It was a sad moment of reality Thursday in Lagos as a banker identified as Olawale Garuba was sentenced to 39 years imprisonment for stealing from a dead customer’s account.
Giving his judgment, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye of the Lagos State High Court said despite the remorse of the convict, she has no sympathy for him as he compromised his position as a banker to steal from a deceased customer whose money would have been used by the family she left behind.
She added that the convict allowed his greed to overcome him and risk losing the job that thousands of job seekers are craving to get. She, therefore found him guilty on thirteen of the eighteen count charges, and sentenced him to three years imprisonment on each count.
It was learnt that the convict was arraigned alongside six others in July 2015 for conspiring among themselves to steal over N30, 000,000 from the bank account of a deceased customer of a new generation bank where the convict works.
It was further gathered that the fraud was uncovered by the bank when they discovered that some of their staff, including the convict had connived with proxies to steal from a dormant account of one of the bank’s customers.
Upon discovery of the fraud, the bank apprehended the staff and handed them over to EFCC for investigation and prosecution.
Subsequently, upon their arraignment, they pleaded not guilty to eighteen counts of fraud. Subsequently, Justice Ipaye refused their bail application and remanded them in prison custody.
However, on June 2, 2016 the convict changed his plea from ‘not guilty’ to ‘guilty’. He was immediately convicted by Justice Ipaye and sentenced him to 39 years in jail on Thursday.
Counsel representing the convict, O. Ajanaku pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy in sentencing his client. He told the court that his client was a remorseful first time offender with a young wife and two little children.
Prosecution counsel Abba Mohammed, urged the court to consider the three way traffic while tampering justice with mercy. That is the interests of the court, the victim and the convict.
The sentences are to run concurrently from the date of his first detention, which is July 24, 2015.