Ex-bank staff, spare parts dealer re-arraigned over ‘N66.6 million fraud’

A lawyer walks through the compound at the Federal High Court in Ikoyi district in Lagos, Nigeria, May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Akintunde Akinleye

Men of the Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) yesterday re-arraigned a former banker with First City Monument Bank (FCMB) and an auto spare-parts dealer, Amechi Osita, before a Federal High Court in Lagos over an alleged fraud of N66, 450, 000 million.

Their arraignment was a sequel to the transfer of the matter to a new Judge, Justice Abimbola O. Awogboro, who is hearing the charges against them for the first time.

The two defendants were first arraigned on August 22, 2016, before Justice Abdulaziz Anka, who is now sitting in another jurisdiction of the court.

Following Justice Anka’s transfer, the matter was transferred to Justice Saliu Saidu, who recently retired from the Bench.

At the resumed hearing of yesterday, the prosecutor, Mr Daniel Apochi, urged the court to retake the plea of the defendants since the matter is coming up for the first time before the new Judge.

However, counsel to the defendants, Mr Victor Nwachukwu and Opeyemi Adekoya, did not oppose the application.

Consequently, the court ordered that the charge be read to the defendants for their pleas to be retaken.

Upon reading the charge, the defendants maintained their not-guilty plea.

In her ruling, Justice Awogboro admitted the defendants to bail. and adjourned the matter till November 1 and 2, 2021, for commencement of trial.

PSFU in charge number: FHC/L/339c/2016, alleged that the defendants in or before March 2015, conspired among themselves with one Okoli Chigozie Kingsley (now at large) and fraudulently obtained the sum of N66, 450, 000 million from a company, Logicvantage & Trust Limited, under false presentation that the money will be converted to United States dollars.

They were also alleged to have stolen the said amount after it was converted to $300, 000.

It was gathered that the offences were committed when the first defendant, Seun, was still working as a banker with FCMB, where he secretly and unofficially changed the currencies for the spare parts dealer, Okoli, who is said to be at large.

The PSFU had told the court that the offences contravened Section 1(1)(a)(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences, and Section 15((1)(ii)(3) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2004, as amended.

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