N9.8 billion fraud: Trial of “Wonder bank operator” continues June 17

Federal High Court
A Court used to illustrate the story

The accused scammed traders at Alaba Market.

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday fixed June 17 for continuation of trial of a “Wonder Bank” operator, Fortune Etaba, charged with N9.8 billion fraud.

Mr. Etaba was charged by the Special Fraud Unit, SFU, on an amended 21-count charge bordering on the offence.

The suit had been fixed for continuation of trial but could not go on due to the absence of the trial judge, Ibrahim Buba, who was said to be away on official assignment.

Mr. Buba’s absence led to the case being fixed for the new date.

Mr. Etaba was rearraigned on January 21 on the amended charge and had pleaded not guilty.
The judge granted him bail in the sum of N500 million, with two sureties in like sum.

Mr. Buba also ordered the accused to deposit his international passport with the court’s registrar, with an undertaking not to travel outside Lagos during the pendency of the case.

At the last adjourned date, the prosecutor, Effiong Asuquo, had opened his case by calling his first witness, Matthew Chukwu.

The witness recounted before the court, how the accused allegedly swindled him of millions of naira.

In the charge, the accused was said to have committed the offence between June 2009 and December 2009.

The prosecutor had told the court that the accused fraudulently obtained huge sums of money, totalling N9.8 billion, from several individuals, especially businessmen at the Alaba International Market, Ojo, Lagos.

He said that the accused had told the businessmen that they would get back an addition of 50 per cent of their deposits after 21 days.

According to the prosecutor, the accused could neither repay the deposited sum nor the “multiplied sum” as represented.
He said that the offence contravened the provisions of sections 1 (1) (a), 8, and 2 of the Advanced Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2004.

The accused was still remanded in prison, since he was yet to perfect his bail terms.

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