Ex-Union Bank MD, 4 Others Re-Arraigned

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The former Managing Director of Union Bank, Batholomew Bassey Ebong, and five others, namely, Henry Onyemeni, former Managing Director of Union Securities, Peter Ololo, a stock broker and his company, Falcon Securities, Samuel Ayiwola, a former director of the bank and a businessman, Henry Olaolu, who have been standing trial before a Federal High Court in Lagos 2009 on offences bordering on financial crime were this morning re-arraigned before the court.

Their re-arraignment was because the charge preferred against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has been amended.

In addition, the former Chief Judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Dan Abutu, who was presiding over the mater has retired.

Consequently, the case was transferred to Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako.

The former Managing Director of Union Bank and Onyemeni were alleged to have recklessly granted loans of about N30.4 billion without security to Falcon Securities in 2007.

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The anti-graft agency also alleged that Peter Ololo and his company used the money they took as loan to purchase shares of Union Bank. While Bassey Ebong and Peter Ololo pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against them, the other accused persons to refused to take their pleas on the ground that they have filed application to challenge the competency of the charge.

As at the time of filing this report, counsel to the accused persons led by two Senior Advocates, Ricky Tarfa and Femi Fagbogbe urged the court to allow the accused persons continue on their former bail.

However, the EFCC counsel, led by Kola Awodein, objected to the application and urged the court to consider fresh application for bail.

In her ruling, Justice Murtala-Nyako re-admitted them on bail based on their former condition while hearing was adjourned till 14 June 2011.

—Akin Kuponiyi

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