Ecobank, staff dragged to court over $50,000, N9.2m fraud

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal office, has arraigned Ecobank Plc and staffer, Anieka Udoh on a five-count charge bordering on alleged conversion of funds for personal use and stealing.

Udoh was made to appear before Justice Saliu Seidu of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos.

EFCC spokesman, Tony Orilade in a statement, disclosed that when the case was called up, the first defendant, Ecobank Plc, had no legal representative. And the prosecution counsel, Bilkisu Buhari, told the court that she had “Proof of Service” of the charge served on the bank.

Following the circumstance, Justice Seidu ordered the second defendant to take his plea.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Ecobank Plc and one Anieka Udoh, whilst being an employee of Eco Bank Plc sometime in 2009, at Lagos within the jurisdiction of the Honourable court, negligently failed to exercise due diligence in relation to conduct of financial transactions with Major General Umaru Mohammed and fraudulently converted Major General Umaru Mohammed’s Ecobank MasterCard Account No. 0015052989 from debit card to credit card and consequently debited Major General Umaru Mohammed’s account in the sum of over USD 50,000 (Fifty Thousand United States Dollars) without the knowledge and authority of Major General Umaru Mohammed.”

Another count reads: “That you, Ecobank Plc and one Anieka Udoh, whilst being an employee of Eco Bank Plc sometime in 2009, at Lagos within the jurisdiction of the Honourable court, negligently failed to exercise due diligence in relation to conduct of financial transactions with Major General Umaru Mohammed and fraudulently converted Major General Umaru Mohammed’s Ecobank Domiciliary account to Naira account Number 0015052989 without the knowledge and authority of Major General Umaru Mohammed and consequently left a debit of N9.2Million in the said Naira account.”

Orilade however disclosed that the second defendant, Udoh, pleaded not guilty to the charge when it was read to him.

Based on the defendant’s plea, the prosecution counsel, Buhari asked the court for a trial date and prayed the court to remand him in prison custody.

But this plea did not go down well with the Counsel to the second defendant, O.J. Owoh, who was said to have told the court that he had yet to file a bail application due to the fact that he received the charge two days ago.

He also prayed the court to remand his client in the EFCC custody pending the filing and service of the bail application.

But Seidu adjourned the case to March 12 for commencement of trial and ordered the defendant to be remanded in prison custody.

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