N700m Fraud: EFCC Arraigns Banker
Nsa Ayi guarded by EFCC operatives. Photo: EFCC
The Nigeria anti-corruption agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal Office, on Monday arraigned one Nsa Ayi before Justice Mojisola Dada of the State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos on an 11-count charge bordering on fraudulent false accounting to the tune of N700, 000, 000.00 (Seven Hundred Million Naira), an offence contrary to Section 335(a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2011.
The defendant, a former Relationship Officer, Coronation Merchant Bank, according to EFCC spokesman, Wilson Uwujaren, allegedly connived with unknown parties to move funds using customers’ electronic instructions meant for investment in the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Bonds, Treasury Bills and Fixed Deposits.
The defendant was also said to have altered instructions and falsified signatures of customers to transfer money into various accounts outside the bank.
One of the counts reads:
“That you, Nsa Ayi, on or about 4th day of February, 2015, being an employee of Coronation Merchant Bank, in Lagos within the Lagos Judicial Division with intent to defraud, falsified account No. 1990000158 belonging to African Alliance Insurance Plc in possession of your employer by debiting the said account to the tune of N172, 076, 712.33, using an instruction which you purported to have been issued by the said African Alliance Insurance Plc.”
Another count reads: “That you, Nsa Ayi, on or about 13th day of January, 2014, being an employee of Coronation Merchant Bank, in Lagos within the Lagos Judicial Division with intent to defraud, falsified account No. 2990001176 belonging to Ogunjemiyo E. Mascot in possession of your employer by debiting the said account to the tune of N4, 277, 000.00, using an instruction which you purported to have been issued by Ogunjemiyo E. Mascot.”
He however, pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him.
In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, Nnemeka Omewa, asked the court for a trial date and also prayed the court to remand the defendant in prison custody.
The defence counsel, B.A. Ayeni, informed the court of a pending application for bail on behalf of his client.
However, in his response, the prosecution counsel, Omewa, opposed the bail application, saying that “he is a flight-risk who had plans to relocate with his entire family to the United States of America last year, if not for the timely response in arresting him by the EFCC.”
Omewa further informed the court that there was no document showing that the defendant’s son was critically ill to warrant him being flown abroad for treatment.
“My Lord, the defendant’s health is very much okay, as he was well fed in the EFCC custody,” the prosecution counsel added.
After listening to both parties, Justice Dada ruled that if the defendant’s son was truly ill and needed medical treatment abroad, the defendant should not be pleading with the court to allow him travel out with his entire family only to treat his son.
“I, therefore, conclude that the defendant is a flight-risk as put before the court by the prosecution.
“There is no guarantee of him coming back to Nigeria, if he had travelled out with his family, despite booking for return tickets,” Justice Dada held.
Consequently, Justice Dada adjourned the case to March 6, 26, 29 and April 16 and 27, 2018 for commencement of trial and remanded the defendant in Kirikiri prison pending the hearing of his bail application.
N1.4bn Fraud: Appeal Court Dismisses Nadabo Energy MD’s Appeal
The Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, has struck out the appeal filed by a suspect, Abubakar Peters, Managing Director, Nadabo Energy Limited, who was charged with N1, 464, 961, 978. 24 (One Billion, Four Hundred and Sixty-four Million, Nine Hundred and Sixty- one Thousand, Nine Hundred and Seventy- eight Naira, Twenty-four Kobo) fraud for being incompetent.
Peters alongside his company, Nadabo Energy Limited, were arraigned on December 10, 2012 before Justice L. Balogun of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos for offences bordering on obtaining money by false pretences, forgery and uttering forged documents to the tune of N1, 464, 961, 978. 24.
They were alleged to have obtained the money from the Federal Government by falsely claiming that it represented the subsidy accruing to them.
The defendants pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to them, thereby setting the stage for their trial.
Since the trial commenced, the respondent has called four witnesses who have so far testified in the case.
The fifth prosecution witness has been giving evidence since June 3, 2015.
However, the appellant filed a motion on notice dated February 22, 2016, seeking the order of the court to recall the four witnesses already discharged.
Also, the appellant urged the court to order the prosecution to produce supplementary information in support of the charge, including all documents made, received or obtained by the EFCC.
The appellant, in the motion on notice, further sought an order directing the complainant to transfer the subject matter of the case to the Attorney-General of the Federation.
The motion on notice was moved on May 24, 2016, but the trial court adjourned ruling to June 8, 2016.
The court subsequently adjourned ruling on the motion on notice, the last being December 13, 2016.
However, on December 6 and 9, 2016, the appellant filed and served two notices of Appeal.
The appellant also on December 19, 2016 filed and served the Record of Appeal.
However, the respondent urged the appellate court to strike out the two notices of appeal, as they were not based on any ruling delivered on December 5, 2016 by the trial court.
The respondent also argued that the appeal was filed in anticipation of the ruling by the trial court.
The respondent also argued that the appellants had already decided the motion for themselves by referring to the respondent as contemnor, when the trial judge was yet to deliver his ruling on their motion on notice dated February 22, 2016.
Consequently, the respondent urged the appellate court to order that the case be transferred to another judge by the Chief Judge of Lagos State so as to be given accelerated hearing by another judge, as it is also one of the prayers of the appellant.
Both the appellant and the respondent adopted their respective briefs of arguments on February 15, 2016.
In a unanimous decision delivered on Monday, the appellate court in a ruling delivered by Justice J.S. Ikegh, upheld the contention of the respondent that the appeal was incompetent and, therefore, struck it out.