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EFCC Narrates How Customer Lose N1.8bn in Sterling Bank Plc Care

Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, commence trial against a Sterling Bank Plc official over N1.8bn alleged fraud

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The eagle eye of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has caught up with a banker working for Sterling Bank Plc over N1.8bn alleged fraud.

An official of the bank, Ifeanyichukwu Shallom Isituah and a businessman, Ighodaro Austin Osaretin was alleged to steal the sum of N1,790,558,000 belonging to a customer of the bank, Wells Procurement Limited with account number – 0016798848.

The matter has since been dragged to court after thorough investigation by the anti graft agency.

An EFCC Investigator, Adamu Mohammed, told Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, that the agency received a petition with reference No: SB/IAG/12/EFCC/011 duly signed by the Head IT and Head Intelligence and Investigation on behalf of Sterling Bank.

Mohammed, who works with the Team C Cybercrime department of the EFCC, while testifying on oath, said that the petitioner alleged that a customer’s bank account was profiled via internet banking and the said sum was diverted to various individuals and companies.

While led in evidence by the prosecutor, N. M. Anana, the witness testified that preliminary investigation by the bank revealed that the second defendant’s profile, Isituah, a female, was used to initiate the account on internet banking and more than 24 accounts got the same amount of money.

Also Read: Alleged N111.5billion Revenue Fraud Reports Indicts Zenith Bank

“Investigation letters were sent to FCMB, Zenith, First Bank, Fidelity Bank and Access Bank. Responses were received from the banks and the statement of accounts were analysed and the analysis revealed that most of the company’s accounts the money was transferred to were BDC (Bureau de Change) operators.

“Some of them reside in Abuja, Kaduna and there was one address that we suspected to live in Lagos, Ndifreke Roberts. But all efforts to trace the address of Kaduna, Lagos and Abuja suspects did not yield any information to help the commission get them.

“On March 10, 2020, the DSS handed over the two defendants to the commission under the instruction of the AGF (attorney-general of the Federation) for further investigation. The two defendants’ statements were voluntarily taken under caution.

“The first defendant revealed that he has a company called Universal Agriculture Empowerment Initiative as an NGO which received the sum of sixty million naira as part of the transfer from that Sterling Bank customer’s account. He further stated that the money was received from one Osaretin (second defendant) and transferred to his account as a donation.

“That he introduced one of his friends who is the owner of Villavon International School who also received one hundred million naira from the said fraud.

“He further stated that he called a BDC in the name of Damo who owns Damoo Ten Ventures. Damo was invited to the commission and he volunteered a statement that the first defendant contacted him and he transferred sixty million naira to various accounts and further instructed the owner of the International School to transfer ninety-five million naira.

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“The dollar equivalent was received in cash by the first defendant. The first defendant further stated that the money was used at IDP camps around the country. I cannot remember the specific location but he mentioned a place in Borno and Adamawa, the witness said.

However, during cross examination by the defence lawyer, A. Okenile, the EFCC operative said that Sterling Bank gave the commission the information that the second defendant profiled the account for the alleged fraud.

When asked what links the second defendant to the alleged fraud, Mohammed said, “the offence was committed at Sterling Bank and it was reported. The offence took place during a public holiday and the bank realized it on December 28. The accounts of the customer we are talking about has never been profiled for internet banking. So we had to understand how it was transferred, which was through internet banking.

“The bank said the account doesn’t have internet banking access and it was a staff that did it and the second defendant’s profile was used to connect the account to internet banking. Without that profiling money cannot be transferred from that account.

“Even when the bank tried to contact her, she ran away. She was nowhere to be found. Not until the Department of State Services (DSS) traced, arrested her and handed her over to the commission”.

The matter was further adjourned till October 19 for continuation of trial.

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Top Court News is a product of a dedicated Journalist, owner of I-Wahab Media The Publisher started his Journalism career with Murhi International TV, MiTV in 2003 before working with Radio Nigeria, Lagos Operation, as a Judicial Correspondent. He is presently the Chairman of the National Association of Judicial Correspondent, NAJUC, Ikeja Branch and he is the Vice Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalist, NUJ, Radio Nigeria Chapel. topcourtnewsng.com is out to serve you with informative and educative News in the Judiciary sector. To put an end to the under reported activities of the sector among the three arms of government

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Mbonu’s Trial: Stop Acting As a Debt Recovery Agency; Court Tells EFCC

The judge held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and similar bodies should not act as a debt recovery agency.

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An Ikeja Special Offences Court has discharged and acquitted a couple, Austin and Nnenna Mbonu, charged with N32.5 million fraud.

Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo gave the judgement on the premise that the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the defendants committed fraud under false pretence.

The judge held that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and similar bodies should not act as a debt recovery agency.

The judge urged the complainant and all parties involved, should proceed to a civil court for settlement.

Also Read: Chrisland Sex-tape Saga: Police Arraigns Four Teachers

She held that false pretence had not been proven as there was enough evidence that the defendants applied for a loan for their legitimate business.

The EFCC counsel, Mr Godsent Akhanolu, held a brief for Mr Nkeruwem Anana, who had been transferred to another State.

The EFCC, had on Jan. 24, 2018, arraigned the the couple alongside their companies, Global Steno Nigeria Ltd. and Nestins Global Links Ltd.

They were arraigned on a 20-count charge bordering on conspiracy, forgery and obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of N32.5 million in which they pleaded not guilty.

