2 ex-Vanguard staff docked over alleged N29.3m fraud
By ONOZURE DANIA with agency reports
IKEJA — Two former employees of Vanguard Media Ltd., Badmus Abiodun and Joseph Ejike were yesterday arraigned for allegedly stealing N29.3 million belonging to the newspaper company.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the defendants, who are both 43 years old, were arraigned before Justice Lateefat Okunnu of a Lagos High Court in Ikeja.
Abiodun and Ejike, who reside at Nos. 5, Tijani Ashogbon St., Bariga, Lagos and 2 Osaremwanta St., Benin City, Edo State respectively, were arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.
The defendants are facing 26 counts, bordering on conspiracy, forgery and stealing.
Mr. Abba Mohammed, the EFCC counsel, alleged that Abiodun, a former chief accountant and Ejike, formerly a sales representative, committed the offences between Feb. 2006 and Jan. 2009 in Lagos.
Mohammed alleged that they had conspired to steal a total sum of N29.3 million belonging to the company by using their respective positions to facilitate the theft.
He also accused them of forging two Wema Bank Plc deposit slips No. 2333059 and 2333064, purported to be in the sums of N930,000 and N950,000 respectively.
According to him, their alleged offences contravene Sections 390 (1), 467 (2) and 516 of the Criminal Code Laws of Lagos State 2003.
Abiodun and Ejike had pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The judge granted Ejike bail in the sum of N5 million with two sureties in like sum.
Okunnu said the sureties must be resident in Lagos, gainfully employed and deposed to an affidavit of means.
She said one of the sureties must be Ejike’s blood relative while the other surety must own a property of substantial value in Lagos.
The judge directed that the sureties should produce three years tax certificates which must be verified by the Chief Registrar of the Lagos State High Court.
Okunnu further directed that Ejike should report to the office of the Edo State Commissioner of Police on the first working day of every month throughout the duration of the matter.
She adjourned the matter to Jan.9 for mention and possible consolidation of a similar case involving Abiodun before the court.
Abiodun is already in prison custody for failing to meet his bail conditions in an earlier alleged fraud charges.
Abiodun is facing a similar charge before the court for allegedly conspiring with another sales representative, James Unoka, to steal N7.9 million belonging to the company.