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Court remands bank manager over N179m fraud

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A Federal High Court in Lagos, on Tuesday, ordered the remand of the Asaba branch manager of Zenith Bank Plc, Fidelis Egueke, over an alleged N179.498m fraud.

Egueke was arraigned by the Force Criminal Investigation Department Headquarters before Justice Chuka Obiozor on three counts of conspiracy, obtaining under false pretenses and fraud.

The prosecutor, Morufu Animashaun, told the court that the defendant and others at large, between May 14, 2010, and December 31, 2019, at No. 2 Balogun Close, Ikoyi, Lagos, conspired to obtain the sum of N179.498m from the Managing Director of Global Select Investment Services Limited under the pretext that they would help him sell some goods and remit the money to his account.

It was gathered that upon selling the goods, Egueke diverted the proceeds to his account with Zenith Bank and told the complainant that most of the goods he imported from the United States of America were substandard.

The offenses were said to be contrary to sections 8(a) and 1(1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offenses Act No. 14 of 2006 and punishable under Section 1(3) of the same Act and Section 390 (7) of the Criminal Code Act, Laws of the Federation, 2004.

Egueke pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Justice Obiozor had adjourned till Tuesday for the determination of his bail application.

At the resumed hearing of the bail application on Tuesday, the defendant’s counsel, C. A. Ajuyah (SAN), told the court that his client had credible sureties and that he would not evade trial and neither would he tamper or interfere with evidence and witnesses.

The prosecutor, while opposing the bail application, told the court that the defendant was a flight risk and might not turn up for his trial if granted bail.

Ruling on the bail application, Justice Obiozor admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N50m with one surety, who must be resident within the court’s jurisdiction.

The judge also ordered that the surety must have evidence of three years’ tax payment, title deed and one-year statement of account, adding that all the bail terms must be verified by the court’s Deputy Chief Registrar.

Justice Obiozor adjourned the matter till March 16, 24, 25, 30 and 31, 2021, for trial, and ordered that the banker be remanded with the Force CID, Alagbon, Ikoyi, Lagos, for seven days, pending when he would perfect the bail conditions, after which he would be transferred to Nigerian Correctional Service’s custody.

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