Ex-ambassador Drags First Bank To Court Over Missing N1b Jewelry Box

Former Ambassador to Cape Verde, Justina Eze, has dragged First Bank to court over her box of gold, diamond, coral beads and other materials allegedly kept in the custody of the bank.

The jewellery box, valued at about N1 billion, was said to have been kept in the vault of the bank’s branch in Enugu for safe keeping, following an agreement between the two parties for a monthly deduction from her account with the bank as charges for the service.

It was gathered that Eze, a chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had purchased the deposit safe box and packaged the collections on the eve of her departure to Cape Verde upon appointment as ambassador in 1999, and moved it to the branch of the bank for safe keeping in company of her daughter, Dr. Chinwe Eze-Boulhassance.

She had told the Enugu State High Court, presided over by Justice Chinyere Ajogwu, through her Counsel, Olusola Oke, that the bank’s officials had asked her and her daughter to open the safe, and after they got satisfied with the content, asked her to lock it, and they took it from her and put it in their vault.

Every month, the bank deducted an agreed sum from her account as charges for the service,” the counsel said.

Oke stated that her client started suspecting foul play when she got to the bank one day and requested to retrieve the box, but was asked to be given time by the bank’s officials.

“A formal letter of demand was written to the bank, but no reply was given. A reminder letter was sent to the bank, yet the bank refused to either acknowledge or give a reply.  My client, therefore, secured my services to help retrieve her box of jewelries, which current cumulative value is about N1 billion,” he said.

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