NNPP candidate in Kogi state docked over stealing N681m from customers’ accounts in Union bank
The first prosecution witness, PW1, Olusegun Falola, in the ongoing trial of Ismaila Yousouf Atumeyi, a Kogi State House of Assembly candidate of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, and two others, on Monday, January 31, 2023, told Justice Tijani Ringim of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos how the sum of N681m (Six Hundred and Eighty-one Million Naira) was paid into Atumeyi’s business account.Atumeyi is standing trial alongside Ngene Joshua Dominic and Abdulmalik Salau, a former employee of Union Bank Plc, on an 18-count charge bordering on alleged cybercrime and money laundering to the tune of N1.4bn.
Led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Rotimi Oyedepo, SAN, Falola, an Internal Auditor and Team Lead, General Investigations, Union Bank Plc, told the court that “sometime in October 2022, during the periodic internal review of accounts of customers, we observed that some accounts that were placed on No-debit were debited.
“In the course of our review, it was observed that the methodology employed in debiting the said accounts was different from the way accounts are being debited in normal banking activity.
“Based on this, the case was assigned to me for a further internal investigation. During the review, I observed that beyond the few accounts that were referred to me for investigation, there were other numerous accounts that were being debited.
“Furthermore, the debits on these accounts were traced to two beneficiaries, Atus Homes Limited account and Fav Oil and Gas Limited.
“These two accounts received the sum of N681m and N1.38bn, respectively from the account of 429 customers.”
He also told the court that further investigations revealed that Atumeyi is the signatory to the Atus Homes Limited account, while the signatories to Fav Oil and Gas are Shuaibu Yusuf and Nurudeen.
According to him, all illicit debits on the customers’ accounts were done via internet banking on one of the bank’s platforms known as Union 360.
Giving further testimony, he said: “As at the time of investigation, over 600m had been withdrawn from the account of Atus Homes Limited and over N800m withdrawn from Fav Oil and Gas.
“We also realized that they were able to make those fraudulent transfers because the bank system was fraudulently manipulated.
“It was this realization that made us know that only a person with privileged information on the bank’s information technology could have carried out such illicit transactions.
“It was based on that knowledge that we reported the matter to the EFCC for further investigation.”
Oyedepo sought to tender the petition written to the EFCC, the correspondences between the EFCC and the bank as well as the defendants’ statements of account that had been identified by the PW1.
However, counsel to the third defendant, Babatunde Ogunwo, objected to the admissibility of the attached statement of account on the grounds that the prosecution had not sufficiently complied with Section 84 (2) 2(4) of the Evidence Act.
“I strongly believe that the prosecution has not satisfied the provisions of Section 84 (2) 2(4) of the Evidence Act. All I heard the witness say is questions put to him by the prosecution.
“However Section 84(2) of the Evidence Act gives conditions more than what the witness has stated.
“There are four legs as stated by the Evidence Act and the witness has only answered one. These conditions have to be complied with.
“I humbly submit that the prosecution has not complied with the conditions stated for the admissibility of the statements of account”, Ogunwo argued.
Responding, Oyedepo said that the argument of the defence counsel was misconceived and also missed its target.
He, therefore, urged the court to discountenance the objection of the defence.
He also submitted that the certificate of identification as enshrined in the Section of the Evidence Act “is not a ritual that must be performed in achieving admissibility of computer-generated evidence.”
He further argued that “where the issue is as to the failure to comply with procedural steps towards admissibility, the order the court will make is not to reject the document but to urge the tendering party to regularize.
“This document is relevant in the determination of this matter and I urge my Lord to so hold.”
In a short ruling, Justice Ringim overruled the objection of the defence and admitted the evidence in the exhibit.
Justice Ringim also granted the second defendant, Dominic, bail on the same terms of the 3rd defendant, as granted on January 6, 2023.The matter was adjourned to February 2, 2023, for the continuation of the trial.
House of Reps gives NIMASA green light to disburse CVFF –appoints audit firm to coordinate, monitor disbursement
“Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Legor Idagbo – Chairman ii. Hon. Henry Nwawuba – Member iii. | Mrs. Kehinde Bolade Olaiya – Committee Clerk.
President Tinubu appoints Gbajabiamila Chief of Staff
An authoritative source in the Presidency confirmed the development on Thursday.
The source said the president finally made the decision after wide consultations on the contending candidates.
Gbajabiamila has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2012 and has just been re-elected to the House in the last elections.
The choice of Gbajabiamila by the president is not a surprise to many political pundits as he has been a very close ally to the president.
They are part of the brains behind the formation of the All-Progressives Party (APC).
He will now have to forgo his seat in the House of Representatives if he accepts the appointment.
Olufemi Hakeem Gbajabiamila CFR, is a Nigerian lawyer and foundation member of the APC.
He has been a member of the House of Representatives since 2019.
Gbajabiamila was born in Lagos in 1962 and attended Igbobi College for his secondary education and the University of Lagos as part of his education.
He is married to Salamatu Gbajabiamila.
Maritime media, NUJ mourn as Ray Ugochukwu passes on to glory
“The death of Ray came as a big shock to the union.
“We are going to miss his courageous attributes and mentorship.
“He was also one of the pillars of the Lagos Council of NUJ and served the union meritoriously in his capacities as the Chairman of, the Seminar Committee; and as a Member, the Committee on Milestone Recognition of Media Icons In Nigeria.
“He spent most of his life in ensuring the advancement of Maritime Reporting as well as the welfare of Journalists.
“He worked in several media houses.
“Among his giant strides, he was a former President of the Maritime Reporters’ Association of Nigeria (MARAN); President, Maritime Journalists Association of Nigeria (MAJAN); and a former Chairman of the Daily Times Chapel of NUJ.
“The legacies of Ray are indelible and will exist forever.
“May God grant his soul eternal rest” the Lagos NUJ said in a statement signed by Leye Ajayi, the Council Chairman and Tunde Olalere, the Council Secretary.
Headlines2 weeks ago
MSC overtakes Maersk as world’s largest container carrier of 5 m TEU capacity
Foreign4 weeks ago
UK court shuns Nigeria, ECOWAS pleas as it sentences Ekweremadu to 10 years imprisonment for organ trafficking
Headlines2 months ago
Obasanjo’s second daughter, Olubusola Obasanjo, among 510 promoted NIMASA staff
Headlines4 weeks ago
US frets as China pushes to head IMO
Headlines4 weeks ago
Buhari appoints Professor Umar Katsayal as Vice Chancellor, Daura University of Transportation
Customs1 month ago
Fate of customs officer who exposes smuggling ring at Nigerian borders unknown