A former Relationship Officer with Coronation Merchant Bank has been arrested and arraigned over his alleged involvement in the stealing of N700 million belonging to customers.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal Office, on Monday, February 26, 2018, arraigned one Nsa Ayi before Justice Mojisola Dada of the State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos on an 11-count charge bordering on fraudulent false accounting to the tune of N700, 000, 000.00 (Seven Hundred Million Naira), an offence contrary to Section 335(a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2011.
The defendant, a former Relationship Officer, Coronation Merchant Bank, allegedly connived with unknown parties 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 allegedly transferred in tranches into the defendant’s Guaranty Trust Bank account No. 0001600855 as well as his Zenith Bank account No. 1002771899.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Nsa Ayi, on or about 4th day of February, 2015, being an employee of Coronation Merchant Bank, in Lagos within the Lagos Judicial Division with intent to defraud, falsified account No. 1990000158 belonging to African Alliance Insurance Plc in possession of your employer by debiting the said account to the tune of N172, 076, 712.33, using an instruction which you purported to have been issued by the said African Alliance Insurance Plc.”
Another count reads: “That you, Nsa Ayi, on or about 13th day of January, 2014, being an employee of Coronation Merchant Bank, in Lagos within the Lagos Judicial Division with intent to defraud, falsified account No. 2990001176 belonging to Ogunjemiyo E. Mascot in possession of your employer by debiting the said account to the tune of N4, 277, 000.00, using an instruction which you purported to have been issued by Ogunjemiyo E. Mascot.”
He however, pleaded not guilty when the charge was read to him. In view of his plea, the prosecution counsel, Nnemeka Omewa, asked the court for a trial date and also prayed the court to remand the defendant in prison custody.
The defence counsel, B.A. Ayeni, informed the court of a pending application for bail on behalf of his client. However, in his response, the prosecution counsel, Omewa, opposed the bail application, saying that “he is a flight-risk who had plans to relocate with his entire family to the United States of America last year, if not for the timely response in arresting him by the EFCC.”
Omewa further informed the court that there was no document showing that the defendant’s son was critically ill to warrant him being flown abroad for treatment.
“My Lord, the defendant’s health is very much okay, as he was well fed in the EFCC custody,” the prosecution counsel added.
After listening to both parties, Justice Dada ruled that if the defendant’s son was truly ill and needed medical treatment abroad, the defendant should not be pleading with the court to allow him travel out with his entire family only to treat his son.
“I, therefore, conclude that the defendant is a flight-risk as put before the court by the prosecution.
“There is no guarantee of him coming back to Nigeria, if he had travelled out with his family, despite booking for return tickets,” Justice Dada held.
Consequently, Justice Dada adjourned the case to March 6, 26, 29 and April 16 and 27, 2018 for commencement of trial and remanded the defendant in Kirikiri prison pending the hearing of his bail application.