N2.7b fraud: Trial of Fidelity Bank staff who ‘altered’ Dangote Cement account details to commence May 30

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Justice O.O. Abike-Fadipe of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos has slated the commencement of trial of one Christopher Jackson Edeh for May 30, 2024.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on February 28, 2024, arraigned him before Justice Abike-Fadipe on nine-count charges bordering on fraudulent false accounting contrary to Section 337 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, and unauthorised access to computer contrary to Section 387 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State.

One of the charges reads: “That you Christopher Jackson Edeh, sometimes in September 2023 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, whilst in the employment of Fidelity Bank Plc, with intent to defraud, altered the customer account details of Dangote Cement Plc in possession of Fidelity Bank.”

Another charge reads: “Christopher Jackson Edeh, sometimes in September 2023 in Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court with intent to facilitate the stealing of the total sum of N2,737,784,800.00 (Two Billion, Seven Hundred and Thirty-seven Million, Seven Hundred and Eighty-four Thousand, Eight Hundred Naira) kept in custody of Fidelity Bank Plc, secured the unauthorised access to Entrust portal of Fidelity Bank Plc.”

He was also alleged to have with intent to defraud altered the bank account details of the Kano State Government – Power Intervention Fund, NNPC Trading Limited, Stallion Vision Ltd, the Lagos State Government-Blue Line, State Contributory Pension Account, and Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ujukwu University.

He pleaded “not guilty” to the charges when they were read to him.

Following his plea, counsel to the EFCC, Z.B. Atiku, informed the court that the prosecution was ready to prove its case against the defendant.

However, the defence informed the court of the bail application of the defendant, prompting the court to adjourn till Tuesday, March 19, 2024, for hearing of the application.

At the resumed hearing of the bail application, defence counsel, G.A. Daniel moved the bail application of his client and urged the court to grant bail as the offence was a bailable one.

Ruling on the application, Justice Abike-Fadipe granted him bail in the sum of N5 million, with two sureties in like sum, one of whom must be a blood relation to the defendant.

“The sureties shall depose to affidavit of means, must be gainfully employed and resident within jurisdiction of the court, must show evidence of tax payment for over the last three years to the Lagos State,” the trial judge added.

Justice Abike-Fadipe thereafter adjourned the case till May 30 and June 6, 2024, for commencement of trial.

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