An Ikeja High Court, Lagos at the weekend heard how two staff members of First Marina Trust Limited allegedly conspired to steal N1 billion from the company.
The staff members, identified as Adeyemi Oluwaseun and Suleiman Obhakume, had worked for the company, as at the time of committing the alleged offence, as a Relationship Manager and a Treasurer respectively.
The duo were arraigned alongside two others: One Yusuf Adekunle and Haruna Issah on a seven-count charge of conspiracy and stealing by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The EFCC alleged that the four defendants sometime in May, June and September, 2016 conspired and stole the sum of N1 billion property of First Marina Trust Limited.
However, testifying before the court as a prosecution witness, Mr. Anthony Onyeoghane, who is an IT expert, narrated how the defendants committed the alleged offence.
The witness, while being led in evidence by the EFCC lawyer, A.B.C. Ozioko, said that the 1st and 2nd defendants, who were his colleagues at the company, allegedly conspired with others outside the organization to defraud customers of the company.
Onyeoghane testified that during the course of interrogating the first defendant, Oluwaseun, confessed to the Committee that he was the one that gave out the account numbers of customers where monies got stolen.
“We found out that over one billion naira was missing from customers’ accounts. And when we traced the monies, it was found in the 1st defendant’s account,” the witness said.
When asked about how the defendants were able to defraud the company, he said, “the reason they were able to defraud the company was because the 1st defendant is the Relationship Manager who deals directly with the customers.
“The 2nd defendant was the Treasurer, who ought to checkmate the activities of the 1st defendant, but was also involved in the crime.
“Once the 2nd defendant okays any instruction alleging to have emanated from a particular customer, every other person will automatically assume that such instructions were given by that customer.”
On issues of whether the 2nd defendant had powers to approve transactions, he said, “my Lord, the 2nd defendant has the power to approve transactions. If he does not confirm that the email came from a customer’s regular email address, bearing an approved signature, date and an “email confirm,” then such instructions by a customer won’t be treated.
“They allegedly conspired among themselves to forged emails of one customer which on the company’s record was firstname.lastname@example.org while the fraudulent email used was email@example.com
“The report from the committee, which was submitted to the company management, clearly stated that there were fraudulent activities committed by both the 1st and 2nd defendants against the company.”
Meanwhile the EFCC alleged that the defendants on 16th, 17th and 27th of May 2016 stole the sums of N183.5m, N237.3m and N500million property of First Marina Trust Limited.
The commission also alleged that other sums of N180million, N186million and N14.7million were stolen by the defendants between 7th, 9th and 22nd June, 2016.
The anti-graft agency said that the offences contravened Sections 285(1)&( of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
Justice Josephine Oyefeso thereafter adjourned the matter till today for continuation of trial and hearing of pending applications.