A Managing Director (MD) of a micro finance bank, Belema Abibo was on Thursday arraigned and remanded in custody over an alleged N100 million scam.
Abibo was arraigned along Cosmopolitan Micro Finance Bank Limited, before Justice M. L. Abubakar of the Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Port Harcourt’s Zonal office, arraigned them on a two count-charge bordering on obtaining money by false pretences to the tune of N100 million.
The anti-graft agency arrested them after a case of obtaining by false pretences and fraudulent diversion of funds was raised against him by a petitioner
According to the petitioner, sometimes in 2016, some representatives of the micro finance bank approached and persuaded him to deposit funds in the bank as a fixed deposit, with a promise of monthly interest of two per cent after a tenor of 360 days.
The petitioner alleged that he deposited and fixed the sum of N100 million in the bank, and upon maturity, the bank refused to refund neither the capital nor the accrued interest to him, adding that the bank representatives suddenly became elusive.
Upon investigation, the EFCC discovered that the first defendant, Abibo, a native of Okrika in Okrika Local Government Area of Rivers State, is a managing director of the bank and that the victim actually invested a sum of N100 million in a fixed deposit in the bank.
Further investigations by the EFCC showed that the money was transferred into an account number 0565583030, belonging to Cosmopolitan Micro Finance Bank, domiciled in FCMB.
The offence is contrary to Section 1 (1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related Offences Act 2006, and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act.
One of the counts read: “That you Belema Abibo and Cosmopolitan Micro Finance Bank Limited, sometime in 2016 at Port Harcourt, Rivers State, within the jurisdiction of this honourable court with intent to defraud did induce and obtain the sum of N100 million from Olusegun Akingbesote and Alpha Integrated Services Limited on the pretext of keeping a fixed deposit account on a monthly interest of 2 per cent after each tenor of 360 days, a pretext which you knew to be false and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 1 (1) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Related offences Act 2006 and punishable under Section 1 (3) of the same Act”.
After the charge was read to the defendants, they pleaded not guilty.
Prosecuting counsel, C. O. Oni, in view of the plea of the defendants, prayed the court to fix a date for commencement of trial.
In the same vein, counsel to the defendants, E. K. Krokeyi, asked the court for a short adjournment to enable him file an application for the bail of the first defendant.
Justice Abubakar, however, ordered that the first defendant be remanded in EFCC custody and adjourned to June 11, 2020, for consideration of the bail application.
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