An Employee of Polaris Bank has narrated to a Lagos High Court, how a colleague, Keshinro Babatunde allegedly stole the sum of N12.6m from a customer’s account through forged request forms and cheques.
The employee, David Areyo, who is the prosecution witness, told the court that Babatunde transferred funds belonging to a bank customer by signing request forms and cheques pretending to have been authorized by the customer.
Babatunde is currently standing trial on a 9 count charge of stealing, forgery and fraudulent false accounting with a customer’s account.
The alleged offence contravenes Sections 287, 365, 337 and 411 of the Criminal laws of Lagos state of Nigeria, No 11, 2015.
However, testifying before the court, Areyo, who works at the internal audit department of the bank, narrated how the bank found out about the alleged criminal activities of their then staff.
While being led in evidence by the prosecutor for the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Rotimi Oyedepo, the witness said, “Sometime last year 2020, we got an invite from EFCC to the head of internal audit requesting to come with the statement of account of one of our customer.
“Upon the request, the bank also carried out its own investigation looking into the involvement of the staff. We found some fund transfers. When we confronted the defendant, he told us that the customer instructed him to transfer those funds”.
When asked if it was the procedure of the bank for a staff member to sign the instruction form or cheque on behalf of a customer, the witness replied “No my Lord! No staff has the right to sign a customer’s instruction or customer’s cheque”.
The Witness was further shown Exhibit C (Termination of Fix deposit) to affirm if after the bank investigation the document carried the signature of the customer.
In his response, the witness said, “Our findings showed it was not the customer that signed the document.
Meanwhile, the EFCC had alleged that Babatunde forged a Skye bank cheque No.47423262 dated 16/08/2018 in the sum of N340,000 and purportedly to have been signed by one Kola Oseni.
The defendant, on or about the 14th of December 2016, while in the employment of Polaris bank plc falsified account numbers and dishonestly converted the total sum of 10,000,000 naira property of Alh. Ganiyu Kola Oseni
The matter was further adjourned on July 30, 2021 for continuation of trial at 12 noon.