Alexander Okere, Benin
A Benin High Court has ordered that a former bank manager, Mrs. Florence Odior; her husband, Sunday Odior, and two others be remanded in prison custody for allegedly defrauding a customer of the sum of N55,840,000.
The accused persons were on June 8, 2017 arraigned before a High Court in Benin, Edo State, by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on 19 counts bothering on fraud, stealing, conspiracy and converting the said amount to personal use.
Florence, said to be the principal suspect, was alleged to have forged a document marked “TD 0990001445” and dated August 2, 2012 for the customer, identified as Moses Obozokhae, and presented it as genuine.
The four accused persons, who were granted administrative bail by the EFCC since their arrest, were said to have approached the court to extend their bail.
Counsel for the first and second accused persons, Mrs. E. Ekejiube, argued that the accused persons had always reported to the EFCC office as requested while Florence was presently receiving medical treatment at a hospital.
Ekejiube said the receipts in the affidavit with the medical certificates showed that the she (Florence) was not medically fit.
She told the court the couple had children and aged parents under their care, adding that keeping them in prison custody would affect their care.
Ekejiube, therefore, appealed to the court to grant them bail.
Counsel for the fourth accused person, Mr. Chukwuka Enegide, also urged the court to grant his client bail on health grounds, as he (the accused person) had no reason to jump bail.
But the EFCC opposed the bail application in a sworn affidavit by an officer attached to the agency, Mr. Ganiyu Ajisafe.
But counsel for the EFCC, Mr. Mustapha Aliu, urged the court to refuse the bail application, alleging that the accuse persons had always failed to report to the agency within the time they were granted administrative bail.
Aliu also urged the court to dismiss the applications since they had never sent any correspondence that showed medical problems.
“I urge my Lord to discountenance the applications for bail, which he said was at the discretion of the court and not by right,” the counsel said.
The presiding judge, Justice Ohimai Ovbiagele, ordered that the four accused persons be remanded in prison custody and adjourned the case till June 21 for ruling on the bail application.
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