Ex Afribank MD, Sebastian Adigwe, Others Remanded In Prison Over Theft

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A Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has ordered that former Managing Director of Afribank Nigeria Plc, Mr. Sebastian Adigwe and five other executives of the bank be remanded in prison over theft charges pending the determination of their bail application.

The remand order followed their final arraignment today by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over allegation of N65 billion theft.

Adigwe was arraigned alongside Osa Osunde, Jibrin Isah, Isa Zailani, Chinedu Onyia and Henry Arogundade before Justice Olabisi Akinlade on a 36-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and receiving stolen property. 

The EFCC alleged that Adigwe while being the Chief Executive Officer of Afribank conspired with the other accused persons to steal over N87.5 billion belonging to the bank between July 2008 and February 2009.

 The commission alleged that the stolen money was fraudulently converted to the use of AIL Securities Limited, Asset Management Nominees Holding Limited and Falcons Securities Limited belonging to them. 

The accused persons were also alleged to have fraudulently converted two million units of Afribank Shares being property of 1,258 subscribers of Afribank Nigeria Plc shares to the use of South Point Oil and Gas Company. 

The EFCC claims the alleged offences contravene Sections 390(7) and 427 of the Criminal Code Law, Cap 17, Laws of Lagos State, 2003. 

The  six accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the charges. 

After they were arraigned, Adigwe’s counsel, Dr Nnamdi Dimgba urged the court to grant his client bail on grounds that he was facing similar charges at the Federal High Court where he was presently on bail. 

Dimgba in the bail application argued that Adigwe and the other accused persons will not jump bail and urged the court to exercise its discretionary powers in their favour. 

However, EFCC counsel, Mr Sebastine Hon (SAN) opposed the applications filed separately by the lawyers to the accused persons and prayed the court not to grant them bail.

 Hon said: “the mere fact that an offence is bailable does not mean bail should be granted as a matter of course. It is granted based on Your Lordship’s discretion. 

“The affidavit and evidence are bereft of facts that would enable Your Lordship to exercise your discretion and we asked that the applications be dismissed.” 

Akinlade, after hearing arguments from all the counsel, ordered the former bank executives to be remanded in EFCC custody pending the ruling on their bail applications fixed for 9 June.

By Henry Ojelu