The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday secured the conviction of one Ibrahim Suleiman who defrauded then First Inland Bank of N400, 700,000 (Four Hundred Million, Seven Hundred Thousand Naira) only.
Suleiman was first arraigned in 2007 at a Federal High Court, sitting in Jos, Plateau State. He was re-arraigned on amended charges in 2011.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Ibrahim Suleiman, on or about 29th June 2007 in Jos within the jurisdiction of the Federal High Court, retained in your account with First Inland Bank now FCMB Plc, the sum of N400, 700,000 on behalf of others yet at large, and which sum you knew to be proceeds of an illegal act by those yet at large and thereby committed an offense punishable under section 16 of the Money laundering act 2004”.
The sum of N400, 700,000 was fraudulently diverted from an account domiciled in First Inland Bank, to Suleiman’s own account. He then transferred various sums to the accounts of his partners in crime, who are currently at large.
Presiding judge, Justice Ayo Emmanuel, found him guilty of all the eight charges preferred against him by the EFCC, ruling that the prosecution, led by Comos Ugwu, proved its case beyond every reasonable doubt after calling eight witnesses.
Before delivering his judgement, the trial judge noted with dismay that “it took me 12 years to conclude this matter due to antics deployed when I took over this matter”, adding that “it was torture as I had to travel from Ibadan and then Lagos to hear this matter”.
In his ruling, Justice Emmanuel held that: “The court has a duty, in sentencing, to impose sentence which will serve as deterrent; also in sentencing it has a duty to bear in mind the economic impact of the offence committed.
“The offence for which the convict is sentenced has led to the collapse of the financial institution and is within public knowledge that First Inland Bank virtually collapsed after the offence. “Innocent citizens have been left to suffer the consequences of other people’s criminal act”, he said.
Taking into consideration provisions of Section 311 and Section 416 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015, and the allocutus of the defence pleading for “leniency”, the trial judge, sentenced him to five years on counts one, two, four, six and eight; three years on count three, and two years on counts five and seven, to run concurrently.
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