Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja on Friday convicted and sentenced a former Relationship Officer of Coronation Merchant Bank, Nsa Ayi, to seven years imprisonment for allegedly defrauding the bank of N700 million.
Ayi, was convicted after he pleaded guilty to an 11-count charge of fraud, altering and forgery brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC)
The anti-graft agency had accused the convict of conniving with unknown parties to move funds using customers’ electronic instructions meant for investment in the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) Bonds, Treasury Bills and Fixed Deposits.
The commission also claimed that the convicted banker allegedly altered instructions and falsified signatures of customers to transfer money into various accounts outside the bank.
The money was allegedly transferred in tranches into his Guaranty Trust Bank account No. 0001600855 as well as his Zenith Bank account No. 1002771899.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Nsa Ayi, on or about 4th day of February, 2015, being an employee of Coronation Merchant Bank, in Lagos within the Lagos Judicial Division with intent to defraud, falsified account No. 1990000158 belonging to African Alliance Insurance Plc in possession of your employer by debiting the said account to the tune of N172, 076, 712.33, using an instruction which you purported to have been issued by the said African Alliance Insurance Plc.”
Another count reads: “That you, Nsa Ayi, on or about 13th day of January, 2014, being an employee of Coronation Merchant Bank, in Lagos within the Lagos Judicial Division with intent to defraud, falsified account No. 2990001176 belonging to Ogunjemiyo E. Mascot in possession of your employer by debiting the said account to the tune of N4, 277, 000.00, using an instruction which you purported to have been issued by Ogunjemiyo E. Mascot.”
The convict had initially pleaded not guilty to the charge and he was refused bail by the court.
His counsel, Robert Clarke (SAN) had pleaded with the court to grant the defendant bail on the grounds that he needed to take his son abroad for surgery.
But the EFCC had opposed the bail application, saying that “he is a flight-risk who had plans to relocate with his entire family to the United States of America last year, if not for the timely response in arresting him by the EFCC.”
The anti-graft agency had further said that there was no document showing that the defendant’s son was critically ill to warrant him being flown abroad for treatment.
The judge, while denying him bail, had said that if the defendant’s son was truly ill and needed medical treatment abroad, he should not be pleading with the court to allow him travel out with his entire family only to treat his son.
The judge had, therefore, remanded the defendant in Kirikiri Prisons, Lagos.
However, on March 6, 2018, the defendant had changed his plea from ‘not guilty’ to ‘guilty’.
Based on the development, the prosecution had reviewed the facts of the case and tendered documents that were admitted in evidence.
Justice Dada subsequently convicted Ayi on all the counts and deferred sentencing to Friday.
Delivering her judgment, the judge sentenced him to seven years imprisonment on each count of the charge.
The sentences are to run concurrently from the day of arrest.
Justice Dada further held that all properties traced to the defendant be confiscated till it amounts to the sum of N700million and should be restituted to the plaintiff, Coronation Merchant Bank.
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