N15b alleged fraud: Court grants bail to Briton, ex-Gulf Bank MD

By The Citizen
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A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday granted bail in the sum of N200 million each to a Briton, Gareth Wilcox and Johnson Adebami, charged with N15 billion fraud.

Wilcox, a former Managing Director of Ibom Power Company and LYK Engineering Company, is standing trial alongside Adebami, former Managing Director, defunct Gulf Bank Plc, on a 21-count charge bordering on alleged fraud.

Also charged with the accused are, former legal adviser to the bank, Uche Uwechia, Ibom Power Company and LYK Engineering Company, owned by Wilcox.

Ruling on the bail application, the trial judge, Justice Mohammed Yunusa, granted Wilcox and Adebami bail in the sum of N200 million each, with two sureties each in like sum.

The judge ruled that each of the sureties must possess landed property within the jurisdiction of the court, with two years tax clearance certificate and must also depose to an affidavit of means.

He also ordered Wilcox and Adebami to deposit their international passports with the court, with an undertaking not to travel outside the country, unill the suit has been determined.

Meanwhile, Yunusa granted the third accused, (Uwechia), bail in the sum of N100 million with two sureties in like sum, who must also possess landed property within the court’s jurisdiction, and exhibit two years tax clearance certificate.

The judge also ordered the accused to deposit his passport with the court, and undertake to stay in the country, untill the suit is determined.

He then adjourned the case to Feb. 26, 2014 for trial.

The accused were arraigned on Dec. 23, and had pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The judge had however, ordered that they be remanded at the Special Anti-Fraud Unit, pending the determination of their bail.

The counsel representing the accused had on Dec. 27 moved their applications for bail while the court had reserved its judgment on the bail application.

In the charge, the accused were alleged to have converted over N15 billion from the defunct bank, under the guise of granting loans and overdraft facilities to various companies, without appropriate accounting records.

They were alleged to have converted and appropriated a total of 55.3million dollars and over N3.7 billion belonging to the bank.

Part of the money was also alleged to have been used to finance a non-existing refinery, while the others were converted to personal use.

The alleged offence is said to contravene the provisions of section 390 of the Criminal Code, Cap A6, Laws of the Federation, 2006.