Currency Scam: Court Denies CBN Staff, Others Bail

CBN Justice Nathaniel Ayo Emmanuel of the Federal High Court, sitting in Ibadan, on Monday 15 June, 2015 dismissed the bail application brought by six former staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.

The accused persons: Patience Okoro Eye, Afolabi Olufemi Johnson, Ilori Adekunle Sunday Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola and Fatai Adedokun Yusuf, are being prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC for over N8billion mutilated currency recycling fraud.

Justice Emmanuel, in dismissing their application for bail, stated that the interest of the accused must not only be considered while looking at their application but that of the common man and the society.

He said that the court was refusing the accused persons bail because of the gravity of the offence which borders on the economy and well-being of the people of the country.

Justice Emmanuel dismissed their application and ordered for accelerated hearing. He also warned counsel that he would not entertain frivolous applications.

The accused persons were arraigned June 2, 2015 on 28-count charge bordering on fraud and stealing. Specifically, the former apex bank employees are alleged to have compromised the CBN’s briquette exercise, meant to combat the inflationary spiral in the economy, occasioned by excess dirty notes.

Justice Emmanuel adjourned the matter till July 6 and 7 for trial.

In a similar development, Justice Emmanuel also dismissed the bail application brought by three former staff of CBN and two staff of Sterling Bank.

The accused: Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola, Toogun Kayode Philips (all former staff of the CBN) and Salami Ibrahim and Oddiah Emmanuel (both staff of Sterling Bank Plc) were arraigned on an 11-count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud and stealing.

They are alleged to have defrauded their banks various sums of money totaling N1, 141,303,300 using various guises and pretences.

Justice Emmanuel adjourned the case to July 6 and 7, 2015 for trial.

It was the same situation in the case involving Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola and Toogun Kayode Philips (Ex-CBN staff) and Tope Akintade, (staff of Ecobank Plc) who were docked on a 15-count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud and stealing to the tune of N910, 210,100.00 (Nine Hundred and Ten Million, Two Hundred and Ten Thousand, One Hundred Naira only).

Justice Emmanuel dismissed their bail applications for lack of merit and ordered for an accelerated hearing.

8bn Naira Scam: CBN Executives, Others To Remain In Prison Till June 15

Nigeria-NairaSix executives of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and others, being prosecuted for eight billion Naira mutilated currency recycling fraud, are to remain in prison custody until June 15.

The development followed the decision of the court on Tuesday to adjourn the hearing on a request for their bail to that date.

At the trial, the counsel to the prosecutor, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) asked the court to deny the accused persons bail.

The accused CNB executives are; Patience Okoro Eye; Afolabi Olufemi Johnson; Ilori Adekunle Sunday; Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola and Fatai Adedokun Yusuf.

Justice Ayo Emmanuel of the Federal High Court Ibadan, Oyo State, adjourned to Monday, June 15, for ruling on the bail application brought by the accused persons.

At the sitting, counsel to the EFCC, Mr Rotimi Jacobs, said his request was based on the chances that the accused persons were capable of interfering with the case.

He also told the court that some of the accused persons had threatened witnesses in the case who are staff of the apex bank, prompting the bank to transfer such staff.

He said: “In view of Public interest and the current mood of the nation, it is better to remand the accused persons in prison custody or for the hearing to be accelerated”.

However, counsel to the first accused, A. Lawal prayed the court to grant bail to his client, assuring the court that he would be available to face his trial.

The same argument was canvassed by counsel to other accused persons who prayed the court to grant bail on liberal terms.

After listening to the submissions of the counsels, Justice Emmanuel adjourned to the case.

In another case, Mr Jacobs, also prayed the court to refuse three former staff of CBN and two staff of Sterling bank bail.

The accused – Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola, Toogun Kayode Philips (all former staff of the CBN) and Salami Ibrahim and Oddiah Emmanuel (both staff of Sterling Bank Plc) – were arraigned on an 11-count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud and stealing.

Specifically, the bankers were alleged to have defrauded their banks various sums of money, totalling 1.141 billion Naira, using various guises and pretences.

Counsels to the first accused person, Otunba Bolanle and counsel to the second and third accused persons, Olalekan Ojo, were vehement in their prayers for bail.

Justice Emmanuel adjourned the case to June 15, for ruling on the bail applications.

The same scenario played out in the case involving Babalola, Adeola and Toogun Kayode Philips and Tope Akintade, staff of Ecobank Plc, who were docked on a 15-count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud and stealing to the tune of 910.2 million Naira.

N8bn Currency Scam: SIX CBN Executives Remanded in Prison

CBNSix staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) implicated in an eight billion Naira defaced and mutilated currency recycling scam, have been remanded in prison custody on Tuesday.

