The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC on Thursday 12th July, 2012 arraigned a former banker with First City Monument Bank Plc, Oluwatoyin Jinadu before Justice Adebunkola Banjoko of the FCT High Court on a 20 count charge of forgery and theft of customers funds to the tune of N52, 000,000.00 (Fifty two million naira).
One of the charges reads: “That you Oluwatoyin Jinadu on or about the 25th day of February 2010 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court, while working as a staff of First City Monument Bank stole the sum of Twenty Million Four Hundred and Eighty Five Thousand Nine Hundred and Sixty One Naira, thirteen kobo (20,485,961.13) belonging to one Josephat Okoye and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 287 of the Penal Code Act”.
Trouble started for Jinadu when a petition was sent to the EFCC alleging that as account officer to Dr. D. K. Okoye in the Wuse 2 Branch of the FCMB, Abuja, she fraudulently transferred N52 Million from Dr. Okoye’s account without his knowledge or consent, into accounts in Zenith Bank, GTBank and Union Bank.
Prosecution counsel, Samson Ugwegbulam, had sought leave of the court for the 20 count criminal charge to be read to the accused and a plea entered, which was granted. But the accused pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Ugwegbulam then asked the court for a date for the commencement of trial. But the defence counsel, Deji Shoremi, told the court that he was ready to move the bail application in respect of the accused. He told the court that the offence for which his client is being accused is bail able and the accused person being a decent working mother is not likely to jump bail or tamper with the prosecution’s witnesses.
Shoremi who maintained that the exercise of bail is purely at the discretion of the court, prayed the court to exercise its discretion in favour of his client.
In objecting to the bail application, Ugwegbulam cited the authority of the Supreme Court ruling in Bamaiyi Vs State where the apex court held that “in considering issues of bail, a court must take into cognizance the severity of punishment ascribed to the alleged crime and the proof of evidence attached”.
He told the court that the alleged offence the accused is standing trial for carries a minimum sentence of 14 years imprisonment under Section 364 of the Penal Code Act. Ugwegbulam also referred to the overwhelming evidence contained in the proof of evidence before the court and urged that bail should be denied.
In her ruling, Justice Banjoko granted the accused bail in the sum of N5 Million with two sureties in like sum. She said that the sureties must be gainfully employed and resident in Abuja with evidence of residency provided. They are to depose to an affidavit of means, provide evidence of payment of three years tax. The sureties who are also to deposit their international passports with the court are to submit a passport photograph each. The court also directed that the accused be remanded in EFCC custody until the bail conditions are met.
Justice Banjoko then adjourned proceedings to 15th October, 2012 for the commencement of trial.
Also, Justice A. S. Dahiru of Sokoto State High Court has sentenced a former Director of Sokoto South Local Government, Mr. Kassimu Jibo, who was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on a three-count charge bordering on Advance Fee Fraud, to twenty-one years in prison.
Jibo’s conviction followed a petition to the Commission in December 2008 by one Mr. Bulus, who alleged that the convict, as director in the Sokoto South Local Government, told him that he had some tractors to sell under the state government agric scheme, and in the process defrauded him to the tune of Three million, Two hundred Thousand Naira, (N3.2 million).
Unknown to Bulus that it was fraud, he then contacted another Alhaji Tijjani, an agric inputs supplier in Kano and the latter made available the initial sum of two million naira for two tractors through Bulus to the convict. After a while, he deceived the complainant by demanding and receiving additional one million two hundred thousand, which he said his Permanent Secretary demanded.
In her judgment, Dahiru who is the Chief Judge of the state said that the fact that the convict had refunded the sum of N1.5m of the money is an admission of culpability. She averred that the accused knew he had no tractors to sell but canvassed for buyers and deceitfully showed Bulus a compound along Koko road in Sokoto where tractors were stocked in order to convince his victim he had tractors to sell.
She therefore found the accused guilty of the three count charge and sentenced him to seven years imprisonment on each count. But the sentence is to run concurrently. The court also directed that the convict should refund the sum of N1.7m to Alhaji Tijjani as restitution.