A former staff of the First City Monument Bank Plc (FCMB), Olajide Ogundipe, was on February 15, 2012 sentenced to six months imprisonment over a N12million Automated Teller Machine fraud. The judgment was delivered in a Federal High Court sitting in Lokoja, presided over by Justice Alaba Ajileye.
Ogundipe, a cash officer in the bank, was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on March 2nd, 2011 on an eight-count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy and theft, to which he initially pleaded not guilty.
But as the case commenced and more evidences against him emerged through the prosecution witness, Mary Adebisi, who is also an investigation officer in the commission, the accused person changed his plea and pleaded guilty to all the charges.
He was subsequently sentenced to six months imprisonment with an option of N10,000 fine on each of the charge.
In sentencing the accused, the judge took consideration of his ill health and the fact that he had refunded the stolen money to the bank through the EFCC, even before he was charged to court.
Ogundipe’s ordeal started on September 2009 when his bank petitioned the EFCC, alleging fraudulent withdrawal of money from the bank’s ATM in excess of N12 million by a staff at their Lokoja Branch.
The bank had observed that some unexplainable entries were passed between one of its Assets Accounts and its ATM.
Further investigation by the EFCC revealed that sometime in March 2009, Ogundipe posted a debit entry of N450, 000 to the Assets Account and credited the ATM with same value, which was subsequently taken out in bulk cash from the machine after close of business. Several similar entries were posted and subsequently withdrawn in same manner.
The accused person, who confessed to the crime after his arrest, said he spent the money to sponsor his wedding in 2008.
He explained that he made the withdrawals, usually a minimum of N500, 000, each time he loaded the three ATM machines in Lokoja. “Thereafter, I would manipulate the posting to balance the account,” he confessed.
The Osun State-born banker, who said he joined the FCMB in September 2008 after three years in a new generation bank in Abuja , said he never kept the stolen money in the bank but in his briefcase at his Lokoja home, and unknown to his wife who was residing in Karu, Abuja .