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Polaris Bank: 100 Managers Allegedly Sacked with Unpaid Arrears As Financial Institution Fears Collapse.

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Emerging report shows that all is not to be going well in One of Nigeria’s struggling commercial Bank, Polaris Bank, as fear of imminent distress has reportedly enveloped the financial institution, sparking disquiet among some customers and other stakeholders.

 

In 2018, the Central Bank of Nigeria took over the bank while it was on the brink of collapse, rebranding it as Polaris Bank. Four years later in October 2022, the CBN sold it in a move that has been widely criticized.

Instead of bringing the needed succour, the Bank has been enmeshed in serious crises of survival, the latest being the mass suspension of over 100 managers and unpaid arrears of workers salaries.

In order not to be caught unawares, some customers of the bank especially small and medium enterprises are reportedly taking their money out of Polaris Bank to safer banks, giving them the opportunity to have sound sleep and have nothing to worry about for fear of imminent distress.

According to inside sources in the bank, lately the bank has lost some customers (depositors) who are edgy about their deposits and have lost trust in the bank because of huge job losses and unethical industrial practices currently going on in the bank.

 

Investigations by this newspaper revealed that for the second month, over 100 branch managers of the bank are placed on suspension without pay for having non performing loan ratio above 5%.

 

However, it was gathered that these loans were duly approved and interests earned by the bank. Some of the managers told our correspondent that they did not book most of the loans but the loans were referred and booked by other senior staff who are walking about freely.

 

By labour laws, suspension without pay should not exceed two weeks but the bank initially issued a letter of suspension for 30 days. After the expiration, the suspension without pay continued for two months without further advise to the staff.

According to our sources, management has insisted that staff on suspension must come to work daily and are drilled for performance review on a daily basis with the managing director presiding over the weekly meetings which last late into the nights.

 

Industry watchers insisted that the move by the management of the bank showed that all is not well within the system and the managers may have been victims of scapegoatism due to imminent distress in the system.

Our investigations revealed that because of the obvious signs of distress in the bank, a number of individuals and SMEs have closed their accounts with the bank and moved their deposits to safer banks.

 

A dealer on building materials in the popular Jabi market (name withheld) said: “I decided to move my business away from Polaris Bank due to their inhuman treatment of my account managers. Earlier in the year, they sacked the manager who convinced me open an account with the bank few years back.

 

“I had also introduced him to many other dealers and I learnt the branch was profitable. I was still pondering over the job loss of my financial advisor and how solvent the bank was, when the new manager who took over from him informed me that he is already on suspension without pay yet the management insists he must resume everyday and asking for more business,” he said.

 

Similar stories are rife with customers of Polaris Bank. The bank is one of the lowest paying commercial banks in the country. We learnt that their pay structure is so poor that they are unable to headhunt staff from other banks.

We gathered that what the management has resorted to doing is to employ new staff on a different salary cadre which means new staff earn higher than old staff on the same grade. This has alerted industry watchers to the unhealthy state of the bank.

 

A management staff of the bank who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity said the bank was looking into these issues but that the story was meant to create panic in the industry. He appealed to customers to exercise patience with the bank while it navigates through the difficult phase.

News and Report

Lagos Lawyer Gboyega Adetunji Delves Into Agriculture, Floats Abundish; A Revolutionary Farm-To-Table Outfit

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Barrister Gboyega Adetunji, a Lagos-based renowned legal practitioner, has ventured into agriculture with the launch of Abundish, a revolutionary farm-to-table service aimed at transforming how Nigerians access fresh, high-quality, and healthy farm produce.

 

Abundish is committed to offtake directly from farmers and supply to consumers promoting sustainable agricultural practices, and ensuring fair market value for produce.

 

The innovative platform offers a subscription-based model, allowing customers to customize their experience and receive curated selections of fresh, seasonal produce delivered conveniently to their homes.

 

“I’m thrilled to embark on this new journey, combining my passion for sustainable living and community development,” said Barrister Adetunji, Founder and CEO of Abundish.

 

“Our goal is to empower farmers, support local economies, and provide healthy, fresh produce to consumers while reducing food wastage and promoting sustainable practices.”

 

“Abundish is more than just a bridge,” says Barr. Gboyega Adetunji.

 

“We are a movement bringing fresh, high-quality produce whether cash or food crops directly from the farm to the end consumer, cutting out unhygienic produce, reducing landing costs of produce, and the convenience of doorstep delivery it affords our customers. This does not only benefits our customers, but also supports sustainable agricultural practices, grows the naira and local economies, and also empowers the farmers who nourish our communities.

