Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe of the Ikeja Special Offences Court has accused Zenith Bank Plc of bribing both the bar and the bench for 11 years to pervert justice.
The judge disclosed this while giving judgement on Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in the suit marked LD/ADR/186/2014 between Real Integrated and Hospitality Limited and the bank.
“My recommendation is that Zenith Bank is a fraud and people must be very careful in their dealings with the bank,” she declared.
The judge who found Zenith bank to have criminally benefitted itself by defrauding its clients ordered the bank to pay the sum of N2.5 billion to Real Integrated and Hospitality Limited.
“The 1st Defendant (Zenith Bank) has been the beneficiary of the malevolent game of chess that plunged both claimant (Real Integrated and Hospitality Ltd) and 2nd Defendant (Subeb) into holding the sum of N872,780,552.84 in its custody without paying interest thereon from 17th February 2011 until 2nd February 2016 when the Court ordered that the money be paid into an interest yielding account in the name of the claimant and the 2nd Defendant pending determination of the suit, which order was curiously varied…. so that the money remained in the 1st Defendant’s custody without interest,” she said.
Continuing, Abike-Fadipe said: The act of Zenith Bank Plc was unconscionable and detrimental to the goodwill of the claimant and its trade with its customers. It was a deliberate and malicious act against the interest of the claimants and continues to enjoy the largesse in bad faith.
“Zenith Bank defrauded its customer, Real Integrated and Hospitality Ltd. Zenith Bank embarrassingly defrauded, placed a lien on the account of its customer Real Integrated and Hospitality Ltd illegally and refused the company to withdraw from its account despite the fact that the said account was in enough credit to cover the withdrawals sought to be made.
“Zenith Bank fraudulently used Real integrated and Hospitality Ltd’s money of N872, 780,552.84 for over ten years against their interest dubiously. What is so shameful is that Real Integrated and Hospitality Ltd is the customer who has banking relationships with Zenith Bank.
“On the 17th of January, 2011, Real integrated and Hospitality Limited not for lack of not having money, applied for advance payment guarantee for the supply of 700,000 units of Advanced English Dictionary and Senior illustrated Dictionary in two tranches and the bank in what we call professional misconduct withdrew the value and amount of N1.2 billion from Real integrated and Hospitality Ltd’s account and issued them an advance payment guarantee.
“What that implies in law is that actually Zenith Bank did not issue any advance payment guarantee, did not take any risk, did not do anything because it took the money from the account of Real integrated and Hospitality Limited and moved it to sundry account.
“Zenith Bank raised the payment to Repro India for the production of the books; paid the shipment of the books to Apapa, Lagos, paid customs duties to customs, paid Ocean Marine haulage to move the books to Gombe, all in an attempt to satisfy the Gombe government that they have performed.
“It’s so sad that in the dubiousness of Zenith Bank, having removed the entire amount from the company’ s account, placed a lien in their N872, 780, 552.84 and in the last ten years, Zenith Bank has been playing the game of bribing Judges. It will interest you to know that Justice Lawal after a ruling in the open court to the effect that the money be moved to an interest yielding account went home with the file and altered his ruling reversing himself in favour of the bank….
“Zenith Bank bribed the Lawyers in the matter. The matter has been going back and forth; Zenith Bank will today say it is supporting Real Integrated and Hospitality Ltd because it knows that the Gombe government is illegal. In another vein, it says it’s supporting Gombe. All that just to keep the money.
“This they have done for 11 years. So many lawyers and judges have been bribed in this matter just perverting Justice. What is more embarrassing, the current governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele was the one who came to navigate and begged for the deposit. He has not been able to do anything to Zenith Bank because he was the managing director of the bank at the time of this transaction.
“His only comment was that Real Integrated and Hospitality Limited should help them, let the court decide and that the action of Zenith Bank amounts to illegality and the bank is misbehaving.
“On one of the occasions when one of the directors of Real Integrated and Hospitality Ltd met him in London, he said “has Zenith bank given you your money? And when the director said no, he said that it was dubious of Zenith Bank and that the bank would suffer the Consequences if Judges behave appropriately in this country.
“People should be careful not to suffer as Real Integrated has suffered over the years on their own money. Zenith Bank did all the transactions, protected its interest, knew the book was supplied, knew everything was there.
“The only delay was that the Gombe government was playing games at the time and had requested for a bribe of N200, 000, 000.00 naira which Real Integrated and Hospitality Ltd directors did not have. People must resiliently pursue what is right and get to the logical conclusion.
“My recommendation is that Zenith Bank is a fraud and people must be very careful in their dealings with the bank.”