A Federal Large Courtroom choose, Okon Abang, on Monday, unveiled the roles two Nigerian banking institutions performed in the N2 billion pension fraud perpetrated by a former chairperson of the defunct Pension Reform Endeavor Group (PRTT), Abdulrasheed Maina.
High quality Times reported earlier that the choose sentenced Mr Maina to eight many years imprisonment in his judgement at the conclude of two-yr demo on Monday.
The judge explained the United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Fidelity Bank Plc have been utilised by Mr Maina as “conduit” to defraud pensioners.
Noting that the convict’s fraudulent activities “ruined” lots of properties in the region, Mr Abang explained the two financial institutions ought to have been charged along with Mr Maina for serving as “conduits” by means of which the stolen resources ended up channelled.
In the charge marked FHC/ABJ/CR/256/2019, the Financial and Economical Crimes Commission (EFCC) alleged that Mr Maina made use of fictitious names to open up and run several bank accounts. He also recruited his family that were being bankers to work faux bank accounts as a result of which illicit cash ended up channelled.
“UBA and Fidelity Financial institution Plc should really have been arraigned with the convict for unlawful transactions,” Mr Abang held, incorporating that “their licences should to have been withdrawn.”
“The banking institutions benefitted from the proceeds of unlawful transactions. UBA and Fidelity Lender provided the channels with which the convict (Mr Maina) made use of in defrauding the federal governing administration,” Mr Abang also said.
He reported the financial institutions abdicated their tasks by failing to carry out because of diligence to set up the correct identities of persons in whose names Mr Maina opened and operated the fictitious bank accounts.
Nigeria in urgent need to have of countrywide rebirth
The courtroom observed the prevalence of monumental financial fraud in Nigeria’s community sector, contacting for drastic steps to deal with the dilemma.
“The information of this case portray the moral decadence of the culture we dwell in. I consider we want a National rebirth of guaranteed regeneration,” the decide mentioned.
Mr Abang mentioned although the convict lived in opulence at the expenditure of pensioners, his victims died in penury in Nigeria.
“Having considered the monumental fraud of how the pension cash were stolen, over N2.1 billion by the 1st Defendant (Mr Maina), it is a clear case that the convict is inhumane, heartless and has no compassion for the pensioners.
“Meanwhile, the convict, as a result of the support of UBA and Fidelity Lender Plc, deprived the pensioners that gave their all to this nation in their youthful age, their legitimate earnings.
“Whereas the convict was feeding body fat on their sweat faraway in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), getting option homes, driving bulletproof autos, residing in affluence over and above his reputable earnings.
“An abnormal predicament calls for drastic actions to ship a concept to those that think in dishonesty to have a rethink change a new leaf.
“Dishonesty is an endemic ailment in this region, that necessitates urgent cure if we are to make any headway in this region,” the court declared.
‘Maina was hearless’
In the judgement that lasted four hours on Monday, the judge said Mr Maina handled hapless pensioners with “disdain and levity.”
When underscoring the plight of the pensioners whom the formal stole from, Mr Abang explained, “Some have experienced and died although waiting for their reward.”
“The specifics of this situation are sordid, immoral, and morbid,” the decide pointed out, introducing that, “the specifics portray the ethical decadence in Nigeria.”
He stated Mr Maina could not have earned the sum of N2 billion when his salary as a civil servant was a tiny earlier mentioned N300, 000 for every thirty day period.
“The convict’s income as a civil servant was a small over N300, 000, and could not have amounted to N2 billion even if he was preserving all his salaries for 35 a long time,” the choose observed.
Reviewing the testimonies of witnesses in the go well with, the courtroom held that Mr Maina’s only defence witness, Ngozika Ihuoma, “testified on irrelevant issues” that were not similar to the expenses from Mr Maina.
The decide observed that EFCC’s 9 witnesses “proved the prosecution’s case further than fair doubt,” primary to Mr Maina’s conviction and sentencing on Monday.
“This make any difference has a chequered history,” Mr Abang reported of the drama that characterised Mr Maina’s trial.
Mr Maina experienced jumped bail 2 times in the system of the demo. He was a short while ago arrested in Niamey, Niger Republic, exactly where he had fled.
Premium Instances described how a senator, Ali Ndume, was briefly jailed after he unsuccessful to supply Mr Maina, whom he had stood surety for. Mr Ndume used five times at the Kuje correctional centre ahead of he was granted bail.
Maina, agency to return about N2 billion within just 90 days
In the verdict, the decide ordered Mr Maina to return N1 billion to the coffers of the federal authorities inside of 90 times from Monday.
Mr Maina’s organization, Widespread Input House and Financial investment Ltd, the next convict, was purchased to refund the sum of N183 million as effectively as $223,000 to the federal government winnin 90 times from Monday.
Mr Maina’s eight many years sentence would acquire result from Oct 25, 2019, the date he was arraigned.
The enterprise would be wound up and all its belongings forfeited to the federal authorities, the judge dominated.
Other property forfeited to the federal authorities by the convicts are a bulletproof Range Rover, and residences positioned at Jabi and Life Camp elements of Abuja
Plea for mercy
In his plea for leniency, Mr Maina’s attorney, Olusegun Jolawo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), urged the judge to give the convict a “second possibility.”
Mr Jolawo premised his plea for clemency on the grounds that his shopper was battling with unwell-wellness, even with remaining the “breadwinner of his instant and prolonged spouse and children.”
Admitting that Mr Maina experienced built some “bad decisions” including jumping bail twice, the attorney explained his shopper was remorseful.
“With all humility, we urge the court to impose the minimal achievable punishment,” Mr Jolawo pleaded.
Right before the sentence was handed down, Mr Maina was specified the opportunity to articulate his plea for mercy.
“My Lord, I want to apologise for something that I may have done,” the convict explained.
Mr Maina ,who walked into the courtroom, aided by prison officers, claimed: “I also want to inform My Lord that I have a tumour which requirements to be operated on urgently.”
Flanked on equally sides by armed prison personnel who shielded him from the horde of cameras that were being stationed outdoors the courtroom, Mr Maina was noticed acknowledging cheers from his mates and associates as he walked into a ready van following he was sentenced.
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