The Ikeja GRA branch manager of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), Tope Munis, was on Wednesday docked before a Lagos State High Court for allegedly aiding N1.2 billion fraud. Munis was arraigned on 15 counts amended charge alongside Dare Osamo and Ayoola Bisola who had earlier been arraigned over the alleged fraud before the court presided over by Justice Oyindamola Ogala.
At the resumption of trial, the Director, Lagos State Department of Public Prosecution, Dr. Jide Martins, informed the court that the state had 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, Munis on the 15th day of February, 2016, while acting as Branch Manager, First City Monument Bank PLC. situated at No 48, Isaac John Street, Government Residential Area (G R.A) Branch, allegedly committed the offence.
The charge further stated that Munis and Osamo, allegedly demonstrated intention to defrauding and without lawful authority or excuses approved the opening of a new account for Star Orient Nig. Ltd when there were no SCUML (i.e Special Control Unit against Money Laundering) certificate number on the account opening form.
The charge also stated that the duo of Munis and Osamo, allegedly ran foul of banking rules when they opened the account without full details of the directors of Star Orient Nigeria Limited, 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 announced to the court of the existence of the amended charge and urged the court to take his plea over the allegations leveled 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 represented Dr. Wale Olawoyin, SAN, as 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 bailable.
Opposing the bail, the state DPP said the court must consider the severity of the offence. Delivering ruling on the bail application, Justice Ogala granted the 3rd defendant bail in the sum of N20 million with two sureties. The court ordered that the sureties must be resident in the state and have title to landed property. She said they must provide evidence of tax payment to state government as well as their residential address, which must be verified. She further ordered the defendant to submit his international passport.