By Sule Aderounmu
Following the Supreme Court N2.5 billion judgement against Stanbic IBTC in favour of one of its customers, heads are set to roll at the Bank as its parent company moves to investigate allegation of fraudulent sale of the customer’s GTBank shares deposited as collateral for loan.
Affirming an earlier judgement given by the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos, the Supreme Court ordered Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc to pay the customer, Patrick Akinkuotu and his company, Long Term Global Capital Limited, the sum of N2.5 billion for breach of contract.
A staff at its Walter Carrington head office, Victoria Island, Lagos , confirm to NewsOnBanks that the Bank is not “happy” with the judgment, adding that some members of the board of the parent company are threatening to invoke a clause in the bank’s founding document to allow its fraud unit investigate an allegation of inappropriate allocation of the GTBank shares to some senior staff members at a ridiculously low price.
When our reporter visited the head office Thursday morning, palpable fear seem to envelope the top management as some of them were seen in groups talking in low tones about the Supreme Court judgement.
Industry insiders are of the view that if the investigation is carried out, and the allegation of fraud in the sale of the shares are confirmed, it will further dent the image of the Bank and rubbish its recognition in Nigeria as the Best Corporate Governance Company 2018 by the Global Banking and Finance Awards, UK.
According to Akinkuotu and his company’s lawyer, Chief Felix Fagbohungbe SAN, the bank granted overdraft facility of N600 million to Long Term Capital Ltd on the 11th of April, 2007.
Two additional facilities of N400 million and N250 million were also granted to Akinkuotu on the 11th of May, 2007 and 17th of July, 2007 respectively. The facilities were for a term of 365 days with an option of rollover among other terms.
The facilities were later merged as demanded by the company and were secured with shares held by them in various companies. The Bank was later asked through an e-mail to sell 28,745,400 units of GTB PLC shares held by Akinkuotu and his company at the sum of N267,775,799.21, which it did.
The plaintiffs were dissatisfied and contended that the proceed of the shares sold by the Bank was abnormally below its market value at the time it was sold. They also contended that they have liquidated the overdraft facilities granted them by Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, consequently they dragged the Bank for breach of contract and claimed damages for loss of business opportunity.
Following the confirmation of the judgement of the lower court by the Supreme Court, the Bank is set to probe an allegation that the GTBank shares deposited as collateral by the customer may have been allocated to some staff members thereby avoiding the competitive open market.