FCMB Manager Arraigned For Alleged N1.2 Fraud!

Tope Munis, a manager with the Ikeja, Lagos branch of First City Monument Bank (FCMB), founded by venerated banker, Otunba Michael Olasubomi Balogun, was days back docked by a Lagos State High Court for allegedly aiding N1.2billion fraud against Star Orient Nigeria Limited.

The defendant was arraigned on a 15-count amended charge alongside two others, Dare Osamo and Ayoola Oloore Bisola, who had earlier been arraigned over the alleged fraud before Justice Oyindamola Ogala.

During their arraignment on Wednesday, March 30, 2022, Dr. Jide Martins, director, Lagos State Department of Public Prosecution, informed the court that the State had an amended charge to include the branch manager who allegedly connived with Dare Osamo to swindle Star Orient, a company owned by Otunba Babatunde Akanbi Babalola, a businessman.

According to the amended charge, Munis, on 15 February, 2016, while acting as branch manager, FCMB Plc, Isaac John Street, GRA Ikeja, Lagos, allegedly committed the offence.

Munis and Osamo allegedly demonstrated intention to defrauding and without lawful authority or excuses approved the opening of a new account for Star Orient Nigeria Limited when there were no SCUML (i.e Special Control Unit against Money Laundering) certificate number on the account opening form.

The charge also added that the duo of Munis and Osamo allegedly ran foul of banking rules when they opened the account without full details of the directors of Star Orient Nigeria Limited, no means of identification nor BVN (Bank Verification Numbers) of the directors of Star Orient Nigeria Limited and upon a forged resolution purportedly signed by Dare Osamo as sole signatory when there are two directors who are signatories to Star Orient Nigeria Limited’s account.

The state prosecutor, upon announcing to the court of the existence of the amended charge, urged the court to take his plea over the allegations leveled against him.

Consequently, Munis pleaded not guilty to four-count charges relating to him out of the 15 amended count charges.

Dr. Martins, thereafter, asked the court for a trial date and a remand order pending the determination of his bail application.

In a counter reaction, J.O. Olushade who represents Dr. Wale Olawoyin, SAN as a counsel to the branch manager, informed the court of his bail application while praying for liberal terms.

The defence counsel moved the bail application by adopting it as he prayed the court to admit the defendant to bail because the offence allegedly commented by the defendants are bailable.

Opposing the bail, the state prosecutor, said the court must consider the severity of the offence, as he prayed the court to turn down the bail application of the defendant.

Munis was granted bail in the sum of N20 million.

Justice Ogala pronounced that the third defendant is granted bail during a ruling on his bail application following his arraignment alongside two others, Dare Osama and Ayoola Olore Bisola who are first and second defendants.

The third defendant was granted bail in the sum of N20million, with two sureties in like sum, each of the sureties must own property valued at N10million in like sum, must be resident of the state.

One of the sureties must have title to landed property, produce evidence of financial status, and the residential addresses of the sureties must be provided while international submitted to the court.

Further hearing of the matter was adjourned till May 26 and June 8, 2022.

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