Nsa Ayi, a former relationship officer, Coronation Merchant Bank, has been sentenced to seven years imprisonment for diverting clients N700 million meant for Federal Government bonds, treasury bills, and fixed deposits.
He was sentenced today by Justice Mojisola Dada of the Lagos State High Court, Ikeja, Lagos. The convict, who was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission on February 26, 2018, on an 11-count charge, was accused of altering instructions and falsifying signatures of customers to transfer money into various accounts outside the bank.
The money was allegedly transferred in tranches into his Guaranty Trust Bank account No. 0001600855 as well as his Zenith Bank account No. 1002771899. Delivering her judgment today, the judge sentenced him to seven years imprisonment on each count of the charge. The sentences are to run concurrently from the day of arrest.
The Judge further held that all properties traced to the defendant be confiscated till it amounts to the sum of N700million and should be restituted to the plaintiff, Coronation Merchant Bank. One of the counts reads: “That you, Nsa Ayi, on or about 4th day of February, 2015, being an employee of Coronation Merchant Bank, in Lagos within the Lagos Judicial Division with intent to defraud, falsified account No. 1990000158 belonging to African Alliance Insurance Plc in possession of your employer by debiting the said account to the tune of N172, 076, 712.33, using an instruction which you purported to have been issued by the said African Alliance Insurance Plc.”
Another count read: “That you, Nsa Ayi, on or about 13th day of January, 2014, being an employee of Coronation Merchant Bank, in Lagos within the Lagos Judicial Division with intent to defraud, falsified account No. 2990001176 belonging to Ogunjemiyo E. Mascot in possession of your employer by debiting the said account to the tune of N4, 277, 000.00, using an instruction which you purported to have been issued by Ogunjemiyo E. Mascot.”
When the 11-count charge was read to him, he pleaded not guilty, thereby setting the stage for his full trial. Counsel to the defendant, Robert Clarke, SAN, had pleaded with the court to grant the defendant bail on the grounds that he needed to take his son abroad for surgery.
However, the prosecution opposed the bail, saying that “he is a flight-risk who had plans to relocate with his entire family to the United States of America last year, if not for the timely response in arresting him by the EFCC.” The prosecution further said that there was no document showing that the defendant’s son was critically ill to warrant his being flown abroad for treatment.
The judge, while denying him bail, said that if the defendant’s son was truly ill and needed medical treatment abroad, he should not be pleading with the court to allow him to travel out with his entire family only to treat his son. The judge, therefore, remanded the defendant in Kirikiri Prisons, Lagos. During the proceedings on March 6, 2018, the defendant changed his plea from ‘not guilty’ to ‘guilty’.