A former chief risk officer of the Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBSS), Temidayo Adekanye, has sued the switching company for unlawfully terminating his appointment months after he raised concerns about financial impropriety.  The former NIBSS executive is asking the National Industrial Court to award damages of one billion naira for wrongful termination and breach of contract, court documents seen by TechCabal show.

He is also asking for ₦250 million in special and general damages, ₦150 million in compensation for infringement of his fundamental rights, and  ₦10 million as the cost of legal proceedings.

Alternatively, Adekanye, 52, asked the court to compel NIBSS to “pay him the full amount of salaries, allowances, and other emoluments that he would have earned on the unexpired remaining years upon attainment of 60 years.” He also prayed the court to mandate NIBSS to pay him 2% of its  profit before tax declared for 2023 and “other entitlements applicable to the claimant in the circumstances.” 

At the heart of his lawsuit is the claim that he was wrongfully fired after sharing concerns internally about “serious financial misappropriation, corporate governance, and fraud” at NIBSS, the industry-owned operator of the Nigeria Central Switch

The allegations of financial impropriety and fraud at NIBSS will raise serious concerns about the integrity of Nigeria’s financial system. 

“We respect the judicial process and believe it is essential to allow the legal process to take its course without interference or speculation,” a spokesperson for NIBSS said via email.

“The referenced case in the National Industrial Court is not founded on any crime but what the Claimant perceives as an unlawful termination.”

Per court filings, Adekanye alleged fraudulent activity connected to Afrigo, a domestic card scheme launched in 2023, and NQR, a platform for QR-code payments. He also raised similar concerns about a cloud migration project. 

The former chief risk officer told the court that he requested information on the company’s financial records and third-party contracts from the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Company Secretary/Head of Legal, and Managing Director, but was denied access. He took his complaints to the board audit and risk committee on November 13, 2023. 

Shortly after, Adekanye was asked to resign and was offered ₦160 million in severance or risk immediate termination of his employment in a meeting with the company’s Head HR, HOD Legal/Company Secretary, Executive Director, Business Development, and CFO on January 15, 2024. His request to review the offer was refused, and eventually, he was fired. The position of Chief Risk Officer was also eliminated within the corporate governance structure of NIBSS. 

“Rather than act swiftly on the concerns raised by him, the defendant [NIBSS] changed its corporate structure and organogram to eliminate the claimant’s [Adekanye] office in a calculated attempt to oust his jurisdiction and stultify his duties as the Chief Risk and Compliance Officer,” the court papers read.

The National Industrial Court has fixed May 20 for the first hearing. 

*Editor’s note: This article has been updated to show that the court has set a date for hearing.

Faith Omoniyi Reporter

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