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Seven persons including two women were on Wednesday brought before a Minna Magistrates’ Court charged with defrauding LAPO Microfinance Bank of N5.2 million.

The accused are Ibrahim Abdulkareem, Taofeek Abdulkareem, Umar Alhassan, Karim Jimoh, Ramatu Abdul, Lateef Abiodun and Sherifat Ismaila.

They are standing trial on five counts of criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, criminal misappropriation, cheating and criminal intimidation.

The Police Prosecutor, Insp. Emmanuel Bassa, told the court that Mr Iyari Israel, the Manager of LAPO Microfinance Bank, Minna, reported the case at the State Criminal Investigations Department on April 28.

Bassa alleged that the accused conspired and collected N5.2 million from the organisation as officials of different co-operative societies.

According to him, the accused obtained the loans under the pretext of investing the money in agriculture and other businesses.

“During investigations, 126 LAPO savings passbooks issued to their members were recovered from Ibrahim while Karim threatened to kill a LAPO staff.”

The offences contravened Sections 97, 312, 309, 322 and 397 of the Penal Code.

They all pleaded not guilty and their lawyer, Mr Zubairu Shehu, applied for their bails.

In his ruling, Magistrate Hassan Mohammed, granted them bail in the sum of N500, 000 each with a surety each in like sum.

He said the sureties must be resident within the court’s jurisdiction and adjourned the case until May 28.

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