Following the startling discovery of a whopping N1.2billion fraud, allegedly committed by one Olayinka Sanni, a former staff of Access Bank Plc, through illegal siphoning of customers’ money, the bank has now taken the bold step to prosecute the said former staff, through the anti-graft agency, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
P.M.EXPRESS gathered that after series of intensive investigations by the bank and EFCC, Sanni’s culpability was allegedly established and handed over for prosecution for the alleged fraud.
Sanni was reportedly arraigned alongside one Oyebode Oteyebi by the EFCC on an eight-count charge bordering on stealing, forgery and altering of forged documents at the Ikeja High Court (Special Offences Unit).
While being led in evidence by Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, the EFCC Lawyer, one Arthur Ezindu, an employee of Access Bank and prosecution witness, narrated how Sanni, then an Assistant General Manager, AGM, with defunct Intercontinental Bank, stole a sizeable amount of money to the tune of N1.2billion from several plum accounts belonging to many customers of the bank.
Some of these customers’ accounts include that of Falana & Falana Chambers; Babington Junior Seminary; Viju Industries; Mechano Nigeria, PWU Nigeria; Elizade Nigeria; and Murhi International Group.
Ezindu, who gave his office address as Plot 999C Danmole Street, off Adeola Odeku, Victoria Island, Lagos, said Sanni withdrew the said huge sum of money from different customers’ accounts without their consent and thereafter issued them forged documents of confirmation which he purportedly claimed, emanated from the bank.
In the course of interrogation, Ezindu told the Special Offences Court that, Sanni, who was his boss at the time of the incident, was a regional Executive, Lagos Mainland North at Intercontinental bank, now Access Bank.
His statement: “The bank received several complaints from several customers whose accounts were debited without their consent. However, during the preliminary investigation, we noticed that all the complaints were centered on our staff, Olayinka Sanni. We then invited him to the head office for questioning, but he claimed that everything was under control.
“He told us not to bother investigating the matter on the ground, that there was more behind what was happening. So since he was our senior officer, being the AGM at that time, we decided to petition EFCC for proper investigation.”
When asked how much was involved as at the time the bank petitioned EFCC, Ezindu disclosed that the total sum was about N1.2billion.
The prosecution thereafter tendered the petition, dated September 2011, in evidence.
“Meanwhile, the two defendants were also arraigned alongside a company, Sidaw Ventures Limited, which was allegedly used to transfer and cash out the stolen funds,” Ezindu revealed.
The Prosecution Witness further said that during the preliminary investigation, the bank discovered that the company, Sidaw had Adamu as its signatory while Sanni indirectly managed the account.
“Some of the handwriting on the cheques belonged to Sanni. He was the one indirectly signing and filling the cheques for Adamu. But in the wake of this unfolding scenario that is creeping into the good image of Access Bank, it was found out that the sleaze by Sanni was actually committed when he was still a staff of now defunct Intercontinental Bank, before it was acquired by Access Bank, thus with its assets and liabilities, as normally done in cases of acquisition.
“Upon acquisition, Access Bank began a fresh look into the books and records of Intercontinental Bank; that was when the Sanni’s lead was broken. Many atrocities and malfeasances were discovered, all pointing in the direction of Sanni, who by this time had resigned from Access Bank, apparently due to the fact that it would not take long before his misdeed will be found, and he would go in for it,” he added.
Ezindu disclosed that Sanni was subsequently invited by the bank and handed over to EFCC for further investigation, which has now led to his present prosecution at the Ikeja High Court (Special Offences Unit.)
The case was adjourned to a later date for further hearing, while the accused was refused bail, and still in the detention of EFCC.
P.M.EXPRESS learnt that Access Bank was disturbed by the implication being created that the fraud was committed by Sanni as a staff of Access Bank whereas the fraud was committed while the accused was a top official of defunct Intercontinental Bank before its acquisition by Access Bank.
It was while trying to regularize the assets and liabilities of defunct Intercontinental Bank that the new owner discovered the sleaze committed by Sanni.