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Alleged Fraud: How Suspected Fraudsters Hacked Into United Bank For Africa Server - AUDITOR

Kennedy Uzoka, Managing Director, United Bank For Africa Plc.


  • Carts Away N752m Belonging To Flour Mills 

BY FRANCIS IWUCHUKWU

IKOYI, LAGOS STATE, NIGERIA - Justice Chuka Obiozor of a Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos State, Nigeria, was last week Tuesday informed as to how suspected fraudsters hacked into the server of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, and fraudulently withdrew a sum to the tune of N752 million from the account of Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, domiciled with the bank.

Testifying before Justice Chuka Obiozor who presided over the court in a criminal charge initiated against one of the alleged hackers, Ola Lawal, a.k.a Lawal Roland, who is answering questions to an alleged fraud to the tune of N46 million by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), an auditor with UBA, Ojo Oladimeji, said a total sum of N752 million owned by Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, in his employer's account (UBA) was fraudulently transferred into 20 different accounts, which the defendant's company account with Union Bank Plc, benefitted the sum of N46 million.

It would be recalled that Ola Lawal was arraigned before Justice Chuka Obiozor alongside his company, DCAN Oil and Gas Limited on Monday, October 14, 2019, on a two counts charge of fraudulent transfer of the sum of N46 million from Flour Mills Nigeria Plc, account number 1002792889 domiciled in United Bank of Africa (UBA) Plc to the oil and gas account number  0036695765 domiciled in Union Bank Plc.

But Ola Lawal had pleaded not guilty to the charge and Justice Chuka Obiozor had adjourned the matter until Tuesday, October 15, 2019 for hearing and determination of Ola Lawal's application for bail and commencement of trial.

When the case came up the auditor, Ojo Oladimeji, who is the first prosecution witness informed Justice Chuka Obiozor that a total sum of N752 million belonging to Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, in his employer's account (UBA) was fraudulently transferred into 20 different accounts, which the defendant's company's account with Union Bank Plc, benefitted the sum of N46 million.

Ojo Oladimeji, whilst being led in evidence by M. K. Hussain for the EFCC said: "Upon discovery that the sum of N752 million has been fraudulently transferred from one of our customer's account, Flour Mills Nigeria Limited, to 20 different accounts, which the defendant's company's account was a beneficiary, it was observed that Flour Mills' account was hacked between June 24 and July 3, 2019, and the total sum of N752 million was fraudulently transferred.

"The defendant's account in Union Bank Plc received N46 million on July 3. We then wrote a letter to our lawyer, Akin Adesomoju, to assist us with a petition to the EFCC to assist in investigation, recovery, arrest and prosecution of the culprits, that was how the defendant was arrested and charged to court after the EFCC investigation."

But during cross-examination by Ademola Iroko, who is the the defendant's lawyer, Ojo Oladimeji confirmed before Justice Chuka Obiozor that he did not know who transferred the said sum and that, that was why the matter was reported to the EFCC and that the purpose of the transfer was unknown to him.

Ojo Oladimeji further told Justice Chuka Obiozor that he did not know the name of the Account Officer to Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, but insisted that UBA has the record of how the money was transferred to 20 accounts, which the defendant's company's account was one of the beneficiaries.

In the meantime, Ola Lawal and his company have been admitted to bail by Justice Chuka Obiozor in the sum of N50m each with one surety in like sum. 

Justice Chuka Obiozor equally ordered that one of the sureties must be a landed property owner within Lagos State and in addition a level 15 officer, who must produce evidence of three years tax clearance with verifiable address and must submit their passport photograph to the Court's registrar.

Justice Chuka Obiozor held that Ola Lawal be remanded in  Ikoyi prison pending when the bail conditions are met.

Justice Chuka Obiozor adjourned the matter until December 12, 2019 for continuation of trial.

The charge against Ola Lawal reads: 

"That you, Ola Lawal (a.k.a Lawal Roland) and DCAN Oil and Gas Limited on or about 24th June, 2019 in Lagos within me Jurisdiction of this Honourable Court fraudulently transferred the sum of N 46, 000,60030 (Forty-Six Million Naira) from Flour Mills of Nigeria Plc, Account Number 1002792889 domiciled in United Bank for Africa Plc to DCAN Oil and Gas Limited account number 0036695765 domiciled in Union Bank Plc, which you have known that the funds forms part of unlawful activities and thereby committed an Offence contrary to Section 2 of Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended) and punishable under Section 15(2)(3) of the same Act. 

"That you Ola Lawal (a.k.a Lawal Roland) and DCAN Oil and Gas United 24th June, 2019 in Lagos within the Jurisdiction of this Court was in possession of the sum of N46, 000,000.00 (Forty Six million) which you fraudulently transferred from Flour Mills of Nigeria account number 10027923389 domiciled in United Bank Plc Account Number 0036695755, which you reasonably ought to have known that such fund forms part of proceeds of an unlawful activities and thereby committed an Offence Contrary to Section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 (As Amended) and Punishable under Section 15(3) of the same Act".

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