Kingsley Nwezeh in Abuja
Makurdi Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has secured the conviction of five persons for various offences.
The commission said it has also arrested one Kehinde Olumide Agbabiaka, a sales agent at Fidelity Bank Plc for diversion of N137 million.
The convicts, Charles Chijioke Iwu, Ademoyegun Dare Samson, Quarshe Fredrick Nnamdi, Nuhu Clarkson Usman, and Emmanuel Adakole Ogbole, were jailed for electronic card fraud, cybercrime, ATM fraud and internet fraud respectively.
The convicts were prosecuted before Justice Nkeonye Maha of a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja.
Following a plea bargain agreement between the convicts and the prosecution, they were re-arraigned on separate amended charges bordering on possession of documents containing false pretenses.
They pleaded “guilty” to the charges.
In view of their pleas, the prosecuting counsel, Mary Onoja and George G. Chia-Yakua, urged the court to accept the plea bargain agreement and convict the defendants accordingly.
Justice Maha consequently convicted and sentenced them to various terms of imprisonment, ranging from three to six months with options of varying fines.
The convicts are also to forfeit various items like phones, laptops and money to the federal government.
Also, the court ordered the convicts to sign an undertaking to be of good behaviour and never to be involved in any form of fraud
Meanwhile, EFCC in Ibadan Zonal Office has arrested Agbabiaka over allegation of corruption.
His arrest was sequel to a petition jointly penned by a new generation bank’s Regional Security Officer and the Cluster Control and Compliance Manager in which it was alleged that the suspect suppressed, diverted and stole a sum of N137 million in Ibadan.
The petition alleged that Agbabiaka committed the offence between January 2017 and July 2019.
The suspect, who was the account officer attached to the customer, was said to be visiting the business premises of the victim weekly to collect cash with the understanding that he would remit same to his accounts domiciled in the bank’s branch in Challenge, Ibadan.
But, instead of depositing the money, Agbabiaka was said to have at different times remitted only a portion and on many occasions, diverted the whole sum for personal use.
In order to cover his criminal acts, the suspect, according to the petition, would issue fictitious bank slips to deceive the customer that he truly deposited the sums.
This continued until the customer reviewed the statement of his account and reconciled same with the cash collection register. It was then they discovered Agbabiaka’s fraudulent deeds, prompting the bank to put up the petition.
So far, the EFCC investigators have established a prima facie case of diversion and stealing against the suspect.
Further investigations also revealed that he had used the suppressed sums to build houses, purchase cars, invest in fixed deposits and insurance policies. He also gave part of the loot to people as friendly loans.
Some of the items have been recovered and registered as exhibits.
The suspect would be charged to court as soon as investigations are concluded.