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Alleged N8bn Fraud: EFCC Re-Arraigns Skye Bank Chair, Ayeni; MD, Oguntayo

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on May 27, 2019 re-arraigned a former Chairman, Board of Directors, Skye Bank Plc (now Polaris Bank), and the former Managing Director, MD of the Bank, Timothy Ajani Oguntayo, before Justice Ijeoma Ojukwu, of a Federal High Court, Abuja, on an eight-count charge bordering on money laundering to the tune of N8 billion.

They were initially arraigned before Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of a Federal High Court, Abuja on December 17, 2018, shortly after which the judge was transferred out of Abuja to the Delta Division of the Court. The case was thus re-assigned to Justice Ojukwu, necessitating the need for their re-arraignment.

One of the counts reads: “That you, Dr. Tunde Ayeni whilst being the Chairman, Board of Directors of Skye Bank Plc and Timothy Ajani Oguntayo whilst being the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Skye Bank between the years 2014 and 2015 conspired at different times to do an illegal act, to wit; caused cash delivery to you, Dr. Tunde Ayeni of the sums of money totalling N4,750,000,000 (Four Billion, Seven Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) and USD5,000,000 (Five Million United States Dollars) belonging to Skye Bank Plc, contrary to the provisions of Section 1(a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) read together with Section 18 (a) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under Section 16(2) (b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended).”

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They pleaded “not guilty” to the charges.

Wole Olanipekun, SAN lead defence counsel applied that the Court allow the defendants to continue on the bail terms earlier granted them by Justice Dimgba.

Counsel for the EFCC, Suraj Saeda, SAN noted that the defendant had been attending court as expected, and had not jumped bail, adding that, “we have no objection to deny them bail on the condition imposed by Justice Dimgba.”

Justice Dimgba had admitted them to bail in the sum of N50 million with two sureties each in like sum, who may be either civil servants of not less than the rank of Assistant Director or be private business men or professionals provided that one of the sureties is civil servant, the other surety being a private businessman or a professional must be the owner of a landed property of sufficient value within Abuja metropolis, excluding the satellite towns, adding that, “where the two sureties are private businessmen or professionals, they must show evidence of landed properties of sufficient value within Abuja metropolis excluding the satellite towns”.

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Justice Ojukwu, thereafter granted them bail as requested and adjourned to July 2, 2019.

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