There is an Igbo adage that says that when a strong wind blows, a cock’s an*s will be revealed. The wise saying could be used to express what Heritage bank has allegedly done to a 62-year-old Chief Andy Uba, who is aspiring to contest the APC primary election and become the flagbearer of the party.
Heritage Bank, by exposing the debt Chief Andy Uba is allegedly owing them few days to the election, has pushed Uba’s political ambition to edge precipice. Indeed, it was not palatable news for Andy Uba. Since the news broke out, many voters are very skeptical about his candidacy, and may not be willing to vote for him. The reason is that some of the voters are afraid that the debt could be a result of the money he allegedly borrowed from Heritage bank with the hope to pay back with government money when he becomes the government. But it is highly possible that the debt is unconnected to the APC primary election. Whatever be the case, the timing is a big blow that may cost Uba some gains.
Meanwhile, on 23rd June 2021, Ahmed Raji SAN, counsel to Chief Andy Uba allegedly wrote to the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Heritage Bank stating: “Our client’s attention has been drawn to a video currently being shared on WhatsApp, showing not less than 25 [twenty-five] staff of the Abuja branch of Heritage Bank Plc., wearing customized Heritage Bank Plc., T-shirts; carrying placards and signages with defamatory inscriptions written on them, at the front gate of the residential premises of our client, in Asokoro Abuja.”
He wrote further: “Despite your veiled denial, the deliberateness of your staffs’ action is founded and the intent, to wit: – bring our client to public opprobrium, shame, ridicule, scorn etc. is glaring for all to see. This is more so, as you deliberately picked the rather inauspicious period immediately preceding the forthcoming gubernatorial primary election of the All Progressives Congress [APC] for Anambra State slated for the 26th of June 2021, wherein our client is the leading candidate to clinch his Party’s ticket, to stage this smear campaign against him.
“Surely, the damage occasioned to our client by your calculated but ill-advised action is unquantifiable. However, our client will be assuaged if a public apology, unreserved, is tendered by you and published in at least 5 [five] national daily newspapers within a day of receipt of this letter and payment [Five Billion Naira] in damages. If not, we have our client’s further instructions to seek redress against you in a court of law for the same. Kindly be advised.”
In reaction to that, a credible source noted: “If Heritage Bank has proof that the Senator is actually owing which I’m sure it has, then, from a layman’s understanding of the law, there is absolutely nothing to be worried about by the bank because the FGN through CBN has issued a law against indebtedness whereby banks could even go to the extent of retrieving monies found not only in debtor’s accounts in any other banks other than the banks they owe through BVN links but also to be able to retrieve the monies of that of their immediate family through a joint account policy.
“In other words, Andy Uba lacks the locus standi to approach the law court to seek libel as the case may be thrown out for lacking merit.
“He is doing this just to buy back the confidence and or trust of his supporters for the Saturday’s guber primary and not borne out of any serious purpose.”
Added to that, another source said: “This is expected from Andy Ubah. The questions he has to answer are as follows:
“1. Is he owing the bank?
“2. Is the debt past due?
“3. Is the debt classified as non performing? whether as doubtful, bad or lost?
“4. Has the bank been making demands on him for repayment and there are evidenced to that?
“I know banks owe their customers what we call duty of secrecy, non-disclosure or confidentiality but we should understand that the law gives the bank 4 instances when they can make disclosure of the customers activities.
“One of such instances is ” where it is in the banks interest to disclose”.
“The question therefore is whether the bank action amounts to disclosure and if it is in the banks interest and I will say YES. YES, provided that the loan has gone bad and past demands made.
“It is also the practice of banks to picket bad customers and this has been done severally. Andy Ubah should just discuss with the bank.”`