By Wilson Uwujaren -Head, EFCC Media & Publicity
A former banker with First City MonumentBank Plc (FCMB), Olajide Ogundipe, was on February 15th, 2012 sentenced to sixmonths imprisonment by a Federal High court presided by Justice Alaba Ajileyein Lokoja, Kogi State over a N12.3 million automated teller machine, ATM,fraud.
Ogundipe, a cash officer with the bank wasarraigned by Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC on March 2nd , 2011on an eight (8) count charge bordering on criminal conspiracy and theft towhich he initially pleaded not guilty.
As the case commenced and more evidencesagainst the accused person emerged through the prosecution witness, MaryAdebisi, who is also an investigation officer with the commission, the accusedperson changed his plea and pleaded guilty to all eight count charges.
He was subsequently sentenced to six monthsimprisonment with an option of fine of ten Thousand naira on each of the countsof the charge. In sentencing the accused, the judge took consideration of thefact of Ogundipe’s ill health and refund of the entire sum stolen to the bankthrough the EFCC even before, he was charged to court.
The former banker‘s ordeal started onSeptember 2009 when his bank petitioned EFCC alleging fraudulent withdrawal ofmoney from the bank’s ATM in excess of N12 million by a staff at their LokojaBranch.
The bank had observed that someunexplainable entries were passed between one of its Assets Accounts and itsATM. Further investigation by EFCC revealed that sometime in March 2009,Ogundipe posted a debit entry of N450, 000 to the Assets Account and creditedthe ATM with same value, which was subsequently taken out in bulk cash from theATM machine after close of business. Several similar entries were posted andsubsequently withdrawn in same manner.
The accused person,who confessed to the crime after his arrest, said he spent the money to sponsorhis wedding in 2008. He explained that he made the withdrawals, usually aminimum of N500, 000, each time he loaded the three ATM machines in Lokoja.“Thereafter, I would manipulate the posting to balance the account,” heconfessed.
The Osun State-bornbanker, who said he joined FCMB in September 2008 after three years with a newgeneration bank in Abuja, said he never kept the stolen money in the bank butin his briefcase at his Lokoja home and unknown to his wife who was residing inKaru, Abuja.
After theconfessional statement, Ogundipe promised to return the stolen money and madegood his promise when his lawyer, Mr. Ibrahim Muktari, brought to EFCC an FCMBdraft of N9, 000,000 dated October 22, 2009. He had earlier paid N3, 500,000.00of the stolen money.
Ag. Head, Media& Publicity Unit