THE second batch of suspects from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and some commercial banks involved in the theft and recirculation of defaced and mutilated currencies of over N8 billion into the public were yesterday arraigned before a Federal High Court sitting in Ibadan amidst a mild drama.
One of the 14 accused persons arraigned before Justice Adeyinka Faaji, a cash officer with a first generation bank, Ayodeji Aleshe, claimed that he did not understand English Language when the charges were read to him. The court, however, provided an interpreter, who explained the charges to him in detail in Yoruba language.
He, thereafter, pleaded not guilty to the charges. A 63-count charge was preferred against the 14 suspects; three are CBN staff while six others were workers of three commercial banks.
This brought the number of suspects who have been arraigned in the first two days of the trial to 21.
The suspects who appeared before the court in three sets were accused of conspiracy, theft and recirculation into the public the defaced and mutilated currencies they were instructed to destroy by substituting the notes with newspapers cutting in naira note sizes.
They were alleged to operate fat bank accounts and own luxury properties in foreign countries as well as shopping complexes in excess of their actual income since they started earning salaries.
The accused persons however pleaded not guilty to all the charges. Justice Faaj fixed June 8, 2015 for motion on bail application for the first and second sets of the suspects and directed that they be remanded in prison custody.
The suspects who appeared before the court in three sets were accused of conspiracy, theft and recirculation into the public the defaced and mutilated currencies they were instructed to destroy by substituting the notes with newspapers cutting in naira note sizes
Lead counsel to EFCC, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN) in a chat with reporters after the court sitting said Aleshe purportedly escaped custody after his arrest before the arraignment, adding: ďWe were looking for him.
He had to disguise somewhere. All his sureties were arrested last night (Tuesday) before we were able to get him.Ē Jacobs also stated that the court would form an opinion on Aleshe on why a cash officer of a first generation bank claimed he does not understand English, yet he allegedly has a credit balance of N132 million in one of his bank accounts, apart from other properties.