 

Reacting to what inspires his diversification, Barr. Gboyega said “I’d always wanted to have my little farm that can cater for at least 80% of my consumption, but then I realized how impactful it would be if this practice could be extended to others, hence the creation of the Abundish brand”

 

When asked what sets Abundish apart from its counterparts, Barr. Gboyega said, “Abundish offers a unique subscription model, allowing customers to customize their experience and receive a curated selection of the freshest seasonal produce delivered conveniently to their homes. By bypassing traditional distribution channels, Abundish reduces food waste, ensures peak freshness for consumers and the amount of time doing tedious work of purchase and clean up”.

 

“Abundish offer fresh farm produce at fair market value, championing food security with sustainable practices” he added.

 

At Abundish, we are not just passionate about delivering farm-fresh produce, we are committed to creating a positive impact on our world. That is why we operate with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in mind, striving for a more sustainable, equitable, and food-secure future.

 

Join The Abundish Movement, visit www.abundish.info to learn more about Abundish, and subscribe to receive the freshest produce delivered at your convenience.

 

Follow Abundish on social media platforms for behind-the-scene farm footage, exclusive offers, recipes, and our social impact initiatives.

 

X (Twitter) – @abundish

 

Instagram – _@abundish

 

Facebook – Abundish

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US-based Nigerian Jailed 41 Months For Operating Illegal Money Transmitting Business; Funds Wired To Lagos Bank

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A Nigerian man based in the United States Oluwafemi Osinowo has been sentenced to 41 months in a federal prison after he was convicted of operating an illegal money transmitting business.

 

U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Gathe, Jr. in a press release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Middle District of Louisiana on Monday, announced that Chief Judge Shelly D. Dick also sentenced Osinowo, 35, of Miami, Florida, to three years of supervised release following his term of imprisonment.

 

According to admissions made as part of his guilty plea, from December 2016 to January 2019, Osinowo operated an unlicensed money transmitting business.

 

He confessed that he conducted foreign currency exchange business without complying with required federal registration requirements.

During the course of operating the business, money was transmitted from third parties from the Middle District of Louisiana and elsewhere to bank accounts located in Miami, Florida.

 

Once the money was in the bank accounts in Miami, Florida, an individual acting as an agent of Osinowo’s business wired the money to a bank in Lagos, Nigeria. Those wire transfers included approximately 51 separate transmissions in the aggregate total of approximately $722,177.

 

 

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‘Stolen’ $6.2m: What Emefiele Told Us In Kuje Prison – Investigators

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One of the investigators handling the case of $6,230,000 allegedly stolen from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on February 8, 2023, has revealed what Godwin Emefiele, immediate past governor of the apex bank, told them at Kuje prison.

The former CBN governor, who is standing trial on an alleged 20-count amended charge, preferred against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), was once remanded at Kuje prison.

He was alleged to have engaged in criminal breach of trust, forgery, conspiracy to obtain by false pretence and obtaining money by false pretence when he served as central bank chief.

In an affidavit filed before a Federal High Court in Abuja, one of the investigators, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, gave details of investigators’ findings and progress made so far.

The Deputy Superintendent of Police was quoted to have said: “We visited Kuje Correctional Centre, where we interviewed Godwin Emefiele, who purportedly approved the memos authorising the payment, as then CBN gov and he denied seeing, talk less of approving such memos.

“We also arrested some concerned staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria, who denied any involvement in the crime, before we finally arrested Bashirudeen Maishanu, who corroborated the account of Abdulmajeed Muhammad and further confessed to have been involved in the crime which, according to him was perpetrated by himself and the first to third defendants/respondents – Adamu Abubakar, Imam Abubakar and Odoh Eric Ocheme.

“Bashiru Maishanu further confessed that himself, the first and second defendants/respondents (Adamu Abubakar and Imam Abubakar) shared the sum of $2,500,000.00 from the stolen money, while the third defendant/respondent (Odoh Eric Ocheme), being a fellow staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria, kept the balance of $3,730,000.00 claiming that he had other interests to settle in the CBN.

“Bashirudeen Maishanu further confessed that both himself, and the first and second defendants/respondents jointly invested the United States dollars equivalent of the sum of N1, 440,000,000.00 into real estate business of Afrolyk Global Ltd.

“The Managing Director of the said Afrolyk Ltd, Aminu Lawal has been arrested and he confirmed the investment by Bashirudeen Maishanu, Adamu Abubakar and Imam Abubakar, and already refunded the sum of $200 000 00 to the Special Investigator’s team as part of the money he (Aminu Lawal) received as part of the purported investment.

“Cash of about $400,000 00 has also been voluntarily returned by Bashiru Maishanu from part of his remaining share of the money in question. The money (the $6,230,000) was received in cash from the Central Bank at Nigeria and also shared in the same cash by the defendants/respondents and others, making it difficult to trace the monies without arresting the defendants/respondents.

“It was later revealed that the third defendant – Odoh Eric Ocheme – was the Personal Assistant to Godwin Emefiele as the CBN governor while the first and second defendants (Adamu Abubakar and Imam Abubakar) are businessmen and associates of Bashirudeen Maishanu.”

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