The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, Lagos Zonal office, on Monday, August 26, 2019, arraigned the duo of Salisu Dashiru Saliu and Chinedu Israel Ekezie before Justice Hakeem Oshodi of the State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos on a two-count charge bordering on stealing and obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of N15, 184, 000.00K (Fifteen Million, One Hundred and Eighty- Four Thousand Naira Only).
One of the counts reads: “That you, Chinedu Israel Ekezie and Arome (still at large) sometime in 2018 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, dishonestly converted to your own use the sum of N15, 184, 000.00K (Fifteen Million, One Hundred and Eighty Four Thousand Naira Only) property of Mr. Obiora Derrick Igboegwu, the Managing Director of Aggregate Bureau De Change Limited.”
Another charge reads: “That you, Alhaji Salisu Saliu, sometime in 2018 in Lagos, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, dishonestly converted to your own use the sum of N1, 518, 400.00 (One Million, Five Hundred and Eighteen Thousand, Four Hundred Naira Only) of Mr. Obiora Derrick Igboegwu, the Managing Director of Aggregate Bureau De Change Limited.”
The first defendant, Saliu, pleaded guilty, while the second defendant, Ekezie, pleaded not guilty when the charges were read to them.
The prosecution counsel, Muhammad Kabir Hussain, informed the court that the first defendant had entered into a “plea bargain” with the Commission, adding that he (the defendant) had also restituted the sum of N1, 518, 400.00 to the victim.
Consequently, Hussain reviewed and adopted the fact of the case as the prosecution’s argument.
The prosecution counsel also prayed the court to deliver judgment based on the plea bargain agreement.
Counsel to the first defendant, Babafemi Olarewaju, confirmed that his client willingly entered into the plea bargain agreement with the prosecution.
He, therefore, pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy, adding that his client “is a first time offender who is remorseful of his actions.”
Counsel to the second defendant, Dipo Odimayo, told the court that he had filed and served an application for bail on behalf of his client on the prosecution.
He also urged the court to grant his client bail on the grounds of ill health.
In his response, the prosecution counsel told the court that “the issue of bail is at the discretion of the court.
However, the prosecution counsel prayed that stringent conditions be imposed in the circumstance that the second defendant is granted bail.
Justice Oshodi, after listening to all parties, admitted the second defendant to bail in the sum of N500, 000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira), with one surety in like sum.
The surety must be a blood relation to the second defendant and must show evidence of tax payment for the last three years.
The Judge further held that the surety as well as his address must be verified by the court’s Registrar.
The second defendant was ordered to be remanded in the EFCC custody pending the perfection of his bail conditions.
The Judge adjourned the case to December 5, 2019 for commencement of trial.
Justice Oshodi also ordered the first defendant to pay a sum of N200, 000 fine within 60 days from the day of judgment; otherwise, he would be imprisoned for one year from the day of default.
The Judge also directed the EFCC to ensure compliance with the judgment within the specified period.