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Court jails banker for 45 months over N600m fraud



The  Lagos High Court, Ikeja has convicted a FinBank worker, Mr. Hillary Amakor for defrauding the bank of N600 million.



The trial judge, Justice Mufutau Olokooba found him guilty of five out of the six charges preferred against him and consequently sentenced him to nine months imprisonment on each of the counts, totalling 45 months. In the course of his trial, the convict, through his counsel, Mr. Rotimi Williams, entered into a plea bargain asking for the understanding of both the EFCC and the court to show some understanding as he had not successfully withdrawn the money.



He further sought the understanding of the court and the EFCC on the ground that he voluntarily admitted to committing the crime. The convict confessed to have worked with a three-man syndicate, led by 'Otunba' and 'Chike' both now at large with another man Mr. Osundu Chimaokwu, to facilitate the fraud.



Chimaokwu, was later arrested after the deal was completed had since been charged along with his company, OSDECH Nigeria Limted. He has since remained in the custody of the EFCC while his trial continues. The man escaped being convicted of one of the charges because the judge held that the prosecutor did not review the facts of the count.



In his confession, Hillary admitted that the three-man syndicate approached him and invited him to a meeting while working as the fund transfer/teller officer of the Oke-Afa/Isolo branch of FinBank in Lagos State. The meeting, which he claimed held on three consecutive occasions at Jakande Estate, Isolo was later attended by Otunba, who provided Hillary with the passwords of two workers of the Apapa branch of the bank.



He was given the account number of OSDECH company, which belonged to Chimaokwu and successfully entered the electronic book keeping system of the staff using the password to transfer the money.He had used the Central Interdepartmental Clearing Account system to successfully transfer the N600 million to the account of OSDECH domiciled at Owerri branch of the bank.



Luck however ran out on them when one of the workers whose password was used discovered that the system has been penetrated.The worker also discovered a frivolous transaction and immediately alerted the Information Technology Section, which traced the transaction to Owerri and blocked it.



But unknown to the syndicate, Chimaokwu had approached the bank to withdraw the money but was caught in the process while Hillary was later picked up. Otunba and Chike who masterminded the act escaped arrest and the EFCC is however still on their trail. The sentences are to run concurrently.



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