Two MTN employees remanded in EFCC custody over N1.3bn theft

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An Ikeja High Court on Tuesday remanded two MTN employees in the custody of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for allegedly stealing N1.3 billion belonging to the firm’s cooperative society.

Justice Kudirat Jose remanded the employees: Victor Akintunde, 41 and Gani Mustapha, 46, former President and Secretary of the MTN Employees Multi-purpose Cooperative Society (MEMCOS) respectively, in custody after they appeared before the court.

They were charged to court alongside a property developer, Mutairu Babatunde and two other companies—Primavera Engineering and Construction Ltd. and Mabo Dredging Ltd.

The defendants are facing a 17-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing, issuance of dud cheque and forgery.

The arraignment of the defendants was, however, stalled due to Babatunde’s absence, prompting the judge to direct the defence counsel, George Oguntade (SAN), to ensure Babatunde’s presence in court at the next adjournment date.

She adjourned the matter till Feb.27 for arraignment of the defendants.

The EFCC counsel, Emmanuel Jackson, alleged that the defendants conspired to commit the offences between April and September 2009 in Lagos.

Jackson said the defendants fraudulently obtained the money as sundry payments, to facilitate the purchase of 13 hectares of land at Okun Ajah Community in Lagos, on behalf of MEMCOS members.

According to him, the defendants forged the signature of one Atiku Adigun on a deed of assignment, to facilitate the fraud.

He said that they also issued a First Bank cheque in the sum of N427 million in favour of MEMCOS, on April 25, 2009.

The prosecutor said the cheque was dishonoured when it was presented, due to insufficient funds in the account of Mabo Dredging Ltd.

Jackson said the offences contravened Sections 390(9), 467 and 516 of the Criminal Code, Laws of Lagos State of Nigeria 2003.

He said they also contravened Section 1(1) (a) of the Dishonoured Cheque (Offences) Act, Cap D11, Laws of Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

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