Judge postpones trial of Diamond Bank, 2 workers, others for money laundering

The Lagos judge postponed the trial to June 18.

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday fixed June 18 for trial of two employees of Diamond Bank Plc, charged along with the bank and three others accused of money laundering.

The accused are Lasisi Abayomi and Hillary Ojukwu, both employees of Diamond Bank; Oni Oil and Gas Ltd., Onoche Ikenua, Lizzy Ikenua and Diamond Bank Plc.

They are standing trial on a five-count charge, bordering on the alleged offence.

Justice James Tsoho fixed the trial date after the prosecutor, Rapheal Hinmikaye, informed the court of the absence of the second accused, who he said, was ill.

Mr. Hinmikaye had also prayed the court for a long adjournment to enable him assemble his witnesses.

The accused were re-arraigned before the court in February 2012, following the transfer of the initial trial judge, Lambo Akanbi.

The Federal Government had instituted criminal charges against the accused, for allegedly conspiring with some alleged drug barons to conceal large sums of money realised from illicit dealing in hard drugs.

The bank and its employees were alleged to have failed to verify the true identity of Onoche Ikenua and Lizzy Ikenua, before opening an account for their company, Oni Oil and Gas Ltd, and entering into other fiduciary relationship with the accused.

In the charge, the Ikenua duo were accused of falsely presenting themselves as directors of Oni Oil and Gas Ltd., just to open an account with the bank.

The two bank employees were also alleged to have conspired with Mr. and Mrs. Ikenua, to convert various sums of money, allegedly derived from their illicit drug deal.

The alleged offences were said to have contravened Section 15 (2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act of 2004.

The accused had all pleaded not guilty to the charge, and Justice Tsoho allowed them to continue on the bail earlier granted by the former trial judge.


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