The Federal High Court, Ibadan yesterday resumed hearing of the N12 billion fake currency scam case involving six Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) workers and nine members of some commercial banks.
The fresh commencement followed the dismissal of the appeal of some of the accused, who approached the Court of Appeal to challenge refusal to grant them bail by the Federal High Court.
Five of the accused persons were granted bail while others were remanded in Agodi prison by Justices Nathaniel Ayo-Emmanuel and Olayinka Faji. They also accused the two judges of bias.
The appellate court, however, threw out the appeal. But the cases being handled by Justice Faji were reassigned to Justice Joyce Abdulmali, due to the former’s transfer.
The accused are facing a total of 31-count charge ranging from conspiracy, abuse of office, stealing to false declaration of actual amount and concealing of property.
The CBN staff who worked at various branches of the apex bank are Patience Okoro (Abuja), Afolabi Olufemi (Lagos), Ilori Adekunle (Akure), Kolawole Babalola (Ibadan) , Olaniran Adeola (Ibadan) and Fatai Yusuf (Ibadan).
The nine other accused persons, who work with some commercial banks and were accused of conspiring with the CBN staff include Tope Akintade, Togun Kayode Philip, Salami Ibrahim and Odia Emmanuel.
Seven cases were filed on the fraud totaling N8 billion. They were accused of stealing and re-circulating defaced and mutilated currencies meant for destruction and substituting them with newspapers.
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) counsel Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) told The Nation that the fraud involved up to N12 billion.
At the resumed hearing before Justice Joyce Abdulmalik yesterday, the 15 accused persons pleased “not guilty” to all the charges against them in the four cases being handled by the judge.
Their lawyers expressed readiness to file fresh bail applications.
Justice Abdulmalik also sustained the bail conditions earlier granted five of the accused with an order that their surgeries should renew their commitment within seven days while others should be kept at Agodi prisons.
Trial in the cases before Justice Abdulmalik will begin on May 5 while those being handled by Justice Nathaniel Ayo-Emanuel begins on April 8.
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