EFCC docks banker, six others for N42.5m fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Monday arraigned seven persons before Justice Candide-Johnson of the Lagos State High Court, Igbosere Division, for stealing and conspiracy to commit fraud.
Those arraigned were Umeh Ndidiamaka, a former staff of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Emeka Onoh; a former security officer with the bank; and three others: Augustine Afagimoh, Samuel Mebele and Obialla Donatus, who are said to be associates of Ms. Ndidiamaka.
The others are Delight-In International Limited and Water Innovation Nigeria Enterprises, companies owned by the accused persons.
The accused persons who were arraigned on a five (5) count charge of conspiracy pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to them.
They were said to have, on or about the 11th of June 2009, attempted to steal the sum of N42.5million from the UBA.
In line with the declaration by the trial judge that he prefers arraignment to be followed with immediate commencement of trial, counsel to the EFCC, Rotimi Oyedepo, told the court that he was ready to proceed with the trial and that he had come to court with four principal witnesses.
Ojo Oladimeji, an Internal Auditor/Investigator with UBA, was the first witness presented by the EFCC counsel.  He told the court that a customer of the bank got an alert that his account had been debited to the tune of N42. 5m, He also said the customer informed his account officer who immediately informed the manager and the operations manager about the incident.
Further checks then revealed that N265 million had been transferred to seven accounts in different locations using the password of the Branch Manager.
He further told the court that the funds were moved from the account using the user ID and password of the Branch Operations Manager (BOM). Mr. Oladimeji further told the court that upon the receipt of the customer’s complaint, a red flag was raised on the account.
He told the court that with the sum of N42m already transferred into the accounts of Delight International Agency, the 4th defendant  issued six different cheques valued at N1 million, N5 million, N2 million, N2,million, N2million and N10 million all on the same date of June 11, 2009. He said one of the suspects was however arrested when he attempted he present the cheque in Lagos.
He further alleged that the 4th defendant is a strong member of a syndicate that specializes in defrauding financial institutions and unsuspecting members of the public.
Another witness, Ugwuoke Oliver, a staff of UBA also told the court that Ms. Ndidiamaka used the computer of the branch manager to commit the fraud and that she confessed to committing the crime when she was interrogated by the bank officials.
The testimony of the 3rd witness could not be taken for lack of time. However, counsel to the 1st accused person, Michael Aboh, told the court that he had filed a bail application.
But Justice Johnson denied the accused bail and adjourned the case to Friday, April 27. The accused persons have been remanded in EFCC custody.

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