Justice Abiodun Akinyemi of the Ogun State High Court, Abeokuta, today convicted and sentenced Adejare Sonde, a former staff of First City Monument Bank, FCMB, Abeokuta branch, to four years in prison for stealing money belonging to the Microfinance Bank of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta.
The ex-banker was prosecuted by the Ibadan Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on four counts of stealing. The offence is contrary to Section 390 (9) of the Criminal Code Laws Cap. C30, Laws of Ogun State, 2006 and punishable under the same section.
The convict who arrested following a petition by the bank, was allegedly involved in several cases of cash suppression and fictitious fixed deposit certificates running into millions of Naira.
The convict was originally arraigned on a 12-count charge in 2018 for offences bordering on stealing, forgery and uttering. He had pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charge, setting the stage for the full trial.
In the course of the trial, the prosecution called five witnesses and closed it case. However, before the adjourned date, when the defendant was expected to open his defence, he approached the commission through his lawyer for a plea bargain.
The charge was later amended and today, December 18, the defendant upon arraignment on the amended charge, pleaded ‘guilty’.
One of the charges reads,
“Adejare Sonde between 15th August 2014 and 19th December 2014 whilst a staff of FCMB Plc and Account Officer of FUNAAB Microfinance Bank Limited account no: 0725813014 domiciled at the FUNAAB main campus branch of FCMB Plc, Abeokuta, within the Abeokuta Judicial Division stole the sum of N20, 500, 00:00 (Twenty Million Five Hundred Thousand Naira) only property of FUNAAB Microfinance Bank Limited.”
The prosecution counsel, Mabas Mabur prayed the Court to convict the defendant and sentence him in line with the plea bargain agreement. The court convicted the defendant as charged and sentenced him to a term of one-year imprisonment on each count. The sentences are to run concurrently with effect from 18th December 2020.
The court also ordered the convict to restitute his victim –FUNAAB Microfinance Bank Limited-the sum of One Hundred and Twenty-Seven Million, Sixty-Three Thousand Naira(N127,063,000:00) only through the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.