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Cryptocurrency Trader, Shola Henry, Bags Two Years Imprisonment For Stealing

The judge held that the defence was able to prove that the convict was paying his clients when the market was good until after it became unpredictable.

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An Ikeja Special Offences Court, has sentenced a cryptocurrency trader, Shola Henry, to two years imprisonment for stealing N18.460 million belonging to a businessman.

Delivering judgment in the matter, Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo gave the convict an option of fine in the sum of N2 million.

The convict was arraigned on an amended seven-count charge bordering on obtaining money under false pretences and stealing brought against him and his company, Henry Enterprise Concept by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The court discharged the convict of count one to six bordering on obtaining money by false pretences.

He was however convicted on count, bordering on stealing by fraudulent conversion.

Read Also: Alleged Bank Fraud: Court Adjourns For Final Written Addresses

Justice Taiwo held that the business of cryptocurrency operates in an unpredictable environment.

The judge held that the defence was able to prove that the convict was paying his clients when the market was good until after it became unpredictable.

She however held that the convict was liable to refund the money deposited to him for the cryptocurrency business by the depositor whether or not he is making money from the transaction.

In his allocutus, the defence counsel, Mr Adeola Onikosi prayed the court to temper justice with mercy and for non-custodial sentences.

Onikosi told the court that the convict was a first time offender and has kids who depend on him.

But the prosecutor Ahmed Yerima disagreed with the defence saying that the convict was a second time offender.

Also Read: Court Finds Medical Doctor Guilty of Possessing Forged Documents

Yerima prayed the court to order the convict to make restitution to the nominal complainant and for forfeiture of items recovered from him.

Justice Taiwo, after considering the allocutus of the defence counsel and submission of the prosecution, convicted and sentenced the convict as charged.

Justice Taiwo also ordered the convict and his company, Henry Enterprise Concept to make restitution to the nominal complainant in the sum of N18.450 million within the next six months.

She in addition ordered that the convict’s iPhone be forfeited to the Federal Government.

During trial, the prosecution called five witnesses to prove his case against the convict.

The petitioner, a businessman who testified as one of the witnesses, had told the court that he met the defendant through someone, who convinced him that the defendant could help make such mouth-watering returns on investment.

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He told the court that afterwards, at different times he transferred money to the defendant totalling N18,450,000.

He said the defendant gave returns about two times but afterwards began to default in payment of returns until he declined to refund the capital investment as previously promised.

The defendant, the witness alleged, later reduced returns from 20 per cent to 10 per cent, yet he did not get any returns, neither did he get his initial investment back.

In his defence, the convict claimed that he was into cryptocurrency business but that he was just an agent and not the actual trader.

He had claimed in his testimony that he was unable to give returns on investment “due to a crash in Bitcoin”, arguing that the cryptocurrency crashed sometime in 2018.

He had claimed that one Abiodun Semawon Henry, his brother who he could not tell the court of his whereabouts was the lead trader.

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Court Orders Stoppage of Construction on Alade Market

Justice Raliat Adebiyi who presides over the application ordered that all parties cease further construction or activities on the property subject matter, Alade Market situate at Obafemi Awolowo way, Allen Avenue Roundabout, Ikeja

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A Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja has ordered the Executive Chairman of Messrs Masters Reality International Concepts Ltd, to stop construction on Alade Market, Allen Avenue, pending the determination of the suit before it.

In a Suit No: Id/7894/19 filed by Gbenga Ajala of Wiseview Chamber as a counsel to Mrs. Adenike Isiba-kasali, Chief Ligali Adebayo Isiba and Mr. Saheed Adogoke Isiba, who appeared for themselves and as representatives of the Alli Isiba family of Itire filed an interlocutory injunction over the market.

The order also affected Ikeja Local Government from further adjudicating over the Alade Market.

Justice Raliat Adebiyi who presides over the application ordered that all parties cease further constitution or activities on the property subject matter situate at Alade Village Obafemi Awolowo way, Ikeja

In granting the Statement of Claim dated 26th October 2021, instituted by representatives of the
Alli Isiba Family of Itire, the judge ordered that pending the hearing and determination of the Motion on Notice for interlocutory Injunction, all parties should stop work on the said site.

The judge subsequently adjourned till 11th day of October, 2022 for parties to appear for hearing.

The Alli Isiba family of Itire filed the application pursuant to Order 38, Rule 8 and Order 39, Rule 3 and 8 of the Lagos State (Civil Procedure Rules) 2012.

Earlier during the proceedings, Mr. Gbenga Ajala of Wiseview Chamber said that the application which is supported by a 29 paragraph affidavit deposed to by the head of the Alli Isiba Family, is asking court to determine whether given the circumstances of the case it is not just and equitable that an order of interlocutory injunction be made restraining the defendants from further trespassing on the land of the family at Alade Village, Ikeja, Lagos State, and covered by a Deed of Conveyance dated 23rd September, 1977 and registered as No. 61, at Page 61, in Volume 1657 in the Register of Deeds in the Land Registry, Ikeja, pending the determination of this suit.

While counsel to Ikeja Local Government informed the court that his client who contracted the service of Messrs Masters Reality International Concepts Ltd to develop the Alade Market has withdrawn contract agreement with him and henceforth he doesn’t represent the Local Government interest in the Market.

After entertaining submissions of counsel, the judge subsequently ordered Messrs Masters Reality International Concepts Ltd to stop construction and withdraw services

 

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