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EFCC arraigns Cashflow, “Illegal” bank operator for fraud

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on June 13, 2018 arraigned a director of Cashflow ABI Network Limited, Philemon Ibrahim Gora, before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu of the Federal High Court, Maitama, on a two-count charge for illegally operating a financial institution.

Gora is accused to have between 2012 and 2017 used the company to defraud unsuspecting customers.

He was arraigned along with the company, and they are accused of violating Section 2 (1) of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act, and Section 49 (1) of the same Act.

Count two of the charges reads: “That you Dr. Philemon Ibrahim Gora, being a Director of Cashflow ABI Network Limited between 2012 and 2017 in Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court knowingly consented to the carrying on of banking business without a valid license issued to the company and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 49(1) of the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act Cap B3 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under section 2(2) of the same Act”.

The defendants pleaded “not guilty” to the counts. In view of the plea, prosecuting counsel, G.K. Latona, urged the court to fix a date for trial and to remand the suspect in prison custody.

Counsel to the defendant, Alex Marama, however, notified the Court that he received the charges “yesterday” and so was unable to file bail applications. “We therefore seek to make an oral application for bail of our client,” he said, arguing that the defendant had been on EFCC’s administrative bail, “and did not violate any conditions preferred against him”.

Latona opposed the application for bail, urging the court to take into cognizance the nature of the offence committed. After listening to the arguments, Justice Ojukwu, granted the defendants bail in the sum of N10 million each, with two sureties in like sum, who must be a federal civil servants not lower than grade level 16 and must own a landed proper.

The trial judge also ordered him to surrender his international passport to the court.

He is to also pay N5 million as bond, and will be in Kuje Prison pending when he fulfills the conditions.

The case has been adjourned to October 2 and 3, 2018 In another development, EFCC, arraigned one Abdullahi Mohammed before Justice Filibus B. Aneetur of the High Court of Taraba State sitting in Jalingo on a 9-count charge of criminal breach of trust and forgery contrary to Section 362 of the Penal Code Law of Taraba State and punishable under Section 364 of the same Law. Mohammed, a businessman, sometime in 2011 was said to be entrusted with various types of cereals by one Alhaji Jubrin Maida.

The defendant allegedly disposed the items and diverted the money to personal use.

Specifically, Mohammed was entrusted with 250 bags of local rice valued at N6,000 (Six Thousand Naira) per bag and another 1330 bags of maize valued at N6,000 (Six Thousand Naira) per bag. He was also entrusted with 100 bags of guinea corn valued at N5,000 (Five Thousand Naira) per bag.

After efforts to recover the money failed to yield result, a civil suit was instituted against Mohammed, which judgment was entered in favour of the norminal complainant, Alhaji Maida.

The court ordered Mohammed to pay the total sum of the cereals, which is to the tune of N2.7million to complainant through the court’s registrar account.

However, Mohammed fraudulently forged 50 deposit slips of various amount claiming that he had offset the judgment sum.

Upon investigation, it was discovered that all the 50 deposit slips were forged. Particulars of count one read: “Abullahi Mohammed, at all material times relevant to this case, being a businessman and store owner in Ibi Local Government Area of Taraba State, sometime in 2011, being entrusted with 250 (50kg) bags of local rice valued at N6,000.00k per, 1330 (50kg) bags of maize valued at N6,000.00k per bag and 100 (50kg) bags of guinea corn valued at N5,000.00k per bag by Alhaji Jubrin Maida, dishonestly disposed off the said goods in violation of the directives given to you by Alhaji Jubrin Maida.”

Another count reads: “Abullahi Mohammed, at all material times relevant to this case, did make a false Union Bank Plc deposit slip bearing No. 9920555 and stamped 25th August 2015 with intent to cause Alhaji Jubrin Maid to believe that the depositwas made by Union Balk Plc Nigeria as proof of payment of the sum of N10,500.00k to him” The defendant, who spoke through an interpreter pleaded not guilty to all the counts when the charge was read and same interpreted to him in Hausa language.

Upon his plea, counsel to the EFCC, Francis Jirbo asked the court for a date to present the witnesses.

But Mohammed’s counsel, Isa Buba, prayed for time to file formal application, while urging the court to admit the defendant to bail. Justice Aneetur, asked the defence to come by way of formal application, but in a short bench ruling noted that, “the offence is bailable but not ordinarily bailable” considering the gravity of the offence.

The judge, in the circumstance, granted the defendant “an interim bail” with a surety in the sum of N500,000, which sum shall be deposited with the registrar of the court pending filing of the bail application.

“The defendant is to be remanded in Jalingo prison pending the filing of his bail application” said the judge. The case was, thereafter, adjourned to August 2, 2018 for hearing.

Dele Fashomi
Dele Fashomi, seasoned journalist and communication teacher, is a holder of Master of Arts degree in Communication and Language Arts from the University of Ibadan in 1992/93. Earlier, he had bagged a Bachelor degree from the same university in 1984, after which he proceeded to the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Lagos, in 1990, for a postgraduate diploma in Journalism. He had done many courses in communication, including the EU-BBC Editing Course in 2002. Mr. Fashomi combines effectively the practice, research and teaching of communication. And to date, he has published two academic works in communication: Issues in Communication Technology and Policy (2010) and Economic and Social Issues in Advertising and PR (2013). He had his first break in the Nigerian media in Concord Newspapers in 1990 and today, he has over two and half decades experience earned in several newspapers. He has been part of many start-ups, such as The Republic (1987), The Comet (1999), The Anchor 2001 - 2002; Sun Newspapers (2003); Westerner newsmagazine (2005 - 2010) as Editor; National Life (2011) as Sunday Editor, and Newswatch Newspapers (2012- 2016) as Daily Editor. Dele Fashomi is now the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of newspaper online, which he started in July 2015. He is also into biography writing, with many books in his trail, some of which he wrote alone and one he co- authored with his mentor, Mr Dare Babarinsa, entitled:  Olabiyi Durojaiye - DARE TO BE DiFFERENT. He also guided and collaborated with Pa Olatunji Odusanya in writing his autobiography - AGAINST ALL ODDS. There are many other books in the works under his pen.