By Chidiebere Onyemaizu
Many weighty issues are probably agitating the mind of Dozie Uzoma, the youthful Group Managing Director, GMD of Diamond bank. Chief among these is perhaps the desire to go down in history as the Bank’s GMD during whose tenure Diamond bank’s customer and deposit base burgeoned but it’s doubtful if Uzoma has taken time off to reflect on the travails of one of Diamond Bank Customers, Prince Alfred Ugochukwu Amaobi.
Diamond Bank is a customer-friendly bank but Amobi’s bitter experience with the bank makes him insists that the bank has neither been friendly with him nor interested in easing the pain he said it inflicted on him 20 years ago.
According to Amobi , on March 10, 1997, his company, AL Clement Enterprises, entered into #16 million contract with the Imo state Secondary Management Board,SEMB and the Imo state Primary Education Board, PEB for production of students identity cards. For the purpose of receiving funds for the execution of the contract, Ugochukwu deployed his two accounts with Diamond bank’s Owerri branch located at number 6 Item Street, Owerri-one in his name and the other in his company’s name.
Amobi rues that that singular act was the beginning of his misery and frustration with Diamond bank for curiously; according to him, the bank cajoled him into making one Reverend Ugochukwu Unachukwu, at that time Special Assistance to the Imo state Military Administrator co-signatory to the company’s account where the money for the execution of the contract was lodged into. Amobi he said was taken aback when he realized that Unachukwu was signed into the account as “Uzoma Onuoha”prompting him to protest what he considered Diamond Bank’s unprofessional conduct .He could not understand why Ugochukwu Unachukwu should bear fictitious ‘Uzoma Onuoha’ with fictitious passport photograph. Amobi: “When I protested, I was told it was for security reasons and that Diamond Bank had been doing so for many officials of state governments in Nigeria”
Based on his protest, “Uzoma Onuoha” was withdrawn as co-signatory to Al Clement account and on May 8, 1997 Amobi operated the account without a hitch but subsequent transactions were stalled by Diamond Bank on the ground that the second signatory, “Uzoma Onuoha” was excluded from the cheque.
What followed was embargo on the account by the bank on the ground an alleged court order, an order Amobi alleged was never shown to him. Amobi’s efforts to regain the embargoed account led him to institute legal action against the bank. His leagal victories at the lower courts were eventually quashed by the Supreme Court last year when the apex court ruled in favour of Diamond Bank.
However, Amobi is back to the trenches and has vowed not to rest until he gets justice on what he describes as the ‘criminal aspect’ of Diamond Bank’s ‘transgressions’: the alleged use of fictitious name and passport photograph by the bank in the guise of Ugochukwu Unachukwu.
It was for this reason that Amobi recently dragged the bank to the Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC. Last month, the Commission invited both parties (Amobi and Diamond Bank) to its Enugu zonal office to look into the former’s petition but Amobi said he waited at the Commission’s Enugu office all day and Diamond bank failed to honour the invitation.
When contacted, Ezechinyere Anyawu of Diamond Bank’s Corporate Communication Department confirmed the Amobi case and said the Bank would make comprehensive response to the issue.However, three week after; The Source was yet to receive such response.