…Forged Documents To Divert Fund Into Private Investment Firm
A loyal customer of Ecobank Ghana Ltd, who has been saving and operating business with the bank for many years now, has been defrauded by the Bank’s relationship manager at Westland branch in Accra.
The manager, Mr Francis Temeng, used his position and status at the bank, to defraud the innocent client to the tune of GH¢1.4miilion cedi, equivalent of 14 billion old cedi.
In fraudulent manner, the manager, is said to have forged the customer’s documents in the custody of the Bank and succeeded in diverting all life-time investments of the customer with the bank into a private investment company elsewhere, without the knowledge of the customer.
Surprisingly, the suspect is yet to be arrested for prosecution, although he has been dismissed by his employers and walking about freely; whiles the customer is now battling management of Ecobank in court, and struggling to retrieve his hard-earned money.
The Herald, has gathered that, the suspect had confessed his crime, but as to why management of the Bank, is dragging their feet to settle the disturbed customer for over five months now since the incident, remains a mystery.
At the moment, management of the bank, is tightlipped on the matter and is yet to issue any statement to allay the fear of its customers.
But in a writ filed against Ecobank Ghana Ltd regarding the incident at the Accra High Court, (Commercial Division) by the aggrieved customer, (Plaintiff) name withheld, he stated that, between 2015 and 2016, he was operating treasury bills peacefully at the Westland branch of the bank, until sometime in November 2016, when he sought advice from the relationship manager that it had a business transaction and wanted to invest the GH¢1.4miilion cedi.
According to the Plaintiff, when he informed Defendant about his intention to withdraw the funds to another investment elsewhere, the Defendant’s relationship manager, Francis Temeng, convinced him that the bank, has an investment product known as Ecobank Development Corporation (EDC) which gives a higher interest rate of 28 percent than the treasury bills which was then 22 percent.
The Bank’s relationship manager, then convinced the plaintiff to invest in EDC, although he was hesitant, however, due to the persistent calls from the relationship manager, he finally agreed and went to the Westland branch to do the said transaction, from treasury bills investment to EDC, because of the trust and fiduciary relationship he has with the bank.
According to the Plaintiff,when he visited the branch the relationship manager, he was given a transfer form and instructed to sign certain portions of it and thereafter, further instructed him to sign a cheque of GH¢ 300,000.00, to begin the six months investment with EDC.
He also avers that, when he inquired from the manager about the name he should write on the cheque, he only instructed him to only sign the signature column of the cheque and leave the rest for him to complete the blank space with the explanation that, he already has the Plaintiff’s details in their system.
Plaintiff says that, he started with the said amount to ascertain whether or not, the investment was viable and when the interest was due, Defendant paid the agreed interest into Plaintiff’s account with the narration as “cash deposit by EDC”.
He said, as a result of the persistent calls from the relationship manager that he should invest more money in the EDC product, he transferred funds from his Standard Chartered accounts and the Ghana Commercial Bank account to Ecobank.
Plaintiff maintained that, when the said transfers and other payments were made and reflected in his account, on January 13, and March 10, 2017, the manager again instructed him to sign cheques in the sum of GH¢650,000 and GH¢450,000, respectively to top up his investment in EDC.
He said, after the said payment on the 28 percent investment, the manager then informed him that the second set of investments together with the first one, has been decreased to 19.5 percent, which was subsequently reduced to 19 percent because, according to the manager, the bank was facing some challenges, hence the reduction of their interest rates on EDC investments.
Since then, Plaintiff, says the bank took charge of his account and was managing same by paying interest on the EDC investments with a narration as ‘cash deposit by EDC’.
Plaintiff, indicated that because of the position and role of the bank and its relationship manager, he had no doubt about the EDC investment, especially when interest was paid promptly and Defendant was in charge of Plaintiff’s account and was able to manipulate it, an act which is fraudulent and must not be countenanced in a respected bank like the Defendant.
The straw that broke the camel’s back, according to the Plaintiff is that, sometime in the middle of 2018, he informed the bank through the relationships manager that, he has a contract and had time lines to execute same, so he wants to discontinue the EDC investment, because he will make a 100 percent profit on the contract within few months after its execution.
However, the Plaintiff stated that, the manager again managed to convince him not to engage in that investment, because of the recent collapse of banks, together with the lack of liquid cash in circulation, Plaintiff’s proposed investment, would not yield any interest and that it should maintain the EDC investments with Ecobank.
The manager, further convinced the plaintiff that, because Ecobank, is presently struggling with the current closure of banks,the Plaintiff’s payment of interest on EDC, would not be consistent or may halt.
The Plaintiff said, he became alarmed, especially when interest was not paid on the investment with EDC.
As a result of that, he mounted intense pressure on the relationship manager for his interest and also a request to withdraw the entire funds invested.
As events unfold, the plaintiff stated that, due to his insistence to withdraw the funds together with the demand for payment of his interest, the manager informed him that, the bank invested his money at Capital House, which is their subsidiary, claiming that Capital House, has merged with Royal Bank and that the money would delay because of the merger.
Plaintiff, said he became suspicious, especially when the manager continued changing his stories anytime he enquired about his money.
Based on that, Plaintiff, said he conducted some investigations at Ecobank bank and Capital House, which revealed that, there was no investment in Plaintiff’ name and that CAPITAL HOUSE is not a subsidiary of Defendant as Plaintiff was made to believe.
Plaintiff said, he later contacted the manager about his findings and he confirmed that on the instructions of Defendant, he moved Plaintiff’s funds from Defendant bank to Capital House and that he needed sometime to effect the transfer into plaintiff’s account, since it was managements’ decision to invest Plaintiff’s funds at Capital House.
According to the Plaintiff, he could not bear with the lies and or stories of the manager anymore and as a result, he informed his lawyers and they advised him to gather all the necessary facts and documents in order to write a demand notice and also to report the conduct of the Relationship Manager.
Tape Recordings & Confession
The Plaintiff, averred that based on the advice of his lawyers, he held several meetings with the manager, where he informed him that, he shall make video recordings of all their meetings and same was agreed. Thereafter the meeting, the manager then signed an undertaking to assure Plaintiff that his money will be paid.
He said, he made the video recordings of their meetings, which included the relationship manager’s own confession that he moved the funds to Capital House, without the consent of Plaintiff and pleaded for time to pay the money.
The manager, according to plaintiff, has pleaded that he was aware his action is fraudulent, in that he never informed Plaintiff about the entire transaction, made a misrepresentation about the EDC investment and forged Plaintiff’s handwriting on the signed cheques.
The manager is said to have made the confessions on December 20, 2018, where he wrote and signed an undertaking to the effect that, the plaintiff’s money, would be paid and he stated that he did that investment without Plaintiff’s consent.
The Plaintiff stated that, the manager continued with his usual stories and because he was desperate and needed his money, and realized the said undertaking was unsatisfactory, he drafted a disclaimer note about the alleged investment with Capital House and based on that, he met with the manager on December 4, 2018, and they both signed the disclaimer note.
Meanwhile, when lawyers for the plaintiff wrote to management of the bank to demand for the funds, the bank replied, directing the plaintiff and his lawyers, to contact CAPITAL HOUSE for their money.
At the moment, the relationship manager, has been dismissed, after it was established that he fraudulently acted together with other employees of the bank and diverted Plaintiff’s funds.