This detention is subsequent to their arraignment by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), before Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel of a Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.

The suspects: Patience Okoro Eye, Afolabi Olufemi Johnson, Ilori Adekunle Sunday, Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Muniru Adeola and Fatai Adedokun Yusuf, were arraigned on a five-count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraud and stealing.

Specifically, the CBN employees were alleged to have compromised the CBN’s Briquetting exercise, meant to mop up mutilated and defaced higher denomination currencies from circulation, to combat inflation.

Instead of destroying the currencies, they allegedly recycled the notes and substituted them with newspapers neatly cut to Naira sizes.

When the charges were read to them, they pleaded not guilty.

After their plea, prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs, asked the court for a trial date and for the defendants to be remanded in prison custody.

He opposed their bail applications, urging the counsel to the defendants to present their bail applications formally to court.

However, counsel to the first accused person, K.A. Lawal, made an oral application for bail. All other counsel followed suit.

Justice Ayo- Emmanuel adjourned the matter to June 9, for hearing of the bail applications and July 6 and 7, for commencement of trial.

He ordered that all the defendants be remanded in Agodi Prison custody, located in Ibadan.

N8b Currency Scam: EFCC To Arraign 6 CBN Bosses, 16 Others

EFCCThe Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is set to charge six top officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and 16 others to a Federal High Court on June 2, for a sum of 8b Naira currency fraud.

The commission said in a statement signed by its Head of Media & Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, on Sunday that it would bring the executives before the court for their involvement in the theft and re-circulation of defaced and mutilated currencies.

According to the EFCC, “The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) has concluded arrangement to arraign in court, five top executives of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), implicated in a mega scam involving the theft and re-circulation of defaced and mutilated currencies.

“The suspects drawn from various business units of the apex bank are to be docked by the anti-graft agency before a Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State, from Tuesday June 2, 2015 to Thursday June 4, 2015.

“They include Patience Okoro Eye (Abuja), Afolabi Olufemi (Lagos), Kolawole Babalola (Ibadan), Olaniran Muniru Adeola (Ibadan), Fatai Yusuf Adekunle (Head, Security, CBN, (Ibadan) and Ilori Adekunle Sunday, (Akure).”

The commission explained further that “the remaining 16 suspects were drawn from various commercial banks, who were found to have conspired with the CBN executives to swing the heist. All the suspects, who are currently in the custody of the EFCC, are now ruing the day they literally allowed greed and craze for materialism to becloud their sense of judgment and responsibility, when they elected to help themselves to tones of defaced Naira notes.

“Instead of carrying out the statutory instruction to destroy the currency, they substituted it with newspapers neatly cut to Naira sizes and proceeded to recycle the defaced and mutilated currency. The fraud is partly to blame for the failure of government monetary policy over the years as currency mop up exercises by the apex bank failed to check the inflationary pressure on the economy.”

“The lid on the scam which was widely suspected to have gone on unchecked for years, was blown on November 3, 2014 via a petition to the EFCC alleging that over N6, 575, 549, 370.00 (Six Billion, Five Hundred and Seventy-Five Million, Five-Hundred and Forty-Nine Thousand, Three Hundred and Seventy Naira) was cornered and discreetly recycled by light fingered top executives of the CBN at the Ibadan branch.

“The suspects, who were members of the Briquetting Panel, plotted their way to infamy on September 8, 2014, while carrying out a Briquetting exercise at the CBN Branch, Ibadan. In banking parlance, Briquetting is disintegration and destruction of counted and audited dirty notes. By this practice, depositor banks usually take mutilated notes to the CBN in exchange for fresh notes equivalent of the amount deposited.

“The depositor banks in this instance, are Zenith Bank, FCMB, Wema Bank, Access Bank, First Bank, Skye Bank, Ecobank and Sterling Bank. But while carrying out the assignment, the team were alleged to have found one of the currency boxes filled only with old newspapers rather than 20 bundles of N1000 notes. A similar case, according to investigation, had been discovered on September 22, 2014 when a box that was supposed to contain N500 notes to the tune of N5billion was filled with old newspapers,” the commission said.

The EFCC stressed further that “unlike in the past, this fraud could not be swept under the carpet, as a member of the Briquetting Panel from the Osogbo branch blew the lid on the illicit deal.

“In a statement, the informant stated that the exercise was designed to last between August 4 and 8, 2014. The 35-year-old, however, stated that she discovered a strange ‘sight’ while opening the third box on the second day of the exercise. It was a discovery that beat her ken.

“A five count charge awaits the suspects as they prepare to face the wrath of the law.”