…trial postponed indefinitely
By Ise-Oluwa Ige
ABUJA – Hearing in the N7.5 billion fraud case involving an unnamed bank currently before an Abuja Senior magistrate Court was today stalled following the sudden disappearance of the case file from the registry of the court.
Magistrate Azubike Okeagu who is handling the case could not locate the file.
Magistrate Okeagu took over from Chief Magistrate Zainab Bashir who is currently on transfer to Kuje due to her attack on journalists that were in court to cover the fraud case at the last adjourned date.
A key suspect in the fraud Mr. Patrick Onuma, the Operation Manager of the bank and another were to be arraigned on Monday by the police but the exercise had to be postponed indefinitely.
Although no official reason was given for the postponement, but competent sources at the court told newsmen that the case file was nowhere to be found.
According to the source who spoke in confidence, â€œthe new magistrate is still making frantic efforts to locate the case file but he has not succeeded. “Until he lays his hands on the case file and study it, the case can not be heard. “Remember he just resumed office here after Magistrate Zainab Bashir was transferred to Kuje.â€
This came as another manager with the bank, Mr. Leonard Okoh is suspected to have fled the country with his family in the heat of police investigations into the fraud.
Okoh had been in charge of Investment and Small- Scale Enterprises at one of the branches of the bank in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
When the matter first came up in court, the police brought one Mr. Moses Oriri, the managing Director of Oriri Global Resources Limited and prime suspect in the scandalous N7.5 billion fraud, but Magistrate Bashir made sure that the matter did not go out to the public by chasing out Journalists who were in court to cover the proceedings.
Investigations showed that the run-away manager was also in charge of savings of Primary Mortgage Institutions.
Sources within the bank said that investment funds and Private Mortgage Investments [PMIs] savings under the management of the embattled manager stood at over N7.44bn by January this year.