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Nib (a.k.a Citibank), Md & Other Key Executives Face Criminal Charges In Nigeria

Source: ukpakareports.com
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Background
Nigeria International Bank (a.k.a Citibank) and its 10 officials are amongst 17 persons standing criminal trial before competent court of law but rather than appear before the Court to present their defense, they resorted to all manner of tactics and arm-twisting to undermine the due administration of justice and to frustrate the taking off of trial in order to prevent the discovery of the truth of the matter by court of law.

Facts of the case
Nigeria International Bank Ltd and her officials lured a luxurious bus transport company known as Micmerah International Agency Ltd (the victim) into fraudulent import facility scheme for the importation of luxury buses. The victim delivered the sum of Two hundred and fifty million naira (N250,000,000.00) to the bank as contribution towards the importation. Given the structure of the transaction, all the import documents were to be sent straight to the bank and thus, the bank had custody of all the documents and arranged for the clearance of the goods upon arrival. The bank further collected the sum of Fifty five million naira (N55,000,000.00) from the victim as money meant for the payment of Customs duty on the imported luxurious buses.

The above payments notwithstanding, the officials of the bank colluded with some clearing agents who are also charged alongside in this matter to clear the goods with forged documents and thereby defrauded the federal Government of Nigeria of due revenue. The bank officials procured and presented a falsely sworn affidavit and police extracts to officers the Nigerian Custom and Excise which were used in the clearance of the goods, which act is an offense under the laws of Nigeria, and which is one of the counts of charges the bank and her officials are facing.

The bank and her officials further uttered forged Custom Revenue Receipts purporting to have paid the custom duty of N55,000,000.00 as import duty for the clearing of the imported goods, thereby defrauding the Federal Government of revenue, evading payment of custom duties. The bank also diverted the said sum of N55,000,000.00 it received from the victim company for the payment of custom duties.

When the Nigeria Customs intercepted the goods upon discovery of the forgery, the bank proceeded to secure the release of the luxury buses, and without reference to the importer (the victim company) sold all the buses and appropriated the entire proceeds to itself. To further incapacitate, intimidate and frustrate the victim company from seeking redress to recover the funds, the bank turned around to claim that the victim company was owing it and all this, to ensure that the victim company got no value whatsoever for its N250,000,000.00 and N55,000,000.00.

Intrigues to frustrate trial & undermine Rule of Law

The matter came up for arraignment and plea before the Federal High Court 2, Abuja on 7th July 2009. The bank through its Counsel, the firm of Chief Afe Babalola, SAN filed a preliminary objection on the morning the matter came up to block the taking off of the trial. On that day, the bank and all its officials charged in the matter deliberately absented themselves from court. The learned trial Judge rightly insisted that in a criminal matter, the accused persons must be present in court, even if their Counsel intended to raise a preliminary objection. The court then directed that all the accused persons must be present in court on the next adjournment which was September 21st, 2009 at their instance.

Immediately the matter was adjourned, the bank on July 21st, 2009 through its lawyers petitioned to the Honorable Chief Judge of the Federal High Court for a transfer of the case from Abuja to Lagos, where the bank believed it would have some advantage and leverage. The case was transferred to Lagos at the request and instance of the bank, yet, the bank and all its officials refused to appear before the court for plea to be taken and for them to argue any objection they claim to have to the charge. Since then, the bank has done everything to undermine the administration of justice and to despise the rule of law and to display outright contempt and disdain for the court by defiant refusal to appear before the court of law to take plea in a criminal matter.

On November 17th, 2009, the Judge refused application for Bench Warrant against the accused persons but issued criminal summons, commanding the bank and her officials to appear in court for arraignment on the next adjourned date being December 8th, 2009. On the said December 8th, 2009, the bank and its officials again defied the court and refused to appear before the court. The court issued Bench Warrants against the absentee bank and its officials.

When the Police went to execute the Bench Warrants at the bank's premises in Lagos, the bank officials physically blocked the Police and used their contacts in high places to prevent the due execution of a court order.

As part of their strategy to derail justice and rule of law, the bank filed several interlocutory appeals to the Court of Appeal against every ruling of the court. When the honorable court held that the reading of the charge ought to precede the preliminary objection, the bank filed an interlocutory appeal. The bank followed these appeals with several interlocutory applications to create bottle necks in the trial. The bank also filed a motion from stay of execution of the order of bench warrant. All these appeals and applications are pending before the Court of Appeal, Lagos and are being used by the bank to block the Federal High Court for arraignment and argument of their preliminary objection after the charge has been read.


