***Customer Appeals To Nigerians, Activists, Reputable Law Firms To Come To His Aid
A legal action instituted by a customer, Frederick Igho Isuosuo, against the Oleh branch of Access Bank, Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta state over alleged stealing of his N50,000 by a staff has continued to generate serious controversy in the area.
Isuosuo had gone to the bank on December, 21, 2022, to make a deposit of N800,000 over the counter and a staff/teller, he identified as Salomi allegedly stole the sum of N50,000 from the N800,000 presented for counting on his desk in the banking hall.
After all efforts to recover his alleged stolen N50,000, the customer filed a suit against the bank. The suit which marked MCO/MISC/4/2023, the customer, Frederick Igho Isuosuo as Applicant and Access bank PLC Oleh branch and the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) Oleh are 1st and 2nd Respondents.
Narrating his ordeal in the hand of the bank and his lawyer who he alleged was compromised to work against his interest, Isuosuo, noted that “On the 21st of December, 2022, as a customer of Access Bank in Oleh, Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta state with account name Frederick Igho Isuosuo and account number 0700843217, went to make a cash deposit of N800,000 in the bank. I kept the cash on the desk of the receiving cashier and filled my teller. The cash was a mixture of N500 and N1000 notes respectively which I arranged into 16 bundles of N50,000 each and dropped on his desk. To my greatest surprise, after he counted the money, the cashier told me he received only N750,000.
“At this point a hot argument ensued between me and the teller which attracted the branch manager f the bank to the scene. After much argument, the manager told me if the cashier misplaced the missing N50,000, it will be sorted out while balancing account and that I should come back the following day and I had to give the cashier another N50, 000 to complete the N800,000 because I went to the bank with N2 million, I am a POS operator. The following day I went to the bank and met the cashier if my N50,000 was found after the close of account so that he can return my missing N50,000, but to my shock, he replied that he do not know what I am talking about. This led to another hot argument in the bank and the manager came again and told me to calm down that he will watch the CCTV footage and asked me to return the following day.
“On the the third day, I returned to the bank and the manager told me he has watched the CCTV footage and no such implicating image that the cashier stole my N50,000 and all my entreaties to see my missing N50,000 is returned to me were vehemently refused by the manager and at this point I reported the matter at the Oleh police station on the December, 24, 2022 and my IPO advised me to go and watch the CCTV and report back to them. I went to the bank with one of my business partner, Osuofa Mano and appealed to the manager to watch the CCTV and put an end to the issue but he began to rain curses on me, calling me all kind of unprintable names, that I am thief, a fraudster who came to dupe the bank and refused watching of the CCTV and that it is unethical and unprofessional to show it to a customer even when there are issues. I asked him to give us his name and the cashier’s name he also refused.
“After all effort to get my stolen N50,000 back, I met my kinsman who is an Oleh based lawyer and I narrated everything to him but I never knew I was compounding my issue the more. My lawyer prepared the suit but surprisedly without my consent unilaterally put the sum of N350,000 as damages for my stolen N50,000 and inconveniences caused me. And I told him that sum was too small compared to what I have gone through in the hand of the bank manager since the incident happened. Do you know my lawyer shouted at me and even intimidated me and brainwashed me and even discouraged me saying even if I put a billion naira as claims, the court will still reduce it to that N350,000 he has already put as my claims. The case was instituted in January, 2023 and January, 11, we started the hearing at the magistrate court in Oleh and the bank never honoured all notices of hearing served on them.
“Do you know as we instituted the case, the bank manager worked out his transfer from the bank and a new female manager named Damilola Abey was brought to replace the former manager. Throughout the period of hearings, the 1st respondent, which is the bank was always absent and no legal representation. We had several hearings. Then on Monday of February, 6, 2023, in a suit marked MCO/MISC/4/2023, her worship, O.M Omonemu (Mrs.) gave an order of court to Access bank, Oleh, to make available to me and my IPO, the CCTV footage of December, 21, 2022 from 8:30am -10:30am at the banking hall. Few days after we had served the bank, the new manager, Abey called me and pleaded that I should come alone when I told her if I can come with either my counsel or the IPO, she insists I come alone.
