The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on Tuesday March 13, 2012 arraigned two former managers of United Bank for Africa Plc before a High Court of Delta State sitting in Warri. The two accused persons, Aigbe Akhidenor and Onajite Enaworu were arraigned before Justice Clara Achilefu on a 71 count charge of conspiracy to obtain money by false pretence, stealing and conspiracy to steal contrary to Section 516 of the Criminal Code cap 21, Vol. 1. Laws of Delta State, 2006.
The accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charges. Counsel to EFCC, G. K. Latona then asked the court to remand the accused in prison custody and fix a date for trial. However, Marvel Odiedi, counsel to the first accused person asked the court to grant bail to the accused persons as the offence for which they were arraigned was bailable. He also told the court that the accused persons have been on the administrative bail of the EFCC in the last one year and that they have always made themselves available to EFCC whenever they were needed. He further told the court that the accused persons would make themselves available to face trial. The same argument was canvassed by counsel to the second accused person. He said matter of bail was at the discretion of the court and urged it to exercise its discretion in favour of the accused persons.
However, Latona objected to the court granting bail to the accused persons. He said though granting of bail was at the discretion of the court, it should however be exercised judicially and judiciously. He said the defence counsel has failed to provide any material before the court on which bail can be granted.
He told the court to look at the proof of evidence before it, noting that the offence for which the accused persons were arraigned was grave as it involved fraudulent conversion and diversion of over N500 million. He said the accused persons were liable to 15-20 years imprisonment if convicted.
However, Justice Clara Achilefu in her ruling said she was inclined to granting the accused persons bail. She therefore granted the accused persons bail in the sum of N5 million each with two sureties in like sum. The two sureties must own property within the jurisdiction of the court which will be verified by the court. He also said that the accused persons should deposit there travelling documents with the court.
The two ex-bankers are alleged to have between December 23rd 2009 to July 2010, obtained N500 million from United Bank for Africa Plc on the false pretence that the monies were loan from the bank to different customers.
For instance, in count 4 of the statement of offence, Akhidenor and Enaworu were said to have “on or about the 18th day of May 2010, at Warri within the jurisdiction of the court with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of N70, 360,000 (seventy million three hundred and sixty thousand naira) from United Bank of Africa Plc on the false representation that the money was a loan from the bank to one Isi Akhuewu.”
In count 6, the accused persons were said to have “on or about the 12th day of March 2010 at Warri within the jurisdiction of the court with intent to defraud obtained the sum of N20, 000 (twenty million naira) from United Bank of Africa Plc on the false representation that the money was a loan from the bank to one Ayodeji Ayemere operating under the name and style of Lepski Global Service.”