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Microfinance bank CEO sentenced to 4 year jail term over $167 million fraud

THE Federal High Court, Lagos, on Thursday, sentenced a former managing director of the defunct Integrated Microfinance Bank Ltd, Simon Akinteye, to four years in prison over a $166.9 million fraud.

The presiding judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun sentenced Akinteye to four years concurrent term of imprisonment on the nine-count charge against him by the Ministry of Justice.

The court, however, gave him an option of fine of N2 million on each of the counts, adding that same shall be computed cumulatively.

Justice Olatoregun had convicted Akinteye on February 4 after finding him guilty of all nine counts charge bordering on reckless granting of loans without collateral, preferred against him.

However, the court had on February 4 discharged and acquitted his co-defendant, Gabriel Adepoju before the court adjourned Akinteye’s case until February 21.

When the case was called on Thursday, the court called for addresses from both counsels before reading the sentence.

In addressing the court, the prosecutor, O. Ndidi, urged the court to impose the maximum sentence as prescribed by law, adding that a person so convicted of such offence is liable to an imprisonment term of five years.

She argued that in addition, the court is empowered to order a refund of the money.

“I submit that the convict be sentenced based on the appropriate law and that the money is returned to the NDIC,” she said.

On his part, the defence counsel, A. O Sherif, in urging the court for mitigation before sentence, referred the court to the provisions of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

He urged the court not to impose the maximum sentence on the defendant, adding that he is a first-time offender with no past criminal records and impose a light sentence on the convict.

Delivering judgment, Olatoregun held that the court had been told that the convict is a first-time offender with no past criminal records.

She, however, held that the convict betrayed the trust of clients of the bank who had deposited their monies there.

The judge ruled that while the sentence is to run concurrently, the fine imposed would be cumulative, stating that the sentence should serve as a deterrent to others.

In the charge marked FHC/L/234c/16, the prosecution alleged that the convict recklessly and without collateral, approved credit facilities running into 166 million dollars and N33.3 million to themselves

The convict was said to have at different times, withdrawn from the bank’s account N11 million and diverted it to his personal company named ‘Deblad Nigeria Ltd’.

He was also said to have unlawfully withdrawn the total sum of 166 million dollars and paid same into account of one Temitope domiciled with Citi Bank in the United State of America.

The offences according to the prosecution contravene the provisions of sections 15 (1)(a), 18 and 18(3)a)(I) of the Banks and other Financial Institution Act Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

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