Ikechukwu Aghanenu, the former manager of Ecobank, Ejigbo branch, has been arrested and arraigned in court for allegedly diverting customers’ N14million in connivance with suspected fraudster, Anthony Okpala.
According to Punch, the customers are the late Mrs. Oluremi Egunjobi (now late) whose N4.014m was stolen from her account number 5323007058, and UK-based Rabiu Lawal, whose N10m was withdrawn from his account number 2741128259.
Newsmen gathered that Okpala and another suspect currently on the run forged documents claiming to be the deceased relatives. The fraudulent deal was perfected between September and November, 2015, and the said sum was withdrawn from Egunjobi’s account.
Also, within same period, Okpala reportedly claimed he was the business partner of the UK-based customer Lawal, and he colluded with the bank manager to withdraw N10m from the customer’s account in tranches.
Punch says the investigation into the fraud started after a lawyer of the deceased’s relatives and also the lawyer of Mr Lawal, lodged complaints. A source revealed this to the press:
“The bank reported the fraud to the police and in the course of investigation, it was discovered that the fraudulent transactions were carried out by Okpala with the knowledge of the ex-manager and others at large.
“Okpala presented himself and another suspect at the Ecobank’s branch in Ejigbo as relatives of the late Oluremi (Egunjobi) and instructed the bank to liquidate her account, which was done through the help of the ex-manager. But he (Aghanenu) denied knowing Okpala.
“The other victim, Lawal, works in UK and saves money at the bank with the hope of using the money to invest when he relocates to Nigeria. It was when he checked his account balance that he discovered the withdrawals and complained to the bank.”
Following the investigations, police officers arrested Aghanenu and Okpala on Wednesday and the duo were arraigned yesterday at an Igbosere Magistrate’s Court on five counts bordering on fraud and forgery.
The counts read in part:
“That you, Ikechukwu Aghanenu, Anthony Okpala and others now at large, between September 2015 and November 2015, at the Ecobank Nigeria Plc, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did conspire among yourselves to commit felony to wit: forgery and stealing.
“That you did forge the instruction of one Oluremi Egunjobi, a deceased and an account holder of Ecobank Nigeria Plc, fraudulently liquidated the customer’s investment in account number 5323007058 of the sum of N4.014m property of Ecobank Nigeria Plc.
“That you, and others at large, did fraudulently convert the sum of N10m in tranches from Ecobank account number 2741128259 belonging to Rabiu Lawal to account number 53220002455 with the name Okeneme Samuel.”
The defendants pleaded not guilty and were granted bail in the sum of N3m with two sureties.
The case was adjourned till September 6, 2016.