Nigeria had dragged Finbank formerly First Inland Bank, and now FCMB, to court for allegedly fraudulently converting for use, the money belonging to it (Zumax) under receivership, in excess of the sum of N465,635,070.16.

The witness, Elakamah, who is of the legal department of FCMB, told the court during cross-examination, that he was not aware of the money being misappropriated, adding that same was paid as 10 percent fees commission to the managers from the claimant’s account.

Why speaker under cross-examination by the plaintiff’s counsel, Tani Molajo (SAN), and asked if he was familiar with the history of the bank and all the assets and liabilities from First Inland Bank that were transferred to FCMB, the witness said he was aware, but denied that the bank was involved in any irregularities as the money was paid out of error.

Elakamah told the court that the figure in the statement he made was paid out in error.

“The bank asked the receivers to refund the money after reconciliation by the bank’s auditors because they didn’t own the money,” he added.

Elakamah, who testified before Justice Morenike  Obadina, told the court that the sum of N399,537,500 was recovered from the claimant’s account between February and September 2003, while there was no inflow of cash after September 2003, adding that the payment had already been made before another payment came in and it was omitted in error.

“I am not aware of any false statement made by the bank about the customer’s account,” he added.







When the plaintiff counsel (Molajo) asked the witness if he was aware that FCMB reported the matter to the Director of Banking, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), he said he believed the bank did so, adding that the claimant also reported the issue to the apex bank.

He explained: “The bank asked the receivers to refund the money after reconciliation by the bank’s auditors because they didn’t own the money.”

According to the witness, the sum of N416,725,000 was received during the period of receivership through bank drafts and cheques which were verified from the claimant’s statement of account with the defendant.

Earlier, the defence counsel, Femi Atoyebi (SAN), who led the witness in evidence, told the court that there was an application before the court to strike out the statements earlier made by the witness.

The witness, in the application, is urging the court to dismiss the statements he had made earlier dated April 20, 2011 and April 30, 2013. He also urged the court to dismiss the suit by the claimant against the bank.

He had added that some documents were photocopies as the bank could not get the originals.

“We could not find the original copies as we looked for them even in our system. The reasons we could not find them were because the bank had gone through mergers. The documents are response to the claimant and some to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The documents are not all addressed to the claimant,” he said.

However, Justice Obadina adjourned the matter to June 9 and 25, for continuation of trial