Allegations of fraud, stealing: Access Bank, Nigeria Police may settle out of court

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Dr Herbert Wigwe CEO of Access Bank:

Dr Herbert Wigwe, Managing Director of Access Bank Plc

Indication has emerged that Access Bank Nigeria Plc may settle out of court on allegations of stealing and advance fee fraud level against the bank by the Nigeria Police.

The signs for out of court settlement appeared when Justice N. I. Agbelu of Ogun State High Court adjourned the matter till June 18, 2019 for argument on issues of jurisdiction and out of court settlement.

The judge arrived at the decision after listening to Daniel Apochi, the police prosecutor, and counsels to the defendants led by the President of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, Paul Usoro, SAN.

The matter titled “with charge number HCS/OIC/2019” is between the Commissioner of Police in Ogun State, on the one hand, and Herbert Wigwe, Managing Director of Access Bank, Alawode Oluseye, Bayo Adesina and Access Bank Plc as 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants respectively.

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The defendants are charged with 21-count bordering on stealing, advance fee fraud, forgery of bill of lading, among others.

The charges stated, in parts, that “That you Hebert Wigwe, Bayo Adesina and Access Bank Plc on 22 nd day of June, 2017, at the premises of Metal Africa Steel Products Limited, km 16, Ikordu/Sagamu Road, Ewe Jagun, Ohun State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, conspired among yourselves to effect an unlawful purpose to wit: the unlawful and unauthorized sale of 23, 754, 413 metric tones of steel billets, property of BMCE Bank International Plc, without its permission or consent.”

According to the 5th count, the defendants are also accused of obtaining money by false pretences, an offence said to be contrary to Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences of Act Number 14 of 2006.

It would be recalled that the matter is one of the two criminal matters in court that Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister, Chief Don Etiebet, advanced at Federal High Court, Lagos division, where he instituted legal action calling for revocation of the recent acquisition of Diamond by Access Bank.