The Enugu State High Court, Enugu, has sentenced a former manager at Sterling Bank and Account Relationship Officer of OHHA Microfinance Bank, Oliver Anidiobi, to eight years imprisonment for offences involving N219 million fraud.
The judge, C.O Ajah, in his judgement, sentenced him, after finding him guilty of a 32-count charge, a statement by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said on Tuesday.
The defendant who was arraigned on May, 7, 2019 used his position to convince the microfinance bank to deposit the said N219 million through him.
He proceeded to fix the money in a fixed deposit account and forged a deposit certificate to deceive the microfinance bank, while he diverted the funds for personal use, EFCC’s statement said.
With the money, the EFCC said Mr Anidiobi built a block of five flats, acquired several plots of land along the Enugu Port Harcourt Expressway, and an uncompleted four-bedroom bungalow at Centenary Estate, Enugu.
He alsoo invested N65 million in a Ponzi Scheme called ‘Let’s Partner with You’ owned by one Patrick Nwokike.
“An estate valuer is to evaluate the defendant’s properties at his village, Centenary city, Enugu and Premier Layout, New Artisan, Enugu; to help determine their values so that they can be sold and the proceeds paid in restitution to OHHA microfinance bank,” EFCC said.
During his trial, the prosecution counsel, Michael Ani, presented five witnesses and tendered 75 exhibits while the defendant testified for himself.
At the last hearing on October 8, 2021, the judge, Mr Ajah, adjourned till November 2, 2021, for judgement.
In his verdict on Tuesday, the judge said “the accused person did not deny nor challenge the allegations made by the EFCC.”
He added, “Any evidence not challenged is admitted as true. I am duty-bound to establish the evidence presented by the prosecution. The evidence is strong and compelling to grant conviction.”
He then convicted and sentenced the defendant, Mr Anidiobi, to four years imprisonment on counts 1-14 without an option of a fine; four years on counts 15-17 and eight years on counts 28-32 without an option of fine.
The sentences are to run concurrently, implying he will spend eight years, which is the sentence with the longest jail term, in prison.
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