Alleged $667, 000 Fraud: Hearing of Suit Against Ex-Banker Fixed For July 21
A Lagos Federal High Court, today, adjourned further hearing of a suit seeking to freeze 35 accounts belonging to a former banker, Austine Ugochukwu, which were allegedly used to laundered the sum of $667, 000 USD, till July 21, 2020.
The former banker was dragged before the court alongside a limited liability company, Tasmara Integrated Services Limited, by the Police Special Fraud Unit (PSFU) Ikoyi, Lagos.
Justice Ayotunde Faji, who presided over the court had on May 25, 2020, empowered the PSFU to place a lien on the exbanker’s 35 accounts domicile in a new generation bank, after listened to the police lawyer, Mr. Emmanuel Jackson, a Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP) who led Justine Enang, a Superintendent of Police (Supol), who moved an exparte application to that effect.
The 35 accounts which were allegedly been used to laundered the said sum by the former banker are: 205/153068; 228/678179; 402/649701; 220/876518; 224/980764; 220/877573; 220/877598; 220/885941: 209/822101; 209/823832; 246/296004; 246/297322; 265/231545: 265/231511.
Others are; 265/229254; 246/340436; 265/231542; 265/231625; 220/885852, 209/839097; 214/8682312; 220/886856; 220/886871; 220/886875; 246/340330; 246/344649; 251/292171; 251/292201; 265/231490; 220/886879; 220/886839; 220/886802; 251/292261; 265/231474 and 220/886811.
In urging the court to grant order for freezing the ex-banks’s account, CSP Jackson, told the court that the exparte application was pursuant to section 6(6)(b), (2)(k) of the Constitution of the Federal republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended); Executive Order 6, 2018, Section 4 of Police Act, 2004, section 13(1) Federal High Court Act, 2004.
And Section 13(1) of money laundry and prohibition Act 2011(as amended in 2012), Order 26(6-10), 28(1)(1-3),(2)(1-6) 30(A) of the Federal High Court (Civil Procedure Rule) 2019: Section 16(1)(A)(B) of the Advance Fee Fraud and Other fraud related offences Act, 2006 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court.
PSFU had asked the court to direct the bank to compel the the account officers of the said 35 accounts being investigated for an interview with the Commissioner of Police in-charge of PSFU. And to also furnish the Unit with the Certified True Copy (CTC) of some documents on the said 35 accounts.
These documents include: Statement of Account from January 1, 2018 till date; names and addresses of signatories to the accounts; photocopies on the Mandate Cards; Bank Verification Number linked to the accounts and Certificate of Computer printout in compliance with Section 84 of the Evidence Act.
CSP Jackson had told the orders sought for were necessary, as it will allowed the police to carry on with investigation of certain money totaling $667, 000 USD, fraudulently obtained by false pretence from the bank’s customers.
He also told the court that the order sought for will also prevent the bank from lifting any restrictions placed or will be placed on the said 35 accounts.
PSFU in an affidavit attached with the motion exparte and deposed by one of its investigators Shaibu Friday, who stated that he was directed by the Commissioner of Police to investigate a case of Obtaining the sum of $667,000 USD and money laundry based a petition dated March 26, 2020.
Adding that the petition was written by one Segun Fadahunsi and Lanre Kasim both General Manager and Senior Manager of the bank respectively, against the former banker, Albert Austin Ugochukwu, of obtaining the sum of $667, 000 USD, using a company known as Tasmara Integrated Services Limited to open about 35 different accounts number which were use by him to launder money.
PSFU also stated that the funds the is investigating being proceeds of fraud, stand the risk of being dissipated by the suspect unless the Court restrains from posting debit or allowing withdrawals from the said accounts under investigation pending the Conclusion of Police investigation. Adding that it will be in the interest of justice to grant this application.
Justice Faji, after listened to the submissions made by CSP Jackson ruled that: “I’m satisfied with the submissions of the applicant’s counsel. The order sought for is to preserve the ‘res’…..
At the resumed hearing of the matter today, Mr. Ebun Adegboruwa (SAN), lawyer to the former banker, told the court that he had served all parties in the suit with his client’s motion to discharge the exparte order and an application to dismiss the applicant’s (Commissioner of Police) motion on notice against the respondent.
Also, counsel to the bank, Mr. Seni Adio (SAN) told the court that he was just been briefed of the matter and that he needed time to respond to the exbanker’s application.
He therefore asked the court for a Short date to enable him responded to the exbanker’s applications.
On the side of the police, Mr. Enang, who stood in for CSP Jackson, told the court that he had responded to the respondents’ applications.
Following the request of the bank’s lawyer, Mr. Adio (SAN), for a short date to respond to the ex-banker’s applications, Justice Faji, adjourned the matter till July 21, for hearing of all applications.