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Ex-banker bags 121-year jail for N112m fraud

Justice S. N. Odili of the Anambra State High Court sitting in Onitsha, Anambra State, has convicted and sentenced a former manager with First City Monument Bank, FCMB, Onitsha branch, Nwachukwu Placidus, to a cumulative 121 years’ imprisonment for diverting fixed deposit funds of a customer to the tune of N112,100,000 (One Hundred and Twelve Million, One Hundred Thousand Naira only) for his personal use.
He was arraigned on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 on 16 counts bordering on forgery, stealing, obtaining by false pretence and altering, by the Enugu Zonal Command of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
One of the counts reads: “Nwachukwu Placidus between February 2009 and November 2014 in Onitsha, Anambra State, within the jurisdiction of the Anambra State High Court of Nigeria with intent to defraud obtained the sum of (N112,100,000) One Hundred and Twelve Million, One Hundred Thousand Naira only, from Idemili Microfinance Bank under the false pretence that you have placed the said money in a fixed deposit account with First City Monument Bank PLC for it, which pretence you knew to be false and you thereby committed an offence”.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to him, thus setting the stage for his trial.
In the course of trial, the EFCC, through its counsel, Mainforce Adaka Ekwu, presented four witnesses and tendered several relevant documents which were admitted in evidence.
In his judgment, Justice Odili held that “the prosecution proved its case beyond reasonable doubt” and sentenced the convict to nine years’ imprisonment on count 3; four years on count 4; and nine years on counts 5 to 16 respectively.
He was discharged on counts 1 and 2. The sentences shall run concurrently.
The court further ordered the convict to restitute the said sum to his victim, Idemili Microfinance Bank.
Placidus’ journey to the correctional centre began when a petitioner, Idemili Microfinance Bank Ltd., alleged that the sum of N112,100,000 was handed over to Placidus as the branch manager of FCMB in Onitsha, for fixed deposit.
However, when the petitioner approached the bank to terminate and withdraw the deposit, the bank denied receiving the said funds.
Upon receipt of the petition, the EFCC swung into action and investigations revealed that the convict diverted the money for his own use and issued a fake fixed Deposit Certificate to the petitioner.
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Bridget Benson
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