By Modupe Gbadeyanka
A former employee of First Monument Bank Plc, Ms Oluwatoyin Jinadu, has been arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly stealing N52 million from an account belonging to one of the bank’s customers.
Ms Jinadu was on Friday brought before Justice Sylvanus Oriji of the FCT High Court sitting in Apo, Abuja on a 20-count charge bordering on theft and forgery.
Trouble started for the woman when a petition was sent to the EFCC alleging that as account officer to Dr D. K. Okoye in the Wuse 2 Branch of FCMB, the suspect fraudulently transferred N52 million his account without his knowledge or consent, into accounts in Zenith Bank, GTBank and Union Bank.
These transfers were alleged to have been done through forged transfer instructions.
Ms Jinadu was first arraigned before Justice Adebukola Banjoko of the FCT High Court on July 12, 2012, but the case had been dragging following several frivolous applications to the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court by the defence counsel, including a petition alleging bias on the presiding judge, a situation that led to the withdrawal of the trial judge.
The defendant pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to her.
In view of her plea, counsel to EFCC, Mr Samuel Ugwuegbulam, urged the court to fix a date for trial.
However, counsel to the defence, Mr M. A. Awul, through an oral application urged the court to grant the accused bail relying on Section 162 of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, ACJA, and Section 36 (5) of the Nigerian Constitution.
According to him, “The accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty. We urge your lordship to allow the defendant to continue on the existing bail granted him by your learned brother or in the alternative, grant her bail on such terms the court may consider appropriate to enable her attend trial”.
Responding, Mr Ugwuegbulam opposed the application stating that “since the former presiding judge has declined jurisdiction on the matter, the bail has automatically elapsed. Also my lord, punishment for the offence the defendant is being charged is enough incentive for her to jump bail.”
He argued further that “the defendant, if granted bail will obstruct justice owing to the fact that she had earlier employed delay tactics by filing several frivolous applications in the bid to frustrate the case and this led to the case dragging for a long time. I urge the court to decline the bail application and instead, give the matter accelerated hearing.”
However, Justice Oriji granted the accused bail in the sum of N8 million with two sureties in like sum. The sureties must be residents in Abuja. One of the sureties must be a civil servant in the federal civil service and below GL12. Their addresses must be verified by the court.
The case has been adjourned to December 5, 2016 and January 17 – 18 2017 for trial.
Meanwhile, the accused is to be remanded in prison custody pending the fulfilment of the bail conditions.
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