The police on Wednesday arrested a former manager of Ecobank Nigeria Plc, Ejigbo branch, 41-year-old Ikechukwu Aghanenu, for allegedly conspiring with a suspected fraudster, Anthony Okpala, to defraud two customers of the bank of N14m.
The customers are Mrs. Oluremi Egunjobi who is deceased, and Rabiu Lawal, who is based in the United Kingdom.
The suspects reportedly diverted N4.014m from the deceased’s customer’s bank account, while N10m was said to have been fraudulently withdrawn from Lawal’s account.
According to The Punch, 34-year-old Okpala and another suspect currently on the run, presented themselves to Aghanenu impersonating relatives of the deceased, backing themselves up with forged documents authorising the bank to release the said sum to them.
It was gathered that the deal was perfected between September and November, 2015 and the money was withdrawn from late Mrs. Egunjobi’s account.
At that period the police said Okpala paraded himself as a business partner of Lawal and allegedly colluded with Aghanenu to withdraw N10m from Lawal’s account in tranches.
A police source stated that investigation of the alleged fraud commenced after a lawyer to the deceased’s relatives and Lawal respectively lodged complaints to the bank, adding that the manager had been sacked.
“The bank reported the fraud to the police and in the course of investigation, it was discovered that the fraudulent transactions were carried out by Okpala with the knowledge of the ex-manager and others at large.
“Okpala presented himself and another suspect at the Ecobank’s branch in Ejigbo as relatives of the late Oluremi (Egunjobi) and instructed the bank to liquidate her account, which was done through the help of the ex-manager. But he (Aghanenu) denied knowing Okpala.
“The other victim, Lawal, works in UK and saves money at the bank with the hope of using the money to invest when he relocates to Nigeria. It was when he checked his account balance that he discovered the withdrawals and complained to the bank.”
PUNCH learnt that a team of policemen from the Ikoyi division led by one Sergeant Damian Oguinye, picked up Aghanenu and Okpala on Wednesday at the Ebute-Meta Magistrate’s Court, where the latter was allegedly facing another fraud trial.
They were arraigned in an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court on Thursday on five counts bordering on fraud and forgery by a police prosecutor, Friday Mameh.
The defendants, however, pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the counts before the magistrate, Mr. P. A. Adekomaya.
They were granted bail in the sum of N3m each with two sureties each in like sum while the case was adjourned till September 6, 2016.