The Police Special Fraud Unit, Ikoyi, has arrested two men, Oladapo Oyeniyi and Kunle Ayotoye, for allegedly defrauding a United Kingdom (UK)-based bank of 1,200,000 US dollars under false pretences.
The police said Oyeniyi, 48, and Ayotoye, 45, stole the money between December 2012 and January 2013, during their employment at a firm at No. 3, Oje Imsisnvan Street, Oregun, Ikeja, Lagos.
The duo, of unknown addresses, were arraigned yesterday before Chief Magistrate A. O. Awogboro of an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court.
They are standing trial on three counts of conspiracy, stealing and fraud, according to a charge marked A/11/2017.
Prosecuting Inspector Amedu Adoga told the court that the defendants and others at large conspired and issued a fake instruction to Habib Bank domiciled in the UK to transfer $1.2m to 12 beneficiaries.
Adoga accused them of issuing the instruction to the bank under the guise that it was their employer, Mr Chris Ejike, that issued the said instruction and with the intention that it be acted upon as genuine.
“The bank believed that the instruction emanated from the defendant’s employer,and, therefore, carried it out,” Adoga said.
He said they stole the said money, thus contravened Sections 285 (8), 361 and 409 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
The defendants denied the charge and their counsel, Bode Omoboriowo, urged the court to admit them to bail on liberal terms.
This was opposed by the prosecutor who urged the court to remand them in prison custody.
Adoga said the amount involved in the case was so high that the defendants could jump bail and that their addresses were unknown.
“It took the police years to trace the defendants,” he added.
Chief Magistrate Awogboro upheld the defence counsel’s argument and admitted the defendants to N5 million bail, each with two sureties each in the like sum.
The sureties, who must show evidence of tax payments to the Lagos State Government, must have landed property and must be blood relations of the accused.
She adjourned the case till February 15.