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Court Finds Banker Guilty Of N700m Fraud

The Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja has convicted a former relationship officer with Coronation Merchant Bank, Nsa Ayi, over fraud allegations levelled against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

Justice Mojisola Dada convicted Ayi on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to 11 charges bordering on fraudulent false accounting to the tune of N700million, an offence contrary to Section 335(a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2011.

The EFCC had arraigned the defendant on February 26 for conniving with some unknown persons to move funds, using customers’ electronic instructions meant for investment in the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Bonds, Treasury Bills and Fixed Deposits.

The defendant was also said to have altered instructions and falsified signatures of customers to transfer money into various accounts outside the bank.

The money was said to have been transferred in tranches into the defendant’s Guaranty Trust Bank account, as well as his Zenith Bank account.

At his arraignment, the banker pleaded not guilty and the court ordered that he should be remanded in prison custody.

At the resumed proceedings on Tuesday, the defendant’s counsel Robert Clarke said that after a close perusal of the prosecution’s proof of evidence, the defendant had decided to change his plea from not guilty to guilty.

Following his guilty plea, the EFCC prosecutor Rotimi Oyedepo then reviewed the facts by calling the investigative officer of the case, Tosin Owobo, who gave overwhelming evidence about how Ayi forged instructions of Africa Alliance Insurance Company, as accounting officer and siphoned more than N700m.

Justice Mojisola Dada convicted the defendant as charged and deferred sentencing till March 22.

About Editor

Otunba Sayo Akintola is a 1992 graduate of Linguistics from the University of Ibadan, Oyo State. He holds a post-graduate diploma in Financial Management and MBA from Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi. He started his 12-year sojourn in journalism at the Nigerian Tribune in 1993 as Business and Economy reporter. He rose through the ranks to become the Group Business Editor of the nation’s oldest surviving private national newspaper, the Nigerian Tribune. He set up World Street Journal magazine in 2018.

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