15th July, 2012
Justice C. O. Ogisi of the Delta State High Court, Asaba has ordered that five suspected fraudsters be remanded in prison custody.
The suspects are Nwakaego Oke, a nursing mother; Wilson Nwajei, Collins Monday Ehiedu, Habib Momoh and Olakunle Abiodun, all managers of the United Bank of Africa, Agbor branch.
Their remand was sequel to their arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on an eight count charge of stealing and obtaining money by false pretence.
They are alleged to have stolen N55 million of depositors’ fund, an offence contrary to section 390 of the Criminal Code Cap 17, Vol 2 Laws of Delta State of Nigeria.
The five accused persons pleaded not guilty to the 8 count when read to them. Thereafter, counsel to EFCC, Kayode Oni asked the court to remand the accused persons in prison and fix a date for trial.
However, attempts by counsel to the 3rd accused person to make an oral application for bail on the basis that she was a nursing mother was rejected by the judge who castigated the lawyer for not doing the proper thing by way of filing an application for bail. Justice Ogisi dismissed the defence counsel attempt to wipe up emotions that the 3rd accused person’s child was less than 3 months old.
She posited that there was no sentiment in law and that she was not a sentimental person. “File your application. No sentiment. I am not a sentimental person once I am on this seat,” she said.
She therefore ordered that all the accused persons be remanded in prison custody and adjourned to September 26, 2012 for trial.
The five managers who are now suspended from the bank, were arrested following a petition from the UBA to the EFCC in which the bank alleged that some of its staff in Agbor Business office converted several customers’ funds meant for Fixed Deposit to personal use and issued fake deposit certificate to depositors.
They were also said to have dubiously booked temporary overdraft on the accounts of customers and subsequently converted the funds for their personal use.
For the duo of Wilson Nwajei and Collins Monday Ehiedu who were further alleged to have siphoned over N50 million from depositors accounts, more trauma was to follow as they were both arraigned on a separate 26 count charge before Justice C. O. Ogisi.
The duo, Business Manager and Relationship Manager respectively, of UBA, Agbor Branch, were said to have obtained over N50 million fraudulently from the bank. The two, at various times, converted customers deposit meant to be saved in fixed deposit, to their personal use.
For instance, Nwajei and his co-traveler were said to have fraudulently converted the sum of N4 million property of United Bank of Africa by booking a temporary overdraft on the account of one Dick Royal Limited without the customer’s consent and fraudulently collected the sum from one Dickson M. Idah, the managing director of the company under the guise that the money was wrongly credited to the said account.
In one of the charge, Ehiedu was said to have “on or about the 8th Day of November 2010 at Agbor defrauded and fraudulently converted the sum of N1,077,716 belonging to one David Mike, money he received from a depositor to be saved in a fixed deposit account and diverted same for person use”.
Nwajei, 37, a graduate of Engineering from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka joined the bank in 2001 as marketer.
He became the Agbor branch manager in 2009.
Ehiedu, a graduate of Edo State University, joined the then Standard Trust Bank, which later metamorphosed into UBA, in 2004.
In his confessional statement with the EFCC, Ehiedu admitted thus.
“Some of these funds were supposed to have been fixed. I invested in a forex business of about fifteen million (15 million). It was invested with Sye Capital Ventures Abuja… this was customer’s money meant for fixed deposit of which I have been paying interest on.
“The sum total which I defrauded UBA is forty eight million and eighty one thousand naira only. I did some investment that failed and promises are there that they will pay me when they start up properly.”