By Bartholomew Madukwe
Justice Kudirat Jose of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja, has fixed March 1 for the continuation of trial of some top officials of Keystone Bank (formerly Bank PHB), charged for conspiring to obtain N855 million by false pretence from an oil magnate, Sir Daniel Chuwudozie.
In the charge brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), against Anayo Nwosu, a deputy manager; Ashok Isran, an Indian National; and Olajide Oshodi and Sunny Obazee, both Managers, alongside NULEC Industries Limited and Keystone Bank, the defendants were accused of obtaining money by false pretence from Sir Daniel Chuwudozie of Dozzy Oil & Gas Ltd.
They were also accused of obtaining N855million from their victim under the pretence that the said sum represented payment for preference shares of NULEC Industries Limited in an upcoming initial public offer, which pretence they knew to be false.
However, the defendants had pleaded not guilty to the two-count charge of conspiracy and fraud.
At the resumed proceedings, a prosecution witness for the EFCC, Chukwuma Orji, informed the court of how the top officials of Keystone Bank connived with the Indian national, Mr. Isran, to deceive Chukwudozie to part with N855million under a spurious private share placement deal.
The witness told the court that one of the defendants, Anayo, carefully concealed the bankrupt status of NULEC Industries Limited to Chukwudozie and his company, convincing them to invest N285milion in NULEC Industries through the phony private placement.
Orji disclosed that even before the private placement was opened on 25th July, 2008, the defendants had allegedly withdrawn a large proportion of the funds and wired the rest abroad. He however pointed out that the wired sum was later returned, part by part, to various accounts traced to Mr. Isran in Nigeria.