…As Air Warriors mauls Black Gold Queens 73-23 at the 15th Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League***
The National Industrial Court in Abuja has affirmed the dismissal of one Mohammed Bello, a staff of Unity Bank, for his involvement in a N72 million fraud.
Bello, was dismissed on grounds of negligence when it was discovered that his failure to place a ‘ Post No Debit’ (PND) restrictions on a customer’s account allowed fraudulent transfers of the sum of N72m from the account.
The defendant was, however, able to later trace and retrieve the sum of N57 million of the amount, leaving the bank to incur a N15 million financial loss.
Delivering judgment, Justice Rakiya Haastrup, said the claimant challenged his summary dismissal as unlawful on the grounds that he was dismissed based on the same allegations for which he was already standing trial before an Upper Area Court in Abuja.
Haastrup said the claimant (Bello) also averred that he was arrested, detained and prosecuted for criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust and theft.
The judge said that the evidence before the court, however, proved that the terms and conditions of employment of the claimant as contained in the Employee Handbook, which governed his appointment, was adhered to before he was suspended without pay pending the conclusion of investigation by the defendant’s panel.
She noted that at the conclusion of its investigation, the panel found the claimant negligent and recommended his summary dismissal through a letter dated June 3, 2015.
The judge further held that from the entire evidence adduced by the claimant, he was unable to present before the court that he complied with the instruction of the Branch Manager to place PND restriction on the said account.
According to Haastrup the excuse of the claimant that it was not his schedule of duty to place PND on accounts cannot hold water as he is answerable to the Branch Manager and ought to carry out instructions given by him.
” By his summary dismissal, the claimant is not entitled to any salaries,entitlements, benefits or even damages.
“The legal burden is on the claimant who asserts to prove his claim on balance of probability and cannot shift the burden on the defendant until he has first discharged the burden placed upon him.
” The claimant herein fails to prove before the court that he complied with the instructions of the Branch Manager in placing PND on the account.
“The defendant had dismissed the claimant summarily on ground of gross negligence in line with the terms of contract as contained in the defendant’s employee handbook.
“In my view, the defendant herein was able to establish the negligence of the claimant to justify his summary dismissal, and I so hold.
” The sole issue is therefore resolved against the claimant.
“Consequently, the reliefs of the claimant cannot be granted and are hereby dismissed in its entirety,”she concluded.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the claimant prior to his suspension and summary dismissal was employed by the defendant (Unity Bank Plc) on Jan.1, 2006 and rose to the position of a Business Service Manager.
In his complaint, he had urged the court to declare his dismissal as unlawful, pay his salaries and allowances from the time of his suspension in March, 2015 until date.
Bello also sought for an award of N10 million as damages.
In the meantime, Air Warriors Basketball Club on Tuesday defeated the Black Gold Queens 73-23 in their second match in the Savannah Conference phase of the 2019 Zenith Bank Women’s Basketball League.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the match was played at the indoor sports hall of the Moshood Abiola National Stadium in Abuja.
Speaking after the match, Samson Sotuminu, the coach of Air Warriors, said he was happy his team won the game.
“It is against a team we have played before and we know how to play against them.
“So, we just need to now go back to our drawing board and prepare ourselves more for the next match, which is against Kaduna Angels.
“But I will still give my players kudos for a work well done to ensure victory, and we will work hard to win our remaining games,” he said.
On his part, the Head Coach of Black Gold Queens, Lawal Daddy, said they lost the game to Air Warriors because they wanted every player to have a feel of the match.
“It was a strategy, so that the team would give everyone opportunity to play.
“All we want to do is to qualify first for the national finals then we can decide to display our skills.
“I already told the players we are going to come out strong for the next game and everybody in the team is ready because they are not happy that we lost the game today.
“But the plan was to just create an avenue for the regular five to rest, so that they can play the next game on Thursday.
“That game against the Adamawa Flames is going to be awesome and I see my team playing better,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the league’s conference phase which began on Oct.1 is expected to end on Oct. 8.