By Temitope Stephen
A Federal High Court, Lagos , presided over by Justice Mojisola Olatoregun on Friday, fixed June 22, this year for commencement of trial in $166.9million fraud charge slammed by the Federal Government against the Managing Director of Integrated Microfinance Bank Plc, Simon Ademola Akinteye, and his Deputy, Gabriel Adepoju.
Bar and Bench Watch reports that Akinteye and Adepoju were charged before the court by the Office Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister for Justice, on a10-count charge bordering on reckless granting of over $166.9 million USD to themselves without collateral securities.
The two bank chiefs in a charge marked FHC/L/234c/16, were alleged to have recklessly without collateral approved credit facilities running into $166.9million USD, and N33.250 million to themselves and one Mrs. Temitope Muhammed Imam.
The bank’s former M.D/C.E.O. Akinteye, was slammed with nine counts of the charge.
He was alleged to have at different times withdrawn from the bank’s account the total sum of N11 million and diverted it into his personal company named ‘Deblad Nigeria Limited’.
He was also alleged to have unlawfully withdrawn a total sum of $166 million USD, and remitted same to the account of the said Temitope Muhammed Imam, domiciled with Citi Bank N. A. of Utica/Clarkson, 702, Utica Avenue, Brooklyn New York, United State of America; and another account domiciled with Washington Mutual, 391, Eastern Parkway, Belford Avenue, New York, USA.
While the second defendant, Adepoju, was alleged to have withdrawn a total sum of N22.2 million, and diverted same to a limited liability company, Gad Press Limited.
The offences according to the prosecutor, A. I. Charles-Okoli (Mrs.), were contrary to the provisions of sections 18 (1)(a) and 18(3) and 15(1)(a)(I) Banks and other financial Institution Act Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, and punishable under Section 18(2) and 16(1)(a) of the same Act.
They were however admitted to bail in the sum of N10 million with two sureties each.
The court ordered that the sureties must not be less than Executive Directors in a commercial bank, with three years tax payment to the Government.
The court had ordered that they be remanded in Prison’s custody pending the perfection of the bail terms.
However, at the resumed hearing of the matter on Friday, lawyer to the two Bank Chiefs, Mr. C. O. J. Joseph (SAN), pleaded the court for bail variation.
In urging the court for the bail variation, Joseph (SAN) told the court that his clients had not been able to meet the bail conditions, as they could not get any bank’s executive directors to stand for them.
He therefore urged the court to particularly vary the condition of providing bank’s Executive Director, to personal recognition or civil servants.
He said; “the defendants have made efforts in meeting the bail conditions but all to no avail.
“The court could either allow them on self-recognisance or production of civil servants instead of Executive Directors of a bank”, the SAN pleaded.
In response, the prosecutor, Mrs. Charles Okoli, said the prosecution is not opposing the application, but urged the court to consider the nature of the charges against the accused before granting the application.
Consequently, Justice Olatoregun, adjourned the matter till June 22, for ruling and commencement of accused persons’ trial.