By Funke Busari
A former Managing Director of the defunct Gulf Bank Plc., Prince Johnson Adekunle Adeyeba and two other accused persons have been granted bail by a Federal High Court, Lagos on Monday.
The defendants are standing trial for an alleged N15 billion fraud before Justice Yunusa Ibrahim on a 21-count charge bordering on fraud and illegal conversion of fund.
Also granted bail were: Gareth Marvyn Wilcox, a Briton; the Managing Director of Ibom Power Company and a former Managing Director of LYK Engineering Company Limited and Mr. Uche Uwechia, a lawyer and former legal advisor to the defunct Gulf Bank Plc.
Justice Yunusa at Monday’s proceeding admitted both the former bank manager and the Briton to bail in the sum of N200 million with two sureties each, while the lawyer was admitted to bail in the sum of N100 million with two sureties each in the same sum.
Justice Yunusa further ordered that the sureties must produce three years tax clearance and that they must be residing within the jurisdiction of the court while to deposit their international passports with the court.
The accused persons and others now at large were alleged to have between 1st April, 2001; 24th December, 2002; 8th August, 2003 and some other dates, fraudulently used their various positions to convert the sum of N15, 761,176.24 to fund their private businesses.
The former bank managing director was alleged to have used his position to defraud the bank of the said amount to fund the Wilcox companies, while the two of them were also alleged to have used the money to purchase a vessel and finance a none existing refinery.
The former bank manager was also alleged to have fraudulently converted as his personal property two landed properties at Plot 22 and 23 Zone K, Federal Government Layout, Banana Island, Lagos, with Certificate of Occupancy numbers: 27/27/96 and 7/7/96 dated 20 June, 2003, belonging to the defunct bank.
The lawyer was alleged to have aided the former bank manager to convert the said land to his personal properties. The value of the land is said to be N600 million.
The offences are alleged to be punishable under Section 390 of the Criminal Code Cap. A6, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2006.
The three accused persons pleaded not guilty to all the counts. The matter has been adjourned till 26 February, 2014 for trial.