Dangerous Precedent
The bank has petitioned the Presidency with subtle blackmail by reference to foreign investments and urged that there is no basis for the charges against the bank in court. The bank ought to realize that a dangerous precedent would be set if every person charged with an offense (criminal offense in this case) before a court of law can stay away in his home or office and determine that the case against him lacks merit without following the procedure for challenging a criminal charge in court.

The bank is a mere business outfit like several others and must submit itself to the laws of this country and several other countries where it operates. Recently, Managing Directors and Chairmen of bigger banks have been arraigned in the court of law and heavens have not fallen.

Excepts of The charges
For lack of space, we are reproducing some of the 20 count charges;

IN THE FEDERAL HIGH COURT OF NIGERIA IN THE ABUJA JUDICIAL DIVISION HOLDEN AT ABUJA

CHARGE NO: FHC/ABJ/CR/122/09
BETWEEN:
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA ….(COMPLAINANT)
AND:
1. NIGERIA INTERNATIONAL BANK LTD (CITIBANK)
2. CHIEF C.S. SANKEY - CHAIRMAN, NIGERIA INTERNATIONAL BANK (NIB)

3. EMEKA EMUWA – MANAGING DIRECTOR, NIB
4. PETER H. HARRIS – FORMER MANAGING DIRECTOR,NIB

5. ADEKUNLE OLADOSUN – MANAGER, RISK MANAGEMENT,NIB

6. OKECHI EMEKA EGWU – MANAGER, TRADE & SERVICES,NIB

7. LULU NDUBUKA – ASST. MANAGER, TRADE & SERVICES,NIB

8. KABIRU BELLO – LEGAL OFFICER,NIB
9. J. E. ERIAGBON – STAFF, CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA

10. MRS. OLASOLA FAGBURE – SECRETARY/LEGAL ADVISER,NIB

11. SAMSON EBIE – MANAGER,NIB
12. STEVE OBODOMECHINE – SECURITY ADVISER, NIB
13. MIKKY DONS NIGERIA LTD
14. MARK ANAELE
15. CHIEF ARIYO OYOWOLE ODUNALA
16. PETER BAMIDELE
17. OBIANWA CHUBA………………ACCUSED PERSONS

Count 1:
That you, Nigeria International bank Ltd (formerly CITIBANK), Chief C. S. Sankey “m”, Emeka Emuwa “m”, Peter H. harris “m”, Adekunle Oladosun “m”, Oluchi Emeka Egwu “f”, Lulu Ndubuka “f”, Kabiru Bello “m”, all of No. 1 Idowu taylor street Victoria island Lagos on or about the 31st day of January, 2001 at Lagos State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria did conspire to commit an offense to wit: to induce Micmerah International Agency Limited, by means of false pretenses and with intent to defraud, to deliver to yourselves the sum of about Two hundred and fifty million naira (N250,000,000.00) as money intended to be used for offsetting a fraudulent import finance facility scheme and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 8(a) of the Advance fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offenses Act CAP A6, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under the section 1(3) of the said Act.

Count 2:
That you, Nigeria International bank Ltd (formerly CITIBANK), Chief C. S. Sankey “m”, Emeka Emuwa “m”, Peter H. harris “m”, Adekunle Oladosun “m”, Oluchi Emeka Egwu “f”, Lulu Ndubuka “f”, Kabiru Bello “m”, all of No. 1 Idowu taylor street Victoria island Lagos on or about the 31st day of January, 2001 at Lagos State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria did conspire to commit an offense to wit: to induce Micmerah International Agency Limited, by means of false pretenses and with intent to defraud, to deliver to yourselves the sum of about Two hundred and fifty million naira (N250,000,000.00) under the guise of being used for offsetting the purported import finance facility, and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 1(1)(a) of advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offenses Act CAP a6 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under the section 1(3) of the Act

Count 3:
That you, Nigeria International bank Ltd (formerly CITIBANK), Chief C. S. Sankey “m”, Emeka Emuwa “m”, Peter H. harris “m”, Adekunle Oladosun “m”, Oluchi Emeka Egwu “f”, Lulu Ndubuka “f”, Kabiru Bello “m”, all of No. 1 Idowu taylor street Victoria island Lagos and J. E Eriagbon of the Central Bank of Nigeria on or about the 31st day of January, 2001 at Lagos State within the jurisdiction of Federal High Court conspired to commit an offense to wi: to induce Micmerah International agency Ltd by means of false pretense and with intent to defraud, to deliver the sum of Fifty five million naira (N55,000,000.00) to Mikky Dons Nigeria Ltd being money meant for payment of Customs Duty on four Volvo Luxurious buses and two 40-feet containers imported into Nigeria by the said Micmerah International Agency Ltd and thereby committed an offense contrary to section 8(a) of the advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offenses act CAP A6 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under section 1(3) of the said Act.

