A Federal High Court, sitting in Lagos, has ordered Fidelity Bank Plc to return the sum of N51, 443, 606. 48 million, to the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc through the Nigeria Police.
The said N51.443,606.48 million, according to the Intelligence Response Team (IRT) of the Nigeria Police, was said to be part of N107, 907, 039, allegedly stolen from a client of UBA Plc and fraudulently hid in a Fidelity Bank Plc’s account number 6323548628 maintained by one Eze Roseline.
The court presided over by Justice Oluremi Oguntoyinbo, made the order while granting a motion exparte application filed before her court by the men of IRT, Lagos, on Wednesday.
Listed as Fidelity Bank Plc’s co-respondents in the suit marked FHC/L/CS/737/2020 are: United Bank for Africa (UBA), Michael Abubakar; Yinka Sikiru; Eze Roseline; Jamilu Usman; Aliu Adamu and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), as second to eight respondents.
IRT through its lawyer, Mr. Nosa Watson, while asking the court to grant the order, told the court that all efforts by the police to retrieve the alleged stolen sun from Fidelity bank Plc, did not yield desired result, as the bank turned down all entreaties to do so.
Nosa had told the court that the order sought for in the Motion Exparte application was brought pursuant to Section 4, 23 and 31(1) of the Police Act. Cap. P.19, LFN 2004; Section 337 (1) of Administration of Justice Act (ACJA) 2015 and under the court’s inherent jurisdiction.
The police lawyer told the court that unless the court granted the requested order, Fidelity will never return the money.
Justice Oguntoyinbo, after listening to the submission of the IRT lawyer, held that: “having listened to the submission of counsel to the applicant and reading through the affidavit in support and the written address, I see that there is every reason for the application to be granted.
“The application is hereby granted accordingly”.
The order sought by the Court reads: “an order of the Honourable Court directing the 1st Respondent, i.e., Fidelity Bank Pic to revert back the sum of N51,443,606.48 (Fifty-One Million, Four Hundred and Forty Three Thousand, Six Hundred and Six Naira, forty eight kobo) only, currently in their possession in account No. 6323548628 maintained by the fifth respondent, Eze Roseline to its original owner, the seventh Respondent, i.e Adamu Aliu with account number 2081041930 domiciled with UBA Plc, being the sum induced by false pretence, which was transferred from the seventh respondent’s UBA Plc account to the first respondent’s account, i.e, Fidelity Bank Plc. And for such further order(s) as the Honourable Court may deem fit to make in the circumstances”.
IRT in an affidavit in support of the exparte motion, deposed to by Inspector Francis Alechenu,stated that he was one of the Investigating Police Officer (lPO’s) assigned to investigate a criminal complaint/petition made by A.R. Fatoki & Associates, on behalf of the Jamilu Usman and Aliu Adamu against Michael Abubakar; Yinka Sikiru and Eze Roseline.
The deponent stated that the investigation conducted into this matter so far, revealed on June 1, 2020, A.R. Fatoki & Associates addressed a petition on behalf of his clients, i.e., Jamilu Usman and Aliu Adamu to IGP through the Deputy Commissioner of Police, IGP Intelligence Response Team (IRT), Force Headquarters Abuja alleging conspiracy to wit: Obtaining money by false pretence and stealing against Michael Abubakar and Yinka Sikiru and others.
He stated that upon investigating the petition, suspected criminal offences, such as conspiracy to wit stealing; obtaining the sum of N107,907,039 million and stealing were revealed. And that his team also found as a fact during investigation that on May 18, 2020 the third respondent approached the seventh respondent for a foreign account number, that his brother resident in the United State of America has US Dollars to sell and that as soon as the investigation conducted into this matter so far, revealed the under stated facts as follows; “that the seventh respondent informed the third respondent, that his brother, i.e., the sixth respondent, has a company domiciliary account with GT Bank with account No. 0165734173 and further told him that they do not used the said account for fraudulent practices and the third respondent confirmed the foreign currency to be genuine.
“That it was on the basis of the above stated facts, the seventh Respondent informed the sixth Respondent of his discussion with the third respondent and consequently, the sixth respondent gave his consent that the seventh respondent should forward their company’s domiciliary account No. 0165734173, with account name, Trader Author Concept”.
The deponent stated that investigation into the petition, further revealed that, on May 20, 2020, the third respondent brought a payment slip to the seventh respondent confirming that, $263,187.59 has been paid into the aforesaid account maintained with the eight Respondent, i.e., GT Bank Pic of the sixth and seventh respondents. And that after the confirmation of the said payment, the seventh respondent called the third Respondent to come and collect the sum of N107,907,039 million, equivalent of $263,187.59 .
He stated that upon the arrival of the third and fourth respondents to the sixth and seventh respondents’ office, the sixth and seventh respondents made the third and fourth and 4th respondents to enter into an agreement with them that, if the said $263,187.59 already credited to the‘ eight respondent, i.e., GT Bank Plc is discovered to be fraudulent, they will return the Naira equivalent of N107,907,039 Million, already paid to the third respondent and others.
That consequent upon the above stated facts, the seventh respondent took the third and fourth respondents to his UBA Bank Plc located at No. 53, Marina Lagos State and the seventh respondent informed the third respondent that, he will pay all the N107,907,039 million, but he said that his account cannot contain the whole money.
The deponent stated that the third respondent gave one Eze Roseline’s Fidelity Bank account No. 6323548628 to the seventh respondent and he paid the sum of N75,500, 000 Million, as directed by the third Respondent. And that the Police found as a fact, that one Ikechukwu Eze and Sunday Eze who happened to be the sons of Eze Roseline, opened an account for her at Fidelity Bank and the said sons are at liberty to access the account, because they are the ones running/funding the account.
The deponent also states that the said Eze Roseline denied knowing the amount of money in the account, i.e., N75,500, million, fraudulently collected from the seventh respondent and paid into her account with Fidelity Bank, by her sons and others. He added that in the course of investigation, he sought and obtained order from the Magistrate Court, Abuja to inspect and take copies of opening mandate statement and as well as place a Post No Debit (PND) on the first respondent’s account maintained by the fifth respondent to enable him trace the holder of the account which revealed the fifth respondent and consequently she was arrested.
He averred that upon the receipt of the said statement of account, it revealed that the transfer of N75,500, 000, from the seventh respondent account to the fifth respondent’s account, i,e., Eze Roseline and the balance left in the aforesaid account which is N51,443,606.48 million in account with Fidelity Bank Plc.
That the Police also found as a fact during investigation, that all the accounts the seventh respondent’s N107,907,039 million, were transferred to, it is only the fifth respondent’s account has the balance of N51,443,606.48 million, out of the sum of N75,500,000 million, fraudulently paid by the seventh respondent, while other monies paid to various account are yet to be traced.
He stated that the fleeing suspects in this case are making frantic effort to illegally withdraw the said N51,443,606.48 million domiciled in the fifth respondent’s account with the Fidelity Bank, through electronic means. And that Fidelity Bank is willing to revert the N51,443,606.48 million, shown in the sixth respondents statement of account, back to UBA Plc account No. 2081041930, belonging to the seventh Respondent from where it was fraudulently transferred, but it need court order.
He stated that he believe that the Court has the power to order the reversal of the said N51,443,606.48 million, from Fidelity Bank Plc to UBA Bank Plc account of the seventh respondent to prevent the sum being illegally withdrawn by the fleeing suspects. And that granting the prayer will not prejudice the respondents, but will serve the interest of justice