Nine stockbrokers working with Consolidated Discount House, Lagos were on Monday arraigned before Justice Mohammed Idris of the Lagos Federal High Court on charges bordering on alleged stocks fraud worth N16.738 billion.
The officials who were arraigned by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) on a 24-count charge include Stephen Olawale Akinretoye, Mudashiru Adeleke Shittu, Larai Claude-Ennin, Hassan Jamiu Gbenga and Ajibola Jolaosho.
Others are Omisore Olawale, Omisope Johnson, Onimole Mobolaji Adebowale and Emmanuel Akinola Odedina.
The court heard that the accused persons committed the offences at their firm’s office located at Eagle House, 38/39 Marina, Lagos, between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2013.
The 24 counts pressed against them by the AGF bordered on alleged failure to exercise due diligence in the conduct of the firm’s financial transactions and advanced fee fraud.
The AGF office, in the charge filed through its lawyer, Chief J.B. Daudu, alleged that the accused, with intent to defraud the organisation, failed to keep proper financial record and failed to give proper state of affairs of the firm.
They were also accused of using their various positions in the company to divert several funds belonging to the company to different accounts.
Daudu claimed that the accused persons violated Sections 15(2) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011, as amended in 2012, and were liable to being punished under Section 15(3) of the same Act.
The AGF further alleged that the accused persons between January 1, 2011, and December 31, 2013, with intent to defraud, failed to keep proper books of account and also failed to give proper state of affairs of the firm.
According to the prosecution, the offences contravened sections 15(2) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011, as amended in 2012, and punishable under 15(3) of the same Act
The offences were also to be contrary to Section 24 of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act Cap B3, Laws of the federation, 2004, and Section 7(3) (b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other related offences Act, Cap A6, LFN 2010.
But upon reading the 24 counts to the nine accused persons, they pleaded not guilty.
The defence counsel, comprising Mr. Kemi Balogun, Dr. Abiodun Layonu and Mr. Dapo Olanipekun, all Senior Advocates of Nigeria, subsequently pleaded with the court to allow the accused persons to continue on the bail condition earlier granted them.
The presiding Judge, Justice Mohammed Idris, granted the prayer and adjourned till May 13, 2016 for commencement of trial.