A former managing director of the defunct Finbank Plc, Okey Nwosu, has been jailed for three years by a Lagos court.
Nwosu was jailed alongside three past Finbank directors, Dayo Famoroti, Danjuma Ocholi and Agnes Ebubedike, for stealing N18 billion belonging to the bank and its customers.
Justice Lateefat Okunnu handed down the sentence on Tuesday after finding Nwosu and the former directors guilty of stealing and illegal conversion in a 26-count charge brought by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Justice Okunnu also ordered the four convicted individuals to refund the amount stolen from the bank.
While Nwosu and Famoroti were jailed for three years, Ocholi was sentenced to 12 months in prison. However, Ebubedike was sentenced to six months of community service.
How it started
In 2009, the then Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Lamido Sanusi Lamido, wrote to the EFCC, asking the anti-graft agency to prosecute Nwosu for allegedly stealing N18billion. Sanusi had also asked the agency to take legal actions against Erastus Akingbola, former MD of the defunct Intercontinental Bank, for allegedly stealing N47.1bn, and Francis Atuche, former MD of the defunct Bank PHB, for allegedly stealing N25.7 billion. After several years of delay by courts and lawyers, the Supreme Court, in 2016, ordered Nwosu and the three directors to face trial at the Lagos court.
The four individuals had, after the commencement of the trial at the Lagos court, rushed to the Court of Appeal to contest the jurisdiction of the court to handle the case.
An appeal court in Lagos had ruled that the Lagos High Court lacked the jurisdiction to handle the case and subsequently freed the accused persons brought to the court by the EFCC.
The case was later stalled for three and a half years before it was re-started in September 2020. On the other hand, Akingbola has been in and out of the courts since 2009, and was re-arraigned by the EFCC in 2019 on N179 billion fraud charges.
After several years without success, Atuche was re-arraigned by the EFCC on N125 billion fraud charges in 2017. His case is still in court. In January 2020, he bought Ibrahim Babangida’s Lagos house with a view to starting a firm known as Hubmart Shoes.