The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, docked two bank managers and five others before an Abuja High Court on a 3-count criminal charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud, forgery and obtaining under false pretence.
Those arraigned before Justice Patrick Afen were Mr Napoleon Obaje Adofu who was the Branch Manager of defunct Oceanic Bank in Karu, Abuja, Augustine Odinawor, Branch Manager, Fidelity Bank, Gwagwalada branch, and a staff of Equatorial Trust Bank, Mr Patrick Onyekachi.
Others include Mr Reuben Omotayo who is a staff of Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, and Mr Abdulmalik Isa Teina, staff of Abuja Geographic Information System, AGIS.
They were docked alongside two corporate entities, Yombor Ventures Limited and Aicoor Tao Nigeria Limited, for allegedly defrauding one Mrs Juliet Uzor to the tune of N25.4 million.
Meanwhile, shortly after they took turns to plead not guilty to the charge, the defence counsel, Mr Oluwafemi Adetusi, prayed the court to grant them bail pending the hearing and determination of the case against them.
He urged the court to take into consideration the constitutional right of the accused persons, insisting that in the eyes of the law, they ought to be deemed innocent until their guilt was ascertained.
He said: “My Lord, with this application, we are relying on the provisions of Section 35 (1) and Section 36 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And also we base it on the jurisdiction of this court. We urge the court to grant our prayers by granting the accused persons bail. We also pray that the conditions will be on the most liberal term.”.
However, counsel to the EFCC, Mr Salisu Majidadi, said he was served with a formal bail application of one of the accused person right inside the court room, even as he sought time to respond, adding that he opposed oral applications by the other accused persons.
After listening to arguments on both sides, the trial judge ruled that applications for bail must be formal and will be ruled upon on May 17.
Consequently, the judge ordered the remand of the accused persons in Kuje prison, pending the determination of their bail applications.
Meanwhile, travails of the bankers began when a N25,460,000.00 bank draft payable to Abuja Geographic Information Systems, AGIS, was handed to them and instead of paying the draft into the proper account, they conspired with their friends who are bankers to open a fake AGIS corporate account and paid the draft into it.
EFCC said its investigations revealed that after the draft was cleared, the accused persons transferred the amount electronically to two company accounts from which they withdrew and shared the funds amongst themselves.