The last batch of the accused persons in the hearing of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s N8bn mutilated currency fraud suit were arraigned before Justice Adeyinka Faajat the Federal High Court in Ibadan on Thursday, June 4, by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).The accused persons were Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Adeola, Kayode Philip, Ajuwon Bolade and Samuel Ogbeide. They pleaded not guilty to the 14 count charge preferred against them.
They were accused of conspiring with other two suspects, Onabanjo Olumayowa and Tijani Olusoga, who are now at large, between 2011 and 2012 in Ibadan to trick the CBN to pay N1.6 billion to the Zenith Bank Plc, instead of N159, 431,700 in violation of the EFFC Act.
The lead counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacob (SAN), told the judge that the accused had claimed that the 106 boxes containing the supposed mutilated N1,000 notes they took to Ibadan branch of the CBN on behalf of Zenith Bank contained N1, 060, 000, 000 instead of N159,431,700.
The charge sheet read that the accused persons, “Induced the Central Bank of Nigeria to deliver property to the Zenith Bank Plc, to wit: an aggregate sum of N1,060,000, 000, as against the actual sum of N159,431,700 on the false pretence that the 106 boxes containing the supposed mutilated N1,000 notes which you took to the Ibadan branch of the CBN on behalf of the said Zenith Bank Plc contained a total sum of N1,060,000,000. You thereby committed an offence punishable under section 1 (1) (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act No. 14 of 2006.”
Jacobs said the accused persons committed a financial crime punishable under the laws of Nigeria.
After turning down oral bail application from the counsel for the accused, Justice Faaj later fixed June 12, 2015 for hearing of the motion on bail applications while also ordering the accused persons to be remanded in prison custody.
Arraignment of the accused persons in the suit began on Tuesday and by Thursday, 22 bank officials had already been brought to the court and remanded in prison custody. But one of them, who is a nursing mother was ordered to be kept in the custody of the State Criminal Investigation Department, Ibadan.
By Dike Onwuamaeze