A 27-year-old man, Eric Agba, was on Friday remanded at a correctional facility by an Ebonyi State magistrates’ court sitting in Abakaliki for allegedly operating an illegal bank account in the name of the Ebonyi State Government.
Agba reportedly used the account to defraud MTN Communications Nigeria Limited and others, of N141m.
The suspect, it was alleged, opened the said bank account in 2018.
City Round learnt that the suspect committed the offence between January and December, 2018, in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital.
He was arraigned by the Department of State Services on four counts of felony, conspiracy, operating an illegal account and false representation.
The Services’ Prosecutor, C.P. Njoku, told the court that the offences were punishable under sections 516A (a), 515, 519, 1 (3) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 33, Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009 and 1 (3) of Advanced Fee Fraud and other Related Offences Act, 2006.
The charge read in part, “That you, Eric Agba, and others now at large, between January and August, 2018 in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, under the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: assisting in the opening and operation of an illegal Ebonyi State Government Bank Account at Fidelity Bank, which received the sum of N141,585,000 from MTN Telecommunications Company and thereafter transmitted same to several other accounts, thereby committing an offence contrary to and punishable under Section 516A(a) of the Criminal Code, Cap. 33, Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009.
“That you Eric Agba and others now at large, at the aforementioned place and date, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit; failing to use all reasonable means for the prevention of the commission of the crime of opening an illegal Ebonyi State Government Account and wherein the sum of N141,585,000 from MTN Telecommunications Company into a fake Ebonyi State Infrastructure Account, introduced by you which was thereafter fleeced into several other accounts, knowing full well that you had neither the intention or capacity to remit legitimately to the Ebonyi State Government, thereby committing an offence contrary to Section 515 of the Criminal Code Cap. 33, Vol. 1, Laws of Ebonyi State of Nigeria, 2009.”
The accused was not granted bail as he had no counsel to apply for his bail.
The presiding Chief Magistrate, Nnenna Onuoha, said the matter was beyond the court to adjudicate.
Onuoha directed that the suspect should be remanded at the Nigerian Correctional Centre, Abakaliki, and his case file transferred to the office of Director of Public Prosecutions in the state for legal advice.
The matter was adjourned till February 21, 2020 for report of compliance.