Sat. Mar 25th, 2023

Alleged N350m Fraud: Court Grants Ex-Punch Executive Director, Azubuike, Other N2m Bail

Alleged N350m Fraud: Court Grants Ex-Punch Executive Director, Azubuike, Other N2m Bail

A Special Offence Court in Ikeja, Lagos, today, admitted  bail to a former Executive Director of the Punch Newspaper, Azubuike Ishiekwene and his co-defendant, Olalekan Abdul, in the sum of N2 million with two sureties in the same sum each.

Justice Mojisola Dada who presided over the court, also ordered that the two sureties must be landed property owners within jurisdiction of the court.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had on last Wednesday, arraigned Ishiekwene, Abdul and Adeyinka Adewole (said to be at large) on allegations bordering on conspiracy, forgery and N350 million fraud.

But the third defendant, Adewole was absent and his counsel, Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN) denied his client was on the run, saying he merely travelled out of the country and promised to provide him at next proceedings.

At today’s proceedings, the three defendants were present in court, the development which made the prosecutor to re-arraigned the defendants.

The first defendant, Abdul was arraigned on a fifteen count, Azubike on a five count charge, while Adeyinka was arraigned on a two count-charge.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charge, when the charge was read to him.

Subsequently, the prosecutor and defence team argued on bail application.

Counsel to first and third defendant, Olumide-Fusika (SAN) who urged the court to grant his client bail, argued that the defendants has no criminal record and will not interfere with the proceedings or any of the witnesses if granted bail.

On his part, the second defendant counsel, R.A.O. Adegoke in praying for bail urged the court to consider that the defendants was granted administrative bail during two years of investigation by EFCC and did not jump bail nor compromised.

Ruling on the bail, the presiding judge, Justice Mojisola Dada granted Olalekan Abdul, bail in the sum of N10 million with two sureties with landed property within jurisdiction of the court.

The judge also considered the third defendant in granting him temporary bail pending determination of his bail application.

The judge ordered that all the defendants should submit their international passport to court registrar.

Justice Dada gave the defendant two weeks grace to perfect their bail or forfeited there temporary bail.

The matter has been adjourned till April 6 and 9 for commencement of trial.

EFCC alleged that the defendants with intent to defraud obtain credit facility for Cleanserve Integrated Energy Solution in the sum of N350 million, on December 14, 2010 by false pretence from Wema Bank while falsely representing to the bank that they were Board Member of Cleanserve Integrated Energy Solution” dated  which representations they knew to be false.

The anti graft agency said the defendants used a false document titled “Board Resolution of Cleanserve Integrated Energy Solution Limited” dated  September 27, 2010 to open an account with Keystone Bank Plc formerly known has Bank PHB to secure the loan.