By Joseph Kingston, Calabar
The United Bank for Africa (UBA) and its former staff, Mr Anthony Ogar Idagu, are in court over an alleged refusal of the bank to pay him his entitlements since 2018, as well as an unjustified termination of Idagu’s appointment after 18 years of meritorious service.
The case, which is in the National Industrial Court, Calabar with suit number NICN/CA/20/2019 was presided over by Justice M N Esowe before his transfer a few months ago. The new Judge, Justice Sanusi Kado, is now in charge of the matter.
In his statement of claims, Mr Idagu said he was deployed from the Calabar branch of the bank to Ikom in central Cross River in April 2013 as a cash officer, and that he had served in the Ikom branch faithfully till January 31, 2018 when his ordeal with the bank started.
He averred that as a cash officer of the branch, he was saddled with the responsibility of carrying out integrity test for all staff of the branch following reports of underpayment of customers, noting that he diligently discharged this duty without hitches whatsoever.
“I carried out the integrity test in conjunction with the Operations Officer of the branch with the aid of cameras without the knowledge of the tellers and one of the tellers (name withheld), failed the test.”
He said when one of the officers failed the test, he reported his finding to the Control Officer, Mr Kenneth Akpom, who rather than discipline the staff, said the erring staff should be advised verbally and allowed to continue work.
“We have on record several queries on the said staff, bordering on allegation of cash suppression and under declaration, including that of integrity test on January 31, 2018, but no action was taken against him by Branch Operations Manager, Mr Kenneth Okpom and Matthew Nyiam.
“The integrity test register was signed by the Operation Manager and he followed his instructions given to him by the Branch Operations Manager to register every outcome of the integrity test which he duly signed,” he submitted.
According to him, when he insisted on the right thing to be done with sanctions against the erring staff, a committee was set up to investigate the matter but surprisingly, the committee suspended him while the erring staff was left untouched.
The suspension, he said, went beyond the recommended three months, and that despite the obvious lopsided decision and injustice, he was later asked to resign for no justifiable reason.
“After eighteen years of meritorious service I was asked to resign just like that, and when I wrote in the resignation letter that I was asked to resign, they rejected it and said I should remove the clause ‘asked to resign’ and that I should say that I was resigning voluntarily. This was designed just to ensure that I do not get my benefits.”
The former UBA staff appealed to the court to order the bank to pay him his outstanding salary and emoluments. The case was adjourned to April 20, 2021.