A dismissed staff of First Bank in Lagos has been sentenced to 4 years imprisonment after he was found guilty of stealing N9.3 million belonging to a customer.
An Igbosere Magistrates Court, Lagos, sentenced David Anibolu, to 4 years’ imprisonment for stealing N9,308,000 from the First Bank account of a customer.
David, who was a cashier, was found guilty of conspiracy and convicted of stealing by Chief Magistrate A. O. Awogboro. Before the sentence, the convict’s counsel Philips Onyama made an allocutus for his client and pleaded for a sentence of a fine, or a lenient jail term.
“He’s a first time offender; he has no father, only a sick mother who relies on him to survive. He has been in custody since March 24, 2014 and has suffered emotional and physical torture. He is also now more sober and refined,” lawyer Onyama pleaded.
Pronouncing judgment, the Chief Magistrate sentenced David to four years in prison, starting from the date of his detention, adding that: “No one must be allowed to profit from his crime.”
The 26-year-old David was arraigned on April 3, 2014 by the Lion Building Police Division, Lagos, on a two-count charge of conspiracy and stealing.
He denied the charge and was admitted to bail in the sum of N500,000.
During the protracted trial lasting two years and nine months, prosecuting Police Superintendent Chidi Okoye said the defendant, of No.15, Baale Street, Agbroko Iba, Ojo Lagos committed the offences on March 22, 2014, around 2pm at FBN Alaba 2 branch in Ojo.
SP Okoye stated that the defendant, who was on annual vacation, came to the bank premises under the pretext that he wanted to help a customer to post his land use charges.
“He fraudulently changed a customer’s identity and mandate card which enabled him to debit the said account of the sum of N9 million and transferred it into various accounts.”
According to SP Okoye, the theft and others committed by the accused were later discovered to be N9.308 million.
A forensic auditor attached to the bank, Solomon Akhanolu, linked the fraud to him through the password he used to change the customer’s identity and mandate card, the prosecutor said.
According to David’s confessional statement which was tendered by the prosecution and admitted by the court, his accomplices, who are still at large, promised him N4 million as his share of the fraud, but they disappeared with the money and gave him nothing.
“I have been working with the bank as a teller since 2011 but on the day of the incident, I used the passwords of my colleagues with the help of “F” Key logger given to me by my friend called Afeez who is now at large. The logger helps link a customer’s identification with another that has online banking, which enables cash to be transferred successfully from one account to another. My regret now is that I was supposed to get N4 million as my share but the receivers of the money have since disappeared. I regret my action,” he said, according to the police.
David later disowned the statement in court, saying he was forced to make it at the station while he was detained, handcuffed, flogged and his legs chained. The court ruled during a trial that there was no evidence of coercion and the prosecution’s testimony was credible.
“There was also no trace of any bruise on the defendant,” Chief Magistrate Awogboro said and observed that since he was on leave, David did not need to go to the bank for the transaction.
“He could have made a phone call to his colleagues at the bank. If he did not have an ulterior motive, why should he be at the office on a Saturday?” he queried.