Wednesday, June 8, 2016 10:33 pm
Diamond Bank Plc and two of its managers, Lasisi Abayomi and Hillary Ojukwu, were today arraigned before a Federal High Court in Lagos, south west Nigeria on six-count charge of money laundering.
Others arraigned alongside the bank and its two managers are Oni Oil and Gas Ltd and Mrs Lizzy Chinyere Ikenua.
In a six-count amended charge filed before the court by the prosecutor, Augustine Nwagu of National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), it was alleged that the bank and its two managers in August 2006, within the jurisdiction of the court, failed to verify the true identity of its customer, Oni Oil and Gas Ltd, Chief Onoche Ikenua (now deceased), suspected to be drug a baron and his wife, Mrs. Lizzy Chinyere Ikenua, before opening an account number 0212010006203 in favour of the company and entering into other fiduciary relationships with them.
Two of the charges read: “That you Hillary Ojukwu being an employee of Diamond Bank Plc, a financial institution, between August and December 2006 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court aided Oni Oil and Gas Ltd, Chief Onoche Ikenua (now deceased) and Mrs. Lizzy Chinyere Ikenua to convert various sums of money (amount yet to be determined), being money derived directly or indirectly from a crime to wit: illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 17(a) and punishable under Section 14(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004”.
“That you Diamond Bank Plc, a financial institution, between the months of August and October 2006 at Lagos within the jurisdiction of this honourable court failed to report suspicious transactions on account no. 0212010006203 in the name of Oni oil and Gas Ltd and you thereby committed an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 6(9) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2004”.
All the accused persons pleaded not guilty to the charge. After the plea of the accused persons was taken, the prosecutor, Nwagu, told the court that two of his witnesses were in court and he was ready to proceed for trial.
But the presiding judge, Justice Mojisola Olatoregun Ishola, after listing to the parties, granted the accused bail in the sum of one million each with one surety in like sum.
The charge was amended due to the death of the one of the accused persons, Chief Onoche Ikenua, suspected to be a drug Baron.
The author of this story Akin Kuponiyi can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org