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16 persons for trial over N327m NIBL fraud case

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Nigeria International Bank Limited (NIBL) and 16 accused persons will face trial on charges ranging from conspiracy to defraud, intent to defraud by means of false pretences, conspiracy to commit fraud, falsification of document, presenting untrue documents, counterfeiting and production of forged documents.

This is following a criminal charge filed by the Director of Public Prosecution of the Federation, Mohammed Saidu Dirim on behalf of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF).

The case, which was fixed for arraignment before Justice Ibrahim Buba of the Federal High Court in Lagos early this week, could not go on as only the first accused was represented in court, while the other 16 accused persons were absent.

Gordy Uche~KILK announced appearance for the prosecution; Niyi Adegbonmire represented the accused. Uche said he was unable to serve the accused with the charge and prayed for a short adjournment to enable the prosecution serve the accused.

Dirim, the director of public prosecution, said the alleged offence occurred on January 31, 2001, at 1, Idowu Taylor Street, Victoria Island, Lagos. However, the

President Goodluck Jonathan administration was said to have entered a Nolle prosequi (notice of discontinuance) in May 2011 and withdrew the fiat.

Following a petition by Michael Emerah, an Onitsha-based businessman and chairman/managing director of Micmerah Group, it was learnt that President Muhammadu Buhari ordered that the case be re-listed in the interest of justice and in line with his administration’s determination to rid the country of corruption.

The defendants have also been accused of obtaining money by false pretence, fraudulent evasion of duty, conspiracy to steal, corruptly enriching themselves, contributing to Nigeria’s economic adversity, obtaining goods by false pretence, conspiracy to commit felony and untrue declaration.

According to the prosecution, the alleged offences contravene sections 1(1)(a) (b) and 8 (a) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act 2004; sections 161 (1) (a) and 162 (a) of the Customs and Excise Management Act; Section 1 (2)(c) of the Miscellaneous Offences Act of 2004 and Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act of 2004.

The defendants also allegedly conspired with Eriagbon of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on or about January 31, 2001 to induce Micmerah International to deliver N55 million to Mikky Dons Nigeria. The money was said to be meant for payment of Customs Duty on four Volvo luxury buses and two 40 feet containers imported by Micmerah International.

The defendants were also accused of knowingly falsifying an affidavit purportedly sworn to by one Tiwa Ibikunle on April 11, 2003 before a Lagos High Court. The new date fixed for arraignment is February 9, 2016.