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EFCC Docks Banker Over N52m Fraud

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ABUJA, July 12, (THWILL) - The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Thursday 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 N52m.

“That you Oluwatoyin Jinadu on or about 25th 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 N20,485,961.13 belonging to one Josephat Okoye and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 287 of the Penal Code Act,” one of the charges read.

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 N52m 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 for the accused. He said the offence for which his client was being accused is bailable, and that the accused person, being a decent working mother, is not likely to jump bail or tamper with the prosecution’s witnesses.

Shoremi maintained that the exercise of bail is purely at the discretion of the court, praying 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 for which the accused was standing trial 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, urging that the bail should be denied.

In her ruling, Justice Banjoko granted the accused bail in the sum of N5m 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 and provide evidence of payment of three years tax.

The sureties are also to deposit their international passports with the court and submit a passport photograph each. The court also directed that the accused be remanded in EFCC custody until the bail conditions are met.