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Eight Bankers In Prison Over N2bn Fraud

For Helping Themselves To Mutilated Naira Notes Meant For Destruction, Eight Bankers Are Now Having A Brief Taste Of Prison

Rotimi Agboluaje, Ibadan

Three employees of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and two staff of Zenith Bank, were yesterday remanded in Agodi Prison, Ibadan for allegedly defrauding the apex bank and Zenith Bank, a total sum of N1,970,568,300.00k They were remanded in prison following their arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), before a Federal High Court, sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State on a 14-count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud and stealing.

The suspects: Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola, Toogun Kayode Philip (All of CBN) and Ajuwon Bolade, Samuel Ogbeide (of Zenith Bank), were arraigned before Justice A. O. Faji. The bankers were alleged to have defrauded the CBN and Zenith Bank Plc respectively. Specifically, the apex bank employees were alleged to have compromised the CBN’s briquetting exercise, by stealing huge sums of mutilated higher denomination naira notes meant to be exchanged for new notes.

The other bankers allegedly acted as accomplices to the crime and also helped themselves to a sizeable chunk of the money. When the charges were read to them, they pleaded not guilty.

Count one of the charge reads:“That you Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola, Toogun Kayode Philip, Onabanjo Oluwamayowa (now at large), Ajunwa Bolade, Samuel Ogbeide And Tijani Olusoga (now at large) between 2011 and 2012 in Ibadan, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, with intent to defraud, conspired amongst yourselves to commit an offence to wit: inducing the Central Bank of Nigeria to deliver property to Zenith Bank Plc, to wit: an aggregate sum of N1, 060, 000, 000 .00 as against the actual sum of N159, 431, 700 on the false pretence that the 106 boxes containing supposed mutilated currencies which were taken to the Ibadan branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria contained a total sum of N1, 060, 000, 000 .00 and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act”. In view of their pleas, prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), prayed the court for a trial date but applied that the accused be remanded in prison custody.

However, counsel to four of the accused persons, Dare Adebayo said he had filed an application for bail before the court and served the prosecution with copies of the application. All other defence counsels told the court that they had also done same. Justice Faji, however, adjourned the matter to June 12, 2015 for hearing of bail applications while making an order remanding the accused persons at Agodi prison, Ibadan.

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