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N8b Scam: 21 Bank Officials Risk 21-year Jail Term

N8b Scam: 21 Bank Officials Risk 21-year Jail Term

The 21 bank officials standing trial before a Federal HighCourt sitting in Ibadan, Oyo State, over an N8 billion scam face 21 years imprisonment if convicted even as the court refused to grant them bail.

The accused, from different commercial banks and the Central Bank of Nigeria, Ibadan Branch, are facing 31 charges which include conspiracy, concealment and acquisition of property in excess of actual income by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and have pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

The presiding judge, Justice Ayo Emmanuel, while refusing bail for all the accused, maintained that the charges against them were grievous and mind boggling, insisting that their alleged offence had affected the “fabrics of the nation’s economy and the interest of the commonman.”

He disclosed that the offence attracts a maximum sentence of 21 years, saying, “Though it may be hard to admit, keeping the accused persons in prison until the determination of their case, I believe, is in the interest of the nation.”

He said that he had reflected on the submissions of both the prosecution and defence counsels on the arguments on bail applications and was not persuaded by the nature and the gravity of the alleged offence to grant them bail. He maintained that the charges against all the accused showed a new wave in the crime against the nation’s economy which must be viewed with all seriousness.

On the fourth accused that was said to have a serious ailment, Emmanuel ruled that he should be quarantined from the rest of the accused if the disease is believed to be contagious, directing that a full examination on the nature of the illness be conducted and the result forwarded to the court as soon as possible.

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