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N8.7m Fraud: Former Union Bank Staff Convicted, Jailed One Year

EMEKA EMUWA, CHIEF  EXECUTIVE OFFICER (CEO), UNION BANK OF NIGERIA PLC

***As Bank Returns Sum To Affected Customer

BY FRANCIS IWUCHUKWU, LAGOS

Justice Chuka Obiozor of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State, Nigeria, was on Tuesday (today) informed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that an old generation bank, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, has refunded a sum to the tune of N8.7 million, to one of its customers,   Alexander Cherembem Okan.

It would be recalled that the said sum was fraudulently withdrawn from the account of Okan with Union Bank by a contract staff of the financial institution, Kazeem Alli, who was arrested and prosecuted in connection with the fraud.

Alli was first arraigned before Justice Obiozor on October 22, 2018, on a three count-charge of conspiracy and cybercrime related offences.

According to the anti-graft agency, the convicted Alli had on May 8, 2018, whilst still working as a staff of Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, failed to obtain proper data of a customer of the bank in processing Union mobile in respect of Account No. 0010807900.

It was equally alleged that the convicted Alli had impersonated one Alexander Cherembem Okan and fraudulently withdrew the sum of N8. 677, 907.00 million from the said account No. 0010807900.

The Commission had then insisted that the offence is contrary to and punishable under Sections 22, 22(2) and 37 of the Cyber Crimes Prohibition Act, 2015.

But Alli had pleaded not guilty to the charge and was consequently admitted to bail in the sum of N20 million with one surety and other conditions.

However, consequent upon the convict's inability to meet the bail terms, he had then gone into a plea bargain agreement with the EFCC and the three counts charge was reduced to a count, which he pleaded guilty to.

Meanwhile, at one of the plea bargain proceeding, Justice Obiozor had requested that the EFCC produce the other persons involved in the fraud. 

But the anti-graft agency through its counsel notified the court that others arrested in connection with the fraud had paid back some monies.

When the matter came up for hearing today, the Commission hinted the judge that Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, had repaid the fraud victim of the said sum.

The EFCC made available before the trial judge the document indicating that the bank had repayed the victim of the fraud the said sum and the document was admitted by the court.

Justice Obiozor then agreed with the plea bargain agreement dated June 6, 2019 but filed June 10, 2019 and signed by the prosecutor, the convict and his counsel, Olafimihan Ogunbiyi.

In handing down his judgment, Justice Obiozor declared that, "In the consequence of the plea bargain agreement of the defendant, the court is satisfied that the prosecution has duly proved its case beyond reasonable doubt.

"In accordance with section 365(2) of ACJA 2015, I therefore convict the defendant as charged. He is hereby convicted.

"I have considered the plea for mercy, I have also noted that he is a first time offender. 

“According to sections 416(2)(b) of ACJA, 2015, the convict is hereby sentence to one year imprisonment from October 22, 2018.

"The Convict shall file an undertaking of good behaviour with the EFCC."

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