The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Lagos Zonal Office, has secured the conviction and sentencing of a former account officer of the Staff Cooperative Thrift and Credit Society of the College of Medicine, Idi-Araba, Lagos state, Olaniyi Zaccheus, for account N4 million fraud.
A press statement by the EFCC Head, Media and Publicity, Dele Oyewale, Wednesday in Abuja, said the conviction and sentencing was done through virtual proceedings.
He said Zaccheus, alongside a former treasurer of the Credit Society who later became its vice president, Seyi Agbekuyide, were arraigned on May 6, 2015, on 13-count amended charges bordering on conspiracy to steal, stealing, and conspiracy to commit felony and forgery.
The spokesperson said the commission received a petition by the executive of the society alleging fraudulent withdrawals from its account with Union Bank of Nigeria, Idi-Araba branch, amounting to about N1.5 million.
He said investigations into the petition unearthed several suspicious withdrawals from the said account amounting to about N4.5 million, with investigators nailing Zaccheus and Agbekuyide.
According to Oyewale, the former account officer had claimed that he carried out withdrawals from the account on the instruction of Agbekuyide and upon arraignment they pleaded not guilty to the charges.
He said the Prosecuting Counsel, Abba Mohammed, told the Court that the defendants had forged the signature of the former president of the society, Omolara Jimoh, to withdraw the money at various times between August 2007 and April 2009, even as he called four witnesses, and tendered several evidence to prove his case.
This is as Zaccheus jumped bail in the course of the trial but was later arrested and remanded in prison pending the conclusion of his trial.
He said as the prosecution closed its case on November 22, 2016, the defendants filed a “no-case” submission, which was afterwards dismissed by the court for lacking in merit, and they were ordered to enter their defence.
Delivering judgment on July 1, 2020, during a virtual hearing Justice Ipaye discharged and acquitted Agbekuyide, who was present in the courtroom, of the offences brought against him.
The trial judge, however, found Zaccheus, who made an online appearance from the Nigerian Correctional Facility, Kirikiri, guilty on counts two, three, four, six, and seven bordering on stealing.
The court sentenced him to three years imprisonment on each count.
The Judge discharged him on counts one and five bordering on conspiracy to steal, and counts eight, nine, 10, 11, 12 and 13 bordering on conspiracy to commit felony and forgery.
The sentences are to run concurrently from the day he was taken into custody.