“On meeting the new manager, she told me, the former manager has been transferred and she has read through my case file. She started pleading while on her kneel, that I should please withdraw the case from the court and look into how she can settle me with the damages and inconveniences value of N350,000 written on the claim by my counsel which I was not a party to. I told her that the claim of N350, 000, is the making of my counsel which is unacceptable to me. I told her anything less that N6 million and an apology letter from the bank is unacceptable and she promised to get back to me. After waiting patiently for some days without response from the bank, my IPO and I went to the bank in regards to the court order on the display of CCTV footage, Abey, continued to plead and reduced the N6 million claim I told her and accepted to pay me N1 million and the apology letter which was agreed and she gave us one week to settle everything.
“And I went to inform my counsel in his office the development, but he was not happy with me with the whole arrangement and boasted to me let us see how they will pay you that. We went back after expiration of the one week Abey, the manager gave us, she continued to plead that she couldn’t raise the said amount and gave us two more days to meet our agreement. The two days elapsed without response after I had reported same to my counsel. Surprisedly, the manager said she’s able to raise N250,000 to settle the case with the apology letter. I asked her of that amount is an installment payment or what? she simply said. That’s all I have. my IPO then told her to proceed to execute the court ruling on the CCTV footage. She said she will need to write headquarters for password and promised to get back to us. She continued to send emissaries to beg me to let go of the matter.
“To cut the whole story short, my counsel connived with the bank to frustrate all my efforts to get justice and the manager paid me the sum of N250,000 against the earlier N350,000 my counsel demanded without my consent and without the apology letter and out of the N250,000 my counsel threatened me with suit if I don’t give him N100,000 from the money which I did after several intimidation. And what shocked me most till date was that my counsel without my consent again went behind me to the court to discontinued the suit and this caused me a serious trauma even till this moment and I had to report him to the NBA Oleh branch and he manipulated my community leadership as ex-president general to intimidate and harassed me and stopped me from any further action against him.” Isuosuo cried out.
Isuosuo therefore called on Nigerians and reputable law firms to come to his aid to get justice, adding that “Access bank must pay for damages and inconveniences caused me. I am seriously traumatised.”.
Contacted on the matter, the new branch manager of Access Bank, Oleh, Damilola Abey, confirmed the story but said everything happened before her resumption as the new branch manager of the bank, adding that “What Frederick Igho Isuosuo was demanding were beyond my capacity. I think I have made some mistakes here, I shouldn’t have paid him that N250,000, I would have allowed the case in court. I have told him to return the N250,000 I paid him and let’s go back to the court. All my efforts to see that this issue is resolved amicably has been frustrated by Isuosuo. This matter has been resolved hence he accepted the N250,000 but all of a sudden he is coming with another N6 million for damages and the apology letter which is impossible. He is after my job. I think we are ready for him this time around.”
When asked if the bank has something to hide as they continued to disobeyed the court order and went ahead to pay Isuosuo N250,000 as well as sending emissaries to beg him to drop the case, Abey could not give any reasonable answer.
In her ruling obtained by HardReporters, his worship, O.M. Omonemu (Mrs), chief magistrate, Oleh magistrate court, ordered the 1st respondent to make available the CCTV for the applicant to watch.
The ruling read “It is here ordered that the 1st respondent (Oleh branch) make available to the 2nd respondent and in the presence of the applicant, the close circuit television (CCTV footage) of 21st December, 2022 (8:30am and 10:30am) to disclose the details of the transaction between the applicant and the 1st respondent at the banking hall.”
A transaction receipt of Access Bank dated April, 6, 2023, with account name Odunayo Damilola Abey, the bank branch manager, with transactional reference number NXG37416125769005410, obtained by HardReporters shows that the sum of N250,000 on behalf of the 1st respondent was transferred to the applicant, Frederick Igho Isuosuo in his Access bank with account number 0700843217 for the resolution of the matter which did not go down well with Isuosuo following the refusal of the bank to adhere to their terms of settlement especially the apology letter and the N6 million compensation.