Thursday, April 17, 2014

Two ex-Vanguard Newspaper employees docked for alleged N29.3m fraud


Two former Vanguard staff allegedly stole money from the organisation

Two former employees of Vanguard Media Limited, Badmus Abiodun and Joseph Ejike, were on Monday arraigned for allegedly stealing N29.3 million belonging to the newspaper company.

The defendants, who are both 43-year-olds, were arraigned before Justice Lateefat Okunnu of a Lagos High Court in Ikeja.

Messrs. Abiodun and Ejike, who reside at 5, Tijani Ashogbon Street, Bariga, Lagos and 2 Osaremwanta Street, Benin City, Edo State respectively, were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

The defendants are facing a 26-count charge, bordering on conspiracy, forgery and stealing.

The EFCC counsel, Abba Mohammed, alleged that Mr. Abiodun, a former chief accountant and Mr. Ejike, formerly a sales representative, committed the offences between February 2006 and January 2009 in Lagos.

Mr. Mohammed alleged that they had conspired to steal a total sum of N29.3 million belonging to the company by using their respective positions to facilitate the theft.

He also accused them of forging two Wema Bank Plc deposit slips No. 2333059 and 2333064, purported to be in the sums of N930,000 and N950,000 respectively.

He said their alleged offences contravene Sections 390 (1), 467 (2) and 516 of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State 2003.

The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The judge granted Mr. Ejike bail in the sum of N5 million with two sureties in like sum.

Ms. Okunnu said the sureties must be resident in Lagos, gainfully employed and deposed to an affidavit of means.

She said one of the sureties must be Mr. Ejike’s blood relative while the other surety must own a property of substantial value in Lagos.

The judge directed that the sureties should produce three years tax certificates which must be verified by the Chief Registrar of the Lagos State High Court.

Mr. Okunnu further directed that Mr. Ejike should report to the office of the Edo State Commissioner of Police on the first working day of every month throughout the duration of the matter.

She adjourned the matter to January 9 for mention and possible consolidation of a similar case involving Mr. Abiodun before the court.

Mr. Abiodun is already in prison custody for failing to meet his bail conditions in an earlier fraud charge.

He is also facing a similar charge before the court for allegedly conspiring with another sales representative, James Unoka, to steal N7.9 million belonging to the company.

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