The Federal Ministry of Justice has arraigned a former Managing Director of Imperial Micro Finance Bank, Chijioke Mbagwu before Justice Ayokunle Faji of a Federal High Court in Lagos for alleged fraudulent diversion of funds and granting unsecured credit facilities.
Mbagwu was docked on a 14-count charge bordering on the alleged offence.
He, however, denied all the counts upon his arraignment.
After his plea, his lawyer, Mrs. S. Anoka, drew the court’s attention to the bail application of her client which she therafter moved while urging the court to admit Mbagwu to bail in liberal term.
Responding, prosecution’s lawyer, Mrs. Ogochukwu Mba, a Senior State Counsel from the Federal Ministry of Justice, opposed the bail application on the grounds that the defendant had evaded his arraignment on two occasions.
Besides, she added that the defendant had tried to feign absence when required by the police.
The lawyer consequently urged the court to turn down the defendant’s bail application.
However, in a brief ruling, Justice Faji dismissed the prosecution’s objection, saying the defendant had shown reasons why he should be granted bail as nothing has been shown by prosecution in its affidavit to substantiate its opposition to bail.
Justice Faji consequently admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N7million with two sureties in like sum.
According to the judge, the sureties who must be resident in Lagos must show means of livelihood and depose to affidavit of means.
They are also to deposit two passport photographs.
The judge while issuing a week’s ultimatum to the defendant to perfect his bail conditions also ordered him not to travel out of the country without being permitted by the court.
Further hearing in the matter has been adjourned to 28th June, 2019, for report of compliance with the bail conditions.
The defendant would remain on administrative bail granted him by the prosecution pending final perfection of his bail conditions.
According to the charge, the defendant committed the offence between 2007 and 2008, while serving as Managing Director of Imperial Micro Finance Bank.
He was alleged to have granted N25 million unsecured credit facilities to Investment Micro Finance Bank, formerly known as, Nsulu Community Bank, which he allegedly owns.
In counts two to five, the defendant was also alleged to have granted unsecured credit of about N4.5 million to Investment Micro Finance Bank.
In counts six, he was alleged to have acted both as Managing Director of Imperial Micro Finance Bank as well as Chiik Finance and Securities, which is not a subsidiary of Imperial.
In counts seven to 11, the defendant was alleged to have fradulently obtained the sum of about N29.5 million from Imperial Micro Finance Bank, under the pretence that it was for management of the bank.
He was alleged to have diverted the said fund to Investment Micro Finance Bank.
In count 12, he was alleged to have obtained the sum of N10 million from Mega Equities Ltd, under the pretence of helping it secure shares from Imperial, but diverted same to Chiik Finance and Securities.
In counts 13, he was alleged to have fraudulently obtained a culmulative sum of N8.7 million from Imperial Micro Finance Bank, and diverted same to the account of Chiik Finance and Securities, with intent to promote illegal banking activities.
In count 14, the defendant was alleged to have between 2007 to 2009, obtained a leasehold improvement of about N30.3 million from Imperial Micro Finance Bank, and diverted same for personal use.
The offences were said to have contravened the provisions of Sections 1(a), 15, 16 and 19 of the Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpratices in Banks Act, Cap F2, Laws of the Federation, 2004.
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