N1.4b Fraud: Court Dismisses Kogi Assembly Candidate Bail Application

Justice Tijani Ringim of the the Federal High Court in Lagos on Tuesday dismissed an application for bail filed by the embattled Kogi State House of Assembly candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Ismaila Atumeyi.

Justice Ringim Instead ordered an accelerated hearing of the matter, in which the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is accusing him and two others of hacking the database and stealing the sum of N1.4 billion from an old generation bank.

The EFCC had on Monday arraigned Atumeyi and his alleged fraud syndicate members, Ngene Dominic and Abdulmalik Salua on an 18-count charge of conspiracy, cybercrime, money laundering, fraud and concealment of proceeds of fraud.

Read Also: Court Convicts Oil Marketer, Julian Ndubueze Ezeji, For Fraud

They had all pleaded not guilty to the charge.

The defence lawyer, Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN), while moving the summons for bail on behalf of Atumeyi and Dominic argued that the allegations against his clients are bailable.

Ayorinde had also submitted that the defendants are ready to face their trial and would not jump bail.

But the EFCC counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo (SAN) had urged the court not to grant the defendants bail because the allegations against them are serious and the punishments are equally serious.

Oyedepo had also drew the attention of the judge to the fact that the defence lawyer failed to file a counter affidavit to challenge some of the depositions to the EFCC’s reply to the bail application.

He insisted that the defendants are flight risk and if they are released they would jump bail and it would be impossible to get them to attend court.

Oyedepo stated that since this claim was not denied by the defence, in law, it is an admission and the court should so hold.

In his ruling the judge agreed with Oyedepo and declared the defendants flight risk.

Justice Ringim held that the claim by the prosecution is a very fundamental one which need to be countered by the defence and since there is none coming from the defendant the court can not grant them bail.

The court, therefore remanded them in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services pending the conclusion of the trial.

He then fix January for the commencement of the trial.

Oyedepo had told the court that the defendants were arrested with N326 million and $610,500 cash part of the money they allegedly stole from the bank and its customers.

Oyedepo also claimed that the third defendant, Abdulmalik Salau, an employee of the bank, supplied insider information that facilitated the cyber-attack on the bank by the syndicate.

The lawyer also told the court that the anti-graft agency recovered $470,000 from Femi, who he alleged without lawful authority directly caused modification of data held in the network of Union Bank, Plc leading to the fraudulent transfer of the total sum of N 1,403,343,400.00 to the account of FAV OIL AND GAS LIMITED and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under section 16(1) of Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, etc) Act, 2015.

He further allegedly that the defendants moved N887 million into the account of a firm, Fav Oil and Gas Limited, from where the fund was disbursed to several Bureau de Change operators and some auto dealers for exchange into United States dollars and purchase of high-end cars.

The EFCC counsel accused the defendants of laundering the sum in tranches of N100million, $480,000, N12.5million, N7million, N9million, N7 million, N12 million, N8 million, $140,000 and N326,400,000.

Oyedepo alleged that the defendants acquired a N12.5 million black Mercedes Benz C300, N7 million BMW 3 Series, N9 million Black Range Rover, N7 million Toyota Hilux 2014 upgraded to 2021, N12 million Black BMW SURXI 2016, N8 million White Toyota Hilux 2010 and N10 million White Toyota Hilux.

He also claimed that the defendants allegedly directly transferred N80million to FRANK MAYA INTEGRATED VENTURES, acquired a property known as NO.8, GRACE CRESCENT, EFAB QUEENS ESTATE, GWARIMPA, Abuja, concealed $140,000 and N326,400,000 in a Black Escalade SUV.

14th April 2024
Nigerian Pantagraph