Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has sentenced a 56-year-old man, Adekunle Benedict Oyeobu to two and a half years term in prison for issuing loans to three customers without obtaining appropriate authorisation.
The accused, who was a bank manager at the Aba branch of the now defunct Cooperative Development Bank, was accused of issuing loans to three customers totaling of N34.6m.
In a judgment delivered yesterday in the suit filed by the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation in 2001, marked FHC/PHC/12C/2001, between the Federal Government of Nigeria and Adekunle Benedict Oyeobu and others, bothering on conspiracy and granting of unauthorised loans, the court found the bank manager guilty of three counts out of six charges, while the three other counts were struck out.
The trial Judge, Justice Ayokunle Faji, held that the defendant breached the law when he issued a N12.5m, 12.9m and N2.2m loans without authorisation from the bank he worked in.
Faji declared that the accused would serve a two and half year term for each of the three counts which the court found him guilty on, which would run concurrently.
He also ordered the defendant (Oyeobu) return the sum of N7.6m to Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation within six months after the order was given.
Earlier, counsel for the defendant, Dada Mayokun, prayed the court to tamper justice with mercy in its ruling, considering the diligence of the defendant in the matter by not missing proceedings except on an occasion when he had an accident on his way to court in a bid to clearing his name of wrong doing.
He said, "The Court should tamper justice with mercy in view of the fact that there is no evidence before the court showing that the defendant benefitted from the loans, besides he is an old man, (56 years) with health challenges, he is due for operation and he is also a cardiac patient.
"The defendant had been diligent in this matter, he didn't jump bail, also, considering the manner in which the defendant had conducted himself before the court, please let the court tamper justice with mercy and let him serve his sentence in Abuja close to his family."
On her part, the prosecuting counsel, Yetunde Adebukun thanked the court for the manner it had dispensed justice.