A magistrate court in Lagos has convicted and sentenced a 58-year-old man, Abel Olukayode, to four years and six months for defrauding WEMA Bank of N984,000.
A. T Omoyele, a chief magistrate at the Igbosere court, said the convict, who claimed to be a cleric with a Lagos branch of the Apostolic Church, was guilty of the fraud charges levelled against him by the police.
Mrs Omoyele said the convict was guilty of all the charges and accordingly sentenced him to six months imprisonment for the first count and two years each for counts two and three without an option of fine.
She said that the jail terms would run concurrently.
The convict, a resident of Sadiku Ayinla Street, Odo-kekere, in Ikorodu was arraigned before the court on November 22, 2012, on a three count charge bordering on stealing preferred against him by the police.
He had pleaded not guilty to the charges.
The prosecutor, Cyriacus Osuji, a police sergeant, had told the court that the convict committed the offence between March 5 at about 4 p.m. and March 6 at about 7 a.m. in 2012, with the aid of his mobile phone.
“Olukayode with the aid of his mobile phone with sim number 08034XXXXXX, stole the sum of N22,550 through his Wema Bank account, property of Wema Bank Plc,” the prosecutor said.
“The convict at the same time and place with the aid of his mobile banking transferred the sum of N701,900 from Wema Bank to his GTB Bank account and N260,000 to his First Bank account property of Wema Bank Plc.”
According to the prosecutor, the offences committed are contrary to 278 (2), and Punishable Under Sections 285 of the Criminal laws of Lagos State 2011.
During the trial, a witness from the bank had told the court that between March 4-6, 2012, the bank’s system malfunctioned, and the convict who was running a joint account with his wife then and had only N300 in his account at that time, took advantage of the situation to steal the said amount.
The witness also said that immediately the convict noticed the malfunction in the system of the bank, he started buying airtime which accumulated to N22,550 and there after transferred the other amounts to his GTB bank and First Bank accounts.
The bank further stated that though he wasn’t the only one that took advantage of the situation but that when he was approached, he said that he wasn’t going to return the money as it was his prayers that were answered by God, adding that he had been praying and asking God to provide for him to enable him to build his own church.
According to the bank, other people who also took advantage of the situation were approached and they started paying back the money, but Mr Olukayode refused to pay back.