January 18, 2021
By Alusine Sesay
We have gone through what Skye Bank referred to as press release published in three newspapers including Awoko, Calabash and Salone Times. We hold no grief against the newspapers that published the said press release because our colleagues need money to keep going. Since the management of Skye Bank has declared war, we hope our colleagues in those newspapers will publish our reaction to that disjointed piece of rubbish and bunch of lies issued by celebrated liars and dishonest personalities currently heading the fraud infested bank. Anyway, it is our fight and we are prepared and ready to fight to the finish.
In the first place, we want to categorically note that we are not in any way targeting the bank, but exposing it absolute disregard for proper banking procedures and their ineptitude to follow due diligence in banking transactions. Consistently endorsing cheques through third party authorisation without notifying Concord Times management is not only fraudulent, but a gross criminal intent that could only be encouraged at Skye Bank. In their own words, the bank admitted of consistently endorsing our cheques without due regards to credible banking procedures.
“The Bank did not have any choice but to honour cheques that were duly indorsed to the benefit of its own customer(s), who were third party indorsees on the cheques. This practice went on for quite a while without any complaints being received from Concord Times. The Bank was therefore shocked and dismayed to receive report of alleged fraud in June of 2020. It would appear that after the practice had commenced, individual employees of Concord Times hit on the idea of diverting cheques made in favour of Concord Times to third parties on be known to Management of Skye Bank.” This is a complete indictment on the bank! How the bank expects Concord Times to have brought the issue to their knowledge before now when everything was done in secrecy? Under the full view of Skye Bank management, everything was going on smoothly without the knowledge of Concord Times management.The bank refused to take internal action against their staff who were involved in the fraudulent act because to them fraudulent transaction is a norm. Ofcourse, Concord Times drew the attention of the bank when the fraud was detected in 2020.Even the layman would have expected the bank to have notified Concord Times since we have no account with them. And failure to do so is a complete disservice to the bank’s reputation for which the management should be held accountable.
Shamelessly in their erroneous press release that is tainted with lies, the bank stated that Concord Times only reported the matter to the police after they advised us to do so.That in itself exposed how the management of the bank is characterised with lies and dishonesty, coupled with blatant lack of integrity. After Concord Times detected the fraud in May, 2020, we did not only suspend the staff that were allegedly involved in the fraud, but reported the matter to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) headquarters and the Financial Intelligent Unit (FIU) was also involved. After we had discovered that our cheques were fraudulently being deposited at the bank, we initially approached the bank and categorically tell them that, we don’t want to go public with the issue because we are all into business and that they should share with us information on the account holder so that we could fall on him for our money. The bank in turn asked us to write a formal letter and that they would give the information we had requested. To our dismay, after our lawyer wrote and requested the said information, the bank refused to disclose the identity of the account holder on the grounds of ‘customer confidentiality’.
Imagine the unreliability of the bank’s management displayed at the highest level! Their negative response to our letter prompted us to involve the Anti-Corruption Commission, whose cheque payable to Concord Times, fraudulently landed at Skye Bank. The ACC furnished us with the name of the account holder, an Indian-Rakesh Sham Tahiramani- and the account number into which our cheques were fraudulently deposited- albeit the photo and address of the account holder were not provided to us. Had the bank given those details to ACC, we could have accessed it but since they are bent on encouraging fraudsters, they could not provide those details because the bank is a direct beneficiary.
Again, the bank has refused to provide the identity and address of the Indian fraudsters to either FIU or CID for a reason(s) best known to them. How could you count yourself as a credible institution when you keep hiding the identity of a fraudster that is holding an account with you? Is it that the bank is afraid that the said fraudster will further expose how the bank is neck deep in encouraging fraudulent transactions? We are of the firm conviction that the bank would have released the identity of the Indian fraudster had they not played a pivotal role in defrauding Concord Times and other newspapers. The bank is guilty! We are not surprised that the bank is protecting the Indian fraudster because the general manager, Ikubolaje Nicol, once told us that as a bank they can do business whosever, even with a criminal, as long as the person is ready to do business with them.
In our previous meeting with the bank in early November,2020, the General Manager of the bank, Ikubolaje Nicol, promised to provide all information to the police, after he categorically told us that the bank cannot refund the money syphoned by the Indian in cohort with the bank and other people. ‘Let the police come to the bank and we will provide all that they need to aid their investigation. We are ready to fully cooperate in the investigation.” In an absolute twist of event, he refused to provide to the police details on the fraudster, but rather asked the police to follow due process in sourcing such information. Ikubolaje Nicol is one of the most unreliable personalities we have ever come across on planet earth; one could read such from his body language. He has no respect for his words and he can do whatever, even at the expense of his integrity, if any, to cover up the bank’s encouragement of fraudsters. After promising to provide the police with all relevant information, he failed to do so when the police approached him. How dishonest and unreliable one could be?
We want to again make it categorically clear that Concord Times seeks no pleasure in blackmailing either individuals or institutions. The issue we have with Skye Bank is their continuous refusal to disclose the identity of the Indian fraudster and we would not take it lightly. The Indian desperado is very key in the investigation because he is in a position to disclose to the police members of his criminal cartel. As a media institution, we would not sit by and allow fraudsters to get away with their criminality with the aid of a seemingly known criminal entity operating in the guise of a bank. We will continue to fight on!