By Abdulwahab Abdulah
A COUPLE, Bose and Kayode Phillips, were yesterday ordered to be remanded in prison custody after they were arraigned on a 100-count charge bordering on conspiracy, fraudulent conversionÂ and stealing of N233 million belonging to a company, Tower Universal Limited.
The couple who were arraigned before Justice Joseph Oyewole of an Ikeja High Court were alleged to have swindled the Tower Universal Limited, a subsidiary of the defunct NAL Merchant bank, lately acquired by the Spring Bank Plc to the tune of N233 million five years ago.
Arraigned with the couple were their companies, Leap of Faith Agency and Gas Oil Nigeria Limited, which were allegedly used as conduit pipe to siphon money from the company.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, that arraigned them said the couple had been evading arrest for years until they were apprehended lately and brought to court.
However, both of them pleaded not guilty to the 100-count-charge preferred against them.
Kayode Phillips, the husband is the owner of Gas Oil Nigeria Ltd and his wife, Bose Phillips, is the owner of Leap of Faith Agency. The woman (Bose), according to information from the prosecution, was working with the Tower Limited, a subsidiary of the bank, where she allegedly used her office to unlawfully enrich their family businesses. The said business transaction took place between May 5 and November 18, 2004.
The anti graft commission accused them of stealing and conspiracy to steal, offence which, according to the charge sheet, â€œis punishable under Sections 390 (8) (b) and 516 of the Criminal Code Cap C17, Vol. II of the Laws of Lagos State, Nigeria 2003.â€
Moment their pleas were taken by the court, Mr. Francis Usani representing the EFCC asked for a trial date and a court order to remand them in prison.
â€œIn view of the plea of the defendants, we are asking for a trial date and also applying that the first and second defendants be remanded in prison custody,â€ the court said.
The counsel to the couple, Mrs Juliet Njoku, however said that she was not opposed to a trial date but asked for an earlier date for hearing of their bail applications which she is yet to file before the court.
Bose Phillips was alleged by the EFCC to have conspired with her husband using their companies as fronts to perpetrate the fraud when she was the Managing Director of the Tower Company, a subsidiary of the defunct NAL Merchant Bank that is now known as Spring Bank.
The case was adjourned till February 22, 2010 for the hearing of their bail application while the trial was fixed for March 17 and 18, 2010.