Two officers with the Ogba, Lagos Mainland branch of Sterling Bank Plc, James Oke and Moyosore Shofowora, have been arrested and arraigned before a Lagos Magistrate Court for allegedly withdrawing the sum of N25,466,330 from the internal control accounts of the bank without authorisation and converted the money to their personal use.
The two bankers were arrested on the order of the Divisional Police Officer, DPO in charge of Lion Building Division, CSP Folashade Tanaruno following a complaint by the management of Sterling Bank through its Chief Security Officer, Mr Okodugha Sunday Evaristus.
The accused were arraigned before an Igbosere Magistrate Court, Lagos on a two-count charge of felony to wit, stealing.
Prosecuting Counsel, Abbass Abayomi informed the Court in Charge No/65/2017 that the accused persons committed the alleged offence between 22 September, 2016 and 28 July, 2017 during working hours at Sterling Bank Plc, Ogba Branch, Lagos.
Abayomi told the Court that the first accused, James Oke after withdrawing the sum of N9, 377,000 from the account of his employer, he used part of the money to procure travelling documents and ticket fares to escape to the United States of America, but that he was arrested inside a USA bound aircraft at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos before the plane could take off following a tip off.
Abayomi added that the police recovered the sum of USD2,150 from James Oke at the airport during a search.
The second accused, Shofowora stole N16,060,000 from the account of his employer and used part of the money to purchase a Toyota Camry Car valued at N2.5m and confessed that he used the balance to gamble, Abayomi told the court.
He noted that the offences the accused committed were punishable under sections 411 and 287 (7) of the criminal Laws of Lagos State, 2015.
The accused persons, however, pleaded not guilty to the alleged crime.
In the court ruling, Chief Magistrate, B.A Sonuga granted the accused bail in the sum of N5m each with two sureties each in Like sum.
Sonuga directed that one of the sureties must be a Bank Manager with Sterling Bank and the other must be a Bank Manager with Wema Bank Plc who must also own landed properties in Lagos.
Sonuga who adjourned the case till 14 November, 2017, further directed that the two sureties must deposit the sum of N1m each in the Court registrar account.
The magistrate ordered that the defendants be remanded at the Ikoyi Prison, Lagos till they were able to fulfill the bail conditions.