By Our Reporter
The news making the rounds in the banking sector is not a palatable one. It is about the conviction of an Ecobank former employee, Judith Okonkwo who defrauded top business mogul, Aliko Dangote to the tune of N19million.
To this end, an Ikeja Special Offences Court sitting in Lagos sentenced Judith to one year in prison for stealing the sum of N19 million from the account of Dangote Flour Mills domiciled with the bank.
Judith, a 43-year-old pregnant woman, was convicted on a three-count charge of stealing by the court in a case filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. The EFCC had arraigned Judith alongside three others, namely Oyebamiji Adewale, Wize Bureau De Change Limited and Maduka Uchenna on a six-count charge bordering on stealing, failure to exercise due diligence and conspiracy.
Justice Oluwatoyin Taiwo accordingly sentenced Judith to one year in prison on the three-count charge of stealing, but with an option of a hundred thousand naira fine on each count. Justice Taiwo found Judith guilty of stealing, but discharged and acquitted the other accused persons on the grounds that the prosecution failed to prove the allegations of conspiracy against them. The judge, while delivering her judgment, said that the prosecution has failed to show evidence linking the 2nd, 3rd and 4th defendants to the crime.
The judge said, “The defendant is hereby sentenced to a one year imprisonment on 3 counts of stealing.”
However, according to the EFCC prosecutor, I.J. Banjo, the pregnant banker of Ecobank committed the offence sometime in June 2012, while working as an accountant for the bank. Banjo said that the former Ecobank staff carried out the theft by providing the code regulating the account details of Dangote Flour Mills to some hackers. The Prosecutor said that the hackers then hacked into the account and transferred the said sum to different bank accounts.
“Judith, Adewale, Uchenna, Wize Bureau De Change and others now at large, did steal and fraudulently converted to their own use, the sum of N19m belonging to Dangote Flour Mills. The suspects stole and fraudulently converted the said sum which they transferred to one Kehinde Adefowokan’s AC No: 0004909171, with Guarantee Trust Bank Plc.
Dangote Flour Mills later received a debit alert and thereafter complained to the bank. Following the complaint, the bank petitioned EFCC to conduct a thorough investigation. Judith was thereafter arrested alongside her other accomplices,” he said.