Count 4:
That you, Nigeria International bank Ltd (formerly CITIBANK), Chief C. S. Sankey “m”, Emeka Emuwa “m”, Peter H. harris “m”, Adekunle Oladosun “m”, Oluchi Emeka Egwu “f”, Lulu Ndubuka “f”, Kabiru Bello “m”, all of No. 1 Idowu taylor street Victoria island Lagos on or about the 31st day of January, 2001 at Lagos State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria did conspire to commit an offense to wit: to induce Micmerah International Agency Limited, by means of false pretenses and with intent to defraud, to deliver the sum of Fifty Five million naira (N55,000,000.00) to Mikky dons Nigeria Ltd being money meant for the payment of Customs Duty on four Volvo Luxurious buses and two 40 feet containers imported into Nigeria by the said Micmerah International Agency Ltd but fraudulently diverted by you and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 1(1)(b) of Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offenses act CAP A6 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under section 1(3) of the said Act.

Count 5:
That you, Nigeria International bank Ltd (formerly CITIBANK), Chief C. S. Sankey “m”, Emeka Emuwa “m”, Peter H. harris “m”, Adekunle Oladosun “m”, Oluchi Emeka Egwu “f”, Lulu Ndubuka “f”, Kabiru Bello “m”, all of No. 1 Idowu taylor street Victoria island Lagos between the month of April and August, 2003 at Lagos, Lagos State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria did commit an offense to wit: knowingly falsified an affidavit purported to have been sworn to by one Tawa Ibikunle on the 11th of April 2003 before Lagos State High Court of Justice for the purpose of fraudulently effecting the release of four Volvo Luxurious buses and two 40-feet containers from Nigeria Customs and Excise department and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 162(a0 of the Customs and Excise Management act and punishable under the same section of the Act.

Count 6:
That you, Nigeria International bank Ltd (formerly CITIBANK), Chief C. S. Sankey “m”, Emeka Emuwa “m”, Peter H. harris “m”, Adekunle Oladosun “m”, Oluchi Emeka Egwu “f”, Lulu Ndubuka “f”, Kabiru Bello “m”, all of No. 1 Idowu taylor street Victoria island Lagos between the month of April and August, 2003 at Lagos, Lagos State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria did commit an offense to wit: knowingly presented untrue documents namely; falsely sworn affidavit dated 11th April 2003 and fraudulently obtained Police extracts to officers of the Nigeria Custom and excise department as document produced for purpose of Customs and Excise, and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 161(1)(a) of the Customs and Excise Management Act and punishable under the same Section 161(3) of the same Act.

Count 7:
That you, Nigeria International bank Ltd (formerly CITIBANK), Chief C. S. Sankey “m”, Emeka Emuwa “m”, Peter H. harris “m”, Adekunle Oladosun “m”, Oluchi Emeka Egwu “f”, Lulu Ndubuka “f”, Kabiru Bello “m”, all of No. 1 Idowu taylor street Victoria island Lagos between the month of April and August, 2003 at Lagos, Lagos State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria did commit an offense to wit: knowingly used a falsified affidavit to effect the release of four Volvo Luxurious buses and two 40-feet containers from Nigeria Customs and Excise department and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 162(b) of the Customs and Excise Management act and punishable under the same section of the Act.

