Bank, 16 persons urge court to quash N327m fraud charge



The Nigeria International Bank Limited and 16 others charged with alleged N327million fraud yesterday urged the Federal High Court, Lagos to quash the criminal charge.

The charge, filed by the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF), Abubakar Malami (SAN), is pending before Justice Ibrahim Buba.

Besides the financial institution, other accused include Chief C. S. Sankey, Adekunle Oladosun, Okechi Egwu, Lulu Ndubuka, Oyowole Ariyo, Ukabiru Bello, and J.E Eriagbon.

Others are Samson Ebie, Steve Obodomechine, Mikky Dons Nig. Ltd, Mark Anaele, Peter Harris, Peter Oriade, Olusola Fagbure and Obianwa Chuba.

The accused were charged with 20 counts of conspiracy to defraud, intent to defraud by means of false pretences, conspiracy to commit fraud, falsification of document, presenting untrue documents, counterfeiting and production of forged documents.

They allegedly conspired to commit an offence by inducing Micmerah International Agency Limited via means of false pretences and with intent to defraud, to deliver N250million to them. The money, prosecution said, was intended for offsetting a fraudulent import finance facility scheme.

When the matter came up yesterday, defence counsel, Prof Taiwo Osipitan (SAN), said he had filed an application seeking to quash the charge.

“We filed a motion to quash the charge on the basis of abuse of court process. This is the third time the case will be filed after two previous Attorneys-General entered a nolle prosequi (a formal notice by a prosecutor to withdraw a charge).

“They (prosecution) cannot be using the machinery of the court to oppress and irritate the accused,” he added.

But prosecution counsel, Gordy Uche (SAN) argued that the defendants ought to be present before they can bring any application to quash the charge in line with Section 396 (1) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015.

“I see this application as the height of arrogance. Having been served with a criminal summons, they ought to be here. They cannot stay in their homes and ask the court to dispense with their appearance. It is only after plea has been taken that they can raise objection,” he said.

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