FCMB Branch Manager, Two Others, Docked for N1.2 bln Fraud
The Ikeja GRA Branch Manager of First City Monument Bank, FCMB, Tope Munis, has been dragged before a Lagos State High Court for allegedly aiding N1.2billion fraud, property of Star Orient Nigeria Limited.
Munis was arraigned on fifteen counts amended charges alongside Dare Osamo and Ayoola Bisola who were earlier arraigned over the alleged fraud before the court presided over by Justice Oyindamola Ogala.
At the resumption of trial today, the Director, Lagos State Department of Public Prosecution, Dr. Jide Martins, informed the court that the state has an amended charge to include the branch manager who allegedly connived with Dare Osamo to swindle Star Orient owned by a businessman, Otunba Babatunde Akanbi Babalola.
According to the amended charge, Tope Munis on the 15th day of February 2016, while acting as Branch Manager, First City Monument Bank PLC. situate at No 48, Isaac John Street, Government Residential Area (G R.A) Branch allegedly committed the offence.
The charge further states that Munis and Osamo allegedly demonstrate an intention to defraud and without lawful authority or excuses approved the opening of a new account for Star Orient Nig. Ltd when there was no SCUML (i.e Special Control Unit against Money Laundering) certificate number on the account opening form.
The charge also states that the duo of Munis and Osamo allegedly runs foul of banking rules when they opened the account without full details of the directors of Star Orient Nigeria Limited.
There was no means of identification or BVN (Bank Verification Numbers) of the directors of Star Orient Nigeria Limited and upon a forged resolution purportedly signed by Dare Osamo as sole signatory when there are two directors who are signatories to Star Orient Nigeria Limited’s account.
Dr. Martins, upon announcing to the court the existence of the amended charge urged the court to take his plea over the allegations levelled against him. Consequently, Munis pleaded not guilty to four-count charges relating to him out of the fifteen amended count charges.
The state prosecutor, thereafter, asked the court for a trial date and a remand order pending the determination of his bail application. In a counter reaction, J.O. Olushade who represents Dr. Wale Olawoyin, SAN as a counsel to the branch manager, informed the court of his bail application while praying for liberal terms.
The defence counsel moved the bail application by adopting it as he prayed the court to admit the defendant to bail because the offence allegedly commented by the defendants are available.
Opposing the bail, the state DPP, said the court must consider the severity of the offence, as he prayed the court to turn down the bail application of the defendant. Delivering a ruling on the bail application, Justice Ogala granted the FCMB Branch Manager bail in the sum of N20 million with two sureties.
The court ordered that the sureties must be residents in the state and have title to landed property. She said they must provide evidence of tax payment to the state government as well as their residential address be verified.
She further ordered the defendant to submit his international passport to court within 48hrs. The case was adjourned till May 26, and June 8 for commencement of trial.