The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC), has arraigned Alhaji Yerima Suleiman and Mr. Uwem Essien Antia before Justice Lawal Akapo of a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja on a four-count charge bordering on conspiracy, obtaining money by false pretence and forgery.
Yerima and Antia ran into troubles, when they were arrested in March, 2015 by operatives of the EFCC for allegedly stealing the sum of $2,250,000 about N450 million from two bankers: Aginwa Gladys and Ale Dennis.
The suspects allegedly approached Aginwa and Dennis in February, 2015, offering to sell foreign exchange to the tune of $10,000,000 USD about N2 billion to them.
After agreeing on the exchange rate, a sum of N672.,750 million was transferred from BlueBeam Capital Investment Limited and Capital Field Investment and Trust Limited into the account of one of the bankers: Smiles and Light Limited.
It was from the banker’s account that the entire sum was moved into Antia’s account: Kafisto Oil and Gas Limited.
Findings showed that the entire sum of N672.750 million actually hit Antia’s account.
A Bureau de Change operator who changed the money into its dollar equivalent, told EFCC’s investigators that he went with Antia to his bank, along Bourdillon Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, where the transaction was confirmed.
The Bureau de Change operator further revealed that, Antia subsequently transferred the sum of N666.250 million into his own account.
He said he worked out the dollar equivalent of the money, which was $3.127 million.
He said he could only give $3,124 million to Antia, leaving a balance of $3,000, which he promised to give him the next day.
Immediately Antia collected the foreign exchange, he reportedly headed for Number 17A, Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos, where the two bankers and his accomplice, Suleiman were waiting for him.
However, rather than handing over the entire foreign exchange to the bankers, he only gave them $1 million about N200 million, claiming that he could not source the entire amount.
He allegedly promised to give them a balance of $2,250 million about N450 million the next day.
This balance would be the dollar equivalent of the entire sum of the transaction (N672, 750,000).
The bankers said that, since the day Antia and Suleman gave them the initial $1,000,000 (N200 million), all efforts to reach them had proved abortive.
“Their cell phones were turned off”, they said.
However, they lodged a complaint with the EFCC and operatives of the commission eventually arrested the two fraudsters.
The fraudsters, upon their arrest, claimed that they had given one of the bankers, Dennis the balance of the money at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, but investigations by the Commission, showed that no such transaction took place.
When the charges were read to them, they pleaded not guilty.
In view of their pleas, prosecution counsel, Gbolahan Latona prayed for a trial date and the remand of the accused person in prison custody.
He told the court that the 1st accused person was also a defendant in another fraud charge before another court.
However, 1st and 2nd defence counsel, Ali Adams and Kabril Akingbolu said they have filed applications for bail and prayed the court for a short adjournment for argument on their bail applications.
Justice Lawal Akapo adjourned the matter to November 9, 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18, 2015 and ordered that the accused persons be remanded in Kirikiri maximum prison.