A Cross River State High Court sitting in Akamkpa has sentenced the manager of a microfinance bank, Effiong Bassey, to five years imprisonment for stealing N27 million from the bank while serving as a branch manager.
Bassey was prosecuted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Enugu Zonal Office, on a one-count charge of stealing the funds from the bank, Ekondo Microfinance Bank Limited.
Delivering judgement on the case on Friday, Justice Adie Onyebueke, said that evidence showed that the defendant perpetrated the act while serving as a branch manager.
Earlier, when the charge was read, the former bank manager pleaded not guilty to the charge, thus setting the stage for his trial that later resulted in his sentence.
The charge read, “That you, Augustine Effiong Bassey (‘m’), sometime between 2010 and 2012 at Uyanga, Cross River State, within the jurisdiction of the High Court of Cross River State, with the intent to defraud, stole the sum of N27,300,000 (Twenty-seven Million, Three Hundred Thousand Naira), being property of Ekondo Microfinance Bank Limited and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 390 of the Criminal Code law, CAP C16 (VOL 3) of the Laws of Cross River State of Nigeria,2004 and punishable under Section 390(9) of the same Law.”
With prosecution counsel, Fortune Amina I. Asemebo proving the case beyond reasonable doubt, Justice Onyebueke convicted and sentenced him to prison, with an option of restituting the sum of N15 million to Ekondo Microfinance Bank.
Bassey’s journey to prison began sometime in July 2016 when he was arrested by the EFCC upon intelligence that he used his position as the branch manager of Ekondo Microfinance Bank, Uyanga, Cross Rivers State to convert the sum of N27.3 million (Twenty Seven Million, Three Hundred Thousand Naira), belonging to bank to his private use.
He did this by personally carting away the sum from the bank’s vault and gave to his fronts for the execution of non-existent contracts for the bank.