The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission EFCC, on Tuesday, arraigned two bankers, Freeman Jacob and Umar Abdullahi before Justice Simon Akpah Amobeda of the Federal High Court, Kano on a three-count charge of conspiracy and stealing.
EFCC also arraigned two others – Ahmed Bashir and Abdulhakim Musa (aka Gandu) for working with the duo in 2020.
According to the commission, the defendants allegedly conspired among themselves to produce an ATM card in the name of one Alhaji Sani Muntari.
They used the same to steal the sum of N20,000,000 from his bank.
One of the charges reads, “That you, Freeman Austin Jacob, Umar Abdullahi, sometime in February 2020, at Kano within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, connived with Ahmed Bashir and Abdulhakim Musa to prime and issued Automated Teller Machine card” from a commercial bank account number belonging to one Alhaji Sani Mutari without the knowledge or consent of the said customer and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 14 (7) of the Cybercrimes (Prohibition, Prevention, Etc,) Act, 2015.
The defendants perpetrated the fraud by using the account holder’s SIM card, which was stolen by Bashir, the third defendant, to produce an ATM card with the help of the first and second defendants.
It added that the investigation traced some of the proceeds of the theft to the bank account of the fourth defendant, Abdulkarim Musa, a friend of the third defendant, Ahmed Bashir.
However, all the defendants pleaded not guilty.
Counsel for the prosecution, Aisha Tahar Habib prayed that the defendants be remanded and urged the court to fix a date for the commencement of trial.
Counsel representing the 1st and 2nd defendants made an oral bail application on behalf of his clients which was opposed by the prosecution counsel on the grounds that the application ought to be formal.
L.A Umar who represented the 4th defendant informed that she intends to file a formal bail application and subsequently prayed to the court for a date to do the same and serve the prosecution.
After listening to the parties’ submissions, Justice Amobeda agreed with the prosecution that bail applications should be made formally as the court is a court of record.
He subsequently remanded the defendant and adjourned the matter till June 26, 2023, for hearing of bail applications and commencement of trial.