A 26-year-old banker, David Anibolu was sentenced by an Igbosere Magistrates’ Court, Lagos state for such a foolish crime – conspiring with fraudsters to stealing N9,308,000 – a money he never got a single kobo.
Report from the Nation said the convict was a working with First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Plc when he committed crime back in 2014. Anibolu was arraigned in court on April 3, 2014 by the Lion Building Police Division, Lagos, on a two-count charge of conspiracy and stealing contrary to Sections 409 and 285(8) of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, 2011.
He was found guilty on Wednesday, January 25, by Chief Magistrate A. O. Awogboro on a count of conspiracy but convicted him of stealing. Before sentencing, the convict’s counsel, Philips Onyama made an allocutus for his client and pleaded for a sentence of a fine, or a lenient jail term.
The prosecuting Police Superintendent, Chidi Okoye said the defendant, who reside at No.15, Baale Street, Agbroko Iba in Ojo area of Lagos State committed the offences on March 22 around 2pm at FBN Alaba 2 branch in Ojo, on a Saturday.
“He fraudulently changed a customer’s identity and mandate card which enabled him to debit the said account of the sum N9 million and transferred it into various accounts.”
“No one must be allowed to profit from his crime,” the Chief Magistrate Awogboro said as he pronounced judgment and sentenced Anibolu to four years in prison, beginning from the date of his detention.
Anibolu initially denied the charge and was admitted to N500,000 bail, but further investigation unraveled more incriminating evidence against him. According to the prosecutor, the theft and others committed by the accused were later discovered to be N9.308m. The banker, who was on annual vacation, reportedly came to the bank premises under the pretext that he wanted to help a customer to post his land use charges.
The prosecutor further revealed that a forensic auditor attached to the bank, Solomon Akhanolu, was able to link the fraud to Anibolu through the password he used to change the customer’s identity and mandate card.
More so, the accused banker had earlier tendered a confessional statement to the police, of how he committed the crime. Anibolu confessed that his accomplices, who are still at large, promised him N4 million as his share of the fraud, but they disappeared with the money and gave him nothing.
Below is Anibolu’s statement, issued by the police:
“I have been working with the bank as a teller since 2011 but on the day of the incident, I used the passwords of my colleagues with the help of “F” Key logger given to me by my friend called Afeez who is now at large.
“The logger helps link a customer’s identification with another that has online banking, which enables cash to be transferred successfully from one account to another. My regret now is that I was supposed to get N4 million as my share but the receivers of the money have since disappeared. I regret my action.”
Although Anibolu disowned the statement in court, saying he was forced to make it at the station while he was detained, handcuffed, flogged and his legs chained, the Chief Magistrate over-ruled his plea of innocent stating thus:
“There was no trace of any bruise on the defendant.
“Since the accused was on leave, he did not need to go back to the bank to carry out the transaction.
“He could have made a phone call to his colleagues at the bank. If he did not have an ulterior motive, why should he be at the office on a Saturday?”