The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on March 6, 2019, arraigned Tunde Ayeni, a former Chairman, Board of Directors, Skye Bank Plc, before Justice Valentine Ashi of a Federal Capital Territory, FCT High Court, Apo on a four-count charge, bordering on criminal breach of trust to the tune of N4,597,500,000.
Ayeni was arraigned along with Timothy Ajani Oguntayo, for allegedly conspiring at different times to fraudulently divert depositors’ funds domiciled at Skye Bank Plc to personal use.
One of the counts reads: “That you, Tunde Ayeni, whilst being the Chairman, Board of Directors of the defunct Skye Bank Plc and Timothy Ajani Oguntayo, while being the Managing Director, MD of the defunct Skye Bank Plc on or about October 16, 2014 at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, whilst being bankers entrusted with property, to wit: depositors’ funds in the defunct Skye Bank Plc’s Suspense Account, committed criminal breach of trust in respect of the sum of N1,000,000,000 (One Billion Naira) and thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 315 of the Penal Code.”
They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.
Counsel for the first defendant, Dele Adesina, SAN, who held brief for the lead counsel, Wole Olanipekun, SAN, informed the court of their pending bail application, which was served on the prosecution on December 13, 2018.
Counsel for the second defendant, Oyetola Oshobi, SAN, also made similar application.
The trial judge, thereafter, admitted them to bail in the sum of N500 million (Five Hundred Million Naira) with two sureties each in like sum, who must be resident in Abuja, and must own a landed property “of sufficient value”, within Abuja metropolis.
The matter was thereafter adjourned to May 14, 2019, for “commencement of trial”.
In another development, in a statement from the EFCC, Justice Muslim Hassan of the Federal High Court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos has dismissed an application filed by a former Minister of State for the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Jumoke Akinjide and her co-defendants in an alleged N650 million fraud case.
Akinjide is standing trial along with Senator Ayo Adeseun and a People’s Democratic Party, PDP stalwart, Chief Olanrewaju Otiti, on an amended 24-count charge bordering on money laundering.
At the last adjourned sitting on February 6, 2019, Micheal F. Lana, counsel for Adeseun, as well as Akinola Oladeji, counsel for Otiti, had brought an application before the court seeking that the Judge should disqualify himself from the trial on the grounds that he was a former employee of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, and would, therefore, be biased.
Ruling on the application today, March 6, 2019 Justice Hassan held that the application was frivolous and an abuse of court process.
He said: “The allegation of me being biased in the case due to the fact that I was an employee of the Commission is meant to blackmail me and to intimidate the court.
“But this will not be allowed by any litigant.
“By the time the Commission commenced investigations regarding this case and when defendants were arrested, I had been appointed as a judge and I was no more with the EFCC as an employee.
“Therefore, I see no conflict or interest of the court in this matter.”
The case has been adjourned to April 18, 2019 for continuation of trial