Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja has convicted and sentenced Mr. Nsa Ayi, a former relationship officer with Coronation Merchant Bank to a total of 77 years imprisonment over N700 million fraud.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC )Lagos Zonal office arraigned the convict on 11 counts bordering on fraudulent accounting to the tune of N700millioin.
He was remanded at the Kirikiri Prisons, Lagos, but during the proceedings on March 6, 2018, the defendant had changed his plea from ‘not guilty’ to ‘guilty’.
In view of this, the prosecution reviewed the facts of the case and tendered documents that were admitted in evidence.
The judge subsequently convicted Ayi on all the charges and deferred sentencing till May 4.
Delivering her judgment, Justice Mojisola Dada sentenced Ayi to seven years imprisonment on each count of the charge. The sentences are to run concurrently from the day of arrest.
The Judge further held that all properties traced to the defendant be confiscated till it amounts to the sum of N700million and should be restituted to the plaintiff, Coronation Merchant Bank.
He was alleged to have connived with unknown parties to move funds using customers’ electronic instructions meant for investment in the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Bonds, Treasury Bills and Fixed Deposits.
The defendant also allegedly altered instructions and falsified signatures of customers to transfer money into various accounts outside the bank.
The money was reportedly transferred in tranches into his Guaranty Trust Bank account No. 0001600855 as well as his Zenith Bank account No. 1002771899.
When the 11 charges were read to him, he pleaded not guilty, thereby setting the stage for his trial.
Counsel to the defendant, Robert Clarke, had pleaded with the court to grant the defendant bail on the grounds that he needed to take his son abroad for surgery.
The prosecution had, however, opposed the bail application, saying that “He is a flight-risk who had plans to relocate with his entire family to the United States of America last year, if not for the timely response in arresting him by the EFCC.”
The prosecution had further said that there was no document showing that the defendant’s son was critically ill to warrant him being flown abroad for treatment.
The judge, while denying him bail, had said that if the defendant’s son was truly ill and needed medical treatment abroad, he should not be pleading with the court to allow him to travel out with his entire family only to treat his son.
One of the counts read: “That you, Nsa Ayi, on or about 4th day of February 2015, being an employee of Coronation Merchant Bank, in Lagos within the Lagos Judicial Division with intent to defraud, falsified account No. 1990000158 belonging to African Alliance Insurance Plc in possession of your employer by debiting the said account to the tune of N172, 076, 712.33, using an instruction which you purported to have been issued by the said African Alliance Insurance Plc.”
Another count read: “That you, Nsa Ayi, on or about 13th day of January 2014, being an employee of Coronation Merchant Bank, in Lagos within the Lagos Judicial Division with intent to defraud, falsified account No. 2990001176 belonging to Ogunjemiyo E. Mascot in possession of your employer by debiting the said account to the tune of N4,277,000.00, using an instruction which you purported to have been issued by Ogunjemiyo E. Mascot.”