A Kebbi State High Court on Thursday convicted three ex-bankers and sentenced them to 91 years in prison for defrauding their customers of N114.6 million
The convicts: Suleiman Musa, Bilyaminu Usman and Lawal Suleiman, all ex-members of staff of the defunct FinBank Plc, which was acquired by FCMB in 2011, were sentenced to 55 years, seven years and 29 years, respectively, without an option of fine.
Delivering judgment, the trial judge, Justice Ibrahim Mairiga, held that the act of the convicts had caused a great injury to the bank and that they were guilty as charged.
The judge also ordered them to refund the stolen money.
He said: “By considering the amount involved and weight of evidence presented before the court by the prosecution, which was never challenged by the defence, it shows that their wrongful act caused a great injury to the bank.
“I, therefore, find the accused persons guilty as charged, and so convict and sentence them to 55 years, 7 years and 29 years in prison, respectively, without an option of fine, with the jail term to serve concurrently.
“They are also ordered to refund the stolen money to the bank.’’
The convicts were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on July 21, 2010, on a 16-count charge bordering on conspiracy, forgery, theft and criminal breach of trust.
They had pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them by the anti-graft agency.
The EFCC had accused the convicts of defrauding the bank’s customers by carrying out fraudulent withdrawals from their bank accounts between 2008 and 2010.
The prosecution counsel, Aisha Habib, had told the court that the convicts were apprehended following a petition by the bank’s management after some customers lodged complaints about unauthorized withdrawals from their accounts.
She tendered documentary evidences of exhibits of stamped deposits and investment certificates before the court.
Musa, who was the bank’s Birnin Kebbi branch manager, defrauded the bank of N101, 707,000, while his two accomplices who were tellers connived to defraud the bank of N6,627,500 and N6,267,00 respectively.