Court Sentences Bank Manager to Eight-Year Imprisonment for Stealing N219mn

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Court Sentences Bank Manager to Eight-Year Imprisonment for Stealing N219mn

By Kaosara Oladimeji Olayemi

Mr Anidiobi Chukwuka, a former Branch Manager of Sterling Bank Plc, Market Road, Enugu, was convicted and sentenced to eight years in prison by an Enugu State High Court on Tuesday for stealing and fraud.

Justice Cyprian Ajah, the trial judge, found Chukwuma guilty of all 32 charges brought against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

The bank manager was charged with stealing and converting to personal use N219 million from Ohha Microfinance Bank Limited, Enugu, customers who were kept in a fixed deposit account with Sterling Bank Plc, the bank’s corresponding bank.

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Mr Olu Omotayo, counsel for the microfinance bank, told journalists shortly after the verdict that Chukwuka committed the crime between August 15, 2014 and November 16, 2017.

According to Omotayo, his client originally reported the allegation to the EFCC in a petition in January 2018, and the case was probed by the agency’s Enugu zonal office.

“The case was further referred for thorough investigation by the chairman of the commission based on a further petition we wrote on behalf of our client, dated July 4, 2018.

“Sequel to the outcome of further investigations, EFCC, through its prosecuting counsel and Chief Legal Officer, Michael Ani, filed a 32 count charge of stealing by conversion, obtaining by false pretences and forgery against the suspect (now convict) and was subsequently arraigned before Justice Ajah on May 7, 2019.

“The accused was represented during the trial by Chief O.A.U. Onyema, while Olu Omotayo held watching brief for the nominal complainant, Ohha Microfinance Bank Limited, throughout the trial,” he added.

He said the court convicted Chukwuka and sentenced him to four years’ imprisonment each for counts 1 to 14.

Omotayo said, “He was further sentenced to four years each for counts 15 to 28 which border on obtaining by false pretences, while he was sentenced to eight years for counts 29 to 32, which border on forgery. The sentences are to run concurrently.”

He further stated that his client, Ohha Microfinance Bank, also in 2018 instituted a civil action against Sterling Bank Plc before Justice Chinyere Ani, of the High Court of Enugu State, praying for N600m damages for breach of contract and misappropriation of the N219m.

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