An Abuja based Non-Governmental Organisation, (NGO)
Empowerment for Unemployed Youth Initiative (EUYI) has
accused the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) of
possible connivance in an alleged $64 Million Dollars fraud
perpetrated by Zenith bank Plc against an unsuspecting
customer, Messrs Obigs and Owigs Nigeria Limited.
National Coordinator of the body, Comrade Solomon Adodo
spoke with newsmen in Abuja at the weekend expressed worry
over what he described as unwarranted delay by the Nigeria
Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) in conducting investigation
into the case more than three years after the matter was brought
to its attention.
He said his organization had petitioned the regulatory body over
the matter since 2015 and got assurance that it would conduct
thorough investigation into case in collaboration with the Central
Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for more than three years now, NDIC has
seemingly swept the fraud case under the carpet for no reason.
Comrade Adodo revealed “that following a petition I sent to the
Managing Director of NDIC on December 3, 2015 with the
caption, “contravention of banking rules and depositor
exploitation: need for urgent clarification and request for swift
intervention”, Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation had
promised to investigate this case of $64 million dollars Zenith
bank fraud in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)
which I also copied in the petition.
“The response to my earlier petition by NDIC, which was
endorsed by one Mrs A C. Onyewere of the Bank examination
unit, dated January 6, 2016, with ref. NDIC/BEU/7/VOL.8: reads
in part: “while we are working on your petition, kindly be assured
of our rules and responsibilities towards depositors’ confidence
and customer protection. We noted the fact that you have copied
your letters to the CBN among others. We would therefore
collaborate with the CBN on investigating the matter”.
However, investigation revealed that the NDIC has not come up
with any report on the fraud allegation more than three years after
making the promise to investigate the matter in collaboration with
apex regulatory financial institution, CBN.
Recall that the Managing Director of Owigs and Obigs, Emeka
Okorie, had also dragged Zenith Bank before the Central Bank of
Nigeria, CBN, over unethical conduct which resulted in the
termination of a foreign business transaction worth
over $64 million, involving a Chinese firm, King-Tan Tantalum
Okorie is asking the apex bank for clarification on the validity of
letters of credit issued by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of
China, ICBC, to his company, Owigs and Obigs, through Zenith
In a representation to the CBN dated January 30, 2019 the
aggrieved businessman is seeking answers to questions
bothering on banking protocol, customer relations and applicable
rules of international trade policy.
The petitioner wants CBN to confirm if the said letters of credit
issued by ICBC LC Nos. 456011400024 and 365991400013 were
actually unconfirmed irrevocable letters of credit, not issued
based on the approved draft copy of Zenith bank.
“In 2014, our company was issued two Irrevocable Confirmed
Letters of Credit by ICBC for a contract to supply tin, columbite
and tantalite valued at $64,107,180.00, having relied on Zenith
bank for guide in international trade documentation as our firm
being the first exporter, was naive.
“Instead of confirming the letters of credit, the bank rather
cancelled and rejected them. This is not a general enquiry, but a
specific enquiry dealing with specific issues that require specific
answers for avoidance of further occurrence of issues as we pray
that our cry and yelling for guide and direction may really touch
your heart as our shrieking voice may start fading away if you do
not attend to us speedily.
“It became exigent that we seek CBN’s timely advice/clarification
on issuance of Confirmed Irrevocable Letter of Credit (LC) and to
help our company identify the internationally acceptable standard,
according to the Uniform Custom Practice (UCP latest version) as
specified in the letters of (LC No: 456011400024, LC No:
“Zenith bank assured our firm that ICBC had agreed to abide by
the new rules to transfer the fund to them and that we should get
our shipment ready as ICBC reissues the LC accordingly”, Okorie
He claimed that bank, after receiving the two letters of credit
cancelled and subsequently rejected them on the grounds that the
issuance did not comply with the approved standard by the bank.
Banking supervision is an essential function of the Nigeria deposit
insurance scheme as it seeks to reduce the potential risk of failure
and ensures that unsafe and unsound banking practices do not
All attempts to get reaction from NDIC proved abortive as officials
declined to speak on the matter.