JUSTICE Ayo Emmanuel of a Federal High Court, Ibadan, on Tuesday remanded six officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria arraigned for stealing and circulating mutilated Naira notes meant for destruction by the apex bank.
The six — Patience Okoro, Afolabi Johnson, Ilori Sunday, Kolawole Babalola, Olaniran Adeola and Fatai Yusuf — were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, charged for conspiracy, diversion and stealing of mutilated naira notes worth N8bn.
They were also accused of replacing the mutilated currencies with cut-to-size newspapers and converting the money to their personal use.
Others charged alongside the CBN officials were Kayode Philips, Salami Ibrahim and Odiah Emmanuel. They were charged with conspiracy with other officials of CBN and other banks.
Two others-Roy Akinsiku and O. Sobowale-were said to be at large.
Counsels for the accused persons made oral applications for bail but the judge refused the applications and ordered that the accused be remanded in the EFCC office or at the Criminal Investigation Department, Iyaganku Police Division, Ibadan.
Justice Emmanuel has also fixed Tuesday, June 9, 2015 for argument of the written bail applications and fixed July 6 and 7, 2015 for the commencement of trial.
The CBN had said that some of its official had been investigated and found to have compromised their integrity by stealing and circulating mutilated currency billed for destruction.
“During a routine internal audit of the bank’s cash destruction activities in September 2014, the CBN Briquetting Panel comprising senior bank staff from different branches noticed some anomalies at the Ibadan branch, and immediately reported this to the bank’s management. On further investigation ordered by the governor, it was discovered that a systematic scheme, which has been on for several years, was being run in which mutilated higher denomination notes originally meant for destruction were swapped with lower denomination currencies,” the apex bank had said in a statement.
The EFCC prosecution team led by Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) included the immediate past Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General in Oyo State, Mr. Adebayo Ojo; A. Adebisi, Sunday Aborisade, Rotimi Oye, O.M. Atoyebi, Sola Olanibiire.
The accused persons were represented by K.A. Lawal, Bola Alabi, A.O. Ajayi, Olayinka Bolanle, and B.B.M. Ashie of Olalekan Ojo Chambers.
The five count charge read to the accused persons said they committed an offence under Section 7 (2) of the Bank Employees (Declaration of Assets) Act Cap. B1 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
One of the counts against the bank officials read, “The accused persons on or about 5th August, 2014 in Ibadan within the jurisdiction of this honourable court engaged in corrupt practices when they replaced the content of a box of N1,000 notes denomination in a total sum of N10m marked as ‘Counted Audited Dirty’ meant for briquetting with newspapers and which sum you converted to your own use and you thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 1 (2) (a) and Section 10 (1) of the Recovery of Public Property (Special Provision) Act Cap. R4 Laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”