A woman appeared to have simply disappeared into thin air after she cleverly defrauded a microfinance bank, located at the Ojo Alaba area of Lagos State. The woman was said to have fooled one of the bank’s workers into giving her a loan by using a stranger’s restaurant as collateral for the loan.

The worker of AB Microfinance Bank was hooked winked by the woman into believing that the restaurant, located at No. 91 Adaloko Road, Arikawe Bus Stop, Afro Media, Ojo, Lagos State, was actually hers. Accepting the woman’s words of honour, the bank gave her the loan.

The scam was discovered after the bank worker realised that the woman had not been servicing her loan. The bank padlocked the restaurant, expecting the woman to appear, instead, the genuine, angry owner, Mr. Boniface Uwanyemugwu, appeared. Uwanyemugwu travelled to his village, in Imo State, when the unknown woman used his restaurant as collateral.

He returned from village, to discover that AB Microfinance Bank had padlocked his restaurant. It is believed that the woman knew that Uwanyemugwu travelled to his village and decided to use his restaurant to dupe the bank.

The bank’s worker, who handled the loan transaction, has been identified as Mr. Adeniyi Adeoye. Uwanyemugwu said that Adeoye and his enforcement team have disrupted his business and daily income, since they locked up his restaurant.

Uwanyemugwu said he returned from his village to find Adeoye’s business card, placed conspicuously at the entrance of his restaurant. The card reads: ‘Adeniyi Adeoye, AB Microfinance bank, 22, Ojo Igbede Road, Alaba, Lagos.

Uwanyemugwu said: “I returned from my village to find my restaurant locked up. I thought it was the handiwork of local government officials. I looked at the complimentary card and discovered it belonged to one Mr. Adeniyi Adeoye, of AB Microfinance Bank. I had never had any dealing with them.

I called Adeoye’s phone number, to know what the matter was. He said the owner of that shop used it to obtain a loan from AB Microfinance Bank. He then hung up. I called him again; he said if I wanted to know more, I should come. At first, I wanted to break the padlock, but I decided to involve the police.”

Uwanyemugwu went to Okokomaiko Police Station ,to lodge a complaint. The Divisional Police Officer (DPO), in Charge of Okokomaiko Police Station, sent some police officers to the bank, with a letter of invitation.

Uwanyemugwu said: “They followed me to my restaurant and saw that it was truly locked. We went to the bank. Mr. Adeoye accepted he was the one that placed his business card there.

He told us that a woman, who owns the shop, used it to obtain loan from the bank. Police gave him a letter of invitation. He was supposed to go to the station the following day.

But he didn’t honour the invitation. I went back to the police and told the Divisional Crime Officer (DCO), that I wanted to see the DPO. The DPO again asked his men to take me to the bank. At the bank, we met the manager. The manager said he was not aware of the locking up of my restaurant. The manager brought out the file that had to do with the loan. They saw that it wasn’t me that collected the loan.”

According to Uwanyemugwu, the manager begged that the case should be settled amicably, but the Investigating Police Officer (IPO), said the matter wouldn’t be settled at the bank. The IPO asked all parties to meet at the police station.

The bank again, allegedly refused to keep the appointment. When the bank was called again, the IPO was told that Adeoye had gone for a course. The bank advised that everything should be put on hold, pending the return of Adeoye.

Meanwhile, Uwanyemugwu’s restaurant, continued to be unlocked. Uwanyemugwu, who said the bank’s statement angered him, added: “I have lost about N1.2 million over 30 days that my restaurant had been locked, and time is still running. I make an average of N30,000 daily from the business. I have family and other dependents. They look up to me for financial assistance.

How can I bear the burden of an unknown debtor? “Frustrated, Uwanyemugwu said he was forced to petition the Area E Police Command, Festac, begging the Area Commander, to carry out proper investigation into the matter. Uwanyemugwu said that he felt the bank was not respecting the DPO and IPO of Okokomaiko Police Station.

Uwanyemugwu said: “The Area E Commander has directed that Adeoye be arrested. I will follow the matter to its logical conclusion. I know all I have spent, would be paid back. Whosoever had done this, is not a ghost! The bankers failed to carry out proper verification exercise. The bank allowed itself to be deceived.

The bank should look for the debtor to refund its loan. I will sue for the loss I have incurred in the course of this investigation.” When Adeoye was contacted via phone, another employee of the bank, who refused to identify himself, answered on two occasions.

He said Adeoye was not available. He also noted that the complainant had reported the matter to the police station, while AB Microfinance Bank’s manager, has begun internal investigations. However, he told our correspondent to visit the bank.

During our correspondent visit to the bank on Wednesday, the front desk employee, who refused to disclose her name, denied him, access to the bank manager. She however admitted that, the bank was aware of the case.

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