Wilben Trade Limited (Wilben) has been the victim of an extortion scheme set up by several senior members of Ecobank Nigeria. The highly unethical behaviour of Ecobank Nigeria and its parent company, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the defamatory and unfounded allegations, as well as the bogus legal case initiated have been strongly condemned by Wilben and its founder. The validity of the charges remains to be determined by the Federal High Court of Nigeria.
- 29th September 2014 Wilben helped Ecobank Nigeria support their importing clients to get credit terms on their imports to Nigeria where their supplier was unable to discount Ecobank’s letter of credit (“LC”). The Bank would issue the LC in favour of Wilben who would receive the documents from the supplier, discount the LC and pay the discounted proceeds to them less the Wilben fee.
- Wilben shared a number of term-sheets with the Bank and once terms were agreed, the Bank forwarded the Wilben term-sheet to Mr. Prem Garg, the Chief Executive of the Bank’s client Agrico-Agbe, and its affiliate Little Rose Trading LLC. It was at the request of the Bank, that Wilben was involved in this transaction.
- During November 2014 and February 2015, Wilben provided this service twice and completed two transactions with Mr. Garg’s companies totalling USD$42,485,900.00 and earned a total fee of USD$83,797.40 (some 0.5%).
- The Bank suffered a loss from transactions with Mr. Garg, which Wilben was first made aware of in 2018.
- The Bank conducted an internal review and in 2020 concluded that neither Marcus Wade nor Wilben bore any responsibility for the losses, established credit facilities for Wilben and issued LCs on our behalf.
- In March 2022 Wilben received a letter advising that the Nigerian Police Force was “investigating a case of Conspiracy and Fraudulent Conversion reported by the Bank.”
- There is absolutely no basis for the Bank and the Specialized Resolutions Company to have led this criminal complaint against Wilben.
- On 15th June 2022 the Nigerian Federal High Court ordered a stay of all further action pending the determination of Wilben’s challenge to the demands of the Nigerian Police Force that Wilben’s officers attend an interview in Nigeria upon Ecobank’s complaint. That challenge remains pending before the Court.
- On 22nd April 2023 Wilben was permitted to file a Committal Applications against Nigerian Police Force and the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Justice for contempt of court and breach of the Nigerian Federal High Court order.
- Based on court filings, Ecobank Nigeria and ETI have instigated an unfounded legal case in the Federal High Court of Nigeria against Wilben Trade and Mr. Wade.
Wilben believes justice will be served and maintains excellent relationships with all its partners across Africa and continues to support local and international trade.