Count 8
That you, Nigeria International bank Ltd (formerly CITIBANK), Chief C. S. Sankey “m”, Emeka Emuwa “m”, Peter H. harris “m”, Adekunle Oladosun “m”, Oluchi Emeka Egwu “f”, Lulu Ndubuka “f”, Kabiru Bello “m”, all of No. 1 Idowu taylor street Victoria island Lagos and Mikky Don Nigeria Ltd of 32/33 Rail Line Iponri, Ebute Metta; Mark Anaele “m” of Plot No: 1332B, 303, 3rd Avenue Festac Lagos; Chief Ariyo Oyowole Odunala “m” of Akure Road Iju Ajuwan Agege, Lagos; Peter Bamildele Oriade “m” of No. 9 Fagba Street Iju Agege Lagos and Obianwa Chuba “m' of No. 10 Aadeyemi street Okokomiako Lagos on or about 31st day January 2001 at Lagos State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria made forged documents; namely Union Bank of Nigeria Plc (Customs Revenue Receipts) numbers CRR: 092802, 092803, 092804, 09805 and 092700 for the sum of Fifty five million naira only (N55,000,000.00) knowing it to be false and with intent that it may be acted upon as genuine and also to defraud Micmerah International Agency Ltd and the Federal Government of Nigeria and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 1(2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offenses Act CAP M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under the said section and under section 3(1) and (2) of the said Act.

Count 9
That you, Nigeria International bank Ltd (formerly CITIBANK), Chief C. S. Sankey “m”, Emeka Emuwa “m”, Peter H. harris “m”, Adekunle Oladosun “m”, Oluchi Emeka Egwu “f”, Lulu Ndubuka “f”, Kabiru Bello “m”, all of No. 1 Idowu taylor street Victoria island Lagos and Mikky Don Nigeria Ltd of 32/33 Rail Line Iponri, Ebute Metta; Mark Anaele “m” of Plot No: 1332B, 303, 3rd Avenue Festac Lagos; Chief Ariyo Oyowole Odunala “m” of Akure Road Iju Ajuwan Agege, Lagos; Peter Bamildele Oriade “m” of No. 9 Fagba Street Iju Agege Lagos and Obianwa Chuba “m' of No. 10 Aadeyemi street Okokomiako Lagos on or about 31st day January 2001 at Lagos State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria made forged documents; uttering forged documents, namely Union Bank of Nigeria Plc (Customs Revenue Receipts) numbers CRR: 092802, 092803, 092804, 09805 and 092700 for the sum of Fifty five million naira only (N55,000,000.00) knowing it to be false and with intent that it may be acted upon as genuine and also to defraud Micmerah International Agency Ltd and the Federal Government of Nigeria and thereby committed an offense contrary to Section 1(2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offenses Act CAP M17, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under the said section and under section 3(1) and (2) of the said Act.

Count 10
That you, Nigeria International bank Ltd (formerly CITIBANK), Chief C. S. Sankey “m”, Emeka Emuwa “m”, Peter H. Harris “m”, Adekunle Oladosun “m”, Oluchi Emeka Egwu “f”, Lulu Ndubuka “f”, Kabiru Bello “m”, all of No. 1 Idowu taylor street Victoria island Lagos and Mikky Don Nigeria Ltd of 32/33 Rail Line Iponri, Ebute Metta; Mark Anaele “m” of Plot No: 1332B, 303, 3rd Avenue Festac Lagos; Chief Ariyo Oyowole Odunala “m” of Akure Road Iju Ajuwan Agege, Lagos; Peter Bamildele Oriade “m” of No. 9 Fagba Street Iju Agege Lagos and Obianwa Chuba “m' of No. 10 Aadeyemi street Okokomiako Lagos on or about 31st day January 2001 at Lagos State within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court of Nigeria falsified Union Bank of Nigeria Plc (Customs Revenue Receipts) numbers CRR: 092802, 092803, 092804, 09805 and 092700 for the sum of Fifty five million naira only (N55,000,000.00) and thereby committed an offense contrary to section 162(a) of the Customs and excise Management act CAP, C$%, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under the same section of the act.

Conclusion
The bank and its officials are only worried because the matter is being prosecuted professionally with all seriousness and zeal it deserves. If the bank believes in its case, it should have no fears over appearing before the court of law to state its defense or even to argue its preliminary objection after the charge has been read.

We have also unearthed several other atrocities by this same bank and their involvement in shady deals. The Vanguard Newspaper of August 31st 2009 reported that the Nigeria Customs service stopped Citibank along with other eight (8) banks from collecting import duties on its behalf because of shady and sharp practices resulting in loss of several billions of naira by the Federal Government of Nigeria. Also, the daily Independent newspaper of December 19th 2007 reported that the same Citibank was indicted by the Central Bank of Nigeria for five different infractions of banking regulations relating to fraud and forgery.

The right thing for the bank to do is to appear before the court and present its defense instead of seeking intervention from